Frequently Asked Questions
- What does the Office of Sponsored Projects staff do?
- Who on campus do I contact to start a proposal? Who is my Grants Specialist?
- What is the difference between a contract and grant?
- How can I find out about grant opportunities?
- What is a limited submission?
- When do I need to alert someone that I intend to submit a proposal?
- What is Financial Conflict of Interest and how does it apply to me?
- Where do I find information on Misconduct in Research?
- Where can I find the Institutional information I need to complete my application?
- Where can I find a list of all offices that deal with research?
- Does my grant need to be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Projects?
- What kinds of grants don’t go through OSP?
- As a PI, what are my responsibilities on the grant proposal?
- When do I need to have my documents to OSP? What are the deadlines?
- What administrative forms are needed to submit a proposal?
- What are the penalties for late submission?
- Who actually submits my proposal?
- Will you write grants for me?
- Where can I find information about and help in creating my budget?
- What is a budget justification?
- What is indirect cost (IDC)? What happens to IDC that is collected?
- How do I determine if the project is considered “on campus” or “off campus”?
- How should I calculate IDC for my project?
- What is Cost‐Sharing?
- What are fringe benefit rates?
- Do I need to budget for tuition?
- What is a subcontract and what information do I need from my collaborator before I can submit my proposal?
- How do I calculate indirect costs on subcontracts?
- I just received a request for a revised budget from my program officer, what do I do now?
- I just received a contract in the mail, what do I do with it now?
- Once I receive my award notice, how will my subcontract get issued?
- I have a subcontract and my subcontractor is not performing in accordance with the scope of work. What do I do?
- I am leaving the university. How do I take my grant with me?
- My award has ended and I am ready to do my closeout. Who can help me with my closeout?
- What is a foundation, and how do I get funding from one?
- Can I apply to a sponsor that only gives to non‐profit or 501(c)(3) organizations?
The Office of Sponsored Projects serves as the coordinating office for externally funded research projects submitted by The University of Texas at Dallas. We notify researchers regarding funding opportunities and sponsor policies and procedures; provide technical assistance to researchers drafting proposals, review, and process proposals for submission to sponsoring agencies; negotiate terms for awards and contracts; receive award documents from the Sponsor and forward to Post Award Management for creation of a cost center; and assist with non-financial post‐award administrative functions.
A grant is a type of financial assistance awarded for the conduct of research or other program as specified in an approved proposal. A grant, as opposed to a cooperative agreement, is used whenever the awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities. Grants are normally awarded by sponsors whose purpose in supporting research is scientific, cultural or philanthropic. A contract is a mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Typically, a research topic and the methods for conducting the research are specified in detail by the sponsor, often in the Request for Proposal (RFP) which announces the funding opportunity. In general, there are greater performance expectations associated with contracts, including project milestones and detailed deliverables (e.g., reports). The arrangement is usually designed to benefit the sponsor by achieving an expected outcome or product.
Limited submission funding opportunities restrict the number of applications or proposals that an institution may submit for consideration. The Office of Sponsored Projects is responsible for managing the screening process of potential submissions to determine which proposal will go forward to the sponsoring agency. Visit the Limited Submission website for additional information.
As soon as you contemplate submitting a proposal for funding you should alert your respective Grant Specialist. Provide any information that you have such as the due date and RFP/Program Announcement. This will allow the Grant Specialist to both review the guidelines for any unusual requirements and work with you on a timeline for submission.
A conflict of interest in research exists when a financial or other interest may compromise, or appear to compromise, the design, conduct, or reporting of research. The Research Conflict of Interest (RCOI) program at the University of Texas at Dallas functions in part to fulfill requirements in federal law that federal funding recipients maintain and enforce a policy governing research conflicts of interest, as well as to inform individuals of this policy. The RCOI program also provides a framework for investigators to protect the integrity of their research by identifying and disclosing situations that may pose a conflict, and working with the Office of Research Compliance to manage such situations. See here for additional information.
UT Dallas is committed to conducting research in a scientifically responsible and ethical manner and expects all students and employees to follow the relevant guidelines, policies, and regulations (see UTDPP1070). UT Dallas provides training modules, courses, and mentoring programs that can be used to meet the training requirements. For additional information, see Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
The Institutional Information page contains the administrative information necessary to complete a grant application.
In the event that the Principal Investigator plans to respond with a proposal to a sponsor’s one‐time program opportunity (i.e. Requests for Proposal [RFP], Requests for Quotations [RFQ], Broad Agency Announcements [BAA], etc.), a complete copy of the sponsor’s document should be sent to the Grants Specialist. If the answer to any of the below questions is yes, it is likely your project will need to be approved by OSP.
- Is there a defined scope of work?
- Is there a defined period of performance?
- Are there any specific deliverables, reports, and/or milestones?
- Are there terms and conditions to the project (e.g., payment contingent on progress report)?
- Is any portion revocable in whole or in part?
- Does the application require an “institutional” or “authorized” signature?
Grants that are paid directly to the PI, such as fellowships, prizes, and unrestricted gifts do not need to go through OSP. Gifts may need to be processed by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. If you receive a gift to support your research, contact your School Fiscal Officer who will initiate the process to receive a cost center for the gift.
The PI is ultimately responsible for all proposal content, including the budget and budget justification, for adhering to Research Office submission timelines, and should be available to discuss modifications throughout the submission process. The OSP Grants Specialists will meet with PIs to discuss the project budget and provide feedback on the entire proposal, as well as compliance with UT Dallas and sponsor regulations.
OSP strives to provide our faculty with responsive, high-quality service. In order to maintain the superior level of service you have come to expect and allow time to address any issues, all submissions will be subject to the following requirements:
- ALL submission materials and paperwork must be submitted to OSP at least 4 business days prior to the submission deadline.
- Incomplete submissions and/or submissions received after this deadline will be processed only after all complete and timely applications have been processed.
- All submission materials received after the 4 day window will require the approval of the Vice President for Research or the Associate Vice President for Research before OSP will submit the application. An explanation of the extenuating circumstances that resulted in the late proposal must accompany the request for such approval.
When all submission materials and paperwork are provided to OSP at least 4 business days prior to the deadline, the Grants Specialist will provide a thorough review of all proposal requirements. If less than 2 business days, the Grants Specialist will review the budget for correct rates and cost share, verify internal approvals are obtained and check for compliance issues. With less than 1 day notice, the Grants Specialist may only be able to verify the internal forms are signed and only after all complete and timely applications received by OSP have been processed. All proposals may be subject to a secondary review by the Assistant Director to ensure accuracy, compliance, and potential training areas.
OSP is the central administrative office responsible for submitting proposals and accepting awards on behalf of UT Dallas. Sponsored project proposals may only be submitted, and awards accepted, by individuals with University signature authority. Because proposals are submitted, and awards are granted to the University and not individual PIs, only OSP personnel are authorized to submit proposals, accept grants, or execute contracts on behalf of the University.
OSP does not write proposals. Given enough time, the Grant Specialist can provide grammatical feedback. Sponsored Projects staff is available to assist faculty with developing proposals including, copyediting, proposal language, and templates.
Personnel in OSP are experienced in preparing budgets, and encourage investigators to contact them when they have a draft of the budget. To make preparing budgets easier, OSP offers a Budget Preparation Template with formulas already written into the spreadsheet. OSP staff can provide expertise in completing a budget request, applying fringe benefits, facilities, administrative cost rates, documenting subcontracts and/or subrecipient agreements, consultants, matching funds, and cost‐sharing.
A budget justification typically describes, in a narrative format, the manner in which one’s budget is calculated. This includes effort for the key personnel (in months or % time), their qualifications, what responsibilities they will have for the project, as well as any supplies, materials, equipment, consultant fees, and travel proposed in the grant. Typically, the more detailed the budget justification (e.g., line‐by‐ line expense breakdowns), the higher the proposal’s budget.
IDC represents the costs associated with conducting research at UT Dallas that is borne by UT Dallas. By way of example, it costs UT Dallas to heat and cool facilities used for research, to light the facilities, in some cases to supply administrative personnel to assist the research staff, to provide office supplies to the research staff, and to provide administrative oversight of the grants and contracts operation of research performed at UT Dallas.
What happens to IDC that is collected? What are research enhancement funds?
The Office of Research provides UT Dallas faculty members with research enhancement funds equivalent to 10% of the indirect costs (IDC) generated by a faculty member’s sponsored programs. Because of the calendar year‐end closing and future‐year budgeting, there is a delay of one full fiscal year before the research enhancement funds are made available to faculty. Research enhancement funds may be used at the faculty member’s discretion for any purpose that can be reasonably justified as supporting their overall research program. Any questions about the research enhancement program, allocations to research enhancement cost centers or uses of research enhancement funds can be directed to Rafael Martin, Associate Vice President for Research (email@example.com).
Sponsored research projects are considered “on campus” if they reside in any building or on any property owned by the University and the majority (50% or greater) of project effort is expended at that site, no matter the location. Such projects must apply the “on campus” F&A rate to their budget and expenditures. To be considered “off campus”, greater than 50% of the effort (as determined by the budget) of a project must be done at a location not part of UTD.
Facilities and administrative costs must be included using the University’s federally‐negotiated rates unless the sponsor has a written policy applicable to all potential proposers which deviates from these rates. All deviations are subject to UT Dallas administrative approval. Sponsor guidelines limiting facilities and administrative costs must be provided with your proposal.
When a portion of your project’s budget will be paid by someone other than the sponsor to which you are applying, this is called cost‐sharing. If sponsor guidelines require cost‐sharing or matching funds (cash contribution or donation of in‐kind services such as contributed time and effort by the Principal Investigator and research group members), provide appropriate letters of commitment from UT Dallas or third‐party source for cost‐sharing. All matching funds or cost‐sharing commitments must be approved in advance by the Principal Investigator’s department chair and Dean and be documented in writing to the Office of Sponsored Projects with the proposal.
Fringe benefits are a direct cost to a sponsored project, are clearly related to the salaries and wages to be paid, and are shown as a separate entry in the budget. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) no longer negotiates fringe benefit rates for the University. Fringe benefit costs have been calculated based on historical data. The actual costs for fringe benefits are charged (billed) to the sponsored project at the time the costs are incurred; the amount charged is based on salary, selected benefit package, and other variables applicable to the individual employee. If the actual fringe benefit expenses for a project exceed the projected amount included in the budget, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to pay these actual costs from the direct award funds provided by the sponsor. OSP can provide advice in the preparation of budgets.
It depends. Graduate students who have passed their PhD qualifying exam will have their tuition paid by the Provost. Tuition for graduate students who have not yet passed their PhD qualifying exam will need to be included in the proposal.
What is a subcontract and what information do I need from my collaborator before I can submit my proposal?
A subcontract provides services of a specialized and specific nature which are not being performed by a regular employee of the institution, but by a collaborator located outside the institution. When a proposer contemplates a subcontract/subrecipient agreement to a named subcontractor, the subcontractor’s statement of work, detailed budget, and a letter of commitment signed by the subcontractor’s authorized institutional representative should be provided to OSP. If the Principal Investigator(s) has any direct or indirect financial or other interest in the subcontractor/subrecipient organization, a disclosing statement must be submitted to OSP as well.
Indirect costs are calculated on the first $25,000 of each subcontract/subrecipient agreement over the life of the subcontract/subrecipient agreement.
Contact your Grants Specialist immediately. All revised budgets or other agency‐requested changes must be reviewed by OSP and be sent to the agency by an authorized signing official for UT Dallas.
Contact your Grants Specialist immediately and forward the contract to OSP. OSP is the central administrative office responsible for submitting proposals and accepting awards on behalf of UT Dallas. Sponsored project proposals may only be submitted, and awards accepted, by individuals with University signature authority. Because proposals are submitted, and awards are granted to the University and not individual PIs, only OSP personnel are authorized to submit proposals, accept grants, or execute contracts on behalf of the University.
Once the award has been processed and a cost center has been issued, your Grants Specialist will begin the subaward negotiations.
I have a subcontract and my subcontractor is not performing in accordance with the scope of work. What do I do?
Immediately reach out to the OSP to alert them. They will collect additional information, review the subcontract terms and conditions, and then alert the Sponsored Programs Office of the subawardee to discuss the issues and concerns. Before the subaward can be terminated, the issues must be documented. A letter of termination is prepared and handled by the Grants Specialist in conjunction with the PI.
Transferring a grant to another institution is a complicated process and requires proper timing to allow for the transfer and to allow for start-up at the new institution. Notify OSP as soon as possible in order to begin the process. Some sponsors have specific forms which must be completed to obtain a transfer. Other sponsors have no formal guidelines for transfers. There are general procedures that need to be followed to prepare for a transfer. Please note the following steps in preparing for a grant transfer:
- Select an arbitrary expiration date for your project. This is generally the start date of employment at the new university.
- In order to relinquish the project, the Office of Finance must be able to determine the residual funds remaining after all obligations have cleared. It takes at least 30 days after the expiration date to obtain this information.
- If you purchased equipment and want to take this equipment with you when you move, you must obtain approval from your Chair, Dean, and the OSP. Non-competing continuations for the next year’s funds will be submitted through your new institution.
The closeout process for sponsored projects is handled jointly by Post Award Management and Accounting and Financial Reporting. Information regarding the process can be accessed here.
A foundation is a non‐governmental, non‐profit organization established for the principal purpose of making grants. Foundations can range in size from large organizations with highly structured giving programs like the Gates Foundation to small family foundations that serve as vehicles for individually‐motivated giving. Your approach to any foundation will vary greatly based on their size, interests, and application procedures. Please contact Office of Development and Alumni Relations for more information.
Yes. UTD is a tax‐exempt organization, but does not hold 501(c)(3) IRS non‐profit status. The Office of Research can provide documentation of UT’s tax exempt status should you need it; most funders will accept this in lieu of 501(c)(3) documentation. In rare cases when funders can only make grants to 501(c)(3) organizations for legal reasons, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations can arrange for your funds to be routed through the UT Foundation, an arm of the university that does hold this status.
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