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Pre-Award Guidance

A proposal is a request for any external funding to include: research, instruction, training or scholarship projects, and generally consists of a cover page, project summary, technical or narrative section, biographical sketches of the key personnel, and a detailed budget.

Types of Proposals

Solicited proposals are submitted in response to a specific solicitation issued by a sponsor. Such solicitations, typically called Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Quotations (RFQ), Broad Agency Announcements (BAA), NASA Research Announcements (NRA), Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) or Requests for Bids (RFB), are usually specific in their requirements regarding format and technical content, and may stipulate certain award terms and conditions.

Unsolicited proposals are submitted to a sponsor that has not issued a specific solicitation but is believed by the investigator to have an interest in the subject.

Pre-proposals are requested when a sponsor wishes to minimize an applicant’s effort in preparing a full proposal. Pre-proposals are usually in the form of a letter of intent, brief abstract, or white paper. After the pre-proposal is reviewed, the sponsor notifies the investigator if a full proposal is warranted.

Continuation or Non-Competing proposals confirm the original proposal and funding requirements of a multi-year project for which the sponsor has already provided funding for an initial period (normally one-year). Continued support is usually contingent on satisfactory work progress and the availability of funds.

Renewal or Noncompeting proposals are requests for continued support for an existing project that is about to terminate, and, from the sponsor’s viewpoint, generally have the same status as an unsolicited proposal.

Research Funding Sources

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) assists faculty and staff in identifying funding sources and provides links to various federal and foundation sources. They include generalized and special interest grant directories and other publications that enable clients to locate potential sponsors. The OSP subscribes to a number of publications, including Pivot.

There are several types of Funding Sources for Grants and Contracts. They include: Foundations, Corporations, Federal government, State government, City government, Quasi-government/Local and Institutes of Higher Education.

Potential proposal developers may have an idea and sometimes may have a fully developed proposal in hand but they do not have a funding source. It is the responsibility of the Office of Sponsored Programs to review the proposal and then find funding sources that may best fit the concept of the proposal.

Funding Sources Databases

There are various databases available to the faculty and staff at NSU, however the faculty and staff sometimes feel anxious about trying to maneuver those sources. To make the process as easy and painless as possible for the proposal developer, we assist them in pulling the information needed. The Office of Sponsored Programs provides links to several databases that can be used in retrieving relevant funding sources that are suited to your particular program or research interest.

  • Pivot(formerly COS) is a website for scholars, scientists, and R&D professionals. It offers funding sources in Agricultural and Food Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, Health and Medical Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology and Computer Science.
  • Grants.govhas current funding sources and government rulings, etc. listed.
  • The Federal Register contains current Presidential proclamations and Executive orders, Federal agency regulations having general applicability and legal effect, proposed agency rules, and documents required by statute to be published.
  • SAM.Gov lists more than 18,400 active federal business opportunities.
  • is a web portal that bridges the gap between government agencies and their vendor and grants applicant communities to streamline the process of doing business with government. Through this portal you will be able to review opportunities and receive awards. You’ll also have an open channel of communication with the government that is both secure and auditable where you can ask questions, submit responses, and acknowledge receipt of documents. You can even create teams within FedConnect to manage your response or award.

Research Proposal Resources

Other items that may be needed in research proposal information can also be found on the web.

  • Beta.SAM.Gov is the next phase of GSA’s effort to streamline and consolidate 10 legacy Federal award systems into a single website. (CFDA, FBO, FPDS-NG, SAM, WDOL, CPARS, FAPIIS, PPIRS, eSRS, FSRS). The goal is to provide a central entry point for those who make, receive, and manage Federal Awards. is the authoritative site for Assistance Listings, formerly CFDA. You should continue to use the legacy system for all other web sites to find official government information, run reports, and enter required data.
  • The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Annual Edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government produced by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Publishing Office.
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a government-wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities which provide assistance or benefits to the American public. It contains financial and non-financial assistance programs administered by departments and establishments of the Federal government. CFDA listings can now be found on
  • General Accounting Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics is of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible.
  • Population Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Laws provide the copyright laws from the Library of Congress Copyright office.
  • Crime statistics provides access to online reports, consumer safety tips, crime news, video, and audio.

Proposal Development and Submission

Requests for Proposals (RFP's) are announcements in which potential sponsors predetermine activities to be funded along with methodology and related technical matters. RFP's from government agencies will appear daily on this website. A "statement of work", guidelines and instructions, agency contact personnel and submission deadlines are also included in the RFP. Once you receive the RFP you can begin to write your proposal remembering to follow statement of work and all other guidelines/instructions in the announcement.

When responding to an RFP, RFQ, NRA, BAA, FOA or RFB with the proposed terms and conditions stated in the solicitation the investigator should notify OSP by completing and submitting an Intent to Submit form. The investigator should also forward a copy of the solicitation to OSP as soon as possible. Please be sure to discuss and review your proposal concept with directors, department heads and/or deans.

Types of Match and Signatures Required

Develop detailed budget maintaining strict adherence to University, state and agency guidelines. The following chart shows the types of match and the signatory required.

Required Routing Terms & Conditions
PI/PD, Department Head, Dean/Director, Office of Sponsored Programs With no University Match
PI/PD, Department Head, Dean/Director, Appropriate Vice President, Office of Sponsored Programs With University Match
PI/PD, Department Head, Dean/Director Release time Match
PI/PD, Department Head, Dean, Vice President Academic Affairs, Office of Sponsored Programs Equipment Trust


Developing Your Proposal

When developing your proposal the following concerns/needs should be addressed.

  • Identify the need for animal care, human subjects protection, biohazard or other relevant research issues.
  • If any of the above-mentioned research is applicable the necessary form should be completed.
  • Identify potential intellectual property products.
  • If intellectual property is involved, the intellectual property form should be completed.
  • If the proposal is a partnership or collaborative venture, a teaming agreement should be completed.
  • For further information refer to the Special Reviews section.
  • Forms can be found on the Sponsored Programs forms section.

Once you have identified a funding opportunity and determined that you will be submitting a proposal, an Intent to Submit form (OSP Form 106) should be forwarded to OSP at least 30 to 45 days before your proposal is due to the agency. OSP Form 106 can be downloaded from the OSP Web page.

Completing Your Proposal

Once you have addressed the above concerns and completed your proposal you should complete execution of the Internal Approval Form (IAF), including appropriate signatures. The Internal Approval Form (OSP Form 100) can be downloaded from the OSP web page.

The internal approval form must accompany every proposal submitted to OSP. The IAF provides OSP with information on where to submit the proposal and identifies what compliance issues exist and what institutional resources are required for the project. Investigators are responsible for completing the IAF and, by signing it, accept full responsibility for the project. The Internal Approval Form along with your proposal should be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs at least five days prior to proposal due date and ten days prior for a collaborative proposal.

In addition to the investigator’s signature, the IAF must also be signed by the department head or chair and Dean or Center Director. Investigators requiring signatures for cross-unit or interdisciplinary proposals should take into consideration the additional time needed to obtain the cross-unit signatures. The following is a suggested timetable for proposal submission and review.

Time Frame Detail
Thirty to forty-five days prior to submission date Inform Office of Sponsored Programs of Intent to Submit by completing the OSP Intent to Submit form.
Thirty to forty-five days prior to submission Preliminary research and proposal development.
Thirty days prior to submission date Write abstract.
Twenty-five to thirty days prior to submission date Complete proposal draft and submit to OSP.
Twenty to ten days prior to submission Write proposal revisions.
Ten to twenty days prior to submission date Complete proposal revisions.
Five days prior to submission date Final review and submission of proposal to Sponsor.
Ten days prior to submission date if the proposal is a collaborative endeavor. Final review and submission of proposal to Sponsor


Occasionally a sponsor may require an institutional cover letter or letter of support from the President. These letter requests should be received by OSP at least ten business days before the deadline. In addition to the required internal review, additional time is necessary to obtain a signature due to the President’s extensive travel schedules. Investigators are strongly urged to coordinate their proposal schedule with OSP as soon as the proposal deadline is known. All proposals should be submitted to OSP electronically. Submit on a flash drive or other USB mass storage device if it is too large to be transmitted electronically. Proposal forms and guidelines are available on the Office of Sponsored Programs forms page. OSP’s policy is that all proposals must be submitted to OSP in final format at least five working days before it is due to the agency, and ten days before it is due to the agency if it is a collaborative proposal. Failure to comply with this policy will result in your proposal being returned to you without further review.

Components of a Proposal

Format and Content

Most federal sponsors publish guidelines that list proposal requirements and instructions on how to prepare a proposal. They also require the use of specific forms, most of which can be obtained from this website.

Sponsors frequently revise proposal guidelines and other requirements (e.g., page limits, font sizes, margins, number of copies). Guidelines can vary not only between sponsors, but also among programs within an agency. Questions concerning proposal requirements that are not addressed in the sponsor’s guidelines can usually be answered by OSP staff.

In general, both federal and non-federal sponsors require the following:

  • Cover or Title Page: This should include the title of the proposed project, name(s) and title(s) of the principal investigator and co-investigators (if any), proposed project period, dollar amount, sponsor, the date, and any required school or department signatures. As the legal entity submitting the proposal on behalf of the investigator, NSU, with OSP’s address, should be used for the institutional address.
  • A brief description of the proposed project’s objectives, any direct or closely related work which may be in progress, and any other pertinent background information as required by the sponsor.
  • Table of contents or index with page references.
  • Detailed Program Description, including an explanation of the objectives in clear and concise terms, and a description of the procedures to be followed in carrying out the objectives.
  • Description of Current Facilities and Equipment, and the percentage of time it will be available for the proposed project.
  • List of personnel to include the names and titles of all professional personnel. Since named personnel might be used within key personnel clauses in an agreement, nonprofessional personnel should be listed by title or function only.
  • Curriculum Vitae of Key Personnel: Include only professional and academic essentials and avoid personal background information.
  • List of Principal Investigator’s Publications: Include only those that are relevant or significant to the proposed project. The list should include items such as publications being printed, or invited lectures.
  • Concurrent submissions: When the same proposal is being submitted to other sponsors a statement should appear in each proposal indicating that it is a concurrent submission.
  • List of Personnel’s Current or Pending Support: Indicate a) the source of support, b) project title, c) percent of effort; d) dates of project period, e) annual costs, and f) how this project does not overlap or duplicate projects supported by other funds. The statement “No overlap” is considered insufficient by most sponsors.
  • If required, include letters of collaboration, endorsement letters subcontractor proposals, and other supporting documentation.
  • Special requests or justifications: These could include: a change of principal investigator on renewal or continuation proposals, use of unexpected funds from a prior budget period, or the temporary absence of the principal investigator.
  • Certifications and representations and other forms that may be required. These should be prepared by the department for signature by OSP.

Estimating Your Budget

It is crucial for investigators to closely follow the sponsor’s instructions when preparing a budget. A competitive budget is one that will provide the sponsor with a complete financial picture of the proposed project. Budget should be allowable, allocable and reasonable. A budget is reviewed by the sponsor to verify if the costs are reasonable and necessary to carry out the proposed project, and if it conforms to the sponsor’s instructions. During award negotiations a budget is sometimes subjected to further analysis by the sponsor’s audit staff. Investigators and department administrators should refer questions to the OSP staff.

Direct Costs

Typical budget categories include personnel, employee benefits, equipment, travel, materials and supplies (refer to OMB Uniform Guidance). Some budgets may need categories for publication costs, consultants, or subcontracts. In most instances the direct costs should be reflected by major budget categories with an attached narrative detailing how the costs were calculated. The budget narrative should contain enough detail for the sponsor to verify the appropriateness of the costs. Certain costs are unallowable on projects. Unallowable costs, along with allowable costs, are explained in detail in Agency Guidelines.

In addition to the greater level of budget detail that may be required prior to making an award, some sponsors will perform their own audit or request an audit by their cognizant audit agency. The purpose of the audit is to verify costs and rates, and is the basis for which budget estimates have been determined. In some cases an audit is conducted by telephone, while others involve on-site visits by a cognizant audit team. Salary compensation should be based on the percent of time the employee will spend on the project. Example: (monthly salary rate) x___% of effort x number of months. If the project is multi-year include a 3% annual increase. Check with OSP for forward projections of increases. Salary requests for non-University people should be listed under the category of “Consultants”. Consultant payments are not salary or wage payments and should be listed as a separate line item under consultants.

Hours and/or rates and/or hourly rates are occasionally a requirement for proposals. Always include the following note when reporting hours: Hours – The estimate of hours and/or hourly rates are furnished solely for the purpose of this proposal. It is understood that the University will be required to maintain a record of hours of effort under any resultant award. A similar note should be included in proposals that require a cost by task or project breakdown. Fringe Benefits are expenses directly associated with employment and are applicable to all University salaries and wages. All full-time salaries carry a fringe benefit rate of 42%. Part-time staff and wage payroll personnel benefits are 7.65%.

Direct Costs - Budget Note

Facilities and Administrative Rate (F&A Rate) is the mechanism used to reimburse the University for the infrastructure support costs associated with sponsored research and other sponsored projects. The F&A rate is essentially an overhead rate. It is calculated as a percentage of overhead associated with, an allocable to, sponsored research and other activities, divided by the direct costs of sponsored research and other activities. To collect F&A, the University adds the negotiated F&A rate to invoices or other billing instruments submitted to sponsors.

F&A costs are defined in CFR 2 Part §200.420 as costs that are "incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity." F&A costs are sometimes referred to as indirect costs. Examples of F&A costs include:

  • Depreciation and interest cost associated with the University’s physical plant
  • Operating and maintenance costs such as utility costs, security costs, and custodial costs
  • Common administrative functions such as payroll and purchasing

Facilities and administrative costs rates are proposed by NSU to the Department of Health & Human Services using the federal cost principles detailed in OMB Uniform Guidance. The proposed rates are then audited by the federal government and negotiated by the University Controller with the government’s representative. The calculation results in a facilities and administrative cost rate that is applied to certain direct costs, in order to arrive at the indirect costs that are charged to a project.

NSU's F & A Rate was negotiated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The fixed rate for July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026 (or until renegotiated) is 43% for on-campus or 20.80% for off-campus.Modified total direct costs, consisting of all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and sub-grants and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each sub-grant or subcontract (regardless of the period covered by the sub-grant or subcontract). Modified total direct costs shall exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each sub-award in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs.


Under certain circumstances it may be appropriate or required for NSU to share the costs of a project. Cost-sharing under a federal program is subject to OMB Uniform Guidance stipulates that the cost-sharing must come from non-federal sources and contribute directly to the proposed project. Proposals listing cost-sharing should explain how the cost-sharing commitments will be met. The actual cost-sharing is auditable and subject to verification. Cost-share commitments should be discussed with OSP and the department head well in advance of the proposal deadline.

Sponsored Program Responsibilities

OSP is available to assist as needed the investigator/director and/or unit in any phase of proposal preparation. Proposals are carefully reviewed to ensure that they comply with all University, sponsor, and/or State requirements, and are prepared in such a way as to meet with favorable reviews during competition. Proposals are reviewed for the following criteria:

  • Proposal format and content must comply with sponsor guidelines;
  • Budget must reflect adequate resources and costing detail to accomplish the project and complies with sponsor, University and State guidelines;
  • Review of IAF for appropriate signatures and investigator compliance with relevant special reviews;
  • Verification of cost-share commitments and/or matching funds;
  • Verification of documentation for subcontractor and/or consultants;
  • Review and signature of certifications and representations, OSP then prepares a transmittal letter and forwards the proposal as appropriate.

University Policy Considerations

Consortiums/Joint Proposals/Subcontract Agreements

Research to be conducted by NSU and one or more other parties as a joint venture or partnership will occasionally raise questions concerning the legal relationship and liability of each party. When such questions arise OSP will review the arrangement and/or special concerns with University Counsel, unless the arrangements are clearly intended to establish a traditional contractor-subcontractor, consortium, or joint study relationship. Investigators/directors cannot contractually commit the University. When NSU is the lead institution OSP requires a statement from each participating organization that includes a full cost budget and scope of work.Sample Subcontract Agreement

Teaming Agreement

In the case of consortiums/joint proposals a Teaming Agreement may be needed. A Teaming Agreement is a document that shows whereby a prime contractor and subcontractor agree to combine resources to partner on a major opportunity. Typically, this agreement includes the actual bid of the subcontractor as an exhibit. Sample Teaming Agreement


Consultants are independent contractors and not employees or agents of the University. Special review and approval procedures are required if a project anticipates using consultants. Designation of independent contractor status is governed by the Internal Revenue’s Code of Common Law. NSU may be subjected to significant institutional tax penalties should the individual be incorrectly classified as an independent contractor. In addition, contracting with an independent contractor may expose the University to significant financial risk if the consultant has limited net worth or inadequate insurance coverage. Questions concerning the use or status of an independent contractor should be directed to your OSP well in advance of the proposal deadline.


At the time of proposal submission a sponsor will often require an indication of what terms and conditions will be acceptable to NSU in the event of an award. Exceptions to a sponsor’s terms and conditions are addressed by the OSP in a transmittal letter. For commercial sponsors OSP will often include a copy of the standard NSU agreement. Investigators who are aware of special sponsor requirements should discuss them with their OSP well in advance of the proposal deadline. NSU will normally only enter into agreements that adhere to the following principles: the research is conducted on a best efforts basis without guarantee of success and without financial risk or liability to the University; costs are fully reimbursed unless cost-sharing has been approved; and, there are no restrictions on the dissemination of the research results except: 1) those that relate to the protection of a sponsor’s proprietary information; 2) the rights of privacy of individuals; or 3) establishing rights in patentable inventions and other intellectual property.

Limited Proposal Submissions

Some sponsors limit the number of nominations or proposals that NSU may submit to a particular program. When this situation occurs OSP will carefully base their decision on who gets to submit on who sends in their proposal first, the quality of both submissions and input from appropriate Vice Presidents.

Multiple Submissions (Concurrent)

Multiple (concurrent) solicitations, that is, the submission of the same proposal to two or more sponsors, may be made provided this fact is clearly disclosed in the text of the proposal. However, some agencies may NOT accept proposals submitted to other potential sponsors. A reference to the individual sponsor’s policy concerning multiple solicitation should be found in most sponsor application guidelines. If not, the PI should inquire directly with the sponsor’s program officer and seek guidance from their Grants office.

Pre-Award Costs

Pre-award costs are defined in the Uniform Guidance as those costs incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award directly pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the Federal award where such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of work. Such costs are allowable only to the extent that they would have been allowable if incurred after the date of the Federal award and only with the written approval of the Federal agency.

Special Reviews

A number of internal review and approval procedures may be required before proposal submissions, or before an award can be accepted by the university. All necessary reviews and approvals should be initiated before OSP’s proposal review process, thereby avoiding last minute delays.

Legal Review

If legal review is required, an additional two weeks is needed to allow the University’s Office of General Counsel to review. The Office of General Counsel works alongside the Office of Sponsored Programs to negotiate and review the relevant provisions of these agreements. All legal review is subject to final approval from the Office of General Counsel.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property is addressed in the terms and conditions negotiated by OSP when accepting an award. For most awards NSU will retain ownership of intellectual property developed on sponsored projects in order to avoid conflicting commitments to various sponsors. In the case of patents, policy requires the University to retain ownership unless a special waiver is approved. As with patents, NSU prefers to retain ownership of copyrights. In some instances NSU will allow the sponsor to own the copyright on deliverable reports, while retaining the right of use for University purposes. Intellectual Property Agreement

Animal Research

Currently, Norfolk State University does not have any active animal research on campus. NSU researchers who are engaged in research involving animals do so through sub-contractual arrangements with Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University and/or other partners. This policy will be updated, vetted and revised by the end of the current fiscal year.

Human Subjects

The Human Subjects Protection Committee, as required by Federal law, acts as the institutional review board for research on human subjects at NSU regardless of the source of funds. All uses of humans as subjects (including survey respondents) must be reviewed and approved by the Human Subjects Protection Committee prior to starting the research. Guidelines for Submitting Protocols to the Institutional Review Board (IRB)


Export control

U. S. export controls exist to protect the national security and foreign policy interests. Export controls govern the shipment, transmission, or transfer of regulated items, information and software to foreign countries, persons or entities. Check with OSP in advance of research activities with foreign entities to ensure compliance with export control regulations.

Scientific Misconduct

In compliance with PHS regulation (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Subpart A) the OSP has in place procedures for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct. Scientific Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

This office will work exhaustively to protect the reputation and position of good faith whistle blowers as outlined in the Office for Research Integrity's Handbook for Institutional Research Integrity Officers. OSP staff will place major importance on fostering a research environment that discourages misconduct in research efforts as outlined in (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Section 105) as well as encourage researchers in cultivating new and innovative research ideas. 

Proposal Processing Channels

Approval is evidenced by signatures on the proposal and on the University’s Internal Approval Form (IAF). After the Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) and any co-investigators have signed the final version and signed the IAF, the proposal must be approved by the Department Head and Dean and forwarded to OSP. After Campus/Unit review and approval (as evidenced by the signatures on the IAF), proposals are submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs. OSP reviews the proposal and budget and the PI/PD secures the required authorized University signatures. OSP assigns a number to the proposal for data entry and submits the proposal to the sponsor as per instructions on the RFP, RFB, RFQ, and BAA.

Principal Investigator's - Project Director's Responsibilities

The University assumes legal responsibility for funded projects and the PI is responsible for the management, activities and technical reporting activities. The PI/PD must maintain contact with the sponsor’s technical monitor and comply with all technical reporting requirements. The PI/PD must also initiate correspondence with the sponsor’s administrative or contract monitor to request programmatic or budgetary changes. All such requested revisions should be routed through OSP for appropriate approval signatures.

Proposal Preparations and Processing

The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD)

The PI has the primary responsibility for ensuring the success of the research as well as the overall award management of the sponsored program. The PI is expected to and must comply with the financial and administrative policies and regulations associated with the award. Responsibilities may include:

  • Notifies Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) of intent to submit
  • Coordinates with OSP during proposal development
  • Researches and develops proposal information and components
  • Produces and types each draft and the final proposal in electronic format
  • Complies with sponsor guidelines and requirements
  • Verifies University and other resource availability
  • Reviews program concepts with directors, department heads, deans, and/or appropriate supervisors
  • Develops detailed budget
  • Completes execution of Internal Approval Form (IAF)
  • Identifies animal care, human subject protection, DNA, or other relevant research issues
  • Identifies potential intellectual property products
  • Secures all University and/or partners hierarchy approvals
  • Secures OSP access and approval for electronic submissions
  • Identifies and secures approval of desired space use
  • Secures Letters of support (supervisors, partners, etc.)

Program Management

Responsibilities of the Project Director or Principal Investigator

  • Oversees Day-to-Day management of all program activities
  • Monitors all purchase entries
  • Reviews Budget Report monthly for accuracy and makes/pursues adjustments accordingly
  • Implements program objectives
  • Maintains director or investigator expense ledger
  • Generates an Account Directors Summary Report and resolves open commitments monthly
  • Selects, supervises, and evaluates program staff
  • Works with HR to create personnel positions
  • Ensures timely completion of NSU and sponsor program reports
  • Generates paperwork to create special program accounts
  • Sends early warning of successes and problems to OSP
  • Follows paperwork through systems
  • Secures OSP clearance for all contacts with sponsors
  • Complies with University use policy for Small Purchasing and Travel cards
  • Meeting sponsors reporting requirements and all reporting requests of OSP

Office of Sponsored Programs Responsibility

Proposal Preparation and Processing

The Office of Sponsored Programs is the office of record for all grants and contracts submissions. The Office of Sponsored Programs reports to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and implements the research and sponsored programs policies of the University. They also provide OSP administration services for the University. The general functions of OSP include:

  • Identifies potential sponsors
  • Provides training and assists with development of draft and final proposals
  • Conducts compliance review
  • Reviews and approves University commitment
  • Assesses University liability
  • Reviews format and content
  • Assists in identifying and approval of cost-sharing plans
  • Reviews and approves budget proposal
  • Reviews and approves of Internal Approval Form
  • Approves partnering plans
  • Processes Assurances
  • Prepares transmittal letters
  • Performs Final Review Authority for all NSU proposal submissions
  • Prepares NSU Official letters of support
  • Copies, Packages, and mails proposals
  • Completes electronic submission of proposals
  • Provides Instructions for accessing sponsored programs resources

Program Management

Responsibilities of the Office of Sponsored Programs

  • Provides administrative oversight for University sponsored programs
  • Serves as Official University negotiator for sponsored program agreements
  • Serves as Final approval point for sponsored program activity
  • Serves as Official University contact for government and other sponsors for all sponsored program activity
  • Serves as Official reviewer of sponsored program agreements
  • Monitors program compliance issues for sponsored programs
  • Completes and reviews requests for all extension requests
  • Reviews reports to sponsors prior to submissions by directors
  • Coordinates between sponsors and directors/investigators interactions on program matters



May I submit a Proposal Directly to OSP Without Further Approvals?

No, approval is required from your Department Head, Dean and/or your supervisors. The forms listed below must be completed in its entirety with appropriate signatures before the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) can submit any proposal.

Intent To Submit Form, OSP Form 106

This form alerts OSP of your intent to work on a proposal and get you on their Master Schedule.

OSP Form 100 Internal Approval Form IAF

This form verifies the hierarchical approval of the PIs/PDs leadership, in agreement with all aspects of the intended proposal submission. The fully executed IAF must be in OSP before any proposal is submitted.

I Have Identified a Program I Want to Pursue, Where Do I Start?

Complete the following form and submit to the Office of Sponsored Program (OSP) right away and to your Department Head and Dean as notification and/or approval.

OSP Form 106 Intent To Submit Form

  • Notify OSP of your intent to pursue the opportunity.
  • Identify all the information requested on the form.
  • Identify whether it is a limited submission opportunity, or not. Can more than one proposal be submitted for this effort?
  • Does this program require cost sharing or not? If so, what is the minimal cost share percentage?
  • Work with OSP on the development of the proposal.
  • Read the program guidelines from cover to cover, do what it says.
  • Plan to submit the proposal ten days before it is due. Time gets away from you in proposal development!


What Must Be in Place Before I Can Submit My Completed Proposal?

Internal Approval Form (IAF, OSP Form 100)

Internal Approval Form IAF

  • Indicate Name of Principal Investigator (PI) /Program Director(PD)
  • Indicate Sponsor Information
  • Indicate Proposal Information (Proposal Title, Start & End Date,Type of Funding, and Brief Abstract)
  • List Co-PIs /Co-PDs
  • Indicate Budget Summary (Single or Multiple Year)
  • Forward form for Signatures (PI/PD, Department Head or Supervisor, Dean, Office of Sponsored Programs)


Who is Responsible for the Submission of All Proposals?

  • The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) office is responsible for the submission of all proposals to all external funding sources.
  • Even if a sponsor allows direct PI/PD proposal submissions, NSU does require that proposals be processed through OSP.


Who Negotiates Proposal Terms and Conditions?

  • As the Authorized University Officials, the Director and Assistant Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) reviews all terms and conditions, regardless of the type of sponsor.
  • As the Authorized University Officials, the Director and Assistant director of the Office of Sponsored Programs negotiates terms and conditions for all pre-awarded matters with sponsors.
  • As the Authorized University Officials, the Director and Assistant Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs negotiates terms and conditions for all “post-award” matters with sponsors.


My Partner, Program Officer or Prime Has a Legal Document They Have Asked Me to Sign, Should I Sign?

Documents should not be signed by you; oftentimes legal documents require an authorized official's signature.  All legal document (s) for any sponsored program should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for the review and their office will forward to the appropriate persons.

How Do I Secure Legal Approval for Needed Items?

All legal document (s) for any sponsored program should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for review and their office will forward it to the appropriate persons.

How do I determine what percentage increase I should use when requesting proposal funding?

  • If the project is single year include at least 3% annual increase.
  • Use the OSP frequency asked questions sheet for multiple year increase requests.
  • Please determine the initial start date for your proposal to determine whether to use current salaries or a salary with escalation to project future salaries.
  • If it is a multi-year program, salary increases must be projected annually for all positions, for all staff, faculty, and administrators.

I Have a Proposal I Am Submitting Through the NSU Foundation, How Can OSP Assist Me?

  • The Office of Sponsored Programs will assist all PIs/PDs submitting any proposal requests on behalf of NSU through the approved NSU/OSP proposal processing protocols. The OSP typically processes NSU proposals for grants, contracts, MOAs,MOUs and other funding vehicles.
  • The NSU Foundation develops efforts independent of the Office of Sponsored Programs, under their independent authority. The NSU Foundation typically generates private support, manages, invests, and administers private and "public" gifts, including endowment and real property.

The Sponsor Has Said I Do Not Need to Go Through My OSP, What Should I Do?

  • The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for the submission of all proposals to all external funding sources.
  • Even if a sponsor allows direct PI/PD proposal submissions, NSU does require that proposals be processed through OSP.

My Sponsor Does Not Require NSU’s Approval for Proposal, What Must I Do?

  • Some sponsors do not require an authorized university official's signature; however, NSU requires that all proposals, for all programs to any sponsor be processed in advance through OSP, prior to submission.
  • Regardless of Sponsor requirements, it is mandated that all proposals must be processed, reviewed, edited, approved, and submitted by the OSP and not the PI/PD.