SMU Research

Sponsored Projects

Proposal Phase

Proposal Initiation and Approval Form

The Proposal Initiation and Approval Form (PIAF) is used to document and prepare applications for sponsored Research Grants and Contracts to external parties. Initially, the Principal Investigator / Project Director (PI / PD) is responsible for completing Sections I-V. The Grant Management Specialist (GMS) completes Section VI: Budget. Section VII: Signatures is completed prior to the Proposal submission.

Limited Submission

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will notify the Research community approximately six weeks before the deadline. PIs / PDs are to submit a brief Project Summary and rough Budget estimate (pre-Proposal) for an internal competition, and the Associate Provost for Research approves the submission to move forward with a formal Proposal.

Budget Development

The GMS will work with the PI / PD to develop the Proposal Budget and Budget Justification according to the terms and conditions of the agency and SMU Policy. All Proposals must have on file the SMU Budget Template, categorized according to the SMU Chart of Accounts codes for line items. The Budget is then changed to meet the agency template.

Sponsored Project Budget Template

Other Budget Templates

Uniform Guidance

In accordance with University and Federal regulations, SMU is responsible for maintaining consistent application of Budget estimation and reporting. All budgeting done by, or passing through, Sponsored Projects must comply with Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) Federal regulations.

SMU Chart of Accounts

SMU's financial system accumulates and reports financial information to those responsible for administration of University funds. The University's financial accounting system, PeopleSoft Financials for Public Sector, is specifically designed to support the financial management of colleges and universities. In addition to the standard accounting functions of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general ledger, it also performs the specialized functions of fund accounting, encumbrance reporting, and Grants management. The system maintains a financial database from which standard reports are produced.

The SMU Chart of Accounts lists the account number that correlates to the service to be billed during invoicing. This ensures that Budgets can be accurately tracked on incoming expenditures.

Use the “Accts Long Descr” Tab to identify account numbers. Only those account beginning from 6100 and upwards will be used.

Direct Costs

Expenditures necessary to execute the objectives of the Research and meet the following criteria.

  • Allowable: The cost must be allowable under the terms and conditions of the sponsored Award, under applicable Sponsor regulations (§200.403), and under University Policies.
  • Reasonable: The cost may be considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired, and the amount involved therefore, reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made (§200.404).
  • Allocable: The cost must benefit the project and be directly attributable to the project or activity being performed. The cost can only be assigned and allocated to the project(s) based on that portion of the expense that represents the direct benefit to the project (§200.405).
  • Consistent: Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as disclosed to the University's cognizant agency (§200.400(e) and §200.401(b)). All costs are subject to the Office of Management and Budget Guidance (OMB) Uniform Guidance.
Salary

Salaries are provided by the Business Manager of each college and kept Confidential. Each department provides base for employees/students/GRAs etc.

Inflation

The University President sets the allowable rate for annual salary inflation. Current inflation rate is 2%.

Fringe Rates

All Federal Proposals must use the current SMU Federally-negotiated rate, unless otherwise restricted according to the terms and conditions of the RFP.

Course Buyout

Use of Grant funds to pay for a course release for a faculty member so that time otherwise devoted to teaching may be spent working on the project funded by the Grant. In order to receive a Course Buyout, the SMU Course Buyout Approval Form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting. For more information see SMU Policy 10.2 Compensation from Sponsored Research Project Funding.

Equipment

Capital Equipment: Includes all tangible or intangible property that can be used or consumed for more than one year, with a unit price of $5,000 or more. These items should be included as Equipment in the Budget and are excluded from modified total Direct Costs (MTDC).

Non-Capital Equipment: Includes all tangible or intangible property that cannot be used or consumed for more than one year, with a unit price of less than $5,000. These items are included as ‘Equipment’ in the Budget and are included in the modified total Direct Costs (MTDC).

Facilities and Administration (F&A) / Indirect Costs (IDC)

The F&A or Indirect Cost rate is routinely negotiated and represents the value of non-project specific function costs at the University.

Off-Campus F&A Rate: For all activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project, the off-campus rate will apply. Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than F&A cost rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.

Indirect Costs Calculation

IDC is calculated based upon the modified direct total cost. The formula is MTDC = Total Direct Costs, less GRA Benefits, Stipends, Equipment, Rental Equip, and amounts greater than the first $25,000 of each sub-contract.

Proposals with Subawards

A Contract between the University and another institution by which the University provides Funding for work in support of a University Sponsored Project. Collect the following documents from the subawardee:

Cost Sharing and Waiver of Facilities and Administration (F&A) / Indirect Costs (IDC)

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University that only the minimum amount of Cost Sharing necessary to meet a Sponsor’s requirements will be provided by the University.

As a condition of accepting Funding from a Sponsor, the University may be held responsible for a portion of the cost of the Sponsored Project. The purpose of this policy is to establish requirements for the identification, Funding, accounting, and reporting of Mandatory Cost Sharing, Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing, and In-Kind or Matching associated with Sponsored Projects. All cost-sharing requires provision of the appropriate account number for each cost- shared account line.

The Cost Sharing Form must be completed and signed by PI / PD, Chair, College Business Manager, and Dean prior to the submission of the Proposal.

Direct Cost Share

The department head and PI / PD must clearly indicate which department account this Cost Sharing will come from, as the department is making the commitment to directly cost share the amount. This direct cost share form must be approved by the PI / PD, department chair, and the Associate Provost of Research.

Indirect Cost (IDC) Waiver

The IDC Waiver is an internal University document initiated by a Principal Investigator / Project Director to request a reduction of Indirect Costs on a project Budget. In those cases where IDC has been allowed by the Sponsor, but the success of the project can be significantly impacted by the reallocation of the funds identified for IDC, the PI / PD may file a request from the Associate Provost for Research to waive the allocation of funds from IDC towards another cost account line.

Submitting Your Proposal

Common Proposal Documents

The GMS will work with the PI / PD to ensure all of the items below are complete and accurate according to the agency guidelines and SMU Policy. The GMS will submit the Proposal once the PI / PD confirms the Proposal is final and ready to submit. The GMS will not submit a Proposal without permission from the PI / PD.

Common Proposal Requirements
Signature Approval for PIAF

All internal and external documents related to SP must be reviewed and authorized by the appropriate party. This review includes the Grant Management Specialist, Director of Sponsored Projects, Director of Compliance, Principal Investigator / Project Director, Department Chair, Business Manager, College Dean, and Associate Provost for Research. Signatures are required and secured via DocuSign.

Award Phase

Award Authorization and Approval Form (AAAF)

The Award Authorization and Approval Form (AAAF) is used to document a Grant Award. All Grant Awards must be reviewed and approved through the Sponsored Projects office prior Award set-up.

The Grant Management Specialist (GMS) will confirm the PI / PD has met all of the Research Compliance Policies before setting up an Award.

Notification of Award (NOA) is received. GMS completes AAAF and includes the following documents:

Signature Approval for AAAF

All internal and external documents related to SP must be reviewed and authorized by the appropriate party. This review includes the Grant Management Specialist, Director of Sponsored Projects, Director of Compliance, Principal Investigator / Project Director, Department Chair, Business Manager, College Dean, and Associate Provost for Research. Project set-up is provided by the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting. Signatures are required and secured via DocuSign.

AAAF Incremental Funding Signature Process

On February 20, 2018, ORGS implemented the AAAF Incremental Funding form. This form is used when a sponsor identifies all funding in the first notice of award, but disburses funding incrementally. The difference in the AAAF and Incremental AAAF is the required signatures. The Incremental Funding form only requires the signatures of the GMS, Research Compliance, AOR, and GCA. All other parties receive a carbon copy. If a PI requests additional funding that is not identified in the original AAAF, a new AAAF must be processed with all required signatures. See Signature Approval for AAAF.

Special Post-Award Scenarios

Advance Expenditure Authorization (aka Pre-Award Spending Authorization)

In the absence of a fully executed Award, Advance Expenditure Authorization Form is required to initiate work on a Sponsored Project and to authorize Subrecipients to begin work. Advance Expenditure Authorization allows: (a) the timely start-up or uninterrupted continuation of Sponsored Projects at the University before a fully executed Award or amendment is received; and (b) payment of ongoing Sponsored Project costs, either by the Sponsor on a cost reimbursement basis or by the University, with subsequent reimbursement by the Sponsor.

The Project Advance Expenditure Authorization is good for 90 days and can only be extended for no more than three additional months.

The Advance Expenditure Authorization Form should be initiated by the PI / PD and returned to the GMS. The Advance Expenditure Authorization Form is reviewed by the Principle Investigator, Department Chair, College Dean, Director of Sponsored Projects, and the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting. Signatures are required and secured via DocuSign.

Waiver of IDC

The Waiver is an internal University document initiated by a Principal Investigator / Project Director to request recovery of Indirect Costs on a project Budget. The PI / PD can complete the Waiver of IDC Form for approval from the Associate Provost for Research to waive the allocation of funds from F&A towards another cost account line.

Manage Project

Sponsored Project Procurement

The purchase of goods and services for Sponsored Projects will be made according to current federal laws, regulations, and policies as identified in the Research Handbook, and any terms and conditions imposed by an Award. Such purchases will be subject to the same internal controls (administrative, accounting, and purchasing) as other University purchases, with modifications to accommodate federal requirements.

Government Property Management

Per website: Grant and Contract Equipment to which the federal government still retains title will be inventoried every year. The responsible custodian of the Equipment must explain any discrepancies. Any adjustments to federally owned Equipment inventories will be reported to the federal awarding agency. All remaining Grant inventory where SMU retains title and has a value greater than $5,000 will be inventoried every two years.

Transfer of Property to Another Institution

PI / PD requests transfer of capital Equipment on an active or non-active Grant.

Grant Management Specialist (GMS):

  1. Contact Asset Management to obtain a list of capital Equipment related to the Sponsored Project.
  2. Email the Assistant Vice President for Research Integrity & Operations the Equipment list for approval.
  3. The Associate Provost for Research in consultation with PI / PD and department chair will determine if the Equipment is no longer needed. For active Grants Sponsor approval is required. Email the agency to secure approval.
  4. If approved, confirm and document transfer institution will accept title to and accountability for the property. May require a transfer agreement.
  5. Notify Asset Management of approval. SMU will not incur any costs for packing and shipping of Equipment, unless stipulated in the Award.
  6. Once all approvals have been secured Asset Management is responsible for transferring the Equipment.

Budget Change Requests (BCR)

Types of designations for an Award based on the authority granted to the University by the Award Sponsor.

"E" for "Expanded"

Expanded authority will only require agency/Sponsor approval if the intended change meets specific criteria, examples of Budget changes that always require agency approval regardless of authority:

  • Changes in the scope or the objective of the program
  • Change in the key Personnel specified in the Proposal or Award document
  • The absence for more than three months, or a 25% reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved Principal Investigator / Project Director
  • Foreign travel
  • Business meals
  • Transfer of funds in an out of Faculty Extra Comp and/or GRA account codes
"R" for "Restricted"

Awards categorized as Restricted authority are based on the terms of the Award and require agency approval prior to the transfer of funds among Budget categories.

BCR is not required when:

  • Budget is Expanded and
  • Moving funds in and out of same cost categories.
BCR Process

PI / PD emails request to GMS. Contents of the email should include:

  • Grant Number
  • BCR is required or a Realignment
  • Account code and amount to be moved
  • Budget explanation
  • Statement from PI / PD approving changes

No-Cost Extension (NCE)

A PI / PD may request a project remain open to allow for completion of the project. Requests should be initiated 60 to 90 days prior to the project end date. To ensure proper approval, a justification for the NCE is also needed. If approved the NCE does not allow for the provision of additional funds, nor remove any reporting obligations. The process varies by Sponsor.

NCE Process

PI / PD emails an NCE request to the assigned GMS and carbon copies the department chair. Content of Email should include:

  • Grant Number
  • Agency
  • Current end date
  • New end date
  • Explanation for extension
  • Budget amount

Sponsored Project Cost Transfers

Reassignment of a cost to a Sponsored Project after the costs were initially charged to another Sponsored Project or non-Sponsored Project resource.  Contact Office of Grant and Contract Accounting for more information.

Sponsored Project Effort Reporting

The Grant and Contract Accounting Office submits Personnel Activity Reports (PARs) monthly for all individuals who are either paid from Funding or who commit time as Cost Sharing to Sponsored Projects. It is the policy of the University that Effort Reports will be based on after-the-fact activity records.

It is the policy of the University that closeout of Sponsored Projects will be in accordance with federal, state, and local government regulations, specific Sponsor policies and requirements and the terms of the Award and within the timeframe required by the Sponsor.

Technical Reports

The PI / PD is responsible for preparing and submitting technical reports and publications as specified in the Award. A copy of the reports should be sent to the Grant Management Specialist (GMS). (Policy 10.1.10e.ii)

Other Reports

The terms and conditions of the NOA will state if other forms are applicable. Common forms are Patent, Property, Security, and Environmental Reports. Contact your GMS if these forms are required.

Financial Reports

All financial reports are provided by the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting and completed as specified by the awarding agency.

Closeout can be initiated by the PI / PD or GMS. For more details see the Closeout Checklist.

Subrecipient Award Closeout

Research Contracts initiates the Subaward Closeout actions immediately following conclusion of the Subaward period of performance. Subaward Closeout requirements must include:

During the Subaward Closeout process for a Subaward, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Principal Investigator / Project Director will adhere to the Award Closeout requirements of the Award under which the Subaward was issued. In general, a Subaward is closed when it has expired and/or when final technical deliverables are received and financial matters are concluded.