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 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 developing the research proposal and putting together all the required components. The proposal must flow smoothly and be seamless in the content flow. The following are the elements of a standard grant proposal:
- Executive summary
- Statement of need
- Project description: objectives, methods, staffing/administration, evaluation, and sustainability
- Organization 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 obtained and that submission deadlines are met. 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 its feedback and will also advise on whether other kinds of approvals are needed for example Institutional Review Board (IRB) and CAPMAS Policy.
Once the minimum requirements are satisfied, OSP will prepare and route the PAF for 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 and how that will be supported.
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
Note that proceeding with sending the form to the next level is contingent on the previous one's approval. For instance, if the controller does not approve/sign off on the project, the PAF will not be sent to the Vice President for Finance. Instead, it will be sent back to the PI with the reasoning. The Office of Sponsored Programs will work with the PI on addressing any concerns.
The consequence of not having the University's approval prior to submission is usually the rejection of the award by the University.
Submission of the Proposal to the Sponsor
When all approvals have been secured, OSP will submit the proposal to the sponsor according to the sponsor's guidelines. The faculty will be notified of the submission and any pertinent communication with the sponsor.
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. OSP can assist in explaining the review process of a particular sponsor, and in obtaining feedback if a funding request is turned down.