OSP | Proposal Guide | Processing the Proposal

In the course of developing and preparing a proposal, Principal Investigators, the OSP staff, the School/College Deans, and the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research work together to ensure that a complete product is submitted to the sponsoring agency.

Roles and Responsibilities
The Principal Investigator
The OSP Staff Member
The School/College Dean
The Office of the Provost

Routing through the University

Roles and Responsibilities


The Principal Investigator

  • Contacts OSP at early stages of project conceptualization.
  • Writes technical narrative with guidance from OSP.
  • Drafts list of costs for project.
  • Discusses with teaching unit head and School/College Dean the intent to submit a proposal, and its benefits and implications.
  • Secures approval of compliance committee(s) (for animal subjects, human subjects, or radioactive materials).
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The OSP Staff Member

  • Identifies possible funding sources.
  • Develops budgets and budget narratives within appropriate guidelines, verifying salaries and confirming costs.
  • Coordinates with the University Development Office.
  • Coordinates University Pre-Approval Process in advance of proposal submission for those proposals over $250,000 and those proposals of any dollar amount that are sent to an international address.
  • Completes proposal forms required by the University and the sponsor.
  • Prepares capability statements appropriate to the project.
  • Drafts transmittal letters to the proposed sponsor.
  • Compiles complete proposal packages.
  • Coordinates the University review process, securing necessary approvals and signatures.
  • Has proposal packages copied and bound for submission.
  • Submits proposal and copies to sponsor.
  • Arranges for courier service, hand-delivery, or express mail.
  • Distributes copies to signatories.
  • Makes follow-up phone calls to monitor status of proposals.
  • Coordinates budget revisions and re-submissions as necessary.
  • Arranges for debriefings with prospective sponsors, as appropriate.

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The School/College Dean

  • Reviews substantive content of proposal and examines proposal objectives in terms of the goals of the college and teaching unit.
  • Allocates cost share resources for direct cost items.
  • Allocates college resources to ensure that adequate space, facilities, equipment, and support services are available.
  • Approves course release time and determines teaching replacement needs.

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The Office of the Provost

Assisted by the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Presents all requests for unilateral waivers of indirect costs requested by deans and principal investigators to the Provost for consideration.
  • Approves exceptions to policy in consultation with the Provost.
  • Confirms all faculty appointments pursuant to existing appointment procedures.
  • Reviews proposals to determine that academic, legal, and financial interests of the University are preserved.

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Routing through the University

Once the approval form, the technical proposal, the budget proposal, and all attachments are prepared, OSP will obtain the required signatures.

The final submission represents an offer by the University to perform the activities specified in the proposal. The review and approval process ensures compliance with both sponsor and University policies. 

As the certifying official for the university, the Institutional Signatory requires sufficient time to review and sign proposals. A proposal must be in the office of the Institutional Signatory twenty-four (24) hours before it is due. Proposals that reach the office on the day they are due will not be signed unless the Dean of the School or College makes a special request.

For proposals under $250,000 going to a U.S. address, you should allow a minimum of one week for the review and signing of the approval form. Proposals that have a cumulative total of $250,000 and more and proposals of any amount going to an international address must have completed the University's pre-approval process. Allow three weeks prior to the submission date of such proposals for the pre-approval process.

Signatures required vary with the type of project being proposed. When the principal investigator signs the approval form, he or she is approving the entire proposal and assuming responsibility for

  • the scope of scientific and technical effort,

  • preparation of required technical reports, and

  • management of the project within the budget and time constraints of the proposal in compliance with sponsor regulations and University policies.

The principal investigator may not delegate his or her authority to approve proposals.

Teaching unit heads and college deans certify the academic soundness of the project, facility and space availability, cost sharing (other than any indirect cost waiver that is a documented sponsor policy), course release arrangements, and the compatibility of the project's goals with the teaching unit's objectives.

Proposals are routed through the teaching unit, School/College Deans, and the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research/Director of OSP. A project involving faculty or staff from more than one unit must be routed through all units involved. Projects that provide credit as part of the overall project must be priced by the University Budget Office as well as approved on the routing form. OSP can assist in the preparation of these budgets but receives final approval for pricing from the Budget Office.

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