Budget Preparation: Equipment and Computer Equipment
Items are classified as “equipment” (by Circular A-110 and by the University) if they have a unit value of more than $5,000 and a useful life of one year or more. Equipment bears no overhead. An explanation for each item of equipment identified in the budget should be provided in the proposal; whenever possible, the name, model, and vendor should be identified; quotes may be provided if available. The associated costs of shipping, installation, and fabrication are considered to be part of the capitalized costs of the equipment and also bear no overhead. For equipment items valued at $25,000 or more, Department of Defense agencies and other sponsors often require vendor quotes and will delay issuing an award until such quotes are on file, so it is advisable to obtain quotations at the proposal submission stage. The proposal budget should also estimate as accurately as possible the equipment the project will require each year, so that sponsor approval does not need to be requested for items other than those specifically described in the budget of record.
Special note for funding from Battelle Energy Alliance/Idaho National Lab (INL): All equipment, whether capitalized or not, purchased with INL funding, and no matter the initial cost, is considered to be the property of INL. This equipment must be either returned to the sponsor at the end of the funding period or, if the equipment will be used on another INL project, transferred to the new project. In rare instances INL will allow the equipment to be transferred to another Federal agency’s project.
Computers, including laptops, are ordinarily considered general office equipment (i.e. their use is not exclusively for the project being considered for funding). Therefore, if funds for computers are requested in a budget, a justification must be included. The justification must assure the agency that the computer equipment will be used exclusively for the specific research for which funding is being requested.