Lifecycle of the Grant FAQ
- How do I process a proposal through the University?
Before transmittal to the sponsor, the proposal must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP).
Proposals are submitted for review and approval using the Proposal Review Form (PRF) which is accessed within the Research Management System (RMS). The information submitted with the PRF facilitates administrative review and approval, and thus helps to expedite processing.
Required documents for proposal approval:
- Statement of Work
- Detailed Budget
- Sponsor Budget
- Budget Justification
Items required if applicable:
- Subaward documents:
- Letter of Commitment (signed by sub entity AOR)
- Statement of Work
- Budget Justification
- Cost Share Recap Form
- Third party cost share commitment letters
- Consultant letters of commitment
- What are the time lines (deadlines)?
Proposal Review Forms (PRFs) along with the required documents should be submitted four (4) business days before the submission deadline.
- I've submitted my proposal, now what?
By accessing the Research Management System, you can tell whether your proposal is still in proposal status, award status, or has been rejected. The system allows you to see the date the award was received, the date of first action, and the date it was officially entered as an award.
- I've heard my proposal will be funded. What does that mean?
Principal investigators are often notified by their program director, technical monitor, etc., that their proposal is going to be awarded. At that point it is assumed that an award is forthcoming; however, an actual award may not yet have been issued. Once the program officer recommends a proposal for award, it usually has to be approved by a division director, after which it goes to procurement and finally reaches the contracts or grants office. This process takes anywhere from four to eight weeks or longer. OSP can begin to set up the award once it receives an award document from the contract office.
- What is involved in accepting an award?
- How does the award get set up?
Notices of Award (NOAs) for sponsored projects are processed through the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) when a project has been awarded. The Grants & Contracts (G&C) specialists serving as award staff in OSP start the process. Then the Sponsored Projects Award Administration’s (SPAA's) G&C specialists serving as account contacts complete the process by setting up the account details in *DEFINE. Generally, there is a three to five day turnaround for having an award set up in *DEFINE once the NOA has been processed by OSP.
Note: NOAs also may accompany extensions, additional funds, changes of unit codes, deobligation of funds due to scope reduction, or another significant change in the award's terms.
- What are my responsibilities?
Understanding your PI's role (and your role) versus the role of research administrators who work in OSP will help streamline the proposal application process. Departmental research administrators assist their PIs with proposal preparation and other pre-award work (and/or post-award work). Generally, you will be the liaison between the department and OSP, acting as the departmental contact and working directly with the PI to prepare and submit proposal application packages to OSP for their review and submission to sponsors. You may also manage accounts, assist with reporting on grant progress, or anything else that comes up after the funding has been awarded and before the grant is closed out. See Responsibility Matrix table below.
ACTIVITY DEPT PI OSP Determine if PI already holds PI status. X X X If PI status not conferred, make request for PI status. X X Add PI to RMS database. X Request Unit Code. X X If PI will have an assistant/postdoc/student preparing forms, authorize that individual for access to electronic systems. X X Add assistant/postdoc/student to RMS. X Determine which sponsor matches funding interest. X If the sponsor requires application submission via its own electronic submission system, ensure that PI/UT Austin is authorized to submit via that system. X X Seek funding opportunity. X If funding opportunity limits the number of submissions, check the Limited Submission Programs page. If the program is not listed, contact the OSP office by sending an email to email@example.com to enter an internal competition. X X Determine who should be on research team. X Contact proposed research team to secure their agreement to participate and obtain supporting documents. X Contact Dean for any special departmental commitments and obtain supporting documentation. X Contact vendors for quotes. X X Assess research risks (human, animal, biohazard, etc.). X X X If institutional approval for study is required, submit documentation and secure approval. X X Contact sponsor Program Officer. X Prepare OSP's Proposal Review Form in RMS and route to OSP. X X If Letter of Intent is due, send it in a timely fashion. X X PI prepares the proposal narrative. X Prepare budget. X If cost sharing is associated with project, complete form and obtain all necessary signatures. X X If subcontract involved: inform subcontractor of items needed and obtain said items. X X Obtain letters of support/access to facilities, if necessary. X X Submit required materials to OSP for review. X X OSP authorizes the proposal for submission. X X X After submission, answer sponsor questions that may arise or prepare additional materials requested by sponsor. X X X Respond to sponsor requests for additional materials such as Representation and Certifications (Reps and Certs), revised budgets, etc, i.e., Information Transmittals(Info-Trans). All Info-Trans back to sponsor must be routed through OSP. X X X OSP negotiates award, if necessary. X OSP accepts award on behalf of UT Austin. X
- What are the federal regulations?
- Code of Federal Regulations
- Federal Acquisition Regulations
- Federal Register
- National Institutes of Health Guide for Grants and Contracts
- National Science Foundation Policy Office
- Uniform Guidance
- What has to be negotiated?
Budget Negotiations with the Sponsor
Preliminary budget negotiations are often conducted between the Principal Investigator and the technical contact for the sponsor in order to determine an appropriate level of funding for the program proposed by the Investigator. Such preliminary discussions are encouraged. The Principal Investigator should contact the OSP, however, for established rates for fringe benefits, facilities and administrative costs or other budgetary matters that may impact upon the total support required for the project.
The Principal Investigator should not attempt to negotiate rates for facilities and administrative costs (or fringe benefits) that are different from the federally-approved rates for the University, nor should it be implied that a reduction in the approved rates would be acceptable to the University. Facilities and administrative costs represent substantial, real expenditures incurred by the institution to support each research program, and if these costs are not fully paid by each sponsor, the University must subsidize them from other institutional resources. In the event that a sponsor indicates to the Principal Investigator that it does not wish to pay these costs in full, the OSP should be contacted in order that this office may contact the sponsor for further negotiation regarding this issue.
If formal budget negotiations are required, the OSP will conduct the negotiations, including the confirmation of approved salary, benefits, computer and facilities and administrative cost rates. The OSP will seek the Principal Investigator's input and concurrence for any modifications proposed by the sponsor.
Submitting a Revised Budget
During the course of project negotiations it often becomes necessary to reduce or adjust the budget initially proposed. If this is the case, the Principal Investigator should send the revised budget and any other pertinent information (a revised budget explanation or revised statement of work or project duration may be appropriate) to the OSP for processing prior to sending the revision to the sponsor. A new "Proposal Review Form" is not required in this case as the OSP will update the figures on the one originally authorized.
The OSP reviews the terms and conditions of every award received. Terms and Conditions are negotiated in accordance with UT Austin policies and The Intellectual Property Policy of The University of Texas System.
- Terms and Conditions are usually predetermined, however, negotiations may be required.
- Normally, most non-Federal projects require negotiations, especially those agreements with industrial sponsors. Such topics as inventions, publication rights, liability, and ownership of research results are usually the subject of negotiation. The negotiations are coordinated between the OSP personnel, the sponsor, the Principal Investigator, and, as appropriate, the UT System Office of General Counsel. The OSP leads the negotiations with the sponsor.
- Who can sign the award for the University?
Award documents take many forms depending upon the type of sponsor and project. These documents require review and signature by the official institutional representative authorized to sign on behalf of the institution. The OSP is responsible for award document processing. The Principal Investigator is notified of each new award and its terms and conditions and is asked to accept the award and responsibility for complying with all award requirements by returning a signed acknowledgment to the OSP.
- My award has been accepted, now what?
Upon receipt of fully executed award documents or other proof of award, the OSP forwards information to the Sponsored Projects Award Administration (SPAA) section of the OSP for assignment of account number and setup of the account. Once the Principal Investigator receives notification of the project account number from SPAA, funds may be encumbered or expended against the project.
The Office of Sponsored Projects plays a dual role in the post-award phase of sponsored project activity. The OSP serves as a central point of contact for sponsor grant or contract officers regarding administrative matters throughout the duration of the project. The OSP also serves as facilitator and advocate for Principal Investigators in all matters pertaining to the non-technical management of their grants and contracts. In addition, the OSP coordinates compliance with each sponsor's requirements for interim and final research reports. Principal Investigators are responsible for submission of all required reports in a timely fashion.
If the award documentation is delayed, procedures are available to obtain a letter of credit for a limited period of time. Contact the OSP with information regarding the amount of credit needed. After the award information is verified by a representative of the sponsoring agency with the authority to commit funds, overdraft approval may be given. Credit will be limited to emergency expenses. Many Federal agencies allow pre-award costs up to 90 days prior to the start date of a grant. If pre-award costs are required, the above procedures for verification will be followed and pre-award costs may be approved.
- Who do I contact for post-award account management assistance?
Contact Grants and Contracts Specialists at the Sponsored Projects Award Administration (SPAA).
- How do I request for project extensions?
One of the most frequently asked questions from Principal Investigators or their assistants is, “What do I need to do in order to extend my project without requesting additional funds?” The answer to that question depends on the source of funding. The following should assist you in answering that question.
If the award is from a Federal sponsor and the terms and conditions of the award are noted as Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP), the University generally has the option of issuing a one time 12 month grantee-approved no-cost extension. You will generally find awards issued with FDP terms and conditions from the following sponsors: National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency (only if the extension will not cause the project period to exceed 5 years). All first time NIH no-cost extensions must be routed through the account specialist in Sponsored Projects Award Administration (SPAA). However all subsequent NIH extension requests must be routed through the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP). All other agency extension requests, including extensions on contracts, must be routed through the OSP. Some sponsors have an electronic module for submission of no-cost extension requests and others accept extension request letters via email. Contact the appropriate OSP Grant Specialist based on your constituency to obtain appropriate extension request procedures depending on your particular award.
If the one-year extension has already been used, subsequent extension requests must be submitted through OSP to obtain sponsor approval. The request should be in writing and should provide a justification for the extension. The justification should relate to the completion of the scientific objectives, not that funds are remaining. Requests for no cost extensions to NSF must be submitted through FastLane. Sponsor approved no cost extensions must be submitted prior to the expiration date of the grant. NSF requires that the request be submitted 45 days prior to expiration. Note that these requests generally take one to two months to process and approve. Consider the processing time when deciding when to submit your request. Non-Federal Requests for extensions should be submitted in writing and routed through OSP. The requests should include a programmatic justification for the extension. The University has no provision for extending these projects without sponsor approval. As with federal awards, these requests should be made prior to the expiration date and with ample lead-time. A three-month lead time is suggested in order to have an approved extension prior to the original expiration date.
Letter of Request:
- Agency assigned project/award number.
- New end date requested.
- Technical reasons for the project’s delay and need for extension.
- Estimation of funds remaining at the current end date
- Plans for funds during extension period and how those plans accomplish the original goals of project.
- On PI’s UT Letterhead
- Signed By PI and forwarded to OSP so that we can countersign and send to sponsor.
- The reasons for extension CANNOT be because funds remain. There MUST be technical reasons for extension.
Letter of Notification:
- Similar to Letter of Request, but includes language, “Under the Terms and Conditions of Federal Demonstration Partnership, we exercise our right to a 12-month no-cost extension.” Even though this request does not require prior approval from the sponsor, there must be funds remaining in the account and the request must have technical reasons for requesting the extension.
The requirements for requesting for a project extension are summarized in the table at the end of this section.
Requests for no-cost extensions to industry sponsors should be addressed to the Office of Industry Engagement: firstname.lastname@example.org, (512) 471-3866.
Reasons NOT to request a No-Cost Extension:
- I have money left in my account.
- I want to buy a laptop or other piece of equipment.
Requirements for Requesting for Project Extension (Federal Funds)
Agency FDP (First) FDP (Second or Third) Non-FDP NIH Contact Michael Martindale, SPAA, to submit this request on NIH Commons. Letter of Request to Program Officer/Grants Management Specialist Letter of Request to Program Officer/Grants Management Specialist NSF Submit Grantee Approved NCE on Fastlane. Submit NSF Approved NCE on Fastlane. Submit NSF Approved NCE on Fastlane. Other Federal (NASA, ARO, AFOSR, ONR, etc) Letter of Notification to Program Officer/Contract Officer. (Limit 12 months) Letter of Request to Program Officer/Contract Officer. Letter of Request to Program Officer/ Contract Officer. Non-Federal (Subawards, Foundation Awards) N/A N/A See Award Terms and Conditions. Most often, Letter of Request addressed to sponsor.
- How do I request budget revisions?
If you want to revise your budget and the sponsor guidelines do not allow for it, you will need to request your revisions in writing. The request must be processed through OSP. If you have questions about what is allowed, contact your account specialist at Sponsored Projects Award Administration (SPAA).
- How do I request supplemental funds?
Requests for additional funding on an existing project are processed as proposals through OSP. You will need the following items:
- Proposal Review Form
- statement of work for the additional effort
- updated certification for all compliance issues if necessary
Make a notation of your current grant number on the Proposal Review Form.
- How do I request a change of Principal Investigator?
If a change of principal investigator is required on a project, a letter must be sent to the sponsor. The letter should be endorsed by the current PI, the proposed PI, and OSP. The letter should outline the qualifications of the new PI.
- I'm leaving. How do I take my grant with me?
Transferring a grant to another institution is a complicated process and requires proper timing to allow for the transfer and to allow for start-up at the new institution. Some sponsors have specific forms which must be completed to obtain a transfer. Other sponsors have no formal guidelines for transfers. There are general procedures that need to be followed here to prepare for a transfer. Note the following steps in preparing for a grant transfer: Select an arbitrary expiration date for your project. In order to relinquish the project, Contracts and Grants must be able to determine the residual funds remaining after all obligations have cleared. It takes at least 30 days after the expiration date to obtain this information.
If you purchased equipment and want to take this equipment with you when you move, you must obtain approval from your Chair, Dean, and the Business Manager's office. You will need to submit non-competing continuations for the next year's funds through your new institution. Grants from the National Institutes of Health require the completion of an NIH Relinquishing Interests Form.
Grants from NSF require completion of an NSF Grant Transfer Form. Once the grant has been relinquished, the sponsor will re-award the grant to the new institution.
- Other Considerations
- What if I have a significant financial interest in the company I am submitting this proposal to?
- What if cost sharing is required?
- What if human subjects are involved?
- What if DNA is involved?
- Policy: Projects involving the use of recombinant DNA molecules require initial and subsequent annual review by the DNA/Institutional Biosafety Committee (DNA/IBC). A Synopsis for Research Involving Recombinant DNA should be completed, signed and sent to the Office of Research Support and Compliance and Compliance (A3200) for forwarding to the DNA/IBC Commitee for review. You will receive a signed duplicate after review and approval. These requirements apply to both funded and non-funded research.
- Form (will need UT EID)
- What if I want to include a relative in my budget?
The University's policy on nepotism is found in the Handbook of Operating Procedures.
- What if radioactive material is involved?
If you will be using radioactive materials, read the university’s policies, guidelines, and manuals found here: https://ehs.utexas.edu/programs/radiation/.
- What if my project involves infectious agents/human blood/extreme toxins?
Researchers who are planning projects involving radiation/radioisotopes and/or infectious agents, human blood or extreme toxins should contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. In addition, required forms and certifications are now available at OEHS and OSP and need to be approved by OEHS and the Dean's Office before submission of your proposal to OSP.
- What if animals are involved?