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Grants FAQs

Anytime a PI is asking for funds to come through the university to support research/work they are doing, it should come through ORS. The only exceptions are if it is a fee for service (through an approved cost center), a gift with no strings attached such as reports, briefings, or conditions on how the funds must be spent (those go through the OU Foundation), or limited items the department might be able to accept (keeping in mind that anything not going through ORS does not count in official research reporting). If the PI elects to have funds paid directly to them, they should not be using any university assets and are completely liable for any tax or legal implications. See Grant Policies/Requirements for Routing of Externally Funded Projects.

Fellowships flow through ORS unless the sponsor requires them to be paid directly to the PI. If the sponsor gives an option, it is encouraged for the PI to run the funds through the university for tax and other reasons. Fellowships that are anticipated to be paid through the university should be routed at the time of submission. The PI should ensure Provost policies and forms related to scholarships and fellowships are complied with/completed: http://www.ou.edu/provost/memos. Note: The Provost guidance specifies their forms are to be done prior to submission.

The proposal process at The University of Oklahoma starts with the Primary Investigator (PI) submitting an information sheet (also called info sheet). This form provides some basic information on the proposal being considered for submission. ORS can change data on the info sheet after submission, so we are able to start the internal processes with ‘draft’ information. Submitting the info sheet keys ORS to assign a person to the proposal, send a budget template to the PI, make sure the guidelines are current/correct, help resolve questions related to idc rates/budgets/cost share, identify any special forms, certifications, or letters needed, and, if there are subcontracts involved, obtain required documents from subcontracts.

As soon as a PI is relatively sure they want to submit an application for funding they should turn in an information sheet to ORS. The info sheet puts the proposal on the ORS calendar for workload and availability planning and lets the data gathering process start for the guidelines, submission system, and proposal requirements. The timing of the info sheet submission is also one of the determining factors in the priority ranking of the proposal in the event of conflicting deadlines, i.e., if there are numerous proposals due on the same date (which is common), the ones that provide submission data first are worked first; if there is a conflict then the one that submitted the info sheet first has priority. Ideally a PI should submit their info sheet at least 2 weeks before the due date when the proposal has no complications. If the proposal involves cost share, subcontracts, special forms, certifications, and letters, the info sheet should be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the deadline. Note that no proposal submission or routing items need to be prepared/completed in order to submit the info sheet.

The internal routing process is what gives ORS (and/or the PI) the official approval to submit the proposal. The routing package consists of a draft summary/abstract/statement of work, the budget on OU forms, and a draft budget justification (if a subcontract is involved then it also includes their statement of work, budget, budget justification, and official letter of intent). The package is put into routing by ORS and is sent to anyone at OU who is identified on the proposal, including the involved chairs/deans and a contracts person in ORS. This ensures that everyone internally involved on the proposal knows they are on the proposal and the chairs/deans are aware of work that is being proposed. An award account for a proposal can’t be created until the routing is done to establish the database entries that are pulled into the award system.

The routing needs to be done prior to proposal submission so any issues can be resolved and to get the official permission to submit the proposal. Proposals submitted prior to routing being finished (or without routing being done) are not official submissions and can be withdrawn by the university. The university can also penalize the PI for submitting proposals that are not approved. See Grant Policies/Requirements for Routing of Externally Funded Projects.

Also see the OU policy on routing

If cost share is required by the guidelines (including if the guidelines say cost share is not required but is a consideration for award), there are several avenues to build the cost share package. The most common source of cost share is by in-kind time of the PI and any CoPIs; your Proposal Development Specialist (PDS) in ORS can assist in calculating time for cost share. Many sponsors also allow the fringe on the time and the unrecovered idc to be counted as cost share. The department or college may also be willing to provide cost share (GRA time, supplies, travel, etc.). There is 3rd Party cost share – this is where another organization is willing to assist in the proposal and provides a letter to ORS stating what they are providing and the value it has. The PI can also ask the VPRP for cost share via the Cost Share Policy. Before completing the form at the policy link, you should work with your PDS on developing a budget so you have a clear idea on the cost share needed. If cost share is required and you have a subcontract involved in the proposed work, the subcontract is expected to bear their portion of the cost share on the funds they are requesting

Yes, they can participate as part of an OU research team or they can be a PI on a proposal. If they wish to be a PI, they must have someone internally on the proposal who has a full-time appointment. Some emeritus professors participate on proposals by being consultants or through companies they have created. In these instances, they need to be sure the entity involved is legally established and all the data involved needs to be separate from OU (they also cannot be a consultant if they still have any appointment at OU such as Lecturer). Emeritus professors should also be aware of limitations on how soon after retirement they can be on a proposal and income limitations that might affect their retirement.

In order to submit proposals before arrival at OU, an OU 4X4 and email must be established, and the PI needs to be loaded into the Cayuse system. The OU 4x4 and email is usually done by HR after the offer letter is signed. Once the PI has the 4x4 and email, there are two avenues to take – either the department can establish the PI in PeopleSoft with a temporary appointment (this allows us to pull the PI into Cayuse), or ORS can add the PI to Cayuse based on the offer letter. The temporary establishment in PeopleSoft is preferred as that allows PI information to transfer over when the full appointment in PeopleSoft is updated. Once the PI is in Cayuse their information sheets can be loaded into the system. Note: Until the PI arrives at OU, a full-time person currently at OU (normally your chair) needs to be on the proposal internally in case the award comes in before your appointment starts.

If a PI has grants to transfer, they establish themselves in the system (see above) and then do an info sheet mentioning in the remarks that it is for a grant transfer. ORS will need the contact information for the person handling the grant at the prior organization. The PI will need to work with the organization holding the grant on the stop spending date so the funding amount to transferred can be determined. The contact in ORS at OU will work with the PI, the prior organization, and the sponsor to transfer the award. The PI will need to do internal routing at OU as part of the establishment of the award at OU since it is a new award for our organization.

For an account to submit proposals: There are many different accounts that could be in question depending on the agencies you wish to submit proposals to. If you need NSF, eCommons, or OKGrants accounts, click here. For NASA accounts, start on their website; they will send OU an email to affiliate the account. If you already have a NASA account, go into your profile and change the organization, and OU will receive a request to confirm the affiliation. Many solicitations refer to a need for grants.gov registration and System for Award Management (SAM) registration – normally proposals are submitted using OU’s registration, so PIs don’t create their own. You can obtain a grants.gov registration if you are submitting a fellowship paid directly to you or to aid in researching solicitations. For other systems we recommend that you contact your PDS to discuss if ORS has an account or if the PI should create one.

For an account to spend research funds: The only way to get an account established to spend research or sponsored projects funds is by completing the OU internal routing process. This process initiates with submission of the information sheet. Completion of the routing establishes the proposal in the database that allows it to be pulled for awards and account set up. 

If you have any questions related to proposal development or submission, the best contact is your Proposal Development Specialist (PDS). If you are unsure who you should contact about any particular question, email Research Information Services at ris@ou.edu and your question will be directed to the appropriate person in the Office of Research Services.