Submit Proposals

Key Steps

1. Contact OSP and receive necessary training on internal routing and the process of submission (which varies significantly depending on sponsor), as well as getting a copy of any internal forms that need to be completed (usually a budget estimating spreadsheet and a conflict of interest form).

2. Finalize a budget and budget justification, sign and provide OSP with a copy of your conflict of interest form and export control form, and complete a draft of your narrative. Attach all required documentation to your Streamlyne proposal, including: draft narrative, budget estimate, budget justification, abstract, conflict of interest form, and export control form. Complete the summary page of your Streamlyne proposal and begin routing.

3. Work with OSP to address any concerns that internal reviewers may have, and ensure that internal approvals are complete.

4. Most of the time (especially in the case of state and federal sponsors), OSP will submit your proposal on behalf of the university using the funding agency's online software. Sometimes the PI will be require to submit themselves--please clarify with OSP which method will be used for each individual proposal ahead of time.

Key Information:

Internal Review and Approval

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 is at least reviewed and approved by the Department Chair/Unit Head as well as the Dean of the College. Proposals may also require additional resources, facilities/space, release time, or commitments on the part of the University, necessitating other reviewers such as the Procurement Office or Business and Finance. This review and concurrence ensures that the University will be able to meet any requirements in your proposal. The last reviewer will always be the University's Authorized Official Representative (AOR).

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. More information on these compliance issues can be found on the Compliance page.

Recommended PI and Proposal Timeline Considerations

90 Days Prior to the Deadline:
The PI informs OSP of their intent to submit. As soon as the PI decides to submit a proposal, they should also inform their unit head, dean, and the OSP. This prior notification is especially important in the following instances:

  • If the project is particularly large or complex
  • Unusual terms and conditions referenced in the funding announcement
  • Limitations on the number of institutional applicants
  • Interdisciplinary proposals requiring approvals from multiple units or colleges
  • Partnerships with other agencies/Universities which may result in subawards or contracts

During the 90 days before the deadline, you should work with the Grants and Contracts Specialist responsible for your college to establish a budget, find match/cost share if needed, work out a plan for the project submission (who is submitting and when), and complete a Streamlyne proposal for routing.

5 Business Days Prior to the Sponsor Deadline:
The PI submits or has already submitted all required documents to OSP, including:

  • Signed and completed conflict of interest form (Forms)
  • Sponsor guidelines, funding announcement
  • A draft proposal narrative
  • A final budget, including commitments for any matching funds
  • Budget justification
  • Special administrative documents (if applicable) required by sponsor
  • All other proposal components

The proposal is then routed through Cayuse, and will be reviewed and approved by the AOR last.

3 Days Prior to submission:

The completed proposal (all final documents, no drafts) must be released to the OSP two business days prior to the deadline. This allows for one last check by the OSP and the AOR to resolve any errors or further corrections that need to be made. With a confirmation from the PI, the AOR will submit the proposal to the sponsor on behalf of the University. Almost all sponsors require submission by the AOR, only in specific circumstances will the PI submit the proposal and in those cases the PI may only do so AFTER approval by the AOR, per University procedures.

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.


The vast majority of proposals are submitted electronically, either through a sponsor specific website/portal, via Streamlyne (all federal proposals except for those to the National Science Foundation are submitted through Streamlyne), or via email. If you are unsure which of methods will be used, or if hard copies need to be mailed to a sponsor, please let your Grants and Contracts Specialist know.

It's important to note that except in extremely rare cases, sponsors make awards to the University instead of the PI as an individual, which means that proposals must be submitted on behalf of the University by the University's AOR. Submitting a proposal to a sponsor as the PI without approval of the AOR will likely lead to the disqualification of your proposal, if not by the sponsor, by the University.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

In the scope of externally sponsored projects, Conflicts of Interest (COIs) are defined as a situation in which a person (either the PI or a person at the sponsor to which the PI is applying) is in a position to derive personal benefit from awarding the proposal. This is typically manifested by someone applying to an organization where a family member has a say in which proposals get awarded, for example. If this is the case, the COI must be reported to GVSU and often to the potential sponsor. Not disclosing COIs can lead to stiff penalties to the individuals involved, as well as to the University.

To ensure that COIs are disclosed, GVSU has two COI forms, one for submissions to the National Institutes of Health (called the PHS Conflict of Interest Form) and the other which is used for any other sponsor (called the Standard Conflict of Interest Form). Each PI will need to fill out one of them before submission of your proposal even if you do not have a COI to disclose. Both of these forms can be found on our Forms page.

Human/Animal Subjects

Please read sponsor guidelines carefully regarding human and animal research subject approvals. Some sponsors require institutional approval letters at the time of application submission, but most often these approvals can be acquired during or around the time of the award. Regardless of the timing, if you have human subjects or animal subjects involved in your proposed project you will need to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approvals, respectively, at some point. 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. If you receive an award that requires IRB/IACUC approval, OSP will not release your funds and no work on the project can start until the respective approvals are confirmed.

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 Compliance page contains links to all of these and more internal compliance organization.

Page last modified July 13, 2020