Overview: Proposal Process




Need to Know

When is a proposal required to be routed through the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) 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 SPO for review and approval prior to being submitted to a sponsor (organization or entity) when the sponsor requires:

    • a budget amount
    • 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.

Proposal Timeline (at a glance)

The Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) 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.

Proposal/Award Process at UC Davis

Contract & grant administration is a 4-step process that involves several electronic research administration (eRA) systems:

1. PI (w/ dept assist) prepares and routes proposal in Cayuse SP for internal review and approvals:

2. PI (w/ dept assist) prepares separate proposal for external submission to sponsor:

      • SPO reviews for campus & sponsor compliance
      • In most cases, SPO submits proposal to sponsor

3. When a Notice of Award is received from a sponsor, SPO:

4. PI (w/ dept assist) submits reports and disclosures to sponsor

Cayuse Research Suite: Cayuse SP & Cayuse 424

Use Cayuse SP to route an IPF (Internal Processing Form: the electronic “proposal”) and required attachments internally for required PI/Co-PI certifications, Dept Head/Dean authorizations and Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) institutional review.

Although Cayuse 424 is used to submit applications to most Federal sponsors (as a system-to-system substitute for grants.gov (Workspace)), some sponsors require submission through their stand-alone eRA systems. See Electronic Research Administration (eRA)

SPO reviews all submissions, even those to be submitted by a PI through a non-Cayuse system.

Submit to NIH in either Cayuse 424 (preferred) or ASSIST

Always submit to NSF in Research.gov

Always submit to NASA in NSPIRES

FedEx, Mail or Email: Some sponsors may require submission another way.


Application Phases and Types

Minimum Proposal Documents for SPO Review

The proposal routed via Cayuse SP for internal review need not be finalized, but the Sponsored Programs Office (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)
    2. Budget Spreadsheet – Strongly encouraged even if NOT required by the sponsor
    3. 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.
    4. Scope of Work – May submit a draft and provide the final before submission to sponsor

Detailed Proposal Timeline for PIs and/or Dept Admins

Note: The steps below apply to Letters of Intent (LOIs) and Pre-Proposals when these must be routed through the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) (see above).

Note: Federal sponsors recommend proposals/applications be submitted two (2) business days prior to indicated deadline to allow time to resolve technical issues or submission errors.

    • Read sponsor guidelines thoroughly (some sponsors have multiple sets of guidelines to abide by).
      • Note institutional eligibility. UC Davis is an Eligible Applicant Institution as follows (assuming it meets other eligibility requirements):
        • Institutions of Higher Education (IHE); Public Institutions of Higher Education; 1862 Land Grant Universities; Non-Profit Institutions; 501c3
      • Note PI eligibility.
        • If PI is eligible per the sponsor but does not have PI eligibility at UC Davis, submit Request for Exception Form 105 to the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) with the proposal.
      • PI and/or Dept Admin are responsible for ensuring all required components are included and that formatting requirements are met (Table of Contents, page margins, font/pitch, line spacing, characters per inch, page limitations, spelling and grammar).
        • Some components may be required based on the project scope:
          • i.e., Human or animal subjects, use of pathogenic materials, international involvement
        • Consider using the Call for Proposals Checklist
      • Develop proposal
        • Confirm that required approvals are in place or that all necessary steps to get them have been completed:
        • If required, PI submits financial Conflict of Interest (COI) documents at or-forms.ucdavis.edu.
        • Develop the budget
          • Confirm the project periods (number and length) in the budget are correct.
            • If using the OR Budget Templates (recommended), project periods will affect automatic calculations.
          • Identify salary and benefits for key personnel
          • Identify appropriate F&A (Facilities & Administrative, or “Indirect”) Cost Rates and Base.
        • Minimum documents required for SPO review:
          • Budget Spreadsheet and 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.
          • Scope of Work – May submit a draft and provide the final before submission to sponsor
          • Completely Routed and Authorized electronic proposal in Cayuse SP (Internal Processing Form (IPF) + attachments)
        • Consider using the Proposal Preparation Checklist
      • Begin proposal in Cayuse SP to route internally for PI certification, Dept/Dean authorization, Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) review and (institutional) approval.

      • Before routing the proposal (electronic Internal Processing Form (IPF) + attachments) in Cayuse SP for approvals:
        • Review the List of Approving Units in the Cayuse SP Approving Units tab.
          • Be certain that every unit and/or campus resource involved with (or used by) the proposal is listed before submitting the proposal for routing. Failure to include all affected resources/units may result in having to reroute for approvals.
        • In the Cayuse Research Suite, select Research Contacts under System Administration Applications, enter all the Approving Units and confirm that an IPF Approver is identified for each.
          • A missing IPF Approver could hold up the routing.
        • Ensure either PI or Dept Admin will be available to respond to SPO’s review of the certified/authorized proposal.
      • Route proposal in Cayuse SP 10 to 14 business days ahead of the sponsor deadline to ensure the certified/authorized documents arrives in SPO at least 5 to 7 days before deadline.
      • It’s good practice for the PI to immediately certify the IPF
      • Monitor routing to ensure no holdups.
      • To speed process, copy details from the Cayuse SP IPF into the electronic Research Administration (eRA) system (e.g., Cayuse 424) that will be used for submission to the sponsor.

      • Your assigned SPO analyst will contact you with feedback following their review of the certified/ authorized IPF.
        • Incorporate their feedback into the proposal in the eRA system to be used for submission (e.g., Cayuse 424)
          • Note: if you didn’t start the proposal in the submission eRA system earlier, now is the time to do so.
        • Attach any missing documents
      • If necessary, provide your SPO Analyst access to the sponsor eRA system
        • SPO reviews all submissions from UC Davis, even those required by the sponsor to be submitted by the PI.

      • SPO (usually) submits proposal to sponsor
        • If sponsor requires submission by PI, SPO will provide all finalized materials to PI for submission.