We hope this page will help you answer commonly asked questions as you go through the proposal and grants management process at the University of Delaware. Choose a topic below to view questions that are commonly asked and then click on a question to expand its answer. If you have additional questions that are not covered here you can contact the Research Office or find your representative in our research administrator’s directory.

Proposal Development and Submission

Getting Started

Am I eligible to serve as a principal investigator (PI) on a research proposal?

Principal Investigators Eligibility

Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators have primary institutional responsibility for providing scientific/technical leadership and administrative and financial management of sponsored projects. As such, the University has designated the following personnel as eligible to serve as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on sponsored projects*

 

  • All full-time faculty regardless of academic rank
  • Visiting faculty/visiting scientists during the time they draw salary support for the performance of the sponsored project through the University
  • Adjunct faculty during the time they draw salary support for the performance of the sponsored project through the University
  • Full-time, academic non-administrative professionals in classified positions at or above Level 31E
  • All full-time postdoctoral fellows* and researchers
  • Under exceptional circumstances documented in writing, other qualified individuals may be designated as a PI. Such designation requires the approval of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Innovation, and must be endorsed by the chair of every unit and the dean of every college in which the research project is to be performed. If granted, this PI designation is limited to the proposed research project under consideration, i.e. it does not afford blanket status to serve as a PI on other proposals. To qualify for an exception, the following criteria must be met:
    • Only individuals identified to the external sponsor as a PI or CPI in the submitted proposal need to have the PI eligibility approval form completed
    • The proposed research must be a programmatic priority of the University
    • There must demonstrably be no qualified member of the UD faculty who is capable of serving or available to serve as the PI
    • The proposed PI must possess the academic and experiential qualifications that are prerequisite to service as a PI at UD, and his or her participation as the PI must be demonstrably necessary for the successful funding and execution of the research project
    • The proposal PI must enter into a signed contract with the University assuring that (a) the work will be conducted in accordance with the high standards of quality expected of all PIs; (b) the PI will comply with all University policies relating to the conduct of research; and (c) the research project will be conducted consistent with all federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to the conduct of research
    • Completion of the Research Office PI approval form and submission of a curriculum vitae (CV)

Process for submission of PI Eligibility Form:
  • Form should be completed and all signatures obtained
  • CV must be included with form
  • Email the completed form and CV to your Contract & Grant Specialist who will obtain the required Research Office approval signature
  • Contract & Grant Specialist will return executed form to department administrator

* Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator status may be rescinded for cause.
*A PI approval form is required to permit postdoctoral fellows to serve this role


If an exception is made to make someone an eligible PI and that person isn't a full-time University employee, the chair or dean must be a co-PI on all proposals for that person.

Retired Faculty Serving as Principal Investigators

Some faculty members wish to continue their research programs after retirement from the University, but do not qualify for status as principal investigators because they are no longer full-time UD employees. Retired faculty members may apply for PI status using the existing Research Office PI approval form.

If the request is approved, retired faculty members may serve initially as co-PIs on proposals with a full-time faculty member as PI (this would typically be the department chair or another senior faculty member). If the proposal is funded and the retired faculty member is hired to work on that grant, he or she may then serve as the PI during the life of the grant. At the time of hiring, the retired faculty member may be appointed to an appropriate professional staff position (such as, for example, senior research fellow), but under no conditions may be re-hired on the faculty (as, for example, a research professor).

Graduate Students as Principal Investigators

The Research Office acknowledges the importance of permitting graduate students to lead sponsored projects where appropriate. There are several sponsors who offer pre-doctoral grants whereby the work is conceived of and carried out entirely by a graduate student. In these cases, a faculty member is identified as a mentor and oversees the project nominally. (examples: NASA: Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program (JPFP), NIH: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, NIH: Predoctoral Training at the Interface of the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences, DOE: The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program - Graduate Fellowship Program).

To that end, the eligible PI approval form may be used at the time of proposal routing to permit the graduate student to have this role. Also, please have the department administrators ensure the graduate student’s supervisor code is associated with a chair and dean code. This will allow the proposal approval web form to be routed appropriately. The required completed form must be sent to the Research Office at least ten (10) working days before the deadline for submittal of the proposal to the funding agency.

There are still other sponsors for whom the need for submission and approval from an Authorized Representative of the University is not required. The student may submit these applications directly to the sponsor without coordination with the Research Office or a PI eligibility form (examples include: NSF Fellowship, Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships for Achieving Excellence in College and University Teaching).

If there are questions concerning which type of funding the grad student is applying, contact the Research Office for guidance.

Responsibilities of a Principal Investigator

Serving as a Principal Investigator (PI) at the University of Delaware brings significant rewards and confers concomitant responsibilities. PIs are responsible for the intellectual direction of research and scholarship and for the education and training of students. In carrying out these critical tasks, PIs are also responsible for compliance with laws and regulations that touch on all aspects of the research enterprise.

To ensure compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and contract requirements the University of Delaware requires all PIs to receive training in the financial management of sponsored projects. Developed for PIs already at the University, the University's training program focuses on stewardship of funds, mandatory reporting requirements and particularized training in the fundamentals of federal grant and contract accounting. PIs must complete mandatory training before the University will release project funding.

 

What is a conflict of interest and do I have a conflict?

As defined in the University of Delaware's Policies and Procedures Manual, "a conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private interests and his or her professional obligations such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual's professional actions or decisions are influenced by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise. A conflict of interest depends on the situation, and not on the character or actions of the individual.” For further information on conflict of interest click here.

Where can I find Funding Opportunities?

An excellent way to identify potential sponsors is to network with faculty, industry representatives, and government agency personnel. Funding opportunities for sponsored research are available to UD-eligible principal investigators from a variety of federal and state agencies and private foundations. Information on limited submission opportunities, General University Research (GUR) grants and UD Research Foundation (UDRF) grants are also available on the Funding Opportunities page.

Another excellent tool for identifying potential funding opportunities is the Community of Science database, which is available to UD employees through a paid subscription from UD's Morris Library. Library staff periodically offers workshops on effective use of the database.

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What should a researcher do before submitting for funding? Or I've found a funding opportunity that is the right match for my research. What are my next steps?

Familiarize yourself with UD's Responsible Conduct of Research. Compliance with UD's code of conduct, policies, and procedures is critical. If human subject or animal subjects or will be using hazards materials, for example, would be used in your research project, you must abide by specific policies and complete specific forms and reviews as part of the proposal application. You'll find links to all of UD's policies and procedures and required forms here. Allow enough time to develop the proposal and meet the agency's funding deadline. Competitive applications often reflect the input of multiple colleagues, and large, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional projects require a great deal of advance planning even before writing the proposal can begin. Keep in mind that the Research Office needs a minimum of 72 hoursthree business days prior to the agency deadline — to process your proposal or it will not be submitted to the sponsor. Submit keywords through the Employee Demographic Data (EDD) form prior to submitting a proposal. The Proposal Key Word are used to track proposals by subject category (for example: disease, avian, solar) and to link multiple science codes to projects. These identifiers are important for reporting both internally and externally by science categories. Please see your department administrator for assistance with the EDD. Know if "cost-sharing" is required by the funding agency. "Cost-sharing" refers to the University's commitment of funds, equipment, or services toward the project, beyond the funding that would be provided by the agency. Typical examples include equipment, personnel effort, and tuition. If cost-sharing is required, you need to find out if your dean would approve this cost before proceeding. Notify your departmental research administrator of your proposal plans. This individual works in partnership with a Contract and Grant Administrator in the UD Research Office. You can locate your department's research administrator on our Staff Directory Web page. This individual can help you learn the ropes by assisting you in the completion of required forms and in answering questions about cost rates and other details related to the development of your budget. If your proposal is for a federal grant and will need to be submitted via Grants.gov, this individual can help answer your registration questions. Find a faculty mentor. A junior faculty is encouraged to seek a faculty mentor. Some departments assign a mentor to a new faculty member. A senior faculty can guide a proposal process, from writing to submission.

How do I develop a competitive proposal?

You need to have good, innovative ideas, an understanding of the funding agency's mission and goals, and pay careful attention to the theme and requirements specified in the funding announcement. A good proposal should be compelling, understandable, well-organized, grammatically correct, exhibit correct spelling, and it must meet the due date, formatting, and length requirements specified in the agency's guidelines.

If you've carefully read the agency's funding announcement and have specific questions about a proposal idea, consult the program officer at the funding agency for advice or clarification.

Most proposals contain common elements, such as the following:

  1. A project summary that should clearly articulate the significance and innovation of the research and its expected outcomes
  2. A project description that details the goals of the project and how you will accomplish them, often including how you will evaluate the project and disseminate the research to various public audiences to meet "broader impacts" requirements
  3. References cited
  4. A budget that is in line with the award range of the funding program along with a detailed budget justification that has been developed in compliance with UD's current rates (see the "Proposal Tools and Data" sidebar on this Web page); Biographical sketches of the project team, and
  5. Letters of commitment/support from appropriate administrators and partnering institutions

Please note:

To request a letter of support from the UD Research Office, the Provost, or President, please follow this procedure:

  1. Draft the letter of support
  2. E-mail the letter to your Contract and Grant Administrator in the Research Office. To locate the correct staff member, see the Department Administrator directory in the Staff Directory

If changes to the letter are required, you will be notified.The Research Office will shepherd the letter and proposal to the appropriate UD administrator for signature and provide a copy to you for your files.

If your proposal requires an evaluation component, an excellent resource to consult on campus is the UD Education Research and Development Center. If your proposal requires "Broader Impacts" in informal public education and outreach, contact the Research Communications Initiative in the UD Office of Public Relations for advice. The office participates in selected proposals and also is aware of other units on campus who are involved in public education and outreach that may be available to assist you.

As you draft your proposal, make sure to cross-reference your content with key themes and requirements indicated in the funding announcement. Ask colleagues with experience writing winning proposals to read your draft and provide constructive criticism. You might also ask to serve on an upcoming proposal review panel for a particular agency to gain further insight into how proposals are evaluated.

Developing competitive research proposals is hard work, but the rewards can be great in terms of future discoveries. It's important not to be discouraged if your proposal is not funded, but to learn from the experience and prepare for the next opportunity.

The solicitation requires that my proposal be submitted electronically. How do I obtain access to various electronic submission site (example: Fastlane, ERA Commons, NSPIRE, etc)?

FASTLANE

If you are intending to submit a proposal to NSF you will need access to Fastlane. Please send an email request to your Contract and Grant Administrator with the PI's name, birth date, type of degree and the year it was received so the new PI can be added to FASTLANE. Please note Fastlane will provide the PI with a NSF login number that will become part of their personal logon process.

NIH eRA COMMONS

If you intend to submit a proposal to NIH, please send an email request to your Contract and Grant Administrator (CGA) (https://www.udel.edu/research/about/directory.html ) to create ”User Name”. You will need to provide the following information:

PI's name, birth date, any previous NIH user names and if the PI has had any previous NIH grants, we will need the grant number. Please note the Research Office will establish the User Name but eRA Commons will provide the PI with a password.

NASA NSPIRE

If you intend to submit a NASA proposal you will need to register with NSPIRE. This registration will create a request at the Research Office to allow the new user to be affiliated with the University of Delaware.

GRANTS.GOV

The University of Delaware is registered in Grants.gov. Individuals cannot register to submit proposals on behalf of the University. Only your Contract and Grant Administrators in the Research Office can submit proposals as the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) for the University of Delaware.

How do I route a proposal approval form for signatures?

Any time a new proposal is submitted to a sponsor, or an increase in the funding or University resources occurs (in the case of a re-budget or renewal) a Proposal Approval Form must be routed. In the case of a renewal where the resources are less than expected, or there is NO change, a form NEED NOT be routed.

A proposal record must be created in UD Peoplesoft Grants system to originate the form. Work with your department administrator to create the record and submit the proposal for routing.

I found a solicitation that limits the number of proposals that can be submitted. What is the UD Research Office proceedures on Limited Submission Proposals?

Many federal agencies and foundations offer grants, awards, and fellowships that limit the number of applications that can come from one institution. In order to increase the chances of UD succeeding in such "limited submission opportunity" applications, UD Research Office has established procedures for reviewing pre-proposals for such competitions in a timely fashion.

Do pre-proposals require UD Research Office approval?

Any time the University is obligating resources or requesting funds, the UD Research Office must be included in the submission. A Pre-proposal to a sponsor must go through the UD Research Office routing for approval and official submission through institutional signatures.

I am preparing a letter of intent, does it have to be signed by the Research Office?

Letters of Intent (LOI) that do not address funding amount or UD commitments (ie; time commitments/match etc.) do not require signature of the Research Office (unless required by sponsor). However, the Research Office should be copied on the LOI. Typically, the purpose of this type of intent is for sponsor to determine the amount of man hours required for review process. Keep in mind that it is helpful to notify your Contract and Grant Administrator when you become aware of any proposal submissions so they can better serve the needs of the faculty.

Who at University of Delaware signs as the authorized representative for proposal applications?

Authorized RepresentativeProposed First Year Total
Contract and Grant SpecialistUp to $250,000
Assistant Director, Pre AwardUp to $500,000
Assistant Vice President, Research AdministrationUp to $1,000,000
Cordell M. Overby, Associate Vice President, Research & Regulatory AffairsUp to $1,000,000
Domenico Grasso, University ProvostOver $1,000,000
Dennis Assanis, PresidentOver $2,000,000

What basic information should be on the SF424 for a Grants.gov proposal submission?

Sample Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 (RandR) Form

The Standard Proposal Information will provide you important key elements related to the University. (example: DUNS number, Tax Identification Number/TIN, CAGE code, etc.).

What are the important points I should know when preparing an NIH Grants.gov application?

Where do I find more information about NIH Grants.gov application procedures?

Where can I find the NSF Grants.gov application guidelines?

Please access the NSF Grants.gov application guide here: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide

Where do I find information regarding sponsor guidelines?

Please review the Grants Management Guide for further information.

How do I construct a budget?

The attached spreadsheet is a guide to assist you in building a budget for your proposal. Download Excel file.

Proposal Preparation

Am I eligible to serve as a principal investigator (PI) on a research proposal?

Principal Investigators Eligibility

Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators have primary institutional responsibility for providing scientific/technical leadership and administrative and financial management of sponsored projects. As such, the University has designated the following personnel as eligible to serve as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on sponsored projects*

 

  • All full-time faculty regardless of academic rank
  • Visiting faculty/visiting scientists during the time they draw salary support for the performance of the sponsored project through the University
  • Adjunct faculty during the time they draw salary support for the performance of the sponsored project through the University
  • Full-time, academic non-administrative professionals in classified positions at or above Level 31E
  • All full-time postdoctoral fellows* and researchers
  • Under exceptional circumstances documented in writing, other qualified individuals may be designated as a PI. Such designation requires the approval of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Innovation, and must be endorsed by the chair of every unit and the dean of every college in which the research project is to be performed. If granted, this PI designation is limited to the proposed research project under consideration, i.e. it does not afford blanket status to serve as a PI on other proposals. To qualify for an exception, the following criteria must be met:
    • Only individuals identified to the external sponsor as a PI or CPI in the submitted proposal need to have the PI eligibility approval form completed
    • The proposed research must be a programmatic priority of the University
    • There must demonstrably be no qualified member of the UD faculty who is capable of serving or available to serve as the PI
    • The proposed PI must possess the academic and experiential qualifications that are prerequisite to service as a PI at UD, and his or her participation as the PI must be demonstrably necessary for the successful funding and execution of the research project
    • The proposal PI must enter into a signed contract with the University assuring that (a) the work will be conducted in accordance with the high standards of quality expected of all PIs; (b) the PI will comply with all University policies relating to the conduct of research; and (c) the research project will be conducted consistent with all federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to the conduct of research
    • Completion of the Research Office PI approval form and submission of a curriculum vitae (CV)

Process for submission of PI Eligibility Form:
  • Form should be completed and all signatures obtained
  • CV must be included with form
  • Email the completed form and CV to your Contract & Grant Specialist who will obtain the required Research Office approval signature
  • Contract & Grant Specialist will return executed form to department administrator

* Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator status may be rescinded for cause.
*A PI approval form is required to permit postdoctoral fellows to serve this role


If an exception is made to make someone an eligible PI and that person isn't a full-time University employee, the chair or dean must be a co-PI on all proposals for that person.

Retired Faculty Serving as Principal Investigators

Some faculty members wish to continue their research programs after retirement from the University, but do not qualify for status as principal investigators because they are no longer full-time UD employees. Retired faculty members may apply for PI status using the existing Research Office PI approval form.

If the request is approved, retired faculty members may serve initially as co-PIs on proposals with a full-time faculty member as PI (this would typically be the department chair or another senior faculty member). If the proposal is funded and the retired faculty member is hired to work on that grant, he or she may then serve as the PI during the life of the grant. At the time of hiring, the retired faculty member may be appointed to an appropriate professional staff position (such as, for example, senior research fellow), but under no conditions may be re-hired on the faculty (as, for example, a research professor).

Graduate Students as Principal Investigators

The Research Office acknowledges the importance of permitting graduate students to lead sponsored projects where appropriate. There are several sponsors who offer pre-doctoral grants whereby the work is conceived of and carried out entirely by a graduate student. In these cases, a faculty member is identified as a mentor and oversees the project nominally. (examples: NASA: Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program (JPFP), NIH: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, NIH: Predoctoral Training at the Interface of the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences, DOE: The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program - Graduate Fellowship Program).

To that end, the eligible PI approval form may be used at the time of proposal routing to permit the graduate student to have this role. Also, please have the department administrators ensure the graduate student’s supervisor code is associated with a chair and dean code. This will allow the proposal approval web form to be routed appropriately. The required completed form must be sent to the Research Office at least ten (10) working days before the deadline for submittal of the proposal to the funding agency.

There are still other sponsors for whom the need for submission and approval from an Authorized Representative of the University is not required. The student may submit these applications directly to the sponsor without coordination with the Research Office or a PI eligibility form (examples include: NSF Fellowship, Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships for Achieving Excellence in College and University Teaching).

If there are questions concerning which type of funding the grad student is applying, contact the Research Office for guidance.

Responsibilities of a Principal Investigator

Serving as a Principal Investigator (PI) at the University of Delaware brings significant rewards and confers concomitant responsibilities. PIs are responsible for the intellectual direction of research and scholarship and for the education and training of students. In carrying out these critical tasks, PIs are also responsible for compliance with laws and regulations that touch on all aspects of the research enterprise.

To ensure compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and contract requirements the University of Delaware requires all PIs to receive training in the financial management of sponsored projects. Developed for PIs already at the University, the University's training program focuses on stewardship of funds, mandatory reporting requirements and particularized training in the fundamentals of federal grant and contract accounting. PIs must complete mandatory training before the University will release project funding.

 

Where can I find research funding?

A good starting point is our Funding Opportunities page. It includes information on the Community of Science database, which is accessible by UD employees, in addition to links to the Web sites of key federal agencies that support research. Information on limited submission opportunities, General University Research grants, and UD Research Foundation grants also is available here.

I've found a research opportunity that is right up my alley. What are the next steps?

First, familiarize yourself with UD's Responsible Conduct of Research. Compliance with UD's code of conduct, policies, and procedures is critical. If human or animal subjects, for example, would be used in your research project, you must abide by specific policies and complete specific forms and reviews as part of the proposal application. You'll find links to all of UD's policies and procedures and required forms here.

From a practical standpoint, you need to make sure you have enough time to develop your proposal and meet the agency's funding deadline. Competitive applications often reflect the input of multiple colleagues, and large, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional projects require a great deal of advance planning even before writing the proposal can begin. Keep in mind that the Research Office needs a minimum of 72 hours — three business days prior to the agency deadline — to process your proposal, or it will not be submitted to the sponsor. More background on the policy is available here.

From a fiscal standpoint, you need to know if "cost-sharing" is required by the funding agency. "Cost-sharing" refers to the University's commitment of funds, equipment, or services toward the project, beyond the funding that would be provided by the agency. Typical examples include equipment, personnel effort, and tuition. If cost-sharing is required, you need to find out if your dean would approve this cost before proceeding.

With the appropriate administrative approval, the next thing to do is to notify your departmental research administrator of your proposal plans. This individual works in partnership with a contract-and-grant representative in the Research Office. You can locate your department's research administrator on our Staff Directory Web page. This individual can help you learn the ropes by assisting you in the completion of required forms and in answering questions about cost rates and other details related to the development of your budget. If your proposal is for a federal grant and will need to be submitted via Grants.gov, this individual can help answer your registration questions.

How do I develop a competitive proposal?

You need to have good, innovative ideas, an understanding of the funding agency's mission and goals, and pay careful attention to the theme and requirements specified in the funding announcement. A good proposal should be compelling, understandable, well-organized, grammatically correct, and exhibit correct spelling, and it must meet the due date, formatting, and length requirements specified in the agency's guidelines.

If you've carefully read the agency's funding announcement and have specific questions about a proposal idea, consult the program officer at the funding agency for advice or clarification.

Most proposals contain common elements, such as the following:

  • A project summary that should clearly articulate the significance and innovation of the research and its expected outcomes;
  • A project description that details the goals of the project and how you will accomplish them, often including how you will evaluate the project and disseminate the research to various public audiences to meet "broader impacts" requirements;
  • References cited;
  • A budget that is in line with the award range of the funding program along with a detailed budget justification that has been developed in compliance with UD's current rates (see the "Proposal Tools and Data" sidebar on this Web page);
  • Biographical sketches of the project team; and
  • Letters of commitment/support from appropriate administrators and partnering institutions. Please note: To request a letter of support from the UD Vice Provost for Research Office, the Provost, or President, please follow this procedure:
    • Draft the letter of support
    • E-mail the letter to your contract-and-grant administrator in Research Office. To locate the correct staff member, see the Department Administrator directory in the Staff Directory.
    • If changes to the letter are required, you will be notified.
    • Research Office will shepherd the letter and proposal to the appropriate UD administrator for signature and provide a copy to you for your files.

If your proposal requires an evaluation component, an excellent resource to consult on campus is the UD Education Research and Development Center. If your proposal requires "Broader Impacts" in informal public education and outreach, a great external resource is the National Alliance for Broader Impacts Guiding Principles and Questions. Internally you are encouraged to contact the Research Communications Initiative in the UD Office of Communications and Marketing for advice. The office participates in selected proposals and also is aware of other units on campus who are involved in public education and outreach that may be available to assist you.

As you draft your proposal, make sure to cross-reference your content with key themes and requirements indicated in the funding announcement. Ask colleagues with experience writing winning proposals to read your draft and provide constructive criticism. You might also ask to serve on an upcoming proposal review panel for a particular agency to gain further insight into how proposals are evaluated.

Developing competitive research proposals is hard work, but the rewards can be great in terms of future discoveries. It's important not to discouraged if your proposal is not funded, but to learn from the experience and move on, for another opportunity likely lies just around the corner....

Please follow this link to Data Management Plans.

My proposal has been funded! Now what do I do?

At this point, notify Research Office, your dean, and departmental research administrator with the good news, as well as the UD Office of Communications & Marketing, which may issue a news release about your award.

You should then work closely with your departmental research administrator in establishing your research project account, or "Purpose," in UD PeopleSoft. You'll find all the guidelines for setting up the award, maintaining it, and closing it out in our online Grants Management Guide.

And while you may just be beginning your grant now, be sure to review the Grant Management Guide on "Protecting Your Results," which includes our online Intellectual Property Guide and important policies, and tour the Technology Marketplace.

Also, don't miss the "Presenting Your Results" section of the Researcher's Toolbox for helpful advice on preparing for media interviews, developing scientific posters, presenting public lectures, garnering UD and external media coverage of your research, and more.

Remember, research is an important part of our mission here at the University of Delaware, and you have serious responsibilities as a UD research investigator. We want to make sure you are familiar with our requirements and help facilitate your research success. If you have any questions, contact us at udresearch@udel.edu. Good luck with your research!

What is the difference between Post Doctoral Fellow and Post Doctoral Researcher?

Post Doctoral Fellow Guidelines


The title of "Post Doctoral Fellow" is designed for people who are at the University doing research primarily as independent learners, not on assigned projects as employees; the “Post Doctoral Fellow” designation is akin to an advanced graduate student, and the IRS specifically views post doctoral fellows as non-employees.

While there are Post Doctoral Fellows at the University who fit this description, there are also some who currently have this designation but are not eligible under existing UD policy, IRS regulations, or visa status.  These people must be handled differently.

Therefore, there exists the job title of "Post Doctoral Researcher" for researchers who are here primarily to work on assigned projects as employees for a limited period of time after having obtained their doctorates.

The characteristics of Post Doctoral Researchers are:

  • Professional position
  • Fiscal appointments
  • Requires doctorate
  • Minimum full-time annual rate of $33,097
  • Benefits will be charged in the same way as other professionals (this is a significant difference from post doctoral fellows)
  • Annual appointments, renewable up to 2 times for a total of three years; exceptions may be approved by the appropriate Dean
  • HR code information:
    • Job code: 299990
    • Salary plan:272 (full-time) or 273 (part-time)
    • Salary grade: 90

Questions regarding processing forms for post doctoral researchers, tax implications, etc., should be directed to HR systems administration. Questions concerning visa status should be directed to Foreign Student and Scholar Services.

Post Doctoral Researcher Implementation Guidelines


The position of Post Doctoral Researcher should be used when appropriate instead of Post Doctoral Fellow. The question of when this is appropriate is an academic judgment to be made primarily by the Dean in the context of the individual’s actual activities and Visa status. Post Doctoral Fellows’ primary responsibilities are comparable to those of graduate students: expanding their own knowledge, and often working with and guiding graduate and undergraduate students. The responsibilities of Post Doctoral Researchers are comparable to those of employees, where payment is dependent upon fulfilling an assigned work plan.

The following guidelines should be considered by Deans making the judgments.

  1. Individuals with H1B Visa status cannot appropriately be classified as Post Doctoral Fellows.
  2. For U.S. citizens and for others when Visa status is compliant, such as permanent residents and those who hold F-1 and J-1 Visa status, initial appointments may be made for one year as a Post Doctoral Fellow, as long as the Dean approves that this is consistent with the expectations of the appointment. The letter of appointment should stipulate the responsibilities in a manner that is congruent with such an appointment and should be signed, or otherwise approved, by the Dean.
  3. Beyond the initial year, Deans will determine on an empirical basis whether the appointment should be as Post Doctoral Fellow or Post Doctoral Researcher based on the actual activities of the individual. When Visa status is compliant, two years is expected to be the maximum length of time for someone to hold Post Doctoral Fellow status, unless there is continuing external funding specifically for a Post Doctoral Fellow for a longer period.
  4. When Visa status is compliant, current Post Doctoral Fellows should be reviewed by the Dean and a judgment should be made as to whether they are appropriately classified as Fellows, or whether they should be Post Doctoral Researchers or some other classification. The timing of that review may coincide with the end of the Post Doctoral Fellow’s current funding. That is, they may continue in this classification until the end date of their current funding source, at which point the Dean should review their classification in the context of the individual’s actual activities.

How do I gain secured access to the Grants system for proposal submission and inquiry?

Send an E-mail to ovpr-access@udel.edu. Provide the following in the body of the e-mail:
Name: Employee Name
EMPLID: XXXXX
User ID:
Role Name: Identify Role Name*
Instance: FIPRD
DepartmentID (numeric):

*Access roles (indicate which one(s) needed):
Grants - Research Administrators (Proposal entry and inquiry) GM_RESEARCH_ADMIN
Grants - Proposal Data Entry only GM_DATA_ENTRY Grants - Proposal Inquiry only GM_PROPOSAL_INQ

I have a Post-Doc listed in my NSF proposal budget. What should I include in my Mentoring Statement?

The attached "Sample" Mentoring Statement is not meant to be used as a UD standard but is meant to be used as guidance to assist faculty in meeting the NSF proposal requirement.

I am preparing a NIH application that involves human subjects and I see there is an entire section of the Research Plan that is devoted to Human Subjects. What should be addressed in this section?

In this section, you’re required to address three areas: inclusion of human subjects, inclusion of women and minorities, and inclusion of children. Please see the attached document for details on this section of the Research Plan.

Proposal Submission

1. How do I obtain access to People Soft grants module?

Please go to Employee Education & Development website and follow the link to Request Grants Administration Access under the section Financials.

2. How do I go about getting a letter of support for my research project from the UD administration (Deputy Provost for Research Office, Provost, or President)?

To request a letter of support from one of these individuals, please follow this procedure:

  1. Draft the letter of support
  2. E-mail the letter to your Contract and Grant Specialist in the Research Office. To locate the correct staff member, see the Department Administrator directory in the Staff Directory
  3. If changes to the letter are required, you will be notified
  4. The Research Office will shepherd the letter and proposal to the appropriate UD administrator for signature and provide a copy to you for your files

3. When do I need to route a Proposal Approval Form for signatures?

Any time a new proposal is submitted to a sponsor, or an increase in the funding or University resources occurs (in the case of a re-budget or renewal) a Proposal Approval (web) Form must be routed. In the case of a renewal where the resources are less than expected, or there is NO change, a form NEED NOT be routed.

4. Do Pre-Proposals require Research Office approval?

A Pre-proposals to a sponsor must go through the Research Office routing for approval and official submission through institutional signatures. Any time the University is obligating resources or requesting funds, the Research Office must be included in the submission.

5. I am preparing a Letter of Intent, does it have to be signed by Research Office?

Letters of Intent (LOI) that do not address funding amts. or UD commitments (ie; time commitments/match etc.) do not require signature of the Research Office (unless required by sponsor). However, the Research Office should be copied on the LOI. Typically, the purpose of this type of intent is for sponsor to determine the amount of man hours required for review process. Keep in mind that it is helpful to notify your Contract and Grant Specialist when you become aware of any proposal submissions.

6. What is the process for getting our new faculty access to Fastlane?

Send PI's name, birth date, type of degree and the year it was received to your Contract and Grants Specialist with a request to add the PI to FASTLANE. Please note Fastlane will provide the PI with a NSF login number that will become part of their personal logon process.

7. Who at the University of Delaware signs as the Authorized Representative for proposal applications?

Authorized Representative   Proposed First Year Total  
Contract and Grant Specialist   Up to $250,000 
Assistant Director, Pre-Award Up to $500,000
Jeff Friedland, Associate Vice President, Research Administration   Up to $1,000,000 
Charles G. Riordan, Vice President for Research, Scholarship & Innovation Up to $1,000,000 
Robin Morgan, Provost Over $1,000,000 
Dennis Assanis, President Over $2,000,000

8. How do I gain secured access to the Grants system for proposal submission and inquiry?

Send an E-mail to ovpr-access@udel.edu. Provide the following in the body of the e-mail:

Name: Employee Name

EMPLID: XXXXX

User ID:

Role Name: Identify Role Name*

Instance: FIPRD

DepartmentID (numeric):

*Access roles (indicate which one(s) needed): Grants - Research Administrators (Proposal entry and inquiry)

GM_RESEARCH_ADMIN

Grants - Proposal Data Entry only GM_DATA_ENTRY

Grants - Proposal Inquiry only GM_PROPOSAL_INQ

9. What is the procedure for a Sponsored Research Program Income?

For information on Sponsored Research Program Income Procedures, follow this link.

10. How to avoid common problems and increase submission success regarding PDF documents?

How to avoid common problems and increase submission success regarding PDF documents, we offer the following tips:

To easily create PDFs from other documents (including creating ‘flat’ PDFs from PDFs with active fields), you can use a standalone PDF creation utility such as those recommended by Grants.gov, or built-in features such as “Save as PDF” in other software programs. Give the document a short and unique attachment name using letters, numbers, and underscores.

When submitting to NIH, follow their PDF submission guidelines to prevent problems. Avoid ‘bundling’ multiple PDFs into a single file or producing PDFs by scanning printed documents. Disable any security features in the document. Do not attach PDFs that contain “stamps” (commonly used for signatures) or other comments. PDF files submitted to the eRA Commons are converted to images, and applications not following these guidelines may not convert correctly. It is always advisable to review your submitted application in the eRA Commons system and check that attachments were transmitted accurately.

Cost Sharing

1. What is cost sharing?

Cost sharing is defined as project costs not borne by the sponsor .

2. How is cost sharing accomplished?

Cost sharing is accomplished through:

  • Project costs funded by the University (faculty salaries, fringe, travel, supplies, etc.)
  • Project costs funded from other non-federal sponsored agreements
  • In-kind contributions donated by third parties (equipment, supplies, etc.)

3. Why does the University need to track cost sharing?

Federal regulations require full accountability for costs committed in the fulfillment of sponsored programs. Cost Accounting Standards require that costs proposed on a sponsored application be accumulated and reported on completely and accurately.

The University of Delaware chart of accounts carries a Project ID for all contracts and grant codes; including the Project ID on a non-CandG code will indicate to the system that there exists a relationship between the NON-CandG code and the award. In this way, the transaction is funded by a NON CandG code, but cost-shares a CandG Code. This method does not work when matching C and G Codes to C and G Codes.

4. What types of expenditures may be cost shared?

Cost sharing may consist of direct expenses such as faculty effort (and thereby related salaries and fringes), lab supplies, equipment, and travel.

5. What types of expenditures may not be cost shared?

Any expense that the University has defined as an indirect cost, such as administrative salaries, office supplies, and operations and maintenance expenses, may not be cost shared. Unallowable costs as defined in Section J of 2 CFR parts 215-220, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21) may not be cost shared.

For a PDF, click herepdf document

Click here to learn more

Mandatory cost sharing is required by the sponsor as a condition of the award. Ordinarily this requirement will be indicated in the program announcement. Voluntary cost sharing is not required by the sponsor but is nevertheless offered in the proposal by the investigator; ordinarily this is in the form of contributed effort. Cost sharing that is proposed voluntarily by the investigator becomes mandatory (or also known as ‘voluntary committed’ cost sharing) once the award is made. One other kind of voluntary cost sharing occurs in the case of over-expenditures, if the additional costs are covered by University funds. All committed cost sharing, whether mandatory or voluntary committed, must be accounted for and tracked.

7. Can a discount provided by a vendor be used for cost share?

No. The University must incur costs in order of an item to be allowable as cost sharing. Discounts (e.g. Quantity, educational, etc) do not result in an actual expenditure. Therefore, they are not allowable as cost sharing.

8. Can you provide some examples of language in a proposal that would or would not be considered cost sharing for accounting and reporting purposes?

The following statements in the proposal budget or budget justification would be considered cost sharing:

  • Dr. Dots will devote 20% of her time to the project at no cost to the agency. The department will purchase a data widget (cost $10,000) for exclusive use in support of Dr. Dots’ project.
  • The following statements would not be considered cost sharing:
  • Dr. Dots will be providing expert advice and consultation to the project. Dr. Dots’ laboratory is 1200 square feet. She also has access to the departmental data widget.

9. What should happen if the award funding is reduced?

If the award funding is reduced, under many circumstances, the cost share will be reduced proportionally. If the award was reduced so significantly that the scope of work cannot be performed with the available funding, and therefore additional funding from University resources is needed to complete the project as described in the original proposal, a request for additional cost sharing funds should be made to those potential resources. The committed cost share, however, will remain as it is written in the agreement.

10. Are other sponsored funds used on a project considered cost sharing and if so, how are they tracked?

Any cost of the project not borne by the sponsor is cost sharing and to that end our system neatly and easily allows for the tracking/itemization of non-sponsored funded cost share (through use of the Project ID field, see above). When cost share is provided by another Research Office code, however, our system is more complicated. This type of cost share presently requires either the creation of a new Purpose (such that the expenses can be easily identified) or in the case of effort certification, a user can link the Cost Share Research Office Project ID to the related Research Office Project ID by noting the relationship in the comments field.

Regardless of source, it remains the responsibility of the individual Principal Investigator and department to ensure that other sponsored funds used as cost sharing on sponsored projects are:

  1. Allowable,
  2. Not offered as cost sharing for more than one project,
  3. Verifiable through auditable documentation, and
  4. Accumulated at the end of the project and reported to the Research Office for the completion of the close out audit.

11. How do I know what indirect cost rate (also known as the Facilities and Administrative, FandA, rate) to use to calculate for the cost shared budget?

The UD Grants System will calculate the rate for each of the budget items entered into the budget. The rate is multiplied by the direct costs being cost shared on the expenses (accounts) that would bear FandA if charged directly to the grant. These items do not bear actual FandA costs (SFA), but bear Cost Shared FandA (CFA). There is also the matter of Waived FandA (WFA) which is the calculation of the institutions current FandA rate minus that which is charged as CFA or SFA.

12. What do I do when I have a proposal with cost sharing of both faculty effort and other costs (equipment, supplies, etc.)?

Itemizing each budget entry on the proposal budget will capture the details needed to fulfill the cost share documentation for proposed budgets.

13. How do I request equipment cost share funds?

The Research Office equipment cost share dollars are available when proposals either require equipment cost share or the project budget exceeds the available funding in the area of equipment. The Research Office policy allows for one-time requests up to $50,000 with assistance from the college and/or unit requires an equal $50,000 of the requested amount (i.e., 50K from the Research Office, requires an equal $50K from the college/unit). This funding applies to individual P.I.(s) projects. Approval for cost share should occur at the time of the proposal submission through inclusion in the grant budget. The Proposal Approval Form will automatically be routed to those responsible for the cost share approval. Please refer to the policy for more information. Equipment Cost Share Policy.

Cost Sharing: Graduate Student Tuition

1. Are International transaction fees an allowable expense to a grant?

International transaction fees are deemed a travel expense, and are an allowable expense to a grant.

2. May the processing and filing fees for an H1-B visa be charged to a sponsored award?

Department of labor regulations viewed any costs associated with processing and filing of the H1-B application had to be covered by the hiring department. If paid by the employee it was seen as an “unauthorized deduction” from the employee’s salary. As there is nothing specific in OMB CircularA-21 Cost Principles for Institutions of Higher Education, the sponsor terms and conditions per grant/contract/cooperative agreement prevail. For example, NIH allows the fees as a recruitment cost while NSF does not allow the costs unless preapproval is obtained from the NSF Grants Officer. In the event the individual is named in the proposal, prior approval by the NSF Grants Officer is not required. To date, no other federal sponsors have provided specific guidance regarding these costs. The expectation is that the individual for whom the fees are paid should be paid 100% on the award to which the fees were charged for the duration of their employment at the University of Delaware. The Premium Processing fee is not allowable on any federal award.

Electronic Research Administration (ERA)

1. What basic information should be on the SF424 for a grants.gov proposal submission?

2. What are the important points I should know when preparing a NIH grants.gov application?

PDF link

  1. The University of Delaware is already registered with grants.gov, so it is not necessary for you to register; however, if you do not have an eRACommons account, please notify your assigned Contract and Grant Administrator as soon as possible.
  2. When searching for your application package, use the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) number—not the CFDA number. When completing your application package, please leave any field or reference to a CFDA number blank; NIH will fill in this information for you as appropriate.
  3. After you have searched for your application package in grants.gov, download it and save it to your computer. When naming your application file use the following naming convention: UDEL PROPOSAL#PILASTNAMEThe PROPOSAL# is UD’s internal number assigned when your proposal information is entered into PeopleSoft for your webform routing and approval. This naming convention should also be used on the first page of the application, which is identified with a yellow box and titled, “Application Filing Name.”
  4. When preparing your application, the NIH guidelines on font-size, font-type, and ½ -inch margins apply to the entire application package including ALL uploaded attachments. The guidelines state: “Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia typeface and a font size of 11 points or larger. Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch. Type may be no more than six lines per inch.” Please note that Times Roman is not listed as an acceptable type font per NIH guidelines.
  5. Although you are to follow all NIH proposal guidelines when preparing your application, remember that Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) guidelines will always supersede any in the NIH proposal guidelines.
  6. All attachments should contain no headers and/or footers. NIH will generate those for you when it compiles your application image (this includes page numbers and PI name in the header).
  7. Only use .pdf platform for all your attachments. .doc platforms will not be accepted.
  8. In the SF424 (RandR) form, use the following emails as appropriate:For Box #5: Your Contract and Grant Specialist ’s email address For Box #15: PI’s email address For Box #19: udelaware-awards@udel.edu.
  9. Also when completing your SF424 (RandR), the UD Congressional District should be filled in with DE-001 in both fields; it is no longer “at large” or “1.”
  10. When completing an application package that involves multiple-PIs, please consult the definition of a PD/PI from the NIH guidelines at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-017.html. Please note that it is required by NIH that you include an attachment justifying multiple PD/PI’s in box #14 of the PHS398 Research Plan form of the application package. Please note that NIH does not recognize Co-PI’s, so do not use that field description in the Senior/Key Person Profile form or in the budget or budget justification.
  11. Also in the Senior/Key Person Profile form, the completion of the “Credential, e.g., agency login” field is required by NIH and if left blank, will be caught as an error when it reaches NIH validation. Completion of this field is required for all PD/PI’s, and the information that goes in the field is the PD/PI’s eRACommons login name. This is not required for other key personnel, just the PI/PD.
  12. When completing your Research Plan, NIH requests that it should be organized as a whole 25-page document first, and then chopped up into its individual sections and uploaded as attachments in the PHS 398 Research Plan form. Once the Research Plan is in its individual attachment format, NIH will accept it as a 27 to 28 page document due to white space from chopping it up into sections; although the PI will receive an email with a warning they can disregard that warning.
  13. Please remember to select one budget form to use from the “Optional Forms” box of the application. For example, if you are doing a modular budget, then you should select and complete the modular budget form. Do not use both forms. Note that your budget justification should be included as an attachment in the budget form.
  14. When preparing the budget, many PIs will leave the field for the “Cognizant Federal Agency” information blank. If left blank, NIH validation will catch this and stop your application package submission with an ERROR message. Please remember to complete this field. The information is as follows: Office of Naval Research, Attn: Joanne Elkowich, (703) 696-7742.
  15. If your application will include a consortium (subcontractor) organization, then NIH requires that you download the budget form titled, “RandR Subaward Budget Attachment” from the application package and email the form to your consortium PI for completion. This form is not a .pdf file. It is a pure edge viewer file so the consortium PI or their administrator must have pure edge viewer loaded on their computer. Once the form has been completed by the consortium PI, along with their budget justification attachment, then upload the form as a pure edge viewer attachment to the grants.gov package within the RandR Subaward Budget section. Please contact your Contract and Grant Specialist if this procedure isn’t clear, or if you will need further instructions.
  16. A Cover Letter is not mandatory for a “new” first submission, but if your application contains errors at the NIH validation, then a cover letter must accompany the corrected application stating reason(s) for submitting a “corrected” application. Also note that Cover Letters are required for all renewals, supplements, and competing continuations. Note that each time you revise a Cover Letter in grants.gov, you have to upload all previous Cover Letters, along with the revised Cover Letter, as one .pdf file in the attachment.
  17. After you have completed your grants.gov package, please “Check Package for Errors” before emailing it to Research Office for submission. When Research Office receives your package, the first thing that is done is to push that “Check Package for Errors” button, and if there are errors, the application package will be returned to you for correction, without review.
  18. Please note that the “Check Package for Errors” is only a grants.gov validation; this tool does not check errors for the NIH validation. NIH validation will take place by eRACommons when NIH receives the application package from grants.gov.
  19. Please note that when your application reaches NIH validation, “warnings” will not stop the acceptance of your application and will generate an image of your application; however, any applications with “errors” will not be accepted by NIH and will not generate an image of your application. Please be certain you take all measures to assure your application is not submitted with errors.
  20. For further information and training on NIH grants.gov SF424 (RandR) process, please go to the following website http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt.
  21. Don’t forget Research Office 72-hour deadline as posted on UDaily. This deadline includes receipt of the completed application package, as well as an approved webform and any other documents, such as Conflict of Interest and certifications for Recombinant DNA, human subjects (if not pending), IACUC, and radiation.

3. Where do I find more information about NIH grants.gov application procedures?

4. Where can I find the NSF grants.gov application guidelines?

5. Is the University of Delaware registered in Grants.gov?

Yes, the University of Delaware is registered in Grants.gov. Individuals cannot register to submit proposals on behalf of the University. Only the Contract and Grant Specialist in the Research Office can submit proposals as the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) for the University of Delaware.

General University Grants (GUR)

1. What is a no-cost extension?

The university expects recipients to complete all requirements of the GUR award by the termination date listed in the award letter. The Research Office will provide additional time by approving your request for a "no-cost extension."

2. What is the project period?

For awards made prior to July 1, 2013 the grant period is 12 months beginning on June 1. For awards made after July 1, 2013 the grant period is 24 months beginning on June 1.

3. How do I apply for a no-cost extension?

Submit a request to research-gur@udel.edu. Please copy your assigned Contract & Grant Specialist and Department Administrator in the email.

4. What information will I need to include in my no-cost request?

— Relevant information that identifies your project: title, purpose (expense code) and the current project termination date. — The extended termination date (month/day/year) you are requesting. Note: the maximum time allowed is one year. — Justification--reasons you need an extension. See guidelines below for help.

5. What justification for no-cost extensions (reasons) is the Research Office likely to accept?

Here are examples of justifications which would be acceptable:

1. Additional time to assure completion of the original approved project scope and objectives, e.g.,

  • — to conduct additional testing to validate unexpected research findings
  • — to repeat tests to obtain results lost in a campus building fire
  • — to conduct the research in a foreign country currently experiencing unrest or a foreign country rebounding from a natural catastrophe (e.g. tsunami, earthquake)
  • — lack of success in locating a graduate student with suitable capabilities
  • — extensive delay in production or shipment of key equipment or supply items
  • — transfer of a key project participant

— time lost due to illness, pregnancy or accident of a key project participant

6. Under what conditions is the Research Office likely to deny an extension request?

  • requests made merely for the purpose of using remaining funds
  • requests received after the termination date
  • requests that do not include a justification

7. Am I allowed to purchase an item not included in my original proposal?

The university expects recipients to complete all requirements of the GUR award and understands that over the life of the project some reallocation of funding may need to occur. For awards made prior to July 1, 2013 please send your reallocation request to research-gur@udel.edu. Starting with awards made after July 1, 2013, only budget changes exceeding 10% of the total award and rebudgeting of funds into categories not in the original award need to be approved by RO.

8. How do I request a budget reallocation?

Please complete the Request for Rebudgeting form and email the completed form to research-gur@udel.edu. Please copy your assigned Contract & Grant Specialist and Department Administrator in the email. Your Contract & Grant Specialist can be located from the Department Administrator Directory.

9. What information will I need to include in my reallocation request?

— Identify the previously unbudgeted expenditure and the estimated cost

— Justify how the expenditure relates to the specific aims as outlined in the original research plan

— Complete the Request for Rebudgeting form and email the completed form to research-gur@udel.edu

— Copy your assigned Contract & Grant Specialist and Department Administrator in the email

10. How do I get my expenses (including salary) paid?

Please see your Department Administrator. The Department Administrator directory can be found here.

Internal Grant Opportunities FAQs (GUR, UDRF and UDRF-SI)

1. What is the project period?

  • GUR Awards are effective from April 1 to March 31 (two-year period)
  • UDRF Awards are effective from April 1 to March 31 (two-year period)
  • UDRF- SI Awards are effective from November 1 to April 30 (18-month period)

2. What is a no-cost extension?

The university expects recipients to complete all requirements of the internal award by the termination date listed in the award letter. The Research Office will provide additional time by approving your request for a "no-cost extension."

3. How do I apply for a no-cost extension?

Submit a request to Leigh Botner via email at lbotner@udel.edu. Please copy your assigned Contract & Grant Specialist and Department Administrator in the email.

4. What information will I need to include in my no-cost request?

Please provide the following information:

  • Relevant information that identifies your project: title, purpose (expense code) and the current project termination date
  • The extended termination date (month/day/year) you are requesting. Note: the maximum time allowed is one year
  • Justification -- reasons you need an extension. See guidelines below for help

5. What justification for no-cost extensions (reasons) is the Research Office likely to accept?

Here are some examples of justifications which would be acceptable:

  • Additional time to assure completion of the original approved project scope and objectives, e.g.,
    • to conduct additional testing to validate unexpected research findings
    • to repeat tests to obtain results lost in a campus building fire
    • to conduct the research in a foreign country currently experiencing unrest or a foreign country rebounding from a natural catastrophe (e.g. tsunami, earthquake)
  • Lack of success in locating a graduate student with suitable capabilities
  • Extensive delay in production or shipment of key equipment or supply items
  • Transfer of a key project participant
  • Time lost due to illness, pregnancy or accident of a key project participant

6. Under what conditions is the Research Office likely to deny a request?

Here are examples for which an extension request may be denied:

  • Requests made merely for the purpose of using remaining funds
  • Requests received after the termination date
  • Requests that do not include a justification

7. Am I allowed to purchase an item not included in my original proposal?

The university expects recipients to complete all requirements of the internal award and understands that over the life of the project some reallocation of funding may need to occur. Budget changes exceeding 10% prior to 2018 -- or 25% effective 2018 -- of the total award and rebudgeting of funds into categories not in the original budget (e.g., equipment, foreign travel) are subject to prior approval by the RO.

8. How do I request a budget reallocation?

Requests for rebudgeting must be submitted on the Request for Rebudgeting form via email to lbotner@udel.edu. Please copy your assigned Contract & Grant Specialist and Department Administrator in the email.

9. What information will I need to include in my reallocation request?

Please provide the following information:

  • Identify the previously unbudgeted expenditure and the estimated cost
  • Justify how the expenditure relates to the specific aims as outlined in the original research plan

10. How do I get my expenses (including salary) paid?

Please see your Department Administrator.

11. Questions about Internal Grant Opportunities?

Please contact Leigh Botner, Research Development Director, Research Office.

Sponsor Specific

1. May an NSF Graduate Fellow receive supplemental stipend?

NSF Grad Fellows may not accept any other federal fellowships while in tenured status with NSF. Additional fellowships from the University or private sources are allowed, though. Both the charges allocated to the NSF Fellowship and the other fellowships should be charged to account 122700

o clarify the apparent discrepancy between NSF’s FAQ #164 and the paragraph about stipend supplementation in the NSF Administrative Guide, we believe that, in most cases, NSF grad fellowships may justifiably be supplemented by additional pay in the form of RA (normally charged to account 122600) or TA (normally charged to account 122500) payments. When the goal of the research (RA) or teaching (TA) activities for which they are being paid is to contribute to the fellow’s education and training as part of their degree requirements, additional time/pay for these activities is allowable. In situations where NSF fellows receive additional funding for these types of activities, the expenses should be allocated to account 122700. Additional payments as a teaching or research assistant are not allowable, however, when they are primarily provided as service to the University, and do not directly contribute to the education of the student in their assigned field of study. An example of unallowable activity would be working in an area or capacity which is not directly related to the student’s area of study. If the student is receiving supplemental pay during their tenured status as an NSF Graduate Fellow their salary admin plan should be Graduate Fellows and all of their pay should be charged to account 122700.

(Quoted from: NSF 11-050 and NSF 11-031 May 2011)

2. What is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)?

The aim of an REU Experience is to provide appropriate and valuable educational experiences for undergraduate students through research participation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specially designed for the purpose. REU projects feature high quality interaction of students with faculty and/or other research mentors and access to appropriate facilities and professional development opportunities. Active research experience is considered one of the most effective ways to attract talented undergraduates to and retain them in careers in science and engineering, including careers in teaching.

An REU is not a work for hire. The student is provided a stipend during the time they are part of the program without a work requirement. No hours should be tracked or recorded regarding the stipend paid to the student. The stipend for the REU is not wages/ salary and no employment tax or federal and Delaware income tax will be withheld. The stipend will not be processed through the UD HR/payroll department and will not be reported on an individual’s W-2 wages. REU stipends should be processed via a Request for Payment to Individual through the Procurement Office utilizing financial account 148100 REU SCH SUPT-US CITIZN/PERM RE and 148200 REU SCH SUPT-NON US CITIZN/PERM.

The REU stipend to the undergraduate student is classified as participant support. If you are a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident no taxes will be withheld nor will the UD report the stipend to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1099. The amount received by the undergraduate student may be considered taxable by the Internal Revenue Service. This will depend on whether the stipend is considered qualified or non-qualified scholarship/fellowship payments. This determination is made by the undergraduate student in conjunction with a his/ her tax advisor. If the undergraduate student is not a U.S. Citizen/permanent resident, taxes will be withheld when the stipend is paid and will be reported to the student and the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1042-S.

For additional information regarding National Science Foundation (NSF) funded REU processing please see Participant Support & Compensation procedure founds on Research Office website at http://www.udel.edu/research/pdf/PartSupCosts.pdf

Subcontract, Consultant or Vendor

1. How do I know when the service I require is a subcontract, a consultant or a PO to a vendor that I need in my budget?

To determine which type of service is required, evaluate the subtle differences between the three categories below. Your Contract and Grant Specialist can also help you determine the proper category.

Characteristics of a Subcontract are as follows:

Performs substantive programmatic work under a grant or contract.

Bears responsibility for programmatic decision making and measurable performance requirements.

Must adhere to Federal compliance requirements if the source is a Federal award.

Characteristics of a Vendor (PO) are as follows:

The procurement of goods or services from an organization which provides the goods and services to many different purchasers as part of its normal business operations within a competitive environment Not subject to the same compliance requirements as a subcontractor (if the source is a Federal award).

A consultant is an individual or company with the following characteristics:

Not an employee of your institution.

Proven professional or technical competence and provides this to your organization. Is not controlled with regard to the manner of performance or the result of the service. Considered a work for hire and does not retain any rights to the end product.

Please see additional information on sub vs. consult >>

2. What difference does it make to my budget whether it is a consultant, vendor or subcontract?

Subcontracts are charged overhead on the first $25,000 budgeted. The vendor or consultants are charged overhead for all expenses related to the work. It is helpful to get this distinction in your budgets at the time of proposal so that your budget need not be revised due to a change. These changes may require approval from the sponsor.

3. How do I initiate the subcontract once my award has been funded?

The Department prepares the requisition and attaches scope of work, budget and the completed Provider Category Determination Worksheet – (DOC format) to justify the subcontract to Procurement Services and the Research Office.

4. Why does it sometimes take so long to get my subcontracts once the award arrives at UD?

When all entities have worked together in the past, or when it is a University, it is usually quite swift. The delays can occur when it is an industrial contact that may be unfamiliar with our terms and conditions. Delays in the process should be discussed with your Contract and Grant Specialist.

5. I just got an invoice from the sub-contract recipient. What do I do?

The Principal Investigator is responsible for evaluating the merits of the invoice and determining whether the work has indeed been performed as noted. The invoices should include a summary of expenses by category, dollar amount, date of services provided, and subgrant #. The invoices are not paid until the PI has signed and approved the payment and availability of funds have been verified.

6. How do I initiate a Consulting Agreement?

You must complete and route for signature, a University of Delaware Contractual Agreement for Consulting Services form. The form may be obtained from the Research Office. Consulting agreements greater than $25,000 must be accompanied by a Debarment Statement signed by the Consultant.

Project Management

Allowability of costs


1. Are meals that do not include travel allowable on a grant or contract?

Please see the attached document regarding the allowability of meals (non-travel) on grants and contracts.

Allowability of Fees

1. Are International transaction fees an allowable expense to a grant?

International transaction fees are deemed a travel expense, and are an allowable expense to a grant.

2. May the processing and filing fees for an H1-B visa be charged to a sponsored award?

Department of labor regulations viewed any costs associated with processing and filing of the H1-B application had to be covered by the hiring department. If paid by the employee it was seen as an “unauthorized deduction” from the employee’s salary. As there is nothing specific in OMB CircularA-21 Cost Principles for Institutions of Higher Education, the sponsor terms and conditions per grant/contract/cooperative agreement prevail. For example, NIH allows the fees as a recruitment cost while NSF does not allow the costs unless preapproval is obtained from the NSF Grants Officer. In the event the individual is named in the proposal, prior approval by the NSF Grants Officer is not required. To date, no other federal sponsors have provided specific guidance regarding these costs. The expectation is that the individual for whom the fees are paid should be paid 100% on the award to which the fees were charged for the duration of their employment at the University of Delaware. The Premium Processing fee is not allowable on any federal award.

Automated Closeout Report (ACR)

1. Who is authorized to generate an Interim Report?

Anyone who has access to view the purpose.

2. Who is authorized to generate an Automated Closeout Report?

The Sponsored Research Accountants.

3. Who initially receives a Closeout Report?

The person identified as the research administrator in the grants system. The PI and the Grant and Contract Specialist are also copied on the communication.

4. Who is authorized to view or work on a Closeout Report?

Anyone who has access to view the purpose.

5. Who is authorized to receive a forwarded Closeout Report?

Anyone who has access to view the purpose.

6. Who receives the Closeout Reports for multi-project awards with multiple departments (multiple projects)?

The research administrator for the lead PI will receive all of the Closeout Reports. That person forwards the reports to the other research administrators for completion. A comment should be added to return the completed report to you, the lead administrator, for final review of project management and oversight prior to submitting to the Office of Sponsored Programs.

7. What if only one or some of the projects on a multi-project award need to be closed?

Contact a Sponsored Research Accountant and ask for an ACR to be created for just the projects which need to be closed

8. Who do I contact with questions about the Closeout Report, or for assistance with technical difficulties?

The Sponsored Research Accountants. Please do not contact your Contract & Grant Specialist; they have view-only access to the Closeout Report.

9. I can' find my Closeout Report using the Search for Closeout Reports section, what's wrong?

The search boxes are extremely precise, any typos, extra spaces pasted in, etc. will result in the message “Your search returned no results. Select different criteria.” Using the lookup feature is more forgiving – it is not case sensitive, so you can just type the first few characters of the criteria. You can also use your notification email link to go directly to that specific Closeout Report.

10. I received an ACR but there is a no cost extension or renewal pending, what should I do?

Click on the “Yes” button to answer the first question on the form. Provide a status or explanation in the boxes that appear and submit the ACR.

11. I received an ACR for an already completed closeout, what should I do?

If there is nothing outstanding for the closeout, note the situation in the comments box at the bottom of the form and submit as completed.

12. When is the ACR due?

For most federal awards, final invoicing and final financial reporting is due to the sponsor no later than 90 days after the end date. Therefore, for most federal awards, the closeout review process should be completed by the department, including time for the Research Office review, no later than 60 days after the end date. This will help ensure all necessary financial transactions are recorded in the system prior to invoicing and final financial reporting. It will also prevent potential loss of funding.

For most other awards (including federal flow-through), the completed ACR should be returned to the Research Office in time to submit the final invoice on time, as determined by the terms of the agreement. The invoice could be due by 30, 60, or 90 days after the end date. Please refer to the award agreement and sponsor guidelines. Generally, closeout reviews (including both department and Research Office participation) are to be completed no later than 30 days before the final invoice due date. This will help ensure all necessary financial transactions are recorded in the system prior to invoicing.

13. Do I hold the ACR until the final technical report has been submitted?

No, the Office of Sponsored Programs should submit the financial reporting (including final invoice) to the sponsor on time, even if the final technical/progress report will be submitted at a later date. Please indicate the anticipated submission plans on the ACR. Once the Sponsored Research Accountant has completed the financial review, the ACR will be returned to the Department Administrator so that documentation for the final technical report can be added.

14. What happens when I click on the submit button at the end of the form in the routing and authorization section?

If you are submitting the completed form, it will automatically be sent to the Research Office. If a Sponsored Research Accountant is listed as the closeout contact, that person will receive an email notification indicating the form has been completed. If you are forwarding the form for someone else to work on, and have included that person’s email and any relevant comments, they will receive an email notification indicating the form is available to them.

15. When I use a lookup window to search, I only see 10 items listed from which to choose?

In the upper right corner of the lookup window you will see blue hypertext “11-20”, “21-30”, etc. Click on the numbers to see each page of ten items. To go back down the list, click on the numbers at the far left. The total number of search results appears directly above the list box.

16. The grant ended 7/31/10 and July F&A and fringes are showing up as “after the end date,” even though they are for the previous month?

Some F&A charges and fringe charges can show up on your ‘After end date’ section. This will happen when an award has reached its end date, and final F&A and fringe charges are calculated and recorded. Please ignore these items in your explanation.

17. I have a really long list of unallowable transactions, but I don’t think they are really unallowable?

The ACR is retrieving potential unallowable costs based on typical awards. It can’t retrieve unallowable costs based on each specific award, so there may even be transactions that are unallowable on your award, but aren’t on the ACR list. The list is for your convenience only, as a starting point for the review and analysis of expenses.

18. For subcontract activity, why does some activity listed not have a PO#?

This section will list expenses recorded to subaward accounts 153200 and 153300. If an expense was recorded from a source other than a payment from a PO (such as a Journal Voucher), a PO# number will not be listed. In the event an expense was recorded by a Journal Voucher, the Req# will be listed in lieu of the PO#.

19. Can the ACR be forwarded to non-university personnel, for example to have a subcontractor attach their final closeout documents?

No, only people with a University of Delaware email address can receive and work on an ACR. Documents and communications from a subcontractor or other non-UD personnel can be included on the ACR as an attachment.

20. If we are the contractor on someone’s grant is there any difference with regards to how the ACR should be processed?

No, when we are the subrecipient, it is handled like any other award.

21. What if I get an error message that my documentation file is too large to attach to the ACR?

For large quantities of backup, use the UD dropbox with this address: closeout-reports@UDel.Edu. Alternately, you could send hard copies via campus mail. Either way, please include a note in the comments field that you are sending the backup separately.

22. Does the ACR address all issues which need to be reviewed for closeout?

No, each award may have unique terms or issues that need individual attention. Please consult your award for special terms and conditions.

23. I need to update some sections of the ACR after it’s been submitted to the Research Office?

The Research Office may return the ACR for additional documentation, or the department can request it back for updates, as long as the closeout hasn’t been completed by the Research Office.

24. The forms look a little different from the last time I logged in?

Over time, the forms will be revised and enhanced, as needed by system requirements and as requested by users.

25. What do we do about after end date or unallowable charges that have already been removed?

If the summary or actual details net to zero, you do not need to do anything. If there are any outstanding JV’s, please provide the Req id(s) in the comments box.

26. Is there a specific naming convention for attachments?

No.

27. What evidence is needed for final report submission?

The Research Office needs to see proof that a report was sent (when and to whom). A copy of a cover letter or an email where the report is attached would be sufficient. An email from the sponsor, stating that all technical reporting requirements have been met would also be ok. If you are attaching an email, please be sure that the recipient or sender at the sponsor is clearly identified (an @gmail address with no signature block is not enough). For NSF and NIH awards, a statement that the PI has submitted the report is all that’s needed.

28. Can you cut and paste into the comment section(s)?

No.

29. What is the difference between a status of “Unsent” versus “New”?

When the ACR is first created, a status of “Unsent” allows Research Office to review the reports prior to actually pushing them out to the departments. Once checked, RO pushes the reports, which creates a status of “New”.

30. If the project/purpose has a “D” in the title can departments assume that the award/project is closed?

Yes, however you still have access/ability to review the closeout report for any newly added transactions that may need to be removed. The reports are being created based on award dates, not individual project end dates.

31. Can departments still access the report to later add proof of final technical report submission?

Once the Sponsored Research Accountant has completed the financial review, the ACR will be returned to the Department Administrator so that documentation for the final technical report can be added.

32. Does the department need to contact RO to have the report re-routed to them?

Yes. A Sponsored Research Accountant and/or the current form holder are the only ones who can re-route an existing ACR.

33. Can you provide more information on purpose project conflict section of the ACR?

Actual Purpose/Project discrepancies are rare. This section may retrieve cost share transactions that are tagged with the grant project id and have a departmental purpose. These are not true purpose/project discrepancies and can be ignored.

34. I entered a project id into the search screen and received no results. Why?

Use the lookup feature to ensure that the project id wasn’t entered incorrectly. If there is still nothing found, the ACR may not have been created yet by RO. Check with a Sponsored Research Accountant to have one created.

35. How do you retrieve an ACR, either one that’s new or one you have been working on?

You can always go directly to the relevant ACR from the email link you received when the ACR was forwarded to you. You can also search using a variety of criteria from the Search for Closeout Reports section. The criteria boxes on the Grants Project Closeout Report Menu screen require very precise data entry. They are case sensitive and the entry must be exact, with no extra spaces or misplaced digits or punctuation. The lookup feature for each section is much more user friendly, with more accurate results. The creation date search will be more useful to the Research Office, since the departments won’t necessarily be aware of when any given ACR was initiated.

Billing and Closeout

1. What is the difference between a cost reimbursable and fixed-priced contract?

Cost Reimbursable

A contract/grant for which the sponsor pays for the full costs incurred in the conduct of the work up to an agreed-upon amount. In a cost-reimbursement contract, the sponsor agrees to pay for all allowable costs incurred by the University in the process of doing the work or research up to an agreed upon maximum. If the project costs less to complete than the original amount budgeted, the sponsor is obligated to reimburse the University only up to the allowable costs of the project.

Fixed-Price Contracts

Unlike a cost-reimbursement contract, a fixed-price contract pays the University a fixed sum of money to provide a deliverable, service, or specified level of effort. A fixed-price contract for billing purposes disregards the actual costs incurred by the University to perform the contract. The University assumes the risk of over spending. If the project is completed with less spending than the contracted amount, the University can usually keep reasonable unexpended funds for unrestricted use. For this reason, sponsors may be interested in auditing the proposal of a fixed-price contract to look for unnecessary and overestimated costs. However, they may not typically audit the accounting records unless the contract is terminated early.

The billing term for a fixed-price contract usually includes pre-payment of a fixed amount, fixed quarterly payments, or payments in fixed amounts based on schedules such as milestones, tasks, or deliverables.

Occasionally, the terms of a contract may be inconsistent. For example, a contract is titled “fixed-price,” but the billing term is cost-reimbursement. This means that the University is not paid until the costs are incurred. Under such circumstances, the contract has to be treated as a cost-reimbursement contract. Both the proposal and the accounting records of such a contract may be subject to audit. It is always wise to consult the University of Delaware Research Office for a legal opinion when mixed terms are present in a fixed-price contract.

Note: The payment schedule is not an indication of the type of contract. The payment schedule on either of the contracts can be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or other.

Effort

1. How do I report cost-shared (a.k.a. match) effort on a project if the funding source has its own project ID?

If the purpose code for the match source, itself, is a sponsored project, you cannot tag match transactions in the usual way because there is already a value in the project ID field. To document cost-share provided by another sponsored project, note the amount and source in the comments field of the appropriate effort reports.

2. Can I send a carbon copy of the form to another administrator?

Yes, the system will allow effort administrators to route a copy to another administrator for their viewing needs, once the form is in completed status.

3. What is IBS?

BS is the Institutional Base Salary. It equals the total amount of compensation from the University to the employee in a year. The accounts included in the UD IBS total are as follows:

  1. [120200 - 120299]
  2. [120300 - 120399]
  3. [120800 - 120899]
  4. [121000 - 121099]
  5. [121100 - 121199]
  6. [121200 - 121299]
  7. [121300 - 121399]
  8. [121600 - 121699]
  9. [121700 - 121799]
  10. [121800 - 121899]
  11. [122300 - 122399]
  12. [122500 - 122599]
  13. [122600 - 122699]
  14. [122700 - 122799]
  15. [123000 - 123099]
  16. [123600 - 123699]
  17. [126900 - 126999]

Other accounts will not be included in the effort analysis.

4. How does routing really work?

See the flow chart downloaded hereword document- for a full explanation of how routing works in the effort certification process.

5. How do I revise an old (Paper SAR) Effort Certification?

Cost transfers for periods originally certified on the old (paper) SAR system, must be revised on the old paper forms. Write 'REVISED' at the top of the report. Draw a line through the previously reported percentages and write the new numbers next to those. Send these to the Research Office for filing. Journals for this salary activity are permitted on the web form journal vouchers for effort prior to 9/1/04. When doing JVs for salary prior to 9/1/04, indicate in the explanation that the corresponding SAR has been revised. Any activity certified in the web-enabled effort certification system must be updated, adjusted or revised in the originating system.

6. Is effort reporting really that important?

Yes! Effort reporting is a Federal requirement for institutions which receive Federal funding. The funding agencies take this reporting very seriously and expect it to be accurate and to be performed according to policy. Failure to comply could have serious legal consequences for principal investigators and financial consequences for the University as a whole.

7. What kind of effort must be reported?

Any and all time spent performing the types of work for which the University pays a person. This includes time spent doing administrative tasks, instruction, public service, sponsored research and non-sponsored (department-funded) research, and any other work which is considered part of your responsibility to the University. It includes time spent outside of normal business hours.

8. What does the 5% tolerance level mean?

Distribution of reported effort must be corrected before certification if the percentages noted are not close enough to what they should be. UD policy defines ‘close enough’ as +/- five percentage points. (Ex: if the effort provided by the employee during the period was 20% on a given project, then any value between 15% and 25% is acceptable for certification of that project’s effort.)

9. Wasn’t the tolerance level 25% at some point?

No. You may be confusing report accuracy with changes in committed effort. Depending on a sponsor’s guidelines, they may allow a PI to reduce an effort commitment by up to 25%. This is a revision of budgeted effort – either sponsor-funded or cost-shared effort. Ex: A PI commits a 15% level of effort on his project. 25% of 15% is 4%, so the PI may be allowed to revise his effort by 4 percentage points without prior approval. (i.e. he could go as low as 11% without written permission). This is a change in effort as budgeted only.

10. How do you calculate a month of summer salary?

Divide the full time annual rate by the number of months covered by the contract on the employee’s JED. Ex: If a faculty member has a 9 month contract for $50,000, then they would be paid $5,555.56 ($50K /9) for one month of summer salary. We equate 1 month of salary to 8.3% effort.

11. For a proposal, how do you calculate a dollar value for a committed effort percentage?

Open this Excel Effort worksheet for help with calculations."]

If the person is not on a 12 month contract, annualize their salary first. Find their monthly rate by dividing their salary by their contract length (in months), then multiply that value by 12. Next, multiply that value by the effort percentage. Ex: With a 9 month contract for $50K, the annualized rate is $50,000/9*12=$66,667. We’d assign the budget a value of $6,667 for a 10% level of committed effort..

12. Why do we annualize a salary to calculate a value for committed effort? Or, why do we equate one month to 8.3% effort?

While it is acceptable to provide effort above a committed amount, it is not acceptable to provide effort below the amount committed to a sponsor. The actual effort percentage provided is calculated based on the total amount of pay received. A faculty member’s total pay received will vary depending on the number of summer months worked, and as total pay increases, the effort value decreases, so it is safest to assume that a full 12 months of pay will be earned when committing to an effort value.

13. What are my responsibilities as an effort administrator?

  • You need to confirm the accuracy of the report based on the actual salary transactions in the financial system or by comparing it to internal records describing the appropriate allocation of the employee’s salary. (see next FAQ for advice)
  • You must obtain certification from the employee to verify the effort was provided as reported, or if the employee is not available, obtain suitable means of verification. (see FAQ below)
  • You are responsible for processing and completing any accounting transactions which may be required to correct the allocation of effort
  • You are responsible for achieving ‘complete’ status of the report within the 60 day limit.

14. How can I ensure that the data on the report is accurate?

There are queries available in the report instance of PeopleSoft. You can run a GMQ effort query or a GMQ salary transactions query to extract salary transactions from the financial system.

15. What if the person was paid from projects belonging to a different department?

Forward the report to other departments which provided funding, and ask them to confirm that their funding is reported correctly.

16. How can a report be completed if the employee is not available to certify his/her report?

If the employee has a status of ‘terminated’ in HR, the effort administrator for that employee may choose the action ‘certify for former employee’. In this case, the effort administrator must obtain suitable means of verification as to the effort provided.

17. What constitutes ‘suitable means of verification’?

Confirmation from someone who had first-hand knowledge of the employee’s distribution of work effort. (Ex: a supervisor or faculty advisor) This should be documented and retained in the department as backup in support of the action.

18. How can I verify effort made by someone I don’t even know?

By certifying an effort report as an effort administrator, you are agreeing that verification of the effort was made by someone who has this knowledge – either the employee or another person who worked with that employee. You are not claiming to have personal knowledge of the effort.

19. What if I need a report that is being held by someone else?

The Effort Manager and other staff members in the Research Office are able to re-route effort reports when requested.

20. What if the effort administrator role should be transferred to someone else?

Each department or unit has a single effort administrator assigned. Changes in assignment must be requested by contacting your department’s Contract and Grant Specialist in the Research Office.

21. Why doesn’t the status of the report change to ‘complete’ when I certify it?

There are several possibilities. If the employee has not been terminated, the employee must have certified the report. The person who is officially recorded as the department effort administrator must have certified the report. The system will not allow a report to complete if there are JVs still in progress. The ‘send to’ box must be empty for final submission.

22. Why won’t the report allow me to choose ‘certify for former employee’?

The employee has not been officially terminated in HR. The HR liaison may need to process a termination JED. Once submitted to HR, it may take a couple of weeks before the HR system is updated with the new employee status.

23. Why can’t the employee certify their report after I’ve sent it to them?

f you’ve forwarded an effort report to the employee for certification, and they do not receive it or are otherwise not able to process it, there may be a problem with the way their email address is recorded centrally. Contact effortcert@udel.edu for assistance.

24. Why does this report show negative effort?

Negative effort is a logical impossibility. A negative value for a particular project indicates the need for a correction in the allocation of salary transactions. Review any JVs referenced on the effort report for accuracy. There will almost always be a problem with a credit line on a JV – ex: wrong project credited, wrong effort period on the JV, or the credit value is too high. A JV will need to be done to correct the error. A second possible cause is a salary reimbursement posted after the effort period in which the payments were made.

25. What if I need to transfer salary charges belonging to an effort period which has already had its reporting completed?

If you have a really good reason for needing to revise an effort report which was already certified, get permission from your contract and grant specialist in the Research Office, and forward your request to effortcert@udel.edu. The certification process will need to be repeated after the revision is made.

26. Why doesn’t the group status say ‘complete’ if all its reports do say ‘complete’?

You may have received just a subset of reports from a particular group. That group could contain incomplete reports which you do not see.

27. Must a PI report effort during a no-cost extension period for a grant?

Sponsors expect that the original award terms and conditions extend throughout the project period, including a no-cost extension (NCE) period. This would include commitments of effort for the Principal Investigator and other key personnel. That position has been voiced by federal grants officials in various settings and in response to specific questions about no-cost extensions. In addition, the January 2001 clarification to OMB Circular A-21 states that some effort should be provided by PIs on research awards; there is no exception for awards that are in no-cost extension periods. "]

However, there is also the realization by federal agencies that PI effort may be reduced during no-cost extensions as the project is winding down, or additional time is needed for data analysis. While this is not considered a change in scope, it is necessary to have approval from the sponsor of this decrease in effort to avoid discrepancies with current and pending support statements, effort certification or issues of research overlap."]

K awards present a particular case as they generally carry the requirement for a 75% commitment of total professional effort. A reduction below 50% for a no-cost extension requires sponsor approval. The PI may, however, request that the sponsor approve eliminating or reducing the cost share during the no-cost extension process. While the University may approve the no-cost extension, the reduction of effort must be granted by the sponsor."]

For Grantee approved no-cost extensions, the University may approve the extension period but cannot approve a reduction in effort.

28. What if a PI does not spend summer salary which was budgeted for him/her?

The amount of effort which was budgeted to be paid by the sponsor must still be met whether or not the sponsor pays for it. If unspent, the budgeted effort must be met as cost-share any time during the budget year.

29. What if a salary payment is made in an effort reporting period after the period in which it was earned?

If any type of retroactive salary payment or refund occurs after the effort period in which it belongs, the department is responsible for notifying the Effort Manager that a correction must be made to the effort report. This must be done prior to certifying the effort report. Typically, a certification which is already complete should NOT be revised and there must be a compelling reason to do so. Examples include s-contracts for faculty summer salary which are processed after August 31, retroactive JED payments/increases, and refunds of salary overpayments.

30. What queries can help me as an Effort Administrator?

GMQ_TRANSACTIONS_SALARY is a query in the financial reporting system (FIRPT) which accepts various search criteria to report transactions (both from payroll or JVs) from the general ledger in a format specifically relevant to salary transactions. This query requires a set range of transaction dates."]

GMQ_EFFORT_0XX_SALARY finds salary transactions (again including JVs) relevant to a single effort reporting period. The resulting data should match the figures reported on the effort report."]

GMQ_EFFORT_CURRENT_BY_PI can be used to search for a particular PI's effort commitments for active awards."]

GMQ_EFFORT_PROPOSED_BY_PI can be used to find a PI's effort commitments made in grant proposals.

31. How does the NIH salary cap affect budgeting and effort reporting?

Check for the current NIH salary cap at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm. Open this Excel salary cap worksheet for help with calculations."]

Faculty whose salary rates exceed the NIH salary cap must record the difference between their total amount of effort committed and the amount that is chargeable to NIH. This portion of their effort which is valued above the NIH salary cap must be tracked in the financial system by adding the award’s project to salary transactions paid by the University. The mechanism is the same as it is for recording cost-share, but this pay is not considered cost-share because it is an unallowable cost to the award. "]

Any time a PI who is over the salary cap commits effort on an NIH project, at least part of it must be met by attaching the project to part of his/her University-paid salary. "]

Example #1: Dr. X has an annual (12 month) salary of $200,000, or $16,667 per month. The current NIH salary cap is $196,700, or $16,392 per month, so $275 of his monthly rate is above the cap. If he commits one month of effort to an NIH grant, that would be equivalent to $16,667. He could charge a maximum of $16,392 to the grant, but the additional $275 must also be tracked as effort provided to the grant. Otherwise, his reported effort will not meet his commitment of one full month of effort. The $275 difference must either be charged to a discretionary account or reflected as part of his standard salary dollars on the 1book. In either case, the NIH project must be identified in $275 worth of salary transactions which are not charged to the grant. "]

Example #2: Dr. Z has a 9 month appointment with a full-time annual rate of $150,000. His salary is above the NIH salary cap of $196,700. To compare his full time annual rate for a 9 month appointment to the NIH annual salary cap, you must calculate his monthly rate and compare it to the NIH monthly cap. His monthly rate = $150,000/9, which is $16,667. The NIH salary cap is $16,392 per month ($196,700/12), so he is over the cap. If Dr. Z provides half a month of effort to the grant, this would be equivalent to $8,333 of his pay. This dollar amount is below the NIH monthly rate cap, but the full amount still may not be charged to the grant. $16,392 is a monthly rate cap, not a monthly pay cap. The NIH pay cap for half a month would be $8,196 ($196,700/24), so he may charge a maximum of $8,196 to the grant for half a month of effort. Again, the amount over the cap (8,333-8,196=$137) must be recorded as effort on another funding source.

Travel: Fly America Act

The Fly America Act requires that all federally funded travel be on a US flag carrier or US flag carrier service provided under a code-share agreement. This applies to all aspects of the travel. http://www.udel.edu/research/pdf/fly-america-act.pdf

Fly America

1. When should the Fly America waiver checklist be completed?

If an exception to the restrictions of the Act is requested, the individual must complete the Fly America Waiver Checklist, it is expected that the checklist will be completed before the flight is booked. For audit purposes, the individual will need to complete the checklist and attach any required supporting documentation for each trip for which he/she used a foreign air carrier.http://www.udel.edu/research/pdf/fly-america-waiver-checklist.pdf

2. Where can I find the Fly America Waiver Checklist?

UD’s waiver checklist is located on the Research Office web-site under Policies and Forms. It can also be directly accessed from here:https://www1.udel.edu/research/pdf/fly-america-waiver-checklist.pdf

3. What supporting documentation is required to support the Fly America waiver checklist when a non- US air carrier is used during travel?

A copy of the itinerary and board passes along with supporting documentation as identified on the Checklist that is needed for a particular waiver of the restrictions of the Fly America Act.

4. What if the Waiver Checklist wasn’t completed prior to the travel?

When it is identified that federal, or federal flow through funds were used for travel that did not adhere to the Fly America Act requirements, the following actions will be required before the waiver request is submitted for approval: Complete the Fly America Waiver Checklist which can be found on the Research Office web-site under Policies and Forms and attach copies of the itinerary and boarding passes.

Provide supporting documentation identifying that there were no US flag carriers that provided service to the travel destination. Sufficient supporting documentation would include a print screen (copy) of the Egencia website identifying all available flag carriers that provide service to the travel destination. This information should be obtained as soon as it is known that travel occurred that did not comply with the Fly America Act.

Although supporting documentation is required to be submitted with the waiver checklist, if it was NOT completed prior to travel there is no guarantee that it will be considered as sufficient documentation for the waiver.

5. If there are several ‘legs’ to the travel, do all ‘legs’ have to be compliant with Fly America?

Yes

6. What if there are several legs on a trip (example 4 different legs) and only two are charged to a sponsored project funded by federal funds?

You will need to provide documentation to show that the two legs charged to the sponsored project were compliant.

7. How do I know if a flight is code-shared and compliant with Fly America?

The Fly America Act permits flights on foreign air carriers when there is a code sharing arrangement. Code sharing occurs when one air carrier leases space on an aircraft of another airline. Under certain conditions a code-share flight on a foreign air carrier is considered the same as one operated by a U.S. air carrier and allowable under the Act.

  • U.S. Flag carrier chooses to lease seats on a Foreign carrier rather than fly U.S. Flag carrier – meets Fly America Act requirements
  • Entire ticket flight number issued on U.S. ticket stock validated under U.S. carrier name and code number
    • A process by which a ticket may be issued by one airline but flown by another, requires that the ticketing be by the U.S. Carrier. The “carrier” is defined by the airline designator noted on the ticket. Examples:

      • American flight 4332, shown as AA 4332 on the ticket, flown by British Airways, is considered a U.S. Carrier.
      • Japan Airways 324, shown on the ticket as JL 324, flown by American Airlines, is not considered a

        U.S. Carrier.

      • American flight 467, shown on the ticket as AA467, that happens to be the same plane as JL 324 above, is a U.S. Carrier.

8. Do I need to adhere to the Fly America Act or the Open Skies agreement if the travel on my sponsored project is funded with non-federal funds?

No. Federal travelers are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the “Fly America Act,” to use United States air carrier service for all air travel funded by the United States Government. Unless a term or condition of a specific nonfederal award stipulates the use of an American carrier, the traveler is not required to follow Fly America Act.

9. If there is a code share agreement between a foreign airline carrier and US airline carrier, does this mean that ALL flights are compliant under Fly America when traveling on the foreign airline carrier?

No. The supporting documentation (itinerary and boarding passes) would have to show verification that it was a code-shared flight that met the requirements of Fly America. At time of booking the travel, you can inform an agent that you are traveling on federal funds and your travel must be Fly America compliant.

10. What is not considered an exception to the Fly America Act?

Cost factor – Foreign ticket is less than U.S. flag air carrier May not be used solely based on the cost of ticket

Convenience – agency/traveler Must use U.S. flag air carrier service, unless traveler meets one of the exceptions or a matter of necessity

11. Does UD recognize travel to Canada as domestic travel?

No. UD recognizes travel to Canada as foreign and must comply with the Fly America Act.

12. Does the awarding of frequent flyer points or miles make my flight Fly America compliant?

No. The award of frequent flyer points or miles with a particular airline does not make the flight for which they were awarded Fly America compliant. The determination of a flight’s compliance is based upon the primary carrier status as noted by the ticketing codes of the flight; they are not based on mileage or points awards. Your airline ticket/e-ticket must show the proper US Flag Carrier codes.

13. If I use a foreign air carrier that is part of Star Alliance, am I compliant?

No. Frequent flyer agreements such as Star Alliance do not infer U.S. Carrier status on their members absent the utilization of a Code Shared flight with a U.S. designator.

Open Skies

1. When did UD adopt Open Skies as part of the University’s Travel Policy Number 3-7?

July 1, 2012

2. Where can I identify the countries included in the Open Skies agreement?

3. How do I know when additional countries have joined the European Union as part of the Open Skies agreement?

There is no official announcement when additional countries are added to the Eastern European (EU) agreement, or when existing countries are removed, as the countries that participate in the Eastern European agreement can change over time Travelers will need to visit the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website prior to traveling to determine if the destination country is a ‘member state’ of the EU agreement.

Please note: Travelers using Department of Defense (DOD) are not permitted to take advantage of Open Sky Agreements. Travelers using DOD funds must use an American carrier, unless they qualify for an exemption as noted in FTR 301‐10.135, sections (a), (d), (e), (f), and (g).

Regulatory Affairs

Export Regulations

1. What is an export?

An export is the shipment of items or data to a foreign country. It is also the electronic or verbal transmission of controlled information (phone, fax, email) to an individual in a foreign country. Provision of a service based on knowledge acquired in the U.S. is also an export.

2. What is a “Deemed Export”?

A deemed export is the disclosure of controlled information or technology to a foreign national within the U.S.

3. What are Export Controls?

Export Controls generally refer to the federal regulations governing the export of materials, data, technical information, services and financial transactions to foreign countries based on U.S. security interests. These regulations include the ITAR, the EAR and OFAC regulations.

4. What is the ITAR?

The ITAR (22 CFR 120-130) is implemented by the Department of State. These regulations are designed to cover materials and technologies whose primary purpose is considered to be military in nature. Materials covered under the ITAR are enumerated in the United States Munitions List. Export of defense services, defense articles and related technical data on the USML requires licensing from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).

5. What is the EAR?

The EAR (15 CFR 774) is implemented by the Bureau of Industry and Security in the U.S. Department of Commerce. These regulations apply to “dual use” technologies, i.e., items that have a civilian use, but which may also have a military use or which may be controlled for shipment because of national security concerns.

6. How does the EAR work?

Under the EAR, items and technologies are assigned an ECCN or Export Control Classification Number. This number is a five-digit alpha-numeric code that identifies the item and technology. Export controls depend on the item classification and the export destination (or home country in the event of a deemed export to a foreign national). In the case of a controlled export, it may be necessary to apply to BIS for an export license.

7. What are “Specially Designated Nationals” and restricted parties?

SDNs are nations, entities and individuals that are the subject of economic and trade sanctions under the OFAC. Restricted parties are those persons, nations and entities to whom exports are restricted; they may be specially designated nationals, but also include individuals and businesses who have been debarred by the Department of State or restricted by the Department of Commerce because of previous violation of the regulations.

8. Aren’t Universities exempt from the Export Control Regulations?

Both the ITAR and the EAR have clauses providing exemption from the licensing requirements for fundamental University Research. Information resulting from basic and applied research in science and engineering conducted at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. that is ordinarily published and broadly shared within the scientific community falls under this exemption.

It is important to note, however, that research will not be considered fundamental if: the University or its researchers accept other restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity, or if the research is funded by the U.S. government and specific access and dissemination controls protecting information resulting from the research are applicable.

Furthermore, participation of foreign nationals should not be restricted if the exemption is to apply.

9. What is a technology control plan?

A technology control plan is a formal plan that delineates how an Export Controlled research project will be conducted. It includes details about how the technology will be secured, who will have access to it and how the technology will be disposed of at the end of the project.

10. Where can I get training on Export Controls?

The Research Office is happy to provide training on Export Controls upon request. Additionally, the office will provide project specific training for new projects and personnel as required. Please contact Dr. Cordell Overby, Associate Deputy Provost for Research and Regulatory Affairs, for more information.

Additionally, view the UD online Training on Export Regulations or the BIS training sessions.

Foreign Nationals

1. May the processing and filing fees for an H1-B visa be charged to a sponsored award?

Department of labor regulations viewed any costs associated with processing and filing of the H1-B application had to be covered by the hiring department. If paid by the employee it was seen as an “unauthorized deduction” from the employee’s salary. As there is nothing specific in OMB CircularA-21 Cost Principles for Institutions of Higher Education, the sponsor terms and conditions per grant/contract/cooperative agreement prevail. For example, NIH allows the fees as a recruitment cost while NSF does not allow the costs unless preapproval is obtained from the NSF Grants Officer. In the event the individual is named in the proposal, prior approval by the NSF Grants Officer is not required. To date, no other federal sponsors have provided specific guidance regarding these costs. The expectation is that the individual for whom the fees are paid should be paid 100% on the award to which the fees were charged for the duration of their employment at the University of Delaware. The Premium Processing fee is not allowable on any federal award.

Training

Research training resources and opportunities abound at UD. We encourage you to visit our train page to sign up for our latest seminar or explore the resources available. 

Forms

We have forms available from across the campus collected under one roof that deal with research at UD. Discover what is one click away.

Policies / Procedures

Policies and procedures for conducting research at UD can be found here. Explore these resources to aid in your research success.
ASSISTANCE

Compliance Hotline
Phone: (302) 831-2792

UD Research Office
Phone: (302) 831-2136
Fax: (302) 831-2828

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