FAQ

  • General
    • Am I required to use your office when I submit a grant?
      • No. Our office is an optional, centralized pre-award service available to investigators submitting via BUSM who would like assistance preparing the administrative components of their proposals. Faculty provide final materials and internal approvals directly to Sponsored Programs if they so choose.
    • What determines whether my proposal gets submitted through BU or BMC?
      • PI proposals are submitted by the institution in which their office/laboratory is located and where the work will be conducted. Use this website to determine whether your “home” institution to submit proposals is BUSM or BMC. If your home institution is BUSM, contact Proposal Development. If your home institution is BMC, contact BMC Research Operations to find the appropriate administrator.
    • Do I need to issue a subcontract to my collaborators at the main campus? At BMC?
      • Any faculty collaborators, graduate students, and staff at BU Charles River Campus, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, or the School of Public Health can be included directly on the overall budget for the proposal from BUSM. Faculty and staff at BMC must be included in the budget via a subcontract.
    • What is PD v. SP?
      • PD is the Proposal Development office at BU School of Medicine. We support the project management and overall development of your proposal, but are not authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the institution. SP is the Sponsored Programs office for all of Boston University and officially submits and accepts research proposals on behalf of the institution. Research administrators at SP provide final review and submit proposals to the sponsor institution.
    • What is the difference between PD and Foundation Relations?
      • Although both PD and Foundation Relations assist BUSM faculty in submitting funding requests, the two groups work in different ways. PD assists faculty in ensuring that their applications, mainly federal funding requests, are complete and approved for submission by Sponsored Programs. PD has expertise in interpreting funder guidelines, and offers a wide range of administrative support, including budget creation, sub-award setup, and component checklist creation for task management. PD also runs Peer-to-Peer Faculty Writing Groupsto help junior faculty formulate and write their first NIH R01 (or equivalent) grants. Foundation Relations works with faculty members, chairs, and senior leaders to identify private funding opportunities; introduce initiatives to program officers and well-aligned foundations; and develop responsive, clear, compelling applications (generally $100,000+). As educated lay people, Foundation Relations help faculty members connect their work to both lay and scientific audiences; this includes copy-editing  for clarity, grammar, flow, and responsiveness. Foundation Relations also assist in securing internal approvals for submission.
    • Who will submit my application?
      • The majority of federal sponsors require submission by an authorized institutional representative; thus, SP submits the final proposal directly to the sponsor. For non-federal sponsors, submission will be via SP or the PI, depending on the RFA guidelines.
    • I can submit a grant proposal directly to the sponsor. Can I submit the proposal myself?
      • Although many non-federal sponsors permit PIs to submit directly to Foundations, all sponsored research proposals must have SP approval prior to submission. Our office can support development of your proposal, interface with the sponsor-system, and help obtain SP approval (and signature, if required).
    • I’m uncertain if I will be ready to submit for the coming deadline. What happens if I don’t make the deadline?
      • Please see SP’s Proposal Submission Policy for guidance as to when proposals must be final in order to ensure successful submission. If you are working with our team to prepare a proposal and decide not to submit, let us know and we will work with you and SP to move submission to a later date.
    • What percent effort do reviewers like to see for the PI?
      • Some sponsors designate a minimum level of effort for a PI, and other sponsors do not provide such guidance. Early career investigators typically request a higher percent effort than established investigators, but it can vary largely between funding agency.
    • When is it beneficial to have a multi-PI application?
      • Multi-PI applications can be effective when the principal investigators have a strong leadership plan and are bringing unique resources, strengths, and capabilities to the project. Early stage investigators and new investigators will need to think strategically about a multiple PI opportunity as related to their status. Learn more about the NIH multiple-PI plan here.
  • Budgetary
    • The grant I’m applying for has an extremely limited budget. Am I required to budget indirect and fringe benefit costs in a limited budget?
      • The only instance when fringe or indirect costs should not be included in a budget is when expressly mandated by a sponsor or in an FOA. In any other instance, full indirect costs and fringe rates must be used, unless prior approval is obtained to submit a budget with reduced F&A or with an approved cost-share for fringe benefits.
    • What are the per diem animal rates and when can I use the subsidized vs. non-subsidized per diem rates?
      • Per diem animal rates can be found on the research support website. Note that the subsidized rates can only be applied for federal grants and non-federal or industry research for which the full BU facilities & administrative rate is applied. For non-federal grants or industry contracts with reduced F&A, use the unsubsidized rates. Please note that these rates do not apply for BSL3 and BSL4 facilities at the NEIDL.
    • What is the difference between a modular and detailed budget?
      • A modular budget is only applicable for NIH proposals and refers to a budget where the direct costs are less than $250,000/year. If you are under this direct cost cap, the budget must be requested in modules of $25,000 and only personnel and equipment funds are required to be justified. A detailed budget exceeds $250,000/year in direct costs and all items in the budget must be explained in the budget justification.
    • Is a modular or detailed budget more likely to be funded?
      • Unfortunately, the answer is often “it depends.” Some research involves significant animal or human subject work that cannot be conducted for $250,000 or less per year. However, for early stage investigators, reviewers may comment that a budget marginally higher than $250,000/year in direct costs may be more appealing to reviewers as a modular budget. However, the most important factor is that you are budgeting appropriately so you can accomplish the proposed research.
  • NIH FAQ on Continuous Submission
    • Click here for policies on continuous submission for NIH proposals.
  • Fellowships
    • How many years of support should I apply for in the proposal?
  • Human Subjects
    • Does my project meet the definition of an NIH clinical trial?
    • Questions related to the human subjects Forms-E documents