Project Director’s Handbook
- Handbook Contents
- I. LOCATING FUNDING SOURCES
- Grantseeking Hints
- Computerized Searching
- Grants and Research Development Library
- Oregon Foundations
- From Here . . .
- II. PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT
- Sections of a Proposal
- Cover Page
- Table of Contents
- Statement of Need/Statement of Problem
- Objectives/Research Questions
- Project Activities/Methods
- Budget and Budget Justification
- Current and Pending Support
- Project Personnel
- Facilities Description
- Federal Certifications and Assurances
- III. PROPOSAL CLEARANCE
- Proposal Clearance Procedure
- Rights and Responsibilities
- IV. POLICIES AND REGULATIONS
- Animals in Research
- Classified Research/Right to Publish
- Human Subjects in Research
- Outside Employment
- Principal Investigator/Project Director Eligibility
- Potential Conflicts of Interest
- Released Time
- V. GRANT ADMINISTRATION
- Establishment of an Account
- Personnel Activity Reporting (PAR) System
- Close-Out and Final Reporting
Southern Oregon University recognizes the value of sponsored research and programs. Through external support, faculty are able to conduct research and develop programs that improve the quality of education for students, provide information and services that benefit our community and state, and, on a larger scale, contribute to the body of knowledge that can be used for the benefit of humanity. Grants Administration, which resides in the Executive Vice President and Provost's Office, provides support for faculty in applications for outside funding in the following areas:
- Proposal Clearance
- Proposal and Budget Development
- Grant and Contract Administration
Information is included in the Project Director's Handbook. This handbook has been prepared to educate faculty about proposal development and submission at SOU. Topics covered include locating funding sources, writing proposals, the proposal clearance process, general policies affecting sponsored projects, and post-award grants management.
Section I, "Locating Funding Sources," describes the various searching tools available to help Project Directors find funding for their research or program.
Section II, "Proposal Development," summarizes the major elements of a proposal, including the cover page and other front matter, the technical narrative, and the budget. This section also includes the specific names, addresses, codes, and other information needed to complete an agency's application form.
Because proposals are submitted on behalf of Southern Oregon University, they must be approved by various administrators. This procedure is explained in Section III, "Proposal Clearance Procedure."
Grant-funded projects are subject to the same SOU and State of Oregon policies governing other activities on campus. Several policies are especially relevant to grant-funded activities, and these are summarized in Section IV, "Policies and Regulations."
Section V, "Grant Administration," discusses grant management procedures and the responsibilities of the Project Director after a grant award is made.
Grant Seeking Hints
Grants Administration can assist in conducting searches by locating relevant grant directories, helping with computerized searching, and contacting funders regarding guidelines and applications. The office maintains current files with grant guidelines, annual financial reports, letters of tax exempt status, a database identifying granting agencies that have been selected for proposal submission, and completed grant proposals.
When developing a list of possible funders, Project Directors should keep in mind the following search criteria or questions.
Does the funder award grants:
- in your subject area?
- in your geographical area?
- in the amount of money you are requesting?
- for the type of support you seek (e.g., building support, general operating support, research support, seed money, etc.)?
- to educational institutions?
Tax Exempt Status
One important consideration is whether or not the granting agency will fund public institutions. Many private foundations restrict their giving to tax-exempt organizations, and some funders restrict their giving to private nonprofit organizations or "501(c)(3)"organizations. SOU is a tax-exempt institution under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code, rather than section 501(c)(3). Some funders indicate that they fund only 501(c)(3)s but make exceptions for public educational institutions. Before applying, contact the foundation about eligibility. If a foundation will fund only 501(c)(3) organizations, Project Directors may be able to submit a proposal in the name of the SOU Foundation, with the approval of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
Faculty can access grant information through the World Wide Web . The "Grants and Research Development" selection on the Grants Office home page provides links to funding sources and information, including the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, US Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Register, and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
There are many excellent reference books on funding sources. Some good general guides include the following:
- The Foundation Directory - contains descriptions on over 7,000 of the largest private foundations in the US, and includes an indexing system that identifies funders by subject field, geographic region, and types of support.
- The Foundation Grants Index - lists actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the nation's largest private foundations, allowing the reader to locate grantmakers that have funded projects in a particular field.
- The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance - Detailed information on federal assistance programs, including eligibility, application procedures, deadlines, and contact phone numbers; indexes allow searching by subject, agency, program name.
Specialized Guides to Funding Opportunities
- Directory of Research Grants - describes over 6,000 programs that offer research funding in the physical and social sciences, arts and humanities, and education.
- Directory of Grants in the Humanities - contains information on over 3,500 funding programs that support research and study in literature, language, linguistics, history, anthropology, philosophy, ethics, religion, and the fine and performing arts.
- The Oregon Foundation Data Book - lists private foundations in Oregon by grant category.
- Guide to Federal Funding for Education - describes over 330 federal programs that offer grants to educational agencies and institutions; organized by function, and indexed by title, key word, and subject indexes.
- National Guide to Funding in Higher Education - contains entries for over 3,500 private foundations that support higher education; indexed by subject and type of support.
- Guide to Funding for International and Foreign Programs - lists over 450 private foundations that support projects with an international focus, both within the US and abroad; indexed by subject and geographic preference.
Many private foundations will accept only one proposal from an organization per year. Faculty who are considering applying for funding to an Oregon foundation (e.g., Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, US West), must first obtain approval from the Executive Vice President and Provost to ensure that the proposal will not conflict with institutional priorities for that particular foundation.
Faculty may not apply to the Carpenter Foundation, other than through the Carpenter I and II grants program administered by the SOU Faculty Development Committee. This Medford-based foundation already gives generously to SOU each year to support the faculty development grants.
From Here . . .
Once you have identified possible funding agencies, you may wish to contact the appropriate agency program directors by phone or brief letter to make sure that your proposed projects falls within their current interests. If special application materials are needed, have them sent to you. You are now ready to turn to proposal writing, covered in the next section of this handbook.
Grants Adminstration staff are available to critique proposals. The office can also refer project directors to resources for proposal development and provide examples of successful proposals to various agencies. An excellent short course on proposal writing is available online through the Foundation Center at: http://fdncenter.org/learn/shortcourse/prop1.html.
Sections of a Proposal
Many funding agencies specify guidelines or provide applications to be used for proposal preparation. The application and guidelines shoud be obtained directly from the granting agency. If proposal guidelines are not provided by the funding agency, Project Directors should follow the outline described in the following pages.
The basic elements of a proposal include the following:
- Cover Page
- Table of Contents
- Statement of Need/Statement of Problem
- Objectives/Research Questions
- Project Activities/Methods
- Budget and Budget Narrative
- Current and Pending Support
- Project Personnel
- Facilities Description
- Appendices--vitae, reprints, letters of support, etc.
If a funder does not provide a standard form for the cover page, the following information should be provided to assist agency staff in processing the application:
- Title of project
- Funding agency's name and address
- Specific funding program name (if applicable), request-for-proposal number (if applicable), or current grant number (if a continuation grant)
- Applicant's name and address
- Proposed project start and end dates
- Dollar amount requested
- Project Director's name and address
- Authorized institutional official's name, address, and signature
The proper addresses, names, codes, and other information needed to complete a cover page are detailed below.
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland OR 97520-3239
FAX (541) 552-6115
Name of authorized institutional official:
Southern Oregon University
Vice President for Finance and Administration
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland OR 97520-3239
Name and address for award checks:
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland OR 97520-5036
Type of organization:
Public nonprofit institution of higher education
SOU is a tax-exempt institution under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code, rather than section 501(c)(3) , which covers private organizations. See Chapter I, "Locating Funding Sources," for more information. A statement explaining SOU's tax-exempt status is available from Grants Administration.
Southern Oregon University Federal Employer Identification number (EIN):
(same as Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN): 48-1278522
Southern Oregon University Foundation Federal Employer Identification number (EIN):
(same as Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN): 23-7030910
US Congressional district:
State House district:
State Senate district:
State single point of contact:
Oregon no longer has a State Single Point of Contact (SPOC). If a federal grant application includes a question about review by the SPOC, write the following information in that space: Oregon's SPOC was abolished in November 1991.
NSF Awardee Organization Code:
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Number (IPEDS):
The abstract should be a clear, concise statement of major objectives of the research or program, in one page or less. Include descriptions of the problem or need, methods, and significance. Because the abstract serves as an initial screening mechanism for the agency's review panel, it should be able to stand alone.
Table of Contents
The table of contents is a list of beginning page numbers of the major sections and headings of the proposal. It should include listings of tables and figures, if these are extensive.
The content of this section varies considerably, and many proposals do not even include an introduction as a formal element. Some writers use this section to establish the credibility of the institution and/or Project Director by providing brief profiles. Other times, the introduction is simply a lead-in to the Needs Statement/Problem Statement, described in the next section. If the proposal is for an ongoing project, the introduction usually includes a summary of results obtained thus far.
Statement of Need/Statement of Problem
This section, usually titled "Statement of Need" for service-oriented programs and "Statement of Problem" for research-oriented projects, addresses the specific need(s) or problem(s) that the program or research will address. The problem or needs statement describes the situation that prompted writing the proposal; it answers the question "why should this be done?"
The statement of need or statement of problem should be specific enough that there is reasonable hope for a solution. It should include evidence, statistics, and a literature review to document the problem and should demonstrate how this project will fill some significant gap.
The objectives or research questions section describes the specific aims of the proposed project; it answers the question "what should be accomplished?." Objectives describe the intended outcomes of the program that will provide critical information or offer relief to the problem described in the previous section.
In research proposals, objectives are often phrased as research questions or hypotheses to be tested. Sometimes these are summarized in the objectives section and described more fully in the methods section, where explanations of specific variables and procedures can clarify the research questions. Some authors describe broad research objectives, followed by specific research questions or hypotheses.
The section describes the activities that will take place to accomplish the objectives; it answers the question "how will this be done?." This section is generally titled "Project Activities" in proposals for service-oriented programs and "Methods" in proposals for research. It should summarize the approach and detail the techniques to be used, the population to be studied or served, the specific activities to be completed, and the rationale that justifies these choices. A timeline of project activities should also be included.
Budget and Budget Justification
The budget should translate the project plan into monetary terms. The budget justification, a narrative which accompanies the budget figures, should explain the calculations used in determining the total cost for each category, as well as any special or unusual circumstances. In preparing a budget, both the agency's restrictions and SOU/State of Oregon restrictions must be followed. While purchasing guidelines apply to the actual purchases (once the money is in hand), it is obviously necessary to take these into account at the proposal stage, and proposals will be reviewed to ensure the budget conforms to guidelines.
Budget forms and detailed instructions for preparing this section are provided by many agencies. Descriptions of common budget items appear below.
This category includes salaries (annual or monthly rate) and wages (hourly rate)--hereinafter referred to as "salary"--for all personnel, whether filled or unfilled. Most funding agencies specify how to express salary requests. If no guidelines are provided, indicate the total amount of salary or wages to be paid for grant activities for each position and show calculations in parentheses. For example:
Project Director ($45,000/9 months x 2 months x 0.50 full-time-equivalent) = $5,000
Student Assistants (2 assistants x 300 hours x $5.00/hour) = $3,000.
Use actual salary when known. Information on classified and management service position titles and salary ranges can be obtained from Personnel Services (2-6315).
The university must document actual project effort on federal grants, so personnel requirements should be carefully analyzed. Personnel receiving salary from a federal grant will be required to complete a "Personnel Activity Report (PAR)" generated quarterly by Business Services. The form asks completers to estimate their percent of total effort expended on a project and to certify that the estimate is reasonable.
Academic Year Salary for Faculty
Calculation of the total salary for each position is based on the salary base multiplied by percentage of effort or full-time equivalency (FTE) during the period of support. For example, a $30,000 9-month salary base at 50% effort (.5 FTE) for 6 months would be: $30,000/9 months x .5 FTE x 6 months = $10,000.
Because SOU teaching faculty are considered to spend 100% of their effort on teaching, salary for research or other non-teaching activities can normally be requested only if released time from teaching has been granted. The normal load for SOU faculty is 15 hours per quarter (12 quarter hours of teaching and 3 quarter hours of advising) for a total of 45 quarter hours per academic year. Released time is granted in increments of 3 or 4 quarter hours, which represents roughly 20% (.20 FTE) and 25% (.25 FTE) of effort, respectively. Released time must be approved by the appropriate department chair and school dean in advance of proposal submission.
Salary for released time may be paid either by the grant or, with approval from the appropriate school dean, by the university. If faculty receive released time to be paid by the university, this can be shown as SOU cost share cash contribution on the proposal budget (see section on "Cost Sharing").
In some cases, when released time is not necessary or possible, the faculty member may be provided a salary supplement for additional duties performed under the grant. The overload must be approved by the appropriate department chair and dean prior to submission of the proposal. Some funding agencies will not approve projects that result in overload, so be sure an overload is acceptable before completing the application. The university also discourages overload situations and urges Project Directors to schedule time for completing projects through released time, sabbatical leave, and summer months.
Summer Salary for Faculty
Summer support for faculty members on 9-month appointments is calculated in the same manner as academic year salary. However, academic year and summer salary requests should be listed separately, because funding agencies often apply different policies to the two salary categories. For example, the National Science Foundation limits summer support to two months, although other agencies may support up to three summer months.
Administrative and Clerical Salaries
In most cases, salaries for administrative and clerical staff should be treated as "indirect costs" (see "Indirect Cost" section), rather than as direct costs in the personnel section of the budget. However, direct charging of these costs may be appropriate when administrative or clerical work can easily be identified with a particular sponsored project and is significantly greater than the routine level provided by academic departments and. The following are examples of circumstances where direct charging of administrative or clerical salaries is appropriate:
- Large, complex programs that entail assembling and managing teams of investigators from a number of institutions.
- Projects involving extensive data accumulation, analysis and entry, tabulating, searching literature, and reporting.
- Projects that require making travel and meeting arrangements for large numbers of participants, such as conferences and seminars.
- Projects focusing on the preparation and production of manuals and large reports, books, and monographs.
- Projects that are geographically inaccessible to normal departmental administrative services.
Other Personnel Expense (OPE)
In addition to basic salary, employees at SOU receive other benefits. Other Personnel Expenses (OPE) include health insurance, retirement, unemployment insurance, social security, workers compensation insurance, etc. If salary is requested from a grant, the proportionate OPE must also be requested. OPE are always charged when an employee receives salary, including summer months, sabbaticals, and overload situations. OPE are not charged when an individual is not an SOU employee, such as an outside consultant or subcontractor.
OPE costs are complicated to calculate, as some components are fixed dollar amounts and others are a percentage of pay. Because of this fixed component, actual OPE costs cannot be calculated by simply multiplying pay by a standard percentage, although OPE costs may be estimated using average percentages. Actual costs will be charged to the grant, whether higher or lower than estimates. Average OPE rates are as follows (based on actual 09-10 charges):
- Faculty Within Regular Contract Period (e.g., academic year for 9-month faculty; any time for 12-month faculty): 48.31%
- Faculty Outside Regular Contract Period (e.g., summer for 9-month faculty): 28.86%
- Faculty Overload Situations (over 100% effort):28.86%
- Unclassified Salaried Employees: 48.31%
- Unclassified Pay: 28.86%
- Classified Salaried Employees: 63.79%
- Classified Pay: 18.34%
- Student Pay: 4.65% (note that student OPE rates vary widely and it is recommended that Project Directors use this rate as a minimum for estimates.)
- Graduate Assistant: 4.65%
It is also possible to use the OPE rate applicable to an individual. If you would like to use that specific rate, contact Linda Cannon at 552-6586.
Restrictions surrounding equipment purchases come from both funding agencies and SOU (through the State of Oregon). While these relate to the actual purchase of equipment, take them into account when including equipment in proposal budgets.
Definitions of equipment vary by funder. Generally, items of property with an expected life of two or more years and a unit value of $5,000 or more must be budgeted as equipment. In all cases, equipment purchases must be carefully and fully justified. For most federal agencies, equipment can be funded only if it is to be used primarily for the project or research to be funded; general use equipment is not allowed. Also, equipment must usually be shown to be unavailable elsewhere on campus.
SOU grants are subject to state regulations and must follow state purchasing guidelines. Some commodities fall under state price agreements; these include computers, printers, some types of software, and some types of office equipment and furniture. Check with Business Services about price agreements.
Travel plans should be detailed as to purpose, travelers, destinations, dates, and costs. Both state and funding agency travel regulations must be followed. State regulations are described fully in the "Faculty and Staff Orientation to Business Services" handbook and are summarized below.
Airline reservations and ticket purchases can be made with any travel agency or airline. We recommend that two or more quotes be obtained to secure the lowest price. If quotes are obtained, please document them on or attach them to the travel expense report form in order to assist Business Services in documenting savings to auditors. For federal grants, air travel normally must be at economy fare, and use of US carriers is required for foreign travel, except in special circumstances.
Meals & Lodging
State of Oregon regulations must be followed for determining allowable rates for lodging and meals for each 24-hour period of travel. For updated information go to: travel/meals-lodging and travel rates.
For domestic or foreign travel, contact the travel clerk in Business Services for rates.
Motor Travel & Mileage
Private vehicle mileage is reimbursed at SOU's standard rate. If mileage will be reimbursed by the funding agency, you may use the rate established by U.S. General Services Administration. Most current rates: mileage rates
If the project includes leasing a vehicle (e.g., for travel, field work, or transporting students), it may be rented through the SOU motor pool or leased from a private firm. SOU Motor Pool rates include a daily charge plus mileage charge.
Services & Supplies
This category includes miscellaneous expenses, such as office, lab, and field supplies; minor equipment; photocopying, publication and printing costs, telephone, postage, human subject fees, equipment maintenance, and computer services. If provided, instructions for separating these budget items into other categories should be followed.
Consultants are individuals or firms hired to provide a specialized service not available from current SOU resources. If outside work is a significant component of the overall project, the category "subcontracts," described later, is more appropriate.
Consultants' names and affiliations should be provided and their need by the project fully justified. Consultants may be paid at a reasonable and usual rate for services provided. Travel costs and per diem allowances for consultants should be listed separately under the travel category.
SOU faculty, students, and staff are not considered consultants for purposes of grant budgeting and should be paid through regular SOU payroll structures.
Upon receipt of an award, Business Services will help you complete the State of Oregon Personal/Professional Services Contract, which spells out the scope and schedule of work to be performed, payment amount ("consideration"), and terms and conditions of the contract. This document must be signed by the contractor, the SOU Purchasing Manager, and the Project Director.
Subcontracts cover costs of significant or substantial project work conducted by an outside organization. When part of the work to be performed under a grant will be subcontracted to an outside organization, include a statement of work, detailing the subcontractor's contribution to the project. Total costs (direct and indirect, if applicable) for each subcontract should be included in the master budget as a single line item "subcontracts," and additional separate detailed budgets for each subcontract should be attached.
Upon receipt of an award, Business Services will help Project Directors complete a formal subcontract agreement, detailing the scope and schedule of work and payment. This document must be signed by an authorized official at the subcontracted organization and by the SOU Director of Business Services.
Indirect costs, or overhead, are those costs of doing research that are not easily identifiable with a particular sponsored project, such as administrative and clerical costs, building and equipment use and depreciation, operation and maintenance costs, and library expenses. When the university does not recover indirect costs from the funder, it must cover these costs from other university funds.
The indirect cost rate is established by agreement between SOU and its cognizant federal agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. The current negotiated rate is 24% of total direct project costs.
Some funding agencies (especially private foundations) impose restrictions on indirect costs, in rate or dollar amount, or disallow indirect costs entirely. Certain federal agencies prefer different indirect cost rates; for example, the US Department of Education specifies an indirect cost rate of 8% of the total grant amount.
Include the full indirect cost allowed by the funding agency in proposal budgets; exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Cost sharing and matching
Many federal and private funding agencies make awards with the stipulation that the grantee partially contribute to the overall cost of the project through cost sharing. Cost sharing is that portion of the total project costs for which the sponsor is not charged. The cost share can include cash or in-kind contributions from SOU or from a third party, depending on the requirements of the funding agency. Some funding agencies specify the level of cost sharing required on a grant, while others indicate that cost sharing is desirable (or expected) but do not have specific requirements.
Matching is a form of cost sharing, but the definition of the term varies depending on the funder. Sometimes, it is simply a synonym for cost sharing, and is often used when the funder requires a substantial contribution from the grantee. Some agencies use the term "matching" to refer specifically to funds from third-party donors. This is the case with the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant Program, which requires grantees to raise three dollars from outside (non-university) sources for every federal dollar granted. Usually matching funds are not required to be secured before submitting proposals but are pledged for the future.
Funding agencies differ as to allowable forms of cost sharing or matching funds. For example, some agencies will accept in-kind support, while others accept only hard cash or third-party donations. For federal awards, matching funds are usually restricted to nonfederal cash support. Specific guidelines for meeting cost sharing or matching requirements are usually detailed in funding agency grant program announcement or guidelines.
"In-kind" contributions are those that do not involve an outlay of cash, but are described in terms of cash value. Examples of in-kind cost sharing include time donated by outside volunteers, unpaid time donated by faculty (i.e., over and above their regular paid time), and donated equipment, furniture, and off-campus facilities. The value of in-kind donations must be documentable, and if the project is funded, evidence of the donations must be obtained from the donors. Documentation might include letters from donors specifying and justifying the value of their donations (e.g., hours spent on a project multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate) or copies of vendor invoices showing special discounts (e.g., other than normal discounts for educational institutions). For the most part, use of campus facilities cannot be considered an in-kind contribution, because it is already reflected in the negotiated indirect cost rate.
Cash contributions include cash payments from the university, cash grants from private and corporate foundations, and cash donations from individuals. Items that can be turned into cash, such as property, can also be considered cash contributions. Released time salary and OPE paid by the university toward grant activities would also fall under this category. Waived indirect costs are also a cash contribution.
All cost sharing commitments--including direct SOU contributions and third party contributions--must be documented on the Proposal Clearance Form and will be reviewed for approval during the proposal clearance process. Further, many funders ask that applicants detail cost sharing sources in the proposal budget.
Two troublesome cost sharing situations deserve special comment. One, if SOU project staff are considering volunteering time (unpaid time) to satisfy a cost share requirement, be sure the funding agency will allow this. Many will not accept volunteer time because it is difficult to document. Two, if the university is providing salary to project staff as part of a cost share, the project staff must be released from other duties. The salary must be for project duties, and not for other regular duties, such as teaching.
Current and Pending Support
Most federal agencies require information about current and pending grant support for all projects (active and proposed). This information is used by the agencies to help avoid overlap in funding (double payment for the same activity) and to ensure that staff personnel have sufficient time to complete the project. This list should include all projects requiring time of the Principal Investigator/Project Director and other senior personnel. Information requested on current and proposed projects usually includes the title of the project, source of support, amount of support, project period, and percentage of effort devoted to project. Also list other agencies to which your current proposal is being submitted.
If allowed, curriculum vitae or resumes of key personnel should be attached and should include the following information: post-secondary education, professional experience, honors, professional memberships, and major (relevant) publications. If key personnel will not be selected until after the project is funded, provide detailed job descriptions, including qualifications, for each unfilled position.
The facilities description may start with a broad overview of Southern Oregon University, including programs and faculty, number of students, library holdings, and graduate programs. The Project Director's department or program should be described in terms of personnel, laboratories, equipment, and other resources pertinent and available to the project. Facilities and field sites should be described for projects conducted wholly or partly off-campus.
Federal Certifications and Assurances
Applicants must comply with various federal public policy requirements as a condition for receiving grant funds. For example, standard requirements relate to areas such as anti-discrimination, environmental protection, and maintaining a drug-free workplace, among others.
Grant application packets contain the forms that an applicant is required to sign, promising to abide by the various federal laws, regulations, and executive orders that apply to recipients. The certification and assurances forms are signed by the institution's authorized official; at SOU the authorized official for grant proposals is the Vice President for Administraion & Finance. The certifications and assurance forms will be signed as part of the SOU proposal review process.
Special Certifications and Assurances
Human Subjects: Any research involving human subjects must comply with the "Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects." Some types of research involving human subjects are exempt from this policy, however only the Institutional Review Board may make that determination. Proposals involving human subjects research must be reviewed and approved by the SOU Institutional Review Board. Forms for this review are available on the Web or from the Grants Administration office.
Some grant application forms ask for an "Assurance Number for Human Subjects." SOU's number is FWA00009361. This number is issued by the Federal Office for Human Research Protections under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It indicates that we have an acceptable plan on file for protecting research subjects.
Application forms may also ask for an "IRB Approval Date," referring to the university's Institutional Review Board. If review is required under SOU policy, the approval date may be entered.
Vertebrate Animals: Any federally-funded research involving vertebrate animals must comply with the Animal Welfare Act and the guidelines published in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Research projects involving the use of vertebrate animals must be reviewed and approved by the SOU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Some application forms ask for an "Animal Welfare Assurance Number." SOU is registered with the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act. Identifying numbers are as follows:
- Customer number 1820
- Certificate number 92-R-0037
Application forms may also ask for an "IACUC approval date," referring to the university's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Since review is required under SOU policy, the approval date may be entered.
Read carefully any application guidelines regarding allowable appendices. Some agencies limit, or disallow completely, appended materials. Items that may be allowable or required as appendices include vitae, reprints of publications, and supporting letters. Because appendices are not always sent to individual reviewers, include all essential information in the proposal narrative.
Because grant applications are submitted on behalf of Southern Oregon University, all proposals must be approved by university officials before being submitted to the funding agency. Proposals are reviewed to ensure that they comply with federal, state, agency, and university guidelines; that they are consistent with the instructional and research goals of the university; and that the university resources necessary to complete the project are available. Proposal approval is indicated by a completed and signed SOU proposal clearance form. The proposal clearance procedure is described below.
Proposal Clearance Procedure
If you intend to write a grant, submit the Intent to Submit form to the Office of Grants Administration as soon as you have identified the potential grantor. Required signatures include:
- Project Director
- Department Chair
- School Dean
- Vice President and Provost
- Vice President for Institutional Advancement (if the grant will be submitted to a private agency)
Discuss proposal and budget with Grants Administrator early in the proposal development stage.
Complete and sign Proposal Clearance.
- Obtain signatures of Department Chair and Dean of School
- Obtain additional approvals required for special circumstance proposals
- Send complete proposal and proposal clearance form to Grants Administration, c/o Deborah Hofer Churchill #205 at least three working days before the mailing deadline (Grants Administrator will review the proposal, obtain signatures of authorized institutional officials and return a signed copy of the clearance to the Project Director).
- Proposals which must be submitted electronically (e.g. NSF Fastlane proposals) must be sent to Grants Administration at least three working days prior to electronic submission deadline.
Make corrections to proposal required by internal reviewers. Copy and mail approved proposal.
Discussing your proposal idea and budget with the Grants Administrator during the proposal-writing stage can smooth the clearance process. Early discussions can help avoid problems that must be corrected before submitting a proposal and that delay the clearance of your proposal. This is especially important if the submission must be done electronically.
Once a proposal is ready for clearance, complete and sign an SOU Proposal Clearance Form . With standard proposals, only four approvals (signatures) are required: Department Chair, Dean of School, Provost, and Grants Administrator. Additional approvals are required if your proposed project involves any of the following:
- Unsecured SOU cost sharing funds
- Submission to a foundation or submission in the name of the SOU Foundation (approval of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement)
- The use of SOU Computing Services (approval of Director of Information Technology)
- Building modification (approval of Director of Business Services)
- Use of human subjects (approval of Institutional Review Board)
- Use of vertebrate animals (approval of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee).
The Project Director is responsible for obtaining all approvals required in the above situations. In most cases, you should discuss your proposal and any special circumstances with the relevant university official in advance. For example, if you are considering submitting to an Oregon foundation, clear this with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement before writing the proposal. Likewise, if your research will involve human subjects, research protocols need to be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board.
To avoid long delays, obtain these additional approvals via e-mail or phone; you do not need to obtain a signature. However, the Project Director must sign a statement on the proposal clearance form affirming that necessary approvals have been obtained.
Once the proposal clearance form has been signed by the Department Chair and the Dean of School, and all special-case approvals have been obtained, send it to the Grants Administrator, who will review the proposal and proposal budget and send the package on for final approval to the Provost. Unless proposals present major complications, Project Directors can expect to have completed proposal clearance forms returned to them within three working days of submission to Grants Administration.
Proposals that do not comply with applicable regulations and guidelines must be revised prior to submission to an agency. Every effort will be made by the Grants Administrator and other reviewers to ensure that the Project Director is notified immediately of any problems with the proposal so that necessary changes may be made before the deadline. However, in some cases, when proposals present major problems, revisions may not be possible before the deadline, and the proposal will not be allowed to be submitted. The best way to avoid such disappointments is to work with your department chair, school dean, and Grants Office early in the proposal development stage.
Rights and Responsibilities
Each reviewer accepts certain responsibilities by signing or otherwise approving the proposal clearance form; these are outlined below.
The Project Director certifies that statements in the proposal are true and complete, and accepts responsibility to carry out the project outlined in the proposal within the time limits and budgetary resources provided and to submit progress reports required by the sponsoring agency if an award is made.
The Department Chair certifies that the proposal is consistent with instructional and research goals of the department, and commits departmental resources as outlined in the proposal.
The Dean of the School certifies that the proposal is consistent with instructional and research goals of the school and commits school resources as outlined in the proposal.
The Vice President and Provost certifies that, if an award is made, Southern Oregon University will comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies; agrees to comply with the sponsoring agency's award terms and conditions; and commits university resources as outlined in the proposal. In addition, this signature certifies that, to the best of his/her knowledge, the proposal and proposal budget conform to all applicable federal, state, university, and agency guidelines and regulations.
Each Additional Reviewer commits resources as outlined in the proposal and/or approves all proposed project activities falling within his/her jurisdiction.
Each reviewer has the right to decline to approve the proposal and to recommend proposal modifications. Additionally, the Provost, Vice President for Finance & Administration, School Dean, and Department Chair have the right to disallow proposal submission entirely or to withdraw a proposal.
The Project Director has the right to submit a proposal that has not been fully cleared, provided that a proposal clearance form has been submitted to the Executive Vice President at least five working days prior to the mailing deadline and the proposal has not been disapproved. However, such proposals go out with the understanding that they may later be withdrawn or revised.
All proposals for grant funding are submitted on behalf of the university. As the legal applicant, Southern Oregon University assumes administrative responsibility for the project and ensures compliance with all policies and regulations pertaining to the award. Grant-funded projects are subject to the same federal, state, and university policies governing other activities on campus. Several policies are especially relevant to grant-funded activities, and these are described below.
Animals in Research
Southern Oregon University policy on the use of laboratory animals states that "This institution will comply with all applicable provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable Federal statutes and regulations relating to animals." The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews projects involving the use of vertebrate animals in research. Application forms for the use of animals in research can be obtained from Grants Administration.
Classified Research/Right to Publish
State of Oregon Law (ORS 351.870) states that institutions in the State System of Higher Education shall not conduct or participate in sponsored research that restricts the freedom of investigators to publish results of research.
Human Subjects in Research
In accordance with federal policy (DHHS Policy 45 CFR Part 46, rev. August 19, 1991) Southern Oregon University assumes responsibility for protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects who participate in research conducted by faculty. The university's Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews research projects involving human subjects to ensure compliance with university and federal regulations and principles. Investigators must obtain approval of the IRB prior to beginning research. Though some types of research are exempt from this requirement, only the IRB chair may determine and approve exemption.
State Board of Higher Education Administrative Rule 580-21-025 (1) states: "No full-time employee of the Department of any of the institutions or divisions shall engage in any outside employment which substantially interferes with duties." More detailed definitions and procedures are found in the SOU "Policy on Outside Professional Activities," which states that faculty wishing to engage in outside employment must complete a "Request for Approval for Outside Employment" form. Copies of the policy and the form are available from the Provost's Office or from the Grants Office.
Overload situations--working over 100%--are discouraged. However, when released time from other duties is not possible, a faculty member may be paid a supplemental salary for overload services. A Request for Approval of Overload form, available in the Provost's Office, must be completed and approved by the Provost.
Principal Investigator/Project Director Eligibility
Teaching and non-teaching faculty with academic rank at or above instructor level are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators/Project Directors on grant applications submitted on behalf of the university. Eligibility of lecturers, adjunct, and visiting faculty is determined on a case-by-case basis, and approval of the department chair and school dean are required prior to proposal submission. Graduate students may not be principal investigators but may be co-principal investigators. Undergraduate students are not eligible to be principal investigators or co-principal investigators.
Potential Conflicts of Interest
Projects funded or proposed for funding by the National Science Foundation or the US Public Health Service must comply with the Conflict of Interest for Sponsored Projects policy, an attachment to the SOU policy on Outside Professional Activities. This policy requires that all project investigators complete and file a financial disclosure form before a proposal is submitted to NSF or PHS.
The normal load for SOU faculty is 15 hours per quarter (12 hours of teaching and 3 of advising); released time from teaching duties is granted in increments of 3 or 4 quarter hours and must be approved by the department chair and school dean.
Establishment of an Account
Once an award notice is received from an agency, or when approval is obtained from Finance &Administration for pre-award expenditures, the Business Services Fiscal Officer will establish an account ("Index Code") on the on-line Financial Information System (FIS). State of Oregon purchasing rules and procedures apply to all funds administered by the university, including grants and contracts. These are summarized in the "Orientation to Business Services" packet. In addition, special procedures must be followed for grants for some transactions.
The Banner FIS grants module provides on-line fund data, which the Project Director may view. The Project Director is responsible for reviewing the account status periodically to a) determine conformance with the established plan of the project; b) ensure that all applicable state, federal, and funding agency regulations are followed; and c) avoid cost overruns. Departments are financially responsible for cost overruns or audit disallowances on grants.
Personnel Activity Reporting System (PAR)
Under US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," institutions receiving federal support must maintain supporting documentation of salaries and wages charged to federal grants. The Personnel Activity Reporting (PAR) system was designed to meet this purpose, as well as to serve as documentation of cost sharing effort on grants. Employees receiving salary from federal grants must complete a PAR quarterly, certifying that salaries charged to the federal grant are consistent with actual effort toward grant activities.
Close-out and Final Reporting
Close-out of a project occurs when the project period ends, the Project Director transfers to another institution, or the project is terminated by the funding agency. Each funding agency has specific close-out requirements which must be adhered to. These are normally explained in the award document. Generally, a Final Technical Report and Final Financial Statement are required. The Project Director is responsible for preparing and submitting the technical report to the funding agency. A Final Financial Statement may be prepared by the Project Director, a departmental administrative assistant, or the Business Services, depending on directions from the funding agency. Financial reports must be cleared by the Business Services Chief Accountant before submitting them to the agency. Contact Business Services Accounting about the proper procedure for closing out your award.
Most reports are due to the funding agency within 90 days after the project end date. SOU Business Services should also receive a copy of the final report for audit purposes. Failure to submit required reports on a timely basis can result in the funding agency's withholding of final payments to the university on the grant.
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