Principal Investigator Handbook


Principal Investigator Handbook

Important Parts Located Elsewhere on the OSP Site:

  1. Sponsored Research Policies



a. Associate Vice Chancellor for Research

The Associate Vice Chancellor for Research serves as the chief academic research administrator of the University. Other responsibilities include representing the University in various consortia and committees, creating and distributing internal funds to support faculty in their scholarly/research endeavors, encouraging a better understanding of the relation between teaching, research, and other scholarly activities, and fostering the development of the growing research environment. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Research serves as an advocate and a resource for researchers on the UCCS campus. Contact the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.

b. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

The Office of Sponsored Programs supports the University community in their pursuit and management of externally sponsored projects. OSP is the key point of contact in the area of pre-award and non-financial post-award administration of sponsored research, instruction, and other activities. The Office of Sponsored Programs reports to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. Contact the OSP.

Services Provided:

§  Assist in locating funding opportunities.

§  Assist with proposals:

§  Obtain guidelines/applications;

§  Interpret guidelines;

§  Assistance with budgets;

§  Review/completion of required representations & certifications;

§  Processing for institutional approval and signature; and

§  Submit to Sponsor.

§  Route files to Technology Transfer Office as needed.

§  Review and negotiate awards with sponsors.

§  Coordinate with the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting for account set-up, post-award financial administration and project close-out.

§  Continue liaison with funding organization throughout project period.

§  Process requests for budget modifications, extensions, and other prior approval requests.

§  Track proposal/award data.

§  Coordinate compliance committees:

§  Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB);

§  Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC);

§  Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC);

§  Scientific Misconduct and Fraud;

§  Conflict of Interest; and

§  Restricted, Proprietary and Classified Research.

§  Conduct workshops on various sponsored programs topics.

§  Maintain contract/grant files.

c. Technology Transfer Office

Services offered by the Technology Transfer Office include processing invention disclosures from CU personnel, conducting inventor interviews, processing intellectual property contracts, such as confidential disclosure and materials transfer agreements, and educating faculty and students about patents, CU intellectual property issues, software policy, copyrights, and industry-sponsored research. Contact the Technology Transfer Office.

This office is responsible for:

§  Advising faculty on intellectual property issues.

§  Fostering inventor participation in the technology transfer program.

§  Educating campus researchers about the technology transfer process through newsletters, departmental presentations, and seminars by guest experts.

§  Soliciting and analyzing invention disclosures from faculty, students, and staff and recommending commercialization strategies.

§  Negotiating intellectual property language in sponsored research contracts, material transfer agreements, and confidential disclosure agreements.

§  Licensing CU Tangible Research Property for commercial use.

§  Licensing patents and copyrights for commercial use.

d. College/Departmental Administrators

The College/Departmental Research Administrator is the key point of contact in the area of pre- and post-award administration of sponsored research, instruction, and other activities. Contact your College/Department to locate your research administrator.

e. Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting

The Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting is the key point of contact for faculty in the area of post-award financial administration. The Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting reports to the Controller. Contact the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting.

Services Provided:

§  Coordinate with the Office of Sponsored Programs for account set-up, post-award administration, and project close-out.

§  Set-up project account in accordance with award notice.

§  Monitor expenditures as to allowablility, allocatability, and appropriateness; must hold up to Federal and State Audit.

§  Manage billing and receivable activities.

§  Prepare financial reports, as required.

§  Administer the personnel effort report system.

§  Coordinate cost share/match documentation for audit.

§  Assist PI!

§  Coordinate project close-out:

§  final financial reports;

§  final property reports;

§  final technical reports, and

§  final invention statements.



Visit The Office of Sponsored Programs Web page at //



Most grants, contracts, and other agreements from outside sources are "sponsored projects" and are administered through the Office of Sponsored Programs. A project is considered a "sponsored project" if it meets any one of the following criteria:

§  Award contains a detailed budget that must be approved by the sponsor. Modifications to the budget must be approved by the sponsor,

§  Unexpended funds must be returned to the sponsor,

§  Sponsor designates an employee as a technical monitor as opposed to a contact person to improve communications,

§  Payments made by the sponsor are required to be allocated to specific expenditures incurred to provide specific deliverables,

§  Payments are contingent upon programmatic or fiscal reporting (milestones),

§  Sponsor requires specific deliverables such as a detailed technical report of research results and methodologies, and/or a report of detailed expenditures,

§  Award contains intellectual property rights provisions,

§  Award restricts or monitors publications or use of results,

§  Award includes boilerplate terms and conditions imposed by the sponsor,

§  Award contains provisions to protect the sponsor and confidential information,

§  Award requires a matching or cost sharing commitment from the university,

§  Proposal involves the use of human subjects, animals, radioisotopes and radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, human body substances, etiologic agents or proprietary materials.

§  Agreement contains provisions for an audit by sponsor or on behalf of sponsor,

§  Testing or evaluation of proprietary products is involved,

§  Award is funded by resources from Federal, State, or local governments



A Gift/Donation is considered a "gift" if it meets the following criteria:

§  Award is a voluntary and irrevocable transfer of money or property.

§  Award may be unrestricted or restricted.

§  Donors may designate a specific academic area or other specific effort they wish to support.

§  Donors expect no direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation (goods or services) from the University in return for the gift or donation, except in the case of life income gift arrangements.

§  Gifts/Donations to the University for the University's ownership and benefit are generally considered to be gifts if the donations do not include any of the conditions defining a sponsored project and if the donor does not benefit by the donation.

Gift solicitation and receipt should be coordinated with the University of Colorado Foundation. The Foundation will accept the gift on behalf of the University and deposit the donation in a restricted gift account.





  • Read footnotes and acknowledgments. In reviewing literature on a topic, look at the footnotes to see who funded the project. The organization may have current funding opportunities.
  • Check your professional association newsletters. Often these sources announce grant competitions.
  • Discuss the project with colleagues. They may know sources of support.
  • Read the descriptions of grant announcements carefully. The announcements could suggest other "keyword" areas to pursue. Since guidelines are not always descriptive, contact the program officer/contact person at the agency to confirm that the program is the right match.
  • Talk to the program officer/contact person; they are there to help you. They want to receive quality proposals that are consistent with their priorities.
  • Don't ignore the announcement if a deadline has passed. Many programs have annual competitions.
  • Sign-up for the IRIS Alert Service (see below).
  • Call the Office of Sponsored Programs. (Visit //
  • Don't give up



There are a number of online resources available to assist you in your search for internal and external funding. Visit // to access some of these resources.





Individuals holding tenured and tenure-track faculty positions or having the title of Research Associate, Senior Research Associate, Assistant Research Professor, Associate Research Professor, or Research Professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator.

Other individuals may be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to serve as the Principal Investigator. To initiate a request, a recommendation is required from his/her academic unit, center, or institute taking responsibility for the project; and the dean(s), where appropriate. This approval is to be obtained prior to contacting OSP for proposal assistance. See PI Eligibility Policy at //




a. Proposal Routing and Approval Form:

The basic Proposal Routing Form is required for all proposal submissions. All proposals must have institutional approval before being submitted to the sponsoring organization. For special requests regarding cost sharing and facilities and administrative (F&A) (ICR) costs, addenda are required. For the most current form, please go to // or contact OSP.

Collaboration notes:

If UCCS is a subcontractor, the routing process is no different; the PI submits the basic Proposal Routing Form, indicating the organization (lead institution) to which UCCS will be a subcontractor and indicates the prime funding source. The subcontract proposal must also have institutional approval before being sent to the lead institution; allow plenty of time for the approval process, and for transmission to the lead institution well before the deadline date.

If UCCS is the lead institution, the UCCS PI needs to collect proposals from the collaborators, attach them to the full proposal, and incorporate the subcontract costs into the budget category "Contractual Costs." In collecting subcontracts to append to a proposal, the UCCS PI should make sure that each subcontract contains a specific statement of work or line of scientific inquiry, a related budget, required representations, certifications, and assurances (e.g., human subjects assurance,) and the signature of a person authorized by the subcontracting organization to commit the subcontractor.

For a further discussion of subcontracts, see Section K.

b. Additional Information:

§  Search Waiver: If an individual is significantly involved in the preparation of a proposal and you wish to hire this person when the proposal is funded, a search waiver request needs to be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Director of Affirmative Action at the time of proposal submission. The current Proposal Routing Form includes a Search Waiver Request Addendum and is available at Contact HR for more information-

§  Signatures: The principal investigator is responsible for obtaining signatures of the department chair, dean, and center/institute director, as appropriate. OSP will obtain the signature of the Senior Faculty Associate for Research, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Chancellor, as appropriate.


OSPRI would like to work with you early in the process. When you have determined the program you will be applying to, contact OSPRI. This gives OSPRI an opportunity to review the program/application guidelines and coordinate your proposal submission. FIVE BUSINESS DAYS IS REQUIRED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW. FAILURE TO MEET THE DEADLINE MAY JEOPARDIZE THE ON-TIME SUBMISSION OF THE PROPOSAL AND MAY RESULT IN AN INCOMPLETE REVIEW BY OSPRI. Proposals not meeting the deadline may be submitted to the Sponsor with conditional approval only. If subsequent review reveals that the proposal is incomplete or does not conform to Institutional or Sponsor requirements, the proposal may be withdrawn by OSPRI on behalf of UCCS.

Enforcement of our 5 business-day deadline: Please, pay attention to the deadlines and get your complete submission uploaded. Keep in mind, complete means you have uploaded the documents to the correct submission portal, that you've already had your budget reviewed and approved, and you have sent your signed UCCS routing form to OSPRI. 

OSPRI provides a targeted review. Proposal review will include only:

1. Budget Excel file, using the most current form of the budget template

2. Budget justification

3. Checking to ensure all required proposal components have been uploaded. You should plan on this being your final submission barring any major omissions we find. 

Of course, you may request that a particular part of your proposal be reviewed in full, and we will do our best to honor those requests as time allows. 

OSPRI will obtain necessary signatures for proposal submission, including representations and certifications, and submit the proposal in accordance with the sponsor's requirements. 



OSP will obtain signatures on behalf of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Authorized individuals are: the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. Principal investigators, deans, chairs, and others are not authorized to sign proposals, contracts, grants, licensing agreements, material transfer agreements, or any other legal document on behalf of UCCS.



Many agencies allow and, in some cases, require submittal of proposals electronically. OSP requires that a hard copy of your proposal be submitted with the Proposal Routing and Approval Form for review. No proposal may be submitted without an authorized official approval.


A preliminary proposal (sometimes called a white paper, letter proposal, pre-application, or concept paper) is a short (generally 2-5 pages) description of the proposed project. In most cases, it does not involve a commitment of university resources and does not include a total cost estimate or budget. It is not expected to result directly in an award. Usually, the purpose of a pre-proposal is to inform and interest the potential sponsor so that the sponsor requests a more detailed formal proposal.

Contact OSP  if:

§  an authorized signature is required

§  funding amounts are mentioned; or

§  a budget is included.

In many cases, although it's only a "ballpark" figure, the sponsoring agency may obtain approval to fund the program based upon this figure. Many times the sponsoring agency will put forth your preliminary proposal as an official proposal. Beware.


Sponsors may solicit formal proposals by publishing a specific program announcement. Researchers responding to the program announcement write the proposal to meet the sponsor's program guidelines

A response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) is one type of solicited proposal. Most RFP's have a stated deadline and are one-time solicitations for specific needs of the sponsor, not expected to recur. The proposed project must respond to the specific work statement in the RFP.

Solicited proposals are to be routed through OSP and the University administrative channels before submitting the proposal to the sponsor.


Unsolicited proposals are proposals submitted in response to a general area of interest expressed by the sponsoring organization. Many organizations publicize their areas of interest and their procedures for submitting an unsolicited proposal, which often have stated deadline dates. Unsolicited proposals are to be routed through OSP and the University administrative channels before submitting the proposal to the sponsor.


A competing renewal proposal (also called a competing continuation) is a request for continued funding of a project for which funding is about to terminate. Such proposals are similar to "new" proposals and are to be routed and approved in the same manner.

Non-competing continuation proposals, which request the next year's funding within a multi-year grant, generally consist of a progress report, budget, and other relevant materials such as research results, reprints, vitae for new personnel, etc. They sometimes include a financial status report indicating the unobligated balance for the current year. Read the application instructions carefully, as federal sponsors are eliminating some requirements in their efforts to reduce paperwork and streamline their processes.

Generally, sponsors require the signature of the institutional official on the application page of non-competing continuation proposals. Non-competing continuation proposals are to be routed through OSP and University administrative channels, even if a budget is not required. This is to ensure that appropriate university officials are informed of the current status and any changes from the original proposal before the institutional endorsement is provided. The four relevant questions are:

§  Has there been a change in the "other support" of key personnel since the last reporting period?

§  Will there be, in the next budget period, significant re-budgeting of funds and/or change in level of effort from what was originally approved for this project?

§  Has there been a change in status of conflict of interest or commitment since the last reporting period?

§  Has a significant change in direction occurred, or is one planned?


Occasionally, sponsors announce a program limiting the number of proposals that may be submitted by each institution. Faculty interested in submitting proposals to such a program are to send a one-page description of the proposed project and copy of their curriculum vitae to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, or designee. The major criterion for selecting proposals is the relevance to the program selection criteria and the potential for successfully competing in the sponsor's competitive process. Faculty whose pre-proposals are selected through the institutional pre-competition will prepare a complete application to submit to the sponsor.


When a sponsor wants to fund a proposed project at an amount different from that originally proposed, the sponsor will ask the investigator to submit a "revised" budget supporting the amount to be funded. A revised budget is to be routed through OSP and the University administrative channels to document the signatories' approval of the budget revisions. If the sponsor reduces the budget, the investigator must determine whether the originally proposed scope and objectives of the project can be met under the revised budget. If not, the investigator and sponsor must redefine the scope and objectives in writing before the University accepts the award.



Research: A systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

Human Subjects: Involving human beings, including observation of, collection of data through surveys, research on medical records, use of human tissue or fluids, etc.

a. Project Review and Approval

The proposed project must be reviewed and approved by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Institutional Review Board (IRB). Federal law requires this review and approval for protection of human research participants, providing assurance that all individuals involved in research will be treated ethically. A completed application must also be filed when resubmitting research related revisions to a granting agency and when submitting continuations involving changes or additions to the original research that affect procedures used in the research

All projects conducted by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs faculty, staff, and students that involve human subjects must be reviewed and approved prior to any involvement of human subjects. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

§  Projects with or without funding;

§  Projects on or off the campuses of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs;

§  All projects that involve an outside collaboration (i.e., information/data sharing and/or data gathering);

§  All applications being reviewed by an outside board;

§  Student projects including Honor Theses, Graduate Theses, and Dissertation Research;

§  Research utilizing surveys, interviews, oral history;

§  Program evaluations;

§  Questionnaires;

§  Retrospective data analysis;

§  Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior;

§  Focus groups, pilot studies; and

§  Projects that might be considered "Exempt" from ICB review require a determination of this exemption by the IRB.

Documents relating to the conduct of research using human subjects, including application form, may be found at the following Web site: //

Training for the Researcher

OSP recommends that researchers complete appropriate training on the protection of human subjects before conducting human subjects research. Training modules for conducting research with humans can be found at the following Web sites:




Note: Education on the protection of human research participants is required for investigators conducting research involving human subjects funded by NIH. UCCS utilizes training sponsored by the NIH. This training program may be accessed at: .
Contact us.


Any individual proposing to use animals is required to obtain approval from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). "Animal" is defined as "any live, vertebrate animal (e.g., traditional laboratory animals, farm animals, wildlife, and aquatic animals) used or intended for use in research, teaching, or testing." Prior to initiating newly funded or unfunded research, teaching, or testing involving animals, individuals must complete an application for review and approval and receive IACUC approval. A completed application must also be filed when resubmitting research related revisions to a granting agency and when submitting continuations involving changes or additions to the original research that affect procedures used in the research. Documents relating to the conduct of research using animals, including application form, may be found at the following Web site: //

Contact the OSP.


Any individual proposing to use recombinant DNA, microbial pathogens, human tissue or biohazards is required to obtain approval from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews all projects involving the use of recombinant DNA, microbial pathogens, human tissue, and biohazards to assure compliance with current guidelines from regulatory agencies. Principal investigators at UCCS who conduct experiments involving these materials must inform the Institutional Biosafety Committee as stipulated below.

Prior to initiating newly funded or unfunded research involving recombinant DNA or microbial pathogens, principal investigators must complete an application for review and approval and receive IBC approval. A completed application must also be filed when resubmitting research related revisions to a granting agency and when submitting continuations involving changes or additions to the original research that affect biosafety procedures used in the research. When submitting continuations without changes in the research, the original application on file will be used as a basis for signing the Proposal Routing Sheet. The IBC will review the proposed research as described in the application, and, if it is in compliance with federal, state, and local guidelines and regulations, the application will be approved and the principal investigator will be notified. If questions arise or revisions are needed, the principal investigator will be contacted.

Documents relating to the conduct of research using recombinant DNA, microbial pathogens, human tissue, and biohazards, including the application form, may be found at the following Web site: //

All faculty, staff and students are required to review the Lab Safety Manual and complete a Lab Safety examination prior to using any biohazards. Contact the OSP.

a. Recombinant DNA/Microbial Pathogens/Human Tissues

As part of the 1996 Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (PL 104-132), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule regarding the transfer of select biological agents that could be used in terrorist activities. Researchers who plan to ship or receive any of the listed agents must contact the IBC Chair and the Director of Risk Management so that the University is properly registered prior to shipment or receipt of the listed agent(s). A current list of select agents is available at

b. Hazardous Materials, Chemicals and General Biohazards

Hazardous materials are any chemical or biological agent that may cause a physical or health hazard to persons exposed to them. Use and disposal of hazardous materials are governed by many Federal, State, and local agencies. Regulations must be adhered to by all laboratory personnel.

Hazardous chemicals are defined as any chemicals that exhibit a physical or health hazard. Examples of such chemicals are flammable liquids and solids, corrosives, oxidizers, and any chemicals that are considered toxic such as heavy metals.

The term "biohazards" generally refers to carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and all microbiological agents. Examples of materials that fall into the biohazard classification are viral, bacterial, and fungal agents, and chemical toxins. Principal investigators proposing to conduct research involving biological agents or certain toxins must complete an application for review and approval as outlined above under Recombinant DNA/Microbial Pathogens/Human Tissues.

All laboratory personnel (employees, students, and volunteers) who manipulate chemicals/hazards must attend an OSHA mandated Laboratory Safety Training. Previous training at other institutions does not preclude any laboratory personnel from this requirement.

c. Radiological Hazards

Any proposed use of radiological materials must be approved by the Environmental Health & Safety Office and the personnel must complete necessary training.

Contact: Cynthia Norton,; x3212



Research projects requiring additional space and/or facilities will require that the Additional Space/Facilities Addendum Form be completed and approved. The Additional Space/Facilities Addendum Form is currently part of the Proposal Routing Form and is available from


Projects requiring curriculum changes or additions will require the development and approval of the requested changes. Approvals must be obtained by the respective chair and dean and the AVC-R. Approved requests should be obtained prior to the final submission of the proposal to the sponsor. The type of change being considered here should not include minor changes that are typically handled within the PI's department (curriculum and requirements committee), for example. But rather the changes considered should be more involved, such as those that should either lead to significant campus or college financial implications, or require System and/or Regent approvals.


CU policy and Federal regulations states that grant or contract funds may not be used to increase an individual's regular full-time salary during the academic year. This does not apply to summer salary for faculty on nine-month appointments. However, in unusual cases, charges for such work representing extra compensation above the base salary are allowable where; a) consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation; b) the work performed by the consultant is in addition to his regular departmental load; and c) the consulting arrangements are specifically provided for in the agreement or approved in writing by the sponsoring agency.

Any requests for additional compensation are to be approved prior to formal submission of the proposal to the sponsor. Required approvals include those of the appropriate chair and dean, and the AVC-R. Written approval from the sponsor must be obtained as well.



The UCCS negotiates its F&A costs, also know as indirect costs, with the Department of Health and Human Services. For the current rate, go to

F&A costs are those that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, but contribute to the ability of the University to support research projects and programs. Such costs are normally classified under the following categories:

§  depreciation and use allowances;

§  general administration and general expenses;

§  sponsored projects administration expenses;

§  operation and maintenance expenses;

§  library expenses;

§  departmental administration expenses; and

§  student administration and services.

In other words, F&A costs stem from providing research space and administering the activities, not from the actual performance of the activities under the sponsored agreement.


The UCCS F&A rate is applied to a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) base. The MTDC is your total direct cost amount minus costs (listed below) that are excluded.

To calculate F&A:

Total Direct Costs minus Exclusions = MTDC
MTDC x F&A % = F&A $

F&A does not charge on the following direct costs:

§  Equipment-defined as tangible nonexpendable personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit;

§  Capital expenditures;

§  Charges for patient care;

§  Tuition remission;

§  Rental costs of off-site facilities;

§  Scholarships;

§  Fellowships; and

§  Individual subcontracts in excess of $25,000 (F&A is charged on the first $25,000).


The negotiated F&A rate is required on all sponsored programs, whether they are from public or private sources. The only exception to this requirement is:

When the sponsoring organization has a formal written policy, consistently applied to all such awards, limiting the F&A cost rates or amounts. For example, it is not uncommon for a foundation/non-profit to limit F&A costs to 10% or less; the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health typically limit F&A costs to 8% on training grants.

Any other requests for an exception require negotiation with, and the written approval of, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designee.


A portion of the F&A costs recovered is allocated back to the colleges or departments to provide the infrastructure for additional contract and grant activity, as an investment in the continued ability of the departments to generate sponsored activities. These funds are used to enhance the sponsored activity environment. Examples include: funding pilot studies to obtain preliminary data that is needed prior to a formal proposal submission, travel to visit sponsoring organizations, equipment maintenance/purchase, and providing matching funds on specific programs.

To find the current UCCS policy regarding the allocation of indirect cost click here.



Fringe benefits are charged on salaries processed through UCCS payroll. Fringe benefits include costs such as FICA, dental, health and life insurance, and retirement. The rate is dependent upon the type of appointment. For current fringe rates go to //



a. Contact the Program Officer:

If you want to know what was happening five years ago, go to a textbook with a current year copyright.

If you want to know what was happening one year ago, go to a journal.

If you want to know what was happening two weeks ago, go to a conference and hear about works completed and in progress.

If you want to know what's going to happen, go to the program officer (their agencies are funding it).

The program officer provides a wealth of information. Although no two agencies operate in the same manner, it is to your benefit to explore possibilities with the program officer or contact person identified by the funding agency as soon as you have identified the agency you want to target -- start early. Each program officer may assist you in a different manner. Ask for information and assistance that seems reasonable, based upon your conversation. In many instances the program officer may:

§  tell you whether or not your proposed program fits within their guidelines/priorities;

§  provide information as to what they think the success may be, based on the idea;

§  provide feedback of draft proposals or concept papers;

§  recommend strategies, such as cutting back on costs, that may enhance the success probability;

§  provide copies of previously funded proposals for the competition you're applying under;

§  tell you how firm the dollar limit is;

§  tell you how proposals are reviewed and who reviews them;

§  tell you what the most common mistakes are;

§  give other valuable insights and recommendations; and

§  have a voice in determining what gets funded.

Use the information you obtain from the program officer to strengthen your proposal and enhance the success probability.

b. Follow the Guidelines

Many say there are three keys to a successful proposal: 1) read the guidelines, 2) read the guidelines, and 3) read the guidelines.

As you prepare your proposal, pay special attention to the guidelines and follow them closely. The guidelines specify who is eligible, areas that are eligible for funding, deadlines, contact person, and other key elements. Often, agencies restrict margins, type size, lines per vertical inch, appendices, and length. In addition, information regarding funding limits, format for the proposal, eligible budget line items, etc. are included in the guidelines.

Your proposal may be returned without review if you deviate from their guidelines. They mean what they say.

c. Have Others Review Your Proposal

Ask your colleagues, individuals who have served on review committees, those who have been successful in obtaining grants, and those who have received funding from the agency you're targeting (or others) to review your proposal and/or provide tips, insights, guidance and recommendations.

Use information you receive to strengthen your proposal.

d. Talk to People Who Have Been Successful

Ask successful investigators about their experience and insights. Ask reviewers for their advice. Ask them about their strategies, tips, suggestions, etc.

e. Review Successful Proposals

Obtain copies of successful proposals to the agency and program you're targeting. Review their format, style, budgeting strategies (if provided), how the plan is put together, etc.

How to get copies:

i) Program officers may provide copies of previously funded grants under the same or similar competition.

ii) Many federal agencies have abstracts of funded projects on the web; call investigators you identify and ask them for a copy of their proposal.

iii) Contact colleagues directly.

f. Other Sources

Several publications provide information and instruction on proposal submission/how to write a successful proposal.

Agency tips are available in some cases.

g. Check out UCCS Resources and Tools 

One of the ways the Office of Research helps drive success at UCCS, is by providing research resources. You can find resources, tools, templates, and a list of past and upcoming events and workshops aimed at enhancing research capacity and opportunity here


h. Start Early

Give yourself time to prepare the best proposal possible. You need to start early to have the opportunity to get input from program officers, colleagues, etc. This process can be on the order of a year in many cases.


Most funding agencies have specific requirements as to the preparation of a proposal, such as content, order, page limits, type size, etc. When there are specific requirements, it is crucial to follow those. Following are the potential components of a proposal:

a. Cover Letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce your proposal to the funding agency. It is important for you to make your cover letter brief and to the point. It should be typed on letterhead stationary. Items to include are: your organization's name, the title of the project, the name and number of the funding competition, if applicable, and a general introduction to the grant.

b. Proposal Cover

§  Project Title,

§  Your organization's name and date of submission.

c. Cover page

§  Project Title,

§  Sponsoring Agency,

§  Principal Investigator/Project Director name, title, address, phone number and email address,

§  Institutional Contact name, title, address, phone number and email address,

§  Budget Total,

§  Date of Submission,

§  Expected Starting and Ending Dates, and

§  Authorized Signature(s).

d. Abstract

The purpose of the abstract is to summarize the project proposal. The abstract should be no longer than 200 to 300 words in length and include at least one sentence on the following:

§  Need,

§  Objectives,

§  Methodology,

§  Evaluation, and

§  Dissemination techniques, if applicable.

It is important to stress the end product; and be brief, clear and interesting.

e. Table of Contents

The Table of Contents is to help a reviewer identify and locate the major components of the proposal. Identify the major components of the grant, and list any minor subheadings used to divide the proposal

f. Response to Funding Agency's Questions and Concerns

The purpose of this section is to show you have addressed the funding agency's questions and concerns expressed in the request for proposal. List the specific questions and concerns raised by the funding agency and identify page number(s) in the proposal on which these questions and concerns are addressed.

g. Research/Program Plan

The Research Plan should include information needed for evaluation of the project. The information contained in the Research Plan should allow for the evaluation without the need for any other document. The Research Plan will address:

§  What you intend to do;

§  Why the work is important;

§  What has already been done; and

§  How you are going to do the work.

The research plan includes specific aims, background & significance, preliminary results, research/program design and methods, and evaluation:

i. Specific Aims

In this section you will list the broad, long-term objectives and what the proposed project intends to accomplish. This is usually no more than one page.

ii. Background & Significance

In this section, briefly address the background that has led to the proposal being reviewed. Critically evaluate existing knowledge and identify gaps that the proposed project is intended to fill. State the importance of the project proposed by relating the specific aims to the broad, long-term objectives. Two to three pages are recommended.

iii. Preliminary Results

This section addresses preliminary studies pertinent to the proposal. This also helps to establish the experience and competence of the investigator to carry out the proposed project. Six to eight pages are recommended.

iv. Research/Program Design and Methods

Describe the design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of your project. Describe:

§  what will be done;

§  who will do it;

§  when will they do it

§  how will they do it; and

§  what resources will be used.

v. Evaluation

The purpose of this section is to relate how the results of each of the objectives will be documented and the outcomes of your project assessed. You should:

§  State how you'll know if the objectives have been accomplished;

§  Identify the purpose of the evaluation;

§  Indicate what type of information you will collect;

§  Note what specific instruments you'll use to collect this data;

§  Explain how the data will be collected;

§  Describe how the data will be analyzed;

§  State how the results will be reported;

§  Provide evaluation criteria for each objective;

§  Include both formative evaluation (as program is progressing) and summative evaluation (at end of program);

§  Identify who will be doing the valuation; and

§  State the criteria success.

h. Budget

The purpose of the Budget section is to identify the financial needs of the project. The budget becomes a restatement of the methods section in dollar terms.

Budgets items to consider in a research project are:

§  Salaries (anyone who is or will be employed by UCCS - see notes below);

§  Fringe Benefits (applies to all salaries);

§  Collaborations - Consultant or Subcontract (subaward)?: When investigators at different institutions want to work together on a sponsored project they must first decide how their project will be administered. Does it make sense to apply for individual project support, or should they all work together on a large contract with subcontracts? Will there be a lead institution overseeing the collaboration? Will some be paid as consultants? If the decision is to apply for one contract, which institution is to be the lead institution (also known as the prime contractor/ grantee)? The other investigators' institutions will be a collaborating institution, or subcontractor. The PI at the lead institution is responsible for preparing the final proposal, while investigators at the collaborating institutions must prepare subcontract proposals to be incorporated into the final proposal.

§  Consultants (are not employees of UCCS and do not supervise or train any UCCS employees): A consultant is an individual who provides professional or highly technical advice or assistance to the University, over which the University controls the results but not the manner in which the service is performed. A consulting agreement may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

§  The task is to be accomplished through the efforts of one person who is an established consultant, and

§  The task is singular in nature and is to be accomplished over a relatively short period of time;

§  Subcontractors: A subcontracting agreement may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

§  The work to be accomplished is a definite and identifiable segment of a project;

§  The statement of work encompasses a variety of activities; and

§  Periodic reports or other deliverables must be furnished in accordance with a schedule required by the University's prime contract or by the University.

§  Occasionally, a cooperative agreement will be appropriate. A cooperative agreement is a project in which the sponsor will have regular, continuing input regarding technical aspects and the plan of work.

·  Tuition for graduate students (see note below);

·  Supplies and Materials;

·  Equipment (individual units costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of 2 years or more);

·  Travel (foreign and domestic); and

·  F&A (indirect) costs.

Budgets items to consider in a training project are:

§  Tuition, and

§  Stipends for fellows.


Administrative and Clerical Salaries are normally not treated as a direct cost. However, direct charging of these costs may be appropriate where the nature of the work performed under a particular project requires an extensive amount of administrative or clerical support that is significantly greater than the routine level of such services provided by academic departments. See the policy on A-21 Treatment of Administrative and Clerical Salaries (// for further information and examples.

Search Waiver: If an individual is significantly involved in the preparation of a proposal, and you wish to hire this person as a Professional Research Assistant (PRA) when the proposal is funded, a search waiver request addendum form needs to be submitted at the time of proposal submission.

Tuition: Tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid as, or in lieu of, wages to students performing necessary work are allowable provided, (1) there is a bona fide employer-employee relationship between the student and UCCS for the work performed, (2) the tuition or other payments are reasonable compensation for the work performed and are conditioned explicitly upon the performance of necessary work, and (3) it is the practice to similarly compensate students in nonsponsored as well as sponsored activities.

i. Budget Narrative/Justification

The budget narrative/justification is a restatement of your budget in a narrative format. This is where you explain why you need what you asked for.

j. Biographical Sketches

Include biographical sketches or vitae for key personnel.

k. Other and Pending Support

In this section, you will indicate all sources of support for your research and proposals.

l. Resources and Environment

Describe the facilities available for use on the project. Include the facilities of performance sites also. Major items for use on the project should be included. Major items of equipment should be described and special technical support facilities, such as computing equipment, electronic shops, and reactor capabilities should be mentioned. This information will assist the evaluators in determining the capabilities of the organization.

m. Human Subjects

If your project involves human subjects, describe their involvement and characteristics; potential risks to subjects; assess the likelihood and seriousness to the subjects; how subjects will be protected against potential risks; potential benefits of the proposed project to the subjects and others; and knowledge to be gained.

n. Animals

If your project involves the use of animals, describe the proposed use; justify the use of animals, the choice of species, and the numbers to be used; provide information on the veterinary care of the animals involved; and the procedures for ensuring that discomfort, distress, pain and injury will be limited.

o. Literature Cited

List all references.

p. Letters of Support/Collaboration

Include supporting letters from performance sites, collaborators, administrators, etc.

q. Appendix

Appendices may include copies of instruments to be used, recent publications by the investigator(s), and other supporting materials.


Project Period Requested: 07-01-04 - 06-30-07

Principal Investigator(s):


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3


Senior Personnel

P.I. Smith @ 50%





Project Coordinator (Jones) @ 100 %





TOTAL, Senior Personnel Salaries






Other Personnel

Webmaster/Training (TBR)





TOTAL, Salaries of Other Personnel







Graduate Research Assistant





TOTAL, Salaries of Students












Fringe Benefits

Senior/Other Personnel (28%)





Students (8%)





TOTAL, Fringe Benefits

















TOTAL, Travel Costs







Materials and Supplies





Computer Software





TOTAL, Supplies












TOTAL, Contractual






Other Direct Costs (included in MTDC)

Consultants (evaluator, advisory board)










TOTAL, Other Direct Costs






F&A Exclusions






Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)





F&A @ 37.5% x MTDC






Total Direct Costs














Sponsored Project (Research) Agreement

A Sponsored Project (Research) Agreement (SPA or SRA) is a document that allows the university to accept outside sponsorship for research while maintaining some level of Intellectual Property rights. The OSP can negotiate modifications to SPA/SRA as suggested by the sponsor and as appropriate to the specific sponsored project activities contemplated.

Need for Sponsored Project Agreements

The academic mission of the University of Colorado requires that research be published in a timely manner. The university recognizes the need to protect newly acquired techniques, processes, and technology, yet it also considers it appropriate to provide sponsors advance copies of intended publications for review. The university also supports the need for certain limited delays of publication to give both industrial sponsors and the university adequate time to protect patent or other proprietary rights.

Patents and Other Intellectual Property

The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is responsible for ensuring that inventions and creative works mature from the research laboratory to the public marketplace. The program also stimulates the inventive genius of university faculty, students, and staff through economic and professional incentives and encourages further discovery by directing a portion of the university's license income to the laboratories and departments from which an invention or work originated.

The university personnel who conduct research leading to a patentable invention or copyrighted work usually do so in campus facilities built and supported with funds from the State of Colorado. In such cases, the university retains ownership of the intellectual property and makes it available for commercialization through licenses.

Agreement Terms

Questions about agreement terms should be directed to OSP. The contact information for those offices is as follows: Questions about intellectual property and patent rights should be directed to the Office of Technology Transfer (719) 255-3903.


For additional information regarding intellectual property, see



a. Principal Investigator Responsibilities

When an award is received, it is important for the principal investigator to review the award document to ensure the:

§  statement of work is correct,

§  funding is sufficient to complete the work required,

§  time period is correct, and

§  technical reporting schedule may be met.

Other terms and conditions of the award should also be reviewed by the principal investigator. Any questions or discrepancies are to be brought to the attention of OSP. See the Contract/Grant Approval form. If subcontracts are proposed, the PI is responsible for completing and forwarding the Request for Subcontracts form to OSP. See section K for more information on subcontracts.

See the Request for Subcontracts form.


b. OSP's Responsibilities

§  Coordinate review of the award documents for compliance with UCCS requirements, including intellectual property, publishing rights, financial reporting and payment provisions. If a signature on behalf of UCCS is required, OSP will coordinate this.

§  Route files to Tech Transfer Office as needed.

§  Review and negotiate awards in cooperation with the PI.

§  Coordinate with Sponsored Programs Accounting for account set-up.

§  Prepare and negotiate subcontracts, if any



When all required documents are in place, OSP forwards the award information to the Sponsored Programs Accounting, who initiates an account for the project in accordance with award notice.



If an account is required prior to receipt/completion of award documents, the principal investigator may request a pre-award set-up. This request includes the following:

§  Time period requested.

§  Dollar amount requested.

§  The account number to absorb any costs that are unrecoverable. Examples of situations in which costs could be unrecoverable include: the award is not received; the award time period is inconsistent with the pre-award period or costs incurred are not included in the approved budget. Note: this account may not be another sponsored program's account.

§  Signature of the authorized signatory for the account accepting responsibility for unrecoverable costs.

§  Signature of the department chair/dean.

This request is forwarded to OSP. OSP will coordinate UCCS administrative approval and forward to the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting when approved. See // for the Prior Approval Request Form.



§  Route files to Tech Transfer Office as needed.

§  Review and negotiate awards in cooperation with the PI.

§  Coordinate with Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting for account set-up.

§  Continue liaison with funding organization throughout project period.

§  Process requests for budget modifications, extensions, and other prior approval requests.


§  Set-up project account in accordance with award notice.

§  Monitor expenditures as to allowablility, allocatability, and appropriateness; expenditures must add up to Federal and State Audit.

§  Manage billing and receivable activities.

§  Prepare financial reports, as required.

§  Administer the personnel effort report system.

§  Coordinate project close-out.

§  Produce final financial reports, property reports and invention statements.


The PI may designate a Research Administrator. The Research Administrator is responsible for carrying out financial recording and other duties as designated by the PI including the recording of financial transactions in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and University/Campus policies:

§  Maintain budgets showing anticipated revenues and/or expenditures to assess financial performance

§  Ensure all expenditures incurred or transfer of funds are:

§  only for allowable costs under the terms of the sponsored agreement or applicable law;

§  authorized in accordance with University policies, State and Federal laws and regulations, and specific sponsor or donor requirements or restrictions; and

§  made within the available funding for the account, or supported by an appropriate alternate non-sponsored program fund with sufficient funding for the disbursement. When it is anticipated that expenditures will exceed available funding, initiate plan for correction before exhaustion of funds.

§  Transfer unallowable costs to an alternate non-sponsored funding source.

§  Review monthly detail financial reports to:

·  detect financial transaction errors or discrepancies, and

·  monitor actual as compared to budgets.

§  Take immediate action to resolve discrepancies or significant errors noted during the monthly report review.

§  Monitor subcontractors for fulfillment of technical roles and responsibilities.

§  Review subcontractor invoices for compliance with budgetary requirements and approve for payments.

§  Follow up to ensure that such discrepancies or errors are corrected.

§  Maintain copies of original supporting documentation for all financial transactions for at least the minimum time periods specified in the funding agreement.

§  Ensure the Research Administrator is adequately trained and fully understands his/her financial recording responsibilities.

In addition to the day-to-day financial transactions, the Research Administrator:

§  Helps PI with budget planning to make sure grant or contract has department and campus needs met in planned budget (e.g. offload negotiations with Chair and Dean, benefit calculations and F & A costs)

§  Assists the PI in proposal process, i.e. budget development, getting signatures, etc.;

§  Coordinates grant/contract approval with OSP;

§  Once grant or restricted contract funds awarded, coordinates with OSP for award start date; follow through with Grants and Contracts Accounting to ensure PeopleSoft chartfield is established so faculty has access to funds by program start date;

§  Assists PI in hiring necessary professional and support personnel for grant or contract;

§  Works closely with the PI and OSP to see that all deadlines are met;

§  Provides fiscal oversight for staff that helps PI expend project funds in university purchasing and payment system;

§  Approves all purchasing and A/P paperwork; and

§  Develops and implements system to remind faculty of report deadlines for projects.


The Principal Investigator is responsible for the preparation and submittal of the final technical reports. If subcontractors are involved, the PI is responsible for ensuring that each subcontractor has fulfilled their responsibilities, including reporting requirements, final invoicing, and any other requirements specific to the project and subcontractor. OSP is available to assist the PI. Other reports, such as final report of inventions, will be requested by OSP.

The Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting is responsible for the final financial reporting and will coordinate submittal of final invention statements, property reports and releases.


The Principal Investigator is responsible for the fiscal status of the fund. Any over expenditures are the responsibility of the principal investigator. If over expenditures occur and are not resolved by the time the project is closed, the over expenditure amount may be charged against the departmental operating fund.



Sponsored programs funded by agreements made to UCCS are usually conducted within the physical boundaries of the University or at field sites used by UCCS personnel. On occasion, a portion of the required effort may be provided by one or more other institutions or companies or other entities (third parties) who are to be responsible for a discrete part of the project. When the portion of effort performed by a third party constitutes a substantive component of the sponsored program, the third party is required to provide the resources and personnel necessary to conduct that portion of the work as an independent contractor. Costs normally associated with third party effort could include any or all of the following: labor, employee benefits, materials and supplies, travel, equipment, subcontracts, consultants, other direct costs, and facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs). In the for-profit sector, it is common to include costs such as labor overhead, material overhead, general and administrative expense, and a profit or fee.


The term Prime Sponsor or Sponsor refers to the organization that makes an award directly to UCCS. The award document is the agreement processed by the Sponsor and accepted by UCCS specifying the terms under which the program will be conducted. The document that the Office of Sponsored Programs (SOP) generates to formalize a third party relationship with another organization to perform substantive work based upon an award made to UCCS is a Subcontract (or Subaward). The third party performing the effort under a subcontract is the Subcontractor. For purposes of differentiating between prime awards that are contracts and prime awards that are grants, the terms "subcontractor" and "subrecipient" "subawardee" may also be used as appropriate.

Activities performed by an individual under a sponsored agreement are normally administered through a Consulting Agreement or Personal Services Agreement issued by UCCS. A purchase order must be used when purchased services may involve an organizational entity, but does not involve a substantive portion of the work effort of the project. For example, a purchase order would be appropriate for the performance of repetitive tests or activities requiring little or no discretionary judgment on the part of the provider. In these instances, a Consulting Agreement or a Purchase Order may be issued through the normal UCCS procurement process.


The following is the "understanding" (as published on March 10, 2000) of the Subawards Task Force of the Federal Demonstration Partnership, a cooperative initiative among federal agencies and institutional recipients of federal funds.


A subaward is defined as follows by OMB Circular A-110:

"Subaward means an award of financial assistance in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, made under an award {as defined in OMB A-110 Subpart A2(e), an award includes "grants and other agreements"}by a recipient to an eligible subrecipient or by a subrecipient to a lower tier subrecipient. The term includes financial assistance when provided by any legal agreement, even if the agreement is called a contract, but does not include procurement of goods and services nor does it include any form of assistance which is excluded from the definition of 'award'." (A.2(f)).

Subawards may be called subcontracts, subagreements, purchase orders, subgrants, etc., and they may also have the appearance of procurement agreements in format and language, but they nonetheless remain forms of "financial assistance" and do not constitute what A-110 describes as a "procurement action." Thus their issuance is not subject to the procurement standards specified in Sections 40-48 of A-110. Typical subaward situations include arrangements in which two (or more) qualifying legal entities/institutions are working collaboratively on a sponsored project. Each institution has its own principal investigator/project director; however, one of the collaborating institutions takes on the role of prime awardee with the sponsoring federal agency.

The language of OMB Circular A-133 regarding subawardees (which A-133 calls "subrecipients") gives further support to the concept that the above example constitutes a subaward situation. The relevant provisions (__.210(b)(2-5)), describe a subrecipient as one that:

. "Has its performance measured against whether the objectives of the Federal program are met." [A collaborating institution is responsible for meeting its scope of work.]

. "Has responsibility for programmatic decision making." [The PI at the collaborating institution is responsible for directing his/her segment.]

. "Has responsibility for adherence to applicable Federal program compliance requirements." [The collaborating institution is responsible for compliance with A-21, A-110, and A-133 requirements, or those circulars applicable to not-for-profit entities.]

. "Uses the Federal funds to carry out a program of the organization as compared to providing goods or services for a program of the pass-through entity." [A collaborating institution is conducting its own scope of work and is not providing goods or services, such as simply executing lab tests or constructing experimental instrumentation. In a subaward situation, the principal investigator/project director of the subrecipient may be a co-author on publications or the subrecipient may seek patent protection for inventions and otherwise function in much the same manner as if the award came directly from a federal sponsor.]


1. A subaward does not include:

". . . technical assistance, which provides services instead of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; and, contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under procurement laws and regulations." (A-110 Subpart A.2(e), definition of "award.")

2. A subaward does not include the provision of goods and services. A-133 makes clear the kind of entity that provides goods and services (.210(c)):

(1) Provides the goods and services within normal business operations;

(2) Provides similar goods or services to many different purchasers;

(3) Operates in a competitive environment;

(4) Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the Federal program; and

(5) Is not subject to compliance requirements of the Federal program

3. A subaward may not be issued at any level where the higher-tier agreement is a contract. "Contract" in this context is as defined in A-110:

"Contract means a procurement contract under an award or subaward, and a procurement subcontract under a recipient's or subrecipient's contract."(A.2(h))


Whether an institution issues an agreement as a subaward, subcontract or as a procurement contract, the arrangement must be made in the form of a legally binding agreement. This agreement may be bilateral or unilateral, but must contain all the clauses or other provisions and requirements appropriate to either a subaward, subcontract or a procurement contract.

The level of documentation concerning the issuance and performance of a procurement contract should be consistent with the procurement standards requirements of OMB Circular A-110.

Absent specific additional award requirements, the level of documentation concerning issuance of subawards and subcontracts, should be consistent with good management practices. These good practices normally include obtaining the following information from the subrecipient or subcontractor at the time of proposal or award:

A scope of work to be completed by the subawardee. 

A budget that meets the requirements of the federal sponsor and the awarding institution.

An institutional signature indicating commitment to perform the scope of work proposed, assuring the accuracy and reasonableness of the budget, and agreeing to enter into a subaward if the proposal is funded.

All required representations, certifications, and assurances (e.g., human subjects assurance).

The awarding institution is responsible for providing an appropriate level of its review of the subrecipient's scope of work and budget. The normal proposal review process of the institution fulfills this requirement.

The awarding institution is responsible for maintaining a system for monitoring the activities of subrecipients to ensure that they are complying with the terms of the subaward agreement. Responsibilities include general compliance (OMB Circular A-133 section 400(d)(3)) and subrecipient audit compliance (A-133 section 400(d)(4)(5)(6)(7)).

In accordance with OMB Circular A-133 section 400(d)(4)(5)(6)(7):OSP will obtain either a copy of the most recent fiscal year audit report of subrecipient or a written certification that there were no findings relating to Federal award(s) that the pass-through entity provided; and the summary schedule of prior audit findings did not report on the status of any audit findings relating to the Federal award(s) that the pass-through entity provided as stated in A-133 section 520(e)(1)and(2)


Subrecipient Selection under grant funded subawards

Sponsor or Peer Reviewed

If the subrecipient is specified in the proposal and the collaboration is funded, it is not necessary to comply with the procurement requirements for competitive bidding or sole source justification since the sponsor or peer review process already approved the selection. If this is not the case, the following procedures must be complied with for subcontractor selection.

Subcontractor Selection under a contract-funded subcontract

It is the responsibility of the UCCS Principal Investigator (PI), along with OSP, to comply with procurement requirements of the sponsor in selecting a subcontractor. There are two methods of selecting a subcontractor: competitive bidding or sole source procurement. Competitive bidding is used as the normal method of subcontractor selection. This method requires OSP, in conjunction with the PI, to solicit proposals from a number of sources and make a final selection of a subcontractor from those responding based on technical merit and cost objectives, normally the lowest price from a technically qualified respondent.

When the procurement requires performance from a sole entity because services or expertise are not available from other sources, the PI is required to provide sole source justification, identifying the need for the services and why the selected subcontractor is the only source available for the needed services. Sole source selection is not justified simply by the fact that there has been an ongoing collaboration between the scientists. It must be further justified with reasons for the unavailability of the services or expertise from other sources. Justification will be obtained by having the PI complete the University of Colorado Sole Source Justification Form.

Subaward/Subcontract Proposal

Regardless of the method used in selecting a subcontractor, there must be adequate time provided between the receipt of a subcontractor's proposal and the Sponsor's proposal due date, to allow UCCS's PI sufficient time to discuss and negotiate the statement of work. If the proposed subcontract involves human subjects or animal experimentation, appropriate subcontractor compliance with their own policies must be included with the proposal.

A budget, itemized by major budget category, such as salaries and wages, employee benefits, supplies, equipment, travel, consultants, subcontractors and other direct costs, is submitted by the subcontractor as part of its proposal. Greater itemization of categories may be needed if required by the sponsors proposal guidelines or other requirements. Facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs) should be included as appropriate and allowed and should be calculated using the subcontractor's current rate(s). A copy of the subcontractor's negotiated rate agreement is needed to verify the costs requested and to support those costs in case of an audit. If the subcontractor uses a rate for employee benefits, a copy of that rate agreement will also be needed.

The subcontractor's proposal must be signed by a designated official who is authorized to commit the subcontractor's resources to the completion of the project.

Incorporating the Subcontractor's Proposal into UCCS's Proposal

The subcontractor's costs are included in UCCS's budget as a direct cost. When calculating UCCS's facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs), the amount which exceeds $25,000 of each subcontract should be excluded from the calculation in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21. Facilities and administrative cost on the first $25,000 is calculated using the appropriate rate. During the processing of a proposal by OSP, the subcontract portion is reviewed to ensure all items required have been incorporated.

Implementation Through a Standing Purchase Order

When OSP receives a fully executed award from the prime sponsor, a subaward/ subcontract with the proposed organization is prepared. OSP must receive authorization from the PI to prepare the subcontract. The PI should complete the Request for Subcontracts form available at: and forward to OSP. In addition, a standing purchase order (SPO) requisition is needed.

A Subcontract is a purchase of services so the department needs to enter a Standing Purchase Order(SPO) Requisition into the PeopleSoft Finance Production system. After the department approves the SPO Requisition it should be printed and sent to OSP along with the subcontractors budget and statement of work authorized by the subcontractor.

OSP approves the SPO for Sponsored Programs Approval only after all parties have signed the subcontract and before the SPO is forwarded to PSC.

Preparing the Subcontract

Usually, the subaward/subcontract is a line item in the proposal budget and, as a part of UCCS's prime award proposal, went through sponsor or the peer review process. Thus, the funding of the proposal normally indicates that the sponsor has approved the sole source selection and the costs are determined reasonable to perform the subcontractor's statement of work.

If the subcontractor was not proposed in UCCS's original proposal, sponsor approval may be necessary prior to issuance of the subcontract. In certain instances, sponsor approval may also be necessary even if the subcontractor was proposed in the original proposal. In some very rare instances, it may be necessary for the sponsor to review and approve the proposed subcontract agreement prior to UCCS's release to the subcontractor.

In preparing the subcontract, it is important to adhere to the prime agreement terms and conditions and to flow down the appropriate clauses. Sample terms and conditions for various sponsors are maintained at OSP, and have been modified to provide for correct relationships. OSP is responsible for making other modifications to the standard subcontract template as necessary.

Subcontract Processing Documentation

OSP will create documentation of the subcontract's processing.

Subcontract Negotiation and Execution

Once the subcontract is prepared, the subcontract documents, which shall include the scope of work, the budget, and all appropriate flow-down terms and conditions required by the sponsor's prime award is forwarded to the subcontractor for review and signature.. The subcontractor may want to negotiate changes or request clarification of the terms and conditions. OSP negotiates and coordinates those requested changes with department personnel and the PI where appropriate. In some cases negotiation may require referral to Legal Counsel, Risk Management or Technology Transfer. Once negotiations are complete, the subcontractor signs the subcontracts and returns the subcontract to OSP. OSP obtains signature of the subcontract on behalf of the Regents of the University of Colorado. OSP then forwards the subcontract to the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance for signature on behalf of the State Controller Once all parties for UCCS have signed the subcontract OSP forwards the subcontract to the Procurement Service Center where the PSC issues the standing purchase order number for payment to the subcontractor.

Procurement Service Center and the Purchase Order

UCCS's Procurement Service Center (PSC) incorporates the subcontract documents received from OSP into a purchase order to be sent to the subcontractor. The purchase order provides the mechanism by which the subcontractor's invoices can be paid by UCCS. The PSC also provides the Small Business Representative to assure compliance with all requirements for developing purchases with small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, HUBZone small businesses, veteran owned businesses, service disabled veteran owned businesses, and women-owned businesses. 



Technical Monitoring

UCCS is responsible to see that the subcontractor's work is conducted and completed in a timely manner. Progress reports must be reviewed by the UCCS PI and discussed with the subcontractor as needed. These reports are usually incorporated in the overall reports submitted to the sponsor by the UCCS PI. OSP is responsible for obtaining the other reports required by the subcontract terms and conditions (for example, invention, fiscal, property and audit reports may be required).

Fiscal Monitoring

The UCCS PI or other appropriately authorized personnel should approve all subcontractor invoices and submit them to PSC for payment. Approval of invoices should include verification that the proper facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs) and employee benefit rates have been applied and direct costs were expended in accordance with the approved budget. The invoice should be checked to determine that the invoice number is correct, costs are properly allocated and the amount invoiced is within the estimated cost of the subcontract.

No invoice will be approved for payment that exceeds the estimated cost of the subcontract, even if approved by the PI.

Amendment to Subcontracts

During the term of a subcontract, it may be necessary to change or modify one or more of the terms and conditions of the subcontract. Some changes, such as scope of work or PI, may require sponsor approval before an amendment can be issued. Requests for changes should be submitted by the subcontractor's authorized official and have the approval of the UCCS PI prior to OSP requesting sponsor approval.

In most cases, the terms and conditions of a subcontract will remain unchanged for the duration of the subcontract. Amendments to the subcontract, such as time extensions, rebudgeting or fund changes are accomplished by an amendment to the subcontract. If there is a change in the total estimated cost, a revised budget must be incorporated with the amendment. The amendment is the vehicle that clearly states the changes and provides for the signature approvals of both parties.


The UCCS PI will obtain the required final technical reports per the subcontract terms and conditions. The following reports may be required for closeout under the prime sponsor's terms and conditions.

Close-out reports required for grant funded subawards:

. Final Invoice or Fiscal Report*

. Final Technical Report(UCCS PI will obtain)

. Final Inventory of Property if required by prime sponsor

. Final Statement of Inventions

. Final Audit Notification if subcontractor is subject to OMB Circular A-133

. Other reports as may be required by prime sponsor

Close-out reports required for contract-funded subcontracts:

. Final Invoice or Fiscal Report*

. Final Technical Report (UCCS PI will obtain)

. Final Inventory of Property, if required by prime sponsor

. Final Statement of Inventions

. Small and Small Disadvantaged Business Report (if subcontract is $500,000 or greater)

. Final Audit Notification if subcontractor is subject to OMB Circular A-133

. Other reports as may be required by prime sponsor

OSP will obtain verification from UCCS PI that work was performed satisfactorily for the subcontract including verification that all deliverables have been received and accepted for fixed price subcontracts.