WPI Proposal Procedure

All proposals to be submitted to external sponsors require the prior approval of an authorized WPI official.  In the Office Sponsored Programs, Michael Manning, the Vice Provost for Research, is the current signatory for all University proposal submissions.

The procedures below should always be followed to ensure adequate time for the complete review of all proposals submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and to avoid the possibility of missed deadlines and non-compliance with sponsor requirements.  For proposals to be submitted to foundations, please provide advance notice to both OSP and Foundation Giving (FG).  OSP and FG staff will then make a determination regarding which office will play a lead role in assisting with your proposal.

It should be noted that review of proposals by OSP involves considerably more than budgetary review and checking for compliance with sponsor guidelines.  The Proposal Review Checklist provides an overview of the possible review points to be considered before proposals can be approved.  Again, adherence to the following procedures will help ensure the quickest turnaround of proposals submitted for review.

         1.      Timing - To ensure that your proposal is given a careful review for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with sponsor guidelines and University policies, a minimum of three (3) days lead time is required for review and approval of completed applications when submitting single institution proposals for external funding.  For proposals that involve one or more collaborating institutions, please allow a minimum of seven (7) business days for OSP review and submission. Observing these lead time requirements will help ensure that your proposal can be reviewed and that any required modifications may be made in sufficient time to meet deadline dates (this is especially true for complex and all electronically submitted proposals).

         2.      Completeness - The more complete a proposal is before it is delivered to OSP for review, the quicker the review will be.  Investigators should “deliver” proposals in a "ready to go" format to minimize the possibility that changes and/or additions to the proposal may need to be made.  Faculty members are encouraged to liaise with OSP pre-award staff prior to submitting a proposal for review to discuss the proposal and identify any potential problems in completing it.

         3.      Documentation - All proposals should be delivered with a completed and approved Proposal Coordination Form (PRF) attached.  This form is required so that OSP reviewers can verify departmental and other approvals, review for exceptional needs in connection with the project (e.g., hazardous wastes, use of animals or humans, support for a graduate student), and utilize a consistent format from which to enter required data into the University's proposal database.

                  Additional documentation (e.g., proposal cover letters/pages, conflict of interest forms for NIH and NSF proposals, Provost Office approval of cost sharing or matching, letters of support, subcontractor letter of intent, scope of work, and budget, etc.) also should be provided in advance of proposal review by OSP to avoid delays in the review and approval process.

         4.      Copies – Most proposals are submitted electronically, but for hard copy submissions, OSP pre-award staff will work with faculty members to identify needed components, assign responsibility, and prepare any required cover letters.  When sufficient lead time in accordance with 1 above has been provided and the sponsor to which a proposal is being submitted requires an original and three or less copies, OSP will offer the option of mailing the proposal and charging back the cost to the submitting department.

         5.      Proposal Cover Letters - Because proposals are submitted by investigators with the approval of the University, any required cover letters normally will be created OSP pre-award staff using OSP letterhead. 

         6.      Exceptions - Occasionally, situations will arise where the above procedures cannot be followed, usually because an initial contact with a sponsor has resulted in a request to the investigator for quick turnaround of a proposal.  OSP will do its best to modify standard procedures and provide the best and fastest service possible given the situation and taking into account other proposal obligations.

Investigators are encouraged to contact OSP at any time during the proposal writing process so that potential problems and/or concerns may be identified and corrected in advance of any planned or required deadlines.