The budget is the financial representation of the scope of work of a project. Accurate budgets show thoughtful proposal preparation; a budget that is inconsistent with the work of the project or that obviously under- or over-estimates costs may disqualify a proposal during sponsor review. An accurate budget aids in the management of the project and documentation of expenses after the project has been awarded.
Sponsor requirements for budget submissions vary widely. Some require line item detail while others, like the NIH Modular Budget or some Fellowship competitions, don’t require any detail at all. However, departments are advised to submit detail budgets at the time of submission so that school and university reviewers can ensure that the budget is compliant with Harvard policies and avoid the need for rebudgeting after an award has been made.