Grants Office Basics
Although our official title is the Office of Grant and Research Development (OGRD), we are a full service sponsored programs office. In addition to assisting with all stages of pre-award grant development and submission, the office is also responsible for regulatory compliance requirements (approvals for human subjects in research, animal care and use, use of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids and biologicals, development of intellectual property, etc.), and post-award administration. The services of the office also extend to facilitating contracts that constitute “works for hire” with the university, assistance with sub-award or sub-recipient agreements and non-disclosure and materials transfer agreements if they are necessary for either a grant or a contract.
An award is made to the university not an individual. Therefore, the university assumes the ultimate responsibility for all external funding. The Grants Office has the legal and fiduciary responsibility to ensure that all university, sponsor, state and federal regulations, laws, and policies are met. In addition, the OGRD strives to ensure that the best quality proposal is submitted to the funder.
Contact the office as soon as you know that you will be submitting a proposal.
If you are considering a proposal, you may contact the OGRD for help with deciding whether or not your project is a good fit with a particular funding source or opportunity.
Because the actual proposal development process can take weeks, months, even up to a year, we recommend that the prospective PD or PI contact the Grants Office very early in the proposal process, so that a member of the Pre-Award team can help facilitate the overall process.
The OGRD requires that all draft proposal documents be submitted to your Pre-Award contact at least 10 working days prior to the agency’s deadline.
The primary reason for requesting 10 working days for OGRD to review all proposal documents is to assist the principal investigator in creating and submitting a proposal that is within sponsor guidelines. This includes the development of an appropriate and accurate budget, assistance with proposal editing and formatting, and final submission to ensure that the proposal is complete and submitted on time.
Yes. All proposals must be approved, prior to submission, by your academic dean or program head. If others are committing resources to your project they must provide an approval as well. Approvals are documented by a signature on an Institutional Approvals for Proposal Submission Form.
Grants, Contracts and Cooperative Agreements
A grant, or sponsored research, is funding that is most frequently received in a competitive application process. Generally, grants are much more flexible than contracts.
A contract or contract research occurs when a request is made by industry or a government agency for a specified project to carry out identified objectives.
A cooperative agreement is similar to a grant, but is distinguished by the involvement of the awarding federal agency or pass through entity carrying out the activity. In a grant, the federal government more strictly maintains an oversight and monitoring role. In a cooperative agreement, federal employees participate more closely in performing the program.
When an institution receives a federal award, it is considered a non-federal entity. When an institution has another entity provide services that have been outlined in the project proposal, it is essentially passing through federal funds to that recipient. In these instances, the university can be described as a non-federal entity, or a pass-through entity.
After the university receives a federal award, the PI/PD may choose to have another entity complete part of the work that has been outlined in the proposal. If this occurs, the relationship may be determined to be a subaward or a procurement relationship. The type of work that will be accomplished will determine the type of relationship.
A subaward is an award that is provided by the pass-through entity (EWU) to another entity, a subrecipient (the entity that received the subaward), to carry out part of the federal award. A subrecipient is responsible for following the terms and conditions set forth in the federal award.
A contractor is an entity or individual that the non-federal entity uses for the purposes of obtaining goods or services. This is usually a procurement relationship.
A subcontract is a legal instrument that the non-federal entity (EWU) uses to purchase the services needed to carry out part of the project or program under the Federal award and can be used for either a subrecipient or a contractor.
All subcontracts issued under a federal award must be compliant with applicable federal laws, university policy and the terms and conditions set forth in the federal award.
A principal investigator (PI) manages a grant funded research project (investigates a hypothesis), and a project director manages a grant-funded program (such as an TRiO, or a Private Foundation grant). The two terms are often used interchangeably.
Different funders call funding notifications by different names; in general they all refer to the document that describes the agency's area of interest and guidelines for eligibility and proposal submission. The following is a description of the most common acronyms:
An RFP is a Request for Proposal, similarly, an RFA is a Request for Application. Various agencies, including federal agencies, make grant announcements via an RFP or RFA. An RFP offers detailed guidelines for a specific proposal along with deadline and submission information.
An FOA is a Funding Opportunity Announcement; it is a description of grant funding made available. It is primarily used by government agencies and is typically accompanied by a description and activity code.
An LOI may be a letter of inquiry, letter of interest, or letter of intent. A funder may request one type of this letter prior to submission of a full proposal. It is a brief description of the project, usually one to two pages. Some funders have a required format for LOIs, others ask for a general summary in the applicant’s format of choice. Some LOIs may be used by the funding agency to gauge the nature of the potential applicant pool while others may be reviewed and used as the basis for narrowing the number of applicants invited to submit full proposals to a particular funding competition.
A PA is a Program Announcement. Most often used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it identifies areas of increased priority and/or emphasis on particular funding mechanisms for a specific area of science.
A Program Solicitation is a mechanism most often used by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that announces various competitions for proposals in specific program areas of interest.
Direct costs are costs that are directly associated with completing grant or contract work. Examples of direct costs are the salaries/wages and fringe benefits of personnel responsible for carrying out the grant or contract project, as well as travel, materials, and supplies. Direct costs are itemized in the grant budget and justified in the budget narrative of the proposal. Direct costs must be allowable, reasonable and allocable in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant or contract award.
Indirect costs, facilities and administration (F&A) costs, and overheads are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. They are charges to a grant or contract that are in addition to the direct costs. They represent the cost of doing business that are not directly identified with a particular grant or contract, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the activities it performs including grant and contract work. Indirect costs encompass general university administration, grant and contract accounting, building and equipment use and depreciation, janitorial services, general liability insurance, and campus security, among other infrastructure services.
The university negotiates its federally approved indirect cost rate (ICR) agreement through its cognizant agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. The current ICR rate is 61.4% of the salaries/wages charged as direct costs, exclusive of fringe benefits. Ideally, the negotiated ICR would be applied to all grants and contracts received by the university. However, some sponsors only allow a minimal rate and others allow no indirect costs at all. If either of these situations apply, the shortfall of reimbursement must be absorbed by the university, using other resources.
Theory of Change
When a sponsor issues and award (or declination), official notification may be made by phone, mail or email. Recipients may include the PI/PD and the OGRD. The PI/PD may be the only one to receive notification. It is important to forward all documents to the Grants Office as soon as you receive them.
ONLY the university can accept an award. If awarded, the official notification or agreement must be fully executed by the Grants Office. After a review of terms and conditions, all agreements are approved by the ORGD and are signed by the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance. This process commits the institution to the terms and conditions as outlined in the award notification or agreement.
When a PI/PD plans to leave an institution during the course of a grant project, the institution to which the grant was awarded has the responsibility to either transfer the grant with the PD/PI or keep the grant project at the institution under the direction of a new PD/PI depending on the scope of the project. Negotiation must occur between all parties and often times a tripartite agreement will need to be agreed upon. Please contact the Grants Office at (509) 359-6567 or email@example.com for more information.