Developing your International Project Budget

Have you considered the special features of working abroad when developing your budget? 

  • Calculate indirect costs both locally and at the international site
    • Review sponsor restrictions and budget for the sponsor’s indirect rate as it applies to international sites (e.g., NIH only pays 8% to foreign institutions).
    • Depending on the terms laid out by the funder, sub-recipients may be entitled to receive both direct and indirect costs. In some cases, a fixed-price agreement may be appropriate.
    • Be aware of re-budgeting restrictions once awarded (check sponsor guidelines ahead of time to understand the process of re-budgeting funds after award time).
    • Also note that Foreign Per Diem rates are established monthly by Business Services as maximum U.S. dollar rates for reimbursement of U.S. Government civilians traveling on official business in foreign areas. https://businessservices.wisc.edu/travel-reimbursement/planning-a-trip/meals-and-incidentals/
  • Consider the following added costs:
    • Visas and/or relocation costs (not always recoverable under federal awards)
    • International shipping costs and import duties (e.g., Nearly every country in Africa applies a Value Added Tax (“VAT”) to goods and supplies imported into the country and to purchases made within the country). In countries where tax exemptions are available, an application for exemption may require months of negotiations, and if granted, caution must be exercised including the monitoring of local employees.
    • Translation costs, i.e., contracts and other key documents will need to be translated to English if they are in a foreign language
    • There may be costs and/or regulatory approvals required for IACUC, IRB and/or EH&S (e.g., lab safety and biosafety) costs
  • Notify Business Services if advanced payment is required for those international sites that are not in a position to pre-finance a project.

Clearance from the U.S. Department of State

  • Clearance from the U.S. Department of State may be required prior to commencement of an international project when the project uses federal funds. Once approved, any sub-award or subcontract issued to the foreign component will need to contain provision for the “flowdown” of all applicable federal sponsor obligations to the “foreign component” organization. Most notably, these include research misconduct, animal welfare, human subjects, financial conflict of interest, debarment and suspension, lobbying, and fiscal controls.

Guidance for developing a budget: