UW Research

September 6, 2018

NSF: Senior Personnel 2 Months Rule and Proposal Preparation

Salary amount of Senior Personnel from all NSF Awards support cannot exceed 2 months’ salary during a UW Fiscal Year without either NSF approval or re-budgeting.

UW defines “Year” in this rule to mean the “UW Fiscal Year” (FY).
Review NSF Senior Personnel definition.

Is Salary Available for Senior Personnel to Propose?

  1. Identify maximum 2 months salary amount per UW FY that can be charged on all NSF Awards.
    1. Identify Fiscal Years in the proposal that overlap other current and pending support.
    2. Identify Institutional Base Salary (IBS) amount for each FY.
    3. Calculate 2 months salary amount per FY.
  2. Confirm committed and pending salary do not exceed the maximum amount per FY that’s allowed to be charged to NSF.
    1. Add committed and pending salary amounts per FY
    2. Subtract from the maximum 2 months salary amount allowed per FY.

When Committed & Pending Salary Exceed 2 Months Rule

If salary exceeds 2 months rule in any given FY:

  • Include an explanation within budget justification as to why the 2 months’ rule needs to be exceeded, or
  • Reduce requested effort and corresponding salary amount of Senior Personnel in the proposal so that Senior Personnel will not exceed 2 months’ salary rule.

If committed salary has already or will exceed the 2 months salary rule for any given FY:

  • Ensure justifications submitted to NSF (and documented in your local files) explain why the 2 months salary rule was exceeded or review whether re-budgeting is necessary.
  • If re-budgeting results in a change of scope, NSF approval must be obtained – contact osp@uw.edu.
  • Make sure Current & Pending Support corresponds with effort levels committed and salary amounts paid.

Determine Effort Levels Available for Proposal

Now that you have reviewed available salary, review and determine effort levels per budget year that can be proposed.

Post Award Fiscal Compliance Provides an NSF 2 Months Rule Worksheet to help determine effort levels. Steps to determine effort levels are also included below.

  1. Identify calendar months for each FY of  proposed project.
  2. Divide remaining available effort for that FY by calendar months of proposed Budget Period which fall in that FY to arrive at Available Effort per calendar month.
  3. Total the Available Effort per Calendar Month for Budget Period.



NSF: Senior Personnel

Committed Salary:
Salary represented on an awarded NSF project budget.

Pending support:
Proposed support not yet awarded.