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Getting Started

The University of Michigan (U-M) is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading research universities. U-M provides an exceptionally fertile ground for innovative and interdisciplinary research that underlies progress in all aspects of our society.

We know it can be overwhelming to navigate the University and the requirements for applying for a grant or working with your sponsored funding. Even before ORSP, your first point-of-contact should be your department research administrator (RA). You can find out who that is by checking our "Blue Pages tool" on our site. 

Choose your unit/school/college/department. The person(s) listed are individuals who can help you get started. 

Additionally, consult the general brochures at the bottom of the page. Contact with questions! 

Where should I begin when navigating this website? 

We have created some video tutorials to help you navigate the ORSP website. Each video is about 30 seconds long, and it will take you about 10 minutes to watch all of them together. The videos cover components and features on the website as well as key content. Additionally, here is a list of useful website resources -- some of our "greatest hits" of web pages and how to use them.

What is the Research Project Lifecycle?

Our website is organized according to the lifecycle of a research project to enable understanding of sponsored projects from the beginning phases (pre-award) to the award start and completion phases (post-award). Research projects are complex with regard to the science and the administration. A sponsored project’s lifecycle could be weeks or decades. 


The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) primarily handles pre-award activities, but also has roles throughout the life of a project. ORSP is a unit of the University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR).  ORSP works closely with Sponsored Programs primarily handles financial post-award activities, and is a unit of Finance.

How does Research Funding happen?

Grants and funding requests are not written and submitted independently. The federal government mandates that a central unit at universities administer research activities funded by sponsors. 

These administrative tasks require a professional staff with broad knowledge of the regulations of federal agencies and to maintain the extensive records required by federal sponsors.

Who is ORSP and how should I work with them?

The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) assists faculty and principal investigators (PIs) wishing to conduct funded research, testing, or, to engage in research-related agreements with industry, non-profit, and governmental entities. Research grants from industrial and non-profit sponsors don’t always have the same flexibility as they do with federal sponsors, but ORSP’s Project Representatives help negotiate, facilitate and manage grants, agreements, and sponsored research relations. 

ORSP project representatives review proposals and awards, negotiate agreements, and process all awards to Sponsored Programs, under the Office of Finance.

Remember, though: Your first point of contact is your department administrator Research Administrator (RA) who can help with policies, processes, system and forms. If you do not know that person you can use our Blue Pages to look up your research administrator and get the name and contact information. 

Be sure to also consult our frequently required documents and data for proposals.

What is a Sponsor and what do I need to know about Sponsored Projects?

When preparing a proposal to a potential sponsor, it is important to be familiar with the requirements of the sponsor types as well as understanding what the specific sponsor seeks that you are considering. Within our Sponsor section you can learn about what a sponsored project is, how to distinguish it from a gift, and about how to work with sponsors from the various private or government sectors.

Who can help me get started?

Your first point-of-contact should be your department research administrator (RA). You can find out who that is by checking the Blue Pages.

Helpful Hints for Faculty Working With ORSP

  • Examples of University of Michigan Funding information Funding opportunity guidelines are unique! Become an expert reader of funding opportunities, requests for proposal. They vary greatly -- even within an agency.
  • Know that your department-level research administrator is your first point of contact for eResearch. All proposal approval forms (PAFs) route through U-M's eResearch system.
  • Sign up for The RAP and its related newsletters for need-to-know sponsored research updates and resources.
  • ORSP reviews and submits all proposals seeking external funding. For the most comprehensive review and submission, provide incomplete format to ORSP four business days prior to sponsor deadline.
  • In early discussions with sponsors, defer discussions of indirect cost arrangements to ORSP.
  • Utilize ORSP for negotiation and review of agreements and grants.
  • Leverage our signing authority services and grant acceptance on behalf of the University.

References and Resources

Rates & Frequently Used Institutional Information