Proposal Process and General Information 

1) How do I find funding? 

2) Who is my contact in the OSP? 

3) Who is eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)?

4) When does a proposal need to be routed to the OSP and what materials should be included?

5) If JMU is a subrecipient, do I need to run the proposal through the OSP? 

6) What is the purpose of the Internal Approval Form? 

7) Who submits an electronic application? 

8) As the Principal Investigator (PI), do I need to register with any of the following electronic systems?

9) Where can I find the University's DUNS number, JMU's tax id number and other items, such as JMU Congressional District? 

10) Besides starting early, what are some other tips to get a proposal submitted in a timely manner? 

11) Is it possible to have a Department ID (Org #) assigned before my award is final so I can start PAR forms, signature cards, and make travel arrangements? 

12) Can I sign award agreements from the sponsor for my research project or grant activity? 


Budget

13) Why did you ask me so many annoying questions about how I calculated my budget? 

14) What are direct costs? 

15) What are indirect costs or facilities and administrative costs? 

16) When do I use the off-campus indirect cost rate? 

17) What is cost sharing or matching? 

18) Can I direct charge administrative and clerical costs to my project? 

19) What are participant support costs? 

20) What are some possible payment methods for a student to receive funding from a sponsored project? 

21) What is the best payment method to use for external services on a sponsored program that will not be purchased through the eVA Procurement System? 


Sponsor Prior Approvals

22) What is a No Cost Extension (NCE)? 

23) I need to change my budget to accommodate new expenses related to my research. What do I do? 

 

Proposal Process and General Information

1)      How do I find funding?

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) provides a wide variety of tools and resources for finding funding opportunities.  Please see the URL below for a complete list. http://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/funding-opportunities/index.shtml

2)      Who is my contact in the OSP?

This will vary depending on the OSP workload and other factors, such as application complexity, staff availability, and submission time.  Inquiries, award or denial notifications, agreement requests, prior approval requests etc. can be forwarded to the OSP departmental email address at jmu_grants@jmu.edu.  The OSP staff contact page is available at the following URL: https://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/contact-us.shtml

3)      Who is eligible to serve as a principal investigator (PI) or co-principal investigator (Co-PI)?

Please see the Statement of Principal Investigator Eligibility at the following URL for PI and Co-PI requirements: http://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/proposal-assistance/eligibility.shtml  

4)      When does a proposal need to be routed to the OSP and what materials should be included?

In order to facilitate a timely review and approval of your proposal materials we request that completed and approved proposals be submitted to the OSP five (5) business days prior to the sponsor’s submission deadline for mailing or receipt in accordance with University Policy 2201.   This allows thorough review of the completed proposal for compliance issues, budget consistency and verification against the program announcement that submission requirements are met. Proposals that are more complex; include match; and/or have external collaborators take more time to review and should be routed earlier than (5) business days. The proposal materials should include the following:

a. Internal Approval Form signed by the PI, Co-PIs, and their respective Deans and Department Heads - The OSP is now accepting scanned or digital signatures (rather than the hardcopy originals) on certifications, sponsor documents, and internal approval forms.   If it is easier for you to circulate the internal approval form electronically for signatures, please feel free to do so.
b. Narrative/project description (A draft may be used to obtain university approval).
c. Final line-item budget  - Templates are available at: https://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/forms-tools-resources/index.shtml
d. Final budget justification/narrative – Examples are available at: https://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/forms-tools-resources/index.shtml
e. If the project is federally funded research or Public Health Service (PHS), U.S. Department of Energy, or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded, please provide the OSP with a list of the project personnel and/or JMU               collaborators, who are partially responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the project so that the OSP may confirm that an active JMU Disclosure form is on file with the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) for those individuals           before the submission. Disclosure forms are available on the ORI website at: http://www.jmu.edu/researchintegrity/fcoi/fcoiform.shtml
f.  Signed sub-recipient materials when a subaward is budgeted (For details, please see the Collaboration Guide)
g. If in cash match meets or exceeds $10,000, provide a signed Cost Sharing Request Form.
h. A link or copy of the solicitation and/or the Sponsor's guidelines
i.  Other required sponsor documents that require certifications or include budgetary information (For example: face page, statement of intent, sponsor budget forms, etc.)

5)      If JMU is a subrecipient, do I need to run the proposal through the OSP?

Yes, proposals where JMU is the subrecipient should be treated the same as if we were processing the lead/prime proposal.  The lead institution may require additional materials, such as JMU’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, statement of work, or signed university letter of commitment.  Please contact the OSP if we can be of assistance in coordinating the submission with the lead institution.   

6)      What is the purpose of the Internal Approval Form?

The purpose of the Internal Approval Form is to provide a summary of the pertinent administrative and fiscal information about a proposed sponsored project and to provide a record of approval of the Principal Investigator; Co-Principal Investigator(s); relevant department/school(s); relevant college(s); and university.  This form is intended to accompany all required proposal materials including the narrative portions, the budget, and budget justification and must have all required approvals prior to proposal submission.  The Internal Approval Form is usually prepared with the assistance of the OSP once the budget is finalized.  However, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator to provide accurate information and to provide all the required assurances.  Please note that this form is an internal document and is not provided to the sponsors or collaborators.

7)      Who submits an electronic application?

This will depend on the Sponsor. Some sponsors have electronic systems that will permit the PI to submit the final version of the proposal. However, the PI should not submit without university approval and the OSP confirmation. If unsure, please contact the OSP to determine who will need to submit the final proposal.  If the PI submits the proposal, a copy of the final submission should be provided to the OSP for institutional records.   Listed below are some sponsors with electronic systems that require the authorized organizational representative (AOR) to hit the submit button.  For these systems, the PI is to provide the completed proposal to the OSP 5 business days before the deadline to submit. 

National Science Foundation (NSF) The National Science Foundation’s electronic research administration system is called Fastlane.  It is very user friendly and we encourage PI’s to do as much as they wish in this system. Proposals have to be initiated in FastLane by the PI and then you allow the SRO office (the OSP) access to view/edit/submit. That way we can all be in there at once working on various components.  It’s easy to load to the system and the beauty is that you can work on it anywhere- office or home.  Please contact the OSP if you need a user account.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Applications are submitted through Grants.gov but application organizations must track their application as it moves from Grants.gov to the eRA Commons, NIH's system for grants administration, to complete the submission process. Investigators must be registered in NIH eRA Commons in order to submit the application in Grants.gov. Please let the OSP know if you are not already registered in NIH eRA Commons and the OSP will set up your user account.

8)      As the Principal Investigator (PI), do I need to register with any of the following electronic system?

Grants.gov No, the University is registered as an organization in Grants.gov. This website includes federal grant opportunities and provides an outlet for institutions to apply and submit to these opportunities. PI and other project personnel do not need accounts in Grants.gov. The OSP will submit all Grants.gov application packages on behalf of the university and track the status of submissions through Grants.gov. 
System for Award Management (SAM) No, the University is registered as an organization in SAM and reviews and updates the record annually. 

9)      Where can I find the University’s DUNS number, JMU’s tax id number and other items, such as JMU’s Congressional District?

This information is available from the Frequently Required Information link on the OSP website; however, OSP will be happy to insert those values when we review and process the application. 

10)   Besides starting early, what are some other tips to get a proposal submitted in a timely manner?

a. E-mail the OSP if the proposal is being submitted in response to a specific Broad Agency Announcement, Request for Proposals, Research Announcement, etc. so that the OSP is familiar with solicitation guidelines ahead of time.
b. Become familiar with the solicitation. If you do not understand information in the solicitation contact the OSP or the sponsor’s program officer.
c. Start with the budget. The primary driver for the OSP is the budget development. Once the budget is complete, the OSP can prepare you a corresponding Internal Approval Form so that you can circulate the form for signatures. To develop the budget, you can meet with us to work out your budget projections in detail; work from a budget template that the OSP can review and make adjustments or edits necessary; or send the OSP the narrative information to calculate the expense needs for the project. 
d. Allow time for corrections. In many cases, proposals that arrive in the OSP are ready to be signed and submitted without further correction or revision. However, there are times when corrections need to be made, particularly if a budget has not been sent in advance or if a PI is applying to an agency he/she is unfamiliar with. Allowing time for corrections helps to ensure the proposal is correct when it is submitted.
e. Provide the application sections as you complete them.  Although you may still be finalizing the budget or project narrative, the OSP can review other sections of the application for compliance, such as cover pages, biographical sketches, letters of commitment, facilities, data management plans, and current and pending support
f. Stay in contact with the OSP to answer any questions that come up until you receive confirmation that your application has been submitted. Last minute issues often arise and need to be addressed.
g. Plan to submit the proposal a couple of days before the deadline.

11)   Is it possible to have a Department ID (Org #) assigned before my award is final so I can start PAR forms, signature cards, and make travel arrangements?

Yes, as long as OSP has an approved Internal Approval Form and budget for the project, a Department ID (Org #) can be created with simply a written request for one. It must be noted that any expenditures that are incurred against this Department ID before the award is received is a financial risk to your department. If such costs are deemed unallowable by the sponsor, for any reason, the department must provide the funds to pay those expenses. It will be your responsibility to verify that the award is ultimately received and processed in this situation since Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) has processed the award early.

12)   Can I sign award agreements from the sponsor for my research project or grant activity?

No, since awards are made to the institution rather than the individual researcher.  Though you might be the PI or project director, you cannot contractually bind the university. According to University Policy 4100, all agreements must be reviewed and accepted by an authorized representative of the University.  You should forward the award agreement and any associated documents to the OSP, either in person, by mail, or electronically. We will coordinate legal review and negotiate the agreement’s terms and conditions as required to ensure that the agreement conforms to the policies and regulations of the State and University. 


Budget


13)   Why did you ask me so many annoying questions about how I calculated my budget?

The OSP is required to follow “costing standards;” accordingly, we have to understand, document and approve the calculations used to develop the numbers in the budget.  This protects the University and the sponsor.  It protects the University by ensuring that all possible direct and indirect costs are included in the budget to complete the outlined project.  It protects the sponsor by ensuring they are not being overcharged for the work provided.  The best approach for budget development is to send the OSP the narrative information to calculate the expense needs for the project and let us calculate the actual amounts.  We don’t mind making tweaks to that resulting budget to reach a predetermined budget limit.

14)   What are direct costs?

Direct Costs are costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easy with a high degree of accuracy.

15)   What are indirect costs or facilities and administrative costs?

Facilities and administrative costs (F&A) costs are those 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 broad categories of costs. "Facilities" is defined as depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses. "Administration" is defined as general administration and general expenses like for the Payroll or Accounts Payable activities.  Accordingly, costs associated with utilities and for administration activities are charged to sponsored projects indirectly. See the Cost of Research Infographic for a visual representation of F&A Costs.

16)   When do I use the off-campus indirect cost rate?

The off-campus rate (26% of Modified Total Direct Costs) will apply where more than 50% of the project as a whole will be conducted in facilities not owned or maintained by the University.  Please see the following URL for details about JMU Federally negotiated indirect costs rate agreement: http://www.jmu.edu/sponsoredprograms/forms-tools-resources/indirectcosts.shtml

17)   What is cost sharing or matching?

The portion of project expenses related to a sponsored agreement that is contributed by parties other than the sponsor.  Cost sharing/matching could be University or external resources provided in support of sponsored programs; includes in-kind and in-cash resources which are specifically and uniquely associated with only the proposed project and are quantifiable. Cost sharing should be included in the proposal only when required. Voluntary cost sharing/matching is discouraged by the University. In-cash match at $10,000 or greater requires prior approval by way of the Cost Share Request Form which the OSP will prepare for you.

18)   Can I direct charge administrative and clerical costs to my project

The University must adhere to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards." Therefore, the salaries of administrative and clerical staff, office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, and memberships should normally be treated as indirect costs. Direct charging of these types of costs may be appropriate in some circumstances.  For example, though postage is normally treated as an indirect cost, your proposed project may have an exceptional need for postage because you plan extensive data collection and will mail survey questionnaires to 10,000 participants. In this case, it would be appropriate to charge the project directly for the postage to mail the questionnaires, since this would constitute "unlike circumstances" compared to routine postage requirements. If you believe you have a major project or special need that should allow direct charging of these expenditures, please discuss with your OSP contact.

Salaries of administrative staff may be included as a direct cost when ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • Services are integral to the project
  • Individuals can be specifically identified to the project
  • Explicitly included in the budget or have prior written approval
  • AND, are not recovered as indirect costs

19)   What are participant support costs?

Participant support costs (PSC) means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.  It is important that these costs be identified correctly at the proposal stage as it affects the indirect costs calculation. At the time of expense, PSC must be accounted for separately from the remainder of the award budget.  Some sponsors, most notably the National Science Foundation, require prior sponsor approval to rebudget from the PSC category into other categories.

20)   What are some possible payment methods for a student to receive funding from a sponsored project?

 a. A Stipend through Financial Aid:

To receive the stipend through financial aid, a student must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour during the semester when payment is received.  Depending on the student’s financial aid package, the stipend could reduce a loan instead of being ‘additional money in the student’s pocket.’  For the proposal budget you would not allocate FICA on a student stipend.  If the sponsor allows for indirect costs per JMU’s Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate, then the stipend would not be included in the indirect cost base.  Payment through Financial Aid will be a lump sum disbursement of the requested amount.

 b. Accounting Voucher through Accounts Payable (usually for supporting ‘housing and meals’ while the student is working on the project):

A student could be paid on an eVA Purchase Exclusion (#10 or 6).  If Human Resources (HR) determines that the student payment was really “Employment,” the voucher would be returned with instructions to pay the student using a PAR form.  Payment using an Accounting Voucher will be a lump sum disbursement of the requested amount.

 c. Wages through Payroll on a PAR form:

The student will need to complete the appropriate hiring paperwork (i.e.: tax forms, position description, etc.) and may be required to go through the HR ‘onboard process.’ Generally on the proposal budget, FICA will be allocated on the student wages unless the PI is certain that the student will be exempt by being enrolled half-time (or more) at the time the payroll payments are made.  The wages should be included in the indirect cost base if the sponsor allows for indirect costs per JMU’s Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate.

21)   What is the best payment method to use for external services on a sponsored program that will not be purchased through the eVA Procurement System?

 It is best to develop the budget on how you actually intend to spend the funds. Below are several payment methods to consider.

Subrecipient [a] For a Contractor ($2,999.99 or less) [b] Honorarium [c] Payment to an individual for just travel costs

Pre-award (Before proposal submission)

Collaboration Checklist

Prior to the proposal submission, the subrecipient is to provide the items listed on the Collaborator Checklist to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). The JMU principal investigator (PI) must complete the Subrecipient or Contractor Checklist and email it to the OSP  N/A but the vendor/ contractor must be named specifically in the proposal budget and in the budget justification if possible.                                                                                               N/A but they should be named on the budget if possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                  N/A but the estimated travel should be per JMU's travel policy and/or sponsors travel regulations.                                                                                                                                                                           
Post award
Accounting Voucher Yes Yes [d] Yes [d] Yes
eVA Purchase Exclusion Number 10 10 6 2
W-9 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Invoice approved by Principal Investigator (PI) Yes Yes [e] Yes [e] N/A
Travel Authorization (TA) N/A N/A N/A Yes [f]
Travel Reimbursement Form with receipts for actual costs and traveler's original signature N/A N/A N/A Yes

[a] Normally, subawards are listed on the budget under the “Other Direct Costs” category.   If awarded, the OSP can set up a subaward agreement based on the statement of work, budget, and budget justification that was received at the time of proposal. One benefit of setting up an agreement is that it creates a “contracted deliverable” that you can monitor via a written document. The agreement would be signed by JMU’s authorized official and the subrecipient’s authorized official.  

[b] Please plan to work with procurement for vendors or contractors at $3,000 or more.  The service might require a competitive bid and/or additional documentation.

[c] The fee for the service must not be traditionally required.  For example, a professional speaker cannot receive an honorarium for a speaker fee if that fee is charged as part of their normal business operations.  

[d] If the individual is a current or past JMU employee and is still listed in the payroll system, then that individual might need to be paid on a PAR through payroll instead of on an accounting voucher. 

[e] A copy of the budget and budget justification should be included as back up documentation for the payment. 

[f] Required if overnight travel and estimated total travel is more than $500.  This is completed by the JMU PI prior to travel and has to have signature of traveler.


Sponsor Prior Approvals
 

22)   What is a No Cost Extension (NCE)?

An NCE provides for additional time to accomplish project goals without additional funding. OSP will assist you with preparing an NCE to your sponsor. NCE’s should be sought at least 30 days before the scheduled end date of the project.

23)   I need to change my budget to accommodate new expenses related to my research. What do I do?

Please contact your OSP administrator to discuss your situation. Depending on the terms and conditions of your award, we may need to seek prior approval from the sponsor to make expenditures outside of the originally approved budget, to move money between categories of cost, to create new categories of costs, or to exceed expenditures within categories. Do not contact the sponsor directly to make budgetary changes.

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