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. 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.

Proposal Submission

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.

Unique Funding Scenarios

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.

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.

Can lecturers apply for grants as part-time faculty at the UW?

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.


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