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Proposal Approval and Submission

Proposals submitted for external funding should be routed through either the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research (OSPR) or the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. [Is it a Grant or a Gift?]

Prior to the development of a proposal, the faculty or staff member should contact the OSPR to discuss the proposal. The OSPR can provide assistance not only in determining if the University is eligible for funding under the potential funding source’s guidelines, but can also provide assistance in budgeting and proposal development.

All proposals soliciting external support - whether from federal, private or state agencies - call for some commitment of institutional resources. The Proposal Review Form (PRF) must be used when routing a proposal for external funding for University administrative review and approval.

Special Approvals
University Approval

Proposal Deadlines
Submitting the Proposal to the Sponsor
Roles and Responsibilities


The Project Director is responsible for filling out the PRF and securing the signatures of:

  1. all the faculty and staff named in the proposal
  2. the supervisor or department chair for each faculty or staff member named in the proposal
  3. the dean or director for each faculty or staff member named in the proposal

Special Approvals

Certain proposed activities may require special institutional approvals (e.g., involvement of Human Subjects or Animals, Technology, Special Facilities/Services etc.). It is the investigator’s responsibility to indicate whether a proposal includes research that requires committee or special approvals by answering the Special Approvals/Proposal Information questions on the PRF.

Proposals requesting contribution of University funds, whether cash or in-kind, require prior approval of the Vice President for Administration and Finance.

University Approval

The Vice President for Administration and Finance is the designated institutional official authorized to sign for the University on all proposals, grants and contracts. The name, title, address and other information for the VPAF should be inserted for "Authorized Representative" on all application forms and contract documents.

Submit the signed Proposal Approval Review along with draft of your proposal and budget to the sponsored programs office at least ten (10) business days prior to the application deadline. OSPR will review the form and obtain institutional approvals. We understand that you may still be fine-tuning your proposal in the time period between submission to the OSPR and the application deadline; proposers may continue working on the final version of the narrative after these documents are submitted.

Proposal Deadlines

To ensure proposals are submitted to sponsors by the deadline, all administrative documents (proposal forms, budgets, and other required documentation, MUST be received in final format (ready to submit) at least five (5) business days before a sponsor’s deadline. The PD can continue to refine the draft proposal narrative, but it must be received in final form by OSPR no later than 9:00 a.m. two (2) business days before the deadline.

Observing this timeframe allows OSPR to complete a thorough review of your materials, obtain the final university approvals, set up university records and transmit the proposal before the last day of a deadline.

It is crucial to avoid transmission problems that could prevent the successful submission of your proposal. As you are aware, most proposals are now submitted electronically, and we are dependent on the reliability of sponsors’ submission systems. Sponsors' systems sometimes crash or experience slow-downs near published deadlines. A system slow-down can result in delayed notification by the sponsor if there is an error in your application and a revision is required before it will be accepted. In an extreme case this could mean a missed deadline. The best way to avoid potential problems is to submit your proposal to us as early as possible.

Please note: Pre-proposals and/or "white papers" do not require OSPR review and university approval unless budgetary information is provided and/or institutional certifications/assurances are required. If budgetary information is required, then the pre-proposal or white paper must be pre-approved for submission just as a regular funding proposal.

Submitting the Proposal to the Sponsor

Important Information Regarding Electronic Proposal Submissions

Once all of the preparation, compliance and approval process is completed, OSPR will review your proposal and coordinate the actual submission. OSPR is the responsible for the submission of all sponsored project proposal applications. Proposals may not be submitted directly to the funding agency without the prior authorization of OSPR. OSPR will transmit the proposal application packet to the agency via the sponsors preferred method (paper or electronic). 

Roles and Responsibilites

The successful development, approval, and submission of an application for sponsored program funding involves many more people than the Project Director alone. It is important to understand each participant’s role and responsibilities in the process to help ensure the proposal’s success even before it leaves campus.

Project Director

In general, the Project Director is responsible for the overall programmatic and fiscal direction of the sponsored project.The Project Director's signature on the proposal routing form indicates his or her agreement to assume responsibility for projects fiscal management; to abide by all University, governmental, and sponsor certifications, policies, and regulations; and to report any inventions or financial conflicts of interest in accordance with prescribed University policies.

The Department Chair/Supervisor

The Department Chair/Supervisor attests to the academic purposes of the proposed project, its compatibility with departmental objectives, and its appropriateness in terms of budget, space, equipment and/or release time.

The Dean/Director:

  • attests to the capabilities and competence of the project director;
  • confirms the adequacy of space and other facilities needed for the project,
  • gives official approval to any cost-share commitments and accepts financial responsibility for any eventual over-runs and/or cost disallowances.

The Provost/VP of Academic Affairs attests that all appropriate reviews have occurred and approves the overall project.

The Office of Sponsored Programs & Research attests to the completeness and accuracy of the budgetary and administrative information, including indirect cost recovery contained in the application.

The Director of Sponsored Programs & Research:

  • ensures that proposals comply with University and sponsor policies,
  • confirms that proposals are complete and that all signatures/certifications and approvals, including those of appropriate regulatory offices, have been obtained.

The Vice President for Administration and Finance:

  • confirms that the proposed project is consistent with the educational and professional objectives of the University;
  • approves all cost-sharing/matching requests for both direct and indirect costs
  • certifies, as the authorizing official, that the proposal is a valid offer by the university.