Welcome to SRA's Develop & Submit Proposal page! Here, we hope to give an overview of the resources available and process of developing your proposal, reviewing your proposal at SRA, and submitting your proposal to the sponsor.

If the funding for which you are applying is coming from a U.S. public source (federal, state, or local government, including flow-through through private organizations), please read on. If the funding is private (directly from a non- or for-profit organization) or from a foreign government/entity, please contact the FSU Research Foundation. The Research Foundations handles all awards from private and foreign organizations.

For more information, please feel free to contact us!

Funding Resources

Do you have a great idea? Check out the funding opportunities page for just a few opportunities that can fund your great idea. This listing is by no means exhaustive. You are encouraged to seek funding from other sponsors not listed on this page.

There are a variety of funding resources available to FSU faculty. The Council on Research and Creativity (CRC) offers eight internal funding programs. The Office of Proposal Development (OPD) provides access to Pivot, a searchable funding database that includes over 28,000 opportunities. You can find both private and public funding opportunities through the Pivot database. The Office of Research also publishes a newsletter with funding announcements and news related to research. Looking for private foundation funding? The FSU Foundation provides access to the Foundation Center Online. They can also assist with managing gifts coming into the university. The Office of Faculty Recognition assists with fellowships and award nominations.

Limited Submissions

Some opportunities are limited to a certain number of proposal per institution. See the limited submissions listings to confirm that the opportunity for which your are applying is not already taken by another PI. Please be aware that the list is not comprehensive. If you plan to apply to a limited submission opportunity that is not listed, please contact SRA immediately.

Developing Your Proposal and Three Working Day Policy

Have you found a program that could fund your idea? It's time to develop your proposal!

Before you begin writing your narrative, you may want to find some examples of successfully funded proposals, particularly for the grant you are applying to. The Office of Proposal Development (OPD) provides FSU faculty access to a database of successful proposals. Your departmental grants analyst can assist with budgeting, or either the departmental liaison in either Sponsored Research Administration (for U.S. government funding) or the FSU Research Foundation (for private/non-profit/foreign government) can advise. The OPD offers a curated library of grant writing articles and books, as well as access to Research Development & Grant Writing News. Regarding compliance issues, the Office of Compliance has a website that serves as a portal for the different compliance issues you may have. OPD staff can review your narrative from a non-specialist perspective, and can identify and ask other faculty members with relevant field or funding agency experience for additional reviews. The Office of Faculty Recognition can review fellowship or award applications as well as find references or referees. Finally, if the grant you are applying for is a limited submission proposal, make sure to check the Limited Submission website to find the internal deadline.

It is the PI's responsibility to prepare all required proposal components and submit them to SRA for review before submission to the sponsor. As you are preparing your proposal, please be aware of SRA's three working day policy. SRA requires a "complete proposal" be submitted to SRA by 9:00 AM at least three working days prior to the sponsor's deadline. This allows us enough time to complete a full compliance review on all proposals submitted on behalf of FSU.

SRA welcomes notification before the three day deadline. We are also happy to review draft versions of proposal documents before the three day deadline.

Components of a Complete Proposal

Every sponsor has different proposal requirements. No matter the requirements, there are certain components that must be submitted to SRA for review which constitute a "complete proposal."

1. Completed Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF instructions and continuation page) with signatures or completed proposal in the OMNI system with all appropriate departmental, chair, and dean approvals

Need a keyword for your PTF? We have a list of proposal keywords. Don't see a keyword that is appropriate for your project? Contact us and we can create a new one!

2. Detailed budget

3. Detailed budget justification

4. Scope of work (fairly accurate yet rough version of the technical portion of the proposal is acceptable at the internal deadline)

5. Requests for internal approvals (i.e., request to overmatch, cost sharing commitment form, etc.) with appropriate departmental, chair, and dean approvals

6. Commitment letters from entities to whom you wish to subcontract

7. Sponsor’s request for proposals (a.k.a. RFP, program announcement, guidelines, solicitation, etc.)

8. Forms and/or application required by the sponsor (most sponsors have program-specific documentation they require; please include a copy of these documents for SRA review)

The final scope of work and any updated proposals documents should be submitted to SRA by 9:00 AM of the sponsor's deadline. This gives us some time to handle any unanticipated submission issues.

Budget Development

The proposed budget should be directly related to the proposed project. The budgets for all federally funded projects must conform to the requirements listed in 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) and the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).

Salary:

List all personnel employed at FSU. Do not include non-FSU employees, such as personnel at other organizations or consultants. Each person’s role on the project should be identified.

All personnel (with the exception of undergraduate students) should be budgeted using a percent of effort or person-months. Do not use an hourly rate to build your budget. Undergraduate students may be budgeted using an hourly rate.

Examples:

Time Period

Annualized Base Salary

% Effort

Calculation

Project Cost

July 2015 – June 2016

$80,000

10% FTE

$80,000 x 10%

$8,000

Summer 2016

$80,000

2 months

$80,000 / 12 months * 2 months

$13,333

For all faculty with a 9-month appointment, be sure to annualize their salary before performing the calculations above. For example, if a PI's salary is $75,000 for a 9-month appointment, you would divide their 9-month salary by 9 and then multiply that number by 12: $75,000 / 9 = $8,333.33 x 12 = $100,000 annualized salary.

On federally funded projects, salary for administrative or clerical type work is considered an indirect cost and is generally not allowed to be charged as a direct cost unless certain requirements are met. These include the following -

• the services are integral to the project/activity,
• the individuals can be specifically identified with the project/activity,
• such costs are explicitly included in the budget and the budget is approved or prior written approval is received from the Federal awarding agency, and
• the costs are not recovered as indirect costs.
 
The budget justification should detail how each administrative or clerical position is integral to the project and should be written in compliance with the specific award’s terms and conditions.
If budgeting for multiple years, it is recommended that you include a cost of living increase of 3% per year.

Fringe Benefits:

Fringe benefits for all personnel are calculated as a percentage of their salary with the exception of health insurance. Please see page 1 of the Facts Sheet for current rates.

Health insurance is budgeted based on whether the employee has individual, spouse, or family health insurance. Health insurance should be prorated based on the employee’s percent-effort or person-months on the project. See page 2 of the Facts Sheet for the current rates.

If a faculty member has a 9-month appointment and only summer months are requested, health insurance should not be budgeted.

Equipment:

Equipment is any item that costs more than $5,000 and has a useful life of over 1 year. Equipment costs are excluded from the MTDC F&A base.

Travel:

Travel expenses for conferences, workshops, or other such research meetings that are necessary to carry out the project are generally allowable direct costs. These costs include transportation (airfare, mileage, etc.), lodging, ground transportation, registration fees, and per diem. Travel budgets should be divided into domestic travel and foreign/international travel.

All budgeted travel must conform to FSU's travel policies.

Other Direct Costs:

Tuition:

Per FSU policy, all graduate students paid by the project must have tuition budgeted or covered by another source. See page 2 of the Facts Sheet for the current rates.

Tuition is excluded from TDC and MTDC F&A bases.

Materials and Supplies:

Supplies that are directly related to the project are generally allowable as direct costs. General purpose office supplies (paper, toner, pens, staples, etc.) are indirect costs and should not be budgeted as a direct cost unless approved via a CAS exemption request form.

Materials and supplies should be itemized. Give the number and approximate unit cost of each item.

Publication Costs:

Costs for publication of research results in professional journals as a part of the project dissemination plan are generally allowable as direct costs.

Consultant Services:

A consultant is generally an expert advisor who is paid for his or her time at a fixed rate. Consultant costs are allowable as direct costs as long as it directly benefits the project.

If the consultant is an employee of another university, be certain that the consultant is following his or her home institution’s consulting policy. Generally, employees of other institutions should be budgeted as a subaward.

Subawards and Contractors:

When FSU passes federal funds to another organization, it is FSU’s responsibility to make the determination whether the relationship is that of a subaward or a contractor. Please see the Subaward or Contractor/Vendor Determination Guide to assist you in making this determination.

The amount of each subaward over $25,000 is excluded from the MTDC F&A base.

See the Subawards vs. Contractors section of this website for more information.

Rent:

Rent is generally an allowable cost when work is being performed in a space that is not owned by FSU. Rent is excluded from the MTDC F&A base and usually indicates that one should use an off-campus F&A rate.

Other:

Other costs not mentioned above can be budgeted as a direct cost as long as they are allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistently treated.

Participant Support Costs:

Generally, participants are recipients of a training or service provided at a workshop, conference, or other short-term instructional or information-sharing activity. Travel, subsistence, stipends (but not for employees), and tuition (training grants only for non-payroll trainees) may be budgeted for participants.

Participant support costs are excluded from the MTDC F&A base.

See also FSU’s policy on Participant Support Costs.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs:

F&A recovery is the means by which FSU obtains a portion of the expenses associated with supporting the research of its faculty.

The appropriate rates and bases depend on the sponsor, location, and purpose of the project. See page 3 of the Facts Sheet for the current F&A rates.

FSU uses two bases to calculate indirect costs – Total Direct Costs (TDC) and Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). Only tuition is excluded from the TDC base. The following is excluded from the MTDC base –

  • Equipment costing $5,000 or more
  • Capital expenditures
  • Charges for patient care
  • Student tuition remission
  • Rental costs of off-site facilities
  • Scholarships and fellowships
  • The portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000

Example:

 

MTDC

TDC

Direct Costs:

 

 

Salary & Fringe

$100,000

$100,000

Travel

$5,000

$5,000

Equipment

$10,000

$10,000

Tuition

$10,000

$10,000

Supplies

$5,000

$5,000

Publication Costs

$1,000

$1,000

Participant Support

$5,000

$5,000

Direct Costs Subtotal:

$136,000

$136,000

Exclusions:

 

 

Equipment

$10,000

Not excluded

Tuition

$10,000

$10,000

Participant Support

$5,000

Not excluded

Total exclusions:

$25,000

$10,000

F&A Base:

$111,000

$126,000

F&A (52% MTDC)

$57,720

 

F&A (10% TDC)

 

$12,600

Total Costs (Direct Costs + F&A):

$193,720

$148,600

See FSU’s policies on Direct/Indirect Costs and Indirect Cost Recovery.

*When building your budget, please round all costs to the nearest dollar.

See these links for a sample budget calculations, sample budget justification, and sample budget summary form (shows three year total).

For more information on proposal budgeting, consider attending the SRA Certificate Series course "Hands on Budgeting".

CAS Exemptions

Some projects may require that costs normally treated as indirect costs be treated as a direct cost. The project must meet the definition of an exceptional circumstance and all costs must be specifically identifiable to a particular sponsored project, be reasonable, allowable, and allocable.

Such costs may include general purpose office supplies and software, postage, local telephone, etc.

Exceptional Circumstances:

  • Large, complex program
  • Extensive data accumulation, analysis, and entry
  • Making travel arrangements for large numbers of participants
  • Principal focus is the preparation and production of manuals, large reports, or books
  • Project location is geographically inaccessible to normal administrative services

CAS exemptions are requested and documented via a CAS Exemption Request Form. Please see this form for further definitions and requirements.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing or matching is that portion of project costs not borne by the sponsor. "Project enhancement" means describing available resources that are not quantified in the proposal. This is not considered a cost sharing commitment.

FSU's policy is to only cost share when required by the sponsor or the competitive nature of the award. Cost share should be budgeted only to the extent necessary to meet the sponsor's requirements. If the PI has a reason to request an exception to the policy, his or her chair and dean must approve this request.

All proposed cost sharing must be adequately documented. At the proposal stage, this documentation includes:

All proposed cost share must conform to the same requirements as the costs FSU requests from the sponsor. For federally funded projects and federal flow-through, this means all costs must conform the 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) and the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS). For example, general purpose office supplies generally cannot be committed as cost share as they are normally treated as an indirect cost.

University Contributions:

  • Unrecovered indirect costs (F&A): any difference between FSU's negotiated F&A rate and the rate funded by the sponsor. This is generally only available if the sponsor mandates the use of an F&A rate lower than FSU's negotiated rate.
  • Salaries and fringe benefits: paid from non-sponsored accounts and is documented through FACET
  • Other direct costs: paid from non-sponsored accounts

Please note: This is not an exhaustive list. If there are other costs you are considering to commit as cost share, please contact SRA for guidance.

Non-University Contributions (Third Party/In Kind):

  • Value of contributions (real property, equipment, supplies, etc.)
  • Value of goods and services directly benefiting a project

Third party contributors named in a proposal are required to submit a commitment form at the proposal stage and, periodically during the award period, documentation supporting the contribution to the project.

Subrecipient/Contractor Requirements

To comply with 2 CFR 200.330, FSU must determine whether services provided by a person or an entity in an award, whether it is a grant or contract to FSU, should be paid as a contractor/vendor or as a subrecipient.

Contractor/Vendor: Provides a service or good that is routinely provided to the general public and therefore is not unique to the project. Typically the organization is for-profit and not subject to federal compliance requirements. FSU issues a purchase order through the Purchasing Office for most contractors. FSU collects F&A on the total amount budgeted for a contractor.

Subrecipient: Performs activities that will have a significant impact on the total project with distinct deliverable for work that is unique to the project with minimal supervision from the PI at Florida State University. Generally a subrecipient will carry out an important portion of the federal program and can sometimes be considered a co-PI or partner in the project. FSU issues a subaward to a subrecipient through SRA. FSU collects F&A only on the first $25,000 budgeted per each subaward.

Requirements at the Proposal Stage

If you are proposing a contractor or subrecipient in your proposal, there are a few documents SRA will need to review before approving your proposal.

Contractor:

Subrecipient:

Submitting Your Proposal

If your proposal is being submitted through an electronic portal that requires approval from or submission by FSU's authorized official, your proposal will be submitted by SRA. The PI is responsible for submitting proposals that are directly emailed, mailed, or hand delivered only after receiving approval from SRA. Please see the following links for more information on electronic research administration -

Public Health Service (PHS) Proposals

Are you responding to an NIH or other PHS-funded opportunity? Please see the following links to get more information on the financial conflict of interest policy and FSU's Electronic Disclosure and Management System (EDMS) -

Other Resources