This section provides guidelines and procedures to develop and submit a research proposal from finding funding to submitting a proposal to the sponsoring agency. Use the Table of Contents on the left side of this page to navigate through the topics for proposal preparation.
Roles and Responsibilities of Proposal Preparation
Publicly Funded Grants
Privately Funded Awards
Types of Funding
Federal or State
Funds received from a government source with an agreement that commits the University to a specific line of scholarly or scientific inquiry, documented by a research plan or statement of work. Sponsored Research Administration (SRA), a unit under the purview of the Vice President for Research, is responsible for pre- and post-award functions of the university for awards received from these types agencies or organizations.
Funds received from individuals, foundations, industry, foreign entities, etc with an agreement that commits the University to a specific line of scholarly or scientific inquiry, documented by a research plan or statement of work. FSU Research Foundation (FSURF), a unit under the purview of the Vice President for Research, is responsible for pre- and post-award functions of the university for awards received from these types agencies or organizations.
Funds received as a gift have no contractual requirements imposed, the donor does not maintain control over expenditure of the funds and does not receive any personal benefit in exchange for the gift. The FSU Foundation is responsible for managing these funds.
Please note: The FSU Research Foundation (FSURF) and the FSU Foundation will jointly determine the proper classification of funds received from an outside entity pursuant to FSU Policy 7A-32.
There are a variety of funding resources available to FSU faculty. The Council on Research and Creativity(CRC) offers eight internal funding programs. The Office of Research Development (ORD) provides access to Pivot, a searchable funding database that includes over 28,000 opportunities. You can find both private and public funding opportunities through the Pivot database.
Council on Research and Creativity (CRC)
The CRC offers eligible FSU Faculty several traditional programs (listed in alphabetical order) requiring competitive review. Specific eligibility requirements, terms of award, and other details can be found on each program's Request for Proposals page.
In Limited Submission Programs, the sponsor restricts the number of applications or proposals a campus can submit. The guidelines for these programs require institutions to screen pre-proposals or nominations to determine which applications will be submitted for competition. Individuals interested in applying to a limited program will submit an internal application to the Office of Research Development for internal review.
Every agency will have funding announcements listed on their websites.
Federal and State Agencies - Click here
All proposals for extramural funding must carry as principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator at least one person holding one qualifying academic ranks at Florida State University listed in FSU Policy 7A-14.
Guidance on Letters of Intent, Concept Papers, and White Papers
Develop a Proposal
A resource for Florida State University faculty seeking grant support for research and creative activity. ORD offers a wide range of services and resources, as well as workshop and training opportunities for faculty to assist in grant seeking and grant writing. ORD also assists faculty with funding searches via the Pivot funding opportunity database, and provides special assistance for large and multi-disciplinary proposals.
Resources provided by ORD:
Training and Job Aids
The Office of Research Development (ORD) provides Grantsmanship Educational Opportunities for faculty. Nearly all workshops and webinars are recorded so visit the site to also view past event recordings and slides.
ORD also provides grant writing workbooks to assist faculty with specific agencies. Check out the ORD Grantmanship Library.
To learn about activities necessary for the research development administrator, prior to the submission of an award, consider completing the eSpear course Proposal Development and Submission - ESP03
Proposal Submission Policy
The Office of Research adopted a proposal submission deadline policy to ensure faculty receive a thorough and timely review and processing of their proposals by SRA/FSURF. While it is highly recommended that proposals be submitted to SRA and FSURF for review several weeks before the agency deadline, “completed proposals” (see definition below) are required at SRA/FSURF by 9 a.m. three working days prior to the day of the agency deadline (see chart below). This provides the proposal administrator with adequate time to ensure that the proposal follows agency guidelines, the budget is accurate, incorporated contractual language is acceptable, time exists for necessary revisions, Chair and Dean approvals have been obtained, etc. We cannot guarantee that proposals submitted after the deadline will be approved for submission to the funding agency.
Completed Proposal Process
Create a Proposal in the RAMP Grants Module, this will take the place of completing a proposal transmittal form. Once the items listed below are entered in the Grants Module, the proposal will be routed through RAMP for the appropriate reviews and signatures.
1. Detailed budget
2. Detailed budget justification
3. Scope of work, Specific Aims, Narrative, etc. (fairly accurate yet rough version of the technical portion of the proposal is acceptable at the internal deadline)
4. Requests for internal approvals (i.e., request to overmatch, cost sharing commitment form, etc.) with appropriate departmental, chair, and dean approvals
5. Commitment letters from entities to whom you wish to subcontract
6. Sponsor’s request for proposals (a.k.a. RFP, program announcement, guidelines, solicitation, etc.)
7. Forms and/or application required by the sponsor (most sponsors have program-specific documentation they require; please include a copy of these documents for SRA/FSURF review)
8. Proof of completion of Department of Health & Human Services financial conflict of interest requirements (i.e., training, disclosure of significant financial interests), if applicable. If subcontractors, consultants, or collaborators are designated as investigators by the PI, proof of their completion of FCOI training and disclosure is also required.
SRA FSURF Internal Deadline for 3-Day Rule
SRA Internal Deadline for 3-day Rule
|Monday||The previous Wednesday at 9 A.M.|
|Tuesday||The previous Thursday at 9 A.M.|
|Wednesday||The previous Friday at 9 A.M|
|Thursday||Monday of the same week at 9 A.M.|
|Friday||Tuesday of the same week at 9 A.M.|
|Saturday||Because Saturday is not a business day, it does not count towards the 3-day rule. You should treat Friday as the deadline, so the internal proposal deadline is Tuesday of the same week at 9 A.M.|
|Sunday||Because Sunday is not a business day, it does not count towards the 3-day rule. You should treat Friday as the deadline, so the internal proposal deadline is Tuesday|
Proposal Submission Policy 7A-19.
Training and Job Aids
For more information, consider completing the eSpear course Proposal Development and Submission - ESP03
RAMP Training, How-To Guides and Help Center
Sponsored Research Administration (SRA) publishes a Facts Sheet that contains vital information for building a budget, such as:
- FSU Organizational Information
- Salary Cap Limits
- Escalation Factors for Proposal Budgets
- Fringe benefits
- Health Insurance Rates
- Health Insurance Subsidy for Graduate Assistants
- Tuition Waiver Rates
- Indirect Cost Rates
Common Budget Categories
Senior/Key Personnel - Individuals who are responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project, i.e. PI, Co-PI, Co-I, Faculty Associates, etc.
- Appointment Types - FSU faculty have two appointment types, 9 or 12 month. The appointment type will impact how salary and health insurance is calculated. Health insurance for a 9 month faculty member is only paid during the academic year.
Other Personnel - All other individuals working on the project, i.e post-doctoral appointments, graduate students, other research associates, etc.
- Staff and OPS Appointments - These appointments are considered 12 month, even if they are funded for a shorter period of time.
Equipment - Equipment is defined as a nonexpendable tangible item having a useful life of more than one year and a cost of $5,000 or more per unit. Individual components under $5,000 that will be put together to form one item costing more than $5,000 or attached to an existing piece of equipment are considered equipment. Contact FSU’s Asset Management for assistance determining if your item(s) meet the criteria for being classified as a capital item.
Travel - Funds requested to carry out the scope of work, collect data, and/or present on project findings. Detailed information on the travel funds is required, including:
- Identify travel as Domestic and/or Foreign.
- Identify travel location or state “location TBD.”
- Provide a reason for travel. This could be travel to carry out the scope of the project or to present findings from the project.
- Itemize all travel costs (airfare, per diem) and identify the basis for determining the cost, such as prior trips.
- Costs must be in accordance with FSU travel policies. See FSU’s Travel Guide or FSU Controller’s website).
- The Fly America Act requires that all federally funded travel be on a US flag carrier or a US flag carrier. The US government has entered into several agreements with foreign air carriers under certain circumstances, known as the Open Skies Agreements.
Consultants - Consultants are subject to FSU’s Procurement Requirements. Consultants who are known at the time of the proposal should be named in the proposal.
Subaward/Subcontract – Funds requested for a collaborator or for services needed to complete the project objectives.
- See information the Subrecipient/Contractor Determination form for more details on the requirements at the proposal stage.
Other Direct Costs
- Materials & Supplies
- Items needed for the project, such as lab supplies, chemicals, etc.
- May include computing devices which are less than $5,000
- Costs to publish the results of the project (allowable on most projects)
- Funds can be included in the budget if rent is paid to a non-FSU owned facility in which the scope of work will be completed.
- Other items specifically needed for the project
- Additional items specific to the project that are needed to carry out the scope of work should be included in the “Other” category.
- See the Facts Sheet for waiver rates.
Participant/Trainee Support Costs
- Participant/Trainee Support Costs are costs that are paid on behalf of participants or trainees (not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects.
- This includes costs such as stipends, allowances, travel costs or other costs
- Speakers or Presenters who are participating in a workshop, conference or training project whose primary purpose is to speak or assist with the management of the conference are not considered participants and any costs associated with them should not be budgeted in this section.
- Incentives such as gift cards, shirts, or cash paid to an individual to participate in a study, such as completing a survey, are not considered Participant Support Costs and should be budgeted in the Other costs section. Student employees paid a salary are also not considered participants.
Indirect Costs - Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs are normally allowed to be charged in addition to the direct costs associated with a project. Consult the Facts Sheet for FSU’s rates in conjunction with published sponsor restrictions, if any.
Calculating Salaries and Effort
Individual salaries in proposal budgets are generally expressed as the percent of the FTE (full time equivalent; 40 hours/week = 1 FTE; 20 hours/week = 0.5 FTE). Do not use hourly rates unless required by sponsor; FSU does not maintain timesheets for salaried employees. A 3% salary escalation is allowed in the proposal budget. Refer to the SRA Facts Sheet for current fringe and health insurance rates
Faculty & Other Personnel (Post Docs, Research Associates, etc.)
- To calculate salary based on FTE, determine the FTE the personnel will be appointed on the project and multiply it by their annual salary.
- Example: Dr. Smith’s annual salary = $150,000; will be appointed on the project for 0.25 FTE; the amount to be included in the budget is $150,000 X 0.25 = $37,500
- To calculate percent effort, take the number of months the personnel will be appointed on the project and divide it by their appointment months.
- 2 months on project / 12 month appointment = 16.7% effort (Calendar Year)
- 2 months on project / 9 month appointment = 22.2% effort (Academic Year)
- 1 month on project / 3 month summer term = 33.3% effort (Summer Months)
- To calculate person months, multiply the personnel’s bi-weekly salary* by 2.2 (this is the approximate number of pay periods in a given month) to determine their monthly salary. Then multiply their monthly salary by the number of months they will be appointed on the project. *Bi-weekly salary is calculated by dividing the annual salary by 26.1 for 12 month appointments or by 19.5 for 9 month appointments.
Example: Dr. Johnson’s bi-weekly salary is $2,550. Multiply $2,550 by 2.2 to get a monthly salary of $5,610. Then multiply $5,610 by the number of months they will be appointed on the project.
- A full-time grad student is appointed at 0.5 FTE
- Health Subsidy
- See the SRA Facts Sheet for the current fringe, tuition and health insurance subsidy rates.
Under Graduate Students and Non-Student OPS
- No tuition
- No Health Subsidy
- See the SRA Facts Sheet for the fringe rates.
Indirect Costs (also know as F&A Rates)
Indirect costs are incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot readily be identified with a specific project. The rates are calculated based upon actual prior administrative and facility costs to support the research infrastructure at FSU. Every 5 years, FSU negotiates their Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rates with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
MTDC (Modified Total Direct Costs)
Consists of all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and up to the first $25,000 of each subgrant or subcontract (regardless of the period of performance covered by the subgrant or subcontract). Modified total direct costs shall exclude equipment or more, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, student tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, fellowships and participant support costs as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
TDC (Total Direct Costs)
Excludes student tuition remission only. If an agreement is funded with federal flow through funds, the total F&A recovered cannot exceed what would have been recovered had the University’s negotiated rate been applied.
See the Facts Sheet for the current F&A rates.
Training and Job Aids
For more information on proposal budgeting and allowable costs, consider completing the eSpear course Building Budgets - ESP05
RAMP Training, How-To Guides and Help Center
This document should include enough details to clearly identify how the specific costs identified in the proposal budget have been calculated. Most sponsors require this document to support the proposal line-item budget. SRA and FSURF require this document as a part of a complete proposal.
Scope of Work (SOW)
The Scope of Work (SOW) is the area in a proposal or agreement where the work to be performed is described. The SOW should contain any milestones, reports, deliverables, and end products that are expected to be provided by the performing party. The SOW should also contain a time line for all deliverables.
Scope of Work Components:
2. Problem Statement
3. Goals of the Agreement
4. Objectives of the Agreement/Deliverables
Cost sharing or matching is the portion of project costs not borne by the sponsor. "Project enhancement" refers to available resources that are not quantified in the proposal. This is not considered a cost sharing commitment.
FSU's policy is to only cost share when required by the sponsor or the competitive nature of the award. Cost share should be budgeted only to the extent necessary to meet the sponsor's requirements. If the PI has a reason to request an exception to the policy, his or her chair and dean must approve this request.
All proposed cost sharing must be adequately documented. At the proposal stage, this documentation includes:
- Cost Share Commitment Form (university contributions)
- Third Party Commitment Form (non-university contributions)
- Cost share budget and justification
All proposed cost share must conform to the same requirements as the costs FSU requests from the sponsor. For federally funded projects and federal flow-through, this means all costs must conform to 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) and the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS). For example, general purpose office supplies generally cannot be committed as cost share as they are normally treated as an indirect cost.
- Unrecovered indirect costs (F&A): the difference between FSU's negotiated F&A rate and the rate funded by the sponsor. This is generally only available if the sponsor mandates the use of an F&A rate lower than FSU's negotiated rate. For federally funded projects and federal flow-throughs, the use of unrecovered overhead must be approved by the federal awarding agency
- Salaries and fringe benefits: paid from non-sponsored accounts and is documented through FACET
- Other direct costs: paid from non-sponsored accounts
- F&A Costs on direct expenses: F&A may be calculated on salaries, fringe, and other direct costs charged to cost share lines in OMNI. For federally funded projects and federal flow-throughs, the addition of overhead must be approved by the federal awarding agency.
Please note: This is not an exhaustive list. If there are other costs you are considering committing as cost share, please contact SRA for guidance.
Non-University Contributions (Third Party/In Kind):
- Value of contributions (real property, equipment, supplies, etc.)
- Value of goods and services directly benefiting a project
Third party contributors named in a proposal are required to submit a commitment form at the proposal stage. Periodically during the award period, documentation supporting the contribution to the project may be required. The In-Kind/Third Party Contribution Certification must be submitted prior to the final invoice or financial report to the sponsoring agency is sent.
Training and Job Aids
RAMP Training, How-To Guides and Help Center
To comply with 2 CFR 200.330, FSU must determine whether services provided by a person or an entity in an award, whether it is a grant or contract to FSU, should be paid as a contractor/vendor or as a subrecipient.
Contractor/Vendor: Provides a service or good that is routinely provided to the general public and therefore is not unique to the project. Typically the organization is for-profit and not subject to federal compliance requirements. FSU issues a purchase order through the Procurement Services for most contractors. FSU collects F&A on the total amount budgeted for a contractor.
Subrecipient: Performs activities that will have a significant impact on the total project with distinct deliverable for work that is unique to the project with minimal supervision from the PI at Florida State University. Generally a subrecipient will carry out an important portion of the federal program and can sometimes be considered a co-PI or partner in the project. FSU issues a subaward to a subrecipient through SRA/FSURF. FSU collects F&A only on the first $25,000 budgeted per each subaward for MTDC based awards.
Contractual Services or Subcontracting Forms
Training and Job Aids
For more information on proposal budgeting and allowable costs, consider completing the eSpear course Issuing & Managing Subawards - ESP10
RAMP Training, How-To Guides and Help Center
Proposal Review and Submission
The PI must submit and/or release all required proposal documents to the reviewing institutional administrator in the SRA or FSURF office by 9 a.m. at least 3 working days prior to the sponsor deadline. The SRA Grants Officer or FSURF Grants Compliance Analyst will review the proposal documents for compliance with sponsor requirements and University policies. Early contact well in advance of the sponsor deadline is recommended for the best review and guidance from SRA and FSURF.
Effective July 1, 2020, All research proposals will be routed through the Research Administration Management Portal (RAMP), our new electronic grants management system. The Grants module offers system-to-system proposal submission capability that connects with Grants.gov and it integrates with the Agreements and IRB modules, as well as OMNI. More detailed information concerning the transition to RAMP Grants is available on the RAMP webpage.
Sponsored Research Administration (SRA)
If the proposal is being submitted through an electronic portal that requires approval from or submission by FSU's authorized official, the proposal will be submitted by SRA. The PI may responsible for submitting proposals that are directly emailed, mailed, or hand delivered only after receiving approval from SRA.
FSU Research Foundation (FSURF)
The PI is responsible for submitting all proposals for private sponsors only after receiving approval from FSURF, unless otherwise stated in agency policies.
Updates to a Pending Proposal
After a proposal has been submitted, the Sponsor or Agency may reach out to the PI directly with a notice of anticipated award, just in time (JIT) request, award, proposal withdrawn without review, not funded, or requesting additional information. When a PI receives a notice from the sponsor or agency, they need to notify SRA or FSURF through RAMP.
Just in Time - Proposal Action
After initial peer review, for applications that have overall impact scores of 30 or less, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sends an automatic email requesting additional time-sensitive information known as “just-in-time” (JIT). This information is needed before the agency makes a determination of award. The JIT is not a notice of award nor should it be construed as an indicator of possible award. The requested information should be uploaded in a timely manner by the PI through the eRA Commons for SRA review and submission.