Research & Grants
Grant Life Cycle
The Grant Life Cycle (GLC) will guide researchers and administrators from initiation through closeout with step-by-step guidelines and resources for each phase.
Pre-Award steps include generating your idea, finding funding, developing your proposal and submitting your proposal. The Lerner SPC and UD Research Office typically play a critical role prior to and during the receipt of an award.
Post-Award steps include award negotiation and set-up, managing your award and closeout. The Research Office, Lerner SPC and Department Administrators typically play a critical role once the award has been received.
Step 1: Generating Your Idea
Generating a research topic sometimes relies on multiple sources of inspiration. Research should be about your strengths and interests. You may also want to network with colleagues both internally and externally, or perhaps pick-up where others left off in prior research.
When developing a preliminary idea:
- Talk to a potential Program Director prior to writing your proposals. This may be the best possible investment new researchers can make in the grant-seeking aspect of research. Can We Talk? Contacting Grant Program Officers by Robert Porter provides sound guidance and process.
- Look for collaborators in your field. COS PIVOT contains a database of researcher profiles which is searchable both inside and outside UD.
- See what UD faculty are doing at the UD RO Information site or subscribe to UD’s Research Magazine.
Is the thought of writing a compelling proposal mind-boggling?
Proposal writing resources are available through the Morris Library: https://research.udel.edu/research-administration/proposal-guide/?section=4#writing
The Foundation Center provides a great page on proposal development and writing that includes online tutorials and webinars, sample documents, frequently asked questions and more. https://grantspace.org/topics/proposal-writing/
Step 2: Finding Funding
Investigators can search for funding opportunities using database subscriptions available through the UD library and publicly available sites such as Grants.gov.
There are also a number of internal awards available such as the GUR (General University Research Program) or UDRF (University of Delaware Research Foundation).
A comprehensive list of potential funding opportunities from federal and state agencies, private foundations and industry can be found at the Research Office: http://www.udel.edu/research/preparing/funding.html
Please be sure to notify the Lerner Sponsored Programs Coordinator when deciding to apply for sponsored funding.
Step 3: Developing Your Proposal
PI’s will prepare a proposal package for submission to a sponsor in partnership with the Lerner Sponsored Program Coordinator and the UD Research Office. The following points will assist with you with the proposal development process:
- Understanding the FOA
Every funding opportunity is unique even within a single sponsoring organization. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions – especially the fine print! Deadlines, allowable charges, limits on overhead, travel and budget caps differ between FOAs.
- By the numbers
The Lerner Sponsored Program Coordinator will work with the PI to develop the proposal budget and justification according to the terms and conditions of the FOA and UD policy. The SPC will play a valuable role in assuring accuracy in items such as fringe and overhead rates, allowable expenses and some standard language for budget justification.
- Planning for an audit
Planning and preparation for an audit begins at the start of the process! Understand what is allowable and allocable when planning your budget. When in doubt – save everything in your project folder. Food is a red flag on most grants. Please carefully read the terms and conditions of the funding opportunity to see if food is an allowable cost. Alcohol is not permitted on any grant.
- Multi-site collaboration
A convenient site which may serve as a repository for proposal documents is Dropbox.com. Subscriptions are free and the site is easily accessible via the internet. UD also operates an MS SharePoint server for file sharing. Please contact the Research Office for more details.
- Industry agreements
Please plan for a standard 3-month lead time for legal departments to process and execute the agreement. The agreement terms and conditions must be reviewed and negotiated by UD legal and the sponsor’s legal department. Allow for this lead time and plan the project start date to be 3-4 months in the future.
There are standardized forms available for proposal development:
- Budget template (cost share requirements)
- Budget Just template (Link)
- Vendor vs. Consultant (Link)
- UD Proposal Guide for Department Administrators: Every detail you ever wanted to know about a grant can be found on this page at the Research Office site.
- Proposal Tools and Data
- Proposal Checklist
- Rates for F&A
- Sample Data Management Plans
- ….and more!
- Research Policies and Forms can be found at the Research Office.
Step 4: Submitting Your Proposal
Proposals will be submitted to the sponsor in conjunction with the Lerner SPC and the UD Research Office.
PI’s must complete all compliance requirements prior to submission. For information on compliance requirements please reference: Compliance is the First Step!
There are multiple steps and internal approvals required before submitting to the sponsor. Please plan on a lead time of no less than 7 business days for internal reviews and approvals. If your submission requires review and approval in multiple departments please allow for 10 days of lead time prior to the submission deadline.
Each grant submission will generally follow the following steps:
- PeopleSoft Grants System: The Lerner SPC will create a proposal in the PeopleSoft Grants System and launch the webform for approvals.
- RO 72 hour rule: the webform must reach the UD RO 72 hours prior to the deadline for final review and approvals.
- 3rd Party Accounts: many sponsors use a third party web-based portal for grant submission. The Lerner SPC and UD RO will assist with portal set-up and submission. In some cases the PI may be required to log into the portal and create a new password and profile, guidance will be provided on this process.
- PI’s must be available and have access to a computer on submission day! Any last minute submission issues may require PI intervention and approval.
- UDataGlance is available for viewing proposal information in PeopleSoft Grants System.
Step 5: Award Negotiation and Setup
The UD Research Office is responsible for negotiating the final terms and conditions of an award. The RO will notify the PI regarding revisions required by the sponsor.
- A final budget
It is not unusual for a sponsor to reduce the proposed budget. The PI and Lerner SPC should carefully review the scope of work, budget and payment terms and assure they are acceptable for carrying out the project.
- Contract execution
Once the negotiations are finalized the award will be officially assigned a contract number and updated in the PeopleSoft grants system. A CoA (Chart of Accounts) will be generated by the RO and notification sent to the PI, department administrator and the Lerner SPC. If this is a collaborative award which includes other institutions, industry partners or consultants sub-award contracts and/or consulting agreements will be executed between the Research Office and third-party entity during this award set-up phase.
Step 6: Managing Your Award
The PI carries out the project work according to the scope, directing project staff and reporting progress to the sponsor as required. The PI also has responsibility for financial and project management. It is up to the PI to establish a start-up plan for the project, and provide clear roles and responsibilities for project and support staff.
The PI is responsible for compliance and ethical conduct in research.
For details and the Compliance Hotline, please visit Compliance is the First Step!
General project management responsibilities include:
- Creating and adhering to the project timeline
- Reporting requirements
- Sub-award management
- Documentation and Backup of project files
- Procurement Requirements: be aware of UD policies as well as sponsor policies
- Travel, Food and Fun – what is and is NOT allowable
- Fly America Act (if required)
- Buy America (If required)
- Effort Reporting and Tracking
- UD Grants Management Guide will provide UD specific guidelines.
The Lerner SPC may assist the PI with monitoring the project and Department Administrators will assist with day-to-day project-related transactions such as payroll, travel, credit card charges, etc.
UDataGlance is available for viewing project financial information near real time.
Tip: Save all receipts and project documents in a project folder.
Step 7: Closeout Project
Automated Closeout Reports (ACRs) are automatically generated 90 days prior to the end date of a grant. These reports are pushed to the department administrator. This should immediately trigger a grant review and development of a go-forward strategy to either spend down and closeout or request a No Cost Extension (NCE) from the sponsor.
Remaining funds are typically returned to the sponsor. In the case of a fixed price contract remaining funds may be retained by the PI and tagged for related research.
A convenient way to audit a project is to run the ACR any time during the project lifecycle. This is a way to audit for potentially unallowable transactions or other project issues. This report can be used proactively by the department administrator to prevent last minute close out issues.
Reminder: Evidence of submission of the final technical report is required for the ACR before it is submitted to the RO. A submission email may be saved as a PDF and attached to the ACR. If the final report is physically shipped scanned copies of the receipts and shipping documents must be attached.