Research and Economic Development

FAQs

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is the research administration office for UNLV. Our mission is to provide research administration support to faculty in their pursuit of funding for research and scholarly activity while ensuring compliance with federal, university, and private sponsor regulations, terms, and conditions.

General Information About the Office of Sponsored Programs

What does OSP do?
OSP is the coordinating office for external research funding. We assist faculty to find funding opportunities, submit proposals for funding, negotiate and accept awards, and assist with post-award management. OSP also sets up account numbers, produces financial reports and invoices, and closes out accounts.
What are OSP business hours?
OSP’s business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How are staff assigned in OSP and what do they do?
OSP’s administrative structure provides the researcher with a pre-award contact (a research administrator) and a post-award contact (a grant accountant), each of whom is assigned to provide services to several university departments. The research administrator will assist primarily with seeking funding opportunities, developing and submitting proposals, and negotiating awards. The post-award grant accountant will assist primarily with financial management of the award (account setup, billing, financial reporting, and close-out). The post-award grant accountant will also assist with requests for an extension of time, budget revisions, and other post-award administrative matters.
Who is my contact in OSP?
OSP contacts are listed here.
What happened to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting?
In November 2005, Grants and Contracts and OSP were co-located in the Research Administration Building. In May 2006, Grants and Contracts and OSP merged under the name Office of Sponsored Programs.
What is a sponsored project?
A sponsored project is a project that is funded by a third party external to the university. Generally, the project is funded by means of an award agreement, and the award terms require some kind of deliverable (a technical report, a financial report, milestones, etc.).
Who is authorized to sign proposals, award agreements, and invoices/financial statements?
The authorization to sign proposals, awards, invoices, financial statements, and other official documents related to sponsored programs is vested in the vice president for research and the executive director of sponsored programs. Researchers should not sign any of these documents as the authorized university signatory.
Am I authorized to commit university resources?
Faculty should discuss potential commitment of university resources with OSP prior to submission of a proposal. Typically, faculty are not authorized to commit university resources in a contractual arrangement. Chairs, deans, vice presidents, the provost, and the president have the ability to commit resources, but any such commitment for a sponsored project must be submitted to the sponsor through OSP.
Can my dean or department chair sign a proposal on my behalf?
It depends on department and college requirements. If such an arrangement is required or permitted, it is recommended that the PI provide the chair or dean with written or e-mailed approval to sign the proposal (with a copy to OSP for our records).

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Finding Funding

How do I identify funding opportunities?
Faculty can work with OSP staff to obtain assistance in finding funding opportunities. Faculty can develop searches and receive e-mailed listings of award opportunities from several sources. Contact your OSP pre-award research administrator for more information or review the information on external funding.
Can nonemployees work with your office to seek funding opportunities?
No, although UNLV graduate students and post-docs can work with OSP staff to seek sponsored funding opportunities for their research projects or creative activities. Note, however, that OSP does not assist with searches for general scholarships.

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Developing and Preparing a Proposal

What forms are required by the university in order to submit a proposal?
Any sponsor forms related to the proposal submission — cover pages, budget pages, representations, and certifications, etc. — are required. Additionally, the university utilizes an Internal Routing Form to obtain information about your project; you should complete the form and have it signed by your chair and dean prior to sending it to OSP. If you have subrecipients on your project, OSP will also need a copy of the subrecipients’ statement of work and budget as well as a letter on letterhead agreeing to participate in the project.
Who will review and sign the final proposal?
Usually, OSP staff will review and sign the final proposal. Most hard-copy proposals also require the principal investigator’s signature. Some electronic systems, however, will require the principal investigator to submit the final version of the proposal without OSP authorization. Your OSP research administrator should be able to determine who will need to be the final signer and submitter of the proposals.
Who can help me develop my proposal budget?
Your pre-award research administrator in OSP can assist you with developing your budget.
Who can help me interpret the proposal guidelines?
Your pre-award research administrator in OSP can assist you with interpreting proposal guidelines.
What part of my application does OSP prepare?
OSP can assist with preparation of forms such as the cover sheet, representations and certifications, and budget forms.
Does OSP need my complete application before signing?
Yes, OSP will require a complete copy of your proposal application prior to signing.
When does OSP need my completed application and routing form?
As a guideline, OSP prefers to have your completed application and routing form four days prior to the deadline, especially if the submission is electronic. If the proposal is provided to OSP with fewer than four days to review, OSP will provide as much review and service as possible, given other proposal submissions and workload. Please note that it is always a good idea to provide OSP with applications that must be submitted to a sponsor electronically several days in advance of the deadline. Due to bandwidth issues, applications submitted late in the day on deadline days may have difficulties being processed through electronic systems.
Which proposals need to be submitted through OSP?
Any proposal that requires an authorized university signature and involves a project that commits university resources; proposes deliverables (technical report, financial report, etc.); requires a budget;, involves a subrecipient; or involves human subjects, animal subjects, radiation, or biohazards. Contact your OSP representative if you have questions about whether your proposal should be submitted through OSP.
What is our legal name, tax identification number (TIN), and our Dun and Bradstreet number (DUNS), etc.?
UNLV’s legal name is Board of Regents, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) on behalf of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The university’s TIN (also known as an EIN) is 88-6000024A3.
UNLV’s DUNS number is 098377336.
Do I have to include my salary in a proposal budget?
Principal investigators should include salary and fringe benefits in the proposal for work that they will undertake for the project. The salary can be paid for by the sponsor (called "buyout" because the PI is buying out time from teaching) or can be donated by the university (cost sharing). PIs must obtain chair and dean approval for buyout or for cost-shared salary and fringe benefits.
See the policies page for more information about buyout.
What are fringe benefits?
Fringe benefits are retirement and health insurance benefits associated with salaries. Medicaid and workers’ compensation are also included in fringe benefits.
OSP permits the use of a fringe benefit rate when developing budgets.
The actual charge for fringe benefits depends on the employee’s job classification and number of dependents. Detailed information on fringe benefits can be viewed at Fringe Benefits — Actual Costs.
I am an employee with an academic-year appointment. Do I need to include fringe benefits for my requested summer salary support in my budget?
Yes, you should include funding for retirement (14 percent of salary) in your budget.

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Budgets

What are F&A, or indirect, costs?
"F&A" stands for facilities and administration, and the term is used interchangeably with "indirect costs." These terms are defined as "…those expenses which cannot be specifically identified as solely benefiting one particular project, but instead are incurred in support of common or joint expenses which are derived from the administration and maintenance of the sponsored activities." In universities, F&A costs are incurred for general support and management of the mission-related research/teaching/service enterprise. They are sometimes referred to as "pooled costs" because they are accounted for and controlled centrally. Examples are library costs, utility costs, costs of operating and maintaining facilities, and the cost of the general administration of the institution.
How does OSP know which facilities and administration (indirect) rate to use?
The university negotiates a facilities and administration rate agreement every three to five years that provides the rate to be charged depending on the type of sponsored project.
My proposal is for only a small amount of funding. Do I still need to include facilities and administration (indirect) costs in the budget request?
Yes, generally F&A should be applied to all sponsored projects. Nevertheless, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule.

1. If the sponsor has a written policy that restricts the rate to a lower percentage than the university’s negotiated rate, please notify OSP. OSP will review the sponsor’s policy and will make a determination on the use of the sponsor’s rate.

2. If the project meets the following criteria, OSP will review the request for a waiver/reduction of F&A and will recommend a waiver/reduction or a nonwaiver to the vice president for research:

A. The sponsor is a nonprofit, state government, local government, or school district, and funds provided are not federal pass-through funds.

B. The budget available from the sponsor is very small (>$10K).

C. There are minimal administrative costs associated with the project (no subawards, human subject payments, etc.).

D. There is a substantive benefit to the university in performing the work.

Can the F&A be waived?
Yes, the vice president for research may waive F&A for the following reasons:

1. The sponsor is a nonprofit, state government, local government, or school district, and funds provided are not federal pass-through funds.

2. The budget available from the sponsor is very small (>$10K).

3. There are minimal administrative costs associated with the project (no subawards, human subject payments, etc.).

4. There is a substantive benefit to the university in performing the work.

You should submit your waiver request to your OSP senior research administrator for consideration. Please note that F&A will not be waived for corporate sponsors.

How do I prepare a budget?
The easiest way to develop a budget is to work with your OSP senior research administrator. If you want to develop your own budget, you should consider including the following line items, which are included in most budgets:
  • Salaries and wages
  • Fringe benefits
  • Materials and supplies
  • Equipment
  • Travel
  • Other direct costs (includes subrecipient and services agreements)
  • Facilities and administrative costs

OSP will review your budget prior to submission to the sponsor to ensure compliance with sponsor, university, and NSHE requirements.

What is cost sharing?
Cost sharing is the provision of internal university funds in support of the project funded by the sponsor. Most sponsors do not require cost sharing; if it is not required, you do not have to provide cost sharing as part of your budget.

If the sponsor requires cost sharing, you can cost share in two ways — cash or in-kind. A cash match is a match of dollars. An in-kind match is a match of services. Typically, UNLV faculty will provide in-kind cost sharing through donation of their effort.

Faculty must be cautious not to overcommit effort. Faculty are not permitted to work more than 100 percent of their time (except in limited circumstances). All cost-shared effort donated to sponsored activity must fit into the 100 percent available. Generally, faculty cannot commit more than 25 percent of their time to cost sharing for sponsored activities. This is because the teaching of classes, work with graduate students, and committee work must also fit into the 100 percent.
What do I do if I need funds for cost sharing for my project?
State-funded faculty may cost share a portion of their effort if they are not 100 percent committed to teaching and other academic duties. In addition, third parties can provide cost sharing. The researchers should obtain a letter from the third party on letterhead that indicates that party will provide cost sharing in the amount that is required.
How do I include a subrecipient in my application?
You would reference subrecipients by name in both your statement of work (and describe their activities) and in your budget, under either the category of "Subrecipients" or "Other Direct Costs." Your subrecipients should also submit a letter on letterhead indicating their willingness to participate in the project, a statement of work, and a budget.
What do I need from subrecipients to include their costs in my budget?
You will need a statement of work and budget to document their costing. Depending on the sponsor and the nature of the award, you may need to obtain detailed costing information from the subrecipient. This is particularly true in the case of subcontracts under prime agreements with Federal Acquisition Regulation clauses.
What is the difference between a vendor and subrecipient agreement?
A vendor provides a commercial item, like paper, or a service, such as maintenance services for copiers. A subrecipient, on the other hand, participates in the research by contributing to the development of the research and has an impact on the direction of the research. A subrecipient is a participant and collaborator in the project, unlike a vendor.

See our handbook for more information.

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Submitting a Proposal

Can I submit a proposal without OSP review?
No, all proposals to external funding agencies must be reviewed and authorized by OSP before they can be submitted to a sponsor.
What forms are required by the university in order to submit my proposal?
Any sponsor forms related to the proposal submission — cover pages, budget pages, representations, and certifications, etc. — are required. Additionally, the university utilizes an Internal Routing Form to obtain information about your project. You should complete the form and have it signed by your chair and dean prior to sending it to OSP. If you have subrecipients on your project, OSP will also need a copy of the subrecipients’ statement of work and budget as well as a letter on letterhead agreeing to participate in the project.
Who will review and sign the final proposal?
Usually, OSP staff will review and sign the final proposal. Most hard-copy proposals also require the principal investigator’s signature. Some electronic systems, however, will require the principal investigator to submit the final version of the proposal without OSP authorization. Your OSP research administrator should be able to determine who will need to be the final signer and submitter of the proposals.
How do I submit a proposal electronically?
It depends on the sponsor; different sponsors use different electronic systems. Most systems require data and files related to the proposal to be uploaded into the sponsor’s system, either through use of a sponsor-created software package or on the web. Your OSP research administrator will assist you with the submission.
Why does my chair/dean need to sign off on my grant proposal?
Your chair and dean are required to sign off on the proposal so that they are aware of the research and sponsored activity taking place in their department and college. Additionally, the chair and the dean are permitted to commit university resources to the proposal if required. Their signatures authorizing such commitments are necessary for OSP’s file.
What do I do if my department chair or dean isn’t available for signature?
Most department chairs and deans delegate signature authority when they are out of the office. If a designee is not available, discuss the situation with your OSP research administrator.
I submitted an application without going to OSP and have an award. What do I do?
Send a copy of the proposal and budget to OSP for our files. OSP will review the submission for compliance with university and NSHE rules. If the proposal is not compliant, OSP will contact the sponsor to make any necessary revisions to the proposal in coordination with the principal investigator.
I just received a check for my grant. What do I do?
Deliver the check to OSP for deposit. (Do not send the check by campus mail.) OSP will ensure that the funds are credited to your sponsored project account.

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Compliance Issues

I’m not sure if my project involves human subject research. Who can give me the definitive answer?
The staff of the Office for Protection of Research Subjects can provide that determination.
I may have a conflict of interest. What should I do?
You should contact OSP and describe the conflict of interest. View the policies page for information on the university’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
What is export control, and why is it important to me?
"Export control" is a term that describes the application of the export control regulations. Knowledge of export regulations may be important for you to know about if you:
* Send data, technology, intellectual property, or tangible items (like equipment) out of the country.
* Employ non-U.S. citizens in your laboratory and perform applied research in a sensitive area or you work with a third party’s data, technology, intellectual property, or equipment, especially if the third party is a corporation.
* Work with embargoed countries such as Afghanistan, Angola, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, or the Western Balkans (Serbia and Montenegro).

View the university’s export control website.

Talk to your OSP research administrator about these issues if you anticipate transmitting or shipping anything outside the U.S. or if you anticipate performing nonfundamental research with non-U.S. citizens.

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Awards

How will I be notified if I receive an award?
If the award comes to OSP, we will send you a copy of the agreement.

You may receive the award directly from the sponsor. If you do, deliver the award to OSP so that we can review and sign the award, as required, and set up your account number.
Can I accept an award from the sponsor?
University rules require that OSP accept awards on behalf of the university.
I know I am going to get an award. Can I start spending?
If you have been notified by the sponsor that an award is imminent, let OSP know. We may be able to set up a risk account for you so you can begin spending in advance of the receipt of the award.
What is a risk account, and can I get one?
A risk account is an account that OSP can set up for you in advance of receipt of your award if we have received written notice from the sponsor that the award is being processed. Your OSP research administrator can assist you in requesting a risk account. All requests must be submitted to your OSP research administrator.
How do I get an account number for my award?
When an award has been signed by both the sponsor and OSP, it is ready to receive an account number. Your OSP grant accountant will enter budget, invoicing, and financial reporting information into the university’s systems and will generate an account number for your expenditures on the award. It usually takes a couple of days for an account number to be generated after the award has been signed by both the sponsor and OSP.
My grant has been awarded, but I want to change my budget. What should I do?
Some sponsors permit you to make budget revisions without permission. You should review your award terms and conditions for specifics or ask your OSP grant accountant. If you have to seek permission from the sponsor to change the budget, submit your revision to your grant accountant with an explanation of the revision. OSP will then forward the request to the sponsor and revise the budget when the sponsor approves the change.
Who prepares the financial reports required by my grant?
Usually, your OSP grant accountant will prepare financial reports required by the sponsor. In unusual cases, you may be asked to assist with the preparation of the reports, especially if receipts for expenditures are required or when the reporting documentation is extensive. Additionally, sponsors sometimes request that a copy of the technical report be sent with the financial report; your OSP grant accountant will coordinate submission of the financial report with your technical report in these cases.
Who prepares all the paperwork associated with personnel, purchases, travel, etc., on my award?
Your departmental administrative support staff should provide assistance with paperwork associated with your project.

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Subrecipients

I am working with a subrecipient on my project. What are my responsibilities?
The principal investigator is responsible for monitoring subrecipients’ performance of the work they agreed to perform. In addition, the principal investigator should review all subrecipient invoices for correct billing, including any required cost sharing. If the invoiced amount is acceptable, the PI should write "approved" on the invoice, sign and date it, and forward it to Accounts Payable on a payment voucher. The PI is also responsible for insuring the subrecipient submits all deliverables and technical reports as required under the subrecipient agreement.
I am having trouble getting a subrecipient to provide reports/deliverables. Can anyone help me?
Contact OSP if your subrecipient is not performing adequately and provide us with the details. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, OSP may have to contact the Office of General Counsel to assist in resolving the situation.

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Post-Award Issues — Extensions, Revised Budgets, Award Transfers

My grant is going to end, but I'm not finished with the work. What can I do?
You can ask the sponsor to extend the period of performance. Contact your OSP grant accountant if you need to extend the end date of the project. You will need to provide an explanation of why the extension is necessary. (Spending out the account is not a valid reason to extend a project.) Your OSP grant accountant will submit the request to the sponsor and update the end date if the extension is approved.
Do I need approval from the sponsor to adjust my budget to add funds for specific items or services?
In some cases, you will need approval. Review your award for sponsor approval requirements. If you do not need approval, your grant accountant will be able to adjust the budget quickly. If sponsor approval is required, you should work with the OSP grant accountant to prepare a budget revision request. OSP will send the request to the sponsor; when the request is approved, the account budget will be modified.
Does OSP need a copy of my technical reports required under the award?
No, but let OSP know you sent it to the sponsor. A copy of the cover page for documentation purposes is sufficient for OSP’s files.
Can I move equipment purchased on a grant to an off-campus location?
Please review UNLV’s equipment disposition policy.
I will be leaving UNLV. Can I transfer my award?
In many cases, you can transfer your award. Discuss transfer with your department chair, and if she or he approves the transfer, contact your OSP grant accountant. OSP will review sponsor requirements for transferring the award. You should finalize all expenditures on the project if transfer is approved. Additionally, if you anticipate transferring equipment or data, please let OSP know the details. You must let Delivery Services know if you are transferring equipment so that inventory can be updated.

Get more information on equipment disposition policy.

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