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Proposal Preparation

College resources for pre-award proposal preparation are provided here. Contact our office if you need further assistance. Additional information is available from the Office of Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compiance (SPARCS), with important selected links provided in the right column of this page.

Policy on Proposal Processing Carefully follow the procedures required by the funding agency and allow adequate time for college and university review.  The College Research Office (CRO) requires four (4) business days to process proposals and highly recommends seven (7) business days for proposals being submitted through

Since a Research Associate does not meet the eligibility criteria to serve as PI/Co-PI on a proposal application and since this category of employee is not listed among the usual exceptions per the University's guidelines, it is recommended an email be prepared and sent to Dr. John Gilligan, Special Advisor to the Dean of Engineering for Graduate Programs & Research (carbon copy both Pat Hayes and Laurinda Perez) requesting an exception to the standard policy. The justification should explain as to why making this exception would be to the best interest of the College/Department as well as best serving the proposed activity. If Dr. Gilligan agrees with making the exception he would route the request to our Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research for final approval.

Grant or Contract?

Testing vs Research: Assuming the primary focus of this project is testing, and has a defined testing protocol furnished by the company. In order for a project to be considered for an ATA, the sponsor must provide BOTH the materials to be studied AND the testing protocol to be followed. All we do is follow the directions, turn the dials, and give the printouts to the sponsor. If the project requires the university to provide any intellectual or creative input regarding the how and/or why, the project is research.

Testing Services: Testing Services Agreements (TSA) and Fabrication Services Agreements (FSA) are contracts that offer external firms and agencies the opportunity to capitalize on the occasional unused capacity of specialized services and facilities of the University. These services and facilities include but are not limited to panels of trained subject-area experts, machine shops, specialized scientific and analytic instrumentation. These services are driven by protocols and specifications normally established by external firms and contain no experimental design.

If the work is not considered a basic or applied research activity then it would not fall within the PINS category that includes F&A costs, budget, statement of work, budget justification, etc. You may need to consult further with the Dean's Office, Dr. John Gilligan, as it concerns the type of work that is to be conducted and where it best fits within the University environment.

NIH: eRA Commons ID/Password: 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. Faculty who wish to apply for this funding with NIH must have a current/valid User ID. Please contact Laurinda Perez with a CC to Pat Hayes with any eRA Commons requests. Please be sure and let us know of any prior NIH support. We would need the IC and Serial number of said support. Common errors at it concerns NIH applications via

Centers and Institutes: SPARCS Guidelines + Management

Internal Form / Budget Template:

  • Pre-Award Request form* In the event that the University is unable to fully negotiate and execute this proposal and make an official award through Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance Services (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 for 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 for us to employ 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.

  • Percent of Time & Effort to Person Months - Interactive Conversion Table (Excel spreadsheet)

    Chart: 3 & 9 Month Appointment: Calculating Person Months

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Macro Driven Excel Budget Template
  • SPARCS NCSU Budget Templates: Budget and Budget Justification