Office of Sponsored Programs Administration & Accounting


REMINDER: Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Updates from the Director


Upcoming Limited Submission Competition for NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program

A reminder that the MRI competition is fast-approaching and it will require internal coordination to determine which proposals go forth. There is a limit of 3 applications. If 3 proposals of merit are indentified, at least 1 of the 3 must be for instrument development (Track 2) as opposed to equipment acquisition (Track 1).  In order to be considered, please submit the Limited Submission Form by January 10 or as soon as possible so that the internal review process may begin.

Guidance from The Jeffress Memorial Trust on Renewal Applications

According to recent guidance, The Jeffress Memorial Trust will continue to consider grant renewals for original grants awarded between January 2009 and May 2012. Original grants awarded prior to January 2009 will not be considered for renewals. Grant renewal applications will now only be reviewed once a year and eligible applications are due on or before September 1st. Renewal awards will only be considered upon the admission and completion of all reporting requirements as communicated in the original grant contract.

After September 2015 the Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust will be dedicating all resources to the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research which is a limited competition. All 4 proposals for this year’s competition have been identified.

All questions regarding Jeffress renewal applications should be directed to Sarah Kay at

Timely Topics  

Grant Collaborations May Gain Competitive Edge

If an appropriate match can be made, collaboration with other organizations on grant proposals can supplement expertise, add depth, and be key to accessing funding. For instance, collaborations provide organizations with an opportunity to access expert or special skills in which an organization may be deficient. Collaborations may also give the proposal a viable advantage over non-collaborative proposals. According to Lea Johnson, grant fundraiser and organizational growth strategists for LMJ Solutions, "Collaborations look more strategic in the eyes of a funder. In addition, a grant collaboration can help schools bring in additional specialized expertise instead of recreating the wheel, which donors appreciate as well."

Johnson provides the following tips on how to build successful grant collaborations:

  • Show clear outcomes
    • Very clear outcomes should be outlined in the proposal and outcomes shared by all involved. Johnson states, "You need to be able to show that the program itself is meeting the goals and has outcomes that are measurable." It is integral to assess and evaluate the program from the start.
  • Create a budget reflective of all partners
    • The budget ought to show real input from all partners. Significant programmatic involvement should be reflected in the budget too and all sub-awardees should be clearly identified.
  • Lay down the rules of the relationships
    • At the start of the collaboration, all partners must decide important key items, such as which partner will be the fiscal agent and administer the grant if funded, which partner will be responsible for communications, and roles and expectations of each organization. Johnson notes, "There is probably naturally going to be one side that is facilitating it to keep the project moving." Obtaining signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and letters of commitments from each partner is essential prior to the submission of the funding application.
  • Evaluate from outset
    • According to Johnson, "You don’t want to get to the end of the grant assuming your partner has been tracking the necessary information and find out that they haven’t been." A roles and responsibilities matrix should be employed from the outset of the project to ensure that data is gathered from project initiation and all partners are in agreement about who is responsible for stewardship of information and reporting.
  • Plan milestones
    • From the beginning of the project, all parties should identify important tasks and coordinate efforts to ensure the project stays on track. Each partner should be responsible and contribute meaningfully to the implementation of the project plan.
  • Understand time commitments
    • It is important that all parties are aware and agree that a lot of time will be involved in planning and implementing a successful project. It may take twice as long to prepare a proposal for a collaborative funding application as it will require coordination between organizations to obtain the information and organization commitments needed. Each partner must agree that they have the time and ability to dedicate to collaboration and meet deadlines.
  • Ensure sponsor is open to collaboration
    • Since a budget representing a collaborative project can be much larger than a single applicant's, it is important to select a sponsor and funding announcement that is able to fund collaborations. Contacting the sponsor in advance is always a good idea to gauge interest and seek advice. 

To contact Lea Johnson, visit:

Compliance Corner  

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Sticks With Policy Allowing One Application Resubmission After a Rejection

NIH plans to continue permitting just one resubmission for funding after a grant application has been rejected, Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research, said in a post on her blog. As of January 2009, NIH no longer allows two resubmissions in order to address "concerns that applications were piling up in a 'queue' and subject to a holding pattern that delayed funding until the resubmission (A1 and A2) stages, and as a consequence highly meritorious science proposed in original (A0) applications was made to wait additional months for funding," Rockey explained. A review of data collected since the change showed an "unsurprising" quickening of awards (from 93 to 56 weeks from submission), but also that an "increase in the proportion of funded A0 applications versus A1 applications was not an obvious outcome" of the new policy, Rockey said. Still, NIH believes that "overall, these data indicate that the policy to sunset A2 applications continues to achieve the stated goals of enabling NIH to fund as much meritorious science as possible in as short a time period as possible.…For these reasons, we have decided to continue the policy in its current form," she wrote on November 28. Comments posted in response to her announcement indicate the policy remains controversial.