A Sponsored Program or Project is a project that is funded by an external source, or in other words, not by Grand Valley State University (GVSU). External sources include those from government programs or foundations. The process of writing, submitting, accepting, and managing a sponsored program is coordinated by GVSU's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), and we're always here to help!
We work with principal investigators (PIs) during all of the steps needed to find, obtain, and manage external awards. Most importantly, under current university procedure, proposals to external sponsors must be submitted through the OSP. Since we assist the PI at all steps of the process, it's a good idea to contact us as early as possible when considering applying for external funding for a project.
For a directory of OSP staff, including email addresses and telephone numbers, click here.
B&F - Business and Finance, Office of
COI - Conflict of Interest CSCE - Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence F&A - Facilities and Administration FAR - Federal Acquisitions Regulations FFATA - Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act FOA - Funding Opportunity Announcement FOAP - Fund Organization Account Program GVSU - Grand Valley State University HRRC - Human Research Review Committee HRSA - Health Resources and Services Administration IACUC - Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee IRAF - Internal Review and Approval Form IRB - Institutional Review Board LOI - Letter of Intent NIH - National Institutes of Health NSF - National Science Foundation OMB - Office of Management and Budget OSP - Office of Sponsored Programs PA - Program Announcement PD - Program Director PI - Principal Investigator RANF - Request to Add New Fund RCR - Responsible Conduct of Research RFI - Request for Information RFP - Request for Proposals TTO - Technology Transfer Office For a complete glossary, click here.
There are some forms that must be completed and submitted to OSP prior to submitting a grant: a signed and completed Internal Approval and Review Form (IRAF), a copy of the proposal and budget, and a signed Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Form.
Registration for Cayuse424, as well as training for the program, is also necessary before submitting a grant. Cayuse424 is a web-based system-to-system application to submit proposals to federal sponsors through Grants.gov and Research.gov. It is extremely user-friendly, providing easy navigation between multiple proposal forms, and Autofill capability, which eliminates multiple entries, and automatic error tracking and correction. Cayuse424 is both PC and Mac compatible.
Most PIs at GVSU have been preloaded as a user in Cayuse424. If you aren't, please contact the OSP.
Login at: gvsu.cayuse424.com At the Cayuse 424 login page, enter the following information.
Username: First part of GroupWise email address. Example: GroupWise email = email@example.com, therefore Cayuse424 username = chambech.
Password: For training class, password is set to "cayuse." Otherwise, click on the link: First time signing-in & need password? If your username is not in Cayuse424, please contact the OSP.
Cayuse424 runs entirely in a web browser. Firefox is recommended, but Internet Explorer with a PC is also compatible. Please set your browser configuration settings as follows:
Cookies: Enabled Pop-ups: Allowed
The Office of Sponsored Programs offers training each semester on how to create proposals in Cayuse424. Please check the Cayuse section of our website for the next training date, or check our website for links to Cayuse FAQ's, user manual, PowerPoint demos, and other instructional materials.
Some government sponsors also require that a PI register with their grant electronic research administration. Two examples are NIH, which requires registration with their eRA Commons, and NSF, which requires registration with FastLane.
Proposals to external funding sources create infrastructure, technical, and financial commitments, some of which are stated and others implied. If the proposal is awarded, it is critical that GVSU and the PI are able to fulfill these commitments. These commitments include time and effort, which is the percentage of time the PI will spend devoted to the specific project as well as laboratory/work space, whose availability must be verified before the application is submitted. Further examples of direct commitments follow:
The first type of direct commitment is related to time and effort, and it includes:
The second type of direct commitment is related to facilities, including:
The third type of direct commitment is related to equipment, including:
The following are examples of important items to note in sponsor guidelines. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list.
All guidelines are subject to change, and if you have questions, please contact the OSP
Internal Review and Approval Form (IRAF)
As stated by the Sponsored Agreement Procedures:
All proposals to be submitted to an external sponsor must undergo internal review and approval. This review ensures that a proposal meets with the Department Chair/Unit Head approval, as well as that of the Dean of the College. Proposals may also require additional resources, facilities/space, release time, overload, or commitments on the part of the University. This review and concurrence ensures that the University will be able to meet those requirements.
The internal review also addresses key compliance issues such as the protection of human subjects, care and use of animals in research, laboratory safety training, hazardous materials and controlled substances, and export controls.
The IRAF also serves to meet the Financial Disclosure/Conflict of Interest requirements of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, which is required at the time of submission. The disclosures provided on this form are signed off by both the Department Chair/Unit Head and the Dean of the College. Signed original copies of this form are kept with each proposal application and subsequent award.
Signatures required on this form include: Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator, Department Chair/Unit Head, Dean, Office of University Development (for proposals submitted to private foundations), the University Controller, and the University Authorizing Official. If the proposal includes a Graduate Assistant (GA) Request, an authorization and signature from the Office of Graduate Studies will also be required.
A copy of the Internal Review and Approval form and the complete proposal must be submitted to the OSP at least 5 days prior to the sponsor's proposal deadline. While routing the IRAF, please remember that the OSP accepts electronic copies as long as the original form follows in the campus mail. If you have questions concerning the IRAF or its routing, please contact us.
For a copy of the form, click here.
90 Days Prior to the Deadline:
The PI informs the appropriate departments and OSP of their intent to submit. As soon as the PI decides to submit a proposal, they should inform their unit head, dean, and the OSP. This prior notification is especially important in the following instances:
OSP Review Process:
The OSP proposal review process assists the PI to ensure compliance with sponsor and institutional policies
5 Business Days Prior to the Sponsor Deadline:
The PI/Department submits proposal review materials, including the signed IRAF to OSP, which must include:
3 Days Prior to submission:
The completed proposal must be released to the OSP two business days prior to the deadline. This allows for one last check by the OSP to resolve any errors or further corrections that need to be made, followed by successful submission. The PI then monitors the submission until the Sponsor accepts the proposal for review.
Late Submission to Internal Deadlines:
If the proposal materials do not reach the OSP by the internal deadlines (listed above), the proposal is considered late. The proposal will still be submitted as soon as possible, but the PI assumes the risk that he/she may need to correct errors in electronic submission and that the final proposal deadline might be missed.
Remember: Proposals should adequately represent the estimated total time commitment of the key personnel that are committing to the project. In preparing proposals, PIs must be careful not to over commit themselves or others. In determining percentage of effort, the PI must take into account the time required for teaching, meetings, campus events, etc.
If you have questions concerning these or any other proposal considerations, please email us by clicking here.
For a staff directory, click here.
Conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
Direct costs are defined by the Federal Government in the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 as "costs that can be identified specifically with a sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy." In other words, direct costs are those that, if not for the existence of the grant, would not be incurred. They must also be allowable, as described by federal cost principles, and reasonable or consistent with the amount a prudent person would spend.
The following direct cost categories are typically used on most proposals:
Salaries, Wages, and Student Stipends - Starting with the PI, list the names and positions of all "key personnel." Then list the names and positions of all support personnel. Determine the "level of effort" or other measure of time commitment to the program for each individual.
Salary support for administrative and clerical staff is usually not requested (or allowed) in a grant budget, unless the project's requirement for these personnel far exceeds that the level of routine services the academic department provides.
Time spent on proposal preparation may not be allocated to a grant as a direct cost.
Fringe Benefits - Indicate the total amount of fringe benefits, based upon GVSU's approved rate structure.
Separately list each item of equipment with a unit cost greater than $5,000. Always provide an adequate justification of the need for each item requested. If a specific brand name and/or model of equipment is requested, work with Procurement Services and provide actual estimate from manufacturer.
Describe the purpose and destination, when known, for the trip(s) and the individual(s) for whom travel funds are being requested. First class airfare is not allowed and all foreign travel using federal funds must be on US flag carriers whenever possible.
Consultant or Professional Services:
Indicate the name, when known, of each consultant and itemize costs including number of days, daily rate of pay, travel, and other related costs. A letter of intent to participate in the project should be appended to the proposal. Please note that some agencies, like NSF, have limits on fees.
Proposals that include consortium sites (subcontracts) must include: letter of intent to establish a consortium site's institutional official, budget, and statement.
Materials and Supplies:
Includes items such as chemicals, electronics, and laboratory materials used in the project. Do not include general office supplies, such as notebooks, paper, and pens.
Other Direct Costs:
Itemized by category, such as publications, graphic services, photography, maintenance, and service agreements, computer charges, rentals and leases, service centers, and tuition/fees.
Indirect costs are also known as Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A), and are defined as those costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, instructional activity, or any other institutional activity.
Indirect costs include expenses that cannot be charged directly such as lights and heat, snow removal, building maintenance, general office supplies, telephone line charges, postage, and the services of administrative costs such as those of the OSP.
GVSU has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate of 41% (calculated using a base of the GVSU salaries, wages, and fringe directly charged to the project), however some federal agencies limit this rate. Foundations also have varying indirect cost rates, which can be found in the program description.
Examples of Costs Covered by Indirect Costs:
Generally, a cost without a reasonable justification invites elimination by the sponsor. There are a variety of methods used to justify amounts requested and many sponsors require that their guidelines are followed.
While OMB Circular A-110 defines cost-sharing or matching interchangeably as meaning "that portion of project or program costs not borne by the federal government," many institutions commonly differentiate between the two, as follows:
The portion of the project or program costs funded with institutional funds.
Note: Uncompensated effort on a project is considered cost-sharing and must be addressed. See division-specific sections for further information.
Funds raised by the institution from external sources for the purpose of supporting a portion of project or program costs, including cash and in-kind contributions of time and effort, equipment etc.
Donated materials or services in support of a supported research project. A further breakdown by type of cost-sharing will be tracked for all proposals and awards. Regardless of what terminology is used, these cost-sharing/matching contributions must meet all of the following criteria in order to qualify as cost-sharing or matching under federally-funded programs or projects subject to OMB Circular A-110:
Upon receipt of an award, documentation of cost sharing and/or matching fund is the responsibility of the OSP grant manager. The recipient department must be able to reconcile and justify the type of expense throughout the life of an award, and ensure that all cost-share obligations, including uncompensated time, are met.
Contact OSP pre-award to discuss sponsor requirements (programmatically-required cost-sharing levels, budget caps, etc.) and any other cost-sharing, like uncompensated effort.
Determine your level and source of cost-sharing and communicate your plan with the appropriate dean or designee.
All cost-sharing must be approved in advance by the appropriate dean or designee on the IRAF. The commitment to provide in-kind cost-sharing by other organizations should be documented in writing in a letter signed by an authorized official of the organization and attached to the IRAF.
Negotiations between OSP and the potential sponsor are sometimes necessary, especially if the award is a contract, in order to attain terms and conditions for conduct of the project which preserve the needs of the sponsor, the College, and the investigators.
Negotiating points may resolve issues such as:
Any concerns on the part of the investigator should be conveyed to OSP. (Do we have institutional policies for some of these negotiation points?)
Occasionally, proposals involving large scale or complex scopes of work will result in a site visit by the sponsor. The purpose of these visits is to reassure the sponsor that the program will be completed successfully. These visits may occur prior to funding or during the project period. Issues involved in site visits include programmatic clarification, project timetables, staffing, reviews of financial and organizational controls, and tours of facilities. They can and often do take as many as three days to complete and require participation by faculty and administrative staff. Many agencies are substituting teleconferences for site visits to reduce costs.
Please inform OSP as soon as you have been contacted about scheduling a site visit. OSP is frequently included in these visits to provide information on the institution's administration structure and all communications with external parties, like funding agencies.
Please read sponsor guidelines carefully regarding human and animal research subject approvals. Some sponsors require institutional approval letters at the time of application submission. Many sponsors are adopting NIH's "just-in-time" mechanism for final IRB/IACUC approvals to reduce the burden on institutional boards for projects that might not be funded. Because there might be little time between notification that a proposal might be funded and the award, it is recommended to prepare the IACUC and IRB approval ahead of time.
Please contact the HRRC (Human Research Review Committee) at an early stage about the status of your project in terms of human subjects. Projects involving surveys, human cells, or medical records may require IRB approval. The HRRC staff will provide advice about the level of review required (expedited, full committee, etc.) and the associated fees.
The following are the most typical award instruments used by the federal government and other sponsors.
When awards are received, the following steps are subsequently completed:
"Pre-award spending" of up to 90 days prior to the start date may be allowed by the sponsor, but requires not only written approval of the sponsor, but also OSP approval.
It is important to understand that any expenses incurred prior to the receipt of an actual award place the University at risk. If expected award does not materialize. Contact OSP with any questions regarding pre-award spending.
The PI, as Project Manager, has three primary responsibilities:
Each award received can have a variety of reporting requirements with which GVSU must comply during the life (project period) of the award and beyond. OSP transmits copies of all awards to the PI and other relevant offices to make them aware of the terms and conditions of awards, including which reports will be due and report deadlines.
Closeout memos will be sent to the PI and all other relevant parties as reminders that the grant is ending. These memos will be sent out 120, 90, 60, and 30 days prior to the closeout date of the award, and will include the reporting requirements that must be completed by the closeout date.
Upon receipt of an award transmittal, investigators must become familiar with these award terms and conditions. Any questions about what will be required should be addressed immediately by contacting OSP. Below are the typical characteristics that apply to the various types of reporting requirements.
Programmatic Reporting and/or Other Deliverables:
The PI is responsible for monitoring periodic progress reports and invoices for compliance with the terms of the subaward. As a result, the PI is expected to:
Non-compliance with technical reporting requirements or dissatisfaction with level of subrecipient progress should be reported immediately to OSP. If there are issues with costs and/or work progress, the PI should not sign off on the invoice in question. A revised invoice will be requested from subrecipient or the invoice will be suspended until issues are resolved.
The following is a checklist of the PI's responsibilities at the time of closeout.
90 Days before Budget/Project End Date:
At Budget/Project End Date:
Within 60 Days after Budget/Project End Date:
All financial reports are prepared and submitted by Grants Accounting.
Within 90 Days after Budget/Project End Date:
Provide OSP With Copies of All Final Reports:
Ultimately, the PI is responsible for ensuring that all requirements have been met.
Depending on the type of award and the sponsor, there can be a number of regulations with which GVSU must comply. This section covers some of the key compliance requirements that are consistently applied to most GVSU business transactions with a sponsor.
US Office of Management & Budget (OMB), Circular A-21:
Covers cost principles, which are applicable to grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.
Defines and expands upon:
It is important to refer to guideline updates on allowable costs.
US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Circular A-110:
Covers administrative requirements, which apply to grants and cooperative agreements.
Defines and expands upon:
US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Circular A-133:
Covers audits, which apply to grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.
Defines and expands upon:
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR):
Covers principles relating to contracts only.
Defines and expands upon:
Agency Implementing and Supplementing Guidelines:
Keep in mind that the terms and conditions of each award refer to specific regulations that you should be familiar with as the PI of the project. However, in general you should know that:
The PI assumes several responsibilities, such as compliance with award terms and conditions, responsible management of their grant, and certifying time and effort of the personnel paid by the grant. A full list of these responsibilities are listed in the GVSU Principal Investigator General Responsibilities Form.