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Office of Sponsored Programs

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 209
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990


Web: OSP Website


Proposal FAQs

Proposal Considerations

The University of Idaho does not currently undertake FDA-regulated Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) studies, whether for itself, for any faculty member, or for any university research sponsors or collaborators. No university employee may make representations or enter into any agreement on behalf of the university that requires university compliance with FDA GLP regulations. Any results obtained through studies at the university cannot be described as GLP compliant at this time, and should not be so described in any applications to the FDA.

These acronyms are all ways in which an agency may announce a funding opportunity:

  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Request for Application (RFA)
  • Request for Quote (RFQ)
  • Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

For FAQ purposes these will all be referred to as RFPs.

Yes, OSP must review the RFP before your proposal can be approved for submission to ensure that your proposal meets both sponsor and university guidelines. The earlier you can provide this information, the better, but you should include it with your complete proposal package at the latest.

Because many agencies put restrictions in RFPs that become contractual obligations if the funding is awarded, those restrictions must be reviewed by OSP for acceptability prior to proposal submission. In order to minimize risk to the university, OSP is tasked with reviewing the RFP and the proposal prior to submission to the agency. OSP also reviews contractual language if the funding is awarded in order to ensure that the terms and conditions are satisfactory and promote the overall mission of the university.

There are a number of items that require additional approvals either prior to proposal submission, or after funding has been awarded but before the university will allow you to begin working on the project:

  • Does the RFP state that the university must provide some portion of the funding (i.e., is there a requirement for cost sharing or matching)? If so, you must develop a budget that includes the source(s) of the matching funds. Additionally:
    • If the cost share is coming from internal sources, then the person in charge of those funds must approve them being earmarked as cost share and must provide the relevant details and approvals in VERAS.
    • If the cost share is being funded by a third party (or parties), then you must include in your proposal package a letter of commitment for the specific amount being provided, signed by an authorized representative.
    • If the cost share is to be provided out of program income (e.g., participant fees), then you must provide an estimate of the expected program income, along with an alternative budget plan if you do not receive the expected income.
    • Note that cost share may not be met with federal funds. In rare instances there will be an exception to this rule; such exceptions must be approved by an appropriate representative at the federal agency prior to submission.
    • Because the use of matching funds affects the rate the university is able to negotiate for F&A (overhead), university policy is to only offer match if the requirement is listed in the RFP, and then to only offer the minimum required match.
  • Does the proposal involve the use of live animals, human subjects, recombinant DNA, radiation, a BSL-3 lab, biohazards, select agents or toxins? If so, please visit the Office of Research Assurances for more information on submitting and receiving approvals for your planned work. Note that although OSP will allow proposal submission without approved protocols in place, if you receive funding you will not be able to perform work until you receive the proper assurances.
  • Will any of the programmatic work be subcontracted to other entities? If so, then a subrecipient commitment form, signed by an authorized representative for each subcontractee, must be provided with your proposal package. A proposal for each subawardee must also be included with all documents required by the sponsor, including a scope of work, budget and budget justification
  • Are there potential conflicts of interest? If so then you must disclose those conflicts per FSH 5600 and 5650.
  • Does the sponsor require financial conflict of interest disclosures to be completed prior to proposal submission (e.g., NSF, NIH, etc.)?
  • Will the project generate program income?
  • Other considerations are whether there is adequate space to accomplish the project, whether any lab renovations will be needed, and whether you will need to make arrangements with your department in order to have sufficient time available to complete both the project and your regular university duties.

In 2009 the National Science Foundation (NSF) revised its senior project personnel salary reimbursement policy to be a maximum of two months of regular salary in any one year unless proposed (and adequately justified) and approved in the agreement budget. This means that during the university’s fiscal year (July 1 to June 30 ) no more than two-ninths of an academic year (AY) faculty or other senior project personnel member’s salary can be paid from all NSF sources unless the proposal specified more than two months of salary for that faculty or senior personnel.

If the personnel member is on a fiscal year (FY) appointment, then no more than two full months of annual salary may be reimbursed except as noted above. If a PI, Co-PI or other senior project employee has salary from more than one NSF grant or subaward of an NSF grant, they are not allowed reimbursement of more than two months’ full salary from any combination of these awards except as noted above.

To calculate the maximum amount of reimbursement for the year on an AY appointment, divide the salary by 9 and then multiply that result by 2. To calculate the maximum amount of reimbursement for the year on a FY appointment, divide the salary by 12 and then multiply that result by 2. In hours, a full two months at 40 hours a week is equal to 347 hours at full (not spread) pay.

If faculty or senior personnel want to increase their pay on their combined NSF projects to over the total proposed and approved during the post award stage, NSF allows this to occur without prior approval as long as adequate justification is provided. See the NSF 2 Month Rule Justification Template for the required form and process to justify this change. This process needs to be completed PRIOR to the change in effort. Contact with questions.

Travel plans, especially foreign travel, should be specified in your proposal. Foreign travel is generally subject to the provisions of the Fly America Act, which requires the use of U.S. carriers except under very specific circumstances. There may also be export control considerations for foreign travel.

  • NSF requires submission of a biosketch and current and pending support for PIs, Co-PIs, and all Senior Personnel on proposals. Currently, these documents may be submitted through a fillable pdf template or via SciENcv. However, for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 23, 2023, the use of SciENcv for both forms will be required. 

    Please note that updated current support must be reported to NSF when the annual or final project reports are due.

Budget Development FAQs

One way to begin developing your budget would be to outline what you think you will need in the way of employee time and physical resources to accomplish the project goals. This outline can form the basis for your budget narrative and also be the starting point for quantifying the project's resource needs.

While there are often agency-specific forms that you must complete, OSP has developed budget templates with many built-in calculations (e.g., standard fringe benefit rates) to help you with the process. If you are preparing a proposal that will be submitted via, you may develop your full proposal, including detailed budgets, in VERAS, which allows for direct system-to-system submission of your proposals.

Yes, the university recommends including a 2- 5% salary and fringe escalation in your budget unless the sponsor disallows escalations and/or unless it has been announced that an annual salary escalation will not be included or utilized in the state budget to the university in a future budget period(s). Note that fringe rates are negotiated annually and posted on the university budget and planning (and OSP) website to help with budget escalations. Please use annual estimated fringe rates in your proposal budget.

Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or F&A costs. Where an institution treats a particular type of cost as a direct cost of sponsored agreements, all costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances shall be treated as direct costs of all activities of the institution.

No. In this case OSP is distinguishing only between direct and indirect costs, so items that are excluded under the modified-total-direct-cost basis should still be included.

Indirect Costs

F&A stands for facilities and administrative cost and is also known as "overhead" or "indirect cost." Expenses associated with the administration of sponsored projects, but which are not easily attributable to any specific project, fall into this category. Some examples are utilities associated with lab space, costs to administer human resources and payroll for project personnel, departmental support staff and office supplies.

In order to recoup a portion of these costs, the university periodically negotiates with the federal government to determine F&A rates to be used on sponsored projects. These rates are based on expenditures and space allocable to research, instruction and public service/outreach for sponsored projects.

Use your answers to the following questions to make a determination and then check the current F&A Rates:

  1. Is the project best classified as being for research, education or public service/outreach? Note that the National Science Foundation classifies all of their awards as research unless otherwise specified in the RFP. See additional project type definitions.
  2. Is the work being done on-campus? Note that on-campus is not limited to UI's main Moscow location. See a list places considered on-campus.
  3. Is the work being directly funded (i.e., not federal pass-through funding) by the state of Idaho? The state of Idaho negotiated rate is 20 percent on total direct costs.
  4. Are there any sponsor limitations on the rate specified in the RFP? Written documentation of any rate limitations by the sponsor must be included with your proposal package.

Note that the university may not charge the federal award (direct or pass-through) more than the F&A that would be charged under our federally negotiated rates using "modified-total-direct-costs" (MTDC) as the basis, so if another basis (e.g. total direct costs) is used, then a comparison should be done. 

Generally speaking, the sponsoring agency will include the limitation, along with any other specific exclusions such as "no tuition," somewhere in the RFP. It may also be listed on the sponsor's website, or be a limitation based on a cooperative agreement, such as a CESU. When in doubt, check with your Sponsored Project Administrator for assistance. Note that you must provide written evidence of the limitation, such as a published policy, to OSP as part of the completed proposal package.

The default method for calculating F&A is known as modified-total-direct-cost (MTDC) and is calculated by multiplying all direct costs, excluding the following items, by the specified F&A rate:

  • Tuition/fees and student insurance
  • Single equipment purchases over $5,000 (note that component parts that will be used to build a single piece of equipment over $5,000 also fall into this category)
  • Those portions of subcontracts greater than $25,000 (the first $25,000 of each subcontract is subject to F&A)

The total-direct-costs (TDC) method is exactly what it sounds like. Multiply all of your direct costs, with no exclusions, by the selected rate.

The total-project-costs (TPC) method is unusual in that it allows F&A to be charged not only on direct expenses, but also on the F&A expenses themselves. The easiest way to do this calculation is to first convert the TPC rate to a TDC rate using the following formula:

TPC F&A Rate/(1-TPC F&A Rate) = TDC Rate (ex. 20% TPC = 20%/(1-20%) = 25%)

Once you have converted your rate, then you may use the TDC formula of multiplying all direct costs by the TDC rate.

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development or his or her delegate are the authorized personnel that can grant a waiver of F&A. Waivers are granted infrequently because they are essentially shifting the cost burden to the rest of the university. To request an F&A waiver please submit a ticket in TDNext. Alternatively, consider reducing your scope of work sufficiently to decrease your direct cost budget.

Addition information about indirect costs is available under F&A Rates.

Program Income

Program income is gross income directly generated by a project during the award period. Examples include conference fees where the sponsor is covering the bulk of the conference costs; sale of assets purchased by project funds (e.g., livestock sales); fees for services when the project is providing the service; and sale of items such as books, manuals, software or videos created with project funding. See APM Section 45.13 for more specific information.

Ideally, you should identify any anticipated program income when creating the budget for your proposal. By creating an overall budget, including any program income or match, you will have a better idea of the funds needed from the sponsor. Note that one of the possible options for the treatment of program income is for it to be used as part of any cost-share obligation.

Generally speaking, yes, program income can be considered third-party match.

No. Program income has the same restrictions as the rest of the award.

Not necessarily. Federal funding agencies may elect to use one of four methods to handle program income: additive, cost share/match, deductive and additive/deductive. Please see APM 45.13 for detail on each of these methods.

Please note that providing the sponsor with an estimate of how program income fits into the overall budget at the proposal stage helps the sponsor understand that they are only funding a portion of the project.

If you have noted that you anticipate program income on your proposal, then OSP will automatically create a secondary budget at the time the main budget is set up. No funds will be budgeted into the program income account until they are received. As much as is feasible, program income funds should be used first when expensing costs to the project.

Unless you are in a non-Moscow location, program income funds should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs for deposit. Please attach a GRT form and also a note indicating which expense category the funds should be budgeted into. 

Off-campus locations may deposit funds themselves, as long as those funds go into the central UI bank account. Please forward a copy of the deposit slip and the budgeting information to so that we can process appropriately.

Since federal guidelines indicate that program income funds are to be used first (2 CFR 200.307 (d) or any superseding regulations), there should not be program income funds left over at the end of the project period. However, in general, excess program income funds will be used to reduce the amount charged to the sponsor. In rare instances, and with the sponsor's written approval, the income may be carried forward into future periods and used to further project goals.

For federal awards, the Office of Sponsored Programs reports the income on the final Federal Financial Report (SF425) as part of the award closeout process. For federal pass-through awards, OSP reports it to the sponsor so that they can report it on their final financial reporting.

Proposal Completion

The Office of Sponsored Programs encourages PIs to begin submission of draft proposal materials as soon as possible prior to the submission deadline, and OSP requires final proposal materials to be complete and in VERAS and the agency submission portal at least four business days prior to the proposal submission deadline. (See the memo from VPRED and FAQs on the four-business day rule.) 

If you upload draft proposal materials to VERAS, departmental grant administrators, your OSP sponsored programs administrator and others will have access to the materials to ensure that any potential issues can be addressed in a timely manner. Leave a VERAS correspondence message addressed to your SPA and departmental grant administrator when you add materials to VERAS for review.

Additionally, if your project involves multiple PIs and/or departments and colleges, you will need to allow sufficient time for the electronic external support form to route for approvals. This process may take a few days if signers are busy or unavailable.

You will receive an email notification from OSP saying your proposal has been approved. Once you have received that email, you may submit your proposal materials to the sponsor. Please note that OSP will only complete the submission for you when the proposal is being submitted electronically through NSF, NIH, USDA,, NASA,, FedConnect or other electronic systems as may require OSP sign-off.

Please review the memo from VPRED and FAQs on the four-business day rule for details. 

At minimum, OSP requires that you submit your final proposal materials (e.g. materials in a submittable format) for FINAL review and approvals at least four full business days prior to the agency submission deadline. While OSP makes every effort to process all proposals received, if we do not have adequate time for review, then the proposal runs the risk of not being able to be submitted, particularly if there are missing documents such as letters of support from subcontractors.

We recommend uploading your draft proposal in VERAS as early as is feasible, so that your Sponsored Programs Administrator can begin an early review and offer guidance on potential issues.

OSP reviews your proposal budget and can help you to resolve budget issues, but there are multiple facets to proposal review. 

During the review process, your Sponsored Programs Administrator will also check for items such as compliance with the sponsor's proposal guidelines; issues with animal care and use or human subjects protocols and export controls; unauthorized or unnecessary cost share being offered; anticipated program income; letter of support requirements from subcontractors or for third-party match; and any restrictions in the RFP that the university may not be able to agree to if the proposal is awarded.

Yes, you must first submit a pre-proposal, or a letter of intent to OSP for review and approval, because your submission has the potential to commit the university to the work that you will be doing if you are subsequently asked to submit a full proposal. Setting up your pre-proposal or letter of intent in VERAS will help to expedite the process of setting up a budget at the time of the full proposal.

For this process, we are referring to formal letters requiring AOR, Provost, or Presidential signatures required by the sponsor to signal institutional commitment to the program or project. The Principal Investigator or departmental grant administrator should submit a support ticket in the TDNext system here at least 16 days in advance of the proposal deadline. The Service request form will ask for details and attachments, including a copy of the funding opportunity announcement (agency guidance) and a draft copy of the letter. The OSP Pre-award sponsored programs administrator (SPA) assigned to the proposal in VERAS will review the request and draft letter, and coordinate with the University Authorized Organizational Official (AOR). The AOR will further coordinate with the appropriate office personnel (President or Provost’s office) to request review and signature on the draft letter. Note that the President’s office requires at least 14 business days for a response – please plan well ahead of this deadline to allow review by OSP and coordination of any necessary changes.

US Public Health Service (certain directorates), including all National Institutes of Health (NIH) directorates, National Science Foundation (NSF), and US Department of Energy proposals and awards and subawards currently require a Financial Disclosure Form to be on file prior to proposal submission and updated as mandated in policy for each entity and to match U of I policy.

In VERAS the Principal Investigator, Co-PI(s), and Senior Key Personnel must submit a financial disclosure form per project and only the person associated with these forms can view them (outside of the delegated party below for review and management).

The Office of Research Assurances reviews the forms in VERAS and, if necessary forms a plan to manage conflicts of interest.

If your submitted proposal is funded and the university accepts it, you will conduct the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the sponsoring agency and the policies of the university. You will be fully responsible for meeting the requirements of the award, including managing restrictions on facilities or personnel due to export controls, providing proper management of funds, submitting all required technical reports and deliverables on a timely basis, and properly disclosing all inventions to the university's Office of Technology Transfer, in accordance with federal or contractual terms and university policy.

You are certifying that neither you nor anyone involved in the project is presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal department or agency. You are certifying that the application is true, complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge and that any false fictitious or fraudulent statements may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative penalties. You agree to assume responsibility for the scientific conduct and custody of records and data in accordance with university policy on retention of data, and to provide the university access to such records and data.

The principal investigator is responsible for uploading proposal materials to agency systems such as, eRACommons, NASA NSPIRES etc. The PI is also responsible for filling out and uploading any attachments to forms in VERAS. Once the files are uploaded into their respective locations in your VERAS proposal application, and internal approvals have been completed, you will work with your Sponsored Programs Administrator (SPA) for final submission to the sponsoring agency.

Remember, OSP does not submit hard copies or to other electronic systems unless an AOR role delegation requires that OSP submits.

VERAS allows you to download and develop online most proposal opportunities. This system-to-system submission portal greatly reduces the chance of your proposal bouncing back due to missing information, forms or fields. The Copy feature in VERAS allows you to copy previously created proposals and helps reduce time spent on new proposal creation.

All proposals must be reviewed and approved at a minimum by your department chair, college dean and the Office of Sponsored Programs prior to your submission of the required forms to the agency. 

The Vandals Electronic Research Administration Software (VERAS) allows you to provide all of the documentation necessary for review by the appropriate personnel.

Note that it is the PI's responsibility, once final approval notification has been received, to submit to the agency both hard copy submissions and electronic submissions that do not require system approval by OSP.

Please use the ‘preferred’ submission deadline feature in VERAS and communicate this to your pre-award Sponsored Programs Administrator. OSP must be able to reach you until the proposal review is complete and fully approved in case there are changes that need to be made. Please provide contact information in the correspondence section of your proposal and check periodically to ensure there are no issues needing resolution. Also, please make sure you have designated an alternate signer in VERAS and mark yourself unavailable for reviewing submissions for signoff. For help with this alternate signoff function please contact your Sponsored Programs Administrator or email

Yes. OSP understands that in some cases a sponsoring agency does not require a formal proposal prior to issuing an award. However, a completed scope of work and budget, as well as a copy of the award, must still be provided via VERAS, as well as all approvals received prior to the award being accepted.

Office of Sponsored Programs

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 209
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990


Web: OSP Website