Prepare Proposals

The Federal Contract Services team is responsible for the review and approval of sponsored research proposals to federal agencies or organizations when the prime source of funding is or will be a federal contract. The preparation of a well-organized, thoroughly reviewed proposal is critical in the successful submission of an application for funding. The process for submitting a proposal for a federal contract award is very similar to the process for submitting a proposal for a grant or a cooperative agreement.

Notes Regarding Proposal Submissions

  1. Proposals are not "officially" received in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) until the entire submission packet, including the PI Certification, is received from the department through MyFunding.
  2. The department is responsible for submission of the proposal, including the signed Endorsement Letter provided by OSP, to the sponsor once approved through MyFunding. Please copy on electronic submissions. Please upload the final copy of the submission sent to the sponsor to MyFunding, especially if a hard copy is sent to the sponsor.

Researchers submitting initial proposals are required to submit the below documentation to the Office of Sponsored Programs through MyFunding. Researchers submitting letters of intent, pre-proposals/applications, and white papers may also be required to submit information through MyFunding as explained on the Letters of Intent page. (Note: Researchers submitting midstream proposals are required to obtain the Office of Sponsored Programs approval prior to submission.)

Documents Required for Submission in MyFunding*

  1. If applicable, a draft Endorsement Letter (unsigned and attached in MyFunding for OSP edit and review)
  2. Draft technical proposal, with final Information Technology Security language, if applicable (Note: Statement of Work (SOW) may be sufficient in some cases)
  3. Sponsor guidelines, including contact information for the sponsor’s contracting representative; this may be a weblink, a PDF, or instructions received via e-mail
  4. Any additional forms requiring institutional signature or completion by OSP
  5. If a budget is required, the submission packet must also include: 
  • Final business proposal (i.e., detailed budget, budget justification, etc.)
  • Waivers, if applicable (i.e., subaccount (if not included as a separate budget), F&A - as designated by your school, etc.)
  • If there are proposed subcontracts and/or External Participant(s) to other organizations in our budget, we need that organization's budget (including full legal names), budget justification, scope of work or technical proposal, letter of endorsement (LOI/SOI) from an authorized institutional official (see sample), and, if the sponsor is a PHS funded agency, verification of compliance with FCOI regulations, or the completed FCOI Form 1 and FCOI Form 2
*Subject to sponsor requirements and/or OSP procedure changes

Frequently Asked Questions

If it is unclear at the proposal stage whether the funding will come to the University in the form of grant or a contract – whom should I work with at the Office of Sponsored Programs and why? 

When a solicitation states that the award may be either a grant, cooperative agreement, or procurement contract, a CFDA number is listed, and no FAR clauses are listed, you should work with your designated Grants and Contracts Officer. Typically, these are seen under and NASA proposals. Should it be awarded as a contract, it will be passed to the Federal Contract Services team for processing.

Once I submit a proposal for a competitively awarded federal contract, what happens next?

Once the proposal is submitted, the sponsor will evaluate your proposal and consider whether or not it will fund your work. If the sponsor is interested in funding your project, you will enter into “negotiations” regarding the scope and price of the agreement. This will usually involve several rounds of discussions with the funding agency. This is called the Pre-Award Revisions stage.

Please note that it is possible for the government to award a federal contract without these types of negotiations. As such, it is extremely important that each proposal submitted to the government be your best and final proposal with accurate budgetary information and detailed plans for your work. It may be awarded unilaterally without an opportunity to update the budget.

When the final agreement is received, as with any research agreement, the terms and conditions of that agreement will be fully reviewed and negotiated by the Office of Sponsored Programs with input from the Principal Investigator, project team, and Departmental Administrator, as needed. It is important to note that only certain staff members within the Office of Sponsored Programs have the authority to sign agreements committing University staff and resources to an externally funded research project.