Grants and Contracts Administration FAQ

Proposal Development
Proposal Preparation
Processing a Proposal Through the University
After Proposal Submission 
What is involved in accepting an award?
Post Award and Accounting

Proposal Development 

Where do I begin?

There are several online resources that will help you with proposal development. We have found a few to get you started.

Who can be a Principal Investigator?

A person holding any of the following academic ranks can service as a Lead PI or Principal Investigator (Co-PI):

  • Faculty (professor, associate professor, assistant professor;
  • Librarian, associate librarian
  • Research professor, research associate professor, research assistant professor
  • Research Scientist IV, research scientist III, and research scientist II
Others may request approval to serve as a Lead PI or Principal Investigator (Co-PI). For persons with the following job titles, Lead PI or Principal Investigator status may be requested by following these instructions:
  • Assistant librarian
  • Postdoctoral research associate
  • Research Scientist I
  • Director
  • Lecturer
  • Visiting professor
  • Adjunct professor
 

How do I find a sponsor?

There are several online sources to assist you in your search for an appropriate sponsor. Here are a few:

Proposal Preparation

Where do I get all the forms I need?

The applicant should contact the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration well in advance of the proposal submission deadline. 

Assignments of a Grants & Contracts Specialist are made through the online Grants & Contracts Specialist Request form. A completed request form is emailed to the Grants and Contracts Specialist and the GCS assigned to the PI's college will respond directly to the PI on the proposal submission to let them know of the assignment to the proposal.

The PI should submit a completed online Grants & Contracts Specialist Request form to tell OGCA that you intend to submit. A Grants & Contracts Specialist (GCS) will respond to your online form and will work on the proposal submission with the PI. The PI should submit the GCS request as soon as possible.

Proposal creators complete an internal routing form in Cayuse SP by answering questions about the proposed project, sponsors, subrecipients, compliance, and other institution-specific questions. Required forms are uploaded electronically within SP. When all questions are answered about the proposed project, all forms completed and uploaded, and the proposal that will be sent to the sponsor is complete, Cayuse SP routes automatically to the Lead Principal Investigator and all other Principal Investigators for approval and certification. (Should it be noted here that the proposal gets routed to us at the end for review?)

A complete listing of all forms used by Office of Grants and Contracts Administration is available on our Forms page. The forms page is broken up by the lifecycle of an award and by a few special topic areas. Also, each research compliance committee has forms specifically related to its responsibility on its own page.

How do I calculate the budget?

Preparation of the budget is, for many researchers, the most difficult section of the proposal. Granting agencies see hundreds of proposals yearly and are proficient at comparing level of funding requested to the scope of research work proposed. Therefore, it is important that the budget section of the proposal reflects, as accurately as possible, the funding needed to carry out the proposed research.

The Office of Grants and Contracts Administration (OGCA) created a budget tool to assist in completing a budget request, applying fringe benefit and facilities and administrative cost rates, documenting subrecepient agreements, consultants, matching funds, and cost-sharing. Prepared to handle a simple survey to a complex five year study, the budget tool takes care of the complicated calculations involved in drafting any budget. OGCA highly recommends that Investigators use a budget tool in order to estimate costs for all proposals. The latest version of the budget tool can be found HERE.

What if cost sharing is required?

Complete a separate budget for your cost shared expenses and items. After completing a cost share budget, complete a Cost Share Approval form and obtain required approvals. The cost share budget and cost share approval form should be uploaded as attachments in the proposal in Cayuse SP. Departments and Colleges will be required to approve proposals in Cayuse SP when items are noted or implied as cost share in the proposal documents. A blank copy of the current budget tool and Cost Share Approval form can be found HERE.

When do I need to submit a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure form?

All applicants for external funding and all researchers with active externally funded projects must complete and submit a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure form annually and upon acquiring new significant financial interests. Click HERE to complete the online disclosure process. For additional information, the Policy is found in Section 13.005 of the UNT Policy Manual and the procedures for conflict of interest review are found on the Financial Conflict of Interest page

What if I want to include a relative in my budget?

The University's policy on nepotism is found in Section 1.2.6 of the UNT Policy Manual.

What if human subjects are involved?

Any research involving the use of human subjects is required to secure Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to any contact with human subjects. While the typical connotation of human subject research suggests projects such as medical experiments, applications reviewed by the UNT IRB range from simple surveys to intense biofeedback research. It is recommended that Investigators review the guidelines, application, and training available from the IRB home page.

What if animals are involved?

Any research involving the use of live vertebrate animals is required to secure Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval prior to beginning the project. It is recommended that Investigators review the guidelines and applications can be found on the IACUC page.

What if recombinant DNA or biohazardous reagents are involved?

Projects involving the use of recombinant DNA molecules, human materials, or biohazardous reagents require prior approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). An IBC application for the registration of such projects should be completed, signed and sent to the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration for forwarding to the IBC for review. These requirements apply to both funded and non-funded research. The guidelines and application are available from the IBC home page.

What if my project involves radiation or lasers?

Researchers who are planning projects involving radiation/radioisotopes and/or lasers should contact the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration. Required forms are now available on the Radiation Safety Committee website.

Processing a Proposal Through the University

Submission Deadlines

The applicant should contact the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration well in advance of the proposal submission deadline. 

Assignments of a Grants & Contracts Specialist are made through the online Grants & Contracts Specialist Request form. A completed request form is emailed to the Grants and Contracts Specialist and the GCS assigned to the PI's college will respond directly to the PI on the proposal submission to let them know of the assignment to the proposal.

  • The PI should submit a completed online Grants & Contracts Specialist Request form to tell OGCA that you intend to submit. A Grants & Contracts Specialist (GCS) will respond to your online form and will work on the proposal submission with the PI and appropriate department or college personnel. The PI should submit the GCS request at least two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
  • The PI should route the entire proposal, ready to submit, with the appropriate internal documents (budget, budget justification, routing form, etc...) via Cayuse SP at least 4 business days prior to the submission deadline to insure the timely review of the complete proposal including the proposal budget for compliance with agency guidelines (RFP) and UNT policy.
  • Close attention should be paid to whether the deadline date is a received by date or a postmarked by date.

Routing Form

All proposals must be routed through Cayuse SP for certification by the Lead Principle Investigator and all Principal Investigators. Completing a proposal for routing through Cayuse SP serves four important purposes:

  1. It summarizes the basic information in the proposal that is required for submission, administration, and reporting of the award.
  2. It confirms that the applicant meets certain criteria as a Lead Principal Investigator.
  3. It verifies that the Lead Principal Investigator will take responsibility for compliance with the award terms and conditions.
  4. It certifies that the Department and College support of the project were applicable. A proposal is required to be reviewed and approved by Departments and Colleges when a proposal requests from a Department or College any cost share or match, buy-out or release from teaching, new or renovated space, or modification of indirect cost (IDC) distribution.

Authorizing Signatures

Most proposals require the signature of the applicant organization's Authorizing Organizational Representative (AOR). At UNT, this signature authority is held by several individuals in OGCA. Although the PIs are required to certify the proposal in Cayuse SP, they do not hold signature authority as the AOR. After all proposal documents have been reviewed for completeness and accuracy, the Grants & Contracts Specialist will secure the AOR signature as required.

Some sponsors require certifications and representations that give assurance that the University is compliant with specific regulations. The applicant (UNT) must provide this information in the format required by the sponsor.

  • Certifications and Representations
    As a recipient of federal funds, the University must be able to certify that it manages its activities with methods that comply with federal laws and regulations. These assurances, referred to as certifications and representations in grants and contracts, constitute "promises" on the part of the University that it wholly understands and will comply with the regulations. The applicant is not authorized to sign these documents on behalf of the University. The review and signatory certification of this information is the responsibility of the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration. The Certifications and Representations are signed by the AOR or designee.

Mailing the Proposal

Once the proposal has been reviewed and authorizing signatures secured, the PI is responsible for mailing (including appropriate number of copies) to the sponsor. When a proposal is being submitted in hard copy rather than electronically, and will be mailed, express mailed, or shipped with an overnight delivery service, the PI is encouraged to secure the routing number and evidence of pick-up and delivery.

What happens after proposal submission?

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 to be awarded.  At that point, it is assumed that an award is forthcoming, but the process of receiving the official award documents from the sponsor is quite involved.

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 it reaches the sponsor's contracts or grants office. At this point, the sponsor may issue an official notification that the proposal is awarded. This process takes anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks or longer.  Note: The award is not official until the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration receives an official award document from the sponsor's contracts office.

What is involved in accepting an award?

Before accepting an award on behalf of the University, the Grants & Contracts Specialist who worked on the proposal submission will, in most cases, review all terms and conditions and process. The Grants & Contracts Specialist may work with the OGCA Contracts team to negotiate award agreements. 

These items are checked during the review of an award and must be complete before being routed for a Project ID set up:

  • A current Financial Conflict of Interest on file with the UNT Office of Research Integrity and Compliance
  • Human and/or Animal Subjects Approvals with IRB/IACUC/Biosafety (if applicable)
  • Proposal on File
  • Budget and Budget Justification matching the award
  • Cost Share Approval form fully signed (if applicable)
  • Subrecipient Documents (if applicable)
  • Export Control review for licensing (if applicable)

Upon successful review of the award and/or negotiation of award terms and conditions, designated OGCA staff have the authority to sign the award on behalf of the University.

My award has been accepted, now what?

Once all documents have been received and your project has been reviewed and processed it will be routed to the OGCA Associate Director, who will post the new Project ID (ProjID) assigned to the award. The ProjID account should be used for the processing of project expenditures. 

Post Award and Accounting

Who do I contact for post-award accounting assistance?

The Grants and Contracts Administration staff have all been cross-trained in order to better assist Investigators with the execution of awards. Contact the OGCA Associate Director at Britt.krhovjak@unt.edu for any assistance.

 

Who do I contact if I need help and what can they help me with?

Although contacting any staff member of the four offices will get an Investigator on the right track, below is a list of the typical areas over which each office is responsible.

Office of Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer Intramural Funding
Office of Grants and Contracts Administration Sponsored Projects
Research Integrity & Compliance Research Compliance
Office of Technology Transfer Technology Transfer