Research OSPA:Proposal Review Process

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Effective Date

May 1, 2014

Statement of the Issue

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) provides assistance to faculty and staff in obtaining and managing sponsored awards while assuring proper stewardship of those funds. The office is charged with review and approval of proposals sent to all external sponsors.

Applicable Policy/Regulation

OSP is the central administrative office responsible for submitting proposals and accepting awards on behalf of UTD. Sponsored project proposals may only be submitted, and awards accepted, by individuals with University signature authority. Because proposals are submitted, and awards are granted to the University and not individual PIs, only OSP personnel are authorized to submit proposals, accept grants, or execute contracts on behalf of the University.All sponsored project proposals must be reviewed by OSP and have University signature approval prior to submission to any sponsor. This approval signifies that UTD accepts responsibility for administering the sponsored project, providing adequate facilities and services, and for complying with applicable University, sponsor and government policies and regulations. (See The University of Texas System Policy UTS145, UTD Sponsored Programs Administration (BP3032), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance (UG) 2 CFR 200.)A minimum of four (4) business days should be allowed for administrative review prior to submission. Proposals must be accompanied by a signed cert and export control forms.To find the appropriate Grants Specialist to contact relative to the review of a proposal, please refer to the list available here. If the PI is not on the list, contact the Assistant Director to get a Specialist assigned.


When all submission materials and paperwork are provided to OSP at least four (4) business days prior to the deadline, the Grant Specialist will provide a thorough review of all proposal requirements, following the outline below. If less than two (2) business days, the Grant Specialist will review the budget for correct rates and cost share, verify internal approvals are obtained and check for compliance issues. With less than 1 day notice, the Grant Specialist may only be able to verify the internal forms are signed and only after all complete and timely applications received by OSP have been processed.All proposals may be subject to a secondary review by the Assistant Director to ensure accuracy, compliance, and potential training areas.

  1. Solicitation Considerations
    1. Solicitation
      1. Read sponsor requirements thoroughly
      2. Provide a copy to Grant Specialist as soon as funding opportunity is identified
    2. Due Date
      1. If due within 4 business days, PI must obtain permission to submit from the Vice President for Research or the Associate Vice President for Research before OSP will review or submit application.
    3. Eligibility
      1. University eligible to apply?
      2. PI submission or university submission?
    4. Limited Submission
      1. If yes, contact Research Development.
      2. Check limited submission website <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external"></a>
    5. Award Type
      1. Grant, Cooperative Agreement, Contract, Gift, etc.
    6. Budget Limitations and Restrictions
      1. How many awards will be given?
      2. Minimum and maximum amounts?
      3. Salary caps
      4. Fringe benefit cap
      5. Unallowable expenses
      6. Required budget items (e.g. travel to annual technical meetings)
      7. IDC allowed? Any limits?
    7. Type of application
      1. New, resubmission, revision, supplemental, etc
    8. Project Period
      1. Minimum and maximum time periods
      2. Base and option periods?
    9. Letter of Intent required?
    10. Mechanism to submit
      1. Online, paper, email, etc?
      2. One step submission? Two step submission?
      3. Registered in applicable systems – fastlane, era commons,, etc?
    11. Formatting Requirements
      1. Font Type and Size
      2. Line spacing
      3. Margins
      4. Page size
      5. Headers and footers
      6. Page numbers
      7. Page limits
      8. Cost sharing required?
      9. Use required current sponsor forms

Programmatic Considerations

  1. PI Eligibility
    1. Is the PI clearly identified in the proposal?
    2. Does the PI meet the eligibility requirements of the University?
    3. Does the PI meet the eligibility requirements of the solicitation?
    4. Does the PI have an actual or perceived conflict of interest in her/his relationship to the external sponsor?
  2. Co-PI
    1. Is the co-PI clearly identified in the proposal?
    2. Does the co-PI meet the eligibility requirements of the University?
    3. Does the co-PI meet the eligibility requirements of the solicitation?
    4. Does the co-PI have an actual or perceived conflict of interest in her/his relationship to the external sponsor?
  3. Other faculty involvement (e.g. key personnel)
    1. Are any additional faculty or researchers participating in the proposed project?
    2. In what capacity – i.e., co-investigator, research associate, etc.
    3. What evidence exists that these persons have agreed to be involved in the project?
    4. Are all persons for whom salaries are being requested employees of UTD?
  4. Period of Performance
    1. Have the proposed start and end dates been clearly stated and are they consistently used throughout the proposal?
    2. Given the proposal submission date, is the proposed start date realistic?
  5. Place of Performance
    1. Will the project effort be conducted on-campus, off-campus, or both?
    2. Are there any indirect costs or subcontracting considerations for off-campus activities?
    3. Conference or travel grant? Domestic or foreign?
  6. Cover Page -
    1. Current and accurate information for all sections
    2. Address: 800 West Campbell Road, AD 15, Richardson, TX 75080-3021
    3. Phone: 972-883-2313
    4. Email:
  7. Abstract
    1. Easily understood by the average person not in the field
    2. Follow sponsor outline
  8. Table of contents
    1. In order?
    2. Correct page numbers?
  9. Narrative/Research Plan/Project Description
    1. Follow sponsor outline, checklist or review criteria, if available
    2. Adheres to sponsor goals, mission and/or purpose
    3. Aligns with solicitation requirements
  10. References
    1. Include names of all authors (no et al.), article & journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication
  11. Biosketch
    1. Required for all senior project personnel
    2. Follow sponsor outline/template
  12. Current and Pending
    1. Required for all senior project personnel
    2. Include the proposed project as pending
    3. Verify past and completed projects are not listed
    4. Use template (if provided)
  13. Facilities, Resources, and Equipment
    1. Is adequately equipped space available with which to conduct the project?
    2. Will extra space need to be made available?
    3. If so, have the appropriate institutional officials approved these commitments?
    4. Will any alterations be required to the facilities being utilized?
  14. Data Management/Resources Sharing Plan, if applicable
    1. Follow sponsor outline
  15. Supplementary Documentation/Appendix
    1. All required docs uploaded
    2. Unallowable items included?
    3. Uploaded to correct sections?

Fiscal Considerations

  1. Budget
    1. Budget must be sent in a format that allows traceability of the formulas. MS Excel is preferred
    2. Is the proposed budget within the solicitation limit and time period?
    3. Is it accurate and complete?
    4. Have the correct budget categories been used?
    5. Are all budgeted costs allowable and allocable in accordance with sponsor guidelines and/or the appropriate federal cost principles?
    6. Are estimated costs proposed in the manner that they will be expended?
    7. Can all costs be supported under audit?
    8. Have appropriate increases been applied to the out years?
    9. Is the correct budget format used? Correct, current forms? Base vs option period? Task, fiscal year, etc. Breakdown?
  2. Salaries and Wages
    1. Pay rates (academic/summer, student hourly, etc.) are identified and accurate
    2. Academic effort has been approved by appropriate authorities?
    3. Overall faculty level-of-effort, from all sources, is not greater than 100%
    4. Is the stated level of effort reasonable in relation to the proposed project and each investigator’s current and pending support?
    5. Is the level of effort proposed in the same manner that the actual costs will be incurred?
    6. Justifications are provided for administrative/clerical staff support in accordance with OMB UG 200.413
  3. Cost of living adjustments are appropriate
    1. Salary cap of sponsor is taken into consideration?
  4. Fringe Benefits
    1. Have fringe benefits been added for all employees?
    2. Is there a cap or restriction on fringe benefits?
  5. Equipment
    1. All equipment meets the definition of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year, and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more?
    2. Are equipment costs based upon vendor quotes (provided in the supplementary docs/appendix)?
    3. Exempt from IDC calculation?
    4. Justification should not include a specific make or model, allowing flexibility to purchase newer type model or best value once award is made
    5. Does fabrication of equipment include time and effort of support staff?
    6. Have you accounted for all other costs such as shipping and taxes, maintenance fee, warranty charges, etc.?
    7. Budgeted in the first year?
    8. Explains the necessity and need of the equipment and ties back to benefiting scope of project with a high degree of accuracy
  6. Travel
    1. Described in sufficient detail to be able to determine reasonableness
    2. Based on federal per diem rates or some other known and/or accepted source of information?
    3. Broken down based on foreign and domestic travel
  7. Participant Support Costs
    1. Does not include payments to employees
    2. Does not include fringe benefits
    3. Exempt from IDC calculation?
  8. Send Research Assistants vs Participant Costs vs Subject Payments spreadsheet to PI to verify correct category usage.
    1. Confer with OPM to verify accuracy of costs.
  9. Materials and Supplies
    1. Items costing less than $5,000
    2. Consumable and disposable routine lab supplies
    3. I.e., Laboratory items, teaching aids, computer software, research supplies, etc.
  10. Publication Costs
    1. Costs for dissemination of research results
  11. Consultant Costs
    1. Rates are documented and within agency guidelines
    2. Amount of time they are committing is documented
    3. Letter of commitment included for each consultant, paid or otherwise?
    4. Ensure the consultant’s role meets the criteria and definition of a consultant, which is advisory in nature
    5. Verify consultants are not UTD employees
  12. Subcontracts/Subawards
    1. All subcontractors are identified and agree to participate
    2. Include for all subcontractors:
      1. Letter of Commitment signed by authorized official
      2. Scope of work
      3. Budget and justification on appropriate agency forms
    3. Any subcontractor cost share is documented by a signed letter stating the value of the specific monetary and/or in-kind commitment
    4. Use Subawards-Vendors-Consultants document on G: to verify correct category usage
  13. Tuition
    1. Should ONLY be included for graduate students who have NOT passed their PhD qualifying exam
    2. If sponsor requires cost sharing, has the tuition paid by the provost been used to satisfy the requirement?
  14. Other
    1. Other categories or items that don’t meet the definition of equipment or materials
    2. I.e., recharge fees, postage, testing/analysis fees
  15. Human subject payments

m. Indirect Costs

    1. UTD’s federally negotiated rate is used unless a different rate has been specified by the sponsor (documentation attached) or approved by the PI, Dean and Vice President for Research (IDC Waiver form completed and signed by all parties)
    2. Have the correct and appropriate exclusions been made?
    3. If sponsor limits IDC recovery, can UTD’s under-recovery be used for any required cost sharing?
  1. Budget Justification
    1. Explain the roles and effort commitment of all personnel
    2. List out all requested budget categories and provide detailed information for what has been included
  2. Cost Sharing
    1. Is cost sharing required?
    2. If so, have the sources of this funding been identified and signatures obtained on the cert form? OSP will not submit a proposal with cost share unless the cost share section of the cert form has been signed and approved by the proper signature authority.
    3. Is there any “hidden” cost sharing identified in the body of the proposal that could become mandatory cost sharing in the event an award is made?
    4. Do any matching funds have to be raised during the life of the project?
    5. External cost share (third-party) is documented by a letter of specific support from the collaborator

Administrative Considerations

  1. Cert form
    1. Is correct and matches information in proposal – title, dates, PI, effort, cost share, budget, etc.
      1. OSP will correct cert to match submitted proposal without resending through signature process with the following exceptions:
        1. PI/co-PI effort has increased
        2. Addition of equipment
        3. Budget increase of 25% or more
      2. All signatures have been obtained – PI, co-PI, dept head, dean
      3. Is this a Biomedical Device Center proposal?
      4. OSP will not submit a proposal without a fully signed cert form
    2. Export Control form
      1. Completed and signed by PI
      2. Are there any ITAR/EAR restrictions?
      3. Are there terms prohibiting foreign nationals from working on project?
      4. OSP will not submit a proposal without a signed export control form
    3. IDC Waiver form
      1. If the use of a different rate has been used and is not per sponsor policy, the IDC waiver form must be approved and signed by the PI, Dean and Vice President for Research
    4. Conflict of Interest (COI)
      1. Verify PI and co-PI are all current on COI disclosure. If not, contact the Conflict of Interest Manager
    5. Peoplesoft Entry
      1. All PS entry has been completed and matches proposal – click for manual
      2. All documents uploaded
    6. Human Subjects
      1. Does the project involve the use of human subjects?
      2. Are all necessary requirements for human subjects met – narrative, pending application, etc?
    7. Animals
      1. Does the project involve the use of vertebrate animals?
      2. Are all necessary requirements for animals met – narrative, pending application, etc?
    8. Research Risks
      1. Does the project involve the use of any hazardous, toxic, carcinogenic materials, chemicals, or recombinant DNA?
    9. Patents and Copyrights
      1. Does the project contain any potentially patentable or copyrightable materials?
      2. Are there restrictions indicated in the sponsor guidelines?
      3. If proprietary material is included, has the proposal been marked appropriately?
      4. Has Technology Commercialization been notified?
      5. Are any agreements necessary prior to work – i.e. NDA?
    10. Publications
      1. Does the sponsor or agency impose any restrictions on investigators or graduate students from freely publishing research results?
    11. Assurances and Certifications
      1. Are all required assurance forms included as part of the proposal (i.e., human subjects, animals, assurance statements, etc.)?
      2. Have all required certifications been completed correctly and signed by the institutional authorizing official (i.e., representations and certifications, lobbying, debarment and suspension, drug-free workplace, etc.)?
    12. Terms and Conditions
      1. If the award terms to be incorporated in an award are made or known in advance, are they appropriate for and acceptable to the University (i.e., indemnification, ownership of intellectual property, publishing, reporting requirements, etc.)?


In accordance with the UTD submission deadline policy, all finalized documentation should be prepared and submitted to the OSP office for review at least four (4) business days prior to the submission deadline. If said documentation cannot be provided at least four (4) business days prior to the submission deadline, then the UTD PI should obtain written permission to submit from the Associate Vice President or Vice President for Research.

Additional Resources

  1. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Research Development</a>
    1. Funding opportunity information
    2. Types of Funding
    3. Limited submissions
    4. Templates for proposals
    5. Faculty Support
  2. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Sponsored Projects</a>
    1. Information for proposals
    2. Proposal preparation
    3. Resources and forms
    4. Policies and Checklists
    5. Frequently asked questions
  3. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Research Contracts</a>
    1. Guide for Industry
    2. Types of Agreements
    3. Forms and Resources
    4. Frequently asked questions
  4. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Research Compliance</a>
    1. Human subjects
    2. Animals
    3. Conflict of interest
    4. Lab safety
    5. Export control
    6. Responsible conduct of research
    7. Lobbying
  5. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Post Award Management</a>
    1. Roles and responsibility
    2. Time and effort certification
    3. Setting up a cost center
    4. Allowable cost
    5. Cost share and travel
    6. Computer and data storage devices
    7. Subaward management
    8. Rebudgeting
    9. IDT and PAF
    10. Overexpenditure policy
  6. <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="" href="" rel="external">UTD Office of Technology Commercialization</a>
    1. Inventions
    2. Start Ups
    3. Intellectual Property