Salaries Above the NIH Cap

Every year since 1990 Congress has legislatively mandated a provision limiting the amount of salary that can be charged on an employee by employee basis to National Institutes of Health grants. However, the employees must still receive 100% of their IBS from Duke. This means Duke will charge the grant up to the mandated “cap” and then cost share  the difference between the cap and the IBS.

Most faculty appointments on Campus are for nine months with the exception of some Research Professors who have 12-month appointments. It is important for budgetary purposes to understand their appointment types represented in the budget or the calculations can be completely wrong. The NIH Notice linked above illustrates how to calculate salaries above the cap using various scenarios.

Calculating salaries above the cap is easily accomplished in SPS Web. There are several examples provided in the Entering Salaries into SPS document linked at the top of this page.

Preaward Roles and Responsibilities


  • Identifies salaries in the budget above the NIH cap
  • Indicates required cost sharing in SPS
  • Calculates and enters the portion to be covered by NIH in SPS
  • Calculates and enters the cost share portion to be covered by Duke in SPS
  • Completes a Cost Share form with all of the required signatures and uploads into the internal document section of the SPS proposal record


  • Reviews and approves the proposal budget as part of its review
  • Retains the cost share form in the proposal file



  • Indicates the inclusion of salaries above the cap in the budget when transmitting the award to TBS