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.
The Office of Research (OR) 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.
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
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'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.
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.
Salaries are provided by the Business Manager of each college and kept Confidential. Each department provides base for employees/students/GRAs etc.
The University President sets the allowable rate for annual salary inflation. Current inflation rate is 2%.
All Federal Proposals must use the current SMU Federally-negotiated rate, unless otherwise restricted according to the terms and conditions of the RFP.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.