Office of Research SPO Training: Proposal Preparation and Submission - Office of Research

SPO Training: Proposal Preparation and Submission

Main Sponsored Programs Office Training Page

The following materials have been developed to assist with proposal preparation and submission at UC Davis.

Quick Overview: Proposal and Award Process

Responsibilities: Investigators / Department Contract & Grant Administrators

Proposals for Sponsored Programs review and approval must be submitted through Cayuse SP.  Cayuse SP training page.

Proposal FAQs

  1. In terms of the PI, what do they need to do? Since the data sheet has been phased out? The PI will need to access the system to certify and approve their proposals. Instructions are available in the Quick Reference for PIs and C&G Staff
  2. Can a department administrator complete the proposal on behalf of the PI, so the PI does not have to login to the system? Anyone can initiate a proposal for a PI. However, the PI will need to login to the Cayuse SP to approve/certify the proposal/certify the proposal for electronic submission. If the PI begins the proposal, he or she may grant edit access to a department administrator by adding that person to the Investigators/Research Team tab of the IPF with the role of Proposal Editor.
  3. Can someone other than the PI or the person that started a proposal edit that proposal? Anyone listed on the Investigator/Research Team tab may edit a Proposal that is in Unsubmitted status.
  4. Can more than one Primary Administrative Contact be listed on an Internal Processing Form (IPF)? Only one Primary Administrative Contact may be listed on the IPF. List the person Sponsored Programs should contact regarding the proposal. If someone other than the Primary Administrative Contact for the proposal should be included if the proposal is awarded, add a Note in the IPF that “x should be listed as the Primary Administrative Contact on the Project.”
  5. How do I submit a letter of intent (LOI) or pre-proposal to SPO for review? Submit a new Proposal/IPF in Cayuse SP as usual. Select  “Preliminary Proposal” as the proposal type; add only the lead Principal Investigator and any proposal editors to the Investigators/Research Team tab; complete the rest of the IPF to the best of your knowledge; and indicate in Submission Notes that a budget and/or budget justification is not required, if applicable. See the Handbook for Department Contract & Grant Staff, Principal Investigators and Approvers for more information.
  6. Many PIs answers to questions rarely change. Can it be auto filled if there have been no changes? Cayuse SP includes the capability to copy a proposal (Internal Processing Form). However, this function should not be used as it also copies SPO administration information from the previous proposal.
  7. How does the copy feature for proposals work? Cayuse SP includes the capability to copy a proposal (Internal Processing Form). However, this function should not be used as it also copies SPO administration information from the previous proposal.
  8. Is there a way to see an audit log to see who last touched the proposal? No, but you will see an audit trail as the proposal is routed, approved and awarded.
  9. What Proposal Type should I choose? View our Actions and Proposal Types table to determine the correct proposal type of a specific action.
  10. What is the purpose of “applied research” Activity Code? Applied research is work to advance a specific objective/application. A list of definitions of Activity Codes are available in the Cayuse SP Handbook for PIs, Department C&G Staff and Approvers.
  11. What is an Affiliated Unit? A unit that’s resources are being used for a project and/or that need to provide authorization of the proposal that does not have researchers participating as Key Personnel. For example: The Primate Center.
  12. What deadline to I select when my proposal is due on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday? Choose the business day prior to the deadline to ensure your proposal is review and approve.
  13. How do I remove an Affiliated Unit from a Proposal/IPF? Select the added Affiliated Unit. Uncheck the box next to the selected Affiliated Unit in the list, and the choose Select.
  14. How does Cayuse SP coordinate its submission process with Grants.Gov and FastLane/ Cayuse SP is integrated with Cayuse 424. However, do not use the Pair with 424 functionality in Cayuse SP as this will overwrite permissions in Cayuse 424. Instead, enter “See 424 Proposal” in the Submission Notes section of the Cayuse SP proposal. Cayuse SP is not connected to FastLane/ in any way.
  15. If there are portions of the proposal that someone else completes, can I leave it partially completed and come back to it later? While in “unsubmitted” status, the proposal is accessible and can be edited/completed by anyone who has edit access to the proposal. To give someone edit access, add them to the Investigators/Research Team tab in the Proposal. If they are not Key Personnel, assign them the role of Proposal Editor or Other Participant – No Routing. All other roles will cause the person’s home unit to be included an Approving Unit. The proposal can be found by selecting the “unsubmitted” proposal tab from My Proposals.
  16. What do I do if the Sponsor is not listed on the Sponsor list? Select Miscellaneous Sponsors from the Sponsor list and type the Sponsor’s name and contact information in Submission Notes. You do not need to email the OR Cayuse Rapid Response Team.
  17. What unit should be listed as the Admin unit? The Admin unit is the department or unit that receives credit for the proposal.
  18. Who should be entered on the Investigators/Research Team tab of the Internal Processing Form? Key Personnel and those needing edit access should be listed on this tab, including those needing access to the associated award. The Lead Principal Investigator is required and defined as the lead investigator of the overall project. If the sponsor allows multiple Program Directors/Principal Investigator (PD/PIs), this would be the contact PI. The Principal Investigator role should only be selected if the sponsor allows multiple PIs. Other roles that may fall under this designation include Research Scientist, Research Specialist, Research Associate, or Scholar. Those needing edit access to the proposal but that are not Key Personnel should be given the Proposal Editor or Other Participant – No Routing role. Note that IPF creators should add themselves as a Proposal Editor or Other Participant – No Routing if they need access to the associated award. The IPF Approver of all units with people listed in any role other than Proposal Editor and Other Participant – No Routing will be required to authorize the proposal before it arrives in SPO. A list of Role Definitions is available in the Cayuse SP Handbook for PIs, Department C&G Staff and Approvers.
  19. What department/unit affiliation should be used for an investigator without an Academic appointment, such as UCDH Hospital employees? First check Research Contacts from the main Cayuse page to determine if the relevant unit/department has an IPF Approver established. If the Unit does have an IPF Approver established, use that unit for them investigator in question. If the unit does not have an IPF Approver established, use the Admin Unit of Proposal/IPF and upload a letter or email from the head of the unit of the investigator in question approving their effort on the proposal.
  20. The home department/unit listed for a Key Personnel member on the Investigators/Research Team tab of the Internal Processing Form is incorrect. Can this be corrected? Yes, you can change it for this proposal by selecting the appropriate home unit/department in that field. This can be changed for all future proposals by updating the user’s Professional Profile in Cayuse 424.
  21. Can Key Personnel be changed after the Sponsored Programs review and approval? Key personnel may be changed. However, this change will require re-routing to the appropriate department IPF approvers (i.e.; Department Chair, Dean – if required) and review/approval by Sponsored Programs.
  22. What is considered a nanomaterial for the purpose of the Regulatory Compliance tab of the Internal Processing Form? Nanomaterials refers to engineered nanoparticles/nanomaterials of any shape. See SafetyNet #132 for more information.
  23. What do I do if the Subcontractor is not listed on the Subcontractor list? Select Miscellaneous Sponsors from the Subcontractor list and type the Subcontractor’s name and contact information in Submission Notes. If you are also using Cayuse 424, ensure the subcontractor is listed as an institution in Cayuse 424. Instructions are available in the Handbook for Submitting a Proposal with Subawards. Email [email protected] if the institution is not in Cayuse 424.
  24. What does selecting “yes” to give permission to make my abstract publicly accessible mean? Marking “yes” allows anyone with access to the proposal to view the abstract and the abstract to be populated in the associated reports. Alternatively, if “no” is selected the abstract will not populate into reporting.
  25. Is there a size limitation on the abstract? The character limit is large and will allow more than one page of text.
  26. Do I need to upload the grant solicitation, request for proposals (RFP), etc.? Sponsored Programs must be provided the solicitation, etc. in order to review the proposal/application for compliance with the sponsor and program guidelines. If you have the solicitation downloaded, please upload it as a Proposal Attachment. If the solicitation is online, provide a link on the general tab of the Internal Processing Form (IPF).
  27. What happens when a proposal is submitted? Once a proposal is submitted, it will route for the necessary approvals and then to SPO for review. The proposal/internal processing form will no longer be editable except by Sponsored Programs
  28. Can the proposal/internal processing form be changed while in routing? The approving person can make changes on behalf of the initiator instead of returning it for revision. However, the initiator cannot make changes after a proposal has been routed unless the proposal is returned (rejected) by the unit/person the approval has been assigned to (this can be the Department Chair, Dean or SPO depending on where the proposal is in the routing process). Changes can be made to a returned proposal and then that proposal can resubmitted for routing.
  29. Is there a specific format I should use when uploading Proposal Attachments? It is best to create file names that clearly indicate what the file is. For example, an appropriate budget file title would be “Budget_Apple-NSF”. Also, do not use special characters. Including a comma, for example, may result in the attachment not being downloadable in some web browsers.
  30. Can the attachments be changed while in routing? The PI, proposal/internal processing form (IPF) creator and those listed on the Investigators/Research Team tab can upload attachments throughout the process. However, please inform your assigned Sponsored Programs analyst if anything is uploaded after the IPF has been assigned in Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs does not receive notification of uploaded documents or changes to IPFs.
  31. Why do I receive an error message when trying to view Proposal Attachments and no attachments are displaying? I know that documents were attached. This error may be encountered when a file/attachment name includes commas. If you are not using Mozilla FireFox, try accessing the Proposal Attachments from Mozilla FireFox. If this does not correct the issue, please email [email protected] for further assistance.
  32. How do I upload attachments after a Proposal has been submitted for routing? Go to the Proposal Attachments tab, find the document on your computer and select “Next.”


Written materials:


  • Proposal Preparation and Submission (Instructor-Led Training or eCourse) – This course will help you prepare and submit a proposal through the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) at UC Davis. Topics include: an overview of the extramural funding process at UC Davis, types of proposals and awards, types of sponsors, understanding a call for proposals, principal investigator eligibility, components of a proposal, institutional forms, department research administrator steps, and how to submit a proposal. After completing this course, you should be able to successfully compile a proposal packet and submit it to SPO.
  • Submitting NSF Proposals in – Slide deck from 2-hour quarterly Research Administration Workshop.