College of Arts & Sciences

FAQ's


Q.  What is the difference between Research Support Services and the Business Office in the College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Resource Center?

A.  While both offices are located in the Deans Faculty Resource Center, they have distinctly different responsibilities. Research Support Services is strictly a pre-award service whereas the Business Office is involved in the entire grant lifecycle---from budget formation to closeout. The Business Office has Grants and Contracts Specialists assigned to each A&S department who answer all financial questions relating to proposal development and eventual administration. Research Support Services, on the other hand, has Proposal Development Specialists assigned to each department that ensure the proposal is in route for approval to submit and ultimately submits the proposal on behalf of the PI and OSU.

Q.  I'm going to submit a proposal.  When should I contact Research Support Services and the Business Office?

A.  As soon as you have identified a funding source and decide you are going to submit a proposal or letter of intent, contact both offices. It is preferred that you contact these offices no less than 10 working days or 2 calendar weeks prior to the submission deadline.

Q.  The deadline to submit my proposal to the funding source is 5:00pm.  Since my Proposal Development Specialist plans to submit it online, can I email it to her by 4:00?

A.  No, it will not be submitted.  Keep in mind that the routing process takes five working days to obtain all of the authorizing signatures to bind OSU to the contents of the proposal.  Proposals cannot be submitted until all official signatures are obtained.Allow at least one week before the external deadline to work with a Proposal Development Specialist on the proposal formatting.

Q.  What is an "official" signature?  I work here, my signature is official, right?

A.  Individual faculty members and department heads cannot sign in any official capacity on behalf of the University.  An official signature is the signature of an individual at OSU who can contractually obligate/bind the University.  Most often, this signature is provided by the President, Provost, or Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer.

Q.  I am submitting an application that doesn't require any official signatures.  Can I go ahead and send it in myself?

A.  No. Always check with your assigned Grants and Contracts Specialist or Proposal Development Specialist before submitting any proposal.In most cases, grants are awarded to the University not to an individual.  If an award will be made to Oklahoma State University, the proposal must be routed through the University and submitted by Research Support Services.

Q.  A friend at another university told me his university always waives indirect costs.  Can OSU waive indirect costs for my proposal?

 A. Chances are your friends university does not always waive indirect costs.  Indirect costs (IDC), also known as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, represent a real cost of doing research, and are not routinely waived.  There are specific circumstances under which F&A can be waived.  Current OSU policy only allows a waiver of F&A for projects with total costs of less than $5,000 or if the granting organization has an established, written policy prohibiting or restricting payment of F&A.

Q.  I've heard if the university shows a big cost share or match, my proposal is more likely to be funded?

A. It is important to remember that most federal agencies award fundsbased on the proposals technical merit, not the size of its budget.  A large cost share on a mediocre proposal will not enhance its chances of being funded.  Because OSU operates under Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), it is prohibited from providing cost share unless it is a requirement of the granting agency.

Q.  How can I find out about upcoming funding opportunities?

A. Perhaps the best way to locate funding opportunities for your research is to ask your peers. And if theyre not talking, chances are high that the federal government already has a program in place that seeks proposals for your area of expertise. Visit www.grants.gov for a searchable database of federal opportunities. Another way to cross-reference federal spending and program compatibility is to search the Catalog of Federal Domestic Aid at www.cfda.gov.

Q.  I need help writing a grant proposal, who can I contact?

A. If you simply need to refresh your writing skills, contact the English Departments Writing Center at (405) 744-6671 or by email at writingcenter@okstate.edu to schedule an appointment. If you need help with organization, clarity, and readability, contact Nani Pybus in the University Center for Proposal Development in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at (405) 744-3660 or email at nani.pybus@okstate.edu. Proposal Development offers proposal development services, advice, and information to stregthen proposal quality.  Also visit University Center for Proposal Development for other proposal writing resource links.

Q. I noticed some agencies require a Conflict of Interest (COI) form. Does this apply to me?

A.  Several federal funding sources require the Principal Investigator to verify that he/she does not have a financial, professional, or personal conflict with accepting federal program money. These simple forms are maintained by each departments administrative assistant and should be renewed by October 1 each year if the PI continues to receive federal project assistance.

Q.  What do I do when I receive an award/decline notice from a funding source?

A. Provide a copy of the correspondence to your departments Grants and Contracts Specialist.

Q. How do I obtain an electronic account/password to begin working on my grant application using NSF Fastlane, Grants.gov, or the National Institute of Health's eRA Commons?

A. Contact your Proposal Development Specialist when you learn that you will need to submit a proposal online. You will also need to contact the OSU Office of University Research Services (OURS) and request a pin/password from Jennifer Stephens at jennifer.stephens11@okstate.edu or by calling (405) 744-9989. Once you have been set up with online access, you will need to allow a Proposal Development Specialist administrative access so that the proposal can ultimately be submitted.

Q.  Do I need to route a white paper, concept paper, or pre-proposal?

A.  If the contents of your paper contain any statements that would bind OSU or that identify any budget/financial information, the answer is yes.  If you are submitting a concept paper to a federal program officer to see if your research matches their program, the answer is no. If this is a pre-proposal for an OSU Limited Submission opportunity, a routing number is only necessary if there is a proposed budget.

Q.  What is a Limited Submission and why are there OSU internal deadlines before the external deadlines?

A. When a funding source limits the number of proposals any one organization can submit, it is referred to as a Limited Submission In which case, OSU puts out an internal call for pre-proposals among colleges and departments to determine which proposal should be allowed to represent OSU. A listing of common Limited Submission opportunities can be found at http://www.research.okstate.edu/limited.htm. The PI who is proposing the project is solely responsible for meeting the OSU internal deadline to submit their pre-proposals. If asked to go forward with a pre-proposal, the PI would then contact his/her assigned Grants and Contracts Specialist.