Review, Approval, and Submission

OSP 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.

OSP Responsibilities

OSP post-award responsibilities include institutional financial management of grants, contracts, and other externally funded agreements beginning immediately after the award.

PI Responsibilities

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 OSP.  When processing for institutional approval, these items must be completed and uploaded the Cayuse proposal record for OSP review:

  1. Cayuse proposal record;
  2. Project budget;
  3. Budget justification or narrative;
  4. Request for proposal (RFP) or program announcement;and, 
  5. Proposal or scope of work.
  6. All other documentation constituting the proposal.
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Lead Time Required for Proposal Submission  

OSP must receive a draft Cayuse proposal record, draft budget/budget detail, draft budget justification, and draft scope of work at least five business days in advance of the proposal deadline. OSP retains the right to hold back a proposal or decline an award if the above materials are received past OSP's internal deadline of five business days before the proposal deadline. 

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

  • Reference the RFP and review all pertinent sponsor documentation,
  • Build or review the project budget
  • Review the budget justification, scope of work, and all other proposal components 
  • Check accuracy of institutional commitments and confirm institutional approvals have  been secured (including for F&A Waivers and cost share),
  • Apply knowledge of accounting principles and, when appropriate, Federal Cost Accounting Standards,
  • Follow University, State, Sponsor, and Federal guidelines and regulations, and
  • Apply understanding of a multitude of State, Federal, and private electronic submittal platforms.

When an award is received, OSP will:

  • Review contractual language and commitment,
  • Negotiating agreements in the best interest of UM and the PI, and
  • Address areas of potential audit concern.
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Institution may decline acceptance of award

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

 OSP Lead Time 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 Cayuse record 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, Cayuse record 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 Cayuse record 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 a task in Cayuse requesting review

Standard Proposal


Pre-Proposal (budget required)

Begin Cayuse proposal and attach RFP, any existing budget detail scope of work/proposal, and all required proposal attachments. Send a task through the Cayuse record to your assigned proposal development analyst.

Institutional approvals must be secured before ORSP reviews and submits.

Ten (10) or More Working Days upon receipt of a task in Cayuse requesting review

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.

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Plan Accordingly for Subawards

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 OSP pre-award specialist to determine the appropriate type of subrecipient to include for budgeting.  

If you intend to issue outgoing subawards as part of your proposal, a Subrecipient Commitment Form must be completed by the subrecipient and signed by an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).  This form requires the subrecipient to provide the following:

  • Detailed budget in Excel (see example and template) for the subrecipient specific to the subaward to be issued. 
  • Budget narrative/justification (see example that corresponds to the budget example above)
    • 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.  

Revision of existing subaward

Should an existing subaward require revising, see the subrecipient budget revision template.  

Contact the Subaward Coordinator for additional budget templates.

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