GRANT-FUNDED RELEASED TIME
The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research (SPAR) is responsible for disseminating grant information and assisting faculty in submitting proposals. Each proposal involving Arts and Sciences faculty or facilities must be submitted for review to the College office as part of the process. The Dean or designee is responsible for checking and verifying the College's ability to support the requests for staff release time, equipment or matching funds. College approval is required on all grants and will not normally be given without department/school concurrence. If a proposal calls for release of a substantial portion of a faculty ember's time, or large commitment of funds or equipment, it is expected that the granting agency will reimburse the University so that replacements can be made.
In preparing proposals for outside support, care should be taken to assure that the request covers adequate support for the project and appropriate overhead. This is important since 15% of overhead income is made available to the departments/schools (an additional 10% for those departments/schools who have improved their performance over the previous year) for further research activities.
The BGSU Review and Approval Form, available from SPAR or through the SPAR server and Web page, allows investigators to meet the requirements of university policy regarding the internal review of proposals prior to submitting them to an external funding agency. Designed to secure necessary university approvals and avoid problems related to the implementation of funded projects, the review process involves the following sequence of steps.
The principal investigator is responsible for the following:
1. The PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, in consultation with SPAR, develops the proposal in line with funding agency guidelines. The investigator fully completes the BGSU Review and Approval Form, attaches it to the proposal, and then hand carries the proposal to the department and college office for review and approval signatures. Co-investigators must also obtain signature for collaborating departments and colleges.
2. The DEPARTMENT CHAIR/DIRECTOR reviews the proposal for technical content and departmental commitments, and indicates approval by signing the form. If the department is providing any cost-sharing, the chair must also sign and date any commitments in the University Financial Support section.
3. The COLLEGE DEAN (or designee) reviews the proposal for elements involving commitments of space, faculty release time, and other financial contributions of the college, and indicates approval by signing the back of the form. The Dean must also sign and date any cost-sharing commitments in the University Financial Support section.
4. The PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR then hand-carries the original proposal and routing form to SPAR after obtaining both department and college approval.
SPAR ensures that proposals received 48 hours prior to the deadline will be processed and signed off accordingly.
When the approval process is complete, the original proposal is returned to the principal investigator to make necessary changes. The investigator may elect not to have SPAR mail the proposal, in which case, he or she must provide two (2) complete copies of the proposal as submitted to the agency. If the investigator elects to have SPAR mail the proposal, he or she must return a completed Proposal Mailing Service Information Form (available in the SPAR Office) with one (1) complete original of the proposal.
In most cases, the University technically submits the proposal, not the investigator. As a result, the appropriate University officials must review and approve the completed proposal, prior to its submission to the funding agency. Proposals submitted by individuals (as opposed to those being submitted by the institution) involving any commitment of institutional resources also require institutional review and approval before submission. At BGSU, all proposals must be approved by the department chair, the college dean, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research, the Business Office, and the Vice Provost for Research. The investigator must obtain the signatures of the department chair and the college dean. SPAR is responsible for obtaining all other signatures. The Vice Provost for Research serves as the authorized institutional representative for the approval of the proposals and signs on behalf of the University at the conclusion of the review process. The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research requests a minimum of two days to route a proposal; however, if necessary and time permitting, SPAR can route a proposal in less than two days.
The grant process is complex and the primary mission of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is to assist and support faculty and staff through all the stages of this process, including proposal submission.
Myth: Only proposals that have administrative (i.e., indirect) costs need to be routed through SPAR.
Fact: All proposals, regardless of whether or not they request indirect costs, are to be routed through SPAR. For applications to agencies that limit these costs, faculty are only required to request the allowed level for administrative costs on grants. If administrative costs are not allowed, then faculty only need to provide documentation from the agency when routing the proposal.
Myth: Only grant and contract applications to the government need to be routed.
Fact: While SPAR does review applications to governmental entities, it also has responsibility for the review of applications to the private sector. Specifically, SPAR can assist with budget development and negotiation and contract development, review and approval.
Myth: Proposals that are for less than $1,000 do not need to be routed.
Fact: Grants Accounting uses a threshold of $500 but SPAR doesn't have a minimum amount that requires routing.
Myth: Only proposals that require an authorized institutional official need to be routed.
Fact: If University resources are going to be utilized during the project, the chair and dean must approve this project and the proposal must be routed for institutional endorsement.
Myth: Faculty can route a proposal after submitting the application.
Fact: SPAR does, on occasion, accept proposals after they have been submitted. This is not the preferred method and is discouraged since there is a potential that the application will have to be withdrawn.
Myth: Faculty can route only the budget page and cover sheet and leave out the rest of the application.
Fact: Since the chair, dean, and SPAR are supposed to review the proposal before forwarding it to the Vice Provost, it is important that the entire application package be provided for review.
The routing procedures are designed to assist in the pursuit of external funding. The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is to help faculty achieve their research objectives. Please contact SPAR and refer to The Research Handbook for more information.
In order (1) to provide an incentive to faculty and staff to seek grants and contracts to support their work, and (2) to give colleges and departments flexibility in meeting their research, instructional, and operating needs, all personnel funds freed up by grants and contracts remain with colleges for use in furthering their missions. As long as the academic responsibilities of the individuals released by the grant funds are fully met, and with the understanding that freed up personnel funds from grants cannot be used for permanent faculty/staff positions, these funds may be used in any way deemed appropriate for furthering research and academic goals. The college dean will annually determine how much remains in the college and how much is given to the department/school/program.