When Applying for External Funds
Approval of your immediate supervisor is required before you begin work on a proposal for external funds. All proposals must be received by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) no less than 5 business days prior to sponsors' application deadlines. In addition, all proposals for external funds must be submitted through the ORSP.
ORSP departmental research administrators (DRAs) and central office preaward staff are available to assist you, the principal investigator, from the point you realize you would like to submit a proposal.
For example, DRAs and central office preaward staff can assist you in reviewing the the terms and conditions specified in the sponsors' request for proposals (RFPs), designing your proposal budget, obtaining the required signatures of approval, and ensuring the timely electronic submission of your application package to the sponsor.
Should your proposal be funded, the sponsor will send an official award letter to the ORSP. ORSP staff will review the award letter to check for changes in the terms and conditions of the award. For example, a sponsor may require revisions to your project budget. If such changes are present in the award letter, then the ORSP, not the principal investigator, is responsible for negotiating with the sponsor to ensure that the grant's terms and conditions are consistent with university policies.
ORSP DRAs or central office preaward staff will assist you in setting up the necessary accounts to provide you with access to your project funds. As you move forward with your research, bear in mind that changes to grant's principal investigator and/or other key project staff must be communicated to the sponsor through the ORSP. All of the above is explained in greater and important detail below. Please review this information before proceeding to the web page Proposal Preparation in 4 Steps.
Sending the Sponsor's Request for Proposals to the ORSP
Before you begin work on your proposal, please forward a copy of the sponsor's RFP to the appropriate staff person in the ORSP (see the Who to Contact webpage) to allow them to review the RFP's terms and conditions.
Presubmission and Subrecipients
As your prepare your proposal package, the ORSP preaward staff can, as needed, provide you with advice on university policies and assistance with all aspects of proposal budget development, administrative forms, and all certifications required by the sponsor.
Principal investigators who wish to include subrecipients in their proposals must, for each subrecipient, provide the ORSP with a
- project budget,
- budget justification,
- scope of work, and
- a letter of intent to collaborate with UMass Boston from and signed by the appropriate administrative official of the subrecipient's home institution.
The ORSP forwards your completed proposal package to the university's institutional representative, Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Matthew Meyer, for his review and authorization to submit your proposal on behalf of UMass Boston.
Accepting the Award Letter
A sponsor's award letter should be sent by the sponsor directly to the ORSP. The ORSP then reviews the terms and conditions of the award, and informs the awardee (i.e., principal investigator) and other appropriate administrative offices. If the sponsor's terms and conditions comply with university policy and are acceptable to the university, the ORSP will accept the award on behalf of the university and the principle investigator.
Changing Project Terms, Conditions, or Staff
A sponsor may issue an award letter with the stipulation that acceptance of the award first requires the university to accept a new condition or term or a change in the project budget (almost always a reduction). The ORSP preaward staff will then take the necessary action to negotiate and settle upon terms, conditions, and a revised budget that are acceptable to the university and the sponsor.
Once a project is underway, all requests to change a project's principal investigator or budget must be submitted to and approved by the ORSP prior to any communication with the sponsor.
Setting up Subawards
Only the ORSP can initiate and process the paperwork for subawards as well as amendments to subawards funded through sponsored programs.
Once the ORSP establishes a subaward, the ORSP notifies the principal investigator's home department (program, etc.) so that the department can setup a purchase order (or PO). The subrecipient sends its invoice directly to the principal investigator's department. The department then asks the principal investigator to approve (or not) the subrecipient's invoice or request for payment. Once approved, the department forwards the invoice--be sure to clearly write the PO number on the invoice--to the UMass Boston Controller's Office, which then takes the necessary action to send a check to the subrecipient.