The Catholic University of America

Proposal Procedures

Individuals are encouraged to consult OSP at any time during proposal development. Assistance provided at an early stage can help avoid problems that might result in a sponsor's rejection of a proposal or resolve issues that could delay acceptance of an award. It is particularly important to notify OSP as early as possible when responding to detailed proposal solicitations. Given the complexity of some solicitations it is not possible to anticipate every question that can arise during proposal preparation. What certifications are required? How should subcontracts be costed? What is "off-campus"?  Is approval needed from an institutional review committee? Can sponsored funds be used for a particular purpose? OSP can assist in finding the solution.

Training Graduate fellowships and traineeships

Prior to submission to the sponsor, proposals are reviewed for conformance to University policy and sponsor guidelines. Proposals are approved by the Principal Investigator(s), the chairperson, dean or director of a unit involved in the project, and signed by the authorized University representative, the Provost. Additional internal proposal approval may be necessary, prior to submission to the sponsor. Your OSP administrator can assist you in determining the necessary approvals.

Pre-Award Submission Procedures

The following instructions and information apply to faculty members submitting proposals for sponsored programs which have strong academic content (i.e., which use academic resources, affect academic programs, or involve members of faculty and students of the University) whether to Government agencies, corporations, or private foundations.

Issues to Resolve before Submitting Proposals to OSP:

  • Before submitting the proposal to OSP, questions of facilities needs, room alternatives, equipment needs not covered by the grant, and similar requirements should have been identified and resolved to the degree possible.
  • Issues concerning substantial university cost sharing and long term University commitments also should be resolved to the degree possible and identified for University attention.
  • If submitting a proposal for Private Support (corporations or foundations):
  • Please discuss your idea with CUA's Associate Director of Foundations and Corporations. It is best to do this at the concept stage of a project.
  • All communication with private sources must be coordinated through the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Signatures required:

  • An approval signature from the Department Chairperson. The chairperson's signature confirms that the project is consistent with departmental policies and educational programs; that an adequate substitute will be found for released time appointments, and that adequate facilities are available unless otherwise noted.
  • An approval signature from the Dean. The dean's signature confirms that the project is consistent with the school's instructional program, objective, and policies, and that adequate facilities are available; and approves the involvement of the faculty and any cost-sharing involved.

When the proposal is delivered to the Office of Sponsored Programs for final check:

  • OSP will attach the Proposal Coordination Sheet
  • The Associate Provost for Research will authorize the proposal.
  • Upon university approval, OSP can assist in packaging the required number of copies, and mailing.
  • OSP will provide pre-proposal assistance in locating potential funding sources and developing proposals.

Proposal Process for External Funding

  • PI brings proposal to OSP at least five days before deadline with proper routing and approvals.
  • Proposal is logged into database by control number, PI name, agency affiliation, title of proposal, etc.
  • Proposal is given to OSP staff for budget, institutional review and approval. OSP staff confirms guideline prerequisites, number of copies, mailing and delivery information, departmental signatures and approvals.
  • If proposal is from Arts & Sciences, it is taken to that Dean for approval; if proposal is from another school, then the proposal should be signed and approved prior to delivery to OSP.
  • Proposal is taken to Provost for signature and review by OSP staff.
  • Once signed by the Provost who serves as the authorized official, proposal is reviewed by OSP for appropriate signatures.
  • Proposal routing is complete and proposal is ready for pick-up and delivery by PI.

Award Procedures

The Associate Provost for Research is the only official authorized to sign sponsored agreements on behalf of the University. His signature authority extends to traditional awards as well as other types of sponsored agreements such as memoranda of understanding, material transfer agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and cooperative agreements.

After award acceptance, financial administration is the responsibility of Office of Contracts and Grants, a unit of the Controller's office. For questions regarding grants accounting please contact: Rosie Henderson, Controller, 202-319-5031, and Paul Harrison, Director of Grants and Contracts, 202-319-6402.

Other post-award administration is handled by OSP, including project-related negotiation and execution of all subrecipient arrangements, obtaining approvals for equipment, travel and rebudgeting, submitting requests for no-cost extensions, and coordinating award closeout. Any questions or problems arising during a project should immediately be brought to the attention of your OSP administrator.

Procedures for Accepting Grant Award

  • Once grant notification is received by the Provost, a copy of the award letter is sent to OSP.
  • If a check is sent in lieu of grant notification, it is sent to Grants & Contracts for processing.
  • OSP collaborates with the Office of Grants & Contracts to get a University account number for new award.
  • Once an account number is assigned, OSP logs information into Q&A database.
  • Description, conditions and profile of new award is input into system.
  • OSP sends the PI a Conflict of Interest form for returned signature.
  • The Provost signs and reviews the award which binds the institution into the agreement.
  • Once information is returned to OSP, the PI is given a new account number.
  • OSP sends ratified originals to Grants & Contracts and copies are sent to the PI, the Dean of the School and the Chair of the Department.
  • A file is created for control system.

Procedures for Subcontract Agreements

  • The intent to enter into such arrangements should be disclosed in the proposal submission.
  • The disclosure shall include a clear description of work to be completed.
  • The basis for selection of the subawardee should be stated. This does not apply to collaborative and joint arrangements.
  • A separate budget in the prescribed NSF format for each subgrant and subcontract is required.
  • Once the subcontract is received from the contractor, OSP submits the document to the General Counsel for review and comment.
  • Once it is approved by the General Counsel, the subcontract will be further processed for approval.
  • Once approved, OSP will provide the sponsor/contractor and the Office of Grants & Contracts with the appropriate documents.

Procedures for Independent Consultant Agreement (ICA)

  • The PI submits to OSP a standard ICA form in duplicate signed by PI and consultant.
  • Once the amount agreed to pay a consultant is verified through the Office of Grants & Contracts, OSP submits to Provost for signature.
  • Once ratified, OSP sends two copies to PI-one for PI and the other for the consultant's records.
  • OSP sends original copy to Office of Grants & Contracts and keeps one copy for OSP files.

Proposal Process for Internal Funding for Grant-In-Aid

  • Meeting dates originate from the Vice Provost/Dean of Graduate Studies Office.
  • Once the date is confirmed, a memo is sent to committee members detailing specifics regarding the meeting along with copies of the proposals to be reviewed.
  • The committee convenes to decide which proposals will be funded.
  • Announcements are sent notifying PIs of committee decisions.
  • If awarded, PIs are informed that the period of performance for grant award is six months.
  • PI should submit to the Committee within two month period a final report detailing the outcomes/results.

Procedures involved for initiating projects:

  • If a travel award is given, the PI must submit a travel authorization worksheet to OSP for approval.
  • The requisition is sent to Procurement where a travel authorization number is given to the award for reference.
  • If students are involved, the PI should complete the standard employee data forms for undergraduate assistants or the standard CUA Appointment forms for graduate assistants.
  • If purchases are required, the PI must complete "Research Grant-In-Aid Purchase Worksheet" and submit it to OSP for on-line ordering. OSP will then accept or reject the request. If accepted, OSP orders the equipment/materials as requested.
  • Materials are directly delivered to faculty member. Once equipment items are received by PI, OSP must be informed so that acknowledgement of receipt of items is made to the vendor. Vendors cannot be paid until the PI notifies OSP of complete delivery.

Procedures for Requesting Matching Funds

  • Faculty should submit requests to OSP for review. However, communication with OSP should occur as soon as possible in the very early planning stages.
  • OSP will accept or reject the request.
  • If accepted, OSP will identify the amount and sources of support.

Procedures for Research Involving Human Subjects

  • Once the appropriate forms/documents are submitted to The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) by the Principal Investigator (PI), copies for each member serving on the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) are disseminated. Appropriate copies should be provided by the PI, usually six (6) copies are required.
  • Copies are sent to committee members including the secretary by OSP staff for CPHS at least eleven days prior to the scheduled meeting date.
  • OSP provides a summary of the proposal contents regarding human subjects for CPHS on cover page
  • Proposals should be reviewed by committee members prior to the scheduled meeting date in order to expedite process.
  • CPHS meets to review each submission and makes official recorded comments regarding each submission.
  • Once CPHS deliberations are completed, the secretary prepares a status report for the PI with its decision.
  • If approved/exempt no more follow-up is needed; if rejected, PI must resubmit with appropriate changes.
  • Letters are sent to PI stating how to proceed with research based on CPHS comments.
  • PI is informed that the approval remains active for a period of one year from the date of letter.
  • If project continues beyond one year, PI must resubmit materials for renewal in a timely fashion. Continuation is contingent upon all measures and procedures remaining the same.

Procedures for Research Involving Animals

  • The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee(IACUC) generally meets twice a year or at special requests based upon frequency of submissions.
  • IACUC meets to decide whether requirements of the federal regulations assuring the welfare of animals (9 CFR, subchapter A) are met.
  • PI is denied or given approval to follow research protocol and procedures as specified.
  • If any changes in protocol develop, a written request to IACUC must be submitted.
  • The approval remains active for a period of one year from the date of certification.
  • If project continues beyond one year, PI must resubmit materials for renewal in a timely fashion so that the research may continue uninterrupted.
  • PI should contact OSP to initiate close-out procedures.

Once final reports are submitted to agency, pertinent information should be sent to OSP for files.