Policies & Procedures

Proposal Development Timeline & Services

To ensure reliable and timely support for all UTC faculty and staff working on sponsored programs, the Vice Chancellor for Research has articulated the required timeframes for faculty and staff to engage with the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP), to complete sponsored program-related documents and procedures and to access ORSP services.

ORSP has limited staff resources and strives to provide excellent and consistent service to faculty and staff across the campus community. The level of service is time‐sensitive, depending on when faculty engage with ORSP staff or provide completed documents. Engagement is defined as either having met with an ORSP staff member and/or provided (via email or phone) the key information needed to begin the collaborative proposal planning and development process (e.g., sponsor solicitation, general budget parameters, period of performance, and request for ORSP services).  

Click on the sevice below to learn more about the timeframes and available support. 

ORSP offers significant proposal development support services for faculty who engage with our office in sufficient time to make those services relevant and feasible.  Please contact ORSP staff at your earliest convenience when you are considering or have decided to submit a proposal to an external sponsor.  We are pleased to offer proposal development support services, and can offer the following types of services with sufficient lead time in advance of a proposal deadline. 

Engagement 30+ calendar days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Secure & provide sample funded proposals from the same agency and/or program (if possible with consent from previous awardees).

  • Assist with identifying and engaging internal or external collaborators.

  • Provide outline and/or template documents for the proposal narrative and other sponsor- or program-specific application components.

  • Provide a detailed, funding opportunity-specific checklist of all required application components.

  • Assist with coordination of and attend planning team meetings (if desired).

  • Assist with securing data needed for the proposal.

  • Assist with drafting or editing specific sections of the proposal narrative or other application components.

  • Identify and pay for an external reviewer to critique the proposal prior to submission to the sponsor (if desired).

  • Assist in developing the project budget with input and feedback from proposal development team members.

  • Provide up to 3 iterative reviews and edits / critiques of the proposal narrative, budget, and other components.

  • Provide individualized training and support (if needed) for the Evisions proposal record entry.

  • Conduct a full proposal “compliance review” including formatting requirements, sponsor & program requirements, grantsmanship strategies, etc.

  • Submit the proposal in consultation with the project team.

Engagement 18-29 calendar days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Secure & provide sample funded proposals from the same agency and/or program (if possible with consent from previous awardees).

  • Provide outline and/or template documents for the proposal narrative and other sponsor- or program-specific application components.

  • Provide a detailed, funding opportunity-specific checklist of all required application components.

  • Assist in developing the project budget with input and feedback from proposal development team members.

  • Provide up to 2 iterative reviews and edits / critiques of the proposal narrative, budget, and other components.

  • Provide individualized training and support (if needed) for the Evisions proposal record entry.

  • Conduct a full proposal “compliance review” including formatting requirements, sponsor & program requirements, grantsmanship strategies, etc.

  • Submit the proposal in consultation with the project team.

Engagement 11-17 calendar days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Provide outline and/or template documents for the proposal narrative and other sponsor- or program-specific application components.

  • Provide a detailed, funding opportunity-specific checklist of all required application components.

  • Assist in developing the project budget with input and feedback from proposal development team members.

  • Provide 1 review and edit / critique of the proposal narrative, budget, and other components.

  • Provide individualized training and support (if needed) for the Evisions proposal record entry.

  • Conduct a full proposal “compliance review” including formatting requirements, sponsor & program requirements, grantsmanship strategies, etc.

  • Submit the proposal in consultation with the project team.

Many external partners have specific requirements and timelines for seeking partnership approvals or requesting letters of support.  These partners include the Hamilton County Department of Education, the Electric Power Board, the Enterprise Center, and many others.  If you anticipate partnering with any external organization, you should notify ORSP as quickly as possible to see if there is a specific protocol in place. 

In no instances should letters be requested from an external partner with fewer than 4 working days prior to the deadline.

ORSP is charged with monitoring and approving submission of all sponsored program proposals including preliminary proposals / letters of intent and subawards where UTC personnel will receive a portion of a grant award to another organization.  Please contact ORSP at your earliest convenience when you are planning to submit a proposal. 

8-10 business / working days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Faculty and staff should notify ORSP of their intention to submit a proposal and provide basic information including the sponsor, program, copy or link of the solicitation/guidelines, the deadline date, and information regarding subawards or collaborating organizations.

  • Faculty and staff who provide ORSP with draft or preliminary project documents in this timeframe are eligible for the following ORSP services:

    • ORSP may assist in developing the project budget with input and feedback from proposal development team members, based on workload and availability.

    • ORSP will review and edit / critique a budget developed by project team members.

    • ORSP will provide individualized training and support (if needed) for the Evisions proposal record entry.

    • ORSP will conduct a full proposal “compliance review” including formatting requirements, sponsor & program requirements, grantsmanship strategies, etc.

    • Submit the proposal in consultation with the project team.

5-7 business / working days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Faculty and staff must notify ORSP of their intention to submit a proposal and enter a proposal record in Evisions (including a draft proposal narrative and budget) no later than 5 working days in advance of a sponsor deadline. Failure to meet this timeline may jeopardize the ability to submit a proposal. 

  • Faculty and staff who provide ORSP with draft of preliminary project documents in this timeframe are eligible for the following ORSP services:

    • ORSP will review and edit / critique a budget developed by project team members.

    • ORSP will provide individualized training and support (if needed) for the Evisions proposal record entry.

    • ORSP will conduct a full proposal “compliance review” including formatting requirements, sponsor & program requirements, grantsmanship strategies, etc.

    • ORSP will support proposal submission in consultation with the project team.

4 or fewer business / working days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Faculty and staff who notify and/or provide documents to ORSP with 4 or fewer working days in advance of the submission deadline are at-risk for not being able to complete internal approval and proposal submission.

  • Faculty and staff who provide ORSP with grant documents in this timeframe are not guaranteed that their proposal will be submitted.

  • Faculty and staff must seek and secure special approval from their Department Head to submit. The Department Head should email orsp@utc.edu stating that they approve the submission of a proposal outside the required institutional timeline and that the department is willing to take on any liability associated with the late submission (cost-share, budget issues, conflicts of interests, etc.).  This email will be attached in Evisions as part of the proposal record.  Contacting and securing approval from the Department Head is the responsibility of the PI / PD – not ORSP. 

  • ORSP will provide as much support as possible, but at times of heavy-volume deadlines, we will prioritize proposals based on when documents were provided to us (i.e., first-come, first-served).

  • Faculty and staff who provide ORSP with documents in this timeframe are eligible for the following ORSP services:

    • Basic budget review & critique (PI / PD responsible for making changes)

    • Check for inclusion of required components (no formatting or content checks)

    • Limited compliance review based on availability and workload.

    • Limited assistance with submission based on availability and workload.

    • Internal approvals may have to be secured post-submission.

  • Proposals submitted in this timeframe are subject to being withdrawn or having an award declined if a post-submission reviews identifies any non-compliant elements that cannot be satisfactorily resolved or if post-submission internal approvals are not secured.

1 or fewer business / working days in advance of the sponsor deadline

  • Faculty and staff are strongly discouraged from submitting proposals with such a short timeframe.

  • Last-minute proposals open UTC up to significant risks and liabilities because there is no time for review prior to submission.

  • In addition to special approval from the Department Head, these proposals must also be approved by the Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Research. The PI/PD (not ORSP staff) must contact and secure approval from the Department Head, Dean, and VCR. 

  • Proposals with cost-share considerations, subawards, conflict of interests considerations, or other risk factors likely will not be allowed to submit within this timeframe.

  • ORSP will consider these proposals on a case-by-case basis. IF they are allowed, the following services may be provided based on workload and staff availability:

    • Limited assistance with submission based on availability and workload.

    • Internal approvals may have to be secured post-submission.

  • Proposals submitted in this timeframe are subject to being withdrawn or having an award declined if a post-submission reviews identifies any non-compliant elements that cannot be satisfactorily resolved or if post-submission internal approvals are not secured.

 


Information on other services as well as related policies and procedures can be found below:

Award contracts from external sponsors funding research, educational, or service projects conducted by UTC must be processed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).  In addition, subawards that pay outside/third parties to do a portion of the work on an externally-funded project must be processed through the ORSP office.  Additional information is available at Award Contracts and Subawards.      

UT Faculty and staff are expected to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that their outside financial interests (including interests of a spouse, dependent children, and nondependent children) do not place them in conflict with carrying out their duties and responsibilities as employees of the university. Conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the following situations:

  • A UT employee allows outside financial interests to interfere with or compromise judgment and objectivity with respect to duties and responsibilities to the university and sponsoring organizations.
  • A UT employee makes university decisions or uses university resources in a manner that results or is expected to result in (1) personal financial gain or the financial gain of relatives or (2) an unfair advantage or favored treatment afforded to a third party outside the university.
  • A UT employee allows outside financial interests to affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research.

UT Fiscal Policy #FI0125 explains the UT Conflict of Interests Policy, provides examples of conflicts of interest and includes information about faculty and staff reporting requirements and links to the Outside Interest Disclosure Form that all faculty and staff should complete annually.

Cost-share, also called matching funds, is sometimes required for grant programs.  Cost-share is financial or other resources (personnel time, etc.) which the funding organization requests or requires that the applicant contribute or “share” to support the grant-funded program or project. 

Cost-share may be in cash or in-kind.  Cash cost-share is when UTC or a partner commits to outlay funds to support the project/program.  In-kind cost-share occurs when UTC or a partner commits to providing resources that are not cash but can be assigned a cash value (e.g., personnel time, use of facilities, use of equipment, etc.).  If you are working on a project that involves cost-share, contact ORSP immediately for additional information specific to the project you are working on.  Here are some general notes about the use of cost-share: 

  • All UTC cost-share must be approved in writing by an appropriate administrator and by the Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations during the internal approval process. 
  • All cost-share from partnering organizations must be approved in writing by an appropriate administrator from the partnering organization. 
  • During the project period, it is the responsibility of the Primary Investigator/Project Director to keep appropriate records and document that all cost-share commitments are honored. 

The following personnel are eligible to serve as the principal investigator (PI) or project director (PD) on a sponsored program:

  • Full-time UTC staff
  • Full-time UTC faculty in tenured, tenure-track, and non tenure-track appointments

Adjunct faculty and individuals in courtesy or honorary appointments typically are not eligible to serve as the PI/PD on a sponsored program.

Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs, also referred to as indirect costs or overhead, are those costs associated with providing and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the research enterprise (buildings and their maintenance, libraries, etc.) and which cannot easily be identified with a specific project. The university expects that appropriate F&A costs will be included in all proposal budgets, unless the sponsor specifically prohibits them, and it is expected that F&A costs will be recovered to the maximum extent possible.

“Facilities” is defined as depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses. “Administration” is defined as general administration and expenses, departmental and college administration, sponsored projects administration, and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of Facilities.

The UT system has developed a Fiscal Policy that outlines the differences between Direct and Indirect Costs, which can be found here: http://policy.tennessee.edu/fiscal_policy/fi0206/

Further, UTC has established procedures for how the F&A recoveries should be distributed once they are returned to the university.  Those procedures are outlined in this document.  

Once a grant or contract is funded, it may be necessary to make changes to the proposed plan. For example, you may need to make adjustments to the budget, the project period, key personnel, etc. Most federal funding agencies allow institutions some discretion in making modest adjustments to the program, but many funding agencies require prior written approval before changes can be implemented.

The Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance has information regarding project changes that do not require prior approval from the funding agency as well as changes that do require prior approval. However, you will need to work with the ORSP on all project modifications/revisions.

 The Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) requires that proposals that involve partnership activities be reviewed and approved by HCDE administrators and, in certain cases, the Hamilton County School Board prior to submission of the grant application. If a project will involve Hamilton County schools in any way, please contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs immediately to discuss the HCDE review and approval process.

Prior to submission, all grant proposals must be receive the appropriate approvals.

Grant Proposals requesting between $10,000 - $100,000 also require approval by the superintendent and school board chairman. Required documentation must be submitted to HCDE personnel in a timely manner that will allow a minimum of 10 working days for review and approval.

Grant proposals requesting $100,000 or more require school board approval. Required documentation must be submitted to HCDE personnel 14 working days before the next scheduled school board meeting. Please see the schedule for information on HCDE School Board meeting dates and associated deadlines for submitting information about partnership proposals.

Required Documentation: HCDE requires that the following documents be submitted:

  • A completed Grant Submission Approval Form (contact the ORSP to initiate the process)
  • An executive summary which includes the purpose of the grant, the time commitment of staff, students, and others, the project time period, the monitoring / evaluation process, and the name of the project director
  • A budget for the project
  • Letters of commitment from the principals of individual schools to be involved in the project

All proposals, contracts, and sub-contracts must be approved through UTC’s internal approval process.  This process is completed electronically using the Cayuse/Evisions online system.  

  • At least 5 business days before the deadline, the Principal Investigator (PI) must log into Cayuse/Evisions from any computer and complete a Proposal Questionnaire.  Resource documents on how to complete this questionnaire may be found on the Cayuse/Evisions Help Documents page of our website and through embedded links in the Evisions system.  The PI will need to attach, at a minimum, a finalized budget, a narrative draft, and an outside interests disclosure form for each proposal team member to their Evisions proposal questionnaire.
  • Once the proposal questionnaire is submitted in Evisions, the review occurs as follows:
    • All PIs (including the PI that completed the questionnaire) and Co-PIs listed in Evisions will be prompted to certify the questionnaire for accuracy.
    • ORSP will be prompted to review the questionnaire for accuracy and completeness.  If alterations are necessary, ORSP will contact the PI directly.  Once ORSP has approved the proposal questionnaire it will be disseminated electronically to appropriate administrators. 
    • Administrators will review and approve or request changes to the proposal. Typically, approving administrators include the Department Head / Director of departments with committed faculty, staff, or resources and the Dean of Colleges with committed faculty, staff, or resources.  If cost-share or space allocation is involved, the Vice-Chancellor for Finance & Operations is also required to review and approve the proposal. 
  • Once approval is secured from all appropriate administrators, the PI should schedule a meeting with his or her ORSP Staff Liaison to submit the proposal to the funding agency.

 

ORSP is happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the Cayuse/Evisions system or the internal approval process.  Do not hesitate to contact us!

ORSP is the central hub for proposal submissions, and all proposals, contract bids, and sub-contracts must be reviewed and approved by ORSP and appropriate UTC administrators through the internal approval process.  The internal approval process requires that proposal writers submit to ORSP staff a complete and correct budget and a narrative description of the project (a draft or executive summary is appropriate) no later than 5 business days in advance of the deadline.  See the Proposal Process Checklist for details on proposal development requirements and recommended strategies. The UTC Faculty Handbook also has helpful information (see section 7.3.2).  

ORSP works in conjunction with the Office of Budget and Finance to initiate the set-up of all restricted accounts for externally funded awards.  In order to do this, our office needs a few basic documents.  The necessary documents are 1) award documentation—this is usually an award letter or contract—from the sponsoring agency that lists both the award amount and the project period and 2) a detailed budget that matches the amount listed in the award documentation.  In some cases, additional information may be required; however, our office will work with the PI in those instances to make certain that an account is set up in a timely manner.  Once the account is established, the office of Budget and Finance will email the PI with the account name and number.

When preparing travel plans, please consult https://finance.tennessee.edu/travel/. This site provides information on current university travel regulations including reimbursement rates for in-state and out-of-state travel, travel fiscal policy, information on international travel, travel forms, and mileage reimbursement rates.

ORSP frequently provides sample funded proposals from other institutions that proposal writers can use to help identify the hallmarks of a successful proposal. These documents have been graciously provided by the proposal applicant/writer to illustrate the logical arguments, clarity, level of detail, etc. needed to successfully compete in grants competitions.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD INFORMATION BE TAKEN FROM THESE DOCUMENTS WITHOUT PROPER REFERENCE/CITATION.  To do so may violate legal and ethical codes of conduct.

This policy covers your rights and what to do if you invent or create something while working on a university grant, contract, or other externally-sponsored activity.  Intellectual property includes inventions, discoveries, products, computer code and software, written materials, methods, recordings, arts, crafts, and technology-based academic materials.