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Questions and Answers


1. What are the differences between Sponsored Programs (SP) and University Advancement (UA) proposals?

ATSU General Order 20-119: Proposal Classification Policy is the institutional guide for categorizing proposals as SP grants (which also include contracts, cooperative agreements, and subawards) or contributions/gift income (UA).

SP proposals generally:  

  • have scholarly or academic intent (e.g., research, training/service projects, public service projects, and curriculum/faculty development, etc.);
  • function as an exchange transaction and create a binding “quid pro quo” relationship between ATSU and the sponsor (i.e., specified conditions of award, specific performance objectives/deliverables, contractual obligations, line-item budgets, defined funding periods, detailed progress and/or financial reports, etc.); and/or
  • require regulatory compliance, substantial monitoring, and reporting of project deliverables/outcomes.
  • involve faculty or staff time-and-effort (both supported by the funder and/or provided in-kind by the University)

Whereas, UA proposals:

  • have true philanthropic intent (e.g., fundraising or charitable in nature), including endowments, scholarships, bricks-and-mortar construction, general operating support, naming opportunities, and general capital/equipment; and  
  • are generally non-binding, with few to no financial, programmatic, or other post-award strings attached. For example, donors do not typically expect substantial deliverables (exchanges) beyond recognition and a brief explanation of how the funds were used.

Please contact SP if you need assistance with determining a proposal type/classification. 

 2. When should I contact Sponsored Programs?

The sooner, the better. Our experienced and knowledgeable SP staff is available to help in all phases of acquiring and managing extramural awards. Whether you are just beginning to explore your options, have already found a potential funding opportunity, need assistance in preparing a proposal, and/or are ready to submit an application, the SP team is ready to lend a hand.

3. What services does SP offer to help obtain funding?

SP offers a comprehensive range of services, including funding searches, pre-award assistance, award acceptance, compliance monitoring, and post-award assistance.

4. I’ve already identified a funding source and developed my proposal. Why should I send my application to SP?

All proposals submitted from ATSU must complete the institutional review and approval process prior to submission. Project directors/principal investigators are encouraged to contact the SP department well in advance (as soon as possible) of the intended deadline and are encouraged to promptly advise their department chair, academic dean (or equivalent position), and divisional vice president/president’s cabinet of the planned grant/contract proposal submission. Please contact SP at least one month prior to submission to obtain a copy of the ATSU Grant/Contract Application Internal Approval Form and instructions for notifying the appropriate chain-of-command of your intent to apply for extramural funding.

5. How involved should SP be in the proposal development process?

SP is here to help from conceptualization through the submission process. Depending on the needs of the principal investigator/project director, SP may assist with helping to refine project ideas/scope, finding funding sources, reviewing proposal guidelines, developing supporting sections, obtaining institutional approval, providing a pre-submission quality assurance (QA) review, and submitting the proposal. Typically, the SP team will, at a minimum, support development and finalization of an institutional letter of support and commitment of resources, assist with budget development/clearance, and ensure that the Grant/Contract Application Approval Form (i.e., internal approval form) is routed for signature. In addition, it is highly recommended that proposals undergo a pre-submission cover-to-cover QA review. Completion of these key steps helps to ensure regulatory compliance and conformity with University protocols/standards.

6. What is involved in a cover-to-cover QA review?

A cover-to-cover QA review typically involves a thorough read of the submission-ready proposal, including all forms and supporting documentation, to ensure compliance with funder guidelines and University policies and procedures. Content-specific and formatting suggestions, as well as other recommendations for improving competitiveness and presentation, are offered to the principal investigator/project director. In some instances, interim QA reviews may be conducted, and with regard to research proposals, the SP team is also experienced in facilitating reviews by both internal and external researchers to help strengthen and refine the “science” of the application.

7. My grant application has been funded, what is SP’s role in implementation?

Congratulations! SP offers a range of services to assist newly funded projects at ATSU. Award acceptance, compliance monitoring, and post-award assistance include review of terms and conditions of award; development and execution of memoranda of agreement and contracts; fiscal start-up; risk assessment; regulatory, policy, fiscal, and programmatic compliance; assistance with project staffing, programmatic and fiscal management, report preparation and submission; and communication and relationship development between the sponsoring institution and principal investigator/project director (as needed). Please contact SP to schedule an appointment for additional guidance.

Faculty/staff/students: Want more?

Visit the Sponsored Programs Portal Site for detailed information about grants, writing, and how sponsored programs can help!