UW Research

Step by Step Proposal Submission Quick Guide

Who’s this page for and what’s it about?

This page walks you through the administrative aspects of the proposal submission process at the University of Washington so that you are prepared to complete the required electronic Grant and Contract form (eGC1). We assume:

  • You are eligible to be a Principal Investigator (PI) (determined by your school/college)
  • Your proposal is for specific research, instruction or other sponsored activities, or it is a pre-proposal that requires institutional sign off
  • You’ve identified the sponsor and have worked out an intellectual plan for the proposal narrative
  • You have confirmed you and the UW are eligible to apply for the funding, and can meet all of the requirements

The proposal process is administered by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) using the eGC1 to review proposals for adherence to sponsor and UW requirement. This enables OSP to certify to the sponsor that UW will be accountable for appropriate use of funds and performance of the proposed activities if the proposal is funded.

In some departments, administrative staff will help with many of the steps outlined below. Even if you have strong staff support, as a PI you are responsible for everything submitted.  Also, there are some steps that you must do personally, which will be highlighted in this document. While this document is written with PIs in mind, it is also relevant to people who will be co-PIs.

Proposal Submission Steps

Step 1: Get set up to start your first proposal

Complete required training

Required training for all investigators:

Specific training may be required depending on your area of research (such as human subjects, animal research, use of controlled substances)

Set Up Systems Access and Accounts

  • Obtain access to SAGE
  • Get an ORCID ID
  • Many sponsors have their own systems for proposal submission which may require you to set up an account:
    • Applying to NSF? Get Research.gov account
    • Applying to NIH? Register with eRA Commons
    • Many agencies (such as NASA, Departments of Education, Energy,  Defense) also use Grants.gov
    • Consider setting up a Login.gov account to use a single username and password to access multiple federal agency systems, including Research.gov, eRA Commons, and Grants.gov
    • Review sponsor requirements for other agency system information
  • Set up a SciENcv account to develop biosketches for both NIH and NSF

Step 2: Understand Roles and Responsibilities

This section provides a high-level summary of proposal submissions responsibilities. See Grants Information Memorandum (GIM) 1 for more information.

Principal Investigator Responsibilities

  • Complete a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure (SFI) disclosure
  • Route draft proposals on an eGC1 in the System to Administer Grants Electronically (SAGE) according to sponsor and internal UW deadlines (see Step 3)
    • Notify department staff as early as possible so they can help ensure you meet department review deadlines (could add 2 weeks to your timeline)
  • Provide approval and assurances (assurances required from each PI listed) when routing the eGC1 for UW required reviews/approvals
  • Obtain Limited Submission approval if this is a funding opportunity that limits the number of proposals an institution may submit
  • Provide responses to any eGC1 reviewer comments and/or revision requests

Department Staff (or PI) Responsibilities

If available, staff can complete the following, otherwise, you as the PI are responsible for these tasks:

  • Enter eGC1 data, including the sponsor deadline and whether the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) submits or the PI submits the proposal
  • Gather proposal components from collaborating PIs, including intended subrecipients
  • Develop a detailed budget and budget justification based on PI budget plan
  • Gather cost share commitment letters from third parties, if applicable
  • Obtain matching fund approval, if matching funds included in proposal budget

Chair/Dean Responsibilities

  • Approve proposal prior to submission to OSP
  • Verify the resources required are or will be available to the PI

Office of Sponsored Programs Responsibilities

OSP must assure that the application is complete, accurate and compliant with agency requirements and federal regulations at submission time.

Step 3: Plan for Proposal Review and Submission Deadlines

Create a proposal development plan

  • Read the sponsor RFP/FOA/NOFO thoroughly
    • Identify all required proposal elements (proposal sections, budget, letters of support, cost-share requirements, etc.) and who will be responsible for them
  • Map your planned grant activities onto a timeline with associated budget items
    • Even if you are getting help with budget preparation, you need to specify and justify the people/resources required to do the proposed work.  Be sure to check if there are activities/expenses that are not allowed
    • Resource: work plan templates and project management tools on the Proposal Development Resources webpage
  • Build in extra lead time for

Internal Review Deadlines

  • School/College
    • Check with your school/college on any unit-level deadlines for routing an eGC1 for review and approval (which can be as many as 10 business days prior to OSP review)
  • OSP
    • 7 working days before external deadline for final version of all business elements and draft of the “scope of work” due to OSP  for review
    • 3 working days before external deadline for final eGC1 with all proposal elements and supporting documentation due to OSP

There are rare exceptions made to the GIM 19 deadlines. Exceptions require solid justification and support from your Director, Chair or Dean. Because there is less time for OSP review of proposals approved for a GIM 19 waiver, the PI requesting a waiver exception accepts the risk of sponsor proposal rejection or the inability of the UW to accept a resulting award.  The Director, Chair or Dean submits the GIM 19 Waiver request to OSP. OSP’s director will then approve or deny the waiver request.

Step 4: Complete the eGC1

The eGC1 should contain all of the information reviewers need to approve your proposal for submission to the sponsor.

Basic information needed to begin the eGC1

Detailed Project Information required for the eGC1

Resources for Completing the eGC1

Step 5: Route and Submit the eGC1

Route the eGC1

  • Before routing the eGC1, review final budget and budget justification to ensure it appropriately reflects the requirements of the planned activities
  • Start routing the eGC1 in time to meet department and school/college review/approval deadlines
  • Understand the approval routing flow for your proposal
  • Monitor approvals and make sure reviewers are following through

Submit the eGC1 to OSP

  • 7 business days before external deadline
    • Final version of all business elements
    • Good draft of the “scope of work”
    • Be prepared to respond quickly to all OSP questions and requests
  • 3 working days before external deadline
    • Confirm your eGC1 is “Ready to Submit.” More information: Is my eGC1 Ready?
    • Submit all final proposal elements

If your proposal results in an award

OSP is the only office with delegated authority to accept sponsored awards on behalf of the University (see UW Executive Order 34). If an award is made, OSP handles any negotiations with the sponsor and accepts the award on behalf of the university. After OSP accepts and approves an award in SAGE, Grant & Contract Accounting (GCA) sets up the award in the UW financial system. Both OSP and GCA have other responsibilities through the life of an award, and there are additional responsibilities for the PI, including fiscal and non-fiscal compliance. You’ll learn more in the Grants Management for Investigators course.