Research OSPA:Working with Centers Process

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Effective Date

August 1, 2015

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 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, UT System, state, 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 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.

Process

UTD Centers (Center for Brain Health (CBH), Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) and Center for Space Sciences (CSS)) employ staff in a Grants & Contracts Specialist role to assist their faculty with proposal submissions. These Center Specialists (CS) should function as a conduit of the central office and supplement many services the central office provides. The CS should work with all the faculty in their respective Center and serve as the liaison between OSP and the faculty members.Center Specialists are expected to notify the respective OSP Specialist of any upcoming proposal submissions, a copy of the RFP, and notification of any subcontracts as soon as possible (bearing in mind that all submission materials and paperwork be provided to OSP at least four (4) business days prior to the deadline).The CS should do a thorough review of all proposals following the outline below. The CS will enter all documents into the respective submission portal/sponsor method* and check that all items are correct and according to sponsor/UTD/government guidelines. Once entire proposal has been verified, all documents will be forwarded to the OSP Specialist for review.

  • If the CS does not have an account for the submission portal/sponsor method, contact OSP to create one, or forward all information to OSP to enter into the portal.

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 same outline below that was used by the CS. 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, including subcontract documentation, 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, applicable subcontract documentation is in place, 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.

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="https://research.utdallas.edu/ord/funding-opportunities/limited-submissions" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/ord/funding-opportunities/limited-submissions" rel="external">https://research.utdallas.edu/ord/funding-opportunities/limited-submissions</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?
      1. Letter of Intent required?
    3. Mechanism to submit
      1. Online, paper, email, etc?
      2. One step submission? Two step submission?
      3. Registered in applicable systems – fastlane, era commons, grants.gov, etc?
    4. 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? (email, letters of commitment, etc)
    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 - <a class="wiki external" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="https://research.utdallas.edu/osp/information-for-proposals" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/osp/information-for-proposals" rel="external">https://research.utdallas.edu/osp/information-for-proposals</a>
    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: osp@utdallas.edu
  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, if applicable
    1. Include names of all authors (no et al.), article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers & year of publication
  11. Biosketch, if applicable
    1. Required for all senior project personnel
    2. Follow sponsor outline/template
  12. Current and Pending, if applicable
    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, if applicable
    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, if applicable
    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. 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
    7. Cost of living adjustments are appropriate
    8. Salary cap of sponsor is taken into consideration?
  3. Fringe Benefits
    1. Have fringe benefits been added for all employees?
    2. Is there a cap or restriction on fringe benefits?
  4. 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 or near the start of the project?
    8. Explains the necessity and need of the equipment and ties back to benefiting scope of project with a high degree of accuracy
  5. 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
  6. Participant Support Costs
    1. Does not include payments to employees
    2. Does not include fringe benefits
    3. Exempt from IDC calculation?
    4. Use Research Assistants vs Participant Costs vs Subject Payments document on website to verify correct category usage
  7. 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.
  8. Publication Costs
    1. Costs for dissemination of research results
  9. 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 consultant is not a UTD employee
  10. 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 website to verify correct category usage
  11. 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?
  12. 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
    3. Human subject payments
  13. Indirect Costs
    1. UTD’s federally negotiated rate are 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?
  14. 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
  15. 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. 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 the RFP/sponsor does not state the rate change, the IDC waiver form has been approved and signed by the PI, Dean, and Vice President for Research
    4. 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?
    5. Animals
      1. Does the project involve the use of vertebrate animals?
      2. Are all necessary requirements for animals met – narrative, pending application, etc?
    6. Research Risks
      1. Does the project involve the use of any hazardous, toxic, carcinogenic materials, chemicals, or recombinant DNA?
    7. 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?
    8. Publications
      1. Does the sponsor or agency impose any restrictions on investigators or graduate students from freely publishing research results?
    9. 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.)?

Just-in-Time/Post-submission Materials

If a sponsor requests post-submission materials, the CS will assist the faculty in formulating the requested documentation. Once complete, the CS will forward to OSP for review and submission to sponsor. This includes rebudget requests and supporting documents as well.

Pre-Award/Bridge Funding Requests

If there is a delay in the receipt of an award, the Principal Investigator (PI) may request a pre-award in order to begin work on the project while the award is being processed or negotiated. (See Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.209 and 200.458.) Pre-award can only be requested if there is written confirmation from the sponsor that an award is forthcoming, and such confirmation includes the start date for the new award and the anticipated funding level.If incremental funding on an active project is delayed from a sponsor, the Principal Investigator (PI) may request bridge funding to continue work on the project while the incremental award is being processed or negotiated. (See Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.209 and 200.458.) Bridge funding can only be requested if UTD receives written confirmation from the sponsor that the next increment of funds is forthcoming and the anticipated funding level.

Restrictions

A pre-award/bridge request cannot be approved in the following circumstances:

  1. Pre-award/bridge spending is not allowed unless specifically approved by your award agreement or Program Official/Grants Management Specialist.
  2. Pre-award/bridge spending is not allowed on contracts.
  3. The effective start date of the project is tied to the date of final signature on the award agreement. In such cases spending cannot begin until the award or contract is fully signed.
  4. The University informed the sponsor at the time of proposal submission that the University reserved the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of any award that might result.
  5. There is indication (based on prior experience with the funding agency or information contained in the proposal guidelines) that award terms and conditions will conflict with University policy and a protracted negotiation period is likely.

The CS will work with the faculty to determine if a pre-award or bridge funding is allowable, and obtain the necessary documentation from the sponsor. The CS will either route the pre-award/bridge funding request plus written confirmation from the sponsor that an award is forthcoming, directly to the respective Dean, or the CS can route the pre award/bridge request to OSP to circulate to the Dean for approval.

Award

Any award documents will need to be forwarded to the OSP Specialist to process. OSP or CS will obtain PI approval (either via signature or email approval) on any awards, modifications, amendments, or subcontracts. OSP will also confirm budget details prior to cost center creation.

Post Award

Once an award has been established and cost center created, the CS will work with the Office of Post Award Management (OPM).

Closeout

Uniform Guidance (UG) 2 CFR 200.343 requires all financial, performance, and other reports as required by the terms and conditions of the award, be completed and submitted within 90-120 days after the date of completion of the award.The CS will work with the faculty to submit interim/final technical reports. OSP will need to be copied on progress report submissions so the central office file can be completed. CS and OSP will work collaboratively to submit other non-financial final reports – inventory, property, invention, patent, etc.

Deadline

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="https://research.utdallas.edu/ord" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/ord" 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="https://research.utdallas.edu/osp" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/osp" 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="https://research.utdallas.edu/contracts" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/contracts" 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="https://research.utdallas.edu/orc" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/orc" 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="https://research.utdallas.edu/opm" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/opm" 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="https://research.utdallas.edu/otc" href="https://research.utdallas.edu/otc" rel="external">UTD Office of Technology Commercialization</a>
    1. Inventions
    2. Start Ups
    3. Intellectual Property