Submitting a Proposal

University Research Administration (URA) formally submits proposals on behalf of the University for investigators, research projects, and units within the University. Faculty in the Social Sciences Division, excluding IMB and Economics faculty, can receive pre-award support from the Social Sciences Research Center (SSRC). IMB faculty would contact Anissha Warner – and Economics faculty would contact Sherry Manick – The Research Development (RD) team and pre-award staff work with faculty to prepare proposals and route them for appropriate sign-offs. URA gives the proposal a final review and provides institutional endorsement prior to submission to a potential sponsor.

Proposal applications being prepared by faculty members and their support staff must first be reviewed and approved at the department level.  This approval usually comes from the department Executive Administrator or Chairperson but may also include the SSD’s Dean’s Office depending on the scope of work being proposed. After these approvals have been properly captured, the proposal must be entered into the University AURA system in conjunction with SSRC staff.  Once the proposal is fully entered and all documentation uploaded in AURA, it is then forwarded to the URA Pre-Award Administrator to obtain institutional review, approval and endorsement for submission to the funding agency.

The URA Pre-Award Research Administrators assist researchers and departmental administrators with proposal development and/or submission. The URA Pre-Award Research Administrator is responsible for reviewing and approving budget accuracy, ensuring compliance with institutional and sponsor-specific rules and regulations, and transmitting applications and requests on behalf of the University to federal and non-federal sponsors when required.

Routing applies to proposals for which there is a sponsor deadline and to letters of intent, white papers, or other pre-proposal submissions that contain or propose institutional commitments to which the University will be expected to adhere (e.g. budgets, cost sharing, space renovations, acquisition of equipment/instruments), regardless of whether URA endorsement is needed at the time of submission.

Proposals (i.e. applications) normally include a detailed breakdown of the financial support being requested from a sponsor. A proposal budget is a best estimate of the costs requested to complete a project. Budgets should be prepared with as much detail as possible.

Projects costs are usually broken down into direct and indirect cost categories. Direct costs are those that can be directly attributable to a specific project. Indirect costs are those costs incurred by an institution for facilities and administration of sponsored projects that cannot be directly attributable to a specific project. Both are real costs that must be included in a budget.

F&A Rates

Budgets for applications to federal agencies must reflect the appropriate rates as established in the negotiated Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rate Agreement. Applications to non-federal entities should reflect appropriate rate.

Budget justification

Written explanations for the inclusion of items such as equipment purchases, travel, and subawards are normally required along with a formatted budget. Budget Justification pages should be as specific as possible. Specific products and potential vendors should be identified whenever possible.

Multi-year projects

Unless otherwise indicated in an agency’s guidelines, a proposal for a project that is expected to be funded for more than one year should include an itemized budget for each year. One should employ the same format for each year and prepare a cumulative summary budget for the entire proposed project period. The summary page should be in the same format as the annual budget, with all the costs combined.


Include the dates covered by each budget year at the top of each budget page.

To learn more about preparing a grant proposal, please contact your assigned Grant Specialist or the SSD Local Business Center at and the LBC Grant Specialist assigned to your accounts will get in touch with you within two business days.

Related links:

Social Sciences Research Center (SSRC) –
University Research Administration (URA) –