Frequently Asked Questions

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Grant Routing & Review Policy

Does the Grant Review & Analysis Office have a deadline?
Yes, proposals should be to the Grant Review & Analysis Office no less than 7 working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline.  Proposals are reviewed as quickly as possible in the order that they are received.

What happens if I don't meet the deadline?
The Grant Review & Analysis Office makes every possible attempt to review the proposal in the time frame provided, however there are no guarantees that proposals received after the School deadline will arrive on time to the sponsor.

What proposal components are required for Grant Review & Analysis Office review?
The administrative shell is reviewed prior to approval.  For specific information please see our Routing Medical School Proposals and Routing Non-Medical School Proposals pages that detail what items are required and reviewed.

If a subcontract exists, what paperwork is required for review?
We need a signature for their institutional commitment – while this may be acceptable in a few different formats, the preferred method is to use the Letter of Commitment to Establish Subrecipient Agreement-Form 1, as this form covers all of the FCOI regulation requirements that are now in effect for many sponsors.

We also need to see their detailed budget pages, and any administrative pages submitted on their behalf. These may include the subK budgets, Key Personnel listings, and resources.

The Budget/Justification Issues

What considerations are there for a GRSA appearing in a budget?
Under the University negotiated contract, a GSRA may have only a 0.5 FTE or 50% effort to do research, while the other 0.5 FTE or 50% effort is assumed to be spent in course work. The university HR system will show the GSRA employment FTE as 0.5. Therefore, if 0.5 FTE is spent on research, then the research is considered 100% of the university appointment. When entering salary in detailed budget pages, list the stipend (university compensation rate), along with 100% University effort or 6 calendar months.

If only a portion of the GSRA’s time is spent on the project, divide the dedicated FTE (for instance 0.3 FTE on a project) by 0.5 for the effort % to represent or multiply the FTE spent by 12 months for the calendar months.

The salary requested on the budget format may appear incorrect, even when it is accurate. The following sentence may be added to the justification for clarification:

“GSRAs have a .5 FTE appointment at the University and the base salary reflects the reduced appointment.”

In addition to this statement, if the PI feels compelled to explain the employment arrangement in the justification, there are a few options that are approved by the Medical School:

“X will devote 100% of her appointment to this project. Under University of Michigan policy, GSRAs are contracted appointments of 6 calendar months.”

“X will devote 6 calendar months, which is equal to full time research effort for a GSRA.”

“X will spend his full university appointment, which, under GSRA contract, is 6 calendar months.”

Additionally, tuition is required when the GSRA has a minimum of 0.25 FTE, or 50% of a 0.5 FTE university appointment, dedicated to a project. If the GSRA is on multiple projects, then tuition may be shared in proportion to the effort spent between the projects.

NIH Proposals - General

Where can I find the earliest start date for a NIH grant?
This is listed on the NIH Website.

Where can I find a copy of the NIH research proposal directions and form pages?
The SF424 instructions on the NIH Website.

Where can I find the answers to the standard Face/Cover page questions?
On the ORSP website under Frequently Required Proposal Data.

What is the significance of filling in the 'Department' and 'Division' on the applicant's profile page?
These answers directly impact the Medical School ranking in the NIH rankings. The ‘Division’ should always be ‘Medical School’ for our faculty. The ‘Department’ should be the PI’s primary department even if they are submitting through the university on a center/unranked department organization code or department ID.

Does the abstract need to be included for review by the Grant Review & Analysis Office?
Yes, the abstract is required to be included on the PAF.  We are interested in retaining a record of the proposed science (at least in overview) to be completed, not in the actual box being completed on the form page.

What is the definition of 'Senior/Key Personnel'?
The University’s definition of Senior/Key Personnel is: “PI/PD and other U-M employees who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive way, whether or not they receive compensation or devote specific effort levels to the activity.”  Note: the decision of who participates on the project as senior/key will be at the discretion of the Principal Investigator.

What titles are not recognized by the NIH?
NIH doesn’t recognize the titles ‘Collaborator’ or ‘Co-PI’.  NIH requires one person to have overall responsibility for the project as stated in their Grant Policy Statement; therefore, Co-PI is unrecognized. Only one person should be labeled the PI.

To replace the term Collaborator, NIH would like either ‘Consultant’ or ‘Co-Investigator’ to be used, depending on the level of input into the science, not necessarily the level of effort. Generally a participant may be labeled a co-investigator with 0% effort if they significantly impact the direction of the science. Similarly, a participant may be labeled a consultant with stated effort, if they are contributing expertise that they would use on any other project and not significantly impacting the direction of the research.

Does the PHS/NIH Salary Cap have to be used when preparing a proposal budget?
The Medical School expects that detailed budget proposals will be budgeted using the actual salaries of those participating (even though they may be over the cap) in case the cap changes prior to award. A notable exception may be when there is a direct or total cost cap on the proposal request. In that case, it may be better to intentionally use the cap as financial resources are specifically limited.

Please remember that either way you must be consistent across all UM investigators on a proposal (either all should be budgeted at the cap or all should be budgeted at actual).

Biosketches - who needs one?  How many pages?  What should be included?
You must have a biosketch for every person listed as senior/key personnel.

They are limited to 4 pages in length.

The Biosketch should include the following:

  1. Personal Statement
  2. Positions and Honors
  3. Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications
  4. Research Support (both ongoing and completed) – please note no dollars or effort should be listed on the Biosketch

Please visit our Biosketch page for more information.

When is Other Support submitted to the NIH?
For unsolicited research proposals, other support is not submitted. There is a possibility that in response to a particular RFA, the instructions may ask for it specifically. All other times are when directly requested by NIH, generally when Just-in-Time information is requested. Go to the Other Support page for more information.

Facilities & Resources - what does the Grant Review & Analysis Office look for?
We look for any commitment of space. We double check that it is appropriate and that it matches what is listed and signed for on the PAF.  We ensure that the ‘Scientific Environment Contributing to the Success of the Project’ statement is present for all NIH or PHS applications following the SF424 form set. 

What gets excluded from the indirect (F&A) cost calculation?

  • Equipment- defined as something in which the cost is equal to or greater than $5,000 and has a useful life of greater than 2 years
  • Tuition
  • Each subcontract after its first $25,000
  • Patient care
  • Alterations & renovations
  • Rental space

How do you calculate indirect (F&A) costs on subcontracts?
Any costs (direct and indirect (F&A)) over $25,000 are excluded through the life of the project.  That means UM only collects indirect (F&A) costs on the first $25,000 of each subcontract, not the first $25,000 each year.

NIH Modular Proposals

What kinds of proposals qualify for modular format?
NIH proposals with activity codes R01, R03, R15, R21, R34 and have direct costs that request $250,000 or less in every year.  Also, it may be required on proposals in which the particular RFA announcement asks for a modular budget.  Visit the NIH website for more information.

How are modular proposals different from traditional proposals?
Other than presentation of the budget forms and justification, all aspects of the submission are like the traditional NIH proposal.  Modular budgets are $250,000 or less direct costs per year- requested in up to ten $25,000 modules. NIH expects proposals that have fairly consistent charges to average all 5 years to come up with a consistent module request for each of the 5 years. In some cases, exceptional purchases (equipment, additional personnel, etc.) may cause proposed costs to spike or dip in particular years. In these cases, the number of modules requested may be different over the 5 years, but an Additional Narrative Justification is necessary to explain the variation in the modules.

What parts of a modular grant need to be submitted to the Grant Review & Analysis Office for review?
All of the administrative shell components need to be submitted for review.  The only difference between the review of a modular proposal and the review of a categorical proposal are the budget and justification pages.

What needs to be included in the justification on a modular proposal?
A modular proposal may include up to three justifications. 

  1. Personnel Justification - should include the name, title, calendar months devoted, and role on the project for all participating personnel.
  2. Consortium Justification – if the proposed project includes a subcontract the consortium justification must include the estimated total costs for each year rounded to the nearest $1,000, whether the subcontract institution is foreign or domestic, and the personnel from the subcontract site that are participating (name, title, calendar months, and role).
  3. Additional Narrative Justification – if the requested budget requires additional justification such as variation in the number of modules requested, or explanation of exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation they should be included here in their own document.

How does the Grant Review & Analysis Office know what was excluded from the indirect (F&A) cost calculation on a modular proposal?
On modular proposals, indirect (F&A) cost calculation exclusions should be listed under the notes section on the PAF so that the department, school, and ORSP are aware of your cost considerations.


NIH K Awards

How are K Awards different from other research submissions?

K Awards are part of the career award series, unlike a regular research award series (R).  The application form set and budget pages differ between K and other research awards.  K awards require an institutional commitment letter. The biosketch for the candidate on K awards is modified compared to the regular biosketch. K awards require that other support is submitted for mentors at time of application, but regular research awards use just-in-time concepts for other support. Click HERE for more information.

eRPM and the PAF

Should I add other grant administrators (from outside our department) to the PAF so they can have access?
Maybe – when added as administrators they can access the PAF and enter information regarding their faculty (such as adding the appropriate space for their investigator).

How can I tell if all the investigators have disclosed their FCOI?
Disclosure status of any investigator that has been added to the PAF can be viewed in eRPM by clicking on the ‘View Disclosure Information’ link under Manage Data on the left side of the project home page, or by clicking on the contacts tab of the project workspace.

Who can apply for funding?
Anyone can apply for funding as long as two things are true:

  1. The person meets the eligibility criteria of the sponsor
  2. The department will support the person to apply (including providing the requisite time, space and other resources required in the proposal)

Who is eligible to hold a PAF?
Anyone that has an independent faculty appointment as dictated in the Standard Practice Guide is eligible to hold a PAF. At the Med School, we routinely recognize anyone with one of the following titles:

Professor Clinical Professor Research Scientist
Associate Professor Clinical Associate Professor Associate Research Scientist
Assistant Professor Clinical Assistant Professor Assistant Research Scientist
    Research Investigator

Who should be listed on the PAF?
The Principal Investigator, sponsor applicant, primary mentor, any other participants that meet the University’s definition of an investigator, and/or anyone listed as senior/key personnel on the sponsor’s application.

What is the University's definition of an 'Investigator'?
The University’s definition of an Investigator is:

“The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD), Participating Investigators, Senior/Key personnel (as identified by the institution in a proposal or sponsor report), and any other individual identified by the PI/PD as responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the research (i.e., not simply working on, or engaged in the project).”

What units need to approve the PAF?
eRPM will electronically route the PAF to the appropriate approvers based on the information entered into the PAF.  Those units that would be included are listed below:

  • The PI’s department regardless of the PI’s effort
  • All other departments who have a faculty member with effort on the project
  • If any of these participating faculty members are from a department outside of the Medical School, that respective school’s Dean’s Office
  • All departments with space on the PAF must have someone authorized approve

When do human use (IRB) approvals expire?
IRB approval expires one year from the approval date.

When do animal (IACUC) approvals expire?
IACUC approval expires three years from the approval date.

When does a conflict of interest exist?
A conflict of interest may arise when a faculty member at the University has significant financial or personal interest in the company that is funding the sponsored project. If they or anyone participating on their project has significant interest they are obligated to check yes on the conflict of interest statement on the PAF. The PI answers the question on behalf of all participants, so they should check with the others participating on the project prior to signing.

Also, any project that involves participation from an outside company or entity that is owned by a member of the University faculty inherently has a statutory conflict of interest under the State of Michigan law. Even though the PI or participating faculty does not have a direct conflict of interest, the PAF should still be marked Yes.

What space gets listed on the PAF and who is authorized to sign for space?
All lab/research space is required to be listed on the PAF.  If all of the research is done in an office instead of a lab, that office space should be listed on a PAF.  Only the designated space signers that are responsible for the space may sign.  eRPM will automatically route the PAF to the authorized signer for the non-hospital space that is entered.  However, you can click the link for a list of authorized Medical School signers, for other schools check the Blue Pages.

Hospital space can only be authorized by the Clinical Department Administrator (CDA) of the department occupying the space. Hospital administration has provided only those CDAs with signature authority. In many cases the PAF does not automatically route to the CDA when Hospital space is listed.  If that is the case, please upload an email from the CDA noting approval of the specific space listed on the PAF.

PHS System-to-System Electronic Proposal Submission

What kinds of proposals does the Grant Review & Analysis Office submit?
The Grant Review & Analysis Office currently has the authority to submit only PHS system-to-system electronic proposals. 

After the proposal is 'finalized' how long does it take for the Grant Review & Analysis Office to submit it?
The Grant Review & Analysis Office strives to submit shortly after receiving the finalization notice.  We submit proposals in the order they are received, barring any complications found during final checks.  For more information please see our Submission Service Policy.


For answers to FAQs regarding FCOI, please click the link to the University's FCOI FAQs page.

Access to Data Systems

How do I request access to M-STAT?
To request access to M-STAT go to:

How do I request access to M-DASH?
To request access to M-DASH go to:

How do I request access to the MSGrants Database?
To request access to the MSGrants Database, email Heather Offhaus