Grant agreement

Magui Cardona & Marc Lennon
Office of Sponsored Research
Workshop Outline
• Searching for funding opportunities
• Reading the RFP & interpreting agency
• Proposal development
• Budget development
• Institutional routing & approval policies
• Proposal submission
• Peer-review & resubmission
Why get grants?
• Enables your research project
• Allows you to maintain a reduced teaching
load through buyouts
• May provide summer salary, student
assistants & travel funds for research work
• Ultimately leads to more publications,
increasing your tenure potential
Grant Life Cycle
Types of Funding Agreements
• Procurement contract – The principal
purpose is the acquisition of goods & services
for the direct benefit of the government
• Grant agreement – The principal purpose is
the transfer of funds to recipients to carry out
a public purpose (research)
• Cooperative agreement – Like a grant, but
with substantial government involvement
How to identify a funding agency?
• Search databases or agency websites (see
supplemental materials for a complete list)
• Search the literature in your field for funding
sources acknowledged
• Identify the agency’s mission
– Review other proposals funded by them
– Ask yourself, “Do my research interests fit with
their mission?”
Primary Grant Search Sources
• IRIS (Illinois Researcher Information
• Maryland Governor’s Grants Office
• Central web portal for all Federal
government-wide grant opportunities
• Registration is not needed to search for grants
• Multiple Search Options are available
• Tips for managing and understanding search
results Search Options
Basic Search
Browse by category
Browse by agency
Advanced Search
Email/RSS Subscription
Browse New Opportunities This Week Basic Search
• A Keyword search alone usually results in a
large list of unrelated funding opportunities
• Basic Search is useful if you have a specific :
– Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) #
– Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance
(CFDA) # Browse by Category
or Agency
• Lists all available funding opportunities for
certain research categories and funding
• Usefulness varies by category and agency
– Results for popular categories and larger agencies
can be voluminous Advanced Search
• Combines functions of other
search options
• Additional Advanced Search criteria also
– Closed & archived funding opportunities
– Open Date
– Eligibility of Institution Email/RSS
• Receive notifications of new grant
opportunity postings and updates via email or
RSS feed. Options include:
– updates
All grant notices
Grant notices based on your selected criteria
Grant notices based on FOA # New Opportunities
This Week Sorting Search Results
• Open date (default)
• Close date
• Relevance (only for keyword searches) Understanding the
Opportunity Synopsis
Change Notification Email
Closing Date
Award Ceiling/Floor
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement
Name of Funding Agency
Link to Full Announcement
Illinois Researcher Information
Service (IRIS)
• IRIS Database
• IRIS Alert Service
IRIS Database
• Over 9,000 active funding opportunities
• Federal, foundation, and corporate sponsors
• Opportunities in sciences, social sciences, arts
& humanities
• Student fellowships & scholarships
• Multiple search criteria
IRIS: Searching the Database
• Search fields include:
• Qualifiers include:
Activities Supported
Sponsor Type
Academic Qualifications
• Start broadly and use search options to narrow results
as needed
• Use quotation marks around search phrases
• Keyword Thesaurus is available
IRIS Alert Service
• Email/web-based service that provides regular
search results from the IRIS database
according to a user profile
• Individual profiles allow customized settings
that include:
– Search frequency
– Delivery method (e-mail or Web)
– Research interest related keywords
IRIS: Tips for Selecting Keywords
Keyword Thesaurus is arranged hierarchically
Starts broadly and becomes more specific
Indentation indicates specificity
More-specific keywords cancel out lessspecific keywords
Maryland Governor’s Grants
• Website lists all open grants available from
the State of Maryland
The Typical Request for Proposals
• Summary of Program Requirements
• Proposal Preparation and Submission
• Proposal Review Information & Criteria
• Award Administration Information
Summary of Program Requirements
• Program description – supports agency goals
• Contact information for questions
• Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
(CFDA) Number
• Award information
– Anticipated type of award – grant, contract, etc.
– Funding availability – indicates how competitive
• Eligibility Requirements
– Individual & institutional
Proposal Preparation and
Submission Instructions
• Are letters of intent required or encouraged?
• Are preliminary proposals allowed?
• What sections should the proposal include?
– READ instructions carefully!
• Budgetary information
– Is cost sharing required?
– Are there any budget limitations, floor or ceiling?
• Due Dates – usually 5:00 pm local time
Proposal Review Information &
Criteria – NSF
• Intellectual Merit
– Relevance to the discipline
• Broader Impacts
– Relevance to other disciplines and society at large
• Integration of Research & Education
• Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs,
Projects & Activities
Proposal Review Information &
Criteria – NEH
• Intellectual significance of the project
• Pertinence of the research question and
appropriateness of methods
• Qualification of PI
• Soundness of the dissemination and access
• Potential for success
Proposal Review Information &
Criteria – NIH
Award Administration Information
• Awards terms & conditions
– Awards are made to the institution, not the PI
– Substantial changes to the SOW or budget require
prior approval
• Reporting Requirements
– Technical reports – typically once a year by PI
– Financial reports – quarterly by grant accountant
Writing your Proposal
• Write clearly and concisely
– Use short, declarative sentences
– Avoid complicated words, jargon & abbreviations
• Write for an informed generalist, not a
specialist in your field
• Do not leave anything to interpretation
– Describe how you will address any weaknesses
• If reviewers don’t understand your proposal,
they are unlikely to recommend it for funding
– It is both about substance & marketing
Typical Proposal Sections
Objectives/Specific Aims
Background/Literature Review
Research Design/Methodology
Preliminary Results, if available
Qualifications of the PI
Institutional Resources
• No more than one page, sometimes less
– Needs to be informative and brief
– Most important marketing tool in your proposal
Describe the problem or question
Propose a solution
List specific activities you will undertake
Describe the expected outcomes
Explain the significance of the work
Objectives/Specific Aims
• Briefly describe your long-term research
agenda, beyond this proposal
• Enumerate the specific goals for this proposal
• Each goal should be tied to specific activities
– Are they sequential or parallel?
• Describe the expected outcomes of each
Background/Literature Review
• What is known about your research topic?
– Ensure you are aware of the most current
literature on the subject
• What is the gap your research proposal will
help fill?
• Why is your work important?
– Intellectual Merit or Relevance
• What will be the return on investment if the
proposal is funded?
– Broader Impacts
Research Design/Methodology
• Describe in detail your research design &
What will you do?
How will you do it?
What could go wrong? How will you deal with it?
What results do you expect? What will they
• Include a time table and justify your
Preliminary Results
• Only include if you have unpublished data of
your own
– Describe the relevance of the data to your
research objectives
– Interpret the results for the reviewers
• Preliminary results aide in showing likelihood
of success
PI Qualifications
• Highlight special qualifications or expertise
• Explain how you will deal with any existing
knowledge gaps
– Collaborators
– Additional training
• Include references to relevant publications
Institutional Resources
• Need to be specific, but only list relevant
• Talk about institutional environment for
• Include letters of collaboration, if applicable
Grant Budgeting Overview
• Cost Principles inform budget decisions
• The elements of a budget
• Budgeting Tips
OMB Circular A-21
• Part of Federal Administrative Regulations
• Establishes cost standards for all sponsored
agreements awarded to educational
A-21 Cost Standards
Consistently treated
Cost Standards: Reasonable
• Would a prudent person incur the cost based
on the nature of the goods/service and the
dollar amount?
• Cost must be necessary for the performance
of the project
• Cost must be consistent with University
Source: OMB Circular A-21, Section C.3.Reasonable costs.
Cost Standards: Allocable
• Costs charged to a sponsored project must
benefit that project
• Costs can be charged to multiple projects
based on proportional benefit
• Costs may not be shifted to other sponsored
agreements for convenience
Source: OMB Circular A-21, Section C.4.Allocable costs.
Cost Standards: Consistent
• Consistency in estimating, accumulating, and
reporting costs
• Consistency in allocating costs for the same
Source: OMB Circular A-21, Section C.2.Factors affecting allowability of costs.
Cost Standards: Allowable
• Costs must be reasonable, allocable, and
treated consistently
• Costs must conform to the sponsored
Source: OMB Circular A-21, Section C.2.Factors affecting allowability of costs.
Elements of a Budget
• Direct Costs
Supplies and other direct costs
• Indirect Costs aka Facilities & Administrative
(F&A) Costs
Direct Costs vs. Indirect Costs
• Direct Costs – costs that are specifically
identified with a particular project or that can
be assigned to a project relatively easily and
with a high degree of accuracy (i.e. salary)
• Indirect Costs (F&A Costs) – costs that are
incurred for common institutional objectives
and that cannot be readily and specifically
identified with a particular project (i.e.
electricity usage)
Source: OMB Circular A-21, Sections D.1. and E.1
• Personnel Types
Regular Staff
Contingent Employees
Student Assistants
• Fringe Benefits
Personnel - Faculty
• Course Buyouts
– Grant funding can be used to “buy out” teaching responsibilities for a course
(with Dean and Chair approval)
– 10% of effort is budgeted
– Fringe Benefits calculated at the Faculty rate
• Overload Pay
– Up to 20% of effort allowed in addition to regular faculty responsibilities
– Fringe Benefits are calculated at the Contractual Employee rate
– Generally not permitted on Federal grants
• Summer Salary
– Maximum of two months at 120% of base pay permitted
– Fringe Benefits are calculated at the Contractual Employee rate
– Generally permitted for Federal grants only to the 100% level
UB Policy on Grant Sponsored Research:
Personnel – Staff
• Regular Staff
– Time calculated as a percentage of effort
– Administrative staff cannot be charged to a
sponsored project unless duties are project
Personnel - Contingent
(Contractual) Employees
• Type I
– Agreement for less than 6 months
• Type II
– Agreement for 6 months but no more than 12
consecutive months
– Some limited benefits
Personnel – Student Assistants
• Graduate Assistants
Yearly stipend (rate set by Dean’s Office)
Tuition reimbursement budgeted to grant (in-state rate)
No fringe benefits budgeted
Research-related work must make up a minimum of 70%
of duties (No more than 30% clerical)
• Student assistants
– Contingent I contract
– Typical rate between $10-$15 per hour
– Fringe benefits must also be budgeted
Personnel – Fringe Benefits
• Calculated as a percentage of salary charged
to grant
• Rates
Faculty 27%
Managerial (Exempt Staff) 30%
Administrative/Support Staff (Non-exempt) 44%
Part-Time Employees (Contingent) 8%
% of Full-Time/Visiting Specialist 27%
• Calculate based on # of people and # of days
• Items to consider
– Airfare
• Fly America Act
– Ground transportation
• Current mileage rate is $0.50 per mile (State Rate)
• Taxi, train, bus, light rail, etc.
– Hotel accommodations
• Maximum Federal rates,
– Meal per diem
• National: UB Policy is to use MD rates,
• International: Federal Rates,
– Registration fees
• UB’s threshold for property to be considered
equipment is $500
• Items under $500 should be budgeted as
project supplies
Subagreements vs. Vendors
• Subagreement
– Partner provides intellectual merit
– Partner participates in programmatic decision making for a
– Agreement negotiated by UB Office of Sponsored Research
– Portions of individual subcontracts in excess of $25,000 are
excluded from F&A cost calculations on projects using an
MTDC base (entire agreement excluded from Federal rate)
• Vendor
– Primarily for goods and services
– Intellectual merit is not contributed
– Contract negotiated by UB Office of Procurement and
Materials Management
• Provide specialized expertise necessary to
accomplish project goals
• Do not provide intellectual merit to the
• Type of vendor
• Typically an individual
• Typically costs are based on an hourly or
daily rate, plus expenses
Supplies and Other Direct Costs
• Must be used specifically for the performance of
the specific sponsored project
• Items to consider
Project related office supplies
Publication and Printing costs
Computer Services
Space rental (for off-campus projects only)
Other Miscellaneous project related costs
Indirect Cost Rates – FY11
Sponsored Research Programs
Federal Grants/Contracts
State Government – General
State Government - Schaefer Center
Local Government
43% S&W
15% MTDC
25% S&W
15% MTDC
50% MTDC
15% MTDC
25% S&W
15% MTDC
15% MTDC
15% MTDC
25% MTDC
15% MTDC
S & W = Salaries & Wages (does not include fringe benefits)
MTDC = Modified Total Direct Costs
Budgeting Tips
• Build your budget in a Spreadsheet
– Templates are available
• Utilize formulas for calculations
– AutoSum
• =SUM(A1+B1…)
• =SUM(A1:A20)
– Rounding
• =ROUND(A1*B1,0)
Why Approval?
• Signatures indicate that the dean and division
chair are aware that the faculty member has
made this commitment of time, effort and
resources, and that the salary and fringe
benefits budgeted are sufficient to cover
buyout or overload payments
• All proposals need to be approved by the
Office of Sponsored Research prior to
submission to sponsor
Approval Timeline
• The Office of Sponsored Research requests a
minimum of three business days to ensure
proper review and completion of any required
– Especially important for Federal grant proposals
– Proposals cannot be guaranteed to be submitted
on-time if advance notice is not given for
proposal submissions
• Dean expects advance notice as soon as RFP
is identified, at least 1 month prior to deadline
Electronic Submission
• (NEH, NIH, others) requires
institutional registration in CCR
– Individual registration is only necessary for NEH
summer stipends
• Fastlane (NSF) requires PI affiliation to
– OSR needs to create your account
• Allow additional time to deal with technical
Hardcopy Submission
• Some smaller agencies and most non-profits
still encourage hardcopy submissions
• They usually require an institutional signature
– PI is NOT an authorized signatory for UB
– Only Provost or Director of Sponsored Research
can sign a proposal on behalf of UB
Peer-Review Process
• Process varies among agencies
– Useful to get experience as a reviewer
• Review may be individual or in a panel
– Generally includes a limited number of reviewers
– Panel members have to defend score to others
• Ultimate funding decisions come from
program staff
– Reviewers are there to offer recommendations but
they do not approve funding
Proposal Resubmission
• Be prepared to re-submit your proposal
– Proposals are seldom funded the first time
– Most agencies accept up to 3 re-submissions of
the same proposal; some limit the time elapsed
• Take reviewers’ comments seriously and
address them directly and positively
– NIH – same review panel looks at re-submission
– NSF – different reviewers each time
Maximizing Opportunities
• Give yourself plenty of time for proposal
preparation, routing and editing
– 2-3 months at least
• Writing/editing assistance for faculty is
available at the ALC (formerly ARC)
– John Chapin, Coordinator of Writing Services
• Use your colleagues liberally!
– They can tell you if your idea is good or not
Maximizing Opportunities (cont.)
• Follow RFP instructions
– A lot of proposals are rejected without review for
not following instructions carefully
• Re-read your proposal 5-6 times to make sure
you have addressed ALL the review criteria
and there are no typographical errors
• Magui Cardona
– [email protected]
– 410-837-6191
• Marc Lennon
– [email protected]
– 410-837-6199