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45.02 - Sponsored Projects Proposal Preparation and Authorization


  • Position: Office of Sponsored Programs Director
  • Email:

Last updated: January 03, 2012

A. Purpose. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the orderly administration of sponsored project proposals and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The policy contains the procedure applicable to sponsored project proposals.

B. Scope. This policy applies to anyone submitting sponsored project proposals that would be awarded to the university if funded.

C. Definitions

C-1. Principal Investigator. The person taking primary responsibility and oversight of a sponsored project is known as the Principal Investigator (PI). Before submitting a proposal or accepting an award the PI should review the Roles and Responsibilities Page for an understanding of the responsibilities associated with being a PI. (See APM 45.22 for University eligibility requirements for Principal Investigators.)

C-2. Grant Administrator (GA). Each unit has a person designated as a grant administrator, that may also work with the PI on proposal preparation. In particular, a GA often assists PIs with the preparation of salary and fringe benefit calculations and determining budget estimates.

D. Policy. A sponsored project proposal is a written presentation of the research, scholarly or creative activity proposed to be accomplished during a given time period and that is being requested to be funded by an entity external to the University of Idaho (the sponsor). At a minimum, a proposal should include an outline of the scope of work to be performed or the tasks to be accomplished, and a budget breakdown explaining how the requested funding will be spent towards accomplishing the scope of work. The Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), or their designated representative, is the only person authorized to accept external funding on behalf of the University and is also the final approver prior to submission of the proposal to the sponsor.

D-1. Roles and Responsibilities; Required Approvals. All personnel associated with specific grants, contracts and agreements to the University of Idaho should have an understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities. Before submitting a proposal or accepting an award, review the Roles and Responsibilities Page and contact OSP if you have questions about any of the items listed. All proposals must be reviewed and approved in the University of Idaho Electronic Research Administration (ERA) system by the unit administrator, college dean, and Director of OSP prior to submission to the sponsoring agency.

E. Procedure.

E-1. Funding Opportunities. The Research and Faculty Development (RFD) team helps University of Idaho faculty find funding for their research and scholarly activities. RFD provides resources and services to find and enhance the competitiveness of proposals across all disciplines.

E-1.a. Limited Submissions. For some funding opportunities, the funding agency restricts the number of applications an institution is allowed to submit. These are referred to as limited submission (LS) funding opportunities. The Research and Faculty Development (RFD) LS team has established processes for selecting the proposals that will be submitted by the University of Idaho in response to these opportunities. The process typically includes a two-step submission process to the RFD team, as follows: The first step is for a PI to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to indicate interest in the program, followed by the submission of a concept paper, which will undergo internal review when the number of NOIs exceeds the number of submissions allowed by the sponsor or to enhance proposal competitiveness for strategic funding opportunities. The internal review committee may comprise faculty, administrators, and staff, as appropriate, who are familiar with the sponsor or the LS program. PIs will then be notified of the outcome of this internal review process, and whether or not they have been awarded the approval to submit a full proposal to the external sponsor. Once approved to move forward, LS submissions are prepared, approved, and submitted through VERAS as per the Proposal Preparation guidance below.

E-1.b. Notification Required if Funding Opportunity Declined. Due to the competitiveness of limited submission funding opportunities at UI, a PI who is awarded the opportunity to submit a proposal to an external sponsor but declines to do so must notify the Research and Faculty Development (RFD) team within one week following receipt of the internal award notification. A PI who fails to submit a full proposal by the external deadline without timely notice to the RFD team shall be ineligible to apply to all internal limited submission funding opportunities for one calendar year from receipt of the internal award notification. Under exceptional circumstances, and in the sole discretion of the Vice President for Research, the period of ineligibility may be waived.

E-2. Proposal Preparation. Once a funding source has been identified, the PI prepares a proposal (following specific sponsor guidelines, if provided) in the University’s electronic research administration (eRA) system. The PI develops a scope of work, a budget sufficient to accomplish the proposed work, and a budget narrative. Additional items to be considered during proposal development may include:

  • The involvement of human subjects or experimental animals (see FSH 5200 and FSH 1640.54, APM 45.01)
  • The use of biohazards/recombinant DNA/radiation/select agents/toxins (see FSH 1640.14, APM 35.11)
  • Conflict of interest and financial disclosure (see FSH 6240, 5600, and 3170)
  • Cost share/matching (see APM 45.08)
  • Foreign researchers and consultants
  • Export controls (see APM 45.19)
  • Intellectual property (see FSH 5300)
  • Program income (see APM 45.13)
  • Publication restrictions
  • Capital projects

Information concerning these topics and links to other useful sites may be found on the OSP Website. Note that some subsets of pre-proposals (white paper, preliminary proposal, etc.) may also require input to the eRA system for review and approval.

E-3. Budget Development. The PI creates a list of the personnel, equipment, travel, subcontract, participant support and other direct cost needs for the entire project, including costs to be covered by mandatory cost share and any anticipated program income such as conference fee revenue. Appropriate facilities and administrative (F&A) costs (see FSH 5100 J and APM 45.10) are then added to arrive at the total project costs. OSP has developed a budget template with built-in calculations to assist the PI that can be found at

E-4. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs. The University negotiates different rates for F&A cost reimbursement based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, whether the sponsoring agency is a Federal agency, the type of work being done (research, instruction, public service/outreach/other), the location of the work being performed (at on-or off-campus facilities), and whether the sponsor is an industry partner (the university cannot accept limited rates from industry partners). Limitations imposed by the sponsoring agency to established F&A rates must be part of their published policy and provided in writing prior to proposal submission (see FSH 5100 J-1).

If no formal sponsor policy exists, only the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED), or their delegate, may grant a waiver for a reduction in the F&A rate charged. Information concerning F&A costs and links to other useful sites including current F&A rates can be found in the Indirect (F&A) Costs FAQ, APM 45.10, and FSH 5100.

E-5. Cost Sharing. When the University bears a portion of the cost of a sponsored project, it is considered cost sharing or matching. These costs must be included in the budget development process. Cost sharing may be mandatory (required by the sponsor) or voluntary (where no such requirement exists). Because cost sharing has programmatic, administrative, and financial consequences for the University, it is typically not allowed unless required by the sponsor. Special circumstances may exist in which a waiver may be obtained from the VPRED or designee. See APM 45.08 for more information.

E-6. Vandals Electronic Research Administration System (VERAS). All proposals must be reviewed and approved at a minimum by the PI’s unit administrator, college dean, and OSP prior to submission to the agency. The University’s electronic routing system for approvals, VERAS, allows the PI to provide all of the documentation necessary for review by the appropriate University personnel. The VERAS login link can be found on the OSP home page. An OSP Sponsored Programs Administrator (SPA) can assist with general questions, or FAQs and a link to training can be found on the OSP website. All proposals must be present in the eRA system and any agency submission portal (when applicable) in final form at least four full business days prior to the submission deadline. See the OSP website for details.

E-7. Proposal Submission. If a proposal is being mailed, emailed, or transmitted to the agency in a manner that does not require a secure login from an Authorized Organizational Representative, it is considered a hardcopy submission and proposal submission is the responsibility of the PI after all necessary approvals have been obtained.

For proposals submitted through an external electronic system, such as, eRA Commons, NASA NSPIRES, etc., the PI is responsible for uploading proposal materials for OSP review. The PI is also responsible for completing and uploading any attachments to files in VERAS. Once all files have been uploaded, the information in VERAS is complete, and all internal approvals have been received, the PI works with a SPA for final submission to the sponsor. OSP is responsible for final submission of proposals that require an Authorized Organizational Representative login.

F. Contact Information. For information and help in preparing and submitting proposals to external funding agencies please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 208-885-6651, or, or

Version History

Amended January 2023. Revised to update procedures. Added section E.1.b. regarding required notification if funding opportunity declined.

Amended January 2012. Revised to follow current policies and procedures.

Adopted August 2005.

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119