Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Getting Started FAQs

  • Yes. Please meet the staff of the Grants and Sponsored Projects (GSP) office and browse the GSP Website for an important 3-Step Process on Planning, Development, and Award Management of extramural government funding. The GSP supports all government proposal (pre-award), grant funding management (post-award), and compliance at FDU.

  • As a new full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member, you should begin by telling the Grants and Sponsored Projects (GSP) office about yourself and your research interests.  Complete the simple form on the GSP Home Page and submit it along with your curriculum vitae as a means of introduction.  The University Director of GSP will review your submission and schedule an appointment.

  • You should begin by navigating to STEP 1: Planning a Proposal to find information on proposal planning, evaluation criteria/peer review, and pre-submission compliance requirements, e.g. training in Responsible Conduct of Research. At that site, you can access reference materials, and information on NIH and NSF Resources.

  • Absolutely, but first be prepared!  It is recommended that you develop a brief 1-2 page description of your primary goals/objectives, and schedule an appointment with the Program Officer at the agency and institute/directorate that most likely matches your specific disciplinary interests. These professionals are often available to assist with such inquiries and discuss whether your project outline is a good fit with the agency’s mission-based priorities.

  • No.  At FDU all government proposals/grants are handled by the GSP.  If you are seeking extramural sponsorship from foundation and/or private non-profit sources, you must contact the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

  • A Grants and Sponsored Projects University Director is available to assist with overall feasibility assessment, including brainstorming ideas, discussing prospective agency sponsorship, budget development, internal pre-award compliance, and support for electronic proposal preparation and submission.

  • An award is made to the University, not to an individual.  As such, most sponsors require certifications and assurances endorsed by the University.  The University Director of the GSP is the University’s official signatory.

  • At FDU, full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply as principal investigators on government grants. A faculty member is also eligible to serve as Principal Investigator and/or Mentor on an institutional and/or individual training grant on behalf of pre- and post-doctoral students, e.g. NIH National Research Service Awards. Such proposals must also be vetted and submitted by the GSP.  The mentor is ultimately responsible and must serve as liaison with the GSP.

  • While there is no specific timeline for proposal preparation, you are encouraged to begin the process as early as possible. It is not unusual for planning and proposal development to take many months as referenced in Step 1: Proposal Planning. It is important to plan extensively before you begin writing the proposal.  You are also encouraged to reference information in Step 2: Proposal Development under the FDU Proposal Toolkit for information on Project Evaluation, and Literature Searches as these two components can take considerable time and are fundamental to the design of your proposal.

  • Yes.  A Proposal Development Authorization (PDA) form must be prepared and signed by the Principal Investigator, the Department Chair/School Director, the GSP University Director, and the University Provost.  In instances where non-conforming, large-scale or specialized requests are proposed, e.g., renovations costs or equipment, additional signatures may be required.  Form routing should be accompanied by a project abstract and preliminary budget, and must be submitted to the GSP one week prior to the submission deadline.

Budgeting FAQs

  • FDU full-time faculty are either on a 9- or 12-month academic appointment, covering a full-time teaching load and service/administration. The Budget Templates are formulated and pre-populated with current FDU fringe benefits and indirect cost rates.

    Academic Year Compensation

    Academic year compensation on grants is not supplementary to base compensation but rather supersedes faculty compensation provided by the University, and is generally linked to percentage effort allocation.

    • Faculty on a 12-month academic appointment at $75,000 annual base compensation proposing 20% effort on a proposal:  $75,000 x .20 = $15,000 (20% effort).
    • Faculty on a 9-month appointment at $60,000 annual base compensation proposing 20% effort during the academic year on a proposal: $60,000 x .20 = $12,000 (20% effort).

    Summer Compensation

    • Faculty on a 9-month academic appointment have three summer months available for additional compensation at the rate of 1/9th per month.  At a $60,000 annual base compensation and proposing two summer months on a proposal: $60,000/9 x 2 = $13,333.

    Fringe Benefits

    • Fringe benefit rates include both mandatory and voluntary components.  Please refer to the section on FDU Institutional Information under Step 2 of the GSP website.
  • Buyout refers to the sponsor paying a portion of the faculty member’s base compnesation in exchange for release time from some portion of their regular duties during the academic year.  Summer salary refers to salary paid above and beyond the AY base compensation for work performed during the three summer months.

  • FDU does not currently have a University-wide policy on course buyout. However, faculty with a significant percentage, e.g. =>20% of academic year effort/compensation from a single or multiple grant(s) may offer sound rationale for a request for relief from a full teaching load. Final release time decisions are made at the college and/or departmental / school levels.

  • Cost-share funding is a financial contribution the University provides as part of a grant proposal. Mandatory committed cost-sharing is a sponsor requirement as a condition of receiving an award, e.g., NEA often requires a 1:1 match when applying for support.  It must be included in the proposal to receive consideration by the sponsor.  Voluntary committed cost sharingare resources committed and budgeted on a sponsored agreement, although not specifically required by the sponsor. Cost share, i.e. mandatory or voluntary committed, becomes mandatory and must be tracked, documented and reported to the sponsor.

    Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is effort or other costs over and above that which is committed and budgeted for and / or agreed to as part of the award. Since it is not proposed and constitutes “additional” time or materials, it is not considered a binding agreement and does not need to be tracked for cost accounting purposes or reported to the sponsor.

    A cost-share is further classified as a Cash or In-Kind contribution as follows:

    • Cash – costs allocated to the project by the University, e.g., 10% effort/salary allocation of a Program Director, purchase of equipment, etc.
    • In-kind – project cost contributions made by third parties, e.g. industry funding.
  • Facilities and administration costs (F&A) are sometime referred to by funding agencies as indirect costs, overhead, or general and administrative costs. F&A are costs/expenses that cannot be readily and specifically identified with a particular sponsored project.  These costs contribute to the ability of the University to support research/programs and are used to maintain and operate University facilities and services, such as building (lab and office space), unitilities (water, electricity, heating, and air conditioning), and general administration (purchasing, accounts, payroll, and department administration (dean’s offices, academic departments/divisions).

  • FDU has a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) negotiated F&A rate agreement.  These reflect both an on-campus and off-campus rate.  Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than one F&A cost rate.It is important, when allowable, to recover the full on-campus indirect cost rate for the University.   However, the off-campus can be applied for all activities performned in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project.  Of more than 50% of a project is performned off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.  For a copy of the actual indirect cost rate agreement, please refer to Step 2/FDU Institutional Information.

  • Yes.  Indirect costs are distributed by the Finance Division in October or November of each year for the previous calendar year. For example, indirect costs generated from January – December 2017 will be distributed in October or November 2018. The Finance Division will notify recipients. Please refer to Step3/Overhead Revenue Sharing Policy for details.

Award Funding FAQs

  • The sponsoring agency will typically notify the Grants and Sponsored Projects (GSP) office when an award is issued, e.g., Notice of Grant Award.  The GSP will promptly inform the Principal Investigator/Program Director (PI/PD). In the event the sponsoring agency contacts you directly, please promptly provide notification and documentation to the GSP. The Notice of Grant Award stipulates the amount of the award for one or multiple years with future year commitments contingent upon programmatic progress.

  • The GSP will review the terms and conditions of the award instrument and schedule an orientation appointment with the PI/PD.  Together, they will achieve a knowledgeable and working understanding of programmatic and financial obligations, responsibilities, and compliance requirements, e.g. reporting.

  • At the orientation meeting, the GSP and PI/PD will review the grant or contract terms and conditions, policies regarding allowable/unallowable costs, prior-approval requirements, programmatic and fiscal reporting requirements and any other relevant information needed to manage your grant.

Post-Award FAQs

  • Upon receipt and acceptance of the Notice of Grant Award, the GSP will promptly request the issuance of a new restricted account from the Finance Division. Once issued, your Department Chair/School Director will be notified, and the PI/PD given access to the account via Self-Service.  The account can be immediately used for grant-allowable personnel allocations and non-personnel transactions.

  • Your department/school administrator will assist in initiating transactions on grants, e.g. Personnel allocations (PRFs, PINs, SPNs, SPINs), and Non-Personnel paperwork, e.g. Purchase Orders (POs) and Check Requests. See HR Documents or GSP FORMS.

  • The PI/PD is responsible for overall programmatic conduct and performance, and assurance that the conduct of research is progressive. He/she is also responsible for submitting reports to the GSP for review at least one week in advance of the agency deadline.  Tasks include the management and oversight of key personnel, including external university collaborators, subaward recipients and consultants; compliance with human subject protections; technical reporting requirements; and project-specific effort/salary allocations and hires. The PI/PD will initiate and endorse all personnel and non-personnel obligations and expenditures for GSP review and authorization, i.e. PRFs, PINs, SPNs, SPINs, P.O.s, Check Requests, and Travel Advances/Reconciliations.

    • Finance Division
    • Human Resource Forms
  • All reporting requirements must be adhered to as specified in the award terms and condition. Every government award will stipulate the frequency and due dates for programmatic and fiscal reporting.The GSP will provide advanced alert notification to the PI/PD when reports are coming due.

    Frequency and Due Dates

    • Interim programmatic and financial reports are typically but not always due 30 days following the conclusion of the previous quarter or semi-annual reporting.
    • Final programmatic and financial reports are typically but not always due 60-90 days from the conclusion of your award.

    Programmatic Reports

    • The PI/PD is responsible for preparing all programmatic reports that conform to frequency and format standards, and sending the reports to GSP at least one week prior to the agency deadline.  The GSP will review your report for consistency, make suggestions for revisions as needed, and submit reports on your behalf to the awarding agency.

    Financial Reports

    • GSP and the Finance Division are responsible for preparing all financial reports.  These are sent to the PI/PD for review and approval.  The GSP and the Finance Division are responsible for submitting reports to the sponsoring agency.
  • You are encouraged to contact the GSP post-award administrator. The proposed budget, as originally authorized, may have limited line-item flexibility, e.g. the inability to move proposed personnel costs to a travel line.  The GSP will have informed you of such restrictions during your orientation session, and consistent with the terms and conditions of your award.  You may also need to consult with specific agency financial guidance prior to considering such a modification, e.g., DOJ Financial Guide.

  • When the GSP initially requests a new fund account for your project from the Finance Division, it is accompanied by a detailed, line-item budget with object codes and mandatory cost-share obligations. As part of that initial request, a separate cost-share form must also be completed and authorized by your School / Department. All will be sent to the Finance Division.

  • A change in project design or scope of work will typically but not always require agency prior-approval.  Please contact the GSP post-award administrator as soon as possible once you determine that you would like to modify the scope of work for your project. We will work with you to prepare the appropriate documentation and submit the request to the agency on your behalf.  When prior approval is required, you may not implement changes to your scope of work until you have official agency authorization.  If approved by the sponsoring agency, the GSP will notify you promptly.

  • Federal awards are typically issued using a cost-reimbursement model, i.e., payment is made to the University after actual costs/expenses are incurred.  The Finance Division is responsible for electronic drawdown of funds on a timely basis.

    An invoice is sometimes required, e.g., FDU is a sub-award recipient under a federal award, or a State sponsoring agency requires invoices.  In these instances, the GSP will prepare and submit an invoice.  This is done in collaboration with the Finance Division with payment received in the form of a check or electronic funds transfer. While the PI/PD and the GSP are primarily responsible for the timely utilization of funds, the Finance Division is ultimately responsible for fund collections/drawdowns.  It will notify the GSP when funds have been received/transferred.

  • You are asked to reference information on allowable and unallowable costs on grants in Step 3.

  • Allowable travel expenses often include hotel accommodations, air or rail transportation, a per diem allowance, local transportation and registration fees.  FDU faculty/staff must adhere to the FDU Travel and Business Expense Procedures when planning a trip.

  • When traveling under a government-funded grant, you must also consider the travel restrictions mandated by your sponsoring agency, when applicable.  For example, the US Department of Justice will not reimburse travel that exceeds GSA rates. Please consult with the GSP post-award staff for guidance, as the DOJ may disallow non-conforming travel expenses.

    About GSA

    GSA promotes management best practices and efficient government operations through the development of government-wide policies. When planning a trip using government funding that imposes additional restrictions, please reference the GSA website regarding travel allowances.

  • Yes. Most government sponsoring agencies require prior approval before planning international travel; some require prior approval authorizations even when such travel was approved as part of your initial proposal request.  International travel must conform to the Fly American Act.

  • You are expected to promptly contact the GSP post-award administrator. An expense, erroneously charged to a grant account, should be transferred within 60 days from the day the misallocation is discovered. The GSP and the Finance Division will monitor each grant account and implement cost-transfers in accordance with Uniform Guidance regulations within the designated timeframe.

  • 90 days prior to the term of your award, the GSP will schedule a meeting or conference call to discuss the programmatic and financial status of your proposal, and any final reporting or required documentation or products.  Please reference the Close Out Process for detailed information.

  • Please contact Lauren Muniz, GSP Post-Award Associate, with any questions or concerns at or via phone at (201) 692-2095.