Sponsored Projects Administration


Proposal Approval and Submission

A project (classified as Instruction, Research, Public Service, or Cooperative Extension) funded by an external entity on the basis of a written proposal or scope of work. The proposal must be submitted through Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) to obtain the Authorized Institutional Official’s approval and signature, which are required for submission to the sponsor. Restricted accounts are established based on the terms of the agreement and project-related expenses are paid out of the restricted accounts.

While anyone in SPA can assist you, each academic department and administrative unit, and many centers and institutes, have a team assigned to help you. Find the SPA team responsible for your department here. The SPA team will guide you through the entire grants-getting-continuation, from seeking a sponsor to final grant financial close-out and technical reporting.

DLSA is the acronym for Decentralized Limited Signatory Authority. This is a program implemented by Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) for proposal submission at the college or center level under strict guidelines and oversight.

Please read the UGA Eligibility to Submit Proposals Policy to determine whether you can be a principal investigator. Only certain categories of employees can be principal investigators. As a postdoc, you can serve as a co-investigator, so long as an eligible employee is the designated PI. Postdocs who wish to be principal investigators may be allowed to do so if they get approval from the Vice President for Research or the SPA pre-award Interim Director.

Although UGA or UGARF is legally the official recipient of a grant or contract, the Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for its proper fiscal management and conduct. The University is legally and financially responsible and accountable to the sponsor for the performance of the activity funded — but needs the full cooperation of the PI to do so.

These acronyms stand for Request for Proposals and Request for Applications,  the announcement mechanisms the Federal government and many other sponsors use to let the University community know that they are seeking proposals relating to a specific topic or broad program. RFPs and RFAs are the guides or roadmaps faculty members need to prepare proposals. RFPs are usually associated with requests for grant proposals and RFAs are usually associated with contract proposals.

All research proposals are submitted in the name of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. Proposals of other types (i.e., Instruction, Public Service and Outreach, and Cooperative Extension) are submitted in the name of the University of Georgia.

The University of Georgia Foundation (UGAF) and the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) are separate 501 (c) (3) organizations (i.e., non-profit). UGAF can accept gifts and non-federal grants that have no “strings” attached and that do not constitute exchange transactions (i.e., where something of value is given in exchange for a gift or grant). UGARF submits proposals for and receives gifts, grants, contracts, and agreements in support of all research projects at UGA.

Contact your SPA team or UGAF before putting the proposal together to avoid wasted effort. All proposals that are submitted to private foundations must first be “cleared” by the UGAF. It is important that you gain clearance because your submission may inadvertently derail some other institutional effort to garner funds from the XYZ Foundation.

You have a choice with respect to which office you utilize to submit your proposal to the XYZ Foundation. For projects submitted to private foundations, you may either work through SPA or the UGAF. Both have trained staff to help you.

Your assigned SPA team will help you with your electronic proposal submissions. View SPA Departmental Contacts.

No; only SPA staff have the delegated authority to approve and sign proposals being submitted to potential sponsors, including pre-proposals, and bind UGA or UGARF to contract or agreement terms and conditions. Call your SPA team immediately and let them assist you in gaining the proper institutional approvals you will need in order to receive funding.

grant is a financial assistance mechanism a sponsor uses to award funds for conducting a specified, approved project. The responsibility for the performance of the project rests primarily with the grant recipient. A contract is an award instrument establishing a legally binding procurement relationship between the sponsor and the recipient. It obligates the recipient to furnish a project outcome or service that is defined in detail in the written contract, and it binds the sponsor to pay for it.

Academic Credit: Academic Credit is a method for SPA to capture for departments (on behalf of the deans of their respective colleges and schools) the involvement of faculty in interdisciplinary or center/institute activities. It is defined as a measure of an investigator’s intellectual contribution to a given project. Total project intellectual contribution is always 100%, and this 100% can be apportioned across as many faculty members as participate and in whatever manner the collaborating faculty agree to. Reporting on proposals and awards distributes a percent of the total proposal or award amount to each unit based on the academic credit and Center and Institute credit allocation in the Portal.

Center/Institute Credit: Sometimes centers and institutes help faculty conceptualize and develop a proposal, but the award is designated to be managed by the faculty member’s academic home department. To help capture for centers and institutes their involvement in projects they end up NOT managing, we give investigators the opportunity to “credit” one to three centers for their assistance.

Budget Development

Cost sharing is any cost associated with a project that is not paid by the sponsor. It can be a contribution of real dollars or it can be “in kind” (i.e., offering employee time or other contributed goods and services). It can be mandatory (required by the sponsor) or voluntary (offered or performed by the University or a third-party entity). When cost sharing is referred to in any way in the proposal or its budget, it becomes a condition of the agreement. A companion account will be established by the SPA team to track cost sharing at the time the account is established. See UGA’s Cost Share Policy.

Your SPA team can help you determine this, but you also can determine the appropriate rate yourself by viewing our F&A table.

See the policy on F&A. It describes those situations for which you have to formally request a waiver and those for which you don’t.

Not all direct costs for a project are subject to Facilities and Administrative (F&A) or overhead charges. The basis for calculating F&A excludes equipment, capital expenditures, patient care charges, tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships and fellowships, and the portion of each subgrant or subcontract in excess of $25K. The direct cost budget items remaining after these exclusions are termed Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).

See the current fringe benefit rates for a specified category of employee. Fringe benefits change yearly in November. These rates are estimates, and are for budget development purposes only. Fringe benefit rates in effect for a given employee will be charged to the restricted account based on actual expenditures.

Compliance Issues

Account Set-up and Spending Issues

A restricted (or R) account is established by the SPA post-award team on a PI’s behalf in response to an awarded external grant or contract. The final budget your sponsor approves must be restricted or “protected” so that the funds are spent during the time period of the project (not before or not after) and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award.  State (or G) accounts are subject to state rules and regulations. They lapse at the end of each fiscal year, with any unspent funds in a state account reverting back to the state on June 30.

In cases where you are virtually 100% certain that your project will be funded, you may request that a pending award be established so you can get started right away. You should complete the Administrative Action Form and forward it to your SPA team. This form serves as a letter from the department  guaranteeing that, should the award not be received, the department is responsible for all  expenditures that are not reimbursed.

Wrong. All awards are made to the University of Georgia or the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. Please view our chart depicting those legal entities and who at UGA has authority to submit proposals and receive funding.

Pre-award costs are costs that need to be incurred by the Principal Investigator for a specific project prior to the actual start date the project. Several federal programs permit, at the risk of the grantee (i.e., the University or UGARF), pre-award costs to be incurred within the 90 calendar-day period immediately preceding the effective date of an award. Pre-award spending is not allowable by all sponsors, so you should contact your SPA team for more information.