Office of Sponsored Programs - 500.06 - Institutional Base Salary for Sponsored Projects


Office of Sponsored Programs - 500.06 - Institutional Base Salary for Sponsored Projects


This operating standard defines Institutional Base Salary (IBS) for sponsored research projects and effort reporting purposes. The University is committed to ensuring that personal compensation charges on sponsored projects are based on an individual’s IBS consistent with the requirements of Federal regulation 2 CFR §200.

The Federal government requires recipients of Federal funds to establish an institutional policy that documents the work covered by the IBS set by the University. The University applies these Federal requirements consistently to all sponsored projects.

Failure to accurately propose, charge, and document salaries may result in financial penalties, expenditure disallowances, and harm to the University’s reputation.

Policy Statement

The IBS is the annual compensation paid by the University for an employee’s appointment. This is independent of whether the individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. IBS does not include bonuses, one-time payments, or incentive pay. Salary paid directly by an external organization is also excluded from the IBS. This includes income, such as consulting activities, that an individual may earn outside of an individual’s University appointment as provided under the University’s Policy on External Professional Activities for Pay.

I. Institutional Base Salary

  • Is set in advance by the University and is consistent with University compensation policies
  • May not be increased simply as a result of the receipt of additional sponsor project funds
  • Is based on a full-time workload and guaranteed by the University regardless of the source of funding
  • Includes regular salary and any compensation related to a second assignment such as chairing a department, Institute Director, or service on University Committees
  • Excludes bonuses, honoraria, and incentive pay

II. Institutional Base Salary in Sponsored Project Proposals

The anticipated effort is measured in person-months or percent effort and must be calculated using the individual’s IBS. Budgeting for an individual’s salary charges is determined by applying the amount of an individual’s proposed effort to the individual’s IBS. This applies when requesting salary support from a sponsor or providing effort on a sponsored project in the form of mandatory or voluntary committed cost-sharing.

III. Working with Sponsor Salary Caps

Certain sponsors impose a limit or cap on the amount of salary charged to a sponsored project. The salary cap may or may not apply when preparing the proposal depending on the submission type. However, the salary rate cap will apply once an award is issued. Please read sponsor proposal guidelines to identify if such requirements apply.

IV. Nine-Month Academic Appointments

Faculty compensated by nine (9) month academic appointments are available to earn up to three (3) months of additional salary for that effort, subject to sponsor policies. This is applicable during the period between spring and fall semesters. If a faculty member has administrative or other non-research responsibilities, including vacations, during the summer period, they may not be allowed to devote 100% effort to sponsored projects for the period. Salary charges to sponsored projects must accurately reflect how the faculty member spent their University effort during the effort reporting period of performance.

V. Roles and Responsibilities

These units are responsible for the following components of working with and appropriately managing IBS:

A. Chairs, Deans, Provost, Vice Chancellors, and Other Supervisors

  • Offer Letters for new hires clearly indicate the approved IBS
  • Any subsequent salary adjustments are documented with the approved, revised IBS

B. Principal Investigators

  • All requests for salary support in sponsored project proposals are based on the individual’s approved IBS

C. Department, School, and College Administrators

  • Proposal budgets include salary requests based on the individual’s established IBS and anticipated effort to the sponsored project
  • ConnectCarolina HR/Payroll entries are correctly based on the individual’s IBS
  • Retain copies of appointment and salary adjustment notifications for audit purposes

D. Office of Sponsored Programs

  • Proposal budgets include accurate salary requests based on an individual’s approved IBS
  • Review and approve proposals, including budgets, requesting funding from external sponsors

Related Requirements

Unit Policies, Standards, & Procedures

Contact Information

For questions regarding this operating standard and its related procedure, please contact

For questions regarding Pre-Award management or Post-Award administration, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Specialist (SPS).

For invoicing, reporting and other financial matters, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Accountant. OSP Staff assignments are found in RAMSeS or on the OSP website.


History Table
Date Description
07/01/2022 Revised to reflect to new office name.
05/15/2018 Revised to coincide with the release of the new OSP Website.

The operating standards in the Office of Sponsored Programs Operating Standards & Procedures Manual supersede any OSP operating standards, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Division of Finance.

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Article ID: 132310
Thu 4/8/21 9:28 PM
Fri 1/19/24 12:02 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Office of Sponsored Programs
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/19/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/19/2024 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2008 12:00 AM