Development of the Research Proposal
Sponsor guidelines for funding applications vary widely. AUC's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) can assist in ensuring that the proposal's guidelines are followed carefully and that submission requirements and deadlines are met. Failure to meet the sponsor's requirements can be grounds for immediate dismissal by the sponsor.
The proposal, including any research and funding issues, should also be discussed between the researcher and the appropriate department chair and dean (for teaching faculty) or center director (for research faculty).
AUC's OSP can assist in the proposal development process and putting together all the required components. The proposal must flow smoothly and be seamless in the content flow. The following are the key elements of a standard grant proposal (specific format as applicable to the sponsor guidelines):
- Executive summary
- Statement of need
- Project description: objectives, methods, staffing/administration, evaluation, and sustainability
- Organizational information
Circulating the Proposal for University Review and Approval
All sponsored research proposals must be reviewed and approved by the University's administration before submission to external funding agencies. This is typically obtained and documented via the Proposal Approval Form (PAF).
Close coordination with OSP is necessary to ensure that all needed approvals are secured prior to submission deadlines. The following are the steps to receiving AUC's approval on submitting the proposal:
- OSP will review the proposal with respect to the University policies and regulations, the sponsor's application guidelines, and other regulations as applicable. They will communicate their feedback and will also advise on whether other kinds of approvals are needed for example Institutional Review Board (IRB) and CAPMAS Policy.
- Once the key requirements are satisfied, OSP will prepare the Proposal Approval Form (PAF) and route the proposal for securing AUC internal approvals using an electronic grants management system (COEUS). AUC's scope of work and budget along with any pertinent documents will also be included. The PAF typically summarizes the project's pertinent information including the principal investigator's contact information; the sponsor's contact information; the project title; the funding amount requested from the sponsor; the amount cost-shared by AUC; information on AUC's utilized facilities; conflicts of interest; IRB approvals; and involved faculty members' level of effort.
- Once the PAF is generated, it will be circulated for approvals according to the following set hierarchy:
- Principal Investigator (PI) and co-principal investigator, if applicable
- Department Chair - for certain centers this is not applicable
- School Dean or Center Director
- Office of Sponsored Programs Director
- Vice President for Finance
- Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies (incase the proposal is (1) research related and the budget includes equipment, additional space, or cost-sharing, (2) the budget includes a graduate fellowship of any kind)
- VP Management and Operations (in case the PI is requesting additional space during the proposal phase)
Note that proceeding with sending the form to the next level is contingent on the previous one's approval. Therefore, the PI should ensure giving their approval as soon as the PAF is initiated so it would proceed to the next level. The Office of Sponsored Programs will work with the PI to address any concerns or comments raised by the approving parties.
The consequence of not having the University's approval prior to submission can lead to the rejection of the award by the University if the conditions for funding are not abiding by AUC policies.
Submission of the Proposal to the Sponsor
When all approvals have been secured, OSP will inform the PI to proceed with the submission, requesting confirmation. If the PI requests submission to be conducted by OSP, the team will attend to the request if it is via an email, if the submission is done electronically where the PI will need to have their own account, we will closely assist until we ensure the PI is able to fulfill the process.
Sponsor's Review of the Proposal
The proposal review process varies from one sponsor to the other. The sponsor may evaluate the proposal through peer review, internal committee, or through other ways for evaluation. OSP can assist in explaining the review process of a particular sponsor, and in obtaining feedback if a funding request is turned down, or feedback has not been received in time.