Frequently Asked Questions

Grant Proposal Questions:

I am interested in applying for grant funding.  Where do I start? 

I have found a grant program to which I want to apply.  What steps should I take? 

What if I want to apply to a program that does not allow for indirect costs or that limits indirect costs? 

How can I get internal grant funding? 

Is grant proposal writing training available for faculty and staff? 

Do I need to register in grants.gov? 

How can I get an account for NSF Fastlane? 

I am working on grant application forms and need a DUNS number. 

Where do I start if I need matching funds for a grant proposal? 

The funding opportunity to which I plan to apply requires a pre-proposal, and I would only submit a full proposal if the pre-proposal is accepted.  Does the pre-proposal have to be reviewed and approved through the same process as a full proposal? 

All the forms, budget, and final proposal need to be turned in 5 days before the proposal deadline.  If I can get the forms and at least the budget complete, does the proposal need to be in "final" form?


Grant Budgeting Questions:

Is the indirect cost rate negotiable?  If so, how do I go about negotiating it? 

What is the fringe rate for faculty?  Staff?  Student workers?  Part-time workers?

How many hours per week is the maximum a part-time worker can work without receiving full benefits? 

Can I be paid extra for my work on a grant project?

How do I calculate my summer salary in a grant budget?

What are indirect costs and how do I calculate them in my budgets?

How do I budget for a graduate assistant?

Since my budget is based on estimated costs, what happens if I need to make changes later? 


Grant Administration Questions:

I have a grant award and need to make changes to the budget.  How can I do this? 

Most agencies require progress reports or a final report for a funding period.  Will Sponsored Programs need something similar?

I have new positions budgeted in my grant.  How do I begin the process of hiring individuals to fill these positions?

My grant budget includes summer salary.  How do I get paid? 

I have a new grant award and need to initiate subawards and vendor agreements.  How do I make this happen? 


Grant Proposal Questions:

I am interested in applying for grant funding.  Where do I start? 
If you are looking for funding opportunities that match your area of interest, we encourage you to visit the Funding Sources section of our website.  From there, you can find links to online resources to help you search for funding.  If you sign up for an account through SPIN/GENIUS, you can even register to have funding opportunities that match selected keywords delivered to your in-box.  If you have already identified a funding opportunity, please see the next question. 
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I have found a grant program to which I want to apply.  What steps should I take? 
We ask that you notify us of your planned submission as early in the process as possible.  In doing so, please send us a copy of the grant proposal guidelines as an attachment or through a link to the funding opportunity.  This information will allow us to review the program for eligibility requirements, alert you to important conditions of applying, and verify whether online accounts are needed for the submission process.  Providing us with the guidelines will also allow us to be familiar with the program in order to better answer any questions you may have and to provide support services to you during the proposal development process.  If you wait until the last minute to request assistance, we may not be able to prioritize your request in order to provide the level of assistance needed.  Once the proposal documents are complete, the Internal Review and Approval Form must be completed and submitted through the InfoReady Review System.  Submissions should be made at least 7 days in advance of the submission deadline and must include the IRAF, full proposal and detailed budget.  
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What if I want to apply to a program that does not allow for indirect costs or that limits indirect costs? 
In most cases, the University can accept limited rates that are imposed by the policies of sponsoring agencies.  Written documentation from the sponsoring agency (i.e., a copy of the application guidelines) is required as an attachment to the Internal Review and Approval Form to document such limitations. 
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How can I get internal grant funding? 
The University-Funded Scholarship Program accepts applications for faculty scholarship funding support in October and February annually.  Complete guidelines and application forms are available online.  In addition, some colleges have internal grant programs that can be accessed through deans’ offices. 
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Is grant proposal writing training available for faculty and staff? 
Yes, we offer an online self-paced Getting Funded course on grant proposal development.  EKU faculty and staff may register for the course at any time and complete course modules online on their own schedule.  We also welcome the opportunity to provide one-on-one assistance as needed through email or in person. 
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Do I need to register in grants.gov? 
No.  Individual investigators are not authorized to submit grant proposals on behalf of the University, and an account is not required for any purpose other than submitting.  Grant proposal guidelines will often include instructions for signing up for a grants.gov account.  Individual PIs should ignore those instructions since the University’s grants.gov account is maintained by Sponsored Programs. 
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How can I get an account for NSF Fastlane? 
Fastlane is the electronic research administration system used by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  In order to submit a grant proposal to the NSF, Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to have a Fastlane account.  Only the PI account may be used to begin the proposal process in Fastlane.  To request an account, please send an email to tiffany.hamblin@eku.edu and provide the highest degree earned and the year in which the degree was earned.  These two pieces of information are required for the PI profile during the registration process.  For complete instructions for getting started in Fastlane and completing the application process, please click here.  Once you have an account set up, you can view an instructional video on creating a proposal in Fastlane he re.  
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I am working on grant application forms and need a DUNS number. 
The University’s DUNS number and other information that is commonly needed for grant proposal documents are available online.  If form data is needed that is not available on our website, please contact us, and we will get the information to you as quickly as possible. 
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Where do I start if I need matching funds for a grant proposal? 
Project directors should first check with their department chair or director to see if matching funds may be available from within the department.  Reassigned time for work on a sponsored project can be a good source of departmental matching funds.  If department funds are not available to support a particular sponsored project, project directors should then seek support from within their college or administrative unit.  Limited funding may also be available through the Institutional Match Fund
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The funding opportunity to which I plan to apply requires a pre-proposal, and I would only submit a full proposal if the pre-proposal is accepted.  Does the pre-proposal have to be reviewed and approved through the same process as a full proposal? 
The pre-proposal does not require the same level of review and approval as a full proposal.  However, Sponsored Programs is available to provide support during the pre-proposal development process.  Certain electronic proposal submission systems (i.e., grants.gov, Fastlane) will require that Sponsored Programs submit the pre-proposal; in these cases, project directors must work with Sponsored Programs to facilitate the submission of the proposal.  In addition, any pre-proposal for a program that requires cost share must be submitted through Sponsored Programs with appropriate cost share sources and approvals identified prior to submission. 
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All the forms, budget, and final proposal need to be turned in 5 days before the proposal deadline.  If I can get the forms and at least the budget complete, does the proposal need to be in "final" form?
The proposal should be in final form prior to routing it through the department and college or administrative unit for approval.  Because they are responsible for the final technical review of a proposal, department chairs should not sign the Internal Review and Approval Form until they have reviewed the final proposal.  There may be times when project directors notice errors at the last minute, and these may be corrected by contacting Sponsored Programs prior to the submission of the proposal.  However, any revisions that alter the technical scope of the project will need to be reviewed by the department chair prior to submission.  If a circumstance arises that prevents a project director from meeting the deadline, he or she should contact Sponsored Programs as early in the proposal development process as possible. 
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Grant Budgeting Questions:

Is the indirect cost rate negotiable?  If so, how do I go about negotiating it? 
The University negotiates an indirect cost rate with its federal cognizant agency, the Department of Health and Human Services on a periodic basis.  The federally-approved rate must be used on all sponsored projects unless the rate is limited by a specific funding opportunity as a condition of submitting a proposal.  If written documentation of the limitation is provided from the sponsoring agency (i.e., a policy statement in the grant proposal guidelines), the University will accept a lower indirect cost rate for a particular project. 
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What is the fringe rate for faculty?  Staff?  Student workers?  Part-time workers?
A composite fringe benefit rate for each class of employees is updated on an annual basis for budgeting purposes.  Current fringe benefit rates are available online, along with other information that is helpful for the budget development process. 
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How many hours per week is the maximum a part-time worker can work without receiving full benefits? 
Part-time workers receive full benefits if they work 25 hours or more per week.  This means that the benefit rate for full-time employees must be budgeted for employees who will work 25 hours or more per week. 
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Can I be paid extra for my work on a grant project?
All compensation from sponsored projects is subject to the University’s Salary Compensation on Grants Policy, in compliance with OMB Circular A-21.  In general, full-time 12-month employees are not eligible to receive supplemental compensation on sponsored projects.  Faculty with appointments of less than 12 months may earn summer salary for work performed when not on contract with the University.  Such compensation is paid at a pro-rated amount from the individual’s salary for the immediately preceding academic year.  Please see the next question for more details on how to calculate summer salary. 
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How do I calculate my summer salary in a grant budget?
Summer salary is calculated based on the amount of time to be worked during the summer when faculty are not on contract.  The total compensation is limited to 3 months multiplied by a monthly rate pro-rated from the individual’s salary for the immediately preceding academic year.  This limit applies to all sources of income earned through the University, including teaching and other duties.  Vacation time cannot be paid during the summer, and the expectation is that all faculty will take time off during the summer.  Therefore, summer effort budgeted on a sponsored project generally does not exceed the equivalent of two months.  To determine the amount of summer compensation, calculate a monthly rate based on 1/9 of the previous academic year salary (i.e., $45,000 / 9 = $5,000).  Use that monthly base to calculate the amount based on the amount of time to be worked on the sponsored project (i.e., $5,000 x 2 months = $10,000; $5,000 x 3 months x 50% effort = $7,500; $5,000 x 0.5 month = $2,500). 
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What are indirect costs and how do I calculate them in my budgets?
Indirect costs are costs that are incurred in the performance of sponsored projects, but that are not specifically identifiable with a particular project.  Such costs include both facilities and administrative costs and are reimbursed to the University based on a rate negotiated with the federal government.  The University’s negotiated rate must be used in all sponsored project budgets unless the sponsoring agency limits indirect costs for a particular project.  In the case of a limitation, written documentation from the sponsoring agency (i.e., a copy of the submission guidelines) must be provided.  Current indirect costs are available online and are calculated as a percentage of a Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) base.  The MTDC base includes all direct costs in the budget, with the exception of capital expenditures, equipment with a per-unit cost of more than $5,000, charges for patient care and tuition remission, rental costs of off-campus facilities, scholarships, fellowships, and the portion of each subaward exceeding $25,000. 
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How do I budget for a graduate assistant?
Graduate assistants may work on sponsored projects, subject to the same policies and processes as University-funded graduate assistants.  Current rates for graduate assistants are available online.  In addition to pay rates, sponsored project budgets must include the cost of tuition remission at 6 hours per fall and spring semester.  Current rates should be used for baseline budgeting with an estimated increase of 7% annually. 
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Since my budget is based on estimated costs, what happens if I need to make changes later? 
Project directors are advised to carefully plan a budget that thoroughly and accurately reflects program needs, but the proposed budget is still an estimate of those costs.  Reasonable changes can be accommodated through a budget revision process once the award has been set up and project implementation has begun.  The revision process can be initiated by completing a Budget Revision Request through the InfoReady Review system.  Some changes will require sponsor approval, and others can be approved internally, depending on the terms and conditions of the award.  Sponsored Programs will determine the level of approval required and advise project directors when additional justification is required. 
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Grant Administration Questions:

I have a grant award and need to make changes to the budget.  How can I do this? 
Budget revisions are processed in accordance with the terms of the grant award.  In some cases, budget revisions require prior approval from the sponsoring agency.  In others, the University has the authority to approve budget revisions.  To request a budget revision, complete a Budget Revision Request through the InfoReady Review system.  If sponsor approval is required, please attach a copy of the approval to your request.  If you are uncertain whether prior sponsor approval is required for your revision, please contact Sponsored Programs for guidance.  If a Budget Revision Request Form is submitted that requires, but does not include sponsor approval, Sponsored Programs will make arrangements to request the approval. 
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Most agencies require progress reports or a final report for a funding period.  Will Sponsored Programs need something similar?
Project directors are responsible for filing programmatic reports with sponsoring agencies.  Financial reports are filed by the Sponsored Programs Accounting office and should be not be completed by project directors.  Project directors should send copies of all technical progress or final reports to Sponsored Programs. 
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I have new positions budgeted in my grant.  How do I begin the process of hiring individuals to fill these positions?
Human Resources must be contacted to begin the process of developing a job description and creating the positions.  The org code for the grant account is required for the posting process.  All hiring on grant awards is subject to the University’s equal opportunity and other policies. 
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My grant budget includes summer salary.  How do I get paid? 
Summer salary requests must be initiated by the project director.  Work performed during the summer by faculty who are not on contract with the University is payable at a rate not to exceed an amount pro-rated from the individual’s academic year salary.  There are two mechanisms for summer pay: the Supplemental Pay Form submitted after the work is performed (or by using multiple forms submitted as different stages of work are performed) or the Summer Salary Funded through Grants Form submitted at the beginning of summer with pay spread throughout the summer term at regular intervals.  Questions regarding summer pay should be addressed to the accountant assigned to the project in Sponsored Programs Accounting. 
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I have a new grant award and need to initiate subawards and contractor agreements.  How do I make this happen? 
The project director is responsible for initiating subawards and contractor agreements by completing the Subaward Request or Contractor Agreement Request for each subrecipient or contractor through the InfoReady Review system.  Upon receipt, Sponsored Programs will process the request and prepare the subaward or contractor agreement for signature.
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