Pre-Award

With our ever-increasing volume, we have established one point of contact email: preaward-coe@ncsu.edu for all pre-award activities. This email is monitored by the entire Research Office pre-award team, thus offering greater efficiency while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Also, we have below a link to a common requests reference guide that can assist you with who to contact within our office for both pre- and post-award activities.

Contact our office if you need further assistance.

Sincerely,
Laurinda Perez,
Assistant Director

Office: 919.515.7011
Email: preaward-coe@ncsu.edu

COE Research Administration: Common Requests

University's PINS record recommendation

Carefully follow the procedures required by the funding agency and allow adequate time for College and University reviews.

So that we may better align with the University’s PINS record recommendation and satisfy our sponsor’s requirement for an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) signature, a PINS record is required for an AOR signature for all types of external submissions.

  • Proposal Budgets/Justifications: Do Not send proposal budgets and justifications via email for review. Our office will not review any budgets or justifications without the proper PINS record being completed and routed.
  • Proper PINS Records: The PINS records should contain at least the following: budget, justification, cost sharing commitments, waiver/reduction of F&A and if applicable, the request for proposal (RFP). This will allow the faculty member to continue working on the science/technical portion.
  • 8-Day/4-Day policy: (see below Getty Ready: Timelines)
    • 8 business days prior to due date: PINS record initiated by PI or Department Administrator;
    • 4 business days prior to the due date: college receives the final proposal with permission to submit
  • University Operating Schedule: Our office hours are basically 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. We will work with our faculty within reason. If the University is officially closed, so is our office.

It is advantageous to have a PINS record in place because it enables us to better monitor and tracks all activity. This also allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to have a record of those initiatives in which they have expressed an interest and to monitor and track cost share that may have been committed.

It will also be beneficial in the event the PI is invited to submit a full proposal, making the internal paperwork task straightforward since we can simply clone the pre-proposal/white paper PINS record and make updates as needed.

Additionally, the PINS record provides an alert to our office as to the forthcoming activity, which is always welcomed so that we may prioritize and staff accordingly.

Getting Ready

Our Office of Research Administration (ORA) require:

8 business days prior to due date: providing the college notice of your intent to submit a proposal:

  • PINS record initiated by PI or Department Administrator with the minimum requirements: (*required by College Research Office and SPARCS, even when the sponsor does not require it  **when applicable)
    • Solicitation (RFP, BAA, FOA, etc)
    • Budget breakdown by year with a cumulative total*
    • Budget justification (narrative)*
    • Cost Share commitment documentation*
    • Documentation for F&A when it deviates from the federally negotiated rates** (i.e. solicitation, sponsors website, FAQ’s, and sponsor letter on their letterhead with proper authority (president, CEO).
  • PINS is added to college workflow by assigning a college processor
    • workflow is deadline driven
    • identify and prepare for big deadlines
  • Allows sufficient time…
    • for the processor to review and offer feedback
    • for PI/department administrator to make necessary edits
    • to engage other offices when necessary

4 business days prior to the due date: ensuring the college has at least 4 business days to submit a proposal. The Whitehouse has directed federal agencies to employ alternative proposal submission protocols (other than Grants.gov) that will add tremendous complexity to proposal submission and require unprecedented agility in institutional processes.

  • College receives the final proposal with permission to submit
  • Allows sufficient time for:
    • Final review by both processor and Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
    • College’s final feedback and recommendations
    • PI/Department Administrator to make necessary revisions
    • Address errors during submission
      • Grants.gov has a stated processing time of 2 – 4 days with no tolerance if errors exist and cannot be corrected before the deadline.
      • Federal agency servers routinely crash during peak demand times that occur when hundreds of institutions submit proposals at the same time. No tolerance is given for server errors to last-minute proposal submitters by any of the federal sponsors.

The University continues to delegate to the colleges the authority to determine the handling of ‘rush’ proposals: Due to the timelines in which we receive your proposal, unfortunately, we are unable to provide a thorough review prior to the final submission. Further, in these circumstances, the PI/Department takes full financial and programmatic responsibility of the final proposal submitted including any audit/non-compliance issues that may arise from lack of a thorough review, such as unallowable costs, budget shortfalls, mathematical errors, etc.

  • College receiving a PINS record less than the 8 business days and/or
  • Receiving the final proposal less than 4 business days and/or
  • Receiving a completely revised full application or budget
  • RFP and proposal does not get a thorough review, thus vital requirements could be overlooked

The college cannot guarantee a successful or proper submission. We can not move a rush PINS record/proposal ahead of PINS records/proposals that followed the policy.

  • NOTE: PINS record
    • a RUSH proposal should not be marked with a TARGET date
    • Any RUSH with special circumstances must come with instructions to Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance Services (SPARCS) explaining the reason for its rush status
    •  Proposals that contain Agreements or RFPs with terms and conditions should NOT be marked as a RUSH.

We are being told again and again by our sponsors not to wait until the day the proposal is due to submit. Some sponsors are even telling us to submit a month early. As always, we will do our best to accommodate the needs and wants of our faculty and departments, but there comes a point where we cannot take accountability for missing deadlines and making mistakes.

As an added service to our customers, ORA can accept less than a full proposal to begin the processing. In other words, we will begin our review and recommendation upon receipt of a PINS record, budget, budget justification, cost share (documentation required for both College and/or University) and  RFP (i.e., Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), Financial Assistance Opportunity (FAO), Program Solicitation, Funding Opportunity Number (FON), etc.) when available. This allows our PI to continue working on the programmatic section of the proposal while we are processing the financial section.

It is important to note any “red flags” in the PINS record such as the following:

  • Embedded terms and conditions
  • Budgeting requirements of labor hours or labor rates
  • Tasks
  • Milestones
  • Cost share
  • Publication restrictions
  • Export controls
  • Indemnification
  • Intellectual Property (IP) issues or governing law

If the work proposed is research, instruction or other sponsored activities, it would go through PINS:

  • Research: Separately budgeted scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry; to study thoroughly.
  • Instruction: Training or teaching activities (other than research training), including the development and distribution of curriculum in a matriculated setting such as at the University or for K-12 education. It does not include the development of training materials for a project otherwise in the Public Service or Extension domain — that would fall under Other Sponsored Activities.
  • Other Sponsored Activities: Programs and projects that involve the performance of work other than instruction and research. Examples of such programs and projects are health service projects and community service programs.
  • Editable Budget: SPARCS requires an editable budget to be uploaded to all PINS records, except NSF FastLane submissions, at the time of College approval. This will enable the SPARCS negotiator to make minor adjustments to the budget when working with a sponsor, thus eliminating the need for the change to go back to the PI, Department, and College.
  • Statement of Work and Budget: All proposals must contain a separate Statement of Work and budget. Even if the sponsor does not require a budget, the PINS record must include an internal budget for account setup. A budget is an estimated financial representation of the proposal’s Statement of Work. Enough detail should be provided in the budget to demonstrate that the University’s costs are fair and reasonable, allocable and consistent. If the budget does not show enough detail, please provide a separate budget justification.
  • Three-Day Workshop: If you have a three-day workshop or an event for a short duration, it is recommended you make the actual Period of Performance 180 days to allow for both pre-award and closeout.

PINS Proposal FAQ

If your proposal requires that you apply a rate other than our federally negotiated F&A rate and/or capped F&A rates as posted on the NC State SPARCS website, you will be required to provide supporting documentation from the sponsor and upload same into the PINS record. In the absence of such supporting documentation, and if you still wish to reduce the F&A, you will need to communicate directly with Executive Associate Dean Dr. John Gilligan. The practice of waiving and/or reducing F&A is strongly discouraged by both the University and the College.
This question should be checked “YES” when the sponsor has agreed to fund the proposal in advance and is ready for SPARCS to send an agreement. This typically means that the PI has already been in discussions with the sponsor and provided them with some form of a proposal, so a formal proposal to the Sponsor is not needed unless requested.

You will want to include instructions to SPARCS if needed. Provide instructions that include anything specifically needed or expected. For example: include instructions if SPARCS is to send a specific agreement (i.e. SPA, PSWO) or if they are to contact the sponsor first before sending an agreement or the sponsor has requested certain terms (i.e., payment terms, deliverable schedule, etc.). Also provide the detail contact information (full name, title, mailing address and phone number).

This should not be checked when the proposal comes with a fully executed award or an MOA. Instead these should come with instructions to SPARCS that a fully executed award is included and ready for award. The same with STTR/SBIR proposals or other types of proposals with an industry direct sponsor and federal prime sponsor unless our industry sponsor has already been selected for funding.

In cases where we are proposing to entities that may not have a standard type agreement, the University has prepared a Standard Project Agreement (SPA) (.DOC) that can be used for research, development and public service projects. We are at liberty to share this document with our sponsor so that they are aware of the terms and conditions by which the University operates concerning scholarly activities. Should you require a SPA to be included with your proposal, please be sure to complete the Industry Funded Projects information in PINS as this will signal the processor to request the Office of Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance (SPARCS) to include this document.

The AOR may be required in Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) or in certain Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposals.  An AOR agreement establishes in more detail the issues surrounding background and foreground intellectual properties anticipated in a collaboration with a small business. This is prepared as a precursor to a proposal by a Small Business to an STTR program announcement. It ensures that background IP issues are set forth for the duration of the project.

One of the differences with the STTR type initiative is that it addresses specific technology research and more rules regarding IP issues. Hence, in the instance of an STTR application, you would ask yourself:

  • Is there going to be any background IP used in this project, either NC State background IP or the sponsor’s background IP?  If so, the background IP needs to be identified.
  • Will there be any new technology developed from this project?
  • Did we secure the sponsor’s contact information (P-O-C, address, phone number, email)? This will be necessary for SPARCS that draws up the AOR agreement.

Note: AOR agreements are no longer processed by the SPARCS office as a RUSH due to the risk associated with the University. Proper time is needed to research the existence of background IP and seek OTT’s guidance on the background IP.

Cost share should only be provided when mandated by a sponsor and should not exceed the minimum level required. Your first step is to seek internal sources within your department (i.e., faculty release time, etc.) and/or external, third-party sources. If your cost share requirements are over and above what your department and/or external sources can provide, you will need to communicate this request directly with Executive Associate Dean Dr. John Gilligan. In general, we are discouraged from cost sharing to a project when it is not mandated by a sponsor as these are real dollars and as such real funding that is being contributed. Cost share also impacts our F&A rate as it tends to drive the rate downward.

If your budget does not include academic salary, you need to include the minimum 1% in the PINS record. The PI cannot go greater than a 3-month period without properly reflecting their effort on a project, thus, the minimum 1%. Should your proposal be awarded, you can communicate with your department’s contract manager, letting that person know the actual percent of effort you will be expending on the project so it is correctly captured in the TEARS system/Annual Effort Report.

Please also refer to the NC State SPARCS website for further information and policy guidelines on this matter.

  • In the budget justification, clarify that NC State does not currently possess the equipment* being requested at any site/location on campus.
  • In the instance of fabricated equipment, identify if the equipment is currently being manufactured by a company.
  • If yes to (b), then compare the amount you are requesting from the sponsor for NC State to fabricate the equipment vs. the manufacturer’s purchase price or lease of the same equipment.
  • For fabricated equipment, indicate the component listing and whether these price estimates are based upon catalog prices, vendor quotes or past experience purchasing similar items.
  • Indicate if the equipment will be fully dedicated to the research project or if it will be prorated.
  • State in your budget justification that NC State requests approval to retain title to the fabricated/purchased equipment (in this instance, we do not charge F&A on the fabricated/purchased equipment).
  • If a grant includes equipment and/or if we are charging equipment to a grant, you will want to be sure at the time of award to secure a CAMS number for that equipment.
  • If we initially proposed an equipment grant and later purchased items that would be considered supplies, you will need to adjust the F&A fee accordingly.

This information is not meant to stand alone as it is important to be familiar with and incorporate University, State, Federal and Sponsor guidelines when it concerns equipment purchases or fabrication.

Although this fee may be acceptable by a sponsor, it is viewed as an unlike circumstance by the University. Since this fee is not considered allowable as a direct charge, it can be identified in a proposal; however, these costs must be treated as an unlike circumstance and meet the criteria of the College/University by being fully defensible in the event of an audit. The justification will need to be elaborate and quantifiable explaining why these costs are not part of the normal infrastructure costs (similar to how we handle administrative/secretarial costs).

Additionally, the current use rate that is provided by Eric Sills, OTT, i.e., $700/$750 for 1 TB of storage centrally maintained by NC State University, has expired. Contracts and Grants is in contact with Sills to develop a current rate that will be acceptable by the University and meet federal guidelines.

Therefore, if you elect to include these fees in your proposal, not only will you need to defend the costs to the extent that it is considered an unlike circumstance, but also need to state in the justification that these fees are contingent upon the University developing an acceptable user rate that meets federal guidelines.

NCSU Libraries: Data Management Planning for Researchers at NC State

  • Subcontract: Completes tasks which enhance the scientific research goals and outcomes of the project. Provides analysis and offers suggestions regarding the research itself. The organization will contribute work and/or deliverables with little direct guidance from NC State University. The subcontractor is subject to compliance requirements of the program.
  • Consultant: The task is to be accomplished through the efforts of one person (who is an established consultant) or by an established consulting firm. The task is singular in nature and is to be accomplished over a relatively short period of time. Generally, who is an individual who is not using any institutional or organizational facilities and is acting as a direct agent.
  • Vendor: Performs services only (does not provide analysis or discretionary judgment) such as lab testing, report printing, website design, etc., that are part of regular business operations and are available to many different purchasers or customers.

Internal Forms, Templates and Agreements

In the event that the University is unable to fully negotiate and execute this proposal and make an official award through SPARCS, the Department will retain sole responsibility for all costs incurred under this Pre-Award project set-up. Additionally, should the official project begin date create unallowable costs, the previously designated unit will also be responsible for payment of these costs from other appropriate funding sources.

As a reminder, when one requests a Pre-Award Contract and Grant account, in addition to the financial risks, there may be risks associated with export controls identified within the sponsor’s terms and conditions and made available to us at the time of award notification. For example, if the sponsor prohibits us from employing the services of a foreign national on a research project, we may not be aware of such restrictions until after the award is received and the terms and conditions are reviewed/approved by the University. Therefore, it is recommended that we consider these potential risks, in addition to the financial risk, and proceed with caution at the time the Pre-Award Contract and Grant account is established.

Pre-Award Form (PDF)

The MOA should be used with Industry Partners as an enticement to do business with the University and to establish an ongoing relationship in which any follow-on-agreements would carry our full federally negotiated Facilities and Administrative (F&A) rate.

MOA (PDF)

The attached form must be completed and included in PINS for core and enhancement center projects, as well as, center subcontractors.

To help ensure that NC State faculty understand their responsibilities as recipients of industrial research funding, a new PI Acknowledgement Form (approved by OGC and SPARCS, and is now a required component of PINS submissions) has been prepared by Office of Technology Commercialization and New Ventures (OTCNV) that is tailored to the specific needs of membership Centers and Institutes as well as industrial consortia.

  • Please insert the name of your unit in all highlighted areas of the Form and save it as a template for use with projects funded by your Center, Institute or consortium.
  • The Form should be included with your Center/Institute/consortium RFP on the project calls for funding by industry membership dues (internal and external).
  • The Acknowledgement Form must be signed by the PI of each Core project at NC State approved for funding by your membership IAB, and uploaded to PINS with each proposal.
  • Signed Form is required as a component of the PINS record for each Enhancement project funded by an industry member of your Center, Institute or consortium.
  • The Form must be signed by the PI of each external project selected for funding and uploaded with each PMR request for provision of an external sub-award.

This requirement is applicable to all new and supplemental proposals (as described above) with the start date on or after July 1, 2018.

COEORA PI Acknowledgement Form for Program-Funded Project_2018_FINAL

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

eRA Commons ID/Password

Faculty who wish to apply for NIH funding must have a current/valid User ID. Please contact Laurinda Perez at laurinda_perez@ncsu.edu with a cc to Pat Hayes at phayes@ncsu.edu with any eRA Commons requests. Please be sure and let us know of any prior NIH support. We would need the IC and the serial number of said support.

Avoiding Common Errors

Going through the final checks will help you avoid errors and successfully submit your application! For additional help avoiding common errors check out our Annotated Forms with field-by-field tips on completing electronic grant application forms.

Proposal Preparation and Submission in Research.gov to Begin in April 2018

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov. The initial release of this new Research.gov capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018.

OMB Publishes Free Online Grants Management Training

Support for Legacy PDF Application Package Ends March 31, 2018

Grants.gov

Research Development Office
NSF
Grants.gov
Pivot
infoEd Global

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is making major changes to the way the research community registers for NSF accounts and maintains account and user profile information in FastLane and Research.gov.

Effective March 26, 2018, NSF is introducing a new centralized and streamlined account registration process in Research.gov for the research community that will provide each new user with a single profile and unique identifier (i.e., NSF ID) for signing in to FastLane and Research.gov for proposal and award activities.

New Functionality

The new account management functionality will:

  • Allow users to create and self-manage accounts, including personal information and role requests;
  • Eliminate the need for organizational Administrators to create accounts and maintain profile information for their users, allowing Administrators to focus on managing roles for their organizations through a dashboard with functions to approve, disapprove, assign, and remove roles; and
  • Replace the existing FastLane and Research.gov account management functions.

Existing NSF Accounts

Existing NSF account holders, including Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Service (ASWS) users, will be migrated to the new account management system through a simple, one-time operation when initially signing in to FastLane or Research.gov after the new functionality is released. Account holders will be required to verify information to transfer it to the new system. Each user will have one NSF ID per the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (NSF 18-1), Chapter I.G.4.

Helpful Links

  • Users with existing NSF accounts can access the NSF ID Lookup page for their NSF ID. Forgotten passwords for established NSF accounts may be retrieved here.
  • New users will be able to register directly with NSF through Research.gov on or after March 26, 2018, via this link: https://www.research.gov/accountmgmt/#/registration . Note that this link will not work until March 26, 2018.

Notes About Grants.gov and ASWS

  • Beginning on March 26, 2018, the Principal Investigator (PI), all co-PIs, and the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) listed on a Grants.gov proposal must all be registered with NSF prior to proposal submission. NSF IDs for the PI, all co-PIs, and the AOR listed will need to be included in the proposal submission.
  • When a proposal is submitted to NSF on or after March 26, 2018, through Grants.gov and ASWS, the NSF system will cross-check the DUNS number and organization name with NSF records.
    • If there is no match to the DUNS number and/or organization name, the proposal will be rejected and the PI/AOR listed on the proposal submission will receive an email notifying that the proposal submission was not accepted by NSF.
    • Currently, for proposals submitted via Grants.gov or ASWS, the NSF system registers organizations and will allow proposal submission in cases where there is a mismatch of the DUNS number and/or organization name with NSF records; however, this will no longer be possible effective March 26, 2018.

New NSF Registration Requirements for Organizations

  • Organizations new to NSF will also register via the account management system in Research.gov.
  • New organizations will be able to register directly with NSF through Research.gov on or after March 26, 2018, via this link: https://www.research.gov/accountmgmt/#/registration . Note that this link will not work until March 26, 2018.
  • Beginning on March 26, 2018, before a new organization can register with NSF, it must first be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM; https://www.sam.gov) and have a data universal numbering system (DUNS) number.
  • Organizations not already registered with NSF should be aware that completion of the SAM registration process could take up to two weeks.
  • Note that the vast majority of universities are already registered with NSF via FastLane.

Planned Releases

The new centralized account management functionality is being released first to the Administrator, PI, AOR, Sponsored Project Officer (SPO), Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Coordinating Official and Financial Official, and Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) groups. NSF plans to eventually expand the new functionality in the future to additional groups including proposal reviewers, GRFP applicants, and NSF staff.

Training Resources

NSF is currently finalizing new account management training resources such as job aids, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and instructional videos. These materials will soon be available on an “About Account Management” page accessible on the Research.gov homepage.

For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 orrgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

The National Science Foundation