Proposal Preparation and Processing Responsibilities

This page helps delineate responsibilities of the various parties involved in developing and processing proposals for submission to an external sponsor.

After the proposal's final text and budget are complete, the following checklist should be reviewed to ensure that the proposed project complies with both sponsor and University requirements:

  • Proposal format and content comply with sponsor guidelines;
  • Adequate resources are available to meet the project's needs (e.g., use of space, cost-share commitments);
  • Requirements for the use of animals, human subjects, rDNA, biohazards, and radiation safety have been met;
  • If a conflict or potential conflict of interest exists, the conflict has been reviewed by the respective Dean or Vice Provost;
  • If a subcontract is proposed the supporting documentation outlined in the "Subcontracts" section of the Budget and Costing Guide is attached to the proposal; and
  • If a consultant is proposed the supporting documentation outlined in the "Consulting" section of the Budget and Costing Guide is attached to the proposal.

When responding to an RFP or RFQ with the proposed terms and conditions stated in the solicitation the investigator should notify and forward a copy of the solicitation to their GCO as far in advance of the deadline as possible.

The Form 10 (Proposal Routing and Approval Form) must accompany every proposal submitted to OSP. Form 10 provides OSP with information on where to submit the proposal and identifies what compliance issues exist and what institutional resources are required for the project. Investigators are responsible for completing Form 10 and, by signing it, accept full responsibility for the project. The proposal and Form 10 should be received by OSP at least five business days before the proposal deadline. Investigators are strongly urged to coordinate their proposal schedule with Development/OSP as soon as the proposal deadline is known.

Occasionally a sponsor may require an institutional cover letter or letter of support from the President or Provost. These proposals should be received by OSP at least 10 business days before the deadline. In addition to the required internal review, extra time is necessary to obtain a signature due to the President's and Provost's extensive travel schedules.

Many departments have administrative staff who can offer proposal preparation assistance in the areas of:

  • Proposal editing;
  • Budget preparation and proper costing;
  • Identifying accounts for matching funds or cost-share contributions;
  • Providing logistical support for items such as space and personnel;
  • Assisting the investigator in complying with any relevant special reviews;
  • Coordinating documentation for subcontracts and/or consultants;
  • Preparing certifications and representations for signature by OSP;
  • Photocopying the final proposal (number of copies required by sponsor plus one copy for the department and one copy for OSP; and
  • Coordinating department chair/unit/Center director signature(s) for Form 10
  • The Pre-Award Research Operations (PRO) team in OSP offers proposal preparation assistance to researchers from the College of Engineering

Each College or Center is responsible for ensuring that major commitments of resources are appropriate for a project. Colleges and units with policies regarding proposal approval may wish to sign the Form 10 to ensure that the appropriate commitments have been made. OSP should be notified when a unit's proposal routing policy changes.

OSP is available to assist as needed the investigator and/or unit in any phase  of proposal preparation. Proposals are carefully reviewed to ensure that they comply with all University, federal, and/or state requirements, and are prepared in such a way as to meet with favorable reviews during competition. Proposals are reviewed for the following criteria:

  • Proposal format and content comply with sponsor guidelines;
  • Budget reflects adequate resources and costing detail to accomplish the project and complies with federal regulations;
  • Review of the Form 10 for appropriate signatures and investigator compliance with relevant special reviews;
  • Verification of cost-share commitments and/or matching funds;
  • Verification of documentation for subcontractors and/or consultants; and
  • Review and signature of certifications and representations.

OSP then prepares a transmittal letter and submits the proposal.

Investigators should notify their GCO as soon as possible when responding to an RFP, RFQ, or other type of solicitation. In order to be responsive to a solicitation, all conditions must be met or otherwise qualified in a transmittal letter. Usually a solicitation will state the proposed terms and conditions for any resulting award, but if the conditions are unacceptable to Cornell the GCO must address these conditions and explain the University's position. The research, preparation, and documenting of a response requires five business days and can not be left to the last minute.

A revised budget and work statement may be necessary if a sponsor notifies OSP or the investigator that the funds available for a program vary substantially from the proposed budget. Consideration should be given to whether the scope of work is of such a specific nature that reduced funding would seriously affect the accomplishment of the proposed objectives. A revised proposal is reviewed by OSP in the same manner as a new proposal, and should be received at least five business days before the deadline.

OSP has delegated limited transaction authority to CALS Office of Sponsored Research and the CVM Research Office to review and submit proposals to certain sponsors. All other proposals must be submitted to OSP.