Salary & Wages

Project Personnel

When providing information about project personnel, follow the sponsor's guidelines and University policies.

List all UCI project personnel in this category whether or not they will receive salary. Salary and wage costs associated with non-UCI personnel must be treated either as consultant costs or as a subcontract. Project personnel usually includes faculty, technicians, post-docs, graduate students and other personnel who are essential to perform the project.

Fees for professional services that will be recharged through UCIMC should be included in the other direct cost category as patient care.

Here’s a link to Academic Personnel’s website for Academic Salary Scales (including GSRs, Postdocs, and Academic Researchers):

Calculating Salaries

Calculate all project personnel costs using actual salaries. If the individual who will fill a position is not known, calculate the salary by using the mid-point salary from the appropriate UCI salary scale.
Never express personnel costs or effort in terms of hours, except for students, limited and per diem employees who are paid by the hour.

Calculating Merit Increases and Range Adjustments

Project anticipated merit increases and range adjustments as appropriate for each position in each budget period. There is a six- to nine-month delay between proposal submission and award, so remember to calculate personnel costs using current actual salaries plus any merit or cost of living increases anticipated between proposal submission and the proposed start date.

Summer Salaries for Nine-Month Appointees

List summer salary for nine-month appointees separately using one-ninth or two-ninths of the base salary to calculate the amount requested. The University and some sponsors may restrict summer salary compensation to no more than two months. Therefore, a third month of summer salary may require internal or sponsor approval.

Cost Sharing Personnel Costs

In accordance with the Uniform Guidance, Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing is not expected in federal proposals. However, when “required” by a federal agency, such mandatory cost share requirements will be outlined in the solicitation. When proposing to cost share personnel costs, do so by listing the percent of effort to be funded by the sponsor as a single budget line item and the level of effort to be cost shared by the University as a different line item.

Please note the University does not cost share on projects proposed to, or funded by, for-profit sponsors.

Salary Rate Cap

If an individual's salary rate exceeds a salary rate cap imposed by sponsor policy (e.g., DHHS salary rate cap), list either the institutional base salary (negotiated salary) in the budget and calculate the budget using that salary or the salary rate cap.  In the case of NIH, when an award is made they will make an adjustment so that any salaries exceeding the rate cap are awarded at the rate cap.  Please note that this differential expense is an unallowable cost and is not eligible for cost sharing.

Employee Salary Range Projections

When allowable, standardized wage escalation adjustments for personnel should be included in sponsored project proposals to ensure the University can reasonably project potential wage obligations over the span of the project. The wage escalation rate to be used for a proposal is based on the project’s proposed end date and remains constant throughout the entire project budget, as shown in the following table:

Project End Date Escalation Rate
By or on December 31, 2023 4.9%
Between January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024 4.3%
Between January 1, 2025 through December 31, 2025 4.0%
Between January 1, 2026 through December 31, 2026 3.8%
Between January 1, 2027 through December 31, 2027 3.6%
After December 31, 2027 3.5%


When preparing a budget proposal, the wage escalation rate should be applied the known salary scale. See examples of how the wage escalation rate would be applied for sample sponsored project budgets.  The formula and the resulting wage escalation rates are for sponsored project proposal budget forecasting purposes only and are based on the most recent 10-Year Economic Projections issued by the Congressional Budget Office as of the date of this letter (the “Projections”). The formula is not an institutional guarantee, representation, or reflection of future budgetary decisions, nor does it represent a decision with respect to any future budgetary decisions. It is provided solely as a planning tool for extramural funding proposals.   

Special Consideration: Clinical Trials

Pharmaceutical sponsor budget forms usually itemize the costs of each element, procedure or service required by the study protocol and which requires the University to calculate the full cost for each item. When doing so, make sure to include all personnel costs as appropriate. For example, if the principal investigator will conduct all initial screenings, the cost should include the PIs salary, benefits and any other costs associated with that activity.

When preparing a standard budget for a clinical trial, only list UCI project personnel in this category. For the purpose of clinical trials, project personnel may include those individuals in administrative positions who are essential to the performance of the project.