COE Proposal Overview
The Grants & Funded Research office will release salary information of COE employees to anyone preparing a proposal only when the release of such information has been authorized by the individual.
Routing of Proposals:
Proposals for projects are submitted to sponsors for consideration for funding. Prior to submitting the proposal, the University requires that the proposal be reviewed and approved at the departmental, college, and university levels. To route a proposal through the University, the Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for submitting the following through the RAMSeS system:
After the Principal Investigator and department head have signed/routed the Proposal in RAMSeS, the documents listed above should be submitted to the Office of the Dean three to five days prior to the deadline. After College level approval has been obtained, the PI is responsible for final routing to obtain the VP for Research signatures at the Preaward Section of the Office of Sponsored Programs.
While the Principal Investigator is responsible for all project activity, the office of Sponsored Projects Administration is responsible for negotiating, writing, administering, and closing sponsored accounts, contracts, and subcontracts.
Contract & Grant Awards
Once the proposal has been reviewed and approved for award, the PI and University will be notified of the award. Some negotiation may be required prior to the actual award.
When the award is made, the Postaward Section of Sponsored Projects will create an account number. The fund accountant in Sponsored Projects will "load" the budget into RAMSeS based on the budget approved by the sponsor.
Hiring of personnel for the grant or contract must follow established policies and procedures. If an individual was named in the proposal, current policy allows a search to be waived.
Expenditures on a sponsored account should be a justifiable expense related to the scope and mission of the project. It is the responsibility of the PI to maintain backup documents for expenditures in the event of an audit.
Flexibility in moving funds amongst budget categories varies with sponsors. Consult with the sponsor, Deans Office, or fund accountant if there are questions.
Reconciliation Reports are due each month on the 15th.These financial reports are reviewed by the Associate Dean. The Senior Grant Manager in the Dean's Office gets these monthly reports from the PIs, Department Administrators or grant personnel. These reports should not be used in making financial reports to sponsors.
Sponsored Projects is responsible for preparing the financial reports, approved by PIs, for sponsors.
Contract & Grant Terms
Terms often associated with grants and contracts can be confusing. Some are listed below.
Buyout refers to grant funds "buying out" a portion of a faculty member's state-funded salary while the faculty works on the grant. The released state dollars are then used to hire someone to teach a class (or classes) from which the faculty member was released or "bought out."
Cost Sharing represents contributions from the institution toward a project. Typically cost sharing is required on training grants but not on research grants. Cost sharing should not be reflected in a proposal budget unless required by the sponsor.
Grant year refers to the period of the award and usually does not coincide the University fiscal year of July 1 through June 30. Contracts and grants may be awarded for multiple years or a single year. The award notice should specify the period of award.
No-cost extension allows a balance of funds to be expended to complete the project within a determined period of time. A no-cost extension should be requested prior to the expiration of a sponsored account. Requirements vary by sponsor. Any reporting of carry-forward funds to the sponsor must be approved by Sponsored Projects prior to submittal.
Carry-forward funds refer to the balance in funds remaining at the year-end expiration of a project. Approval to carry the funds forward to the next project year will depend on the sponsor. Such requests to the sponsor should be routed through Sponsored Projects.
Fixed-price contract refers to the sponsor awarding a fixed amount of money to complete a particular task. Generally if the task has been completed and a fund balance remains, the funds remain in the department.
Cost reimbursement refers to a type of contract when invoices are submitted periodically to the sponsor for reimbursement of actual expenses incurred in conjunction with the project.
Effort The percentage of total time (effort) worked on each grant/contract is to be reported. Report also percentage of time worked on other than grant/contract funds and indicate the budget code. It is very important that 100% of an individual's time be accounted for. This is a strict requirement of federally sponsored programs, as well as a number of state sponsored programs. Under the Plan-Confirmation method A-21 which requires that the distribution of salaries and wages of individuals applicable to sponsored agreements be based on budgeted, planned, or assigned work activity which is retroactively updated to reflect any significant changes in work distribution. A certification statement will be completed by the employee, principal investigator, or responsible official(s), using suitable means of verification that the work was performed as reported.
Most faculties who will be doing sponsored research receive an academic year (9-month; 0.75 FTE) salary, and not a 12-month contract. This allows faculty the option of requesting summer salary from other sources. You are allowed to add up to an additional 3 months (0.25 FTE) to your salary; sometimes portions of summer salary for the first one to two years are negotiated at hiring. Faculty frequently incorporate some summer salary into the budget of a research proposal to compensate themselves for their summer research effort on a project, in addition to effort they will be contributing during the academic calendar year (which is either covered by the award or cost shared by the institution). This paid summer salary is counted as faculty effort, so if you are requesting one month of summer salary on a project, by definition you are contributing 1/12th or 0.0833 FTE, in addition to any cost sharing you have defined.
Cost sharing (your research effort)
Effort reporting is increasingly important in this era of accountability. It is important that you match the level of effort you tell the sponsor you are spending on a project with your actual salary components. For example, suppose you tell the sponsor that you are spending three months per year (on average) on the project they are supporting, but you only ask for one month summer salary from the sponsor. Then when the award is made and a budget is established, you must report that two months of your academic year research EFT (paid for by your ECU salary) is cost-share. The University recommends that, if possible, you not cost share your academic year effort on sponsored projects and instead, ask the sponsor to reimburse ECU for this effort. ECU colleges have plans in place to share with PIs a significant portion of this salary savings.
Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment
All employees of the University should be aware of the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy. Outside obligations, financial interests, or other employment may be considered a conflict of interest or commitment.
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