CBE Intranet

Research FAQs

Funding Types

What are the different kinds of funding that support research?

There are three main categories of research funding at the UW. Grants and contracts (Office of Sponsored Projects), service agreements, and gifts. The official UW policy, GIM34 provides descriptions of the differences among the main types of external support. To summarize here:

A key distinction for gift-funded research is that it does not require a scope of work or detailed financial reporting. If your funding source requires these levels of accountability/constraints, it’s not a gift. It is more likely to be a sponsored program (grant or contract), or service agreement.

Note, UW Research that is funded via gift funding is subject to the same regulatory requirements as sponsored programs.

In CBE, gifts are stewarded by CBE Advancement. Contact Alex Haslam, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at alexeck3@uw.edu.

Projects with defined scopes of work and detailed financial reporting include grants and contracts managed by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), a central office at UW, and service agreements (managed by individual centers and overseen by the CBE Dean’s office). A key difference between a grant or contract, and a service agreement, is whether the primary product is knowledge that can be generalizable, or is specifically for the partner/customer/sponsor. If the funding is to develop a unique, specific and limited function for the benefit of or on behalf of a specific party, usually the other contracting party (customer), it’s likely a service agreement. For support for both types of projects, Contact the CBE Office of Research at beres@uw.edu.

For guideline in preparing a proposal, see the FAQ “I plan to submit a proposal, when should I let CBE/CSDE know?”

Is my research funding a gift?

A key distinction for gift-funded research is that it does not require a scope of work or detailed financial reporting. If your funding source requires these levels of accountability/constraints, it’s not a gift. It is more likely to be a sponsored program (grant or contract), or service agreement.

Sometimes it’s not so simple. Some aids for determining this include:

The official UW policy, GIM34 – Classification of External Support as Either a Sponsored program or as a Gift — provides detailed descriptions of the differences among the main types of external support.

Still not sure? Contact Alex Haslam, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at alexeck3@uw.edu; she can help sort this out.

My research funding is not a gift. Is it a grant or contract, or is it a service agreement?

A key difference between a grant or contract, and a service agreement, is whether the primary product is knowledge that can be generalizable, or is specifically for the partner/customer/sponsor.

If the funding is to develop a unique, specific and limited function for the benefit of or on behalf of a specific party, usually the other contracting party (customer), it’s likely a service agreement.

If the funds intend to support basic or applied research, will lead to benefit for the UW, and will create generalizable knowledge, it is likely a grant or a contract.

If you aren’t sure, walk through the indicators for sponsored programs and service agreements.

The official UW policy, GIM34 provides descriptions of the differences among the main types of external support.

Still not sure? Contact the CBE Office of Research at beres@uw.edu; we can help sort it out.

Submitting a Proposal

I'm considering submitting a proposal. How do I assess the RFP to determine if it's a good fit for me?

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI), ie the person intellectually leading a proposal, to understand and address all substantive aspects of the funder’s solicitation, to create, oversee and approve all of the materials for the proposal, and to respond to grant administrators’ questions as they support the PI in submitting a proposal.
Especially take note of:

  • DATES AND DEADLINES
    • Simple proposals require at least 4 weeks’ notice to CBE grants administration teams, and at least 4 weeks preparation time. Complex proposals require 8-12 weeks’ notice and preparation.
    • eGC1s with final budget and other business elements should begin to be routed for approval least 11 business days before sponsor deadline, and the routed and approved eGC1 should be submitted to OSP 7 business days before sponsor deadline.
    • Consider this proposal development timeline, provided by the Office of Research, for guidance.
    • CBE will not be able to support proposal development to be submitted through OSP without adequate notice.
  • ELIGIBILITY AND REQUIREMENTS – What are the requirements for the proposal, including PI eligibility, sub-awards, cost-sharing, indirect cost rates, etc., and are they compatible with your proposed project?
  • If this is a LIMITED SUBMISSION: grants, awards, and fellowships that limit the number of applications coming from one institution. If the opportunity you are applying for falls under this category, you will need to add additional time to your timeline so the Office of Sponsored Programs has adequate time to review your proposal. Click here for a a thorough – though not complete –  list of Limited Submission opportunities.

Unsure if the funding opportunity is the right one for you? This go/no-go evaluation matrix may help. Contact us at beres@uw.edu to discuss.

I plan to submit a proposal for grant or contract funding. When should I let CBE/CSDE know?

As soon as possible. The process for submitting grants requires thoughtful, proactive planning in order to maximize your success in submitting and winning an award. It is recommended that you start 8-12 weeks before a funding proposal deadline. We will not be able to successfully process a proposal with less than 4 weeks before the funding proposal deadline.

Please follow the Office of Research’s proposal development timeline to help you plan ahead for all of the steps in the process.

To get started please submit a proposal planning intake form with CSDE, even if you are not sure that you will proceed with a proposal, or if that proposal goes to OSP. The earlier the CBE and CSDE research support teams know, the better they can support your proposal, and the more likely it is that it will be submitted on time. In addition, you will be able to take advantage of critical pre-award support including in-depth analysis of sponsor requirements and mapping out of lead times and approvals.

GIM19 – Internal Deadlines for Proposals to External Entities governs internal deadlines for sponsored programs.

Want support in determining your timeline? Contact the CBE Office of Research at beres@uw.edu.

How do I start a research proposal process to submit to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)?

I am interested in submitting a grant proposal to a foundation or a corporation. Does CBE Advancement need to be involved?

Yes! You will benefit from including CBE Advancement as you are developing a proposal for a foundation or a corporation. Similar to grant proposals, please reach out to the Advancement team as soon as possible to begin coordinating on the required internal application steps. Proposals to foundations or corporations necessitate collaboration with Advancement, CBE’s central Corporate & Foundation Relations (CFR) liaison(s), and the CSDE.

  • Often, funds from foundations need to be received by the UW Foundation office; in this case Advancement needs to help with that.
  • Advancement, in partnership with our central Corporate & Foundation Relations (CFR) liaison(s), can offer the following additional support: proposal strategy and development, budget development, site visits, assistance with internal application processes like CSDE.
  • Advancement cultivates and maintains strong relationships with foundations and corporations, and can help you to navigate ambiguities and details of the funding call, or connect you to others on campus who may have worked with that organization and can provide insights.
  • Advancement can also contact the funder on your behalf, if there are questions about the requirements of the proposal.

It is recommended that you contact CBE’s Advancement office if you are working with a foundation’s CFP/RFP. Please reach out to Alex Haslam, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at alexeck3@uw.edu.

I have started a relationship with a company/corporation that wants to partner on or support my research. What do I need to know?

Corporation-sponsored research is a great way to go! UW’s Corporation and Foundation Relations team maintains a slew of resources to help you navigate this relationship.

  • Check out their website on working with corporations, which touches on everything from “why work with companies” to intellectual property and beyond.
  • Contact Alex Haslam, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at alexeck3@uw.edu, to discuss your partnership and how CBE Advancement can support you.

What is Cost Share and should I do it?

What is Cost Share?

Cost Share occurs when a quantified portion of the costs of a funded research project (an Award) are not paid by the sponsor/funder, but paid instead using resources within a department, school/college, or other party outside of the UW who has agreed to allocate funds on behalf of the Award’s objectives. Cost Share is a commitment, either required (“mandatory”) by the sponsor, or proposed (“volunteer”) by the PI, to use resources other than the Award itself for completion of the Award objectives. *Note, matching is a form of Cost Share!

PIs should avoid Cost Share.

Per GIM 21, Cost Share is discouraged, due to the potential redirection of UW resources from other UW priorities, impact to the research base used in calculating Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost rates, added exposure under audit for disallowed costs, and the added administrative burden.

If incorporating Cost Share:

PIs need to adhere to specific requirements for Cost Share sources & expenses, as well as communication and tracking, that go beyond non-Cost-Share Awards.

Read CBE’s policy statement on Cost Share

Can part-time lecturers submit grant proposals?

UW Policy is that each college makes its own determination for part-time faculty approval to be a PI. It’s as simple as a letter from the Dean authorizing the individual, submitted to OSP and kept in the college on file.

CBE Policy is that tenure, tenure-track, and research faculty are automatically given PI status. Other titles, including part-time lecturers, require the Dean to authorize on a case by case basis. To apply for PI status, please submit a one-page statement of interest and intent that includes Who, What, and Why:

  • Who is the applicant for PI status.  What is their role and history in the department and college?
  • What research are they interested in pursuing?
  • Why choose to do this in work in CBE?

Do you have more questions about this? Reach out to beres@uw.edu.

Can I wait until a grant/contract is awarded before running it through OSP?

Avoid doing after-the-fact submissions of grant or contract proposals.

Per GIM 1, “On occasion, sponsors begin negotiations by providing a draft agreement, award letter, or a check directly to an Investigator. In order to obtain University approval “after the fact”, an eGC1 is required.” Although it sometimes is necessary, After-the-fact (ATF) grants and contracts are strongly discouraged, as the University is not required to honor any obligations that have not been authorized through a pre-award proposal process.  ATF submissions are not guaranteed approval, so funds may not in fact be forthcoming. Moreover, ATF submissions are low priority for OSP, so approvals are delayed as a result.

CBE’s recommended practice is for the Principal Investigator (PI) to use a proposal process as part of your negotiations with a potential sponsor.  Even if this is work that is negotiated directly with the sponsor, we strongly encourage you to negotiate these agreements in partnership with CBE and OSP, before the award is granted.

More information about this policy can be found here.

Unique Agreement Types

What is a Data Use Agreement and do I need one?

Specific agreements often need to be in place before sharing or receiving information or data. Data Use Agreements or Data Transfer & Use Agreements (DUA’s) are used when there is a transfer of data collected or developed such as raw data, data sets, student info, personal health info, etc.

A DUA must be in place when:

DUA Steps:

Learn more here; feel free to contact beres@uw.edu for assistance.

How do I submit an LOI?

Letters of interest or letters of inquiry are often the first step in a larger grant proposal process. Similar to requests for “Memoranda of Understanding”, the expectations for LOIs vary widely, so it is crucial to read the sponsor’s requirements.

Because LOIs usually center on the research agenda in broader strokes, PIs have ultimate responsibility and accountability for creating and submitting them.

However, some LOIs request budgets, and/or a letter of commitment from the UW’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

Therefore, we ask that you submit a proposal planning intake form with CSDE. They can help you interpret any confusing requirements, and they can help identify whether an eGC1 needs to be generated and/or how else OSP might need to be involved.

I have been asked to create an MOU as part of a research partnership. What do I need to do?

First, you’ll want to be sure to understand what is actually being requested. Although sponsors, funders, and even other research partners may be using the term “MOU”, there are many ways this term is used.

  • According to the UW Office of Research, an MOU is an agreement that will: “Memorialize expression of intent, or expressing goals and aspirations or activity without committing to a legally binding agreement implicating legal remedies.”
  • And, according to the Office of Global Affairs, MOUs are “general statements of mutual interest to explore opportunities for collaboration and explicitly non-binding and do not allow for commitment of university funds, staff, facilities, or other university resources.”

This is different from a subaward, or a letter of agreement made in support of a grant proposal. In general, most grant proposals are looking for these latter forms of agreement, not MOUs.

Check out our standard operating procedures for MOUs, and please contact Assistant Dean of Planning and Budgeting, Rachel Ward wardm@uw.edu, to talk through this need and decide on next steps.

Other Funding Scenarios

I am a UW faculty member and have, or plan to receive, funding for outside professional work unrelated to UW. What should I do?

All faculty, librarians, and other academic personnel who anticipate engaging in outside professional work for compensation need to seek approval prior to conducting the work.

Requesting and receiving approval prior to engaging in outside professional work is required by UW policy, Executive Order 57. It also helps protect you from penalties for violating certain provisions of the Washington State Public Ethics Law. Note that academic personnel are limited to 13 days of outside work per quarter.

To request approval, fill out UW Form 1460 – Request for Approval of Outside Professional Work for Compensation. Form 1460 requires signatures by your department chair and dean or chancellor.

Outside Compensation guidelines from the Office of Research give more information.

I am applying for a small/travel grant. Do I need to go through OSP?

The determination of whether grants need to go through OSP can be defined as follows:

  • Whether funds are routed through OSP is not a threshold of dollar amount, rather it is tied to the activity that the funds are going toward, and whether that activity benefits the institution of UW.
  • Another important consideration, which often comes up for smaller grants like the one we discussed ( https://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/franklin-research-grants), is whether the sponsor says that the funds are to be disbursed to the individual, or to the institution. In this case, these funds are disbursed to individuals, so it would not go through OSP.

In general, for each funding opportunity it is important to examine these variables. OSP is available to answer questions—because, as we know, funders vary quite widely in their guidance and restrictions for grants and other funds, so there is often some interpretation needed! Please reach out to us at beres@uw.edu with any questions; we are happy to help.

Research Hiring/Positions

What should I know about the differences between an hourly student position and a Research Assistant position?

Are you thinking to hire a student as part of your research efforts? It is important that you budget for, advertise, hire for, and provide support for the right role. Per the contract with University of Washington Academic Student Employees (represented through UAW Local 4121), students doing research must be employed in a Research Assistant (RA) classification. The classification and pay of RAs depends on their degree standing, including whether they are undergraduate or graduate students.

Will the student conduct research?

  • Yes, the student will conduct research.
    • → This position should be hired as a Research Assistant.
    • Undergraduates may be hired in the classification of hourly “undergraduate research assistant”.
    • Graduate students must be hired in as a salaried “graduate research assistant”, with the specific classification and pay dependent on their degree standing.
  • No, the student will not conduct research (they may assist with research logistics, administration, etc., or do non-research-related work).
    • → This position may be hired as an hourly assistant
    • The specific classification and pay will be dependent on their degree standing.

Special cases:

  • Work-study students, whether undergraduate or graduate, may be hired as hourly assistants.
  • RAs hired during the summer have specific requirements and may be hired as an hourly RA depending on circumstances.
  • There may be cases where funding or research-related hours require more discussion about the position. Please contact us with any questions. The most important step is to plan ahead!

Please contact Gary Winchester (winchga@uw.edu) or the CBE Office of Research (beres@uw.edu) if you have any questions.


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