Section 5: Proposal Application Preparation


5.1 Overview of the Pre-Award Cycle

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5.2 The Faculty Perspective

For the Principal Investigator (PI), proposal application preparation begins with an idea. (S)He develops a research plan, often in conjunction with a liaison at the institution where (s)he works. The PI makes contacts to find consultants and collaborators interested in the project and to find possible funding sources. (S)He may also look at RFPs that seem to be a good fit for the research idea, or may ask you, the departmental research administrator, to assist in searching for funding opportunities.

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5.3 The Departmental Research Administrator Perspective

During the proposal preparation phase, you will work closely with your PI, so it is imperative that you develop a good working relationship with him/her by communicating about the kind of support (s)he would like and the kind of support you can provide in preparing and processing proposals applications. Some of your PIs will require a higher level of support than others. Knowing this information in advance of deadlines will help you balance your workload during the proposal preparation cycle. It is helpful to keep a schedule with the name of the PIs and the deadline dates for their proposals.

Find out if your PI has any travel plans during the proposal preparation and submission timeframe. Try to have the proposal completed prior to the PI's departure date, if (s)he will be unavailable on the deadline date. Although this may not always be possible, be sure to factor in travel, and any other availability issues into the proposal preparation timeline.

Generally, departmental research administrators assist with the following tasks during the proposal application preparation process:

The RFP usually requests a description of UT Austin infrastructure resources available to the PI for use in support of the research project. You should include information on the facilities and equipment that are available from your department at UT Austin or any other special resources necessary to complete the research (i.e., specialized equipment, core facilities, and/or extraordinary computer resources).

UT Austin has many internal store facilities that provide some of the basic supplies needed for conducting research, as well as some other facilities that provide access to large pieces of equipment. These entities usually charge for services on a unit basis or an hourly basis (or other pre-determined method to calculate the cost of use). Some provide supplies and services to the colleges, schools, and departments that house them and others provide service to the entire University. Check the Websites or call the facility manager for access and pricing information. The list below is by no means inclusive of the resources and facilities various colleges/schools/units (CSU) at UT Austin have to offer in support of research.

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5.4 The Nuts and Bolts of Preparing the Proposal Application

5.4.1 Print the FOA, submission instructions, and application forms from the appropriate funding organization's Web site.

Always download the most recent opportunity announcement. Remember that announcements can be revised or amended at any time by a sponsor so check for updates frequently.

If you plan on submitting proposals to private foundations, remember to contact Foundation Relations in the University Development Office at 475-9628. The PI may need to contact a program officer at the foundation to get the correct information about what the foundation requires for the proposal application.

5.4.2 Create the Proposal Review Form (PRF)

A proposal review form (PRF) alerts OSP that your proposal is in their queue for review and submission. You should create a PRF in OSP's Research Management System (RMS) as soon as you know your PI is going to submit a proposal.

The act of creating a proposal application in CAYUSE 424™, FastLane, or any other sponsor submission system DOES NOT alert OSP that a proposal is ready for submission. You MUST create AND submit a PRF in RMS. You will find it helpful to communicate frequently with the OSP staff throughout the application submission process.

5.4.3 Proposals to Grants.gov

Depending upon the opportunity, CAYUSE 424™ may support your Grants.gov submission. If so, create the proposal in CAYUSE 424™ and be sure to make your PI a "delegate." If your PI creates the proposal in CAYUSE 424™, ask them to add you as a "delegate" so you can access the proposal.

If, however, CAYUSE 424™ does not support your opportunity, you must follow the standard Grants.gov application process (i.e., download and complete an Adobe form set).

5.4.4 Proposals to NSF

The National Science Foundation increasingly utilizes Grants.gov for submission of NSF proposals. CAYUSE 424™ should be used to create proposal applications whenever possible. Consult your RFP's solicitation instructions for the proper method of submission.

If, however, submission via FastLane is required in the solicitation, OSP will use that system to submit your application. The PI must create a PIN number for you, if (s)he would like you to be able to view the proposal and follow its status.

5.4.5 Proposals to Limited Submissions Programs

Follow the instructions on UT Austin's Limited Submission Programs Web site and in the sponsor's proposal announcement. Be sure to know if your college or department has additional preparation and routing requirements. Here is a listing of limited submission opportunities at UT Austin. This listing is not exhaustive, as sponsors create and post new opportunities on a frequent basis. As always, read the opportunity announcement to see whether or not the sponsor is limiting the number of allowable applications from an institution.

5.4.6 Proposals to Private Foundations

Prior to beginning the proposal process, notify Foundation Relations in the University Development Office that you wish to submit a proposal to a foundation. Many foundations require background documentation that includes the total amount of sponsored funding, demographic information, minority representation, and more. Find out if the sponsor wants the information for the whole university, or your college, or school, or department. If they want the information for all of UT Austin, it can be found in the annual Statistical Handbook produced by the Office of Information Management and Analysis. For college, school, or department information you will work with someone in your college who has access to the needed information. Your college's development officer in your Dean's Office would be a good place to start to find out who can help you gather the necessary documentation.

Some foundations require that their funding be donated through the University of Texas Foundation. In this case, notify Foundation Relations (FR) in the University Development Office for assistance with the proper letters and backup documentation.

5.4.7 Proposals to Corporate Sponsors

Provide your PI with "A Principles and Policies Guide for Sponsored Activity" as a guide for discussions with corporate sponsors. Sometimes corporate sponsors have terms and conditions which are at odds with those of UT Austin and negotiation is required. Often negotiations with corporate sponsors involve intellectual property issues and may also require non-disclosure agreements. Questions related to corporate sponsorship should be referred to Bill Catlett, Director, Office of Industry Engagement or call 471-6279.

5.4.8 Using Proposal Application Checklists

Use the checklists you developed as you were reading the RFP, as well as Template 5.5 Proposal Preparation and Template 5.6 Compliance Checklists to guide you through the process of preparing the proposal. Adapt them to your specific proposal application.

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5.5 OSP Resources: Preparing Proposal Applications

The OSP Handbook on OSP's Web site contains important information which may assist you in preparing the proposal application. The most common tips can be found below.

5.5.1 Proposal Preparation

The OSP Handbook requests that a copy of the sponsor's guidelines and documentation be sent to the proposal specialist assigned to your PI.

5.5.2 Proposal Format

If the sponsor does not have a specified proposal format you can use the suggested format in the OSP Handbook.

5.5.3 UT Austin Institution "Boilerplate" Information

Find UT Austin boilerplate information here.

5.5.4 Export Control Issues

The unlicensed export of certain commodities (technologies) or information is prohibited by U.S. federal laws for reasons of national security or trade protection. For example, export control issues can arise because the nature of the export has actual or potential military applications or economic protection issues; there are concerns about the destination country, organization, or individual, or there are government concerns about the declared or suspected end use or the end user of the export.

Most exports do not require government licenses. However, licenses are required for exports that the U. S. government considers "license controlled" under the following: The Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR),The Department of State's International Traffic In Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

PIs should review their research projects to determine whether and, if so how, they might be impacted by US export control regulations. OSP will assist PIs in assessing the application of the regulations, but primary compliance responsibility rests with the principal investigator of the research project. The consequences of violating these regulations can be quite severe, including the loss of research contracts, monetary penalties, and jail time for the individual violating these regulations.

During the proposal application review process, your PI will be contacted by David Ivey, the university's Export Controls Officer if OSP determines that there might be issues relating to export controls. If you have questions you may call David at 512-475-7963.

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5.6 Compliance and Oversight Committees: Human Subjects, Animals, recombinant DNA (rDNA), and Biosafety Materials

Prior to issuing an award, funding agencies require oversight committee approval for studies using human subjects, animals, recombinant DNA, or other hazardous materials. When preparing your proposal application, check the sponsor guidelines to verify when exactly your PI needs to have an approved protocol in hand. Determine if the PI already has committee approval or if he has applied for these authorizations. Does s/he have to have the protocol numbers for these approvals prior to submission of the proposal application? Or, will the sponsor allow for "Just in Time" (JIT) approvals? "Just in Time" means a PI can submit his proposal application to sponsors pending the oversight committee approvals. However, these approvals have to be in place prior to the award being issued to the institution.

5.6.1 Oversight Committees at UT- Austin

Information related to obtaining approvals from UT — Austin's oversight committees is available on the Office of Research Support (ORS) Web site. You can assist your PI by finding out which approvals are required at the proposal application submission point and which, if any, can be provided to the sponsor at a later date, (but prior to the project start).

Review and oversight committees only meet monthly, so it is crucial to know if a proposal protocol requires full committee review. Your paperwork must be submitted by the committee's deadline in order to be reviewed at a monthly meeting. If your study proposal requires full committee review, the compliance protocol must be submitted in time to be approved before the sponsoring agency's submission deadline occurs. Check the specific Web sites of the various UT Austin review boards for committee review meeting deadlines.

When a study protocol is submitted to an oversight committee, a unique number is assigned. This number does not represent committee approval. Once a study protocol has been reviewed and approved, a letter will be issued from the oversight committee documenting that the PI is allowed to proceed with the study.

Links to individual entities which support research compliance issues at UT Austin are listed below.

5.6.2 Animal Use and Care

UT Austin has the responsibility to ensure that experimentation with all animals conducted under its auspices (warm/cold-blooded and vertebrates/invertebrates), except human subjects, follows the regulations and guidelines as established by the Animal Welfare Act, the Animal Welfare Regulations (AWRs), and Public Health Service Policy. Copies of these publications are available for review at UT Austin's Animal Research Center (ARC).

Proposals involving the use of animals must be reviewed and given preliminary approval for submission for funding by the ARC Director prior to being brought to the OSP for processing. Researchers and/or teaching faculty who are planning projects involving the use of any animal should contact both the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Program Coordinator (512/475-8650)and the ARC Director in the early stages of planning.

5.6.3 Human Subjects

UT Austin faculty, staff, students or employees who propose to engage in any research involving the use of human subjects must have prior review and approval of that activity by their Departmental Review Committee (DRC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is UT Austin policy that all protocols involving the use of human subjects be reviewed by the DRC and the IRB. The IRB is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of subjects who may be at risk through participation in such activities. These requirements apply to both funded and non-funded research regardless of whether the research is performed at UT Austin or other locations and regardless of whether another IRB has reviewed the protocol.

5.6.4 recombinant DNA

Projects involving the use of recombinant DNA (rDNA) molecules require initial and subsequent annual review by the DNA/Institutional Biosafety Committee (DNA/IBC). The ORS website provides helpful information for researchers using rDNA.

5.6.5 Radiation/Radioisotopes and Infectious Agents, Human Blood or Extreme Toxins

Researchers who are planning projects involving radiation/radioisotopes and/or infectious agents, human blood or extreme toxins should contact the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) coordinator at 232-9674 or email ibc@austin.utexas.edu with questions. See More IBC Information and IBC Forms.

5.6.6 Controlled Substances/DEA Licensing

Items defined as controlled substances require DEA licensing of the PI who intends to use them in his/her research. UT Austin's Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Web site provides instructions for applying for a DEA license.

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5.7 Additional Proposal Writing and Preparation Resources

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5.8 Proposal Preparation Timelines

Proposal Preparation Timelines

WEEK

ACTION

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Get idea and develop research plan X X X X X X X X X X X X
Look for funding X X X X                
Download RFP and Sponsor Guidelines/Instructions   X X X X              
Read RFP and Guidelines/Instructions; create checklists   X X X X              
Contact sponsor for clarification of guidelines. This can occur at any time during the process in order to ensure that the application and the research plan are developed according to sponsor needs.         X X X X X X X X
Create PRF in RMS         X X            
Create proposal in CAYUSE424™, FastLane, or sponsor required format. Update proposal as you obtain information and materials           X X X X X X X
Send requests for letters of support and/or assurance     X X X              
Identify key personnel. Request CVs and biosketches and format     X X X X X X X X    
Follow-up on requests for letters of support; certifications; biosketches; CVs, etc.               X X X X  
Receive Word doc from PI for formatting                   X    
Format according to sponsor guidelines                   X X  
PI final review                     X  
Complete PRF and Upload documents to RMS                     X X
Submit to OSP for Review by OSP deadline                     X X
Respond to requests from OSP                     X X
Proposal is submitted to sponsor                       X

 

 

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