Contracts and Grants Policy 2 – Proposal Preparation

General Information

Since a properly prepared proposal has a better chance of obtaining funding than one that is not prepared properly, the principal investigator should allocate sufficient time for planning, coordination, and preparation of a proposal. Accordingly, the potential principal investigator should take advantage of the experience of colleagues and members of the faculty and staff who have knowledge that can be useful in program or project design and in proposal preparation. As a proposal is being formulated, a potential principal investigator should consult with the Office of Contracts and Grants, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and any other such offices as may be appropriate for a specific proposed project (e.g., Office of Human Resource Services, Purchasing Office, Instructional and Research Computing, and Statistical Consulting Center).

Basic Proposal Preparation

Proposals should be prepared according to the requirements or specifications of the potential sponsor and within any format that the sponsor may stipulate. In the absence of specific format or content specifications, the principal investigator should seek assistance from the Office of Sponsored Programs.

The preparer should be aware that, if a proposal is funded, the disbursement of funds is subject to regulations established by the University, by General Administration, and by the State of North Carolina as well as those established by the funding source. The Office of Contracts and Grants can offer assistance in budget preparation and should be contacted while the proposal is still in draft form. It is very important that a proposed budget be constructed to fully and accurately reflect the level of support needed to successfully complete a proposed project. Refer to Procedure No. 2 for assistance with proposal preparation and Procedure No. 3 for budget preparation.

Some budgetary matters are particularly critical to proposal preparation and the potential principal investigator must be aware of these matters and must integrate them into the proposal preparation process from the beginning. Two very critical factors are:

Cost Sharing and Matching

The specific conditions for cost sharing and matching required by a sponsoring agency must be carefully identified and evaluated. All cost sharing and matching requirements must be discussed with the appropriate Department Head and/or Dean in the early stages of proposal preparation. Cost Share commitments must be included in the Cost Sharing or Cash Matching section of the proposal budget tab in RAMSeS. For detailed information on cost sharing and matching, refer to Policy No. 9 and Procedure No. 12.

Facilities and Administrative Costs

Facilities and administrative (F & A) costs, which used to be referred to as indirect costs, represent a substantial outlay on the part of the University and the State. Recovery of facilities and administrative costs is essential, and the rate of facilities and administrative costs charged is determined by formal negotiations with the Federal government. Please refer to Facilities and Administrative Guidelines for the current rate. Established facilities and administrative cost rates must be included in every proposal unless an alternative rate or exemption has been clearly established through existing policy or practice. Requests to use less than the established rates in other instances must be approved in advance by the appropriate Department Head and Dean before forwarding the request to the Director of Contracts and Grants for the approval of the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. This is based upon the recommendation of the Provost.