Submit a Proposal

responsibility matrixFind information in this section on how to appropriately submit your grant proposals, letters of intent/preliminary proposals, fellowships, contracts, and material transfer agreements through the University.

Begin here by reviewing the Responsibility Matrix (PDF) to see who is responsible for what during the proposal submission process.

Topics

Who Can Submit Your Proposal?

Who Can Sign Grants and Contracts?

Who Is an Authorized Representative?

Only an authorized representative can sign certain documents on behalf of the University. Grants and contracts are submitted and negotiated in the University's name; only those persons authorized to sign grants and contracts can provide a legal binding signature. Individual faculty and staff are not authorized to provide these signatures.

Approved Delegations of Authority to sign grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for the Chancellor and the President (this is who would sign your grant proposal submission, grant contract/agreement, and contracts with external sponsors):

Ms. Charna Howson, Director of Sponsored Programs
287 Rivers Street; PO Box 32174, Room 384
Boone, NC 28608-2174
Email: grants@appstate.edu
Phone: 828-262-7311
Fax: 828-262-2641


Approved Delegations of Authority to sign grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for the Chief Finance Officer (this is who would sign financial reports for your sponsored projects):

Ms. Amy Roberts, Director of Special Funds Accounting
B.B. Dougherty Administration Building; PO Box 32043
Boone, NC 28608-2043
Email: robertsaj@appstate.edu
Phone: 828-262-6419
Fax: 828-262-6472


If your proposal requires a letter of support from the Provost or the Chancellor, please contact the Interim Vice-Provost for Research, Dr. Ece Karatan, who will forward your request to the appropriate office.

When Can You Submit Your Proposal?

Your proposal may be submitted to the sponsor when:

Please note: If you submit a proposal before receiving all required internal approvals, the University reserves the right to withdraw the proposal or not accept an award if, upon review, the proposal is found to contain terms with which the University cannot comply.

Who Must Approve Your Proposal Before Submission

Required Approvals

Your proposal must be reviewed and approved prior to submission to the sponsor by the following via the AGrants system:

  • The head of your department/program**
  • The head of the unit to which your department/program reports
  • Both the department/program heads and unit heads of your on-campus co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs), if different from your own
  • Any department or unit on campus providing cost share for your project
  • Special Funds Accounting
  • Lastly, Sponsored Programs

**If you are the head of your department/program or unit, you will still need approval from two areas above you (i.e., for department chairs, your school/college and Academic Affairs).

Deadline

To allow Sponsored Programs adequate time for review and final approval, you must complete all required fields in AGrants, attach all final and complete proposal materials in the system, and obtain all required internal approvals no later than five business days before your sponsor's submission deadline.

Why Must You Obtain These Approvals?

  • Your proposal should be reviewed by your chair or department/program head and your dean or unit head so they are aware of:
    • Your research and scholarly/creative endeavors;
    • Your time commitments, especially during the academic year;
    • The impact the project may make in terms of personnel, class scheduling, space, etc.
    • Any commitments on their unit's part for space, personnelequipmentcost share, etc.
  • The same is true for your co-Principal investigators (co-PIs) and their departments/programs/units, of course.
  • Special Funds Accounting must review your proposal budget for accuracy and appropriateness. You and the University are responsible for carrying out what is included in the budget if the grant is funded, so your budget should meet all applicable policies and guidelines to be able to withstand an audit.
  • Sponsored Programs must review the entire proposal and all supporting documentation for accuracy and appropriateness. You and the University are responsible for carrying out what is included in the proposal if the grant is funded, so the entire proposal must meet all applicable policies and guidelines.
  • Sponsored Programs can also assist you with insuring you have complied with all the sponsor's requirements in terms of formatting, review criteria, supporting documentation, etc., if the proposal is submitted for review at least 14 business days in advance of the sponsor's deadline.

Please note: If you submit a proposal before receiving all required internal approvals, the University reserves the right to withdraw the proposal or not accept an award if, upon review, the proposal is found to contain terms with which the University cannot comply.

AGrants: Submitting Your Proposal for Internal Approvals

What is AGrants?

  • AGrants (also called RAMSeS, the name under which it was developed at UNC Chapel Hill) is the electronic system by which all proposals on campus will be routed for required internal approvals
  • AGrants replaces the old paper Internal Processing Forms (IPF) used in the past and allows for faster routing. 
  • AGrants has been implemented on all of the UNC system's campuses and will provide information that is comparable to all other universities in the system. 
  • AGrants is the official campus repository for all documents related to sponsored activities at Appalachian, both those that are submitted and those that are awarded. Sponsored Programs and Special Funds Accounting maintain the documents in AGrants after a proposal has been funded.

Log In

Log in to AGrants

Enter your campus username and password when prompted.

Questions About Using AGrants?

Deadline

To allow Sponsored Programs adequate time for review and final approval, you must complete all required fields in AGrants, attached all final and complete proposal materials in the system, and obtain all required approvals no later than five business days before your sponsor's submission deadline.

Training Sessions

See below for a description of the training sessions and a place to register for one. If there is no time that fits your schedule, but you have at least three people who would like a training session at a certain time, please contact Yingqi Wang at wangy5@appstate.edu or (828) 262-2165.

For Administrators: http://workshops.appstate.edu/detail.aspx?key=576

For PIs: http://workshops.appstate.edu/detail.aspx?key=602

Testing AGrants

If you would like to become familiar with AGrants without initiating an actual proposal, you may do so by logging into the AGrants test site.

Submitted proposals in the test site will not be routed to chairs, deans, or Sponsored Programs, but the site is a useful tool for learning the AGrants system.

Please note: The test site does not contain accurate or current data and cannot be relied on to produce accurate reports.

How Do You Submit Your Proposal?

Once you have obtained any required signatures from authorized representatives, received all required internal approvals of your proposal via the AGrants system, and received the message from that system telling you that your proposal has been approved, you may proceed with submission to the sponsor. How do you this?

Different sponsors have different submission methods, which will be outlined in the sponsor's guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals).

Sponsors' Electronic Submission Systems

Appalachian’s Proposal Routing and Award Management System: AGrants

  • AGrants is the system by which you route proposals for all required internal approvals prior to submission to the sponsor.

  • It is also the official campus repository for all documents related to sponsored activities at Appalachian, both those that are submitted and those that are awarded. Sponsored Programs and Special Funds Accounting maintain the documents in AGrants after a proposal has been funded.
  • Please note: You, or your contact person in Sponsored Programs, must still submit the proposal itself to the sponsor using the appropriate system/method mandated by the sponsor.

Sponsors’ Submission and Award Management Systems

  • Some sponsors use electronic submission systems which require you to either create an account for uploading and submitting proposal materials yourself (see below) or for an authorized research administrator to log in and submit your proposal on your and the University’s behalf (your contact person in Sponsored Programs will do this for you).
  • Some sponsors may have you submit a grant proposal through one system, such as Grants.gov, and then complete further requested information via their own site. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) do this; see below.
  • Some of these systems (such as Research.gov and eRA Commons) also contain post-award functions which allow you to submit interim and final reports.

Tips for submitting proposals via electronic submission systems yourself:

  • Read the program guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals) to find the URL of the sponsor's online submission system/website, what will be required, and when.
  • Usually, you will be required to set up an account with a username and password.
  • Start early! Log in, and become familiar with the site and the electronic forms well before your deadline.
  • Create a list of questions as you preview the site, and discuss them with the program officer.
  • Fill in any required information, and attach any required items such as project narrative, budgetbudget justification, letters of support, etc.
  • Either share your account and login information with your contact person in Sponsored Programs, so they can log in to review and insure the information you provided is accurate; or send that person screen shots of what you have completed, in addition to any required attachments. 
  • After submitting online, be sure to print the screen showing your submission was successful, and upload it to AGrants as confirmation.
  • Save and upload to AGrants any response you receive confirming that your proposal was received as well.

Systems used by multiple sponsors

Grants.gov

proposal Central application system

Systems used by specific sponsors

Submitting By Email, Postal Mail or Courier

Some sponsors, especially foundations and both non-profit and for-profit organizations, do not use electronic submission systems. Unless the sponsor requires it, you may submit your proposal yourself as outlined below—but only after receiving all required internal approvals of your proposal via the AGrants system and the message from that system telling you your proposal has been approved and that you may proceed with submission to the sponsor. Or, you may ask your contact person in Sponsored Programs to do this for you.

Email

  • Read the program guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals) to see to whom the email should be sent; what should be attached to it (such as project narrative, budgetbudget justification, letters of support, etc.) and in what format; and when.
  • Always save a copy of your email and upload it to AGrants as confirmation of your submission.
  • Save and upload to AGrants any response confirming that your email was received as well.

Postal Mail or Courier

  • Read the program guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals) to see to whom the proposal package should be addressed and sent; what should be included in it (such as project narrative, budgetbudget justification, letters of support, etc.) and in what format; and when.
  • Important: Be sure to check whether the deadline is a postmark deadline or a received-by deadline. If it is a received-by deadline, please plan accordingly to allow time for shipping, in addition to review by Sponsored Programs and all required internal approvals via AGrants.
  • Please note: Sponsored Programs cannot pay for commercial shipping such as UPS and FedEx or for overnight US postal service deliveries. Sponsored Programs will only mail materials first class via the US Postal Service using certified mail.
  • Always save a copy of both the proposal package and mailing/shipping label, and upload them to AGrants as confirmation of your submission.
  • Save and upload to AGrants any response confirming that your proposal was received as well.

Preparing Proposals for National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Contents

  1. What the NIH funds
  2. How to find funding opportunities
  3. Research award types
  4. Preparing NIH proposals
  5. Tips & reference materials
  6. NIH reporting

What the NIH funds

Basic, applied and translational research about:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Environmental health
  • Health disparities
  • Substance abuse
  • Communication disorders
  • Nursing
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and aging
  • Child health and human development

How to find funding opportunities

  • Search or browse all current funding opportunities.
  • New Announcements This Week and lists from past weeks.
  • Subscribe to funding announcements via e-mailRSS, or twitter.
  • About 80% of NIH grants are investigator-initiated, meaning that the PI submits a proposal after talking with a program officer, rather than submitting a proposal in response to a specific request for applications (RFA). Contact grs@appstate.edu if you would like to know more about how to send an investigator-initiated application.
  • Appalachian State PIs are eligible to apply for Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA R15), special grants for smaller institutions. AREA proposals have a higher success rate than most other NIH research grants, and AREA applicants compete only against applicants from other small institutions.

Research award types

Each grant announcement includes an Activity Code; these codes stand for different types of grants. R15, R03 or R21 are the research grants most likely to be pursued by smaller institutions like Appalachian:

  • R15: The Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA R15) is designed for universities that receive little NIH funding. Each AREA-funded project is limited to $300,000 in direct costs. Almost all NIH institutes and centers support R15 awards.
  • R03: The NIH Small Grant Program funds short-term works such as pilot studies, feasibility studies, secondary analysis of existing data, development of new technology. These grants are usually limited to two years of funding and direct costs of <$50,000 per year.
  • R21: The NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Awards support early, conceptual stages of project development for exploratory, novel, or high risk/high reward studies. Projects are limited to two years and $275,000 in direct costs. No preliminary data is required in this mechanism.

Preparing NIH Proposals

Deadline Table

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm

The table shows standard due dates for competing applications (note that all AIDS and AIDS-related applications share the same deadlines regardless of activity code).

Parent Packages

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/parent_announcements.htm

Electronic grant applications must be submitted in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), and new packages are provided with each new FOA. NIH has developed standard Parent announcements, however, for use by applicants who wish to submit what were formerly termed investigator-initiated or 'unsolicited' applications. Apply using the electronic application package for your chosen mechanism listed in the table at the link above.

New feature - NIH Parent Application Packages: Find application packages pre-populated with Appalachian's institutional data for the following Parent announcements: R01R03R15, and R21 (PDF).

You may also find the following NIH Regional Seminar presentation helpful: "Interacting Electronically with NIH" (PDF, ASU login required).

Page Limits

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms_page_limits.htm

The standard page limits for most activity codes (award mechanism, i.e., R15 or R01) are listed at the link above. Please note the instructions contained in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) always supersede these standard page limits; therefore, be sure to check the FOA for exceptions.

PHS SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for Adobe Forms Version C Series

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424_RR_Guide_General_VerC.pdf (PDF)

You may also find the following NIH Regional Seminar presentation helpful: "Budget Building Blocks for Investigators" (ASU login required).

Conflict of Interest (COI)

The National Research Council (NRC) has published a lits of agencies that have officially adopted the Public Health Service (PHS) regulations of the Final Rule on COI in their award terms. The list can be found on the NRC webpage at: http://nrc59.nas.edu/pub/fcoi_agencies_phs_regs.html

You may also find the following NIH Regional Seminar presentation helpful: "Financial Conflict of Interest" (PDF, ASU login required).

Tips & Reference Materials

NIH Reporting 

  • Reporting for Multi-Year Funded (MYF) awards
    • To prepare a report, please click http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/myf.htm
    • To submit an MYF progress report, you must:
      • Log into eRA Commons
      • Click on "Status" in the top blue navigations bar.
      • Select the link, "List of Applications/Grants."
      • Find your award number.
      • Click on the "MYPR" hyperlink.
      • Upload a PDF copy of the progress report.
      • Forward to your institution's Signing Official (SO) in Sponsored Programs.
    • The SO then logs into the eRA Commons and forwards the report to NIH.
  • Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/index.htm

Submitting Letters of Intent and Preliminary Proposals

Letters of intent and internal approvals

Sometimes sponsors require applicants to submit a letter of intent (may also be called a preliminary proposal or pre-proposal) in order to be eligible to apply for a program. Letters of intent which commit specific University resources such as personnel or space, or which request funding for specific project costs, are official requests for external funding. As such they must receive all required internal approvals via AGrants prior to submission to the sponsor—just like a full grant proposal.

NSF Letters of Intent

When letters of intent or pre-proposals are required by the National Science Foundation (NSF), they must be submitted through its electronic submission system, Fastlane, by an Authorized Research Administrator. To do this, you will need to: 

When Sponsors Limit Proposals from An Institution

Limited submissions are programs or sponsors that restrict the number of proposals Appalachian can submit each year. If we submit more proposals than a program allows, the sponsor can reject all proposals from our university without review. If you are interested in a program that limits submissions, see the Limited Submissions section of the Grants Resources & Services website.

Negotiating Contracts

The Basics

  • Besides grants, you may submit proposals for contractual arrangements for external funding.
  • A contract is a legally binding document that serves as a procurement mechanism to acquire property or services for direct benefit or use of the sponsor; they entail specific obligations and define specific details of the legal relationship between both the sponsor and recipient.
  • Contracts are a more restrictive mechanism for securing services than grants and may specify penalties for non-performance.
  • Contracts may be awarded for research, assessment, specific work performance, instruction, training, and/or similar activities.

Routing Proposals for Contracts

  • You will need to work with your contact person in Sponsored Programs to develop a scope of work and budget to submit to the sponsor via its sponsored programs/grants and contracts office.
  • You will need to route the proposed scope of work and budget for all required approvals through AGrants prior to submission to your sponsor—just as you would a grant proposal.
  • When you receive a contract from a sponsor for a signature(s), Sponsored Programs will review the terms and conditions. Sponsored Programs will negotiate any problematic or unacceptable clauses or language with the sponsor.
  • The contract will be awarded on campus once it is fully executed (i.e., once all required signatures by both parties have been secured). Click here to see who has the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University.
  • Negotiating contracts can be time-consuming and generally will take at least 5 to 10 business days to complete.
  • Depending on the type of contract or the scope of work, Sponsored Programs may request Appalachian's General Counsel to review and negotiate the contract on behalf of the University.

Proposal Submission Checklist

Generally, proposals include items such as a cover sheet; abstract or project summary; project narrative/project description; biographical information on key personnel; budget and budget justification; letters of commitment and/or support; and required federal forms.  Additionally, before submission to the sponsor, certifications from all project personnel and all required internal approvals must be completed via AGrants

Download

Download a detailed proposal checklist (DOC)

Note: All items on the checklist may or may not apply to your particular proposal. Always read and double-check the sponsor's guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals) for your individual submission!