Office of Research Proposal Preparation and Submission - Office of Research %

Proposal Preparation and Submission

When is a proposal required to be routed through the Sponsored Programs Office for review and approval?

University policy requires that proposals in any form — letters of intent (LOIs), preliminary proposals (pre-proposals), white papers, full proposals, supplemental requests, etc. – be submitted to the Sponsored Programs Office for review and approval prior to being submitted to a sponsor (organization or entity) when the sponsor requires:

  • a budget
  • agreement to terms and conditions (at that phase)
  • institutional approval, endorsement or signature

This requirement is broadly defined in UCOP policy UC-RG-12-0014. Submit materials for internal routing in Cayuse SP ( Detailed instructions may be found in the Handbook for Department Contract & Grant Staff, Principal Investigators and Approvers.

General Tools and Instructions

Minimum Proposal Documents for SPO Review

The proposal routed via Cayuse SP for internal review need not be finalized, but SPO requires these four documents to assign an analyst to work with you in reviewing/finalizing the submission.

  1. Completely Routed and Authorized Internal Processing Form (IPF; the “proposal” in Cayuse SP)
  2. Scope of Work – May submit a draft and provide the final before submission to sponsor
  3. Budget Spreadsheet – Strongly encouraged even if NOT required by the sponsor
  4. Budget Justification – Strongly encouraged even if NOT required by the sponsor
    • If budget and/or justification are not required by sponsor and will not be submitted to SPO, indicate this with a Submission Note in Cayuse SP.

Proposal Timeline

The Sponsored Programs Office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. All proposals must be submitted to sponsors before 5:00 p.m., even if the sponsor has listed a later submission time.

Proposal Review Types

For certified and authorized proposal received 5 or more days before the submission deadline, the Sponsored Programs Office will do a full review. If less than 5 days, they will perform a partial review and reserve the right to negotiate terms and conditions at time of award. If the proposal arrives too close to the submission deadline, the Sponsored Programs Office will do no review, and again reserve the right to negotiate at time of award.

Helpful Materials

Determine Principal Investigator and Institutional Eligibility

Institutional Eligibility

Read the program solicitation and any relevant sponsor guidelines to confirm that UC Davis, as an academic institution, is eligible to apply to the funding program and/or sponsor.

A sponsor may limit how many applications an institution may submit (referred to as Limited Submissions) or require some form of internal coordination (referred to as Coordinated Submissions). Limited and Coordinated Submissions involve an internal (UC Davis) application and selection process before submission to the sponsor.

  • Submit an internal pre-proposal in the InfoReady Review system.
  • If the Principal Investigator did not forward the selection email from Limited Submissions, email [email protected] to confirm the Principal Investigator was selected to apply before submitting a proposal to Sponsored Programs for review.

Principal Investigator Eligibility

Information and Instructions

UC policy states that only qualified members of the Academic Senate and appointees in other eligible title groups listed in the UC Academic Senate policy may submit proposals without the need for an exception. View the Academic Attributes chart for assistance.

The assigned Sponsored Programs analyst will verify that the individual submitting this proposal is an eligible PI according to UC Davis policy.


  • Form 105: Request for Exception to Policy on Eligibility to Undertake Sponsored Research/Other Sponsored Activity (PDF). Complete the form, obtain appropriate signatures, and upload as a Proposal Attachment in the relevant Cayuse SP Internal Processing Form (IPF). Dept/unit chair approval will be obtained via IPF approval if the form is uploaded into Cayuse SP before submitting the IPF for routing.

Prepare and Submit Proposal Components, including Proposal Budgets, to SPO

Follow the steps below to submit a proposal for SPO review and approval, including After-the-Fact proposals

Determine the Submission Method

Determine the method required for submission to the sponsor. The method used will determine how the proposal materials will be submitted to SPO for review.

Potential submission methods are:

  • Electronic Research Administration (eRA) system-to-system submission, such as Cayuse 424 (used for most federal sponsors; linked “system-to-system” to, and serving in place of,, (NSF), NSPIRES (NASA) or ASSIST (NIH; note: the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) recommends you use Cayuse 424 for all NIH proposals, even multi-project proposals, though ASSIST remains an option).
    • Provide SPO access to eRA system proposal packages at time of Cayuse SP submission. The technical components (science, etc.) do not need to be final at time of Cayuse SP submission.
    • New registrations can take several days, so please plan ahead and allow adequate time for submission. Remember that even if the proposal submission system will allow a PI or department staff member to “press the button”, UC policy still requires that the proposal be processed through the OR-Sponsored Programs office prior to submission to a sponsor.
    • Please ensure that there is at least one contact person available (e.g., department administrator or PI) prior to the sponsor deadline. There are often small errors, such as page limits exceeded or missing information, which will cause a proposal to be automatically rejected by a sponsor’s proposal submission system. In these cases, proposal analysts in OR-Sponsored Programs will work quickly to alert the contact person of the issue so that the contact person can resolve it and resend the corrected application to OR Sponsored Programs for re-submission to the sponsor in advance of the sponsor’s deadline.
  • Email to the sponsor
  • Regular mail or FedEx, etc. to the sponsor


Identify and Compile/Prepare Proposal Components

Select the appropriate tab below for more information/guidance. 

Proposals with (outgoing) Subawards


  • Before budgeting for a subrecipient, first determine if the collaborator you propose to work with is truly a subrecipient. For help in determining if your collaborator is a true subrecipient, consult the Subrecipient or Contractor (Vendor) Guidance document for reference. Failure to categorize subrecipients and vendors/suppliers properly can have an adverse effect to the proposed budget and lead to delays in providing funds to these entities.
  • Use the PI/Department Checklist for Principal Investigators and Department Administrators as a useful guide.
  • Sponsored Programs requires that the following elements be uploaded as one PDF attachment per subrecipient in Cayuse SP as Proposal Attachments in order for each named subrecipient to be included as part of a PI’s proposal to the sponsor.
    • Commitment Form
    • Subrecipient’s statement of work (SOW), including a clear and detailed description of the work to be performed, the proposed timelines, and deliverables.
    • Subrecipient’s Budget and Budget Justification, including the subrecipient’s direct and indirect costs, calculated in accordance with sponsor guidelines using the subrecipient’s approved F&A and fringe benefit rates, and verifying any committed cost sharing.
    • If the subrecipient does not have a current federally negotiated F&A rate in place they have the following options:
      • Use a de minimis F&A rate of 10% MTDC;
      • Negotiate a F&A rate with their Cognizant Federal Agency;
      • Elect not to charge F&A.
    • If the proposal is for a Federal contract (not a grant or cooperative agreement):
      • Sole Source Justification Form -Completion of this form is mandatory when proposing subcontract(s) under a federal contract for sponsored activity and the subcontract is being issued without seeking multiple bids OR if subaward was not included in the original proposal submitted to sponsor under a grant or cooperative agreement. See Uniform Guidance Section 200.324 or the Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1 for additional guidance.
      • Any additional elements that may be required by UCD’s sponsor for inclusion in the proposal.

Subrecipient proposal elements are expected to conform to the sponsor requirements for UCD’s prime proposal and should be in the format required by the sponsor.

In rare instances, a PI may recognize the need for outside involvement on a project but is either unable to identify the best subrecipient by the time of proposal submission, or is unable to acquire all of the required paperwork from that subrecipient. In these instances, proposals may be submitted with a subrecipient “To Be Named.” In these situations, PI is required to provide documentation of the basis for their subaward cost estimate for the work being performed. PIs will also be responsible for managing any budgetary shortfalls that may result from their inability to accurately predict a subrecipient’s costs. Subrecipients should not be asked to reduce their F&A recovery or to otherwise cost-share because of UCD’s failure to include appropriate costs in our proposal.

Tools/User Guides


Proposals to State of California Agencies

University of California proposals to most State of California agencies must be submitted using the Model Agreement Template and include the following:

  • Standard Agreement Cover Page
  • Exhibit A: Scope of Work
  • Exhibit B: Budget
    • Include Exhibit B2 if the proposal includes subrecipients
  • Exhibit C: If funded, the award will be governed by the UTC 518 – University Terms and Conditions (Exhibit C) 
  • Additional Exhibits as needed based on the project

Indirect (F&A) Costs

For current rates, see the ‘State of California’ tab within the ‘F&A Rates’ section of F&A and Fringe Benefit Rates.

  • State of California rates do not apply when the state is acting as a pass-through entity of federal funds.  The appropriate UC federally negotiated F&A rate will apply to State agency awards made with federal funding.  Please see 2 CFR § 200.414 and 2 CFR § 200.331.
  • For State awards, the rate in effect for the first year of a multi-year project will be the rate used for the entire project in proposed and awarded budgets.  If additional funds (not previously appropriated or budgeted) are awarded by a State agency; use the UC-approved state rate in effect at the time the new budget request is submitted.

For more information see the State and University Proposal & Administration Manual and UC Office of the President Guidance Memo 17-06.

Submitting After-the-Fact Proposals

After-the-Fact (ATF) proposals are required when a proposal is submitted to the sponsor without receiving SPO review and when an award is received that did not require an application or proposal.


Prepare and submit the proposal materials to SPO for review following the same steps as all other proposals. However, note the following differences in Cayuse SP.

  • The Short Project Name should begin with “ATF for Awards” for “ATF for [Analyst Name]” instead of the submission deadline (e.g., “ATF for Awards Obelleiro NIH”).
  • Select After-the-Fact as the Proposal Type.
  • Select Paper as the Submission Method and provide sponsor contact information in the pop-up box.
  • If the sponsor sent a draft agreement, indicate this in the Special Interest section and upload the draft agreement as a Proposal Attachment.
  • OR Budget Templates
  • Cayuse SP Internal Processing Form (IPF)
  • FDP Subrecipient Pilot – Letter of Intent/Commitment Form (PDF)
    • Use when UC Davis is the Subrecipient Organization
  • Cayuse 424
  • eCOI Online Disclosure System
    • Form 700-U: Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators (Private Sponsors)
    • Form 800: Statement of Economic Interest (Non-PHS Government Sponsors)
    • Form PHS: Conflict of Interest for PHS Funded Projects
    • Statements of Economic Interests – Supplemental Form: Forms 700-U and 800 Supplement
  • IRB and IACUC Protocol Certification Form (PDF): The assigned Sponsored Programs analyst will request this form when necessary
  • IRBNet (Human Subjects Approval)
  • NSF

Submit Proposal Materials to SPO for Review

Tools and Instructions

Allow time for the Cayuse SP Internal Processing Form (IPF) routing and approval process to ensure the IPF and minimum documents required for assignment arrive in SPO at least five business days before the sponsor deadline.


Submit the Proposal to the Sponsor

Generally, the assigned SPO analyst will submit the proposal directly to the sponsor via an eRA system. However, sometimes the Principal Investigator must submit the proposal directly to the sponsor via email, hard copy or in an eRA sytem SPO cannot access. In these cases, submit the proposal as approved by SPO and provide SPO a copy of the final submission.

Check Proposal Status and Work with SPO during the Review

  • Check Cayuse SP to determine the status of the proposal once the Internal Processing Form (IPF) has been submitted for routing. The SPO analyst may also add notes in the Notes section regarding progress and/or outstanding items.
  • Check your email for correspondence from SPO regarding the proposal. Emails may come directly from your assigned SPO analyst, [email protected] or [email protected] (do not reply to this email address).


The assigned SPO analyst will review the proposal for:

  • Adherence to campus requirements:
    • Internal Processing Form (IPF) certifications and approvals by the Principal Investigator, co-investigator(s), chair/director of the involved units and the School of Medicine dean’s office, if applicable, were obtained before submitting the proposal for routing.
    • Budget and Budget Justification to ensure the accurate F&A rate and base are appropriately applied, budget calculations are accurate, costs are allowable and allocable and that the budget and budget justification match.
    • Scope of Work to identify the type of activity, such as research or service.
  • Adherence to sponsor requirements that will prevent submission, such as:
    • Inclusion of required proposal components that will create a system error if not included.
    • Appropriate protocols, based on the IPF entry, are obtained when applicable, such as IRB and IACUC.
    • Financial Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosures are filed when applicable.
    • Sponsored Programs does not review formatting, pagination, page limits, spelling/grammar or technical documents. Principal Investigators and the proposal preparer should carefully read all sponsor guidelines.
  • Terms and conditions are acceptable to the University and the Principal Investigator, if agreement is required at the time of proposal.

See the Proposal Preparation Checklist for a list of the items required before assignment to a SPO analyst.

Submit a Post-Proposal Action, including Just-in-Time Requests, to SPO

To request an advance account or change a primary administrative contact, see the Other Processes page.

Post-proposal actions include informing SPO that a proposal was not funded, responding to just-in-time requests and any other occurring actions occurring after submitting a proposal to a sponsor and before the proposal is awarded.

  • If you are notified that an application was not selected for funding, send the ‘not-funded’ notification to [email protected].

Certain sponsors’ grants policies allow for the submission of certain elements of a competing application to be deferred for certain programs and award mechanisms. These elements, that can be submitted Just-in-Time (JIT) by the applicant when requested by a sponsor, may include:

The sponsor will notify the Principal Investigator (PI) electronically if a JIT submission is required.

  • When the PI receives the JIT request, forward it immediately to the appropriate Sponsored Programs proposal analyst.
  • Once the JIT request is completed, the PI should give access to submit to the Sponsored Programs proposal analyst and notify the Sponsored Programs proposal analyst that the JIT is ready and access has been granted to complete a final review.
  • If the JIT is amenable for submission, the proposal analyst will then submit on behalf of the investigator and the institution.