Review, Approval, and Submission

ORSP provides assistance with the processing of proposals, including administrative review and sign-off, and assists with the submission and negotiation of external agreements.  See tips for electronic submission for information about SF 424 and Modular Budgets.  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 via E-Prop;
  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 and it is the PI’s responsibility to allow sufficient time for institutional review and approval. The pre-award specialists in ORSP strive to work calmly and efficiently within tight timelines and provide outstanding customer support and service.  They 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 Sponsored programs specialist (SPS),  is able to provide a more thorough review when given adequate lead time to do so.  It's important to note that the institution retains the right to decline an award should a proposal be submitted without adequate institutional review or carries terms and conditions that the institution deems unaccepable. 

Proposals submitted to ORSP with adequate lead time will receive a thorough institutional reveiw designed to help the success of the proposal and ensure institutional compliance: 

  • Reference the RFP and review all pertinent sponsor documentation,
  • Review the PI’s budget, budget narrative, and scope of work, 
  • Provide University and State figures for salaries, fringe, and insurance,
  • Check accuracy of institutional commitments and confirm institutional approvals have  been secured via e-Prop (including cost match),
  • Apply knowledge of accounting principles and, when appropriate, Federal Cost Accounting Standards,
  • Follow University, State, and Federal guidelines and regulations, and
  • Apply understanding of a multitude of State, Federal, and private electronic submittal platforms.

When an award is received, the SPS will:

  • Review contractual language and commitment,
  • Apply knowledge of University and State requirements when reviewing and negotiating contracts, and
  • Address areas of potential audit concern.

Insufficient lead time for institutional review

If a proposal is received in ORSP with insufficient lead time, it may be reviewed for sponsor specifications and institutional compliance only. 

If received in ORSP the day of the deadline, the proposal may be submitted without institutional review; thus, if a sponsor platform rejects the submission due to errors, the institution may be unable to meet the proposal deadline.  

Institution may decline acceptance of award

Should any proposal contain institutional commitments or other terms and conditions that the University cannot accept upon award, ORSP will attempt to negotiate accordingly.  In unable to do so, ORSP will decline acceptance of the award on behalf of the institution. 

 ORSP Lead Time for Proposal Submission

Suggested
Lead Time

Example

Reasoning

Pre-Award Specialist

N/A

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.  

N/A

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

 Or

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

 Or

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 and will be required by the subaward coordinator in order to issue the subaward:

  • Detailed budget (in Excel) for the subrecipient specific to the subaward to be issued. Sample budget categories:

Salaries & Wages
Benefits
Subcontract Payments
Other Services (e.g., contracted)
Supplies (e.g., copying)
Communications
Travel (includes foreign and non-employee)
Rent
Utilities
Repairs & Maintenance
Research Tuition Waiver (Graduate)
Stipends (living expenses for students, not tied to service or employment)
Other Expenses (includes meetings & conferences)
Equipment

  • Budget narrative/justification
    • Follow sponsor proposal instructions, providing as much detail as needed;
    • Approach the budget from the perspective of what the sponsor needs to know, not from the perspective of what the PI wants;
    • Explain why each of the requested items is necessary to accomplish the proposed research - don’t leave the reviewer wondering why an item was requested;
    • Also consider:
      • Does the budget justification follow the same order as the budget?
      • Does it give additional details to explain the costs included in the budget, such as quantity and price, if appropriate?
      • Does it include only items that are allowable, reasonable, & allocable?
      • Are items/services clearly documented as essential and, when appropriate, the proportionate benefit can be allocated to the project relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy?
      • Is it easy to read (short paragraphs, headings to separate different budget categories, etc.?
      • Is it concise?
      • Do the numbers in the budget justification match those in the budget?
  • Scope of work specific to the subaward to be issued.  A standard SOW contains:
    • Objectives/Purpose Statement
    • Scope of Work containing any deliverables or objectives
    • Schedule
  • Certification that the subrecipient organization's complies with all applicable federal and sponsor regulations; and,
  • Determining Subaward F&A
    • if the Subawardee has a federally negotiated F&A rate agreement (a copy must be provided to the Subaward coordinator) and U of M is receiving its fully negotiated F&A rate on the prime award, the subrecipient is entitled to their fully negotiated rate as well.
    • If the Subawardee has a federally negotiated F&A rate agreement, but the sponsor is limiting the F&A on the award, the same limitation applies to the Subaward.
    • If the Subawardee does not have a fully negotiated F&A rate, but F&A is being allowed on the prime award, the subrecipient is entitled to the 10% de minimis rate as specified in 2 CFR 200.414.
    • The Subawardee can choose to decline F&A. In that case they indicate this in section D of the Subrecipient Commitment Form

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.