application forms, the budget and/or budget justification, and the completed Proposal Transmittal Form signed by all relevant signatories.
Who needs to sign the Proposal Transmittal Form, and why do they need to sign it?
The signatures noted below indicate review of the proposal, confirmation that it is consistent with department, college, school or university mission, practices and priorities, and provide approval of all commitments described in the proposal including those involving space, equipment, personnel, release time, cost sharing, and conflict of interest.
1. Department Chair
2. Relevant Dean(s)
- College -- Dr. Chester Gillis
- McDonough School of Business -- Dr. Luc Wathieu
- School of Foreign Service -- Dr. James Reardon-Anderson
- School of Continuing Studies -- Dr. Walter Rankin
3. Senior Business Manager (if proposal contains cost sharing)
- College -- Dr. Richard J. Cronin
- Graduate School -- Sheila McMullan
- Office of the Provost – Heather Malneritch
- School of Business -- Linn Deavers
- School of Foreign Service -- Susan C. Lim
- School of Continuing Studies -- Laurie Jarema
4. Graduate School
5. Office of Sponsored Programs
- Mary E. Schmiedel
- Jean Fallow
- Marie A. McElroy
- Walker Pheil
- Ruel Hector R. Tiongson
- Linda Awkard
When a PI is submitting a proposal to a foundation or corporation, he or she should contact Carma Fauntleroy, Office of Advancement, at 7-1023, for clearance.
Which proposal documents must OSP review and sign?
OSP must review the Proposal Transmittal Form, the sponsor's application forms (face page, abstract, budget, budget justification, resources and environment, other support, checklist, representations and certifications, subcontractor consortium letter, subcontractor budget and budget justification, consultant's letter of commitment including price), and the sponsor's solicitation or program announcement. Note that projects involving human subjects, animal subjects, radioactive materials, biohazardous materials and infectious agents require review by the relevant oversight boards. OSP, the University's business office, must sign all relevant documents.
Who can serve as a Principal Investigator (PI)?
An individual is permitted to be a principal investigator provided 1) the individual meets the sponsor's eligibility criteria; 2) has the background, experience and skills necessary to conduct the project; and 3) the individual's department chair or unit head is willing to house the project.
First, what is a Principal Investigator? Three major sponsors, NEH, NIH, and NSF, provide excellent definitions of what is a principal investigator (PI) is:
NEH - Recipient: The organization or individual to which a grant
or cooperative agreement is awarded and which is accountable for
the use of the funds provided.
NIH defines the role as the individual(s) designated by the
applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority
and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by
the award. The applicant organization may designate multiple
individuals as principal investigators who share the authority and
responsibility for leading and directing the project,
intellectually and logistically. Each principal investigator is
responsible and accountable to the grantee organization, or, as
appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper
conduct of the project or program, including the submission of all
NSF - PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT DIRECTOR (PI/PD) is the
individual designated by the grantee, and approved by NSF, who
will be responsible for the scientific or technical direction of
the project. If more than one, the first one listed will have
primary responsibility for the project and the submission of
reports. All others listed are considered co-PI/PD, and share in
the responsibility of the scientific or technical direction of the
project. The term "Principal Investigator" generally is used in
research projects, while the term "Project Director" generally is
used in science and engineering education and other projects. For
purposes of this Guide, PI/co-PI is interchangeable with PD/co-PD.
Second, here at the University the above definitions are followed, and it is generally understood that a Principal Investigator is an individual with the rank of faculty. However, there are exceptions. In certain circumstances, a student is permitted to be a PI on a fellowship award with a faculty mentor as the co-PI on the project. For any other GU employee who wishes to be a PI on a proposal, OSP strongly suggests that a) the department Chair evaluate whether or not the individual has the experience and education sufficient to qualify as a PI, and b) the individual contact the sponsor's Program Officer to discuss whether or not his or her qualifications are sufficient to conduct the research on the project in the opinion of the Project Officer.
May I request summer salary in excess of the percentages associated with my academic year salary?
Federal awards: No, you are not permitted to ask for summer salary greater than your academic year rate. When proposing summer salary on federal awards, salary should be projected based on 9ths of the faculty member's academic year contract salary. For example, if a faculty member's contract salary is $63,000, salary would be based on 1/9th multiples of $63,000, i.e., 1/9th would be $7,000, 2/9ths would be $14,000, and 3/9ths would be $21,000. Note that the National Science Foundation (NSF) permits a maximum of 2/9ths summer salary, and it is very rare on any federal award that 3/9ths would be permitted.
Non federal awards: Perhaps, and it depends on those sponsors that are willing to pay the University for the salary equivalent of rates charged by a faculty member as an external consulting fee. The proposal's budget must specifically state that this amount is in excess of the University's contract salary and that the percentages of effort are not reflective of the University contract salary.
How do I reflect the percentage of effort that will be devoted to the project?
To reflect the Principal Investigator's (PI) effort most accurately, the proposal budget must state what portion of the faculty member's academic year effort, i.e., what percentage of the 100% effort compensated by the University, is available for research. The percentage of effort is defined as the amount of effort that the PI will devote to the project in any given period, i.e., the academic year or the summer. Note that during the academic year, the 100% effort reflects time allotted for research, instruction and service so faculty must factor in these mandatory activities when calculating research effort. The percentage of effort projected in the project's budget must be reasonably related to the amount of effort devoted to the project.
Summer salary is generally calculated by taking 2/9th of the faculty member's academic year contract. NSF explicit limits salary recovery to two (2) months but other federal agencies may permit the recovery of three (3) months of summer salary.
Once the proposal is awarded and throughout the life of the grant or contract, the percentage of effort devoted to the award will be certified in the Effort Report. Deviations in percentages of effort often require the approval of the sponsor.
On the Proposal Routing Form, what does "home department number" mean?
This is your department's GX cost center number. Your department administrator is the best source for obtaining this number.
What is an IPA?
IPA is the acronym for an Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreement, i.e., the contract that is exchanged between GU and a federal agency when GU faculty are detailed (assigned) to the agency. IPAs are based on the theory that the University and the government agency receive a mutual benefit from the assignment. The faculty member remains on the GU payroll with all applicable benefits and the University is reimbursed by the agency for salary and fringe benefits. Occasionally, the federal agency is not permitted to pay for the full fringe component, resulting in the department being required to cost share the difference. For example, NSF does not pay the tuition component of the GU fringe benefit rate. The period of performance can be up to four years per the statute or in any lesser increment. An IPA is generally for 100% effort. Prior to OSP negotiating an IPA, the faculty member must have the written approval of the relevant School Dean and the Provost for the leave of absence.
My project involves human subjects, how do I proceed?
Georgetown's Institutional Review Board (IRB) must approve all projects involving the use of human subjects before a funding agency makes an award. The IRB reviews all aspects of the project's proposed use of human subjects to ensure that subjects are protected from unnecessary or unreasonable risks, that confidentiality is protected, and that subjects participate in the study with informed consent in conformance with the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. Projects that involve human subjects may not commence without the IRB's approval. When an award is received, OSP verifies that IRB approval has been granted. If not, a new account is placed on hold pending receipt of written documentation of IRB approval.
If the principal investigator is unsure whether the project qualifies as human subject research or not, then contact the IRB office. Note that the principal investigator is not permitted to designate his or her own research as exempt. The judgment must be done by the IRB. Questions can be directed to Daniela Radu at 7-1506, or dr72 @ georgetown.edu
My project involves animal subjects, how do I proceed?
Georgetown is committed to the humane care and use of laboratory animals. Projects involving the use of animal subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Animal use review and approval is governed by regulations outlined in the publication guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The Vertebrate Animal Protocol Summary Form must be completed and forwarded to OSP with any proposal which uses vertebrate animals. Projects will not be awarded prior to submission of IACUC approval to the funding agency. The University's IACUC information is available at http://ora.georgetown.edu/guacuc/.
My project involves the use of biohazard substances, how do I proceed?
Please contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office.
What are direct costs?
Direct costs are the costs to the principal investigator to conduct the project. These costs can be easily identified with a particular project with a high degree of accuracy.
Where can I find information on typical expenses in a budget?
OSP has complied a list of typical expenses charged to research projects. Graduate student salaries must be budgeted at the Graduate School rate of $20,000 for the FY 2011-12 academic year. Undergraduate students should be budgeted at the rate currently paid by the department. Please check with your department administrator for this rate. For travel costs, please use the federal per diem rates as a guide posted at the General Services Administration website.
What are the University's currently approved fringe benefit rates?
Click here for GU Rates and Numbers. Scroll down to "Fringe Benefit Rates." Please take note of the proper dates that the rates are effective. Note also that rates may increase during the period of an award.
Are fringe benefit rates applicable to students?
Fringe benefits are applicable to undergraduate and graduate students in two situations:
1) Undergraduate and graduate students attending other universities are not considered "students" for Georgetown's hiring purposes. These non-Georgetown students must be hired as employees, e.g., temporary, part time or full time. As a result, fringe benefits are applicable to these students and must be included in the proposal budget.
2) Graduate students participating in the Physics Industrial Internship Program are charged a fringe benefit rate of 9.40%. This rate is necessary to ensure that the students are covered on Georgetown's Workers Compensation Insurance while working at the industrial sponsor. Contractual or budget questions pertaining to the Physics Industrial Internship Program should be directed to Mary Schmiedel at (202) 687-3911.
May I budget for graduate students using an hourly wage on my proposal?
Ph.D. students are not eligible for payment on an hourly basis for working as a Research Assistant on an award but must be paid in accordance with their Graduate Student Assistantship Agreement issued by the Graduate School. Master's degree students are permitted to be paid an hourly wage but most academic departments have a certain set salary or "stipend" so faculty should confirm the salary rate with the Chair or Department Administrator. Undergraduate students may be paid on an hourly basis. Students are limited in the number of hours that they are permitted to work. They may work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
What are the University's Thesis Research tuition rate for graduate students?
Tuition rates and fees are available at the Student Accounts website.
Is there a website that lists the government approved per diem rates?
Yes, the current rates for domestic and foreign travel are available at the State Department website. Note that per diem rates can be used in the proposal budgeting process as a guide for estimating costs for travel to a particular city. Please note that the University's Travel Policy requires original receipts to reimburse travel costs. The exception is that a travel log may be kept for meal expenses under $10 and non-meal expenses under $25. The log must contain specific detail for all costs.
What are participant costs?
Participant costs are generally in two categories: 1) the expenses associated with the individuals (who are not GU employees) being trained at a workshop or conference; and 2) the incentive payments that are associated with participating in a research project. Both categories are excluded from the indirect cost calculation. If charging workshop expenses, the participant costs can include participant stipend, travel and the cost of materials. It cannot include the speaker's expenses or the University's expenses of hosting the workshop. If paying human subject incentive fees, prior approval of the Tax Department is required. The following information should be submitted to the Tax Department: 1) abstract of project; 2) projected number of participants; 3) amount to be paid; and 4) payment type.
May I include a post-doctoral fellows relocation expenses in my NSF proposal budget?
No, a post-docs' relocation expenses may not be included in an NSF proposal budget nor charged to an NSF grant. The NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) and OMB Circular A-21 govern the charging of relocation expenses. The NSF AAG, page V-8, specifically says that relocation expenses are allowed provided they are "in accordance with the grantee's established policy or practice which...(iii) is consistently applied." The applicable internal University policy is the HR Policy Manual which states in Article 203.3, Procedures, Relocation Expenses that "the University does not generally pay moving and relocation expenses for newly hired individuals. Exceptions can be made by departments for difficult to fill positions." Even if a position is classified as "difficult to fill," it would be very difficult to formulate an agreement that would successfully survive an audit.
What are indirect costs?
Indirect costs, or facilities and administrative costs, (F&A), are the costs to the University to house a faculty member's project. F&A cannot be readily identified with a particular sponsored project but are essential to the conduct of a project. Examples of the facilities component of the indirect cost rate are utilities, depreciation, and use allowances. Some examples of the administrative component include Payroll, Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Sponsored Accounting, Sponsored Programs, and Alumni & University Relations.
What is Georgetown's Indirect Cost Rate (F&A)?
Click here for GU Rates and Numbers. Scroll down to "Indirect Cost Rates" and "Application of Indirect Cost Rates" for the University's federally negotiated rates. Please note that private foundations and some other private funding agencies have different IDC rates, or they may not permit indirect costs at all.
What IDC rate should use in my proposal to a foundation or corporation sponsor?
An indirect cost rate of 15% should be used in proposals to foundations and corporations that permit the inclusion of indirect costs. If an organization does not permit the inclusion of indirect cost, OSP and the Office of Foundation Relations in the Office of Advancement must have written verification of this prohibition.
What budget items are exempt from indirect cost?
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) reviews all proposal budget categories to determine if indirect costs should be charged. Items that must be excluded from indirect costs are: 1) equipment with a unit cost greater than $5,000; 2) tuition; 3) participant training costs; 4) the portion of each subaward that exceeds $25,000; 5) off-campus space rental costs; and 6) patient care costs and human subject incentive fees.
How do the federal agencies know the amount of indirect costs that Georgetown is permitted to charge?
The University has negotiated an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) with the federal government. The agreement lists the indirect cost rates that the university can charge for research, instruction, and other sponsored activities conducted on- and off-campus. It also lists the budget categories that are exempt from indirect costs and the fringe benefit rates that the University is permitted to charge the government. All federal agencies have copies of the University's NICRA and are required to honor its fringe benefit and indirect cost rates.
Is Georgetown the only institution that charges so much for indirect cost?
No. All research institutions establish indirect cost rates with the federal government. Although each university has input into the negotiation process, it is the government that ultimately determines the rates. Georgetown’s rates are comparable to those of similar institutions.
Is indirect cost recovery considered to be profit for Georgetown?
No. The purpose of the indirect cost negotiation is to determine rates that fairly reflect the actual costs incurred when performing sponsored research. Indirect cost protects Georgetown from losing money when performing these projects.
If I am subcontracting to a for-profit company, is the company permitted to include profit or fee in their budget?
Yes, a for-profit contractor is permitted to include a reasonable percentage of profit or fee.
What is FastLane?
FastLane is the National Science Foundation's electronic proposal and award system. It is the point of entry for submission of proposals, revised budgets, progress reports and requests for no-cost extensions.
How can I obtain access to NSF FastLane?
Please email your relevant OSP administrator the following information:
- Highest Degree
- Department Name
- Department Address (street, city, state, and zip code)
- Email Address
- Business Phone Number
- Business Fax Number
What is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) salary cap?
The NIH salary cap is the highest amount of direct salary that a faculty member can charge to a grant. The amount is tied to the category of Executive Level I of the Federal Executive Level Pay Scale. This amount is subject to change. Salary rates by year can be found at the following website: http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm. If a faculty member's salary is higher than the NIH cap, the proposal budget should reflect the actual base salary. Therefore, should the cap be increased, the University is permitted to recover salary at the higher rate.
What is Cost Sharing?
Cost sharing represents that portion of the total project costs of a sponsored project borne by Georgetown, rather than by the sponsor. In awarding research grants, some sponsors, notably a few agencies of the federal government, do not allow the total costs of a project to be reimbursed under the grant. This means that a portion of the costs of the project must be reimbursed from other funds. Per OMB Circular No. A-110, federal funds may not be used as cost sharing. Cost sharing can be done with either University funds or from non-federal sources. All sources of cost sharing must be identified and approval obtained from the person with authority over the expenditure of those funds. All commitments must be in writing. Some examples of cost sharing are: unreimbursed faculty effort; purchases of equipment, supplies, and materials necessary for the conduct of a project; third party contributions, either cash or in-kind (for example, the donated use of an off-campus meeting space or auditorium for which a fee is usually charged).
Cost sharing is tracked in GM cost centers. Upon receipt of an award that requires cost sharing, OSP requests that University Financial Systems set up a GM account with a number that is identical to the assigned RX cost center number. The department is notified of the establishment of a GM and all budget lines that were proposed to be cost shared must be charged to the GM account. Periodically, the expenses in the GM cost center will be transferred back to the department cost center that is funding the cost share.
What is an allowable cost?
Allowable costs must be reasonable and allocable. A cost is reasonable if the amount paid is consistent with the amount that a prudent person under similar circumstances would pay. A cost is allocable if 1) it was incurred solely to advance the work of the project; 2) if it benefits both the project and the institution in general in portions that can be reasonably approximated; or 3) if it is necessary to the overall operation of the institution.
Can OSP create my budget for me?
The Principal Investigator is the individual who can best estimate the resources needed to complete the project. OSP does not have the resources to provide this level of service; however, OSP is available to discuss particular items of expenses, suggest language for inclusion in the budget justification, perform an interim and final review of the budget, and answer any budget related questions you may have.
Does OSP have a sample budget format?
Yes, a 1 Year and a 5 Year sample budget form.
Does OSP have a list of expenses that are typically included in a budget?
Yes, click here for the OSP budget checklist.
In which budget category should I put tuition expenses and student health benefits?
Tuition and related fees are always placed in "Other."