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Submission of the Proposal

The applicant should contact GCS well in advance of the proposal submission deadline.  It is the responsibility of GCS to review the proposal budget for accuracy and the overall proposal format for compliance with agency guidelines.  GCS also requires the “Blue Routing Sheet” to accompany any proposals.  This is an internal document that serves several purposes: it summarizes the key information in the proposal that would be required for submission and administration of the award; it certifies that the applicant meets certain criteria as a Principal Investigator and will take responsibility for compliance with the award terms and conditions; it certifies that the applicant’s chair and dean support the proposal; and it shows approval by the Vice President for Research.  Proposals will not be submitted without a complete and signed Blue Sheet.

    Additional forms or documents may be required depending on the nature of the proposal.  If cost-share has been proposed, the applicant must prepare and complete a cost-share authorization form and submit it with the proposal.  Some sponsors, especially government agencies, require “certifications and representations” that provide assurance that the University is compliant with certain regulations. GCS provides this information in the format required by the sponsor.


   This form is available on the GCS Web site, from the Department Administrative Assistant, or by calling GCS. (Demo the new Online Blue Sheet - Instructions)

  • Proposal Status  Indicate whether this is a new proposal or is for a continuation, renewal or supplement.  If it is for any of the latter three, indicate the existing account number as applicable.

  • Sponsor Information  Enter the information that is requested, especially the sponsor contact information.  Indicate if the sponsor is a foundation and if the President’s Office has been notified.  (See Section V of this Guide.)

  • Abstract  Enter a brief (2-3 sentence) description of the project.

  • Principal Investigator  The applicant must conform to the University policy regarding qualifications to be a PI or co-PI (see the OGCS Web site for Policies and Procedures).  The requested information should be completed for the PI and all co-PI’s.

  • Safety and Protection  Additional information as to how this section should be completed can be found in Section VI. Organizing and Writing the Proposal in this Guide.

  • Facilities and Administrative Cost  Indicate whether the standard rate is allowed by the sponsor or, if not, the basis for a different rate.  If the sponsor’s guidelines dictate either a lower rate or no indirect costs, a copy of the sponsor’s statement must be included with the Blue Sheet.

  • Budget Information  This section shows the total project period as well as the total dollar amount the applicant is requesting from the sponsor.  Any cost share that is part of the proposal is to be entered on the Cost Share Authorization Form and not on the Blue Sheet (see below).
  • Special Considerations  This section pertains to unusual circumstances that may be associated with the proposal. These include potential conflict of interest, cost share commitments, University approval required for specific aspects of the project, sponsor restrictions, and subcontract agreements.  The applicant must read and understand this section thoroughly before answering.

  • Investigator’s Statement and

  • Department Chair’s and Dean’s Statement  The PI, co-PI, Chair and Dean or Director must read these statements thoroughly.  Their signatures on the Blue Sheet certifies their understanding and acceptance of these statements.

  • Signatures  The applicant must sign as the PI and is responsible for obtaining the signatures of the co-PI(s), Chair and Dean.  OGCS will route the Blue Sheet and proposal to the Vice President for Research after the documents have been reviewed for completeness and accuracy.


   Voluntary cost-share is discouraged by the Administration.  However, it is recognized that certain programs require a level of cost-share as an indication of the University’s commitment to the project.  These programs are usually of a nature that will benefit the University beyond the actual project period.  Since cost-share requirements and calculations are often complex and confusing, and approval from the Vice President for Research is required, the applicant is strongly advised to consult OGCS early in the proposal preparation process.  The applicant is responsible for completing the Cost-Share Authorization Form and obtaining the account numbers and signatures required.


   As an entity that receives federal funds, the University must often certify that it conducts its activities in a manner that complies with federal laws and regulations.  These assurances, referred to as certifications and representations in grants and contracts,  constitute "promises" on the part of the University that it understands the sum and substance of the regulations, and that it will do its best to comply with such regulations.  The applicant is not authorized to sign these documents on behalf of the University.  It is the responsibility of OGCS to provide this information.

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The applicant and/or OGCS will be notified by the sponsor regarding the award status of the proposal. 


   Once OGCS receives notification that the project has been approved and will be funded, it reviews the notice for any additional conditions or revisions the sponsor may have indicated.  The most common request is that the awardee revise the budget for final sponsor approval.  This request is usually based on the limitation of funds the sponsor has available or restrictions that are levied by the sponsor.  In this case the sponsor may indicate specific categories and dollar limits in the budget that require revisions.  A revised budget usually requires the approval and signature of an individual authorized to sign for the institution. OGCS will work with the investigator to prepare the revised budget and any other revisions that may be requested, obtain approvals, and submit the revisions to the sponsor.  If the award is in the form of a contract, OGCS may have to enter negotiations with the sponsor before the contract can be executed and the award finalized. 

   The proposal file is forwarded to OGCS once final approval has been obtained.  GCS will then establish an account and notify the principal investigator (see section).


   It is discouraging for the applicant to receive a notice of declination, but this does not necessarily mean that the project was ill-conceived or poorly presented. Sponsors receive far more proposals than they are capable of funding, and a declination may be based simply on the fact that there is not enough money to support the project.  The applicant should, however, read the critique of the reviewer(s) and sponsor instructions carefully and objectively to determine the following: 

  • Was the project consistent with the stated objectives of the sponsor’s program?

  • Were specific questions answered with respect to the sponsor’s review criteria?

  • Was the proposal formatted according to the sponsor’s guidelines?

  • Would this project have been better-received if it had been submitted to a different sponsor and/or program?

  • Has the sponsor indicated that a revised proposal that answers specific questions would probably be reviewed more favorably?

    If the reason for declination is still not clear, the applicant may obtain helpful information by contacting the program director.  If there is an indication that the project idea would be of interest to the sponsor, but the proposal itself was poorly written or organized, the applicant may benefit from a course or program in grant-writing and grantsmanship.  Information is available on the OGCS Web site and in the OGCS office.

   If the applicant has submitted a proposal for the same work repeatedly to the same sponsor without success, he or she should either investigate alternative funding opportunities for the project, or make substantial changes in the fundamental project prior to resubmission.

   The applicant should not be discouraged by declinations.  A declination is merely an indication that the project and the sponsor’s program did not “match up”.  OGCS can help the applicant identify the most appropriate course of action to take.