- Step 1: Generate Your Idea
- Step 2: Find Funding
- Step 3: Develop Your Proposal
- Step 4: Submit Your Proposal
- Step 5: Manage Your Award
Understand Submission Processes
If this is the first time you will be submitting a proposal to NIH or NSF, you will need to be registered with NIH or NSF through OSP. Please see the section on Electronic Submission and Registration. Note that if you intend to submit a grant proposal to NIH, the PI must first be registered in the NIH eRA Commons at least two weeks in advance. Contact your Sponsored Projects Officer to register.
At the University of Utah, OSP is responsible for the coordination of proposal submission and the acceptance of awards for grants and contracts.
The submission process is generally as follows:
- The PI (or his/her designee) downloads the application for the opportunity from Cayuse 424 or the funding agency website (Grants.gov) or creates a new NSF application (FastLane).
- The PI/designee reviews and completes the application (“writes the proposal”), using all required forms and formats, providing all required information, and seeking/following advice from OSP as needed. In particular, if you are new to the process, it is beneficial to send a draft budget and other draft portions to your Sponsored Projects Officer well in advance of the deadline (in fact, as soon as possible) for their preliminary review and guidance. Sponsored Projects Officers have significant experience in proposal preparation/submission and can offer helpful insights and time-saving tools.
- The PI/designee completes the Document Summary Sheet (DSS), which is electronically routed for approvals and, once approved, routed to OSP. It is best to contact your Sponsored Projects Officer and verify that he/she has received this and inform him/her of any usual aspects of the submission guidelines.
- The PI/designee sends the approved, completed proposal to his/her Sponsored Projects
Officer for a final review, approval and submission. This must occur at least five (5) business days prior to the external submission deadline to allow time for review,
revision of errors and inclusion of additional material if needed. Also, there are
times when the submission portal may not be available (scheduled or unscheduled downtime,
overloaded with simultaneous submissions), or key personnel or experts may be unavailable
to answer last-minute questions, or other technical difficulties or emergencies could
arise, so the five-days-in-advance rule should be strictly adhered to. OSP cannot
guarantee the application will be submitted to the agency by the submission deadline
if we receive the application within four days or less.
Note: The 5 day deadline allows OSP sufficient time to review for compliance issues/concerns and helps to ensure a successful submission. It does not allow sufficient time for proposal development or major revisions. If you would like help with your proposal, please contact OSP for specific kinds of assistance in developing your proposal. In particular, for NIH and NSF proposals, OSP has developed tools to help you organize your writing and to make writing standard sections more efficient while tailoring them to your particular goals or aims. Get more grantsmanship information. OSP also has forms and other useful information available to save you time.
- OSP then submits the proposal to the funding agency. If the proposal is electronic via Grants.gov, Cayuse424, or FastLane, the agency will require the submission, even if it’s a pre-proposal or white paper, to be made by an authorized official in OSP. This may vary with foundations or other sponsors which sometimes will allow the PI to apply via email or the sponsor’s own proposal submission system. Please note that OSP should review and approve all proposals for sponsored projects before submission regardless of funding agency. If the submission is by paper, OSP is usually required to sign the face page or other proposal document. Once this is complete, the originals are given to the PI or designated administrator, who then submits the paper version to the sponsor. If there is any doubt about who submits the proposal and how, always contact your Sponsored Projects Officer.
When applying to a non-federal funding source, visit the source’s website to find out what forms or guidelines they have for applicants.
Get information on proposals that include subcontracts. If the University of Utah is the subrecipient, that is, you will receive funding via a subcontract from another institution (which is the prime recipient), for your work, the prime institution determines what you must provide. At a minimum, this will usually include a detailed budget, budget justification, letter of commitment, and statement of work. In these cases, A DSS is still required.