Frequently Asked Questions
(Used with permission from UW-LaCrosse Office of Research and Sponsored Programs)
What support is offered by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP)?
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs supports UW-Platteville faculty and staff members in developing, preparing, writing, and submitting proposals of institutional interest. Assistance is available to help identify funding sources, develop budgets, offer feedback and editing for final drafts, interpret and ensure compliance with internal and external guidelines, communicate and negotiate with funding sources, and review and approve final proposals. As a complement to one-on-one support, campus-wide workshops are offered to promote and enhance grant seeking and writing throughout the campus community.
Return to FAQ Topics.
How do I find funding for my project?
A number of funding resources are outlined on Funding Sources. In particular, UW-Platteville has free access to two resources:
- Pivot is a comprehensive, searchable database of funding sources for all project types. Visit the Pivot website at http://pivot.cos.com.
- Grants Resouce Center (GRC): Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for the institutional log-in needed to access resources on the GRC website at http://www.aascu.org/grc. GRC offers several tools to assist in identifying funding:
- Funding Publications: Three publications - on a twice weekly, weekly, and monthly basis - highlight upcoming funding opportunities, primarily from federal agencies. Opportunities are organized by discipline and can be accessed on the ORSP website:/sponsored-programs/grc-bulletins.
- GrantSearch database: This targeted database of approximately 2,000 recurring funding opportunities that have a national/regional scope provides a good starting point for funding research: http://www.aascu.org/gsmodule/.
Additionally, the monthly publication of Grant News is e-mailed to all faculty/staff members and contains a list of upcoming funding opportunities for a wide array of disciplines.
What funding sources are available for faculty professional development?
Grants for professional development are available to faculty through UW-Platteville and the UW System. Fellowships are also available through a number of funding agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities. Contact us for help to identify a funding source.
Return to FAQ Topics.
Proposal Preparation and Submission
I want to submit a proposal for extramural funding. Where do I start?
As soon as you have a project idea, we encourage you to contact our office. We can help you get your proposal off to the right start and assist you throughout the proposal and budget development process. Further information about how to start the grant seeking process is available on our website.
Who can serve as primary investigator (PI) on an award application?
As a general guideline, tenured UW-Platteville faculty, faculty on tenure track, and staff with at least a 50% continuing appointment may serve as a PI on an award application. This helps to ensure staffing continuity for the duration of a project. If you have questions about serving as a PI, please contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
How can I refine my proposal writing skills?
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs sponsors educational workshops throughout the year designed to enhance the grant seeking skills of the campus community. Upcoming workshops are listed on our home page, and materials from past workshops are posted online. To augment campus-wide opportunities, please contact our office for one-on-one support. A list of proposal writing resources are available on our website, including several specific to major funding agencies.
Where can I find the institutional information requested by the proposal's cover sheet, such as UW-Platteville's DUNS number?
commonly requested by proposal cover sheets is listed on our website.
Whose approval do I need for my proposal?
The approval of various parties is indicated by their signatures on the UW-Platteville Grant Transmittal Form
. Each proposal for extramural support must be approved by the department chair/unit director, the college dean/division director, the director of research and sponsored programs, and the Provost before it is forwarded to the funding agency. Proposals that involve more than one department, school, or college must be reviewed by appropriate officials of each. Projects that involve partnerships with other institutions must be reviewed by the appropriate officials within each, such as a university’s grants office. Proposals that involve the use of animal or human subjects must be approved by the appropriate university committees, although approval can be obtained after a proposal has been submitted so long as the process is completed before research commences.
UW System proposals:
Approval signatures for UW System proposals should be obtained on the UW System Grant Transmittal Form
When do I need to submit a final version of my proposal to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs?
Please review the established timelines
on our website.
What is the role of the department chair in reviewing a proposal?
The department chair shall review the proposal to:
1. Assure faculty and staff time commitments are reasonable and compatible with department workloads, present and planned.
2. Determine that the percentages of time and the salaries are accurate.
3. Verify that the space, facility, and service requirements are within the department's present capability if not specifically provided for in the proposal.
What is the role of the dean or division director in reviewing a proposal?
The dean or division director shall review the proposal for completeness and confirm that:
1. Space, services, and support requirements have been adequately provided for.
2. Responsibility will be accepted for assuring the availability of cost sharing funds promised in the proposal.
3. The project budget, salary rates, job titles, and classifications are reasonable and appropriate.
What is the role of the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in reviewing a proposal?
As the chancellor's designated representative, the Provost shall review the proposal for compatibility with the appropriate university plans, policies and regulations as well as for conformity with agency requirements and policies.
What are the deadlines associated with proposal development and submission?
Please review the established timelines
on our website.
Return to FAQ Topics.
Where should I start when developing my budget?
Start by calling the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs as soon as you are considering a project. During an initial meeting, we can help to brainstorm your project needs and assign figures to those needs. It isn’t necessary to come equipped with a budget draft – only a project concept. To conceptualize your project needs, you may find it helpful to first develop a concept paper.
Which line items should be considered in developing my project budget?
Standard budget line items include personnel salaries and wages, fringe benefits, equipment, supplies, dissemination costs, participant support, travel, consultants, subcontractors, space, miscellaneous costs, and indirect (overhead) costs. Additionally, take into account any cost sharing requirements. A budget template
How are a project's personnel salaries and wages calculated?
Professional and staff salaries are calculated in terms of the percentage of their time that will be devoted to the project. Part-time personnel wages are calculated in terms of the hourly pay rate. Budgets for multiple year projects should take into account annual merit and promotional rate increases of 3% per year.
What are the guidelines for fringe benefits?
Fringe benefits must be included for all project staff using the rates established by the UW System. Project staff from other UW campuses must also have their fringe benefits included in the budget. If you are considering the inclusion of an ad hoc staff member, consult with HR for prior approval. A table is available with the effective fringe benefit rates
for the current and upcoming fiscal years.
Who should not be included as project staff?
Consultants and administrative support personnel generally should not be included as project staff. Consultants are listed as a separate budget line item. However, only external experts may serve as consultants, and thus employees within the UW System who participate in a project must be included as staff with fringe benefits. Administrative support personnel are part of indirect (overhead) costs unless the staff member is specifically assigned to the project to provide technical assistance, in which case they should be included as staff with fringe benefits.
Is there a limit to the amount of additional compensation a PI can receive through award funds?
According to UW System policies, additional compensation for faculty with academic year appointments cannot exceed 2/9 of a person’s total salary plus $18,000. Additional compensation for staff with a 100% annual appointment is limited to an additional $18,000 beyond the person’s total salary. Some funding agencies also have compensation limitations, and our office can assist you in identifying those restrictions.
What is the difference between a consultant and a subcontractor?
A subcontractor is an external organization that makes a significant contribution to a project. They generally submit a separate, detailed budget for their portion of the project. Project activities undertaken by a subcontractor often take place at their facility. A consultant is an external expert who lends their expertise to a project in a more limited fashion. Consultants are typically paid directly instead of through an organization and receive a pre-established hourly or per diem rate.
What are the guidelines for using a project consultant?
Generally, consultants are external professionals that are listed in a separate budget line item. If a UW System employee will be serving in a consulting role, they should be listed as personnel, and fringe benefits should be included for them in the budget. Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for further guidance on how to incorporate a consultant into your project.
What resources are available if I am planning a workshop, seminar or conference?
UW-Platteville's Office of Continuing Education provides a range of services and expertise that will enhance your plans and free you to focus on the key elements of your project:
1. Program development and management for presentations, meetings, workshops, or conferences (including marketing, logistics, registration and more!)
2. Providing participants with course credits
3. Offering licensing credentials
4. Estimating costs of CE's services to simplify budgeting
How should equipment be listed in the budget?
As a general rule, equipment is defined as items that cost $5,000 or more per unit. Equipment costs should take into account the cost of shipping, installation, fabrication, and maintenance. Be as specific as possible in describing the equipment name, model number, and manufacturer. Note that allowable equipment expenditures vary by funding agency. To ensure your requests meet the appropriate guidelines, consult with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
What are indirect (overhead, F and A) costs, and are they a required budget line item?
Indirect (overhead) costs
are real costs for actual institutional expenses that support extramural activities but cannot be directly charged to a grant or contract. Examples include utility costs, administrative support, facility maintenance, buildings, and equipment. The UW System Board of Regents mandates that extramural proposals request overhead costs to cover these expenses.
How are indirect (overhead, F and A) costs calculated?
Indirect (overhead) cost
rates for federal grants and contracts are negotiated between the UW System and US Department of Health and Human Services. Rates are calculated as a percentage of a project's salaries and fringe benefits. Federal Indirect Rate Agreement
Non-federal grants and contracts must also request overhead cost reimbursement unless a funding agency prohibits it. Non-federal rates are calculated as a percentage of a project's total direct costs.
What are the guidelines for cost sharing (matching funds) in a budget?
Cost sharing requirements vary by funding agency, and our office can help you to identify what those requirements may be. Cost sharing must be auditable and can consist of cash and/or in-kind contributions, depending upon funding agency guidelines. Institutional cost sharing commitments must be made in writing, and before a proposal can be submitted, the dean/division director must indicate their approval either via email communication to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs or via their approval signature on the grant transmittal form.
Return to FAQ Topics.
Compliances, policies, and procedures
Whose approval is needed to carry out my research project?
1. If it involves human subjects or human tissue, it will need approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
2. If it involves toxic, infectious, or carcinogenic/mutagenic materials or uses recombinant DNA technology, it will need approval from the Institutional Bio-Safety Committee (IBC).
3. If it involves the use of vertebrate animals, it will need approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
When do I need to receive IRB, IBC, or IACUC approval for my project?
If your project requires IRB, IBC, or IACUC approval, it does not need to be approved before you submit a proposal for extramural funding. However, since committee approval is required before your research commences, you should initiate the process as you draft your proposal or soon afterwards so that you are prepared to move forward if your project is funded.
Which funding agencies currently have Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training requirements?
Effective January 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires RCR instruction for all students – paid and unpaid – working on an NSF-funded project. UW-L has established a policy to guide students’ training and ensure compliance with NSF’s requirements. Further information about this policy can be found in RCR FAQs or by contacting our office.
What are the responsibilities of a primary investigator (PI)?
During the proposal development: it is the PI’s responsibility to prepare the proposal (please see the timeline and checklist); discuss the project with the appropriate department chair/unit director, dean/division director, and our office; submit a final proposal and budget to our office before submission to the funding agency; submit a completed grant transmittal form to our office; and submit proposals to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) if the research protocols use animal or human subjects.
During proposal submission: after the proposal is approved by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, it is the PI’s responsibility to mail the proposal by the due date unless it is to be transmitted electronically. For the latter situation, the PI should plan to submit the proposal in collaboration with our office at least three business days before the deadline. (Please see the timeline and checklist.)
If a project is funded: the PI is responsible for seeing that it is carried out in compliance with the terms, conditions, and policies of both the funding agency and UW-L, including the submission of all required reports. PIs may contact our office or the grant accountant with questions about managing their project.
What is the purpose of the conflict of financial interest form, and who must complete it?
A conflict of financial interest form should be completed by all investigators for proposals being submitted to federal agencies. The form ensures compliance with federal agency requirements. An “investigator” is defined as the principal investigator and any other person who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of federally funded research. Grant proposals cannot be submitted to federal agencies unless this form is completed, signed by your dean/division director, and then returned to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. To prevent delays in proposal submission, this form should accompany your proposal and grant transmittal form when you are seeking authorizing signatures. If circumstances change, please contact our office to update the form.
Return to FAQ Topics.
I received a notice that my proposal has been funded. What happens now?
Upon award notification, the associate vice chancellor of academic affairs, in consultation with the principal investigator (PI), will verify the itemized budget. A uniquely numbered account and title for the project (fund 144 for a federal grant, fund 133 for a non-federal award) will be established by the Business Services Office. The PI, along with the department chair, dean, and central administration, is responsible for directing the funded project and bears fiscal responsibility. You may call our office or the grant accountant for assistance at any point during the post award process.
Who should I contact when completing the financial information portion of the progress/final reports required by the funding agency?
You should contact the grant accountant whenever providing financial information to a funding agency. WISDM is not always up to date as there can be pending transfers that you cannot see when logging in on your own.
Where should I submit copies of the progress/final reports required by the funding agency?
In addition to submitting the required reports for your sponsored project to the funding agency, we strongly encourage you to submit a copy of all such reports to our office. This will assist us in maintaining accurate, current, and complete records.
Who should I consult if I need to make modifications to my project budget?
The grant accountant should be your first stop before making budget modifications, as they can verify the actual availability of award funds. In order to minimize the administrative burden associated with revised budget requests, most sponsors allow an award recipient flexibility to adapt their award spending patterns to match the changing circumstances of the sponsored project. In general, a formal revised budget approval request to the sponsor will occur in the following circumstances: -If there are budget revision restrictions imposed in the terms and conditions of the award agreement. These restrictions may range from a prior approval requirement of any budget revisions to a prior approval requirement for line-item or total budget revisions up to a certain threshold. (i.e. re-budget flexibility up to 10% of proposed line items, with changes greater than that requiring sponsor approval) -If the budget revisions are due to a significant change in the scope of work that will require a considerable amount of funds to be shifted between expense categories. This does not happen often, as most sponsors provide a recipient financial discretion to move funding between budget categories, realizing that a certain re-budgeting may be necessary to accomplish the goals of the project. However, any re-budgeting based on a change in the scope of work must be submitted and approved by the sponsor. Other circumstances that may warrant a revision to the proposed budget, but not necessarily a formal revised budget submission to the sponsor: --Budget revisions to reflect the financial realities of the project: salary increases, new employees on the project, adjusted fringe benefit rates, etc. In general , these types of budget revisions do not require sponsor approval. Please contact the Post-Award Grant Accountant for guidance and/or clarification of budget revision restrictions.
What should I do if there will be significant changes in personnel working on my project?
If you are anticipating significant changes in the personnel working on your project, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for guidance.
What is the process for requesting an extension of the award period without requesting additional funds?
Complete the No Cost Time Extension Form and route it to our office. We will communicate with the funding agency on your behalf. To allow sufficient time, the completed form is due to us at least eight weeks prior to the project end date.
Who handles award invoicing and deposits?
The grant accountant handles all invoicing of funding agencies. Additionally, they process all deposits.
Return to FAQ Topics.