Proposal Development

There are many steps to developing a research project and preparing a research proposal for submission. This section is designed to provide information that will help faculty members develop a proposal, create a budget, and navigate the process for submitting proposals at UWF.


CUTLA and RSP workshop participants

Related Forms

Internal Routing Form (IRF) (Word)
Request for Waiver or Reduced F&A (Indirect) Rate (Word)
Research Project Budget Model (Excel)
Salary Calculator (Excel)
Summary/Request for University Matching Commitment  (Word)

Develop a Proposal

Pre-award Services

RSP Grants Specialists provide pre-award services such as

  1. Handling inquiries regarding funding sources, deadlines, and application procedures
  2. Assisting with funding searches for faculty projects
  3. maintaining a database of faculty research expertise
  4. distributing funding announcements from various government publications
  5. proposal and budget preparation
  6. completion of agency forms and interpretation of agency guidelines
  7. submission (duplication and mailing or electronic submission) of proposals
  8. assisting with requests for RSP matching funds
  9. assisting with compliance with required certifications and assurances and other submission preparation guidelines such as monitoring human research participant and animal subject approvals
  10. maintaining pre-award grant and contract files
  11. pre-award problem resolution
Eligibility to Submit a Proposal

The Academic Affairs Division through RSP has established that any individual holding an affiliation with a unit of the university may be a PI and submit proposals, including

  1. Faculty in Tenure Accruing Tracks
  2. Faculty in Non-Tenure Accruing Tracks
  3. Other University Faculty and Personnel including
    1. Lecturers and instructors
    2. University Work Force Staff

 

New Investigators should hold a UWF appointment at the time of application or expect to hold an appointment by the effective date of the award. Other members of the UWF community such as students, adjuncts, or other community members may serve as co-PIs or senior key personnel on proposal in collaboration with an eligible PI.

Writing a Proposal

Careful development and rigorous writing of a detailed research proposal are necessary for success in the highly competitive research funding environment at most sponsoring agencies. Members of national review panels state repeatedly that it is no longer good enough to write a solid proposal. It has to be a "great" proposal. Applicants must be prepared to sell their ideas with professional finesse.

Campus faculty expertise as well as agency advice should be used by proposal writers during the conceptual planning as well as during the proposal writing stage. Please coordinate with the RSP Grants Specialist to facilitate any such contacts.

The RSP Grants Specialist will assist in reviewing applications for requirements, development of a detailed budget, gathering support information and materials, and providing referrals to other UWF researchers and agency personnel who may be of assistance.

Investigators are encouraged to view agency web sites for examples of successful proposals and to seek guidance from program officers on any specific questions. Many agencies have guides to a successful proposal and these should be reviewed and followed exactly for favorable consideration. Following agency guidelines is becoming increasingly important. Pay close attention to format requirements, text requirements and selection criteria. GrantSAT Grant Proposal Self-Assessment Tool (PDF) is a sample self assessment tool available for use.

Typical Components of a Proposal

Agency Guidelines
Preliminary Proposals/Concept/White Papers/Letter of Intent
General Guidelines/Formats
Title
Abstract
Executive Summary/Introduction
Description of Project
Related Studies/Review of the Field
Methodology and Time Frame
Evaluation Design and Statistical Analysis
Personnel
Facilities and Special Resources
Dissemination of Information

Agency

The guiding document for the components of a Proposal (Preliminary, Concept/White Paper, or Full) is the agency's Request for Proposals (RFPs), Research Announcement (RA), or Request for Quotes (RFQ). This document should always be reviewed as the first step in developing proposal materials. The format and requirements should be followed specifically in the order and form provided by the agency. It may appear that the proposal requires duplication or replication of information in multiple sections or formats. If this is the case, the redundant information should be built into the documentation as requested. Agencies frequently disassemble proposals and different sections are reviewed by different reviewers or staff. Therefore, redundant information in the form outlined by the agency document should be followed without exception.


Preliminary Proposals/Concept/White Papers/Letter of Intent

Sponsors often have a requirement for a preliminary proposal, a concept/white paper or letter of intent to introduce the proposed project in a short format for consideration for an invitation to submit a full proposal. Some agencies do not always require preliminary proposals; however, if they are required an investigator will not be eligible for consideration of a full proposal if this requirement has not been submitted. Some agencies may accept full proposals only upon invitation. Others may not accept a full proposal if a preliminary proposal has not been submitted, even if they do not restrict full proposals to those by invitation only. The investigator should carefully review the guidelines to determine the specific requirements for a funding opportunity.

Even if a preliminary proposal or concept/white paper is not required, this is an excellent way to prepare a document which can be submitted to an agency program officer for review and comment prior to preparation of a full proposal. A preliminary proposal or concept/white paper should be considered an abbreviated version of the full proposal. This document will usually focus more on the goals and objectives, proposed scope of work, and the anticipated results or outcomes than on the background data and budgetary information. The document is usually limited to 3-5 pages or to a specific form such as a matrix that provides for information in an abbreviated form.


General Guidelines/Formats

While specific requirements regarding content and format differ markedly and change frequently among sponsors or guidelines, the following are general requirements that are routinely part of all submissions in some form. This list should be tailored or edited to follow specific agency guidelines.


Title

Titles should be concise, clear and precise. Excessive length may result in ambiguities should parts be abbreviated during processing at the agency. News releases often rely on the title to reference research, and precision will help to avoid misrepresentation of a study. A goal might be to try to limit the first portion of a title to no more than 50 characters and to follow a colon with a more explanatory description if needed. Some agencies require specific wording to be included in the proposal title. Refer to the guidelines for this information.


Abstract

The abstract is the most important part of the proposal in that it summarizes all the key information and is designed to convince the reader that the project is worthy of funding. You must gain the reader's interest up front to convince him to continue reading your proposal. The abstract describes the major objectives of the proposed research and the research strategy to meet these objectives. It serves a variety of purposes and should be prepared with great care.

Agency staff often use the abstract in assigning the proposal to the appropriate study section(s) for review. Reviewers use the abstract to gain an initial perspective of the key concept of the study and its significance, and again later as a reminder when the proposal comes up for discussion. If a proposal is not in a reviewer's area of specialization, the abstract may be the only part read to prepare for the panel discussion. After funding is secured, the abstract may be used for entry in national databases and its keywords are picked up for quotation indexes.

It is advisable to write the abstract at the end, when all other sections of the proposal have been finalized. A good abstract will strike a balance between simple and technical language and highlight key concepts for which the reviewers should look in the main body of the proposal. Many sponsors limit an abstract to no more than one page of single spaced text in a standard font size with no less than 1 inch margins. Refer to the guidelines on specific format or areas which should be included in the abstract.


Executive Summary/Introduction

Whenever possible, it is advised to include an executive summary of the proposed research. This document reviews the sponsor's goals, objectives, and criteria for use in reviewing the proposal and addresses briefly how the proposal relates to them. When allowed, this summary is another way to identify how a particular proposal, research design, and expected outcomes relate to a sponsor's needs. The summary will be useful for those who are not specialists in the investigator's discipline to understand the linkage between the proposed project and the sponsor's criteria. If a separate executive summary is not allowed, it is useful to think of the abstract in these terms to strengthen the linkage of the proposal to these areas. The project description will address each element outlined below in detail, but the summary is a short concise statement that may be easier for a reviewer who is not a specialist or the agency staff to understand.


Description of Project

The investigator is expected to present a description of the proposed project and to explain the general goals and the specific objectives. At the same time, the need for the project must be justified and its significance should emerge clearly and convincingly. The overall goals may be stated in general terms, but specific objectives need to be clearly defined. Objectives must be tangible, specific, measurable and achievable within the project period. Investigators often use brief statements in numerical ranking of priority to achieve this end.


Related Studies/Review of the Field

A discussion of previous work in the field demonstrates an investigator's knowledge and provides an evaluation of the "state-of-the-art" in his/her specialization. It also shows the extent of preparation for the proposed study and the novelty and individuality of the approach. For these reasons, this section has to be more than a bibliography. It must demonstrate that the investigator is aware of other work in the discipline. Careful selection of sources must be made and only those significant to the proposed research should be discussed in detail.

With regard to those who are new to research or academia, reviewers acknowledge the fact that few publications are available on which the strength of an investigator can be assessed. Therefore, the analytical richness of a review of the field is used to gauge the new investigator's sharpness of intellect and potential for success. It should be noted that both National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) Study Section reviews indicate that pilot data (preliminary results) are "a must."

RSP has funds to assist the beginning investigator in developing this background. The Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee (SCAC) small grant program provides internal funding to conduct pilot studies. A request for funds for expenses or time to prepare and execute a pilot study is one way to accomplish this background to develop the information needed for a larger project proposal. The annual Request for Proposals for this program will be posted on the SCAC web site.


Methodology and Time Frame

The methodology section describes the specific activities that will take place to achieve the objectives and enables the reader to visualize the implementation of the project. This section tells the how, when and why of your proposal and should describe the proposed research methodology, organizing the material logically according to progressive steps of inquiry. Investigators must make a careful decision about how much detail will be needed to assure clear understanding by the reviewers without going to excessive lengths. It is equally important to describe how potential problems will be addressed.

The overall length of time required to conduct the research project must be projected with care to allow for data collection, analysis and interpretation. Unrealistic projection or omission of a period of performance may lead to reviewer criticism. Investigators need to allow for a reasonable time frame after the application submission date for processing, review and evaluation of the proposal at the sponsoring agency. For many federal sponsors, this period may be 6 months to a year. The request for proposal may provide this information. If not, the investigator should review the sponsor's general guidelines, policies, and procedures for more detailed information. It is also possible to request this information from the program officer or agency staff person identified in the guidelines. Considering this factor may enable the investigator to propose more accurately which phase of ongoing research the funding should support.


Evaluation Design and Statistical Analysis

Evaluation design is increasingly important. Many projects require an evaluation of results. Evaluation may be planned both at critical points during the project period and/or after its conclusion. It may be designed to be carried out by participant staff or by outside consultants. The description of the evaluation design should be detailed and the applicant should make it clear how it is to be administered and how the resulting data will be analyzed. It is also important to indicate how the evaluation results will be used and/or how they will be disseminated. In biological, behavioral, chemical and physical sciences, research faculty should state their test evaluation and statistical methods. Many guidelines will specify that a percentage of the budget must be used for evaluation and dissemination of the results. Refer to both the overall criteria for the program and the budget narrative description to determine if use of project funds is encouraged for performance of this function.


Personnel

If possible, all professional, technical and academic personnel who will participate in the research should be identified by name, title and role in the project. Roles may include

  1. Project Director and Co-Director(s), PI and Co-PI(s), Program Director
  2. Faculty Associates (generally members of the faculty holding academic rank of Assistant Professor and above)
  3. Postdoctoral Associates
  4. Research Associates/Assistants (i.e., graduate students engaged in research or research training under the proposed grant)
  5. Professional Associates/Assistants (e.g., computer programmers, design engineers, laboratory assistants, technicians)
  6. Other (e.g., secretarial, clerical, shop, undergraduate students)
  7. Consultants (generally, these are from outside the university)

 

A curriculum vita (CV or resume or biographical sketch) is usually required for each of the key personnel (major investigators or specialized personnel who have been substantially influential in developing or delivering the objectives and whose participation could not be easily duplicated or replaced). However, it is advisable to highlight specific research experience, related publications and other important biographical information with regard to professional personnel. Reviewers have indicated that it is helpful to have specific research capabilities of the major researchers stated in the text, although these qualifications may also be listed on the CV. Many agencies limit the size and scope of a CV. Common limitations are no more than 2-3 pages or to publications and presentations within the last 3-5 years. Other items to consider including are collaborations with internal and external faculty which have not been solidified as published research and instructional experience in the form of courses developed and taught and in graduate theses and/or dissertations supervised for students within and outside of UWF. Names, affiliation and the role they play in carrying out the project of such collaborators/students are often required to provide a list of persons who may have a conflict of interest if considered as a potential reviewer of the proposal.


Facilities and Special Resources

Applicants will need to describe the facilities and resources that will be used in the proposed research. If unique facilities exist with regard to the proposed research, it is important to emphasize this in the proposal. The application may require data on the size of the university, a profile of faculty and students, or details on university-wide facilities such as the library, computer centers, or specialized centers. In addition to their own college resource personnel, applicants may look up current information on the UWF web site or contact their RSP Grants Specialist for assistance.


Dissemination of Information

In order to assure wide impact of funds invested in research, demonstration or development projects, many agencies emphasize the need for well-planned dissemination of results. Most investigators hope to publish research findings in refereed journals. If other strategies seem useful, they should be listed in the dissemination section of the proposal. Examples of dissemination are conferences, training workshops, special newsletters, manuals, production of audio-visual material or any other means of sharing research data with the scientific and technological community.

Careful Targeting of Proposals

While it is possible, and sometimes advisable, to submit one proposal simultaneously to various agencies, applicants should carefully review individual agency program objectives and submit a proposal only if these objectives are in accord with their own research direction. RSP may supply information to aid applicants in the careful identification of appropriate funding agencies.

If, after reading agency funding materials, the applicant is uncertain if the proposal is appropriate for the agency, it is important to contact agency staff directly to discuss the project and application requirements.

Consultants and Collaborators

New investigators are especially encouraged to seek collaborations with experienced investigators who have an established track record for funding. Such collaborations as subcontractors or subawardees is often a good way to build a record of grant experience and to demonstrate the ability to conduct funded research. Professional colleagues, previous advisors and faculty, and faculty from disciplines in sister institutions are often such possible collaborators.

A very common criticism from review panels is the use of procedures for which investigators have little or no experience according to their curriculum vitae or publication list. With the collaboration of experienced colleagues within the university, or with the assistance of outside consultants, the success of such studies is more realistic and reviewers will approve them more readily.

The university has a number of units with special expertise which may be of assistance in a particular area. See our Institutes & Centers web site for links. If you need a referral or a special type of consultant or expertise, contact RSP for information on units which may be able to provide assistance.

Collaboration with other State University System (SUS) institutions which prepare proposals as part of a collaborative effort may also be possible. The RSP director and staff participate in many such discussions and efforts and may be able to provide information on possible external collaborations. Contact the Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School for information on current or upcoming collaborative efforts which may be suitable for your research.

Criteria Reviewers Use to Evaluate Proposals

The guidelines should be scrutinized carefully for specific criteria which may apply to a particular announcement. The more directly the proposal addresses these criteria the better. If the agency’s announcement incorporates an outline or list of criteria, it is often helpful to follow this guideline in describing a proposed project to make the linkage apparent to reviewers without inference. Investigators are encouraged to view agency web sites for examples of successful proposals and to seek guidance from program officers on any specific questions.

The criteria used by one government agency to evaluate training proposals may serve as a useful guide in general. Examples of selection criteria are

  1. the degree to which the proposed program delineates an important need in the field;
  2. evidence of a well-coordinated program which has promise of meeting identified needs;
  3. the degree to which participants will be exposed to new approaches, techniques and new instructional materials;
  4. the extent to which the participants will actually be involved in innovative and creative experiences;
  5. the program's focus on a discipline or a group of related disciplines;
  6. the consistency and clarity of statement or procedure for selecting participants consistent with the purposes of the program;
  7. the level of professional competence and leadership of the program director and of the professional staff who will assist with the program;
  8. the time available to the professional staff to prepare for and to conduct the program;
  9. the extent to which the institution will make available adequate classrooms, laboratories, library, instructional materials and equipment;
  10. prediction that the program will result in the improvement of instruction; and
  11. completeness of proposal and budget.
Some Common Shortcomings Found by Reviewers
  1. The proposal does not meet the requirements of the program from which funds are sought or does not advance the goals of that program.
  2. The cost of the proposal is unreasonable in terms of comparable programs.
  3. The institution appears to lack the necessary resources in either faculty personnel, physical equipment, or both, to conduct the program.
  4. The proposal lacks clearness, coherence, or completeness.
  5. No solid basis for pre-selection of participants.
  6. No description of program staff or personnel.
  7. Unrealistic time estimates.
  8. No arrangements made for follow-through to make the investment beneficial for the sponsor to justify its selection for a grant.
  9. No provision for sustainability or continuation of the program after the award if applicable.
  10. The technique proposed is not judged to be the best method.
  11. No provision for self-evaluation of the program.
  12. The proposal does not follow guidelines for form, method of submission, required forms or certifications, etc.
Contracts, Grants & Cooperative Agreements

A proposal may be funded by several different means: a contract, grant, purchase order for services, or cooperative agreement, and are issued in one of two budget/payment methods: (a) cost reimbursable or (b) fixed price (rate or unit) performance. The type of funding instrument used is determined by the source of the idea for the project, the level of involvement between the sponsor and the recipient, the degree of flexibility in carrying out the project, and the practice of the funding agency. Both grants and cooperative agreements tend to fund investigator-initiated projects, but the latter anticipates substantial involvement of the sponsor while the former does not. Unlike contracts, grants and cooperative agreements typically have short, standardized award documents.

Contracts can be thought of as a negotiated procurement. They generally originate from specific goals of a sponsoring agency as identified in a formal announcement. In the case of federal government agencies, the issuance of a formal contract may be preceded by the advertisement of a Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Applications (RFA), or Request for Quotations (RFQ). Federal government agencies are required to make all announcements of funding opportunities via the official web site, Grants.gov. RSP will assist faculty in registering for this service and facilitates investigator's registration in the Community of Science PIVOT (COS-PIVOT) database so that announcements will be directed specifically to a potential investigator as an e-mail notification.

The major components of a proposal are

  1. application instructions and forms,
  2. statement of required work,
  3. desired performance schedule,
  4. available government property,
  5. applicable contract provisions (clauses),
  6. evaluation criteria.

 

Agencies will require various representations, certifications, and acknowledgments, generally to be submitted at the application stage. These assurances apply to the institution, not the PI. RSP Grants Specialists will assist faculty with the preparation of these materials.


Cost-Reimbursable

If a project has been funded on a cost reimbursement basis, the actual expenditures incurred are received via electronic fund transfer (draw downs) or payment for an invoice. Funds not expended under the authorized budget are not received by the university and unexpended budget authority expires at the end of the performance period. Federally-funded projects are almost always allocated on a cost-reimbursable basis and unexpended funds are required to be deobligated or returned to the agency upon close-out.


Fixed Price

Fixed price (rate or unit) contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements are based on payments for performance or deliverables. Budgets reflecting actual anticipated costs to complete work required provide the basis for the quotation or bid to the potential sponsor. In these agreements, the university is not reimbursed for costs incurred but on the completion of the deliverables for the amounts specified in the agreement. Funds are to be used to perform the work required up to the authorized not-to-exceed approved funding amount. This budget method should result in most of the funds quoted for the work being expended by the completion of the performance period. If the costs to complete the deliverables exceed this original estimate, the university and investigator are obligated to complete the deliverables for the same amount of compensation unless additional funding is negotiated with the sponsor.

The criteria for agencies entering into fixed price agreements may be summarized as follows:

  1. Performance-based deliverables with thresholds for satisfactory performance for reimbursement and/or criteria for withholding payment or mediating performance if not satisfactory and accepted for payment.
  2. Payments are scheduled for periodic distributions (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, etc.) with scheduled payment amounts identified. These may be prorated amounts of the total contract amount with a final payment withheld until all deliverables agreed upon during the period of performance had been met.
  3. Payment for any particular period is approved only upon satisfactory performance described as performance deliverables and standards which are “measurable, objective, and quantifiable.”
  4. Contracts generally have a provision for periodic post-award contract monitoring by the agency staff/contract manager which will allow for identification of deficiencies, remediation requirements, and evaluation of outcomes.

 

Given these criteria, the university will accept such contracts that include measures of performance and deliverables provided a cost estimate has been prepared that appears to represent reasonable costs for the completion of the work. Should unexpended funds remain or should a deficit expenditure occur, then the project will be reconciled as outlined in When Your Grant is Ending/Closeout Procedures.

Purchase orders or acknowledgement of acceptance of proposed scope of work and terms are a different version of a contract. Projects funded via this method are also short, standardized award documents. These types of projects are of a limited duration (less than one fiscal year) and of a limited amount of funds (less than $25,000). Exceptions to these limitations require approval of the University Office of General Counsel and must be sought in advance of acceptance of the documentation.

Proposals to Private Funding Sources

Associations, Societies & Councils

Most voluntary organizations have pre-printed application forms or require an online submission. RSP Grants Specialists may direct faculty to non-federal funding sources and provide application instructions, names of contact personnel, mailing addresses, etc. Most applications are short and their style should not be as technical as a federal application. While federal projects are reviewed entirely by a panel of experts in the field, non-federal groups often use a heterogeneous group of civic leaders, professional experts and organization staff for their reviews.


Corporations & Companies

Since most industry support is related to product development and testing, investigators will concentrate on technical specifications and the proposed budget. RSP has developed standard form contract templates which may be used as a basis for developing a funding document. Purchase orders or letter of authorization agreements may also be accepted for some projects provided they meet certain conditions and include required terms and conditions. For assistance in developing a potential funding agreement or reviewing a funding document received from a potential sponsor, contact the RSP Grants Specialist.

If a company is to be approached in any branch other than its research division, faculty should consult with the Vice President for Development, Foundations, and Alumni Relations at the UWF Foundation, Inc. (Foundation), 850-474-2758 prior to making contact with the sponsor.


Foundations

Most foundations have specific funding priorities and limit their funding to specific geographical locations. PIs should contact Foundation personnel to discuss their project prior to submitting their proposal. It is helpful to develop a short executive summary or abstract of your proposed project for review with Foundation personnel. Links to various foundation resources are provided at Private & Foundation Funding.

Summary Questionnaire for Proposal Development

The following checklist is intended as a guide to assist in the preparation of a proposal. Before submitting the proposal to RSP, faculty should use this list to assure that all aspects of proposal preparation and processing have been taken into account.

1 Is the proposed project consistent with the objectives of the department, college, and university?
2 Are all costs fully detailed, including allowable Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs, fringe benefits, and any cost sharing? Remember that the cost sharing must be validated and guidelines are provided in Cost Sharing. Increases for salary, equipment and travel costs should be included in calculating multiple-year budgets.
3 Does the proposal involve a commitment of university funds beyond the proposed project period? If yes, has the necessary internal funding been secured to meet this commitment? See the Summary/Request for University Matching Commitment  (Word).
4 If the proposal contains privileged or proprietary data, has that data been properly marked?
5 If the proposal involves the use of human participants, laboratory animals, radioactive or biohazardous materials or recombinant DNA/RNA, was it indicated in the certification/assurances section of the UWF IRF? If so, the supplemental procedures and forms for each applicable item must accompany the request to submit the proposal.
6 If the proposal requires subcontracting or other collaborative activities, has a letter of written concurrence been obtained from the respective institutional official? Have subcontracting costs been included in the budget? Is a separate scope of work and budget included for the anticipated subrecipient award or contract? Supplemental forms are available in Forms.
7 If this is a graduate training program proposal, has it been coordinated with the appropriate graduate department or college dean? All new degree or certificate programs must be cleared through Academic Affairs.
8 Will the proposal require (a) additional space or renovation/modification of existing space inventory; (b) additional operating or equipment funds (matching); (c) additional information technology services beyond what are normally available as part of university basic support; (d) Marine Service Center services, resources, or personnel?
9 Has F&A cost reimbursement been requested at the appropriate rate? 
10 Is the applicant eligible to be a PI?
11 Will any activity of the proposal involve export controlled material or information? Are any participants (including survey subjects, graduate students, or subrecipient personnel) a "foreign person" as defined in RSP Operating Procedures on Export Control? If yes, refer to Ethics & Compliance - Export Control for links to the appropriate procedures, references, and forms.
12 Do the percent effort and personnel salaries conform to university and agency policies?
13 If graduate assistants are included and the agency policy and guidelines allow it, have funds for tuition waiver been requested as part of the direct costs? If the proposal includes graduate assistants, do the stipend rates and tuition payments comply with university and college policy?
14 Are the required space and facilities available without detriment to departmental activities? 
15 Are equipment prices in the budget current, and does it include delivery and installation charges? Departmental endorsement on the IRF confirms that the equipment item is unavailable within the department or college for shared use.
16 For federal budget, have the OMB Circular A-21 Cost Principles for Educational Institutions been taken into consideration in the budget development process?


Develop a Budget

Preparing a Budget
Related Page
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

A budget ensures the costs of a research or sponsored activity are reached according to a fair and equitable basis. Budgets and budget narratives demonstrate that estimated costs and effort are related to the proposal's goals and objectives, and show an ability to manage a project award if received. As the budget and its narrative are usually not subject to page limitations, this is an excellent method to relate needs identified to the outcomes expected. The budgeted line items should meet the OMB Circular A-21 standards of "reasonable, allowable, allocable, and consistently applied" cost estimation.

Budgets should be prepared with great care to provide an accurate approximation of the cost elements to ensure the amount requested from the agency is sufficient to cover the cost of carrying out the proposed research. Investigators should group costs according to the sponsor's requirements. Care must be given to ensure the funding request does not exceed the agency's funding limitation or include items unacceptable to the funding agency. Certain items such as food, clothing, and entertainment are generally unallowable unless specifically stated in the agency guidelines. The purchase of such items without prior agency approval could result in an audit disallowance. Sponsor guidelines are always the final authority in preparing a project budget and should be followed explicitly.

Budgets should be prepared for the entire project period and should include both direct costs and Facilities and Administrative (F&A) or previously indirect costs. Direct costs are typically broken into categories while F&A costs are a percentage of the appropriate base expressed as a lump sum.

The standard for developing a budget is the federal Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs (SF 424A) form (PDF). The RSP Research Project Budget Model (Excel) and the Information Navigator report Grant-Inception-to-Date report have been developed to follow this model and is the basis for subsequent set up of a grant/fund to allow for capture of expenditures in the report form for federally funded projects.

Budgets requiring approval of department, college, RSP matching fund requests or reduced F&A requests should be submitted to RSP at least 10 working days prior to the proposal due date in order to allow sufficient time for review and processing. RSP Grants Specialists are available to review the budget, assist in its preparation and completion of appropriate forms, and advise about normal university policy.

Direct Costs

Personnel or Salaries and Wages
Fringe Benefits
Travel (domestic and foreign)
Equipment
Supplies (educational, laboratory, equipment maintenance not office or general)
Contractual (subcontracts, subawards, or major contracts for services)
Construction (modification or acquisition of space for the project)
Other Direct Costs

Direct costs are the costs specifically identified with a particular project and should meet the OMB Circular requirements for "reasonable, allocable, allowable, and must be consistently applied" across the institution. For additional information, see Cost Sharing (Matching). All of the direct cost items are listed first. Categories used by most agencies include


Personnel or Salaries and Wages

Among the various budget components, the salaries and wages category is one of the most crucial. Individuals who are mentioned by name in an agency budget are defined as key personnel. Key personnel are those who have skills, expertise, or knowledge that is an integral part of the work and whose assignment could not be easily duplicated or replaced. Reviewers often request the salary base per annum or period of assignment, the type of appointment (e.g., 9 months and/or summer or 12 months), and the level of effort to be spent on the project by each participant. Effort may be expressed either as a percent of effort or person months and in terms of hours worked and hourly rates for OPS employees.

Salaries and wages should reflect the current compensation level of employees and should build in annual salary increases for multi-year budgets. Summer salaries for faculty should be projected at the rate of one-ninth of their academic year salary for each month. Note that some agencies have restrictions on summer salaries and the maximum allowed salary rate which may be charged against the project. The agency guidelines should be reviewed to determine if such limitations apply to a proposed budget.

The salaries and wages of faculty and staff who are directly associated with the university constitute appropriate direct costs in proportion to the time each expects to spend on a project. Grant funds may not be used to augment the total salary or rate of pay of UWF faculty or staff; they are replacement funds, releasing a percent of time and work assignment of the regular employee for work on the project.

Salaries charged against grant funds must follow a scale that is consistent with the policy and regular practices of UWF. To obtain guidance on pay levels, job categories or employment policy, contact Human Resources at 850-474-2694 or your RSP Grants Specialist.

UWF has two broad employment categories:

Salaried appointments are used for long-term staffing needs and must be classified in one of two UWF pay plans: General Faculty or University Work Force. These categories may also include persons in visiting appointments. Administrative (support or clerical) staff costs are not usually allowed as direct cost items, as those services constitute part of the institution's Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost rate.

OPS appointments are used for temporary or short-term staffing needs, including faculty, staff and students.

Extra state compensation (ESC or overload) is generally not allowable for payment from federal funds and limitations on the amounts are set by university policy for other types of funding sources. Whenever ESC is included in a budget, it should be specifically approved by the agency as an allowable cost.


Fringe Benefits

Grant budgets should include reimbursement for fringe benefits. Both the salary base and the respective fringe benefits rate should be stated in the budget and in the budget justification. Fringe benefits are budgeted as a percentage rate of salaries and wages. The university’s rates include a fixed annual amount for health insurance (family or individual or no health insurance). For salaried employees, the total benefit package includes

  1. Insurance
  2. Workers' Compensation,
  3. Unemployment Compensation,
  4. Social Security Benefits (FICA),
  5. State or Optional Retirement Program (ORP), and
  6. Terminal Leave.

 

OPS employees (non-student) do not receive health insurance and have a separate composite percentage rate based on Workers' Compensation, Unemployment Compensation and Medicare. Students enrolled in less than six (6) semester hours will be assessed this OPS employee rate. Students enrolled in more than six (6) semester hours in any given term will be assessed a minimal rate for student employees to cover only Workers' Compensation.

Visit Fringe Benefit Analysis Charts under Forms for current fringe benefits and health insurance rates or contact your RSP Grants Specialist for assistance.


Travel (domestic and foreign)

Agencies typically cover travel costs which has direct relevance to the research project or to allow dissemination of project outcomes and results. Travel charges may include airfare, lodging, meals, registration for conferences/seminars, taxis, visas, passports, entry or exit taxes, and rental cars. Most agencies require the purpose, destination and time span for each trip and the number of individuals for whom funds are requested be identified in proposal budgets. Sponsored research funds are subject to both funding agency and State of Florida rules and regulations. RSP approval for foreign travel or any travel estimated over $1,000 is required as part of the Policy - Signature Policies for Academic Affairs (PDF). Domestic and foreign travel regulations have some differences:

Domestic Travel reimbursements are subject to the state's travel regulations and payment rates. Out-of-state travel should be requested on the basis of actual expenses for lodging and round trip economy airfare. Meals for State of Florida employees are reimbursed using the State per diem rate. In addition, some agencies may have set fixed maximum per diem limits. State of Florida agencies frequently have restrictions on out-of-state travel and funds may need to be estimated as in-state or out-of-state as separate line items.

Foreign travel requests must specify the destination and the U.S. Department of State's foreign per diem and hotel plus meal payment rates should be used. Typically, for international travel, only American flag carriers may be used.

For assistance, please contact UWF Financial Services Travel at 850-474-3049.


Equipment

Permanent equipment is defined as non-expendable property having an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life expectancy in excess of one year (NOTE: prior to 7/1/2011 the acquisition cost was $1,000). Equipment must be listed in the budget with a justification. Some agencies require price reference and detailed descriptions and cost quotations. Government agencies will normally not approve purchase of general office equipment or furnishings (e.g., calculators, typewriters, desks, chairs, copy machines, and air conditioners). Many agencies will make approval of specialized equipment for scientific purposes dependent on whether it is or is not readily available at the institution.

If freight and installation charges are to be billed on the same invoice as the piece of equipment, these charges should be included in the acquisition cost. Service contracts should be listed in the "other" direct cost category as they are expense items and not part of the equipment acquisition costs.


Supplies (educational, laboratory, equipment maintenance not office or general)

Direct charging of general office supplies should be restricted to projects with a high demand for these items and must be in compliance with the OMB Circular A-21. All such charges must be project-specific and justified in the budget. Even though supplies are estimations, it is advisable to have a breakdown of these items by general classification as substantial amounts are usually challenged by agency reviewers.

In federal program budgets, the category of Supplies is usually restricted to specialized needs such as laboratory supplies, educational materials and supplies, maintenance or construction supplies (if applicable), and computer or technology related supplies. Refer to the individual agency guidelines for any items which may be restricted or not allowable in this category.


Contractual (subcontracts, subawards, or major contracts for services)

Consultant Services: Consultant or lecturer charges for travel, lodging, per diem and professional fees may be included as a single direct cost item. Federal employees may not be paid from grant funds. University faculty may not receive extra state compensation as a consultant and should be included in the salaries portion of the budget.

OMB and some federal agencies may limit for the rates paid to consultants. Paid consultants should be used when the specific expertise does not exist on campus or is not readily available and must be justified in the budget justification. Paid consultants are not considered employees of UWF and will be paid under rules for consultant services for independent contractors. Refer to instructions and forms for Consulting and Professional Services from Procurement and Contracts.

Contractual or Third Party Costs: When subcontracts are planned, the total required dollar amount must include the direct costs as well as F&A costs of the subrecipient at their cognizant agency’s approved rate. These will appear as a direct cost in UWF's budget and are subject to the assessment of UWF’s F&A on the first $25,000 of each subcontract. Usually, all individual line items of the subcontract must be detailed on a separate budget page or outlined as unit deliverables.

The need for subcontracting part of the proposed research must be justified in the narrative. In addition, subcontractors should indicate in writing their intent to provide services. Please refer to Subcontracts for further details. Prior to inclusion of a subcontractor, the investigator should contact his/her RSP Grants Specialist to request a review of the subrecipient’s eligibility to be awarded a portion of the budget. Documentation of a subrecipient’s eligibility must be established before their participation may be included as part of a proposed budget.


Construction (modification or acquisition of space for the project)

Only those programs which specifically allow construction costs or capital improvement costs may include these costs. Consult the sponsor’s guidelines for whether this is an allowable cost. Projects containing funds for construction or capital improvements usually require coordination with both campus Facilities Development and Operations and the State of Florida Clearinghouse Single Points of Contacts. Proposals requesting such funds should allow at least 1 month for this coordination.


Other Direct Costs

Other direct costs include long distance telephone charges, field trips, participant travel to and from institute or conference, equipment maintenance and repair, facilities rental, some types of data processing, postage, freight, computer services, conference fees, participant payments, and/or statistical or technology service center fees. According to the OMB Circular A-21, direct charging of certain costs such as telephone charges, postage, and data processing, must be project-specific, justified in the budget, and restricted to projects with a high demand for these items. The usual test for such expenditures is that all expenditures related to a project be “reasonable, allowable, allocable, and consistently applied according to University policy.”

Investigators may budget the anticipated costs of publishing the results of research such as the cost for reprints, page charges, editorial assistance and illustration costs, if necessary. However, on federal grants, this budget category may not include charges for publication of books, monographs or pamphlets which will need special agency approval.

Human Research Participant Costs: Human Research Participant costs are those charges that are usual and customary for a particular process or procedure. Indicate in detail the basis for estimating costs in this category.

Tuition Payments for Graduate Students: Proposals which include salary for a graduate student should also include appropriate tuition in the budget, if allowed by the funding agency. The Research Project Budget Model (Excel) provides for a line item to estimate tuition based on in-state tuition rates for an average of 6 semester hours per student per term.

Training Costs (Training Grants Only): This category may include fees, tuition, trainee travel costs and stipends. While the budget cost category reflects the total required cost, investigators should still provide individualized breakdown of costs for each trainee to allow agency reviewers an independent assessment of the level, scope and need for the training activity. Agencies may have specific rules and regulations for training costs.


Total Direct Charges

Sum of the categories above.

Facilities & Administrative (F&A or Indirect) Costs
Related Page:
UWF F&A (Indirect) Cost Rates

F&A costs are the costs that cannot be tied specifically to a project such as libraries, janitorial services, utilities, maintenance and depreciation of facilities, and general administrative costs such as accounting services, human resource functions, compliance functions, etc. F&A rates are developed on common cost pools for expenses normally included in a project's budget.

The appropriate F&A percentage rate is assessed against the total of the allowable direct costs. F&A rates are applied on a category of project activity (instruction, research, or other sponsored activity). For each category, a location code is established as on-campus (at least 51% of activities--including administration--is performed in facilities owned or provided by the institution) or off-campus (at least 51% of activities performed in facilities not owned or supplied by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project).

It is expected that the full Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) approved F&A rate for the category and location of the project will be applied to all proposals to federal sponsors, unless the agency guidelines specifically limits the maximum allowed rate in written policy or guidelines. Documentation of a limitation on the applicable rate must be submitted with the Internal Routing Form (IRF) (Word). Similar proposals to state and local government entities or corporate/foundation sponsors will include the maximum allowed rate. Any voluntary deviation from this rate will require a Request for Waiver or Reduced F&A (Indirect) Rate (Word). Requests must be submitted and approved by the authorized university officers BEFORE being offered or quoted to the potential sponsor or the offer/quotation may not be honored as part of the final proposal. If a reduction is approved, it is conditional on the agreement that no distributions of F&A collected from the reward will be made to seed funds as part of the standard distribution process.

The university's approved percentage for each project is applied against a standard base for calculation called Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC = Total Direct Costs excluding certain items such as equipment, subcontracts over $25,000, tuition, scholarships, participant costs, construction, rent). If the agency is a state, local government or private sponsor and a reduced rate is approved, the base should be the total direct costs unless prohibited by sponsor's written policy.

State agencies usually limit the percentage rate of indirect costs which are allowed on contracts with other state entities. Most have policy language restricting such costs to a particular rate or to "reasonable costs." In the absence of a specific limitation in the proposal guidelines, it is expected that indirect costs of 10-15% be recovered on the total direct costs of a project funded by another state entity. Federally funded projects flowed through a state agency are expected to recover either the University's approved F&A rate or the percentage approved by the federal awarding agency. For purposes of this provision, local government and non-profit agencies flowing through state appropriated funds are considered to be eligible for the state rate. Water management districts are not considered state agencies, however, and the SUS institutions have agreed to a 25% indirect rate for these sponsors.

Cost Sharing (Matching)

Criteria for Cost Sharing Commitments
Cost Accounting Standards

Cost sharing is a term that describes circumstances whereby the university is not reimbursed for allowable costs of performing a project because the requested or approved budget does not cover the full costs associated with the specific project. Therefore, cost sharing (also known as matching, or in-kind contributions) represents that portion of the project costs not paid for by the sponsor. In-kind contributions may be donated time, space, equipment, etc.

Caution: The value of a third party in-kind contribution must be established and verified at the time of proposal submission and documented at the post award stages. For example when the contribution is in the form of personal services, the contributor must certify that the amount being provided as in-kind is comparable to the individual's regular rate of compensation. When in-kind contributions are other than personal services, the fair market value of the item must be established. Voluntary committed cost sharing offered in a proposal may be accepted by the sponsoring agency and become a condition of the award, thereby making it mandatory cost sharing.

Only mandatory cost sharing (matching or institutional contributions/support) should be submitted to sponsoring agencies. Mandatory cost sharing requirements are defined in a specific program, request for proposals, award document or agency guidelines. When there is mandatory cost sharing, a copy of the Request for Proposals (RFP), regulations or guidelines must be submitted with the proposal along with a written commitment from the individual authorized to commit the resources. Any mention of voluntary cost share within a proposal, facilities and resources description or budget narrative commits UWF to the resources identified as cost share even though it may not have been required by the grantor. In order to identify specific cost elements that will be used to meet cost sharing commitments, RSP requires Principal Investigators (PIs) to explain the details in a cost sharing letter or in the budget justification of the proposal.

When the university accepts an award with mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing, the university is making an agreement with the sponsor that is subject to audit. The university is committing to provide the stated cost sharing during the period of performance of the sponsored project.

Contributions in the form of salaries or Other Personal Services (OPS) and their corresponding fringe benefits are documented via UWF’s CAERS at the end of each academic term. It is imperative that the investigator initiate the action required to meet the cost sharing requirement. The responsibility for identifying other cost sharing documentation during the reporting period is at the department level. RSP is responsible for entering cost sharing data provided by the departments. RSP provides the official reporting for such cost sharing. Cost sharing documentation is subject to the same audit requirements as costs directly charged to the award.


Criteria for Cost Sharing Commitments

  1. Cost sharing or matching funds must be verifiable from the university's records.
  2. Third party contributions offered as cost sharing require a commitment letter on company letterhead signed by an individual who is in a position to commit the in-kind contribution. After-the-fact reporting to the university will be necessary.
  3. Commitments must not be included as contributions for any other project or program.
  4. Commitments are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of project or program objectives.
  5. Commitments are allowable and allocable under the applicable cost principles (OMB Circular A-21).
  6. Cost sharing commitments may not be from other funds supported by the Federal Government under another award, except where authorized by Federal statute to be used for cost sharing or matching.
  7. Costs are described in the approved budget and/or terms of the sponsored agreement when required by the awarding agency.
  8. Cost sharing provisions of OMB Circular A-110 are met.

 

Examples of Acceptable Cost-Sharing Items

The following are examples of some cost elements used to further project objectives:

  1. Salaries of UWF faculty or staff who are paid by the university, and who devote a percentage of their compensated time to a sponsored project, without receiving reimbursement from the sponsor;
  2. Fringe benefit costs associated with contributed effort as described in item 1;
  3. Where the sponsor allows less than the federally approved negotiated Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rate to be charged to the project and allows unrecovered F&A as cost sharing, the difference may be allowed as cost sharing;
  4. Other direct costs, such as supplies, equipment, or travel that are paid for from non-federal funding sources;
  5. Project costs financed by cash contributions by the recipient or by cash donated to the recipient by third parties;
  6. Project costs represented by services and property donated by third parties (non-federal public agencies and institutions, private organizations, and individuals).

Cost Accounting Standards

UWF follows OMB A-21 Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).

Types of Budgets

Projects may be budgeted in two primary ways: (a) cost-reimbursable or (b) fixed price (rate or unit). For a cost-reimbursable project, a line-item or category budget is prepared to cover the estimated costs. These line-item budgets will follow the guidelines for budgeting according to Cost Accounting Standards. Funds are expended for authorized purposes and reimbursement is provided by electronic transmission of funds (draw downs) or as payment for an invoice for expenses incurred. Fixed price (rate or unit) applies when a project is bid on a not-to-exceed basis for specific deliverables or performance. In fixed-price budgets, the sponsor is not usually provided with a line or category-line budget and pays for completion of performance. However, fixed price quotations should be based on a reasonable estimate of the costs to be incurred to complete the performance or deliverables. The PI is expected to use the project funds in the performance of the project. Refer to Contracts/Grants/Cooperative Agreements for more information on contracting and When Your Grant is Ending/Closeout Procedures for additional information.

Performance-Based Budgeting

Many sponsors are moving to a model of performance-based contracting and budgeting. This method requires that the project outcomes be described in specific deliverable terms with a cost estimate for completing each discrete outcome or deliverable. This model requires the investigator to budget with care separately for each outcome or deliverable in order to be able to place a cost value on its completion. Deliverables should be identified that are measureable, achievable, but realistic and within the control of the investigator or costs may not be recoverable from the sponsor. For assistance in this area, contact your RSP Grants Specialist for assistance.



Electronic Research Administration

Grants.gov

Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is the single access point for grant programs offered by federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov applications are submitted by a registered, authorized RSP Grants Specialist. The standard forms will be completed online, specific proposal sections such as abstract, narrative, references, biographical sketches will be uploaded, and the saved document will be downloaded, printed, and provided to the PI for final review and approval prior to submission. Proposals must be received and validated through Grants.gov prior to access by the agency. This validation may take 2-3 days. Proposals must be submitted 3-5 business days prior to the deadline date to allow for the process.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons

PIs submitting proposals to NIH must have an active eRA Commons registration (contact your RSP Grants Specialist). In addition to the Grants.gov application, NIH submittals also require a validation of the proposal in the eRA Commons system. This validation must be performed to check for errors or warnings affecting the proposal’s advancement for review. Errors must be corrected and the proposal resubmitted through Grants.gov and pass validation prior to the deadline date. Warnings may be corrected and the proposal resubmitted. Proposals must be submitted 5 business days prior to the deadline date to allow for the process. Contact your RSP Grants Specialist for assistance.

National Science Foundation (NSF) FastLane

You must be registered in NSF's FastLane if you plan to submit a proposal to NSF. Once registered, PIs will use FastLane to prepare proposals for submittal, check the status of their proposal review, and submit project reports. All proposals must be assigned to the sponsored research officers with full access to view, edit, and submit in order for proposals to be processed. Proposals will not be submitted until the PI or a designated representative has approved the final documents.

Other Electronic Submissions

Other sponsors may accept submissions only from the individual who opens or establishes a proposal in the electronic system. Unless it is prohibited by agency regulations, this individual will be the RSP Grants Specialist. Once a proposal is opened, the PI may upload, edit, view, and enter information in the system as required for electronic submission. Once the proposal is finalized and RSP has received the appropriate IRF and any required supplemental forms, the RSP Grants Specialist will electronically transmit the proposal to the agency.

If the agency guidelines require electronic submission by the PI, all documents should be forwarded to RSP for review and final submission should not be processed until authorized by the RSP Grants Specialist. Copies of all electronic acknowledgements or correspondence should be forwarded to the RSP Grants Specialist.



Submit a Proposal

Institutional Review and Signature

Certain administrators at UWF have been authorized by the university president to enter into research and training agreements or submit proposals on behalf of the university (see Signature Authorization Policy P-04.01-11/09). At the proposal stage, this signature, along with those of other appropriate university officials (i.e., PI and co-PIs, department chair, dean/director, and vice president, if necessary) indicates the willingness and capability of the university to guarantee proper accountability and administration of funds. A PI's signature alone on proposals, grants and other agreements does not commit the university's resources and cannot be accepted in lieu of the authorized institutional officials in RSP. All proposals must have institutional review and appropriate signatures via the Internal Routing Form (IRF). Requests to sponsors for changes to an awarded grant or contract must be authorized by RSP.

Sponsored Project Approval Internal Routing Form (IRF)

The PI must obtain the required endorsement of the department chair or center/institute director, dean or vice-president (if necessary) on the UWF Internal Routing Form (IRF) before a proposal can be submitted to a funding agency. The IRF and supplemental forms are located in Forms.

This IRF must be completed for each project or modification of a project and should be routed with a copy of the proposal through the proper university channels. When routing a proposal that involves participation by more than one department, unit, or college, signatures from each collaborating department/college must be included on the IRF. Proposals submitted through a University Institute/Center require the additional signatures of the institute/center director and the appropriate dean or vice-president.

Prior to routing the proposal for signatures, the faculty member should use the Summary Questionnaire for Proposal Development to make sure the proposal is complete in all respects.

The people or offices involved in the internal review and processing of the proposal are as follows:

PI is responsible for the budget, technical content, quality and preparation of the proposal and for determining when supplemental conditions such as additional resources, IRB, Animal Subjects, Conflict of Interest, Export Control, or Proprietary Information are applicable.

Department Chair or Center/Institute Director is responsible for certifying to the academic soundness of the project, the compatibility of the project with the PI's other commitments, approval of release time, the availability of space and facilities, cost-sharing commitments, assuring that the project is in keeping with department objectives, and concurring that the proposal should be submitted.

Dean of the college or vice-president of a division is responsible for determining the appropriateness of the project within college/division program, and that resources will be available.

RSP is responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and university administrative rules. Problems of institutional financing, cost sharing, prior acceptance of contractual terms, academic policies and budget matters may be resolved here. RSP is also responsible for ensuring that the content meets with acceptable rules and standards of the university, and for reviewing matters involving human participants, DNA research, hazardous substances, export control review, and the experimental use of animals.

The IRF is submitted, along with the original proposal and other required documents, to your RSP Grants Specialist. Proposals to all U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require the Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form (Word) be submitted along with the proposal and IRF. Other sponsors may have similar policies and each sponsor’s guidelines should be reviewed to determine if there is a requirement for this certification. The UWF policy regarding Financial Conflict of Interest and Approval of Outside Activity and the related forms are available on the Academic Affairs web site Policies, Procedures & Resources under Staff Resources.

Preliminary proposals, concept papers, and statements of interest differ from verbal inquiries because they have a developed work statement and a budget broken down into general cost groupings. These submissions also require the IRF prior to submission to the potential sponsor.

Internal Routing Form (IRF) Instructions

The Internal Routing Form (IRF) has two primary users: (1) the PI(s) and (2) the RSP staff. For ease in reference, those items normally completed by a PI are identified by a yellow form box. Items normally completed by RSP staff are identified by a grey form box. If a PI desires, all items may be completed and the RSP staff will verify or those items not requiring PI response will be completed upon receipt of the signed form for support of the proposal.

The form is prepared in Word "Form" set up. Please place your cursor directly over a box and complete the information requested or double-click on a box to access the option to check the selection.

Item-by-Item References and Instructions

Description/Proposal Action: This paragraph describes the purpose and routing requirements for the submission of the form. In this area, please check if this is (1) a new project or initial submission for review/approval or (2) if this form is an amendment or modification to any aspect of the initial approval. For example, a change in PI or other key personnel requires new certifications and authorizations before the records of the University will be altered.

Item 1 a – Full Proposal Title. The full proposal title may be used here. There is no limit on number of characters allowed and this title will be used in submission forms or correspondence to the agency (space permitting). This title should be identical to the title submitted to the funding agency.

Item 1 b – Abbreviated Proposal Title. 35 character limit. This short title will be used to identify your proposal as a grant/fund set up in the UWF Banner ERP System.

Item 2 – Project Investigator(s). Two lines are provided for a (i) lead PI and one (ii) co-PI on this main form. If the Banner Employee ID and/or Department Banner ORGN code are not known, contact the RSP Grants Specialist for assistance.

Item 3 – Sponsor: This item identifies information regarding the Sponsor and Program to receive the proposal. If the proposal will be submitted to more than one potential Sponsor, indicate the additional planned submission in box b.

Item 4 – Sponsor Contact Information: Include the Sponsor address with a contact name as shown. This information is particularly important if the submission is not to the Sponsor's prime address.

Item 5 – RFP/RA/NOFA/RFQ: If this submission is in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), Research Announcement (RA), Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) or Request for Quotation/Bid (RFQ/RFB), please indicate by checking the first box and identifying the document URL here. If submission is not in response to a formal request, indicate by checking the box on the right.

Item 6 – Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: This number will be used to identify the federal agency responsible for the funding of the project for required reporting purposes. RSP staff will complete if needed. The second line will identify if the funding originates from a federal sponsor and is then "flowed through" or awarded by another agency, a prime awardee, or other administrative authority.

Item 7 – Deadline Date for Proposal Transmittal. This item will indicate the due date by (1) electronic submission, (2) received by, or (3) postmarked/shipped by as required by the sponsor.

Item 8 – Other Contacts for Information. If someone other than the PI may be contacted for information on the budget or the technical or scientific aspects of the proposal, please list contact information here.

Item 9 – Multiple Department Collaboration: If the PI/co-PI home department/ORGN is not the unit which will administer the project if awarded, list the administrative unit's name and Banner ORGN number here.

Item 10 – Type of Activity: For required reporting, please indicate the primary function or activity that best describes the proposed project.

Item 11 – Type of Proposal: Identify the type of request or funding category of the proposed budget/project.

Item 12 – PI/Department/College Seed Funds. Identify the Banner fund codes for each level of administration for distribution of appropriate shares of F&A collections, fixed price residual distributions, or recovery of deficit expenditures.

Item 13 – Project Period of Performance: Identify the requested project and budget period(s) of performance start and end dates.

Item 14 – Funds Requested from Sponsor: Identify for each project period and attach a copy of the proposed budget, the direct costs, F&A (indirect) and total costs requested from the sponsor. Contact the RSP Grants Specialist for assistance in budget preparation.

Item 15 – F&A (indirect) Rate/Base: Select from the drop-down menu the appropriate F&A Category (Instruction, Research, or Sponsored Activity). Identify the rate percentage applied to proposal. In subsection (a) indicate if this is (1) an off-campus rate, (2) a limitation based on agency policy (attach documentation) or (3) is a request for a reduced F&A rate or a waiver of the rate for projects with extenuating circumstances. If you are requesting a reduced F&A rate, a Request for Waiver or Reduced F&A (Indirect) Rate (Word) form must be approved prior to proposal submission. See Facilities & Administrative (F&A or Indirect) Costs for details.

Item 16 – Cost Sharing: Check here if cost-sharing (matching) is required by the sponsor, check here and indicate the total UWF contribution (department, college, or RSP) which has been approved by the appropriate officers. Attach a Summary/Request for University Matching Commitment  (Word) when matching cost share is included in the proposal. Indicate in the fourth block if a third-party (collaborative partner) is providing any part of the match and attach correspondence from the external source identifying the commitment of the match and the estimated dollar value.

Item 17 – Faculty Release Time: The chair/director and dean/vice president must approve the commitment of release time prior to proposal submission. Check yes here if release time is committed as either replacement of salary (buy out) or as part of the institutional cost share (matching) commitments, and provide the name, semester and year, and FTE for the proposed assignment. Refer to Release Time for more details.

Item 18 – Additional Resources Required: Check yes if any additional support, services, or resources are required from a service unit of the University (i.e., Facilities/Architects/Engineering, Information Technology Services, UWF Marine Services Center, etc.). In second form field, provide a narrative description of the service. Refer to Develop a Proposal and Develop a Budget for additional information. In the line below, indicate if a supplemental request form has been attached for one of the service units above.

Item 19 – Subcontracts/Subawards/Purchases of Services: Check here if the proposal includes a portion of the work to be performed by a collaborative partner or an external entity. This normally requires specific approval by the sponsor. Please review Managing Your Grant for additional information. Subrecipients should be identified here and a separate statement of work and budget included in the Proposal or identified using the forms from the Forms page.

Items 20 – 28 Required Special Approvals: OMB and federal agency guidelines require that the University execute approval functions for several special case situations. These requirements are met by processes documented by Items 19-27 as defined in Required Special Approvals. Please indicate by checking Yes or No the items below.

Item 20a – Biological Materials: Please refer to UWF Environmental Health & Safety for items that may require special application and approval for access and use.

Item 20b – Radioactive Materials: Please refer to UWF Environmental Health & Safety for items that may require special application and approval for access and use.

Item 20c– Human Participants: Any project which involves the interaction with or collection of data on human participants in research must be reviewed and approved by a protocol under the Institutional Review Board for Human Participant Protection (IRB).

Item 20d – Animal Subjects: Any project which involves research or use of live vertebrate animals in research must be reviewed and approved by a protocol under the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Item 21 – Courses for Credit: Proposals to offer courses for credit require the permission of the appropriate chair of the academic department and the dean of the college. This is necessary to allow for adequate enrollment management planning and to insure that commitments for instruction that require institutional resources have been addressed.

Item 22 – Sponsored Credit Institute: If the courses are to be offered as a sponsored credit institute (tuition waiver or costs paid by the grant award), the courses must be approved by the appropriate academic review officers to insure that University academic standards and curriculum levels are maintained (see UWF Policy CO-01 – 09/02 Sponsored Institutes). Sponsored Credit Institute(s) require University support even if the entire cost offering the course (faculty or adjunct salary and benefits, instructional requirements for A/V or computer lab availability) such as the waiver of tuition and fees normally assessed to students for various functions of the University. The Division of Continuing Education has responsibility for oversight of this function and, usually assesses a minimal fee per student to offset these costs to the institution. Coordination of this component is requested to occur during the development of the proposed project description and budget to insure that necessary review and costs have been incorporated.

Item 23 – Tuition Waiver: Another method of compensating the University for instructional costs is by the inclusion of tuition waivers for students approved by the program. This also applies to the plan to include tuition waiver for graduate students who may be employed by the investigator as part of the project. Refer to Develop a Budget's Direct Costs for additional information.

Item 24 – Capital Equipment (OCO): OMB Guidelines require that equipment purchased under a grant project be available for use throughout the designated period and, if retained by the institution after the end of the project, to be used for support of other sponsored activities. This item requests the PI verify that equipment requested for purchase under the proposed project is unavailable due to commitments to other such projects. This certification only requests that PIs consider other resources for availability prior to requesting equipment specifically for the new proposal. The State of Florida defines equipment as any item costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of 2 years or more.

Item 25 – Conflict of Interest: Certain agencies (NSF, NIH) require that the investigator disclose any potential conflicts of interest that might be created by participation in the proposed sponsored activity (refer to Financial Conflict of Interest under Required Special Approvals). In addition, University policy requires that faculty disclose instances in which activities may create a conflict of interest with the University with an external activity. Refer to the UWF Faculty Handbook (links updated) 1/8/14 (PDF) on the Academic Affairs web site.

Item 26 – Export Control: The University must comply with the Export Control policies of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State in relation to the sharing of information, transfer or availability of equipment restricted by the EAR and ITAR respectively or employment of individuals who are foreign persons and who do not qualify under one of the applicable exemptions. PIs must indicate they are familiar with and disclosed any potential export control issue. For more information, see Export Control.

Item 27 – Abstract: This item should be a description used to publicize your project, should it be funded, and to provide a lay user an understanding of the primary focus of the project. A separate page may be attached and indicated here if desired.

Item 28 - Key Words: Identify at least 3 words or phrases that may be associated with your proposal.

Item 29 – Signatures/Endorsements: This item indicates the certification by the PI(s) of familiarity with and agreement to comply with UWF policies and procedures and the agency's guidelines. Since the RSP representative issues certification on behalf of the University to potential sponsors, this document serves as our confirmation that the PI(s) are covered by these assurances. Signatures as chair/director and dean/vice president confirm that the proposal is in the best interest of the department/college and that any commitments made on behalf of the unit(s) in regarding to matching, release time, or resources are confirmed.

If there are any questions or problems, contact your RSP Grants Specialist.

RSP Responsibilities

RSP reviews the proposal for fiscal accuracy, compliance with university policies and procedures, agency guidelines, and accuracy and completeness of all required sections. The final step before submission is the endorsement by an authorized institutional official in RSP (Signature Authorization Policy P-04.01-11/09). This authorized institutional signature must be obtained before the proposal is submitted to a sponsor and is required for all projects, regardless of the source of funds (e.g., federal, state, local, private).

Additionally, RSP will

Review agency guidelines and requirements;
Review proposal text for editing and formatting suggestions;
In collaboration with PI, prepare/review budget for allowable cost elements, calculate direct cost elements based on needs identified for scope of work, and prepare budget narrative;
Provide duplication and submission of proposal documents
Complete all standard forms such as
  1. Application Cover Page
  2. Assurances, Compliances, Certifications and Representations
  3. Budget Format Pages
  4. Current & Pending Support Information for UWF personnel
  5. Supporting documentation such as UWF Financial Reports and Audit Certifications.
  6. Facilities & Administrative (F&A or Indirect) Cost Approved Rate Agreements
  7. Certification of Fringe Benefit Rate Analysis
  8. And any other forms related to the university rather than the project proposal.
Tips to Insure a Proper & Timely Submission
The deadline box on the Internal Routing Form (IRF) (Word) must be completed (Item 7) indicating whether this transmittal date is a postmark by or a receipt by date. If there is no definite deadline, indicate a target date for receipt by, or mailing to, the agency. Do not leave this space blank.
Provide a complete mailing address, contact name, and phone number for proposals that must be sent FedEx.
Submit the proposal to RSP at least 3-5 business days in advance of the sponsor's deadline. The mailing address and deadline should be clearly specified on the IRF (Item 4).
Do not staple the original proposal or any supporting documents submitted to RSP. RSP will make the required copies, package for shipment, and submit the proposal.
National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) proposals must include a signed Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form (Word) along with the IRF. For NSF proposals, the PI and Co-PI must sign the Conflict of Interest form while for DHHS proposals, the PI and all key personnel must sign.
Budgeted items should be rounded to the nearest whole dollar. The Research Project Budget Model (Excel) will be used as the guideline to determine if the proposal budget is in compliance with university current salary, fringe benefit, Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) exempt and non-exempt cost elements, applicable Facilities & Administrative (F&A or Indirect) rate, and line-item elements for posting of the budget upon award.
Permanent equipment under federal guidelines is defined as any item exceeding $5,000 and a one-year useful life. Items less than $5,000 should be itemized in the “Other'' category. Although sponsor guidelines may indicate the $5,000 as the minimum for equipment, state regulations require that the $1,000 minimum be applied.
Because of space limitations, RSP is unable to keep a copy of appendices and reprints submitted with a proposal. Please make sure you keep a copy of this material.
If responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP), submit a copy of the RFP guidelines with the proposal or include the URL for this document on the IRF (Item 5).
Itemize all supplies, materials, computer, and publication costs. Travel must be justified by per diem, number of trips, place, and purpose. Review the sponsor’s guidelines on whether foreign travel is allowed or, in the case of state sponsors, if in-state restrictions apply.
Submit a copy of the approval for IRB or IACUC for projects involving the use of human participants or live vertebrate animals. The title of the proposal must match the title identified on the approval. Contact IRB or IACUC for further information. These approvals must be in place prior to the university accepting the award.
Required Proposal Documents:
  1. Completed UWF Internal Routing Form
  2. Proposal Budget
  3. Proposal Abstract
  4. Proposal Narrative
  5. Other (letters of support, appendices, etc.)
RSP Proposal Submission Procedures

Faculty members are urged to submit proposals at least 3-5 business days prior to agency deadlines. Additional time must be allowed for RSP to provide a full complement of services, including budget development assistance, review, signature, duplication, and transmission of the proposal.

All applicants are reminded that the agency deadline must be clearly indicated on the Internal Routing Form (IRF) (Word), including the date and type of deadline (postmark or receipt). If there is no definite deadline, please give a target date for receipt by, or mailing to, the agency.

There are numerous peak agency deadlines throughout the year. Please keep in mind that proposals received in advance of these dates will receive precedence over those received at the last possible minute before a deadline.

No Review Process

If the RSP office receives a proposal at deadline and is unable to review it in the customary manner, the proposal will be submitted to the agency but designated internally as having been submitted under RSP's "no review" process. RSP will review the proposal in customary manner after the "no review" submission and may request a revised version or may require withdrawal of the proposal. If changes are required in the proposal and the proposal is funded, it will not be accepted until after it has been negotiated and approved by the appropriate department chair and dean.

Tracking the Proposal's Progress

Proposals and awards are tracked through a specialized UWF program which allows reporting through Information Navigator in MyUWF. Specialized reports on proposals submitted and awards received are available on several search criteria including individual investigator, department/center, college/division for a given fiscal year, a specific period such as a calendar or academic year, or a multiple year basis. For assistance in identifying such reports or querying for specific needs, contact the appropriate RSP Grants Specialist.



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