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Processing Proposals

Proposal Approval Form (PAF)

The PAF is completed and routed electronically with each proposal in the eResearch Proposal Management system. The person submitting a proposal must obtain approval of the appropriate Department Head and Dean or Unit Director before sending the proposal to ORSP. More detail about what is covered by the PAF is available, as is information on routing the PAF in the eResearch Proposal Management system.

See the Standard Operating Procedure 200.01 on Proposal Review by ORSP for further guidance.


Services provided by ORSP

  • review the proposed budget to ensure accuracy and completeness
  • check that all sponsor requirements are fulfilled
  • route the completed proposal, the PAF, and necessary accompanying documents to the appropriate University offices for the required endorsements, signatures, and certifications,
  • submit to potential sponsor.

ORSP requires a finalized PAF and final proposal four business days before the sponsor deadline and time.


Submitting Proposals

In most cases -- including all Grants.gov applications, ORSP submits the proposal to the intended sponsor electronically.

PI Electronic Submission Directly to Sponsors
Proposal development and signatures are handled in eResearch Proposal Management, regardless of final submission method. To protect the interests of UM faculty and staff who submit proposals and the interests of the university, any electronic versions of the proposal -- electronic, email, or other -- must be routed to the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects via eRPM. The investigator may then follow the sponsor's submission procedure. If any changes are made to the version being sent, the new version must be re-routed to ORSP.

Order of Launch for electronic submissions: ORSP staff will review and launch the proposals in the order they are received. Once ORSP has processed and launched all proposals that arrived at ORSP within the specified deadline, proposals that arrive later will be handled to the best of the staff's ability. Note that problems beyond ORSP control, such as corrupted files or Internet interruptions, may result in proposals not being launched in a timely fashion. It might well be possible that ORSP staff cannot correct or even send a late proposal.

ORSP staff will do everything possible to get the proposal to the sponsor on time. However, as the amount of time for processing is reduced, so the chance for insurmountable obstacles increases. Certain parts of the review process are subject to the schedules of other offices. When there is sufficient lead time, ORSP staff can compensate for these problems. Therefore, faculty should make every effort to provide the maximum time possible for ORSP to process and adequately review their proposals.

As always, ORSP staff are available for questions, budgetary review, and other administrative help during the proposal preparation period in the weeks prior to the deadline.


Conflict of Interest Disclosures

When the PAF is first submitted for approval, the project director must determine if a financial conflict of interest disclosure is required. The conflict of interest disclosure asks about management or financial interests in outside entities held by key investigators or by their spouses or dependents that may impinge upon the proposed sponsored agreement. To assure full disclosure, this requirement should be interpreted broadly. See Conflict of Interest and Commitment for further instructions.

If the disclosures are negative (that is, if it is determined there are no "significant financial interests" related to the proposed project), the Project Director will so certify by signing the Proposal Approval Form (PAF) in eRPM. The proposal and the PAF will then be further processed.

Note the procedures for proposals with sponsors following the Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest regulations.

Disclosures that may trigger State Law or are otherwise above the threshold of significant financial interests must be forwarded, along with a copy of the PAF, for review by the Conflict of Interest Review Committee. Proposals may be submitted to external sponsors in order to meet established deadlines with the understanding that the review process must be completed satisfactorily before a sponsored award can be accepted.