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The Office of Sponsored Programs offers training sessions for faculty and staff interested in independently searching for funding opportunities. The sessions will provide training on how to use our current funding opportunity database Pivot and will assist faculty and staff in developing user profiles to receive direct funding opportunity announcements related to their research/program interests.

Pivot training sessions are offered on the first Wednesday of the month at 11 am in Spring Valley RM 318. Individual and department training sessions are also available by contacting


The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) is the Authorized Organizational Representative through which American University receives external funding. Therefore, all proposals for external funding must be processed through OSP.

If you are new to the proposal process at AU, we highly recommend that you start by contacting OSP. Our Pre-Award staff can assist you in thinking about all the components required for a competitive proposal.


After a proposal completes the institutional review and approval process, also known as routing, OSP will submit the proposal in the manner required by the sponsor.

Federal proposals will likely, but not exclusively be submitted through AU's proposal submission system, Cayuse SP. In some instances, federal proposals may be submitted via individual agency portals (IE: Fastlane, eRA Commons). To access Cayuse SP, go to and click on Technology on the navigation bar. A new page will appear with links. Go to the personalized links and click on Cayuse.

Proposals being submitted to other than federal sponsors can be submitted through those funders individual submission systems, by email, and even by snail-mail.

With the clear majority of proposals being submitted through some form of electronic system and due to the difficulties inherent in these systems, OSP cannot guarantee the timely submission of proposals that it receives less than 48 hours before the due date. Proposals that do not meet the advance submission requirement will be accepted and OSP will attempt to send the proposal. Missing the advance submission requirement will mean that, should the sponsor system be having difficulty, OSP may not be able to make alternative arrangements with the sponsor in time for the submission to be reviewed.

Should the sponsor require a revision after initial submission, OSP will determine the need for renewed institutional approval based on the scope of the revisions.

For information regarding Cayuse SP, please contact

Before award funds can be spent, OSP will review the award notice to ensure that the scope of work and other programmatic/technical components, as proposed in the agreement, are acceptable. OSP will also determine if a start-up meeting with the project team (PI, research administrators, researchers) is necessary. PI's will need to complete The Research Administration for the AU Investigator online course.

After the award has been accepted by the university, a start-up meeting has been conducted (if necessary) and the PI has completed the online course, Pre-Award staff will contact Grants and Contracts Accounting (GCA) to set-up an account for the new award.


Post-Award staff provides assistance to faculty and staff in managing sponsored awards. Primarily, Post-Award staff will prepare, review, and submit non-financial post-award changes (No-cost extensions, Rebudgeting, Change of PI). For financial management of an award, please contact Grants & Contracts Accounting (GCA).


Approximately 90 days before the expiration of a project, GCA will send e-mail notices to the principal investigator/project director and other members of the project team to remind them of the expected end date of a sponsored award. OSP will then follow up with the PI/PD regarding the project status.

OSP handles all necessary negotiations regarding property disposal or transfer, while Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) prepares the final financial report including all charges to date. The principal investigator/project director is responsible for notifying GCA of pending financial charges so that appropriate arrangements can be made for billing the sponsor. In addition, the Principal Investigator is responsible for filing the final technical report in accordance with the schedule contained in the award document or in the sponsor's published regulations.


PI RAC Module

Effective September 1, 2018, OSP and GCA will expand the Pilot PI Education Program to all principal investigators at AU who receive sponsored research awards. After September 1, documentation of completion of the two brief, self-paced online education modules will be required at the time of set-up of a sponsored award spending account.   

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