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Sponsored Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions frequently asked by researchers and administrators about Sponsored Programs.


Budget Development



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1. Where do I go to search for funding opportunities for my research?

Pivot is no longer in use, please use GrantForward. Information will soon be available here.

The Division of Research also provides other sources for funding opportunities, such as through the Research Development office. Research Development offers FAU investigators assistance in finding research funding, building cross-disciplinary university-wide teams and in writing and strengthening grant proposals. Click here for details.

2. Who is eligible to be a principal investigator (PI) or co-principal investigator (Co-PI) on a project?

Under the FAU PI eligibility policy ( Policy No. 10.2.8 ), any individual who holds the following positions can serve as PI or Co-PI on a sponsored award:
  • Tenure track faculty (full, associate and assistant professors)
  • Non-tenure track research faculty (full, associate and assistant research professors)
  • Directors or Executive Directors within a unit at FAU
  • Librarians holding faculty status equivalent to or greater than assistant professor
  • Vice Presidents of service areas
  • Principals, Assistant Principals, and Directors for A.D Henderson University School and FAU High School
  • Faculty Emeritus (may serve as PI when an individual from the “Eligible PI Positions List” also serves as Co-PI)
Exceptions to the policy are rare, but may be granted at the discretion of the Vice President for Research or Assistant Vice President for Research in the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Research Integrity Office, with approval of the college dean or unit director.

3. When is my proposal due to Sponsored Programs?

All proposals must be completed and routed electronically via FAU’s research administration system no later than five (5) business days before the established sponsor’s deadline. In order for the proposal to be considered on-time, the proposal must be complete, in final form, and approved by the Chair and/or Dean’s Office.

When submitting a proposal to OSP, the following documents must be included:
  • All sponsor required supporting documentation
  • Detailed budget and budget justification
  • Applicable FAU documents – (FCOI, Cost-Share)
  • If subrecipient is involved, include:
    • Letter of intent on letterhead and signed by authorized institutional official
    • Detailed budget and budget justification
    • Statement of work
    • F&A Rate Agreement
  • If consultant is involved, include:
    • Letter of intent signed by the consultant, clearly stating the hourly rate, number of hours, and total costs
    • Statement of work
  • Proposal Narrative, Project Summary or Abstract, Statement of Work, Specific Aims, Research Strategy and Bibliography (a draft of these documents are acceptable when initially submitted)

To allow more time for researchers to edit and enhance the body of the proposal, the following documents may be submitted to the OSP in draft form with the agreement that the final documents are received by the OSP forty-eight (48) hours prior to the sponsor/submission deadline date:
  • Proposal Narrative
  • Project Summary or Abstract
  • Statement of Work
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy
  • Bibliography

If submitting draft documents to the OSP, documents must be marked as “Draft” otherwise they will be treated as the final document. Final proposal documents must be submitted via email to OSP no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the sponsor/submission deadline date. This will ensure that reasonable efforts will be made towards a successful submission, in particular when submitting through a sponsor’s electronic submission system. (Policy No. 10.2.10)

4. Does my proposal need to be completely finished before it is submitted to Sponsored Programs?

All documents should be in final form. The only document that can be a draft at time of submission to Sponsored Programs is the proposal narrative (indicate “draft” on the document). The final proposal narrative should be submitted via email to Sponsored Programs 48 hours prior to the sponsor’s deadline date. This will ensure a smooth submission in particular when submitting through Grants.gov.

5. Why must a research proposal be reviewed and approved by Sponsored Programs before submission?

FAU requires that proposals be reviewed and approved by an authorized official prior to submission to a sponsor in order to ensure that the faculty and university are eligible and can comply with the sponsor’s requirements, FAU policies, and applicable state, federal or local rules and regulations. The authorized official approving the proposal certifies and assures that FAU will comply with the required regulations. Failure to comply can result in penalties to FAU and withdrawal or termination of funding. Since proposals often commit FAU resources, faculty time, office/lab space, etc., proposals also must be reviewed and approved by the chair and dean of the appropriate college prior to submission.

6. Does the Office of Sponsored Programs need to review a pre-proposal, white paper, or letter of intent (LOI) before submission to a sponsor?

Yes. The Office of Sponsored Programs reviews pre-proposals, white papers, and letters of intent to sponsors prior to submission even when budget information is not required at that time. The information may not necessarily need to be entered into grantsERA during this time if no budget details are being submitted, but should be e-mailed to the college dean and appropriate proposal and contract administrator (PCA) in Sponsored Programs for review.

Sponsors frequently require that FAU faculty provide letters of intent, statements of interest (SOI), and preliminary proposals prior to submission of a final proposal. Such documents vary greatly in their content and use by sponsors. Some may be limited to a brief description of the project to allow the sponsor to assess whether the area of work meets their needs. Other preliminary proposals, letters and statements may be close to a complete proposal with some combination of a detailed scope of work, budget, justification, a commitment to provide matching funds, agreement to terms and conditions, sign-off by the Sponsored Programs institutional official and other requirements normally part of a final proposal. Because of this variability, all funding announcements for preliminary proposals, letters and statements must be submitted to the assigned Sponsored Programs proposal and contract administrator for review. The administrator will review and determine whether the letter, statement or preliminary proposal may be expedited or requires review and approval through FAU’s grantsERA system.

Pre-proposals, white papers, LOIs that do not include budgetary information, cost-share commitments, subrecipients or consultants, do not need to be entered into grantsERA. Rather, e-mail the document to the college dean and appropriate Sponsored Programs administrator for review and tracking. Pre-proposals, white papers, LOIs that include budget information and/or cost-share commitments are treated the same as a full proposal. The proposal information should be entered into grantsERA and routed for review by the chair, dean, and Sponsored Programs.

Pre-proposals, white papers, LOIs that include a subrecipient or consultant but no budgetary information will need at a minimum an e-mail from the subrecipient and/or consultant outlining their commitment to the project before submitting to Sponsored Programs for review.

7. Should students or post-docs applying for a research fellowship or other student assistance grant register and submit through grantsERA?

If the fellowship or student assistance funds will be paid to FAU rather than directly to the student, the student or post-doc may need to register and submit all documents through grantsERA. Often on fellowships, a faculty member will also be named and will serve as the mentor on the project. The mentor would be named in the proposal; however, the student or post-doc would initiate the grantsERA file and be named as PI. The proposal title entered into grantsERA should include the student’s name. Students shall adhere to the standard FAU policy and procedure on proposal submission.

8. Who is authorized by FAU to sign proposals, contracts/agreements?

Only authorized officials are permitted to sign proposals and awards for research projects. Signature authority is given by the president of the university to certain individuals to bind FAU for research grants and contracts. Contact the Sponsored Programs Office for information on the authorized official.

9. Where can I find the FAU institutional information required by most sponsors?

The Office of Sponsored Programs has an Administrative Information page on its website that includes the most commonly requested information for proposal applications, including the authorized official contact information, check payment addresses, fringe benefit and indirect cost rates, DUNS numbers, etc. Click here for details.

10. Can I still submit a proposal if the sponsor does not allow or limits the indirect costs?

It is the general policy of FAU to recover full costs for all sponsored projects, (i.e. both direct and facilities and administrative [F&A] costs, which are also referred to as indirect or overhead costs). FAU’s F&A rates are negotiated and approved by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s important to collect full F&A costs, especially from the federal government and private sponsors, to offset the real costs of conducting sponsored projects.

However, FAU recognizes that some sponsors provide F&A rates that are less than FAU’s full rates. Sponsors that have published rates that are less than FAU’s full rates are generally accepted. When submitting a proposal from sponsors with F&A rates that are less than FAU’s established rates, a copy of the sponsor’s F&A policy must be attached to the proposal.

In rare circumstances, the PI may request a waiver for the reduction in the F&A rate allowed by the sponsor. Only the Vice President for Research can authorize a reduction in the F&A rate. PIs are not authorized to negotiate a reduction or waiver of indirect costs with the sponsor without prior approval. If negotiations are anticipated, the investigator should contact Sponsored Programs well in advance of developing the budget and submitting the proposal to initiate an F&A waiver form. Click here for details.

11. What should I do if the sponsor limits the number of proposals allowed per institution?

When the sponsor limits the number of proposals per institution, the Division of Research will conduct an internal (or limited submission) competition to determine who should submit on FAU’s behalf. Please contact the Research Development office when considering applying for a limited submission proposal.

12. What is the difference between a subrecipient and a consultant?


  • Subrecipient is an entity and has a tax identification number.
  • A PI is identified for the subrecipient and has responsibility for programmatic decision-making (i.e., conduct, direction and reporting of research).
  • A letter of intent is provided and signed by subrecipient’ institutional/authorized official.
  • A scope of work is provided.
  • A budget and budget justification are provided. Indirect cost requested must be based on a federally negotiated rate or a deminimus rate of 10%.
  • The subrecipient uses the funds to carry out a program within the organization as compared to providing goods or services for a program.
  • Subrecipient is responsible for adhering to applicable program compliance requirements (e.g., Uniform Guidance, agency regulations).
  • Subrecipient’s PI may be a co-author on publications or may seek patent protection for inventions.
  • The prime institution or the organization receiving the award from the sponsor has a limit on the indirect cost allowed on subrecipient. The subrecipient may provide cost sharing or matching funds. A subaward agreement is executed between the subrecipient and the prime institution.


  • Consultants are typically individuals and use a social security number unless they are a consulting firm or other consulting entity.
  • They do not meet the requirements for subrecipient or vendor.
  • They’re not classified as an employee.
  • An individual who is clearly a bona fide consultant (i.e., expert advisor) who pursues this line of business for him/herself.
  • Is paid at a daily or hourly fixed rate.
  • Considered a “work for hire” and thus all intellectual property and copyrightable information is assigned to Florida Atlantic University.
  • Federal funds cannot be used to pay for federal consultants.
Click here for details (Page 2).

13. What documentation is needed when a subrecipient is included on a proposal?

  • A letter of intent or National Institutes of Health form called PHS398 signed by the authorizing official
  • Scope of work
  • Detailed budget and budget justification
  • Copy of the institution’s F&A rate agreement
  • Any other documentation for Subrecipients as specified by the sponsor in the solicitation, such as a separate Form 424A budget.

14. What documentation is needed when a consultant is included on a research proposal?

  • Letter of commitment signed by the consultant that includes the hourly rate and estimated numbers of hours
  • Copy of their resume

15. Do I need Institutional Research Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval prior to submitting a proposal which includes human subjects or animals?

In most cases, no. Sponsors typically allow proposals to be submitted while the IRB or IACUC approval is pending. When proposals submitted are pending, the proposal or application should be checked as pending on the routing form. If approval has already been received, the protocol number and approval date should be entered in grantsERA on both the proposal and routing sheet.

16. What is cost sharing or matching? How do I document cost share/match in a proposal?

Cost share is further classified as either mandatory or voluntary. Mandatory cost share is required by the sponsor as a condition of the award, as stated in the solicitation, program announcement or request for proposal. Failure to include mandatory cost share in a proposal makes the application ineligible for an award. The level of cost share required may be explicitly stated in the request for proposal as a matching contribution of a specific amount, a minimum percentage of the total allowable costs or a maximum sponsor percentage of participation in such costs. For example, “the applicant must provide an amount equal to the sponsor’s funds – a 50 percent or 1:1 match.” Or, “the applicant must provide 20 percent of total project costs; the sponsor will provide funds not to exceed 80 percent of the total project costs.”

Documentation for cost share in a proposal should include:
  • A copy of the sponsor’s documentation providing details of the required cost share (usually a section or page from the RFP or proposal instructions).
  • Completed Cost-Share form indicating FAU’s portion of cost share to the project. List the cost-share expenses along with the FAU TAG number that will fund the cost share commitment. Form must be signed by the PI, department chair and college dean prior to submission to Sponsored Programs.
  • Third party cost share (outside entities) requires a letter of commitment from the authorized representative of the entity endorsing and quantifying the contribution.
  • Tuition waiver form signed by the Graduate College, if tuition is being offered in a proposal as cost share.
  • Waiver of Indirect Costs on the Sponsored Programs form (if a portion of allowable indirect costs are being requested as part of the cost share – this happens rarely).

Voluntary cost share is funding of a sponsored project that is not required by the sponsor. The FAU policy is to include only mandatory cost sharing in proposals submitted to sponsors. If cost sharing is not required for the completion of the project, it should not be included in the proposal. Click here for details.

17. If there is a conflict of interest to disclose on a proposal, can I still submit the proposal?

Yes, PIs may still submit a proposal despite having a conflict of interest disclosure. However, all conflict of interest disclosures must be resolved and approved by FAU’s Conflict of Interest Committee before an account can be established at the award stage. Click here for details.

18. How do I register with National Institutes of Health to obtain an eRA Commons or National Science Foundation Fastlane ID number?

For NIH eRA Commons registration, investigators must contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and provide the Proposal and Contract Administrator his or her first and last name, institution email address and a preferred user ID. If a user ID is not provided, the standard user ID issued will contain the investigator’s first portion of their e-mail address if available. Once registered, the investigator will receive an email guiding him/her through the log-in process, including establishing a unique password.

For NSF registration, investigators may self-register through Research.gov. Once registered, an e-mail will be sent from Research.gov to the Office of Sponsored Programs for acceptance of your registration. Register here.

Budget Development

1. What are direct costs?

Direct costs are expenses that can be directly associated with a particular sponsored project or activity. These include, but are not limited to, salaries, benefits, other personnel services, other contractual services, travel, supplies, materials and equipment.

2. What are indirect costs or facilities and administrative (F&A) costs?

Indirect costs, also known as overhead and officially known as Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A) are costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, instructional activity or any other institutional activity. They are real costs incurred by the institution that cannot be billed to individual projects. Examples of indirect costs include, but are not limited to, utilities to heat, cool and illuminate laboratories, library resources, central purchasing and payroll services, etc. A federally negotiated indirect cost (F&A) rate has been established to cover these expenditures. In addition, OMB Circular A-21 requires that certain costs be normally treated as indirect cost which means that they cannot be charged to a federally sponsored project. These costs include administrative and secretarial salaries, postage, office supplies, local telephone costs, memberships and subscriptions, general purpose equipment, and general purpose software.

3. When using our federally negotiated F&A rate, what expenses are excluded from the Modified Total Direct Cost calculation?

Equipment, alterations, renovations, patient care expense, tuition, space rental, scholarships, fellowships, stipends and the portion of subcontracts over $25,000.

4. With which agency does FAU negotiate its federal F&A rate?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Division of Cost Allocation
330 Independence Avenue, SW Cohen Building, Room 10-67
Washington, DC 20201

This is the agency with which FAU negotiates its indirect costs rates.

5. What are fringe benefits rates and how much should I include?

The fringe benefit rate is a separate rate charged on employee wages based on employment classification (faculty, SP, AMP, OPS). Scroll down about a third of way down on this page to find the rates. Click here for details.

6. What is time and effort and who should devote effort?

Effort the amount of time spent on any institutional activity expressed as a percentage of the total work-related activities of the employee. Total effort for an employee must equal 100 percent and is not based on a traditional 40-hour work week. Employees who are working on a sponsored activity should devote effort. Click here for details.

7. Is there a minimum amount of effort that must be devoted to the project?

FAU requires a minimum commitment of one percent for the PI or key personnel, during the period in which the effort will be expended. This minimum effort does not apply to the following: Equipment and instrumentation grants Doctoral dissertation grants or other student augmentation grants Faculty mentors (also known as preceptors or program faculty) on institutional training grants. Faculty mentor’s effort will be assigned to their specific research projects on which the trainees are involved Limited purpose awards characterized as Other Sponsored Activities like travel grants or conference support. Click here for details.

8. How can I charge my effort if the sponsor does not allow salaries?

When the PI’s or key personnel’s effort is committed in a proposal and the related salary is not directly charged to the sponsored project, then the effort committed must be treated and documented as cost share. An Institutional Contribution Statement (ICS) form will need to be included with the proposal in grantsERA.

9. How do I convert percent effort to calendar/person months?

These conversion charts were designed to assist departments when converting effort in the form of a percentage to calendar/person months, based on the term of appointment. These charts can be especially useful during the proposal process to determine effort commitments. Please choose from the twelve or nine month appointment charts as appropriate.

Twelve Month Appointments (Full Time)
Percent Effort to Calendar Months
Twelve Month Appointments (Full Time)
Nine Month Appointments (Full Time)
Percent Effort to Calendar Months
Nine Month Appointments (Full Time)
Conversion of percentage of effort to person months is straight-forward. To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your effort associated with the project times the number of months of your appointment. The percent effort conversion can be calculated using the Time & Effort Calculator.

10. When a budget includes graduate student salaries, why should I also include tuition?

Graduate students who are employed as graduate research assistants, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research associates, graduate teaching associates, or graduate student workers are eligible to receive tuition benefits up to 27 credit hours in a given academic year provided they meet the requirements of the Tuition Benefits Policy for Graduate Students. Because of their eligibility, budgets for sponsored projects should include tuition when graduate students are directly working on a sponsored project. Please refer to the following link for eligibility and policy guidelines.


1. What is grantsERA?

GrantsERA is FAU’s electronic system for the review, approval, and administration of all federal and non-federal proposal submissions. It is a web-based system that assists faculty with proposal development, routing and approvals, pre- and post-award tracking, and reporting. It is mandatory for principal investigators to submit both federal and non-federal proposal applications through the grantsERA system. Click here for details.

2. Who can register in grantsERA?

Individuals who meet FAU’s PI eligibility requirements and plan to submit proposals to outside sponsors must register for grantsERA access. Grant administrators within each college may also register for access to grantsERA. All registration requests are verified through the appropriate dean’s office before they are processed. Click here for details.

3. Who reviews and approves the proposal in grantsERA?

Proposal files should be reviewed and approved at each grantsERA status. PIs should review and approve their proposal in the “InProgress” status before sending it to the Completed status. Once in the Completed status, administrative assistants should obtain PI approval that the proposal file is correct and complete before sending it to the “InRouting” status for electronic signatures within the college. “InRouting” proposal files are reviewed by a predetermined approval queue for each college. Approvers in the queue are referred to as authorizing officials. Typically, the approval queue includes the PI’s department chairperson and college dean. However, the dean’s office may add additional authorizing officials to the queue for the college. After authorizing officials have electronically signed off on the proposal file, research administrators in the Sponsored Programs Office conduct the final review of the proposal before the institutional official approves the file for submission to the sponsor. Click here for details.

4. Why should I complete the profile information in grantsERA prior to submitting proposals?

It is beneficial to complete the PI profile before initiating a proposal in grantsERA. PI information such as professorial rank, email, and other information is pulled directly from the profile to auto-populate fields in various forms throughout the proposal file. Incomplete PI profiles may result in error messages from grantsERA It is suggested that the PI profile information be kept current to avoid system errors. Required fields in the PI profile are highlighted in the grantsERA registration instructions. Click here for details.

5. Are there any trainings or instructions available?

Classroom and online training sessions are available for grantsERA. Individual "grantsERA training sessions" may be scheduled on an as-needed basis. Step-by-step instructions for proposal submissions and approvals are available on the grantsERA webpage. Click here for details.

6. What should I do if I can’t find my sponsor on the list?

It is important to choose the correct sponsor-sponsor type combination when initiating a proposal in grantsERA. Choosing the incorrect sponsor-sponsor type combination when initiating a proposal may result in having to restart the proposal in grantsERA. If the sponsor-sponsor type combination is not in the sponsor list, or if you are unsure of the combination to choose, contact the grantsERA administrator or the PCA for your college.

7. How do I submit a proposal electronically in grantsERA?

PIs and/or their designated administrative assistants are able to initiate proposals in grantsERA. Instructions for submitting a proposal in grantsERA are located on the grantsERA webpage. Click here for details.

8. What do I do if I receive an error message in grantsERA?

GrantsERA validates a proposal as it routes through the system from the In Progress status through Submitted status. Errors may include items such as missing information, incorrect number formats and incorrect file size. Identified errors and their locations are displayed in a list that can be printed out for correction by the PI and/or the designated administrative assistant. Validation errors at the In Progress status and Completed status must be corrected before the file can be submitted for review and approval by the college and the Office of Sponsored Programs. If you need assistance to make corrections in grantsERA, contact the grantsERA administrator or the PCA for your college. For system errors, contact the grantsERA administrator immediately.

9. How do I complete a multi-year budget in grantsERA?

The budget section in grantsERA is divided into four pages. The first three pages are for budget entries and the fourth page is an auto-generated cumulative budget page. A drop down menu indicating the budget period displayed on the screen is located at the top of each budget page.

Budget Period

Two options are available for entering a multi-year budget in grantsERA. You may enter a new budget for each budget period or you may use the Copy Data function to copy budget period data from one budget period to the next.

Option 1 - Re-enter a complete budget for each budget year
After entering the complete first year’s budget, you may change the budget period in the drop- down menu to No. 2 and begin budget entries for that year on each of the three budget pages. Repeat to enter subsequent budget periods.

Option 2 – Use the Copy Data function
After entering the complete first year’s budget, click the Copy Data link next to the budget period drop-down menu. You will be prompted to copy Budget Period Data from Period 1 to Period 2. Repeat to copy subsequent budget periods. When using the Copy Data function, it is important to make sure you make the necessary budget adjustments in each budget period. Click here for details

10. Definition of the types of research classification.

Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.

Applied research is defined as systematic study to expand previous knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.

Development is defined as systematic applications of knowledge or understanding directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific requirements.

11. What documents must be uploaded into grantsERA?

All proposal documents should be uploaded into the pre-award section of grantsERA within the attachments folder. The following documents should be included:

Required for all proposal submissions:
  • Scope of work
  • Detail Budget
  • Budget justification
  • Conflict of interest form
As needed, if appropriate:
  • Institutional contribution statement
  • IRB, IACUC and/or EH&S protocols/approvals, etc.
For subawards and consultants:
  • Letter of Intent
  • Scope of work
  • Budget
  • Budget justification


1. Where can I find my award information?

Workday is FAU’s financial accounting system. Once an Award Number, SmartTag number, and Grant (GT) Number have been established for an award, a Workday notification will be generated for the PI, Business Manager, Financial Manager, Sponsored Programs, and Research Analyst. These notifications can be viewed directly from Workday or you can setup your Workday account to send “real-time” emails when Workday notifications or inbox items are received. Shortly thereafter, the award document and post-award worksheet will be uploaded into grantsERA under the post-award tab where both the PI and department administrator can view.

2. My award is here – but IRB/IACUC/EH&S have not been approved yet. What should I do?

FAU requires that all sponsored research involving human or animal subjects have an IRB or IACUC approval on file prior to a grant account being initiated. The PI should contact the relevant compliance office for guidance on obtaining approval. Once compliance has been achieved, the Office of Sponsored Programs can prepare the post-award paperwork and forward it to research accounting to setup the account. Click here for details.

3. What is the CITI Conflict of Interest Training requirement and the SFI form? How do they affect my award?

CITI Training
Several federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require mandatory Conflict of Interest (COI) training. FAU has implemented this training for all researchers. FAU uses the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Conflict of Interest training module to fulfill this mandatory requirement. Click here for details.

The Division of Research requests researchers complete training within 30 days of a proposal submission. Effective January 1, 2016, account set up for all funded awards, regardless of funding source, will not proceed without completion of the required training component.

SFI Form
Each Investigator participating in a funded research project must disclose to FAU the Investigator’s Significant Financial Interest at the time of submission of a proposal for a sponsored research project to Sponsored Programs. All applications for funding from an external agency may not be submitted to Sponsored Programs until all investigators have completed and submitted, the required disclosure forms. Disclosure forms must be completed even if no relevant significant financial interest exists. Investigators can find the disclosure forms here.

For as long as the research is ongoing, disclosures under this provision relating to the ongoing research must be updated annually or at any time a relevant significant financial interest, not originally disclosed, develops or is acquired. If a significant financial conflict of interest is disclosed, the Office of Sponsored Programs will forward the form to Research Integrity to process prior to account setup. Click here.

4. What is a no-cost extension? How do I request one?

A no-cost extension is requested when additional time is needed to complete the project. The request is submitted to the sponsor and, if approved, it allows the PI additional time to complete the scope of work of the project without additional funding. Before requesting a no-cost extension, PIs should be sure that there are sufficient funds still available for the PI to maintain the same level of effort during the no-cost extension period. If sufficient funds are not available, approval from the sponsor may be needed to reduce the effort during this time. Contact the proposal and contract administrator in Sponsored Programs for guidance on how to submit a no-cost extension.

5. How is payment to subjects on a research project made?

Research study subjects are individuals who agree to participate in a research study funded either internally or externally (sponsored) and who will receive payment for their participation as allowed by the programmatic guidelines and approved by the funding agency. There are two types of payment methods for study subjects: University payment through accounts payable – FAU prefers the use of FAU EFT/ACH (Electronic Fund Transfer/Automatic Clearing House) when compensating research study subjects. Although this method may require incremental administrative effort, it substantially minimizes the risk of loss or misappropriation of funds. Gift cards purchased after receiving an advance via accounts payable – The distribution of gift cards to research study subjects in exchange for participation in a research study may be appropriate based on the perceived preference of the recipient population. Gift cards are considered cash or cash equivalents and are subject to the university’s expenditure guidelines and could be considered income to the individual for tax purposes. For more information regarding study subject payment, please refer to the Accounting for Payments to Research Study Subjects, including Gift Cards policy.

6. What is a Sponsored Programs Exemption Form and when is it necessary?

Certain provisions in Florida law (allow state universities, in particular instances, to exempt the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment or services for research purposes from the general purchasing requirements in the law. A Sponsored Programs exemption shall only be used when the purchase is fully funded from sponsored funds. When an exemption is needed, the PI should complete the Sponsored Programs Exemption Form to justify the necessity for the exemption. One or more of the following criteria should be used to support the justification:
  • A vendor or subrecipient is specified in the prime contract or grant award, or approved in writing by the sponsor in accordance with the provisions of the award.
  • The purchase of goods, services or both from a certain vendor is more efficient or expeditious for conducting the research or meeting the requirements of the prime award, or is mandated by scientific or technical requirements, or is at a cost below industry norms, or otherwise meets the statutory requirements of “necessary for the efficient or expeditious prosecution of a research project.”
Click here for details.

7. Who do I contact if a change to the scope of work is needed?

When a change to the scope of work is needed, the PI should first contact the sponsor’s program official to discuss the change and process for submitting a revised scope of work. If a revised scope of work is approved, it should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs will forward the official request to the sponsor.

8. Can I re-budget funds within my project and if so, how do I do this?

Permission to re-budget depends on the terms and conditions outlined by a sponsor and/or stated in the award document. If the sponsor allows the budget revision, the PI or his/her designee should complete a Budget Revision Request Form here along with a Budget Amendment in Workday for review and approval by the Office of Sponsored Programs. The Budget Revision Request Form and a copy of the sponsor’s approval to re-budget (if applicable), must be uploaded in the Workday Budget Amendment Attachments tab.

The Budget Revision Request Form is required for sponsored Award/Grants only. This form is not required for sponsored subcontracts and non-sponsored awards such as Start Up, Seed Grant and Overhead accounts. Budget Amendments affecting subcontract are processed by the Research Accounting Office upon receipt of a fully executed contract amendment.

9. What is a work-for-hire project and why doesn’t FAU want to accept these types of projects?

Work-for-hire projects are typically solicited by industry sponsors who require very specific deliverables and desire to enter into a more commercial type of purchasing agreement with FAU. In most cases, the sponsor expects to own all of the intellectual property developed under the agreement and may also restrict publication and require warranties on the work. Conversely, FAU enters into research contracts that promote public interest and usually lead to publishable research or provide for educational opportunities. Such agreements must permit the disclosure and publication of university research results, although limited delays in publication for patent filing may be acceptable. It is FAU’s policy, except in unusual cases, to require that works and inventions developed in the course of university research sponsored by private persons, business and not-for-profit entities, and state and local governmental agencies, be the property of FAU. See Intellectual Property Policies 10.6 .

Additionally, FAU research projects are performed on a best-effort basis, and by its very nature, the results of research may not be guaranteed. Publication restrictions from any source can lead to significant risks, such as loss of the fundamental research exemption and the not-for-profit purpose of the organization. When presented with a work-for-hire project, Sponsored Programs is often able to successfully offer a sponsor the FAU Research Agreement template to more suitably frame the project in terms of academic research.

10. Do I need to provide quotes with my proposal for equipment purchases or other large purchases?

It is prudent to obtain quotes for equipment, ship time, and other large purchases at the proposal stage to ensure that the budget is as accurate as possible and that sufficient funds will be available for these purchases should the project be funded. Some sponsors will require quotes to be included with the proposal, in which case the Office of Sponsored Programs will require the quotes as part of the complete proposal. The quotes would then need to be uploaded in grantsERA. If quotes are not required by the sponsor and are not included in grantsERA, the budget narrative should explain how the figures for such purchases have been derived (i.e. PI experience with similar purchases, phone call).

 Last Modified 6/8/18