1. I just saw a funding opportunity of which I have an interest in. What is the first step in the preparation of an application?Any interested applicant should first discuss the funding announcement/solicitation with his/her immediate supervisor to determine its feasibility and appropriateness with respect to the department’s program plans. If it is found to be a workable endeavor, we advise that you submit an Intent to Submit a Proposal Form to ORSP. This will make ORSP and the prospective applicant aware early in the process whether more than one department at UAPB is interested in applying for a particular funding opportunity.
2. The call for proposals that I have is not very informative. How do I find out more about the requirements of the agency? Start with researching the agency requirements online. Many agencies publish their grant policies on their web sites. If you don’t find answers to your questions, contact ORSP for assistance. If there is a contact person listed in the call for proposals, you can also contact that person with questions regarding your application.
3. I have never submitted a proposal before. How can I find out more about UAPB policies and procedures? Please familiarize yourself with the Research and Sponsored Programs Handbook. It is a good resource on UAPB policies and procedures relative to proposal writing and submission.
4. I just saw an announcement/solicitation that I am interested in applying for, but I do not know how to write a proposal. Can somebody in ORSP help me?You can find basic information relative to what should be included in a proposal in the Research and Sponsored Programs Handbook. Please remember to closely follow the guidelines provided by the prospective funding agency. You can also search the Internet for advice on writing a proposal. For example, to write a proposal for NIH funding, use NIAID’s All About Grants Tutorial, availableat: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/ncn/grants.
ORSP is not staffed to write proposals for the departments. However, once you have completed a draft of the proposal, the following advice and/or suggestions can be provided:
Whether or not the proposal appears to adequately meet the solicitation criteria and the proposal guidelines of the agency;
Comprehensiveness and integrity of the proposal narrative;
Specific comments on ways to improve presentation of the material.
ORSP cannot and will not comment or provide any feedback regarding the scientific merit of the activity proposed in the application.
5. I know that all applications for off-campus funding are being reviewed by ORSP. What are you checking for in the proposals? Prior to forwarding the proposals for the signature of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, the Associate Director of Sponsored Programs reviews all the applications prepared by UAPB departments. The main areas of review are: 1) federal and agency regulation compliance, 2) adherence to UAPB policies, 3) adequate recovery of UAPB’s indirect costs, 4) availability of matching funds (if required), and 5) integrity of the budget.
6. What is an in-kind contribution and how is it different from a cash contribution? What are some examples of in-kind contributions? How do you calculate their value? An in-kind contribution is a non-cash input, which can be given a cash value. Cash contributions appear on UAPB’s books as expenditures, whereas in-kind contributions do not. In-kind contributions may include donated services of volunteers or employees of other organizations; tuition wavers; third party donated supplies; donated or loaned equipment, space, buildings and land. The value of in-kind contributions should be calculated based on what it would cost if it were not free.
7. I will be spending a percentage of my time on the project but will not be paid by the grant. Is a portion of my salary considered an in-kind or cash contribution? Do I have to put it in my proposal budget? A portion of your salary is considered a cash contribution when it is not paid from the award funds. If it is a federally funded project, time and effort certifications should be maintained. Do not put a salary match in your proposal budget, unless there is a matching requirement in the call for proposals, and it cannot be met by unrecovered indirect costs.
8. Will showing a larger match give my proposal an advantage over other proposals? What is UAPB’s policy relative to grant matching? Cost-sharing (matching) is not advantageous beyond the minimal requirement. Please refer to the specific request for proposals (RFP) to find out whether the opportunity requires cost-sharing, and if so, what amount is required. UAPB discourages matching beyond the minimal requirements.
9. What is a collaborative proposal? In a collaborative proposal, investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project.
Collaborative proposals may be submitted in one of two methods:
- as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested (with subawards administered by the lead organization), or
- by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award.
In either case, the lead organization’s proposal should contain all of the requisite sections as a single package to be provided to reviewers.
All collaborative proposals should clearly describe the roles to be played by the other organizations, specify the managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of the multi-organizational effort within the project description.
PIs are strongly encouraged to contact the cognizant funding agency’s office prior to submission of the collaborative proposal.
10. What is the difference between a group proposal and a collaborative proposal? A group proposal is one submitted by three or more investigators whose separate but related activities are combined into one administrative unit. A collaborative proposal is one in which investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project.
11. The call for proposals that I am responding to requires electronic submission of an application. How do I submit a proposal electronically? Please see the section in the Research and Sponsored Programs Handbook entitled "Electronic Submission of Proposals" for instructions on how to submit a proposal electronically. Please call ORSP at 575-8051 for further details.
12. I noticed an error in my proposal that was just submitted via FastLane. Can it still be corrected? We strongly advise that you thoroughly review each proposal prior to submission. However, if a problem is identified with a portion of a proposal after it has already been submitted, the FastLane Proposal File Update Module allows one to request the replacement of files or revision of other Proposal Attributes associated with a previously submitted proposal.
A request for a proposal file update must be submitted by an individual who is authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the organization, and electronically signed by the Authorized Organizational Representative.
13. Where can I find information regarding post-award issues? Issues relative to federally funded awards can be found in the appropriate sections of the relevant OMB Circulars. Information regarding post-award costs, prior approvals, extensions, transfer of PIs, reporting requirements and other award administration requirements can often be found by accessing the applicable award conditions on the funding agency’s website. The information relative to UAPB post-award policies and procedures can be found in the Research and Sponsored Programs Handbook. Any information not available in the handbook may be obtained via an ORSP representative.
14. What is a CFDA number and why do we need it? Where can I find it? The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) profiles all Federal grant programs with an assigned number that is jointly issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration. It is important for tracking and auditing purposes. The Catalog is available for reference in the government documents section of most major libraries and offices of State and local governments. Also, it is conveniently accessible by clicking on the following link: http://www.cfda.gov.
15. Can I spend left-over funds from my award? Sometimes you can. However, that is determined by the type of award received. Fixed-price contracts are the only awards that allow recipients to retain the unspent funds and use them in an unrestricted manner after the project has ended. They provide a price that is not subject to any adjustment on the basis of the contractor’s cost experience in fulfilling the contract. The university is fully responsible for all costs and resulting profit or loss. In order to receive the full amount of the contract, the program must satisfy the agency by meeting all contract deliverables.
At close-out, if the program expenses are less than the amount paid by the agency, it is UAPB policy to transfer the remaining cash to the department’s 590 account. The use of the funds is not restricted after the transfer has been made, but they are still governed by state purchasing rules and regulations and university policies. They may be used for departmental operating expenditures or cost share requirements for other awards.
Please note that this does not apply to cost-reimbursable contracts—where the agency will only reimburse the university for actual project expenses. For those contracts—as well as for all grants and cooperative agreements—unspent funds need to be returned to the agency.
16. What is the difference between a grant, cooperative agreement and a contract?
Grant: Federal assistance, in the form of money or property, authorized by federal law to support programs which the government wishes to encourage. Although assistance awards usually involve an award of funds, recipients may also receive “property, service or anything of value,” as long as it accomplishes a public purpose.
Cooperative agreement: Federal assistance, distinguished from grants based on the level of federal involvement. If the government is substantially involved in programmatic work under the award, the assistance arrangement is a cooperative agreement.
Contract: A procurement contract under an award or sub award, and a procurement subcontract under a recipient’s or subrecipient’s contract.
If the principal purpose of the award is to…
Then the agency will award a:
Support or stimulate recipient activity, but no substantive involvement by the government is anticipated.
Support or stimulate recipient activity, but the parties anticipate substantive agency involvement in the project
Acquire goods or service for the government’s own use
17. I was just informed by a Grant Accountant that there is an overage on my award account. Why didn’t anyone tell me ahead of time that I have already used all the funds available under this award? It can take some time between the day when the requisition is submitted and the day when it is posted to the general ledger. During that time the budget will still be showing the funds as available, which will allow other charges to be made.
Since the project directors have the fullest knowledge regarding the expenses charged to their grant accounts, including those that may not yet be posted, we ask that PI’s and PD’s maintain the most updated record of expenses in the departments. Such a record can be a simple Excel spreadsheet listing all the requisitions submitted for each account and comparing the total expenses against the award budget. To assist program directors in budget management, ORSP is providing monthly expenditure reports to the departments.
18. Is a project director/principal investigator at liberty to move funds from one budget category to another without prior approval? A grantee can move funds from one budget category to another without a prior approval if cumulative transfers among direct cost categories do not exceed 10% of the total approved budget. Some agencies do not require prior approval unless the transfers between budget categories exceed 25% of total direct cost budget. Please check the award agreement and the agency’s regulations pertaining to each particular award.
Please note that if rebudgeting results in a change of scope, approval of the agency is always necessary.
19. What constitutes a change in scope? A change of scope would entail any one of the following:
- Changes in the objective of the project or program.
- Changes in a key person specified in the application or an award document.
- The absence for more than 3 months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved project director or principal investigator.
- Subgranting or contracting out to perform activities, which are central to the purposes of the award (this does not apply to the procurement of equipment, supplies and general support services).
- Transfer of funds allotted for training allowances (direct payment to trainees) to other expense categories.
Any revision in the scope or objectives of the project, regardless of whether there is an associated budget revision, requires prior approval by the agency.
20. How do I request a no-cost extension of the federal award? A no-cost extension is an extension of the award period without additional funding. Different awards have different procedures for processing. Oftentimes, these procedures are not specified in the award documentation. If that be the case, the agency manual or terms and conditions posted on-line would be referenced. Many awards allow in-house processing of the first extension for a period of up to 12 months without agency involvement. In some cases, the extension must be processed electronically. After receiving a notice from the Principal Investigator (PI) that an extension is needed, ORSP will review the agency's award terms and conditions and provide the proper procedural advice.
All requests for extensions must include a justification expressing why it is necessary, and the period for which it is needed. If agency approval is not required, ORSP will prepare an official letter for the Chancellor's signature of approval. If agency approval is required, an official letter will be prepared for the agency's approval.
Please note that, in order to assure adequate completion of a project, an award may receive a no-cost extension. However, such extensions may not be requested merely to exhaust the unspent funds.
21. How is a subaward agreement issued from UAPB to another organization? Subaward agreements are drafted by ORSP, with specifics provided by the Principal Investigator (PI)--including
a copy of the subrecipient's Statement of Work, Budget, and Budget Justification. They are signed by the dean, the associate director of ORSP, and the chancellor; then forwarded (by ORSP) to the other party for signatures. A copy of the fully executed agreement is sent to the PI.
Subaward payments must be requested by the PI via a purchase requisition. Monitoring of subgrantee performance is the responsibility of the PI. All financial aspects of subawards are monitored jointly by the PI and by the grant accountant.
ORSP will send out a subrecipient monitoring questionnaire to all subgrantees annually to satisfy Federal requirements. Please note that, unless included in the approved proposal, Subawarding often requires prior agency approval.
22. I just learned that I will have to do Time and Effort reporting. Can you tell
me more about the process? The following FAQs regarding time and effort will provide you the basic information
needed: Time and Effort Reporting.pdf.