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What is a proposal?

A proposal is a detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions. A sponsor can be a federal, state, local agency, foundation, association, corporation or other business entity.

  • A proposal must comply with the sponsor requirements, as well as University of  Miami’s policies.
  • A proposal, is submitted on behalf of the University of Miami and upon submission, becomes an official record of the work the University of Miami proposes to do for the sponsor.

Gift vs. Grant

Often individuals receive money and have difficulty differentiating whether it is a gift or a grant. The criteria for determining whether funds are categorized as a gift or grant sometimes overlap and require evaluation based on a number of characteristics. Please see the Gift vs. Grant tool for more clarification. If in doubt, please contact RA for review and disposition. 

What do I need to know?

It is important to know the process and what is required to submit a proposal at the University of Miami.  Faculty often work with department/center/institute staff who assist with proposal preparation. Staff in those offices act as liaisons with the Office of Research Administration.  Please note the final review of your proposal and approval to submit is provided by the Office of Research Administration (ORA). You can reach out to your ORA Pre-Award contact person directly if you have any questions or need any information about your proposal.    

Applying to a Foundation

The University of Miami has a central University office that helps foster relationships between the University of Miami and companies and private foundations.  The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations helps faculty and external funding partners connect and collaborate to advance mutual goals that align with the University’s research and teaching mission. Individuals submitting an application to a foundation should work collaboratively with both ORA and Foundation Relations.

Plan for the Proposal

While the Principal Investigator is responsible for preparing the proposal, a successful proposal requires consultation and collaboration with a wide variety of both internal and external parties. Once you have identified a suitable funding opportunity, read the Funding Opportunity Announcement (i.e, Program Announcement, Request for Proposal or Broad Agency Announcement) and sponsor instructions carefully to ensure that both you and the University of Miami meet its requirements. Contact The Office of Research Administration for clarification on anything that seems unclear.

  • PI Eligibility & Exceptions. Eligibility to serve as a PI or Co-PI on externally-funded research projects is a privilege generally granted only to full-time faculty members at the University of Miami. This policy is intended to ensure that the intellectual direction of research and scholarship is explicitly recognized as the responsibility of the PI. Designation as a project PI confers primary responsibility for the scientific, technical, and fiscal direction of the project to that individual. This designation, once granted to a specific named PI, may not be delegated to any other faculty member or staff member. However, the University recognizes that there may be special situations for which it is acceptable to grant PI-ship to other individuals. Exceptions to the policy may be granted under special circumstances, and additional approvals are required. 
  • Collaborators and Co-Principal Investigators. Do you need addition expertise for a successful project? This support can come from collaborators, consultants, or co-principal investigator(s) from another institution, such as a subawardee? When anticipating UM subcontracting to another entity, please follow the processes listed on the Subcontracting to Another Entity page. 
  • Compliance.  Will you be able to comply with regulatory requirements such as human subjects, animal care, recombinant DNA, etc.  
  • Conflict of Interest. Are there areas of possible conflict of interests? Have you completed the necessary training and financial disclosure?  
  • Cost Sharing. Are there cost sharing or matching requirements that require institutional commitment of funds?
  • Effort. Will you have sufficient available effort to conduct the proposed project? Do you have sufficient staff with available effort?
  • Export Control Compliance.  Will the project involve technologies or equipment that will require a technology control plan and/or prior authorization from Department of State or Department of Commerce? Will your project involve travel to or project work in an embargoed or sanctioned country such as Cuba or Iran and require prior authorization from Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control?
  • Facilities.  Do you have sufficient access to facilities to conduct the proposed research? If not, will you be able to document a commitment to obtain the necessary facilities?
  • Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs.  Does the sponsor require an F&A rate different from the University's negotiated rate?
  • Terms and Conditions.  Does the sponsor have terms and conditions that the University can accept? 
  • Time.  Is there sufficient time to prepare a strong proposal with the necessary collaborative agreements, regulatory approvals, budget, etc?

The Principal Investigator should inform his/her department/college leadership, department finance/grant management staff, and his/her The Office of Research Administration (ORA) Pre Award contact person of the intent to submit the proposal. This early notification is especially important in the following instances:

  • Large, complex programs
  • Multi-project programs, involving University departments and/or other institutions
  • Unusual terms and conditions as outlined in the program announcement
  • Limitations on the number of institutional applicants (Note: Limited applications are selected through a process in the Office of Research.  See details in the Office of Research Limited Competitions page
  • Protocols involving humans or animals that require approval by the appropriate review committee
  • New initiatives involving significant resources requiring college/school/departmental or senior institutional approvals
  • Initiatives requiring new space and/or renovations
  • The scope of work includes effort outside the United States
  • Named Principal Investigator is not full-time faculty member. Please view PI Eligibility and Exceptions 
  • Cost Sharing is proposed (except salary cap).
  • F&A is being waived 
  • Familial Relationship
IBISResearch is the University of Miami's Grants and Agreements management system. Various resources are available to assist administrators with using the IBISResearch system. Please visit the IBISResearch webpage to view resources for creating proposals, managing awards, agreements and more.

The Office of Research Administration (ORA) appreciates the continued partnership with the UM research community to facilitate and expedite the processing of your externally sponsored applications.  UM has implemented initiatives to facilitate successful collaborations and application submission: the Application Deadline Policy the requirement to use IBISResearch for All Grants & Sponsored Agreements and the Grants Ancillary Review Matrix.

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