Lifecycle of a 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 by preparing a Funding Proposal record in the Grants Module of the UT Research Management Suite. Proposal Budgets (BU) should be created within the system, and not uploaded as separate attachments and spreadsheets.

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
  • Cost Share Recap Form
    • Third party cost share commitment letters
  • Consultant letters of commitment

What are the timelines (deadlines)?

Funding Proposal records must be submitted to OSP via UTRMS four (4) business days before the submission deadline. Proposals should be complete when submitting to OSP for review and submission.

I've submitted my proposal, now what?

By accessing UT Research Management Suite, 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?

Setting up an Award

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 Post-Award 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.

PI 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 (PDF).

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

Budget Negotiations

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.

Business Negotiations

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.

Federal Awards:

  • Terms and Conditions are usually predetermined, however, negotiations may be required.

Non-Federal Awards:

  • 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.

Signing the Award

Award documents take many forms depending upon the type of sponsor and project. ThesAward 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, all documentation (proposal and award) will be moved forward to Post-Award, who will then assign an account number and setup the account. Once the Principal Investigator receives notification of the project account number from Post-Award, 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 your designated Post-Award specialist within OSP.

How do I request for project extensions?

Project extension requests must be submitted to our OSP Post-Award team, via the Grants specialist or Post-Award specialist. Generally, federal sponsors issuing award using the terms and conditions (T&C) of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) allow a one-time, 12-month grantee-approved no-cost extension. If the one-year extension has already been used, subsequent extension requests must be submitted through OSP to obtain sponsor approval. For details on Project Extension Request processes and requirements, view the Project Extensions Request Guide (PDF).

Requests for no-cost extensions to industry sponsors should be addressed to Collaborative Research in Discovery to Impact:, (512) 471-2995.

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’s Post-Award team. If you have questions about what is allowed, contact your Post-Award specialist.

How do I request supplemental funds?

Requests for additional funding on an existing project are processed as proposals through OSP’s Pre-Award team. You will need the following items:

  • Completion of a Funding Proposal (FP) via UTRMS (Work with Proposal Analyst to ensure FP is linked to existing activity Budget
  • 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, OSP 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?

See the Conflict of Interest page and the Policies page for information.

What if cost sharing is required?

See the Cost Sharing page for information.

What if human subjects are involved?

See information on the Human Subjects Research page.

What if DNA is involved?

Projects involving the use of recombinant DNA molecules require initial and subsequent annual review by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). See the rDNA Biosafety page for more information.

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 on Radiation Safety.

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?

If you are conducting research involving animals, read the University Policy and complete the appropriate forms