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FAQs

 

Finding Funding

Preparing a Proposal

Coeus

Setting Up an Award

Grants.gov



Finding Funding

Q: How do I find funding for my research project?
A: You may contact the Sponsored Programs staff at 2-2070. You may also visit the Finding Funding page on our website for search tools.

Q: How can I automatically be notified about funding opportunities?
A: If you are not already on one of the electronic listservs, please contact Sponsored Programs at 22070. You may also call Rebecca Hayes at 2-0712 to inform her of your research interests. Additionally, your COS profile should include research interests that allow funding opportunities to be emailed to you. If you have questions about setting up or updating your COS profile please contact Mark Van 't Hooft at 2-1630 or mvanthoo@kent.edu.

Preparing a Proposal

Q: Who may be a Principal Investigator?
A: A full-time staff or tenure-track faculty may serve as principal investigator.

Q: Do I need to have approval of my department's Chair/Director prior to submitting a proposal?
A: Yes, approval is required. In addition, your chair/director/dean will need to approve the proposal in Coeus before it can be submitted to the sponsor.

Q: Can I see a copy of a previously-funded proposal as a guide to help me prepare mine?
A: Sponsored Programs protects the intellectual property of a principal investigator. To see someone else's proposal, you must receive it directly from that person.

Q: Can someone in Sponsored Programs help me write my proposal?
A: Sponsored Programs does not help write proposals. Rather, the staff guides faculty/staff through agency guidelines, interpreting unclear instructions. Time permitting, staff are willing to read a proposal draft and make editorial suggestions.

Q: How late can I bring in my grant proposal?
A: Ideally, Sponsored Programs needs three weeks. Grants.gov, the new federal government electronic submission process is clumsy and can be problematic with last-minute submissions. All proposals must be developed, routed, approved, and submitted through Coeus, our grants management system. In order to do so, we will need the final budget five business days prior and the narrative documents two business days prior to the agency deadline.  Moreover, at common deadline dates, staff members are responsible for submission of a flurry of proposals. Staff submit them in the order in which they arrive.

Q: Does the Sponsored Programs Office make copies of proposals?
A: Yes.

Q: What are Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A or Indirect Costs) and how are they budgeted?
A: Indirect costs are real costs incurred by the University, which are associated with all projects. They are costs that cannot be easily associated with any particular project but are necessary for the general operation of the University. These costs may include but are not limited to such things as maintenance, utilities, custodial services, depreciation, purchasing services, grant administration, clerical support services, accounting services, library operations, and legal services. The current rate of 47.2% is Kent State's negotiated rate, approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, our cognizant agency responsible for rate negotiation and approval on behalf of all Federal agencies.
The rate is applied as a percentage of the proposed budget for the project, so for a proposed budget of $100,000, an additional $47,200 is included for indirect costs. For a more in-depth explanation of indirect costs, click here.

Q: Can I have the F&A costs waived or reduced if the funding agency will pay our fully negotiated rate?
A: F&A costs are only waived or reduced in exceptional cases. Sponsored Programs dislikes waiving F&A costs because doing so negatively impacts the University's next rate negotiation with the federal government. And, F&A costs are real costs, the costs of doing business. They are neither profit nor overhead. Waiving F&A costs hurts the University financially.

Q: What should I do if I get an award but the budget is less than what was proposed?
A: The project's scope will need to be reviewed and scaled back as appropriate.

Q: What are Fringe Benefits and how are they budgeted?
A: Fringe benefits are direct costs. They include retirement, workers' compensation, group insurance and Medicare. All types of benefits with the exception of health insurance are calculated as a percentage of the faculty/staff member's base salary. Coeus, our grants management system, includes the appropriate rate estimates for each personnel position. For graduate students, fringe benefits include tuition or dissertation fees as well as health insurance and retirement costs if requested.

Q: How can I learn more about the proposal preparation and submission process?
A: You may contact the Sponsored Programs office at 330-672-2070 (on campus: 22070) and arrange to meet with a Sponsored Programs Administrator, or visit our Preparing a Proposal webpage.   If a Proposal Preparation workshop is scheduled, please call the office to register.

Q: Can I apply for funding if the funding agency does not cover indirect costs?
A: Yes. Sponsored Programs, in such cases, will abide by agency guidelines.

Q: If I want to apply to an agency that doesn't cover indirect costs, do I need to still go through your office?
A: Yes. Every proposal that might generate a university award must receive approval by the Sponsored Programs staff. This office has authorization to submit. For more information about sponsored projects, click here. This would take them to our definition page.

Q: Do you have boilerplate information for the 'Resources' section of the proposal?
A: No, agencies want to know if the principal investigator and other project personnel have the appropriate resources to complete the proposed project. Resources vary among projects; a generic answer is not appropriate.

Coeus

Q: What is Coeus?

A: Coeus is Kent State's new research and compliance, grant acquisition and management system (created by MIT), which was designed to simplify and streamline, award acquisition and administration for all offices within the University.  Request Coeus system access by emailing coeus-help@kent.edu then log in with your Flashline ID and password at https://coeus.kent.edu.

Q: What is required in Coeus to be able to submit the proposal internally for approvals?

A: In order to route the proposal for approvals in Coeus with the completed budget five business days prior to the agency deadline, there are several required actions that need to be completed.  These items include the NSF Science Code, Certification, Credit Split, Yes/No Question, and Research Designation.  For instructions, click here.

Q: What about the conflict of interest form?
A: Per university policy each person who has a role in the design, conduct, or reporting of a proposed project must complete the certification questions in Coeus (Investigators) or complete a paper form (Key Personnel) prior to submission of the proposal.  In addition, after the project is awarded, a completed and signed conflict of interest screening forms required for every year of the project.  University faculty and some staff members have taken on new and different functions in addition to the traditional roles of teaching, research, and public service. Spin-off companies transferring technology developed in the laboratory, extensive consultative activities, and various types of public service involvement are encouraged by both federal and state agencies, and by the University as necessary for the public good. Governmental agencies have become more concerned about the extent and type of these activities as they relate to funded and proposed research and scholarly activities of faculty and have issued regulations that require the establishment of standards and procedures to ensure that the design, conduct, or reporting of funded research will not be biased by any conflicting financial interest of the investigator.

Q: What happens if I say yes to any of the certification questions or questions on the conflict of interest form?
A: The Director, Sponsored Programs reviews the certification questions and conflict of interest forms and requests, as needed, clarification of a potential conflict. If necessary, a plan to manage the conflict is put into place. This protects both the person who has disclosed the conflict and the University.

Q: So, it's best to just say no?
A: No, it is best to be honest. The University's Conflict of Interest policy reflects federal law!

Setting Up an Award

Q: What does the Grants Accounting office do versus what the Sponsored Programs office does, in administering awards?
A: Sponsored Programs establishes a Spending Plan according to the award that is received and in concert with the project as proposed. Sponsored Programs reviews the terms and conditions of the award and informs the principal investigator as to special requirements (publication acknowledgement requirements, reporting requirements.) Sponsored Programs reviews personnel appointments, oversees no-cost extension requests, and approves, when appropriate, rebudgeting requests. Grants Accounting monitors award expenditures to determine that they are compliant with federal law and with the terms and conditions of the particular award. Grants Accounting also is responsible for submission of any requirement financial reports.
Sponsored Programs and Grants Accounting work together to prepare award closeout documents.

Q: What's the process for rebudgeting funds?
A: Requests for rebudgeting should be made to Sponsored Programs. If the request is justified, Sponsored Programs approves it and reconstructs the Spending Plan for the Principal Investigator. In some cases, contingent on the particular request, the principal investigator must receive permission from the agency program officer for rebudgeting; Sponsored Programs will determine when such permission is needed and advise accordingly.

Q: What if I need more time to complete my project?
A: Contingent on the agency and circumstances, requests for extensions are generally initiated by the principal investigator and approved by the Director, Sponsored Programs. A valid reason (other than there are unexpended funds are remaining) is required for extensions. Consult the agency's policies for details on requesting an extension.

Q: What type of reporting is usually required for a grant?
A: Since this varies by type of award and by agency, consult your award terms and conditions for details. Generally, the PI will be required to submit technical reports at established intervals. Regular financial reports are usually required as well, and are prepared by the Grants Accounting office.

Grants.gov

Q: As Principal Investigator, must I register with Grants.gov?
A: Typically, no. An institutional registration already exists, and Sponsored Programs staff members each have registrations that permit proposal submission and signing. Depending on which agency you are submitting to, however, a Principal Investigator (or other personnel) may need an individual registration in the agency database in order for the submission process to occur. NIH and NSF are two such examples.
There are rare instances where the agency requires an investigator submit a proposal directly, rather than through the University. In that case the funding guidelines will indicate this and provide instructions for individual registration with grants.gov.

Q: With the Grants.gov application package, do I enter the information into the application, or does your office?
A: This process will be coordinated with the Sponsored Programs staff member with whom you are working.

Q: How do I know if a proposal needs to be submitted through Coeus, the electronic Grants.gov submission process, an agency's own electronic submission process, or via paper to the agency?
A: All proposals must be developed, approved, and submitted through Coeus, no matter the agency's own submission method. Refer to the agency guidelines as specified in the program announcement. These guidelines will specify how the proposal is to be submitted. If the grant opportunity is eligible for a system to system submission through Coeus, you will work with your Sponsored Programs Administrator to upload the required components and submit the application.