Once the Principal Investigator (PI) has completed the proposal package and is ready to submit to the sponsor, the PI must forward it to his/her pre-award administrator. The pre-award administrator will be responsible for submitting the proposal on behalf of the university. The PI is responsible for providing the pre-award administrator a copy of the completed proposal and associated internal forms no less than 2 days before submission deadline.
Roles and Responsibilities in the Submission Process
|PI Responsibility||OSP Responsibility|
Submit to sponsor hardcopy or email submissions
Complete and Obtain Signatures for The Proposal Approval Form (sometimes called the SPAF—Sponsored Programs Approval Form)
Every Virginia Tech proposal requesting external support for research, instruction, or outreach is required to have a completed and signed Proposal Approval Form prior to submission to the sponsor. This form is Virginia Tech’s central collection mechanism for detailing the demographics of each proposal. From this form, the Office of Sponsored Programs determines who the investigators are, the summary budget, the overhead rate requested, cost sharing proposed, percentage of credit allocated to each investigator, and the sorts of compliance issues that may be involved in performing the project, if funded. The PI is responsible for completing and routing the proposal approval form as well as any needed supplemental Form C for signature by his/her dean or director. Many university colleges and departments now use an electronic signature routing system to complete the Proposal Approval Form. For information regarding electronic routing, please see your college or department grants specialist or business manager. (The Office of Sponsored Programs does not administer these systems so we cannot directly assist you.) The Proposal Approval Form and instructions for filling it out are included at the link below.
Your departmental business manager or college grants specialist may also be able to help.
- Complete and Obtain Signatures for Internal Form C
|FORM REQUIRED FOR||SIGNATURES REQUIRED|
Non-federal sponsors who do not have a specifically required cover sheet. THIS IS AN OPTIONAL FORM
PI and Dean
|FORM REQUIRED FOR||SIGNATURES REQUIRED|
Special indirect distribution between departments
Overhead (sometimes called indirect or F&A costs) refers to the administrative costs of performing as a research university and includes such costs as electricity, equipment maintenance, and salaries and benefits of departmental, college, and university administrative personnel. Overhead costs are distributed to various organizations within Virginia Tech in the following manner:
|Earned Overhead Distribution|
|Central Capital Account||11.14%|
|State of Virginia||30%|
This distribution gives the receiving college/department discretionary funds to offset costs related to the conduct and enhancement of research and research-related requirements. The FORM C is needed when the overhead distribution for the responsible department, college, or institute on a project (each OSP fund) differs from the above default distribution.
For example, if a PI from Electrical Engineering applied for a grant from The National Science Foundation the indirect rate applied to his/her budget would be 61% (the federally negotiated rate). If the direct costs of the proposal were 100,000, indirect costs would be charged at 61%, and the indirect cost of the project would be $61,000, for a total project cost of $161,000. Once the direct costs of the project are expended, each of the various organizations within Virginia Tech that are part of the indirect distribution chain would receive their share of the indirect costs of performing the funded work: OVPR would receive $5,228; the Central Capital Account would receive $6,795; the State of Virginia would receive $18,300; the college or department would receive $24,578; and Capital 2 would receive $6,100. The PI should contact the departmental business manager or fiscal manager to determine if a FORM C is necessary. The PI must submit FORM C Cost Accounting Exemption Request to their Pre-Award Administrator along with the signed Proposal Approval Form at least 2 days before submission.
Modes of Submission
Most sponsors use some type of electronic system to receive and manage proposals and awards. The federal government uses systems such as Grants.gov, Fastlane, and FedConnect; universities, including Virginia Tech, often use the new web-based front-end software service called Cayuse to submit many types of federal awards; and other sponsors such as American Heart Association have their own specialized online system.
The RFP should detail the submission method preferred by the sponsor. If submission is through an electronic system, it is the PIs responsibility to familiarize him/herself with the submission process; however, there are pre-award administrators with expertise in certain electronic systems who can offer various tips and warnings during the submission process.
Electronic systems usually require some sort of registration, and sometimes such registration may take several days or steps, so it is essential to begin that process immediately. Sometimes the PI is required to register and submit the proposal and sometimes it is the university or OSP administrator that must register in the system. The PI must read the guidelines carefully to determine who should register and must remember to forward the guidelines to the Pre-Award Administrator as soon as possible. When an electronic system requires the PI to submit the proposal, Virginia Tech still requires the usual internal budget and forms to be completed.
Some sponsors require a hardcopy of the proposal to be submitted. In these circumstances, the PI must mark on the proposal approval form that a hardcopy is required and indicate how many copies, in addition to the originals, must be sent. If color copies are required, the PI must provide them to OSP. The Pre-Award Administrator will work with the processors to prepare a transmittal letter to accompany the proposal and will obtain the necessary university signatures. The processors will make copies (not in color) and send the proposal to the sponsor using UPS overnight service to the address provided by the PI on the proposal approval form. PIs must have the completed proposal to OSP 2 business days before the proposal is due in order for it to be reviewed and sent to the sponsor by the deadline.
Sponsors commonly request an email copy of the proposal that is being sent hardcopy. If this is the case, the PI must mark “hardcopy” and “digital” under “mailing instructions” on the proposal approval form. There are two options for “digital” on the approval form. One is “Digital (OSP PDF)” which means that OSP will scan the hardcopy documents provided and send them as a PDF. The other option is “Digital PI” which means that the PI has emailed a digital version that should be forwarded directly to the sponsor. This would be necessary if there were detailed graphics that should not be re-scanned.
Sponsors may require only an email of the proposal to be sent. In this case, the PI must mark “digital” under “mailing instructions” on the approval form.
There are two options for “digital” on the approval form. One is “Digital (OSP PDF)” which means that OSP will scan the hardcopy documents provided and send them as a PDF. The other option is “Digital PI” which means that the PI has emailed a digital version that should be forwarded directly to the sponsor. This would be necessary if there were detailed graphics that should not be re-scanned.
The Pre-Award Administrator will work with the processors to prepare a transmittal letter to accompany the proposal and will obtain the necessary university signatures. Once all necessary signatures and cover letters are obtained, the processor will email the proposal to the address provided by the PI on the proposal approval form.
PIs must have the completed proposal to OSP 2 business days before the proposal is due in order for it to be reviewed and sent to the sponsor by the deadline.
A copy of the proposal will be kept on file in the Office of Sponsored Programs until the sponsor decides whether or not to fund the proposal. If the PI receives notification of a decline, the PI should advise the pre-award administrator.
Occasionally circumstances require that a proposal be withdrawn after it has been submitted to a sponsor. Please advise the Pre-Award Administrator if this situation occurs to ensure that a formal written university withdrawal can be provided to the sponsor.