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Proposal Preparation and Submission, Guidelines For


To describe relevant procedures applying to investigators wishing to submit proposals for research funding. These procedures arise because of institutional responsibilities for sponsored research.

Applies to: 

All Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators on the KU-Lawrence Campus

Policy Statement: 

All proposals for funding submitted by investigators on the Lawrence Campus (except for some individual fellowship applications) must be submitted through the Pre-Award Services unit within the Office of Research to ensure that appropriate compliance reviews have taken place, that budgetary information requested by the sponsor is correct, and that any contractual terms or other conditions specified unilaterally by the sponsor that may be inconsistent with University policy have been identified. This policy summarizes important deadlines and policies relevant to some or all investigators.


To ensure adequate time for review and approval of proposals, the KUCR Pre-Award Services Department must receive completed draft proposals at least five (5) working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline. However, if the proposal guidelines or solicitation contain contractual terms and conditions which must be addressed at the time of submission, Contract Negotiations must be notified at least two (2) working weeks prior to the sponsor’s deadline.

If the investigator wishes to have KUCR Pre-Award Services directly assist with any aspect of proposal preparation, Pre-Award Services must be notified of the intent to submit a proposal at least three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the sponsor’s deadline. During these three weeks, the investigator will need to be available to work with Pre-Award Services to ensure that all aspects of the proposal are properly executed.

Principal Investigator Status

Investigators named on a project must have Principal Investigator (PI) status to submit a proposal. Faculty and academic staff on the Lawrence campus in most cases have PI status as a consequence of their appointment. Investigators not automatically granted PI status may request special PI or project specific PI status according to the Principal Investigator (PI) Status policy.

This request must be made three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the submission of the project for which special or project specific PI status is requested.

PI status is not usually granted to individuals who are not employed by the University of Kansas, but if there are compelling reasons for requesting this status for such individuals, then a request from the hosting department or center for project specific PI status must be made at least three (3) working weeks (15 working days) prior to the deadline for submission of the proposal.

Cost Sharing and Matching

It is sometimes appropriate for the University to share in the cost of conducting an externally funded grant or contract. Requests for matching must be approved by one of the Associate Vice Chancellors for Research. Guidelines governing cost sharing and matching are elaborated in the Cost Share and Matching policy.

All requests must be accompanied by a detailed project budget showing all direct and indirect costs for the project, and must be submitted at least ten (10) working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline.

Funding of Investigators for Proposal Preparation Purposes

If any of the primary individuals who will be involved in preparing the proposal are 100% grant funded, it may be necessary for them to obtain non-federal funding for the time they will be involved in preparation of the proposal unless their funding allows for this use of their time. If funds for this purpose are not available within their unit, they may apply for funding from the Proposal Preparation Fund to cover time devoted to proposal preparation. Details of the application procedure are described in the Proposal Preparation, Institutional Support of policy. Applications for support from the Proposal Preparation Fund must be received by Pre-Award Services at least three (3) working weeks(15 working days) prior to the sponsor’s deadline.


Proposals that do not comply with the policies referenced above, or are not submitted through Pre-Award Services by the specified deadlines, may not be processed, approved or submitted, or if submitted may be withdrawn after review, and awards made for proposals that do not comply with these procedures may be declined.


Office of Research

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Research
Approved on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Effective on: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

As more and more funding agencies and even individual agency programs move toward electronic proposal submission, some of these agencies are not requesting verification of institutional approval. While this may seem like an effective means of "fast tracking" a proposal, these submissions cause a number of institutional concerns. Among them is that this form of submission undermines the University's ability to assure that appropriate compliance reviews have taken place and that budgetary information requested by the sponsor is correct. Moreover, if the funding agency unilaterally sets terms and conditions that are inconsistent with University policy, there may be a delay in accepting any subsequent award while acceptable terms are negotiated or the award may be declined if negotiations are unsuccessful.

Pre-Award Services does not review the technical aspects of the proposal, relying instead on the wisdom and judgment of those in the discipline to assure high standards and compatibility with the programmatic intentions of the sponsor. The staff provides feedback in two ways:

  • First, they note issues that must be resolved before the proposal can be submitted, such as when proposals do not comply with federal, state, university, or sponsoring agency requirements, or with research compliance issues. The staff works directly with the principal investigator (PI) to resolve these issues prior to the submission of the proposal.
  • Second, the staff may be familiar with specific agency operational guidelines (written or unwritten) and make suggestions that may benefit the proposal in the agency review process. This feedback is provided only as a service to the PI; therefore, it will not impede or delay the submission of the proposal.

Proposal Review: Pre-Award Services staff will review proposals prepared by individual PIs, the centers, or departmental units prior to submission to the funding agency. Reviewers will: check proposals for compliance with federal, state, university, and agency guidelines; review budgets for accuracy; ensure commitment letters are obtained for required matching funds, services or support, including subcontract commitments (letters and appropriate F&A agreements); provide the institutional signature; handle overnight mail proposal submissions and/or electronic proposal submissions.

Proposal Preparation: Pre-Award Services staff will prepare proposals for investigators who may not have access to these services either in their administrative units or through research centers. Preparers will: Analyze the solicitation, complete the representations and certifications, and coordinate the entire proposal; help prepare the budget, whether it's simple or complex; ensure commitment letters are obtained for required matching funds, services or support; confirm the subcontract commitments (letters and appropriate F&A agreements); facilitate the review of any contract requirements and submission of exception letters by Contract Negotiations unit; prepare the agency application forms; assemble the proposal and review the text for required documentation; implement the review and signature process; prepare the appropriate number of proposal copies for both the agency and individual investigators; transmit the proposal package to the agency via overnight mail service and track to ensure timely delivery of the proposal at its destination; and provide assistance with on-line registration and electronic proposal submissions.

Funding Agency, Compliance, Principal Investigator, Contract Requirements
Change History: 

02/06/2020: Updated Contact section.
10/01/2018: Updated Contact section.
10/16/2015: Updated PI Acknowledgment of Responsibilities form.
09/10/2012:  Edited contact information
06/16/2014: Updated references to 'Office of Research' to incorporate updated title, updated formatting, and added/corrected links; updated Campus field to 'Lawrence'.

Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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