The Routing Process
New Forms for all External Grants
Request for Prior Approval Part I
There are two due dates for grants. The Sponsor Due Date is the date your grant is due to the sponsor. The OSP Due Date is five (or more) business days prior to the sponsor due date.
Please submit your grants early to OSP.
Here’s why: We do this to protect you and the University. Several approvals are required for each grant (deans, chairs, controller, OSP, etc.), and there is always a possibility of someone being unavailable on any given day, which means your grant might not get approved for submission. Second, when submitting through either Grants.gov or FastLane, errors will prevent your submission. The five-day deadline gives us the time to help you make sure that your grant is properly and successfully submitted.
In general, you secure external funding by submitting a proposal. Writing a proposal for external funding is often viewed as an intimidating and overwhelming process. In reality, it is far less challenging than writing an article for publication-a task that you, no doubt, will undertake numerous times in your professional career.
The following is a summary of the proposal process at Bradley:
- Read the proposal guidelines/RFP/RFA and follow it carefully.
- Talk to the sponsor's point of contact about your proposal at the beginning of development.
- Contact OSP and/or RSPA as early in the process as possible for assistance, particularly with budget development.
- Have your proposal critically edited by as many objective people as possible.
- Complete a Grant/Contract Transmittal Form
- The Principal Investigator must sign the Grant/Contracts Transmittal Form. Obtain Grant/Contract Transmittal Form signatures from your department chair and dean, or center director. Any chair, dean or director agreeing to release time and/or cost sharing must additionally sign the Grant/Contract Transmittal Form in the relevant area.
- Deliver the proposal to OSP at least five (5) business days before the deadline.
- OSP approves the proposal, then sends the proposal to the Controller's Office (RSPA) for approval.
- Pick up the proposal from OSP after it has been processed, make photocopies, and mail.
The Approval Process and Transmittal Form
All solicitations for external funding are formally submitted by the University and must be approved prior to submission. Before a proposal can be signed by an authorized University representative, it must receive approval from proper individuals. The approval process begins with the Principal Investigator, then proceeds to the Department Chair, and the Dean. OSP handles the rest of the process, including obtaining the signature(s) of the authorized University representative(s), as well as providing a number of assurances that are required by many funding agencies. Once this process is completed, you will be contacted to pick up your proposal for copying and mailing to the sponsor. It is important that you notify your Department Chair of your plans as early as possible in the proposal development process. This is crucial, particularly if your proposal requires resource commitment on the part of the University. The following timetable is the recommended minimum for the internal routing of all proposals:
Ten Days before Mailing Deadline:
- Route packet to Department Chair/Center Director for review and signature. The materials to be routed are:
- the proposal narrative including the FINAL budget, assurances forms, etc., a completed Transmittal Form (found here) signed by the PI, a copy of the agency's program guidelines (RFP).
Seven Days before Mailing Deadline:
- Route packet to Dean for review and signature.
Five Days before Mailing Deadline:
- Route packet to OSP.
- OSP will coordinate the remainder of the approval process.
Principal Investigator / Project Director: In initiating a sponsored project, the faculty or authorized staff member assumes responsibilities and obligations which begin with the preparation of the proposal and continue throughout the contract of the project. A final report and other closing documents are usually required. The project is not concluded until these responsibilities are fulfilled. As principal investigator, the faculty or staff member is responsible for the following:
- that the project is soundly based; that its primary goal is a significant contribution to knowledge or to the mission of the institution; and that the personnel involved are qualified to perform their portions of the task;
- that the budget is adequate and correct to accomplish the project proposed;
- that the necessary time and talent are available for commitment to the proposed study and for compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant or contract, including those covering patents, copyrights, fiscal requirements, reports and publications;
- that any requirements for and sources of University financial support (matching funds, cost sharing, extra compensation, or commitment after termination of award) are clearly identified during the University proposal review process;
- that safety regulations and University policies regarding research involving human subjects, animal welfare, scheduled substances, and radioactive substances are followed, and that appropriate clearance for use of the same have been obtained, if necessary;
- that all required internal review procedures have been followed prior to proposal submission;
- that grant or contract funds are properly expended-no funds will be used for purposes not in accordance with University policy and regulations of the sponsor.
Co-Principal Investigators and Other Personnel have the responsibility of working closely with the PI in the development of the grant proposal through the concluding document report requested by most agencies. In addition, the Co-PI should be able to take over a project should the PI not be able to fulfill such a function and the award is retained by Bradley University.
Department Chairperson / Center Director: In supporting sponsored projects by faculty and staff, departments assume certain responsibilities. The department chairperson's or center director's approval of a proposal certifies the following:
- compliance with existing University and department policies;
- academic and scholarly considerations and the professional quality of the project;
- competence of the principal investigator in the project area;
- ability of the principal investigator to direct the proposed project successfully;
- relationship of the project to the department's or division's objectives, including opportunities to enhance the goals of the department or division;
- quality of the proposed document;
- financial, facility, and administrative requirements;
- justification of any stated need for security;
- capability of the department or division to provide necessary administrative support (personnel and supplies);
- availability of departmental or divisional facilities and equipment to fulfill project needs;
- adequacy and correctness of the budget and the determination of the department or division to prevent cost overruns. Cost over-runs are typically the responsibility of the PI and the Unit that administers the grant (Department, Center or Institute);
- recognition of applicable regulations and the existence of plans for appropriate action with the regulations.
Dean of the College: The Dean's signature on the Transmittal Form certifies the following:
- that the project contributes to the principal objectives of the University; the education and advancement and protection of the public interest and public welfare;
- that the project shall be carried out within a regular department or division of the University, or through the cooperation of several departments or divisions, and that it shall be led by a member of the faculty or authorized professional staff;
- that the project offers opportunities for enhancing graduate and undergraduate education;
- that the program shall be normally directed by University-related rather than external personnel;
- that the University has administrative control and responsibility for the work and affirms the appropriateness of the specific activity for Bradley.
Center or Institute Director: The Director exercises similar oversight responsibilities as those enumerated above for the Dean. A Director's review, however, is focused on the proposal's furtherance of Center or Institute objectives and policies. The Director also assesses the application's adherence to overall University policies and procedures.
Assistant Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs: The endorsement of the Assistant Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs certifies that:
- the proposal has been properly reviewed,
- is complete,
- has the appropriate prior approvals,
- meets the requirements of the sponsoring agency as well as the University,
- and the University is recovering the maximum allowable indirect costs except in those cases where the sponsor has limited the University's indirect cost recovery, or acceptance of a lower indirect cost rate has been justified in writing by the principal investigator and approved by the appropriate institutional official as being in the best interest of the University.
In addition, there are also a number of certifications that are required for all proposals being submitted to a federal agency regarding disbarment, conflict of interest, influencing members of Congress, drug-free workplace, etc.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: After approval is received from the previous University representatives (Department Chair, Dean, Assistant Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs), the grant proposal is then forwarded to the controller's office. No proposal is to be submitted to any external governmental or private funding agency without the Provost's written approval on the Transmittal Form.
The Controller's Office Responsibilities of this Office are:
- to check the final budget proposal for accuracy;
- to establish an account for the project if funded;
- to send monthly statements of grant expenditures to the principal investigator with notices of report deadlines;
- to prepare appropriate financial reports;
- to maintain official files for audit documentation.
Mailing the Proposal
It is the PI's responsibility to mail the proposal to the funding agency by the specified deadline. OSP will call the PI or his/her designate for pickup. Remember that university administration are not always available to sign off on proposals the same day they receive them. The more time you can allow for routing, the better.
Proposal Status and Notification of Award
Contacting the Sponsoring Agency: Contacting a sponsoring agency before submitting a grant proposal is an excellent idea, particularly if there are some questions about the RFP. Help in locating the appropriate contact person is available from OSP if not already specified in the proposal request. Depending on circumstances, visits to appropriate agencies before, during, and after grant consideration may be needed.
Avoid contacting the agency after the due date and before the awarding period passes, unless you have an emergency question or other important concern (e.g., did my package arrive?). Do not try to pressure agency personnel to tell you whether you have "won" or "lost." Inquiring about the status of the review process is acceptable. If agency personnel wish to share something with you, they will do so.
Award Granted: If an award is granted, a "Notice of Grant Award" or similar announcement is ordinarily issued by the sponsor and mailed to the Principal Investigator. Copies are sometimes sent directly to the Office of the President, Vice President for Business Affairs or Assistant Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs.
The Principal Investigator or other recipient of the award notification must then transmit a copy of the notice to OSP and the Controllers Office. Both the Principal Investigator and OSP participate in negotiation of the final grant budget and scope of work. Any changes in the budget or scope of work must be approved by the Principal Investigator and all relevant University administrators (Chair, Director, Dean, OSP, Controller's Office, Provost) prior to acceptance of the award
Request to Establish an Account: Upon receipt of all official award documentation, the Controllers Office will establish a grant account.
Award Not Granted: If an award is not granted, the agency will normally notify the institution and the principal investigator at the same time. A copy of this notice also should be routed to OSP and the Controllers Office. A principal investigator should not be unduly disappointed about an unsuccessful proposal, especially for initial efforts. However, it is vital to seek written reviews of the proposal to strengthen it for re-submission. In certain circumstances, a visit to the appropriate federal or state office may be helpful for further clarification of the decision. OSP is available to discuss the agency's proposal review with applicants and to assist in re-submission efforts.