When the Office of Research Administration (ORA) receives a proposal from a WPI faculty member, many of the following points are considered during the review process, depending on the type and complexity of the proposal and other factors (e.g., use of human subjects or animals, generation of hazardous wastes, cost sharing).
Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD)
- Is the PI/PD clearly identified in the proposal?
- Does the proposal cover sheet or cover page minimally provide her/his name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address?
- Is the PI/PD a WPI faculty member who is eligible to submit proposals?
- Does the PI/PD have an actual or perceived conflict of interest in her/his relationship to the external sponsor?
Other Faculty or Researcher Involvement
- Are any additional faculty or researchers participating in the proposed project?
- In what capacity (i.e., co-investigator, research associate, consultant)?
- What evidence exists that these persons have agreed to be involved in the project?
- Are all persons for whom salaries are being requested employees of WPI?
- Has the department head reviewed the proposal and approved the levels of effort and commitment of space and resources required for the proposed project?
- Has all departmental cost sharing been approved and the fund to be charged been identified?
- Has cost sharing to be funded by the Provost's Office been approved? If so, has the fund to be charged been identified?
Type of Application
- Is this proposal a new application, a competitive renewal, a non-competitive (continuation) renewal, a supplemental request, or a budget revision?
- Have the appropriate forms, including required assurances and certifications, been used?
- Have these forms been completed accurately and fully?
- Does the proposed project conflict in any manner with department or institutional policies or mission?
- Is it additive (i.e., a project that the University would have supported anyway)?
Period of Performance
- Have the proposed start and end dates been clearly stated and are they consistently used throughout the proposal?
- Given the proposal submission date, is the proposed start date realistic?
- If funded, is it likely that an advance account and/or pre-award costs will be necessary?
Place of Performance
- Will the project effort be conducted on-campus, off-campus, or both?
- If both, what proportion of the project will be performed off-campus?
- Are there any indirect cost or subcontracting considerations for off-campus activities?
Space and Facilities
- Is adequately equipped space available with which to conduct the project?
- Will extra space need to be made available?
- If so, have the appropriate institutional officials approved these commitments?
- Will any alterations be required to the facilities being utilized?
Level of Effort
- What level of effort has each investigator committed to the project?
- Is the stated level of effort reasonable in relation to the proposed project and each investigator's current and pending support?
- Is the level of effort proposed in the same manner that the actual costs will be incurred?
- Does the proposal promise any institutional commitments to staff beyond the proposed period of performance?
- Will new employees be hired for this project only?
- Does the proposal involve a new curricular program?
- If so, has the necessary University authority approved the program?
- If the proposal is to a private sponsor, has University Relations been notified of the proposal activity?
- Does the project involve the use of human subjects?
- If so, has the proposal been submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for review and approval of the protocol?
- If approval by the IRB has not been granted, why is this and when will the protocol be reviewed?
- If the proposal is being submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has the investigator fulfilled the required (as of 10/1/00) educational requirement? Does the proposal contain a letter attesting to this requirement having been met?
- Does the project involve the use of vertebrate animals?
- If so, has the proposal been submitted to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for review and approval of the protocol?
- If IACUC approval has not been granted, why is this and when will the protocol be reviewed?
- Does the project involve the use of any hazardous, toxic, or carcinogenic materials, chemicals, or recombinant DNA?
- If so, has the proposal been submitted for review by the Environmental and Occupational Safety Office?
Patents and Copyrights
- Does the proposal contain any potentially patentable or copyrightable material?
- Are there restrictions indicated in the sponsor guidelines?
- If proprietary material is included, has the proposal been marked appropriately?
- Does the sponsor or agency impose any restrictions on investigators or graduate students from freely publishing research results?
Assurances and Certifications
- Are all required assurance forms included as part of the proposal (i.e., human subjects, animals, non-construction programs, assurance statements, etc.)?
- Have all required certifications been completed correctly and signed by the institutional authorizing official (i.e., representations and certifications, lobbying, debarment and suspension, drug-free workplace, etc.)?
Terms and Conditions
- If the award terms to be incorporated if an award is made are known in advance, are they appropriate for and acceptable to the University (i.e., indemnification, ownership of intellectual property, publishing, reporting requirements, etc.)?
Proposal Content and Formatting
- Is all of the required proposal content included (i.e., table of contents, abstract, project description, etc.)?
- Is the proposal formatted in accordance with sponsor guidelines (i.e., number of pages, page numbering, spacing, margins, font size, etc.)?
type of Project
- Is the type or purpose of the project clearly defined (i.e., research, instruction, training, etc.)?
- If the proposal is being submitted to a foundation or a corporation, has Corporate and Foundation Relations been informed?
- Is the proposed budget accurate and complete?
- Have the correct budget categories been used?
- Are all budgeted costs allowable and allocable in accordance with sponsor guidelines and/or the appropriate federal cost principles?
- Are estimated costs proposed in the manner that they will be expended?
- Can all costs be supported under audit?
- Have appropriate increases been applied to the out years?
- Has the budget been justified appropriately, when required by the sponsor?
- Have the currently approved rates been used and correctly applied to the proper salary base?
- Has the appropriate indirect cost rate been used and applied to the correct salary and wage base?
- If less than the full indirect cost rate has been applied, has approval been given to recover costs using a lower rate?
- If the sponsor limits indirect cost recovery, can WPI's under-recovery be used for any required cost sharing?
Travel, Equipment, and Other Direct Costs
- Are the proposed costs necessary for the successful conduct of the project?
- Are the proposed costs reasonable, allowable, and allocable?
- Are the equipment costs based upon vendor quotes?
- Are the travel costs based on federal per diem rates or some other known and/or accepted source of information?
- Are tuition costs requested at the correct rate for each graduate student on the project?
- If the project involves the use of institutional facilities (e.g., animal care, computing, etc.), have these costs been included in the proposal using currently approved rates?
Cost Sharing or Matching Funds
- Does the proposed project require the financial support of the University?
- If so, have the sources of this funding been identified?
- Is there any "hidden" cost sharing identified in the body of the proposal that could become mandatory cost sharing in the event an award is made?
- Do any matching funds have to be raised during the life of the project? If so, is there a need to coordinate this effort with University Relations?
Subcontractors or Consultants
- Is a budget included for each proposed subcontractor? Is this budget accurate and reasonable?
- Does the proposal contain a letter of commitment (intent) from each subcontractor organization, indicating their willingness to participate in the project, if funded?
- Is there a scope of work included for each subcontractor?
- Are letters of intent included for each consultant on the project, paid or otherwise?
- If the proposal is to a federal sponsor, is the subcontractor or consultant currently debarred or suspended and, therefore, ineligible to receive federal funding?
Electronically Submitted Proposals
- Does the principal investigator have the required electronic access (i.e., user ID, password) to the sponsor proposal system?
- Will the documents contained in each section of the proposal be viewed by the sponsor the same as they are viewed locally?
- Can the proposal be submitted sufficiently prior to the deadline date and time to allow for possible interruptions in internet/e-mail service?
- Is the principal investigator (and the University) up-to-date on required reporting on current and/or expired awards (not being current could result in rejection of proposals)?
- Is the University able to collect payment on current/expired awards from the sponsor to whom this proposal is being submitted?