| Effective January
30, 2007 Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) will require principal
investigators (PIs) to deliver all Grants.gov proposals to SPA at
least five (5) working days prior to the sponsor's official published
submission deadline. PIs must deliver NIH R01 Research Project Grant
proposals to SPA by 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 30, 2007 to meet the
February 5, 2007 deadline. To calculate SPA's deadline based on the
sponsor's deadline, go to the 5-Day
All completed non-Grants.gov proposals must be submitted to SPA at least one (1) full working day prior to the sponsor's deadline. For example, if a proposal is due to the sponsor by 12 p.m., it must be submitted to SPA no later than 12 p.m. the previous working day. A proposal due at 5 p.m. is due to SPA no later than 5 p.m. the previous working day.
Why is SPA instituting a five day deadline
for Grants.gov submissions?
With the federal requirements to submit electronic
proposals through Grants.gov, more time will be needed to process
these proposals in order to meet sponsor deadlines and allow for
error checking at both Grants.gov and the federal agencies. SPA
will not be using the entire five day lead time to process Grants.gov
proposals but must process them such that there is time to allow
for repeated submissions of the same proposal due to proposal errors
or system delays and still meet the sponsor's deadline.
By law, the federal government must move all of
its grant applications to electronic processes by fall 2007. While
Grants.gov will be the receipting mechanism, each federal agency
will have its own unique mechanism to review for errors and allow
time to correct the final proposal prior to the deadline. On-time
submission of applications is dependent on the receipt of "clean"
proposals at Grants.gov by the federal agency deadline. "Clean"
proposals are those which are considered error-free according to
Grants.gov and agency validation rules. All of these processes will
require additional time to complete. In addition, SPA cannot continue
fulfilling its fiduciary and regulatory obligations to review these
proposals on behalf of the University, submit them with adequate
time to allow for sponsor system delays and correction of errors
before the required submission deadline. Last minute submissions
to SPA jeopardize the University's ability to submit proposals on
Beginning January 30, 2007, Grants.gov proposals
must be delivered to SPA at least five working days prior to the
Example of a sponsor submission deadline:
If your sponsor requires an electronically submitted proposal by
5 p.m. on Friday, you will need to submit the proposal to SPA by
9 a.m. on the preceding Monday. If you have questions about your
sponsor's receipt requirement, please contact SPA. Please also check
with your department about internal proposal processing deadlines.
Go to the 5-Day
Does the enforcement of the five day
deadline apply only to Grants.gov submissions?
Yes, for Grants.gov, the SPA deadline is five
days in advance of the agency submission date. For all other proposals,
it is at least one (1) full working day before the proposal must be submitted-either electronically
or by mail.
What documents must be delivered by
the new deadline?
SPA must receive a fully signed Proposal Routing
Form (PRF), all required sponsor forms and scientific/programmatic
narrative, budgets, justifications, and subaward documents, including
letters of intent.
Effective December 1, 2006, fully electronic proposals
can be sent to SPA at email@example.com.
For more information about electronic routing of proposals to SPA at: www.ospa.umn.edu/GrantGov/nonfederal_esystems.html or
see the announcement in the November 10, 2006 issue of the Research
News Online at http://www.research.umn.edu/communications/publications/rno/11-10-06.html.
Why does SPA need more time to process
proposals? Doesn't SPA just sign off on them?
No, SPA has a fiduciary responsibility to review
all proposals on behalf of the Board of Regents. SPA's review confirms
that all administrative and financial elements are accurate and
in accordance with sponsor guidelines. Specifically, SPA is required
- Review the budget;
- Review matching and cost sharing requirements and commitments;
- Ensure proper indirect costs calculations;
- Check the accuracy of administrative and institutional information;
- Ensure that all regulatory requirements have been satisfied;
- Make certain that proposed contract award language conforms
with University policies;
- Check that any potential conflicts of interest have been managed
- Evaluate potential export control issues; and
- Guarantee that all required representations and certifications
Given the volume of proposals processed for each
application deadline, SPA cannot continue to fulfill it obligations
on behalf of the University with limited time to process the proposals.
In addition, many of the sponsors with electronic
proposal processing allow time prior to the deadline to review the
proposal once it has been received and to correct errors for a limited
period of time. This means that added time will be needed in order
to take advantage of the error clearing process.
What constitutes an on-time proposal
delivery to SPA?
On-time proposal delivery is different for Grants.gov
proposals requiring electronic submission as opposed to other proposals
that must be mailed or submitted to the funding agency. The following
identify the requirements for each type of submission:
- Electronic submissions to Grants.gov: Starting January
30, 2007, to be considered on-time, proposals requiring electronic
submissions must be delivered to SPA at least 5 working days before
the proposal must be submitted to Grants.gov. See the How
to Apply page on the SPA Web site for details on how to get
your Grants.gov proposal to SPA. For example, if your NIH grant
is due to NIH on Thursday, it is due to SPA by 9 a.m. on the Friday
the week before.
- Other electronic submissions: To be considered on-time,
proposals requiring electronic submissions must be delivered to
SPA at least one (1) full working day before the proposal must be submitted to
the funding agency. See the How
to Apply page on the SPA Web site for details on how to get
your electronic proposal to SPA. For example, if your NSF grant
is due to NSF in Fastlane on Thursday 5 p.m., it is due to SPA by 5 p.m.
- Courier or mail submissions: To be considered on-time,
proposals requiring mailing must be delivered to SPA by 24 hours
before the proposal must be mailed. For example, if the proposal
is due to the sponsor on Friday, SPA needs to receive it by 5
p.m. on the previous Wednesday, to ship it by Thursday.
Local courier submissions are sent out by 10 a.m.
to local sponsors meaning that the proposal is due at SPA by 10
a.m. the day before.
What happens to Grants.gov proposals
delivered after the five day deadline or other proposals delivered
with less than 24 hours time?
All proposals that meet the deadline will be processed
first. Those that come in late due to extenuating circumstances
with a written explanation will receive priority after those that
meet the deadline. All other late submissions will be processed
last. SPA staff will do its best to submit tardy proposals but will
make no guarantees if there are subsequent errors or system delays.
What if there is an emergency situation
beyond the control of the principal investigator (PI) that delays
a timely submission of a proposal to SPA? Will SPA submit my proposal
if I miss the deadline?
SPA must be notified in writing of the circumstances
as soon as possible and the staff will do everything it can to process
your proposal on time.
I met the first proposal deadline, but
my sponsor wants revised budgets. Is there a deadline for this situation?
No, unless the sponsor gives a specific deadline.
If so, the revised budget must be delivered to SPA 24 hours before
the SPA needs to submit the revised budget to the funding agency.
If the revised budget must be delivered to the sponsor on Friday,
it must reach SPA by 5 p.m. on the preceding Wednesday for shipment
on Thursday. A PRF will be required if the revised budget differs
from the original budget by 25% or more.
What about proposal documents when the
University will issue a subaward? My sponsor does not require any
formal letter of intent or face page, just the budgets. What does
SPA require to be part of the final package?
At minimum, SPA will require either a letter of
intent signed by an authorized organizational representative of
the subawardee institution or in some cases a face page or signed
budget documents. It is the University's responsibility to ensure
that the collaborating institution is fully aware of the proposal.
What is the process at the time of proposal
when the University will be a subrecipient (subcontractor) on another
A fully signed PRF, a budget, a budget justification,
statement of work, and any other forms required by the prime sponsor
should be submitted to SPA. These documents are due at SPA following
the same deadlines as described above.
I am submitting a preproposal but the
sponsor requires a cover letter or signature from SPA (no budgets
at this time). Do I have to meet the deadline for this?
Yes. If SPA is required to provide signatures,
the preproposal and a "zero dollar" fully signed PRF is required
and must meet the new deadlines.
I am submitting an electronic proposal
directly to a sponsor. The sponsor does not require University endorsement.
Does the proposal still need to be sent to SPA?
By Regents' policy, all proposals to external
sponsors must be submitted by SPA. In addition, these proposals
must be reviewed by your department and college prior to their submission
to SPA. We follow this process to comply with Regents' policy to
and to minimize risk to the institution and ensure that the necessary
resources are available to conduct these proposed projects.
What if I want to mail the proposal
It is more convenient to have SPA transmit/ship
all proposals. However, if you want to mail your proposal, you may
pick it up for mailing after SPA has signed it. You need to ensure
that all other submission requirements are met.
How does SPA process an application
with a "target date"?
Applications with a "target date" will be processed
within two or three business days unless there are problems or there
is a large sponsor deadline.
The sponsor I am applying to has an
electronic system that allows or requires the PI to "push the button."
What is the process and deadline for this situation?
Regardless of the submission mechanism, proposals
requiring electronic submission must follow the same processing
rules as paper proposals; i.e., they must be routed through the
appropriate department/unit chair and dean's office, and approved
by SPA prior to submission to the sponsoring agency.
PIs should complete their electronic proposal
and route the PRF to SPA no later than 24 hours prior to scheduled
deadline to ensure adequate review by SPA and to avoid technical
delays not under SPA's control. Upon review and acceptance, SPA
will contact the PI by e-mail with approval to submit unless other
arrangements have been made. Earlier submission of other electronic
proposals to SPA is encouraged in order to avoid unforeseen delays.
Please note that some sponsors set deadlines
using Eastern Standard Time (EST).
I am an hour away from meeting the SPA
deadline and my PRF is "hung up" in the dean's office and no one
can help move it along. What do I do now?
SPA recommends that faculty and staff coordinate
with individuals on the routing chain to be available or to have
an assigned delegate to meet the published deadline. On the rare
occasions that this may happen, contact SPA.
What happens if there are system delays
Most federal agencies will not penalize you for
system issues at Grants.gov that are beyond their control. NIH has
stated specifically that PIs will not be penalized for a Grants.gov
or eRA Commons system problem.
For more information about research policies,
procedures, and guidelines:
Grants.gov Proposal Deadlines at Other Research
Thank you for your understanding, patience, and
cooperation as we work to improve services related to proposal submissions.
Please contact Pamela Webb, associate vice president for research,
at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions