VSCEB Proposal Submission and Award Management
This link will take you to an external form that uses Smartsheets, to submit the information for your grant.
If your grant has an agency deadline that is less than 14 calendar days, including weekends and holidays, a justification will need to be given to the director of the department before the grant can proceed. The form will account for this.
In agreement with the processes implemented by the Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO), VSCEB has set up guidelines/policies for timely proposal submission to ensure a higher degree of successfully funded proposal and policies regarding the management of these awards.
- Notify Grant Administrator of potential proposal submission as soon as you know or at least 14 calendar days (including weekends and holidays) before agency deadline.
- If WSU is subcontractor, includes subcontracts, or has an R&R budget, please ensure that you advise one month (including weekends and holidays) before agency deadline.
- If the proposal involves multiple institutions/industry/cost share commitments from VCEA or the University, notify Grant Administrator at least one month (including weekends and holidays) before deadline. It often takes time to obtain Cost Share Commitment Letters and other documents – university directors as well as outside industry and agency partners committing cost share should not be placed in a position where they must be rushed to obtain necessary signatures – this can erode vital relationships.
- Information needed when notifying Grant Administrator of impending proposal:
- Copy of, or website to, the FOA/RFP.
- Who are the WSU lead PI and Co-PI(s)?
- What is the period of performance? When possible, please begin project so that it corresponds with the semesters. This makes it easier at the grad student appointment stage to provide full semester support.
- Will WSU be the lead or will we be a subcontractor?
- Is this a major (multi-million-dollar – multi-institutional – high visibility proposal)? Does it require the assistance from ORSO’s Proposal Management unit (ORAP)?
- Is this a multi-million-dollar proposal with several management components? If so, should we include a fiscal manager in the budget and/or project manager? Is this allowed per the FOA/RFP or is permission from the agency required?
- Will there be PIs involved from other WSU departments, schools or colleges?
- Outline of budget needs for preparation of draft budget: personnel, supplies, computers, laptops, equipment, personal service contracts, subcontracts, participation costs, etc. – any other details that will help with budget compilation. IMPORTANT: After determining parties involved, the budget should be the first step in proposal development, not the last.
- Is there cost share (CS) and how do you plan to meet CS? Through salary/benefits? Assistantships? Grad School tuition waiver? Industry support/in-kind contribution? College or University level commitments? Have you discussed these needs with the Directors VSCEB, VCEA or Central?
- If there are subcontractors, who are they and what is their budget?
- Are there human subjects involved or any hazardous chemicals, etc. utilized? These require special compliance steps and submission of requests. See info below from ORSO website:
The University, investigators and their research staff, and the IRB, share the collective responsibility for the ethical conduct of research. This collaboration must exist in a culture of trust, complete openness, and honesty by upholding the highest ethical principles in the conduct of research. By upholding the highest standards, we build public support for the pursuit of greater knowledge in a safe research environment. The IRB is charged with a twofold mission: 1) to determine and certify that all research reviewed by the IRB conform to the regulations and policies set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington State regulations and University policies regarding the health, welfare, safety, rights, and privileges of human subjects; and 2) assist investigators in conducting ethical research which complies with the DHHS, FDA, Washington State regulations and University policies in a way that permits accomplishment of the research activity.
- Are there any potential conflicts of interest either professionally or fiscally? Are any PIs or their family members involved in companies who will be partners in the proposal? Will foreign institutes or individuals be involved in the project? Will there be intellectual property negotiations needed? All of these require conflict of interest plan submission and other protocols completed BEFORE the eREX can be released for approvals and must be included in the eREX form.
- Below is the timeline of required proposal documents dates that will be needed to ensure that the application is meeting ORSO deadlines.
|DOCUMENT||DAYS DUE TO GRANT ADMIN BEFORE AGENCY DEADLINE
(Calendar days unless otherwise noted)
|FOA/RFP or website||At time of notification or 1 month|
|Budget Component Cost||14 days|
|Cost Share Plan (for preparation of Letter of Commitment/CS) (if applicable)||14 days|
|List of PIs/Co-PIs/Subcontractors||14 days|
|Scope/Statement of Work (if WSU is subcontractor)||10 days or within the timeline provided by the lead institution – which may be several days/weeks earlier than deadline|
|Budget Finalized – WSU Subcontractor||10 days|
|Budget Finalized – WSU Lead||10 days|
|Budget Justification – descriptive (i.e. NSF)||10 days WSU subcontractor
6 days WSU lead
|Cost share commitments/letters of commitment from subs (if applicable)||6 days|
|Completed Documents from Subcontractors (if applicable)||6 days|
|Biosketch/Current & Pending (if applicable)||6 days|
|Conflict of Interest List (if applicable)||6 days|
|Technical Components (Project Narrative/Technical Proposal/Project Summary/Equipment & Facilities/Data Management Plan, etc.)||6 days|
Please keep in mind, the following:
- If WSU is a subcontractor on a proposal, the lead institution will require our documents and Letters of Commitment much earlier – sometimes two full weeks before the agency deadline. It is very important that you advise the Grant Administrator 4 weeks before the agency deadline so that contact can be made with the lead institution’s grant personnel.
- More time is needed to put together some of the more complicated budget forms required by DOE/DARPA/Private Industry when there are multiple partners involved. As a general rule, industry subcontractors do not have a great deal of experience completing some of these federal documents and it falls on the Grant Administrator to advise and sometimes complete these forms for their review.
- Practice responsible proposal management. If several of your submissions are funded, will you have the time and resources to manage the award effectively? Will you be over committed on cost share?
- Fully completed and APPROVED eREX, containing all final proposal components, is due to ORSO 48 hours before deadline to agency, or earlier. For example, if a proposal is due to the agency by 5:00 PM on a Thursday, eREX approvals must be completed by 5:00 PM the previous Tuesday. Note: Because many proposals require multiple approvals, VCEA and VSCEB policy is to start the eREX approval process five full business days before the agency deadline to ensure that all approvals are obtained before the 48 hour ORSO deadline.
- RUSH WAIVER POLICY: eREXs not submitted before the ORSO deadline listed above, fall under the University’s Rush Waiver policy: Waivers to the minimum two working day rule may be made for the following reasons with an appropriate justification:
- Official University closure (e.g., inclement weather).
- Serious illness, injury, or death of a PI, Co-PI, or any other key personnel or immediate family member.
- Agency announcement of the funding opportunity was made less than two weeks prior to the deadline (documentation required).
- Sponsor experienced complications or system technical issues prior to the deadline (documentation required).
Waiver requests for reasons other than those noted above require a PI waiver justification that includes a reasonable rationale and written endorsement by all individuals in the following approval chain:
- Department chair/school director and/or research director
- Area dean or Associate/Assistant Dean for Research and/or Chancellor or Vice Chancellor for Research and/or vice president or associate/assistant vice president
- Office of Research Support and Operations Associate Vice President or designee (for review and approval)
Despite best efforts there may be rare cases where a proposal did not make it through the eREX approval process and the proposal was unable to be submitted. In these rare occurrences, the principal Investigators and department will work with ORSO to implement future solutions.
Narrative Hold: The Narrative Hold Program allows faculty the opportunity to finalize and polish the research/technical narrative sections associated with proposals currently being submitted via these online portals; (NIH) ASSIST, (NSF) Fastlane, (NASA) NSPIRES and the new online Workspace portal in Grants.gov.
This program allows faculty to submit an eREX Form with all the final components of the proposal completed except the research/technical narrative (e.g. Project Description, Research Strategy, etc.) and directly associated documents (e.g. References Cited, Project Summary).
In order to take advantage of this option, there is a “Yes/No” hold question included on the Deadline tab of the eREX Form if one of the above mentioned submission types are selected. If the answer is “Yes”, the Narrative Hold Program will be enacted and the PI will be responsible to upload their final narrative into the sponsor website and notify our office via email at email@example.com, that it has been completed no later than five business hours before the deadline OR by Noon on the day the proposal is due – whichever is earliest (e.g. if the agency deadline is 2PM, the final narrative must be uploaded into the system and ready for submission by 9AM that morning, for deadlines from 5pm – midnight, the final narrative must be uploaded and our office notified by Noon on the day it is due.).
The Narrative Hold Program will only be applicable for eREX Form less the narrative that are completed and approved two days prior to the sponsor deadline. Any RUSH submission (eREX Forms submitted within 2 days of the deadline) will not be able to use this Narrative Hold Program.
Any notes regarding the finalizing of the narrative for the proposal should be included in the Special Instructions section of the eREX Form. All other components of the proposal must be in final form when the eREX is submitted, only the research narrative can be in draft format.
- Only the research/technical narrative and directly related documents as noted above can be in DRAFT FORMAT – all other components of the proposal (including budget) must be in final form when the eREX Form is submitted.
- The final research/technical narrative must be provided no later than five business hours before the deadline OR by Noon on the day the proposal is due – whichever is earliest.
- The PI is required to notify ORSO via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) providing in that email a copy of the final narrative documents to let us know that the research narrative information is complete and the proposal is ready for submission.
- If the eREX is not fully approved 2 business days before the deadline it will no longer be eligible to use the Narrative Hold Program – the eREX will be returned and will need to be resubmitted once the proposal is in its final form and ready for submission.
- If you receive notification of an impending award or are contacted for pre-award clarification, please advise the Grant Administrator for assistance so that ORSO can be notified if not copied in on the notification.
- Although an award agreement may be sent to ORSO for signature, part of ORSO’s role is to review and negotiate the agreement to make sure that WSU’s interests and policies are represented. This can take time to process and the award will not be in the system until after all signatures are obtained and the award processed through Sponsored Program Services for set up. Once a budget number has been generated, you will be informed and the funds are available for use. If appropriate, a guarantee can be set up for initial use of these funds until the set-up is complete. Guarantees should not be used as a standard policy, but as an exception. Additionally, many federally funded awards include a 90-day pre-award clause which may require that additional information be provided to the agency program manager before spending can take place.
- The budget you develop at proposal stage is the “spending plan”. If there are changes to the scope of work that require a change or reallocation between categories – or more funding – these must be approved by the funding agency. If WSU is a subcontractor, the request must go through the lead institution and then on to the funding agency.
- If cost share is involved, work closely with the Grant Administrator to make sure appropriate salaries are in place and any third party cost share is documented. Grant Administrator will track and report the amount of cost share being committed on awards and also track to make sure that proposed cost share does not exceed 75% of PI’s current research appointment.
- After reviewing monthly budget statement, alert Grant Administrator if there are any discrepancies as there is limited time to make changes, usually 90 days, before a detailed justification is required. Multiple expenditure changes and changes to appointments are discouraged and often not allowed by Central without extensive justification. Additionally, changes are not generally allowed after a semester ends or crossing fiscal years.
- Be prepared for the possibility that it may take longer than expected for the next year’s funding on proposals to be funded and the funding and extension to be added to the WSU system. Sometimes this does not take place until after the first year has termed. A guarantee may be requested but must be backed up with proof of the impending extension provided by the funding agency (not just a lead institution) and receive director approval.
- Six months before the end of a project, a review will be scheduled between the PI and the Grant Administrator to assess if a No Cost Extension is necessary and to determine if spending is on track. This will avoid over or under spent funds when the project terms.
- Parking expenditures on one grant account until another grant is in place and then transferring those expenses to the new account is not allowed. You can, however, temporarily place expenditure on 17A or non-grant funding and then transfer off when the new account is set up.
- Pay close attention to the end of the WSU fiscal year on 6/30. Expenditures on state funds and 17A funds expended in one fiscal year cannot be changed after that fiscal year ends.
- Avoid overdrafts. Work with the Grant Administrator to clear up any overdrafts – either by transferring appropriate charges to another account or clearing with a non-grant account. This is especially important at the end of the performance period. Multiple transfers within the last 90 days of an award, are audit red flags. If necessary, ask for a No Cost Extension.
- If subcontract agreements are in place, monitor spending and cost share commitments as WSU is ultimately responsible for these commitments.
- When submitting RA/TA appointment requests to VSCEB staff, please keep in mind that full semester funding must be provided – also you cannot place students on a partial state appointment and partial grant appointment to cover the semester as the waiver types do not match. You can appoint using as many grant accounts as are appropriate or utilize a 17A account and grant accounts to make up the full semester appointment.
- Provide account numbers not account names when referring to budgets. This can create funding disasters as not all personnel are familiar with your account “nicknames” and since many are named similarly, the wrong account can be used. It is difficult to look up an account based on the title. A list of your account numbers will be provided to you.
Thank you for reviewing our VSCEB guidelines. You may now complete the VSCEB proposal submission form.