Proposal and Submission

 The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) supports faculty, staff, and graduate students in their research and creative endeavors. Working with faculty and staff to increase external funding and to provide opportunities for professional growth is critical to the overall health of the University.

Proposal Development Services

Kathy Swan, proposal development manager, assists faculty and staff in submitting grant applications with the highest potential for receiving funding.  This includes matching individuals to appropriate funding mechanisms, facilitating interdisciplinary efforts where appropriate, and editing documents to ensure they are well-written and responsive to review criteria.  Specifically, she:

  • Searches for grant opportunities based upon individual interests/expertise.
  • Works to determine which opportunities are the best fit for a particular project idea.  For example, if a prospective PI is considering 2-3 ideas/funding opportunities, she can review the opportunities and funding trends, or identify a program specialist at the funding agency who may be able to provide additional information. 
  • Edits draft narratives and other proposal components. Such review may range from simple proofreading to editing for responsiveness to criteria (depending on the complexity of the project and the timeframe available to review the documents).
  • Assists in shepherding proposal components for large and/or interdisciplinary projects, including gathering letters of support, hunting for resumes/position descriptions, finding boilerplate text for general sections, etc.

Kathy was recently employed as a Grant Writer for the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC) at Arizona State University; prior to that she was employed as a Grant Writer/Program Development Specialist for a family-owned business in northern Montana. In her 10 years of experience as a grant writer, she was tasked with assessing client needs in order to develop effective and relevant programs for a wide range of clientele, from schools to health service organizations to Tribal governments.  While at SIRC, she maintained contact with faculty members and other researchers within the department in order to understand their specific research interests and worked closely with a team to oversee the submission of grant applications.

Contact Kathy ( or x5752) to set up an appointment or discuss other assistance that may be helpful to your research and creative scholarship success.  Additional information:

To receive Information about funding opportunities and other critical communications, subscribe to the ORSP listservs as appropriate.  

Review and Submission

ORSP provides assistance with the processing of proposals, including administrative review and sign-off, and assists with the negotiation of external agreements. Assistance with the development of the proposal narrative and budget is also available. ORSP post-award responsibilities include institutional financial management of grants, contracts, and other externally funded agreements beginning immediately after the award.

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator (PI) that any proposals which use the name and resources of The University of Montana, and which may result in an award to the University, adhere to University procedures for submitting a proposal, accepting an award, and administering the project.  All proposals for externally funded grants, research contracts, and cooperative agreements are submitted through ORSP.  When processing for institutional approval, these items are required:

  1. Checklist;
  2. Project budget (and cost match budget  if applicable);
  3. Budget justification or narrative;
  4. Request for proposal (RFP) or program announcement;and, 
  5. Proposal or scope of work.Lead Time Required for Proposal Submission  

PIs at The University of Montana typically submit over 700 proposals each year.  The pre-award specialists in ORSP work diligently to assist and support PIs so that each proposal contains accurate information and all required components, and best represents the PI and University.  As a result, the pre-award specialist: 

  1. Refers to the RFP,
  2. Reviews  all pertinent sponsor documentation,
  3. Assists  the PI with budget preparation
  4. Applies knowledge of accounting principles and, when appropriate, Federal Cost Accounting Standards,
  5. Reviews the PI’s budget, budget narrative, and scope of work,
  6. Occasionally offers advice regarding the budget proposed with scope of activity desired, providing accurate University and State figures for salaries, fringe, and insurance,
  7. Checks accuracy of institutional commitments,
  8. Confirms  institutional approvals have been secured  (including cost match),
  9. Follows University, State, and Federal guidelines and regulations,
  10. Reviews contractual language and commitment,
  11. Understands and applies knowledge of University and State requirements when reviewing and negotiating contracts,
  12. Details understanding of a multitude of State, Federal, and private electronic submittal platforms,
  13. Recognizes and addresses areas of potential audit concern,
  14. Works calmly and efficiently within tight timelines, and
  15. Strives to provide outstanding customer support and service.

It is the PI’s responsibility to allow sufficient time for institutional review and approval. The lead times below are needed to manage workload so that pre-award specialists are able to equally assist and support each PI in submitting proposals that are accurate, complete, and best represent the PI and University.  

 ORSP Lead Time Required for Proposal Submission

Lead Time



Pre-Award Specialist


Letter of Intent (neither institutional signature nor budget required)

LOIs typically focus on the scope of work and do not require/include a dollar amount or budget details.  No E-Prop is required.

Provide your departmentally-assigned pre-award specialist a copy of everything before sending to the sponsor.  


Pre-Proposal  (neither institutional signature nor budget required)

If proposal does NOT require/include a dollar amount, budget, cost share commitment, renovation expenses, or hiring new faculty/staff, E-Prop is not required.

Provide your departmentally-assigned pre-award specialist a copy of everything before sending to the sponsor. 

Two (2) Working Days prior to deadline 

Pre-Proposal (no budget required) submitted via institution over an electronic platform


Pre-proposal or LOI requiring an institutional signature

Proposal does NOT require/include a dollar amount, budget, cost share, renovation, or employee hiring; however, advance notice is necessary to accommodate multiple proposals with the same deadline, or  in case of unanticipated technological challenges with electronic platforms.  No E-Prop is required.

Provide your departmentally-assigned pre-award specialist a copy of everything before sending to the sponsor. 

Five (5) Working Days upon receipt of routed and approved E-Prop

Standard Proposal


Pre-Proposal (budget required)

Begin E-Prop and attach RFP, budget, budget narrative, scope of work/proposal, and all required supporting attachments. ORSP can access E-Prop documentation prior to the PI hitting the "Submit" button to begin the routing process.  

Institutional approvals must be secured before ORSP reviews and submits.

Ten (10) or More Working Days upon receipt of routed and approved E-Prop

Complex Proposal

Center proposals, proposals with subcontracts, or those with a multitude of collaborators and budgets

Contact your departmentally-assigned pre-award specialist immediately when considering submission, even if long before a budget, budget narrative, or scope of work is drafted. Institutional approvals (possibly from all collaborators) must be secured before ORSP submits.

Plan Accordingly for Subawards

If you intend to issue outgoing subawards as part of your proposal, commitment of collaboration via letter or Subrecipient Commitment Form (required prior to setup of an outgoing subaward) must be completed by the subrecipient and signed by the sub's Authorized Official (AO).  

Subrecipients are included as a line item in the University of Montana budget, with the subrecipients detailed budgets included as part of the budget justification. Work with your ORSP pre-award specialist to determine the appropriate type of subrecipient to include for budgeting.  Use of the Subrecipient Commitment Form will assist the planning process as it requires the following documentation from the subreceipient:   

  1. Detailed internal budget from the sub;
  2. Budget narrative;
  3. Scope of work;  
  4. Certification that the subrecipient organization's complies with all applicable federal and sponsor regulations; and, 
  5. A copy of the sub's negotiated F&A Agreement (if F&A included in the budget and the Agreement is not already on file with ORSP's Subaward Coordinator).

If the subrecipient is an individual, inquire as to whether s/he is or was covered under TRS/PERS.  If so, per Montana State law, s/he may need to be paid as a UM employee rather than via subaward.  Contact HRS for more information. 

If UM anticipates receiving funding from another institution via a subaward, proceed with proposal preparation and institutional routing and approval requirements as usual.