ORSP’s standard business hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All proposals need to be approved and submitted during these times.
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The Project Planning and Development team in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) can assist you with the various components of developing your proposal. If you haven't already contacted Project Planning and Development to discuss your project idea please do so now. Items to consider for this discussion include:
Ideally, this conversation would happen 3-4 weeks prior to the grant deadline. Through this conversation a member of the Grants Administration team will be assigned to your project to assist with budget development and other financial considerations. A substantial draft of the narrative and complete budget must be prepared for processing and approval 3 business days before the grant deadline.
It's a major undertaking - preparing and submitting an federal grant application to support your research training needs or pursue your scientific research. In this highly competitive endeavor, the successful grantee will allow for ample time to plan, organize and write a grant application that competes well in the peer review process and ultimately earns funding.
As mentioned in the earlier Project Idea step of the Project Lifecycle, you should work closely with ORSP's Project Planning and Development team to provide additional guidance in developing your proposal, including applications to two prime federal funding entities, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Checklists and Guidance
Samples and Templates
Checklists and Guidance
Samples and Templates
Often, Principal Investigators and Key Personnel need to have accounts registered with the organizations they are applying to, such as the National Science Foundation. Below are the common entities requiring account registration for applicants.
Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)
ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier (an ORCID iD) that you own and control, and that distinguishes you from every other researcher. You can connect your iD with your professional information — affiliations, grants, publications, peer review, and more.
Please contact Project Planning and Development to let us know you will be setting up an account and your plans for submitting a proposal.
FastLane - National Science Foundation (NSF)
FastLane is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) online website through which they conduct their relationship to researchers and potential researchers, reviewers, and research administrators and their organizations. In collaboration with NSF, more than 400,000 people use FastLane each year. Activities performed in FastLane can include such things as preparing proposals, post-award notifications and submitting letters of reference.If you are unsure if you have an NSF FastLane ID, try the NSF ID Lookup. If you know you have never had a FastLane account and need to set one up, register here. Please contact Project Planning and Development to let us know you will be setting up an account and your plans for submitting a proposal.
eBRAP - Department of Defense (DOD)
Access to several of the U.S. Department of Defense funding opportunities, proposal information and other areas of the application requires a login and password. If you do not have a login and password, you will first need to create an account.
Please contact Project Planning and Development to let us know you will be setting up an account and your plans for submitting a proposal.
eRA Commons - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
eRA Commons is an online interface where grant applicants, grantees, and federal staff at NIH and grantor agencies can access and share administrative information relating to research grants. Here you may access a variety of functions, including: application scoring, notice of award, Just-in-Time requests, progress reports, and your personal profile.
If you are having problems logging in and think you need to reset your password (you have had 3 unsuccessful attempts), please contact the Project and Planning Development team.
Investigators cannot create their own accounts in eRA Commons.
The DMPTool helps researchers create data management plans (DMPs). Many funding agencies, especially federal agencies, require Principal Investigators (PIs) to share their project’s research data and to provide a DMP at the time of application or prior to award. With this in mind, a group of research institutions led by the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library partnered back in 2011 to create the DMPTool to simplify the process of writing data management plans by clarifying the questions to be addressed and by providing suggested text.
Reviewers are often faculty just like you who are very busy. A reviewer may have to read 10-15 applications in great detail and form an opinion about each of them. Researchers who are able to express their scientific arguments persuasively and concisely win grants and get published more often. According to Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the NIH, “So many worthwhile research ideas get put into the unfunded category in reviews because the proposals are not written clearly and don’t present the importance of the research forcefully enough.”
The following statement should be included in applicable grant applications:
In accordance with the America COMPETES Act, Marquette University has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project. The plan is available for review upon request.
Most proposals call for a brief description of the applicant institution to show how the institution's mission relates to the area of need being addressed and to establish the institution's overall strength as a platform for the research, training, or outreach project being proposed.
The paragraphs below are suggestions only. You will want to adapt a version to suit your particular situation such as adding a brief description of your department or academic unit. Depending on the sponsor and the nature of your project, your institutional description might also include the number of doctorally prepared faculty in your department, enrollment or placement data, a summary of significant accomplishments of the faculty, or special distinctions earned by the unit.
Marquette University is Wisconsin's largest independent educational institution and enjoys a national reputation for excellence in both teaching and research. Founded in 1881 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Marquette is governed by an independent Board of Trustees consisting of prominent community, business, and education leaders. The University offers over 60 undergraduate majors, 38 master's programs, 18 doctoral programs, and three professional programs. The University's current enrollment is approximately 11,500 and includes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries.
Marquette is a national, urban, Jesuit, Catholic university located near downtown Milwaukee. As Wisconsin's largest independent educational institution, the University provides substantial leadership in teaching and research. The University offers over 60 undergraduate majors, 38 master's programs, 18 doctoral programs, and three professional programs. Marquette currently enrolls approximately 11,500 students from 50 states and over 80 countries who represent a spectrum of ethnic and religious heritages.
Marquette is devoted to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis and seeks to aid all of its students in their intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical development. Marquette encourages its students to seek positions and attitudes of leadership and service to others.
As an urban university, Marquette invests substantial resources to maintain and enhance its relationships within a vibrant city and state while building and nurturing national and international relationships. Students, faculty, and staff devote more than 100,000 hours annually to community service, earning Marquette a national reputation for helping. The University's economic impact on the greater Milwaukee area is estimated at $420 million annually. Marquette contributes its unique intellectual and educational resources to the common good of all members of the community and reflects its Catholic and Jesuit character by reaching out in service, especially to the poor and less fortunate.
Based on the guidelines provided by the sponsor, the budget should represent the entire cost of a project and accurately reflect costs that are necessary and justifiable. Reviewers should be able to determine whether sufficient funds are being requested to complete the project successfully and that those requests are reasonable given the scope of work.
The budget submitted to the sponsor usually consists of two interrelated documents: a budget and a budget justification (also known as budget narrative). The budget justification or budget narrative explains how the budget figures were estimated and relates the anticipated expenditures to the project's tasks and deliverables.
Within the sponsor guidelines, locate the application budget instructions and information.
Identify and understand budget requirements including indirect costs, fringe benefits and any unallowable costs.
Determine project budget needs and ensure they are necessary and justifiable.
Definitions of budget categories are outlined below for additional information.
If you plan to have subawards in your budget you must connect ORSP Budget staff with the collaborating institution two weeks in advance of the final budget due date.
Project Planning and Development will connect with you with Grants Administration to develop a budget and complete required sponsor forms.
The Kuali routing process must commence three business days prior to the deadline to ensure approvers are granted sufficient time to review and approve your application. All budgets must be final prior to entering the routing process.
A direct cost is any cost that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program, or activity or that can be directly assigned to such activities and with a high degree of accuracy.
Facilities and administrative/indirect costs are costs not allocable to a particular project, such as payroll processing, insurance, accounting, and related administrative services; square footage devoted to research, which is used to allocate depreciation and interest expense on University owned buildings, equipment and fixed assets; operations and maintenance costs, which includes facilities services; and library costs. These costs are not directly attributable to a particular project, they are often referred to as "indirect" or "overhead" costs.
All budgets must include either the federally negotiated rate or sponsor approved rate.
Federally Negotiated F&A and Fringe Benefit Rate
The terms "cost sharing," "matching," and "in-kind" generally refer to the portion of the total project cost not borne by the sponsor. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, administrators and prospective applicants must pay special attention to a sponsor's particular definitions of these terms.
Typically, the University proposes cost sharing only to the extent required by the sponsor. Cost sharing should only be promised if it is required by the sponsor or necessary to accurately reflect the resources required to conduct a project for which only partial funding is available.
Two general restrictions apply to costs proposed for cost sharing:
To be allowed as cost sharing expenses, costs must be:
Mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing must conform to University and federal policies regarding allowability, allocability, and reasonableness. The same is true for cost sharing involving gifts, donated services, or volunteer services. Guidelines for specific agencies or grant programs may also provide guidance on cost sharing. These requirements must be passed on to any subrecipients performing substantive work under grants and agreements that are passed through or awarded by the primary recipient.
“In-kind” contributions generally refer to non-cash contributions to a project (e.g., goods, commodities, or services provided by a third party). At Marquette, in-kind contributions are normally accounted as gifts.
Mandatory cost sharing is cost sharing that the sponsor requires as a condition of the award. Mandatory cost sharing is stated on the Notice of Grant/Contract Award, must be documented, and must be reported to the sponsor.
Voluntary cost sharing is cost sharing not required by the sponsor. There are two types of voluntary cost sharing: voluntary committed cost sharing and voluntary uncommitted cost sharing.
Voluntary committed cost sharing is cost sharing, often in the form of effort, that is not required by a sponsor but is nevertheless specifically pledged in the proposal or budget. Because sponsors incorporate the proposal (and its budget) by reference when making an award, voluntary committed cost sharing becomes a condition of the award. Voluntary committed cost shared expenditures must be accounted and reported in the same way that all other project expenditures are accounted and reported to the sponsor.
Example: A sponsor does not require cost sharing, but the principal investigator believes that an explicit commitment of effort is needed to make the proposal competitive. The proposal or the budget therefore includes a statement to the effect that the principal investigator will devote 25% of his or her time to the project, and the project budget does not request salary and fringes corresponding to that amount from the sponsor. Because a promise of effort has been made to the sponsor, salary and fringe benefits corresponding to .25 FTE effort must be allocated to the project and documented for cost accounting purposes (i.e., by completing a salary authorization, using a companion cost-share account, and reflecting the work in the effort report).
Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is cost sharing, usually in the form of effort, devoted to the project but not pledged or quantified in the proposal, budget, or award notice.
Example: The principal investigator makes no statement quantifying the amount of effort to be devoted to the work, or states in the proposal that "sufficient time will be devoted to the work to ensure timely completion of results." Since there is no basis in the statement for calculating salary, the cost sharing of effort is uncommitted and need not be accounted.
A consultant is an individual who provides professional advice or services on the basis of a written agreement for a fee. Consultants also include firms that provide professional advice or services. IRS guidelines govern the determination of whether someone must be classified as a consultant or as an employee of the University.
The PI should anticipate the need for a consulting agreement at the time of application and an agreement must be in place before the consultant can begin work.
Every consulting service must be documented by a statement of work that explains the services to be performed, the payment expected, and the period of performance.
The PI is responsible for ensuring that the consultant is adequately qualified to do the work and that the costs of the services are reasonable. The PI is responsible for working with Grant Contracting to secure a fully executed agreement before the consultant begins work.
Marquette University employees cannot be hired as consultants with funds awarded to the University for a sponsored project. Marquette employees performing services outside of their normal duties must still be paid as an employee through Marquette payroll.
Purchases of special purpose equipment allowed by the sponsor are accounted for as direct charges to the project. This section provides guidance regarding the budgeting of equipment in grant proposals.
The University defines capital equipment as any individual item costing $5,000 or more and having a useful life of more than one year. Component parts costing $5,000 or more should be capitalized provided the item has a useful life of more than one year. A component part is any item that cannot stand alone and is an integral part of, or enhancement to, an existing piece of equipment.
PIs must adhere to the sponsor's requirements regarding the acquisition or construction of equipment as well as the university's policies and procedures.
Employee benefits on grants are charged as a direct cost on the basis of a fixed percentage of salary or wages. The University's federally negotiated fringe benefit rate is established annually by the Office of the Comptroller.
The PI specifies the type and quantity of supplies and provides an estimate of their cost. PIs must adhere to the Purchasing Department policies and procedures.
PIs must take care not to engage in business relationships with debarred vendors. A list of debarred vendors is available online.
The Purchasing Department is responsible for the selection of vendors, the negotiation and processing of purchases.
Consult with ORSP to ensure that other direct costs are readily allocable to the project and not already covered under Facilities and Administrative costs.
Communication costs: Costs incurred for telephone services, postage and the like are allowable, subject to sponsor guidelines.
Memberships and subscriptions and professional activity costs: Costs of membership in business, technical, and professional organizations are normally regarded as part of the University's Facilities and Administrative costs, as are the costs of subscriptions to business, professional, and technical periodicals. These costs are therefore normally unallowable as direct costs in federal grants.
Conference registration fees and costs associated with conference travel, meals, and lodging, excluding any portion of the conference fee allocable to membership fees or membership dues.
Salaries of administrative and clerical staff are normally treated as indirect costs. Direct charging of these costs may, however, be appropriate where a major part of the project or activity explicitly budgets for administrative or clerical activity and the individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity.
Proposed salaries and wages must be in accordance with University approved rates. Salary and effort of project personnel should be included in the budget.
Regarding payments to faculty members from government grants and contracts, Marquette University adheres to federal policy as described in Office of Management and Budget Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Grant.
Generally, an employee may not receive more than his or her regular annualized salary by engaging in sponsored projects. Marquette faculty are typically employed for the nine-month academic year. An Individual's employment contract may specify alternative terms, depending on the nature of the appointment. All faculty members will have a contract stating the approved institutional base salary and the term to which that base applies.
Some sponsors, like NSF, limit the amount of salary that can be requested in a grant application. The NSF regulations can be found in the NSF Proposal and Award Policy and Procedure Guide (PAPPG). “….NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year.
Some sponsors, such as NIH, impose salary caps that limit the amount of salary that may be paid to an individual. The University will comply with sponsor-imposed salary caps. This does not mean that the institution will decrease the employee's salary: sponsor-imposed caps only limit the amount of salary that the University can charge to the grant. Consult with ORSP regarding the policies of particular sponsors.
The NIH Salary Cap. The FY 2002 HHS Appropriations Act allows that "none of the funds … shall be used to pay the salary of an individual, through a grant or other extramural mechanism, at a rate in excess of Executive Level I" of the Federal Executive Pay Scale." The NIH policy defines he term "salary" as "direct salary" which is exclusive of fringe benefits and F&A expenses. Direct salary" has the same meaning as the term "institutional base salary." An Individual's institutional base salary is the annual compensation that the applicant organization pays for an Individual's appointment, whether that Individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of duties to the applicant organization.
For current NIH salary limitations, contact ORSP. See also the current NIH Guide notice regarding "Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts" The difference between the salary cap and the actual salary must be paid with non-federal funds. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm
Where the sponsor allows it, the difference may be included in the budget as cost-share. See the section in this manual on Cost Sharing for more information.
For Marquette faculty with a typical nine-month academic year appointment, summer salary for government grants is calculated on the basis of 1/9 of the academic year salary for each summer month devoted to the project. Faculty may charge up to three summer months to a grant.
Salary charges to government grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts are allowable at the approved University base salary rate.
Compensation for part-time faculty shall be charged at a rate not in excess of that regularly paid for the part-time appointment. Substantial changes in work assignments should, as a matter of course, prompt the appropriate dean and the employee to review the job description and base salary.
Consult the Office of the Provost website for current guidance on appointment procedures.
Consult with the department chair or ORSP for guidance regarding typical compensation levels for Graduate Research Assistants. Consult with the Business Manager for your college and/or the Office of the Provost for guidance regarding the forms and procedures required to hire and supervise graduate students. Fringe benefits are charged for Graduate Students. PIs should reference the Tuition Scholarship Credit Policy (https://www.marquette.edu/grad/financial-aid-faculty-staff.php) regarding the inclusion of tuition credits in grant proposal budgets
Consult with the Student Employment Service in the Office of Student Financial Aid for guidance on appropriate compensation for undergraduates and the forms and procedures required to recruit, hire, and supervise them.
Salaries and wages paid by sponsored projects to limited term employees must be consistent with the University's approved compensation levels for comparable positions. The Office of Human Resources has responsibility for the classification and compensation of employees and can provide help and guidance.
Generally, an employee may not receive more than his or her regular annualized salary by engaging in sponsored projects. All employees will have an approved maximum total compensation set by the University, which shall constitute that person's institutional base salary.
The salaries of administrative and clerical staff are normally treated as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs. Direct charging of these costs may, however, be appropriate where a major part of the project or activity explicitly budgets for administrative or clerical activity and the individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity.
Key Personnel. NIH defines key personnel as individuals who contribute in a substantive way to the scientific development or execution of the project, whether or not they receive compensation from the grant supporting that project. NSF uses similar terms to identify the individual(s) responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project. The Principal Investigator and collaborators are included in this category.
Naming an individual as key personnel in the application or proposal can have important implications for the award: Where key personnel are named in a sponsor's award notice, the sponsor's approval is typically required in the event a person named leaves the project or is replaced. All key personnel must disclose their financial interests, using the approved University Disclosure of Financial Interest form, before the proposal may be submitted to the sponsor. Where the project involves Human Subjects, key personnel must also receive appropriate training. Consult with the Office of Research Compliance for guidance.
Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, and Co-Investigator. Typically, a grant-funded project has only one Principal Investigator.
Co-Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators typically devote a specified percentage of time to the participating in the project under a consortium agreement, and are considered key personnel. NIH and NSF limit the number of individuals who may be named as Co-PIs: consult the sponsor's policy for guidance.
When preparing extramural proposals, PIs must follow established University policies and procedures governing the recruiting, appointing/hiring, and paying grant/contract personnel. These guidelines are meant to assure a smooth employment process and a prompt starting of the extramural award.
There are two ways to secure personnel for grant positions: (1) naming the individual(s) in the proposal, and (2) recruiting through regular University procedures.
University and non-University personnel can be named in the extramural application. PIs are encouraged to specifically name project personnel in proposals, where appropriate. These individuals should meet the qualifications of the positions and if they hold foreign national status, they must have the appropriate visa to come into the country and be employed. If the application is approved as submitted, no further posting/advertising is needed for these positions.
Positions for which the person is not named in the proposal are considered vacancies and must be posted or advertised in accordance with the University's equal opportunity/affirmative action policies.
For federal sponsors, there is an important distinction between subcontracts (procurement) and subawards (assistance): Examples of procurements requiring subcontracts include speaker agreements, routine laboratory tests and assays, and facility rental. At the budget preparation stage, it is prudent for the Principal Investigator to secure a bid or letter confirming the estimated cost of the service.
Contracts involving sponsored projects must be endorsed by the Executive Director of ORSP. ORSP involvement in the preparation and review of such contracts ensures that the contract is allowed by the terms of the sponsorship agreement and that the contract incorporates any required sponsor terms and conditions. An example of an assistance arrangement requiring a subaward is collaboration with a coinvestigator at another institution.
If you plan on including a subaward in your budget, consult with your ORSP budget staff at least two weeks prior to submission.
The Principle Investigator (PI) must specify the type, extent, and purpose of anticipated travel in the budget. The PI must adhere to the sponsor's guidelines regarding allowable expenditures for travel as well as the Purchasing Department's policies and procedures. Federal sponsors, for example, require that grantees use only U.S. flag air carriers for international travel, regardless of cost savings available from foreign carriers. Those using "code share" tickets must purchase them through the U.S. flag carrier (having done so, it does not matter which airline finally provides the service). Where U.S. flag carriers are unavailable, the traveler must so certify. PIs must provide their certification to the Purchasing Department and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Some agencies prohibit the use of grant funds for international travel without prior agency approval. Clearly identifying the trip in the budget submitted with the application and approved by the sponsor will normally meet the requirement for prior approval.
Unless otherwise restricted by the sponsor, sponsored projects must adhere to the University's published policies regarding all travel-related expenditures including reimbursement for meals and mileage. Federal agencies require grantees to adhere to the government's established maximum daily limits for meal expenditures and lodging rates, which vary by destination. Contact ORSP for help identifying and applying the correct rate to the budget.
Where personal travel or travel unrelated to the project is combined with project travel, only those portions of the travel expense directly attributable to the project may be charged to the project. Where free lodging or meals are provided, such items may not be submitted for reimbursement.
Project personnel may, however, claim reimbursement for expenses related to project travel such as visas and health certificates. These expenses should be included in the budget and budget justification and documented by receipts.
Sample LOI - Marquette to another institution
A Letter of Intent (LOI) certifies a MU Principal Investigator (PI) intends to collaborate on a project with an individual from another institution. The LOI identifies the name of the pass through entity and prime sponsor, approved subaward budget total, any associated indirect costs, confirms MU complies with Uniform Guidance Principals, and that MU has an active and current conflict of interest policy. This document is certified and signed by ORSP's appointed Authorized Signers.
To start the LOI process, it is the responsibility of the MU PI to connect a MU ORSP pre-award staff member with a research administrator from the lead institution at least two weeks prior to the pass thru entity application deadline. This will facilitate an easier and more clear understanding of what documents are needed from the lead institution.
Typical LOI documents required by a lead institution are: Letter of Intent, statement of work, budget, budget justification, biosketch/CV, and sub-recipient commitment form.
You will work with MU ORSP budget staff to create a subaward budget.
Sample LOI - another institution to Marquette
An incoming LOI is required when a MU Principal Investigator (PI) plans to submit a grant application that includes a subaward to another institution. The PI is required to connect MU ORSP with a research administrator from the collaborating institution. Connecting research administrators from each institution will facilitate communication regarding project details, required documents, and our due date of LOI documents. Please connect your MU ORSP pre-award staff member with a contact at the subaward institution at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.
MU requires a signed Letter of Intent (LOI), statement of work, budget, budget justification, biosketch/CV, and any other sponsor required documents pertinent to the grant application.
ORSP requires final LOI documents 5 days prior to the grant application deadline. This allows ORSP budget staff time to accurately enter the subaward budget and documents into Kuali, as well as enter the subaward budget into any additional platform as the sponsor requires.
Contact Project Planning and Development for further assistance in developing your proposal.