Frequently Asked Questions

SRA POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

The Policies & Procedures that pertain to the SRA Office may be found on the University Policies Web page at the following link: 

http://www.njit.edu/policies/

PRE-AWARD

POST AWARD


Submitting a Proposal

After identifying a potential sponsor of the project, a copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP), solicitation, or program description should be obtained, forwarded to the Sponsored Research Administration (SRA), and followed in detail. This will facilitate the budget preparation process outlined below.

When a researcher decides to submit a proposal, a budget is developed and sent electronically to   SRA for reviewing and compliance with university and funding agency requirements. This should be accomplished at least two weeks before the proposal deadline.

After downloading the budget template and upon completing the budget, the Principal Investigator (PI) should also download a proposal routing and Departmental Approval form (also known as a Cost Sharing Statement),  and the Conflict of Interest form from the SRA website.  These forms can be obtained under the “forms” section of the website. URL = http://www.njit.edu/sponsoredresearch/forms/index.php   

NOTE: All PIs are responsible for obtaining matching fund commitments and approvals.

Remember that we need your scope of work, budget, and the internal sign-offs with your chair’s and dean’s approval in our SRA office before your proposal can be submitted.

SRA has found that proposals submitted in advance are more successful and prefers approximately two weeks to process and submit a proposal that has all of the necessary documents and approvals.   If adequate time is given SRA, we will submit the proposal to the appropriate funding agency guaranteed to meet the submission deadline.

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Proposal Submission Deadlines

Most sponsoring organizations have strict deadlines for proposal submissions. To effectively meet proposal deadlines, SRA minimally requires the fully executed proposal be completed and sent electronically to SRA at least two (2) days before the proposal submission deadline date.  The 48 hour before agency due date to SRA deadline is required and will ensure your proposal’s timely submission.

Particular attention should be given to proposals requiring federal assurances and certifications. These proposals require vice presidential endorsement and must be delivered to SRA no later than four (4) days prior to the agency deadline. If it is not clear whether a proposal needs a vice presidential signature, contact SRA.


Typical Proposal Format

Each agency has its own requirements regarding proposal format. Most agencies have specific forms and certifications specific to that agency that must accompany the submission.  These requirements are always outlined in the agency’s RFP (Request for Proposal).

Proposals generally include:

  1. Cover page
  2. Abstract
  3. Main text
  4. Budget/Cost sharing forms
  5. PI’s Curriculum Vitae
  6. References
  7. Appendices

If the agency issued a RFP (Request for Proposal), it is essential for the researcher to submit the RFP/Solicitation link to Sponsored Research Administration to ensure a correct and timely submission to the sponsoring agency.  Our goal is to submit the best technically developed, cost-effective, and reviewed proposal before the scheduled deadline which will increase our award success rate.

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Proposal Budget Preparation

NOTE: IT IS THE POLICY OF NJIT THAT THE BUDGET ACCOMPANYING PROPOSALS COVERS ALL APPLICABLE COSTS OF CONDUCTING THE PROPOSED PROJECT.

The only exceptions to this policy are limited to any cost sharing requirements of the agency to which the proposal is being submitted.

SRARD is responsible for assisting in the development of all proposal budgets to produce a budget that accurately reflects the costs of running the proposed project. In developing a proposal budget, the PI should provide the best estimate of anticipated expenses for the project. The PI should avoid either inflating or underestimating the expenses.

Salaries and Wages
SRARD will work with the PI to provide salary figures for each individual who will be employed on the project. The annual salary (or academic year as appropriate) for each faculty and staff person identified in the budget should be increased for cost of living and other pay increases in multiple year budgets.

When preparing for Federal "Contracts" the budgetary information for Salaries and Wages will require the Salary, number of hours, and Hourly Rate that personnel will be working on the project.  This is applicable to all categories; the Academic Year, Summer Salary, Graduate Assistants, and Non-Professional Staff.

Academic Year
Faculty salaries are calculated by taking the portion of time that the person will be devoting to the project (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, or other) and multiplying it by the individual’s salary.

Summer Salary
If the project will involve work during the summer, faculty on academic year appointments will be eligible to receive up to 33.3% (1/3) of their academic year salary for three months work during the summer. Some federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, provide summer support for only two months (2/9 of the academic year salary).

To calculate summer salary, one summer month is equivalent to 11.1% of the academic year salary; if only a portion of the summer will be devoted to the project, the salary should be pro-rated accordingly.

Graduate Assistants
GCS or the Director of SRARD will provide information concerning the charges for research assistants, which may change from year to year.

Non-Professional Staff
Costs are calculated as a percentage of the person’s projected salary and correspond to the percentage of time to be devoted to the project. This pertains to postdoctoral research associates, secretarial and other non-professional staff.

Fringe Benefits
The university has negotiated with the United States Department of Health and Human Services an agreement to use three fringe benefit rates for the purpose of developing proposal budgets.  Employee category and corresponding fringe rates are summarized below.  These rates normally change on an annual basis.

Employee Category Rate:

  • Faculty (academic year), full time technical and professional staff, support staff .
  • Faculty (summer grant activity).
  • Adjuncts, part-time staff, graduate assistants, student workers, work study, temporary employees, hourly staff, other compensation.

For additional information, contact either SRARD or GCS.

Supplies
Any single supply item that costs more than $500 must be itemized.

When preparing for Federal "Contracts" the budgetary information for Supplies will require a "Bill of Materials" which further itemizes ALL supplies (Description, Amount, Vendor, Cost, and the basis - estimate; quote; internet price; etc.).

Equipment
Permanent equipment must be specified and costs itemized.

When preparing for Federal "Contracts" the budgetary information for Equipment will require a "Bill of Materials" which further itemizes ALL equipment  (Description, Amount, Vendor, Cost, and the basis - estimate; quote; internet price; etc.).

Consultant Agreements
Consultant fees are direct payments for the services of experts not otherwise employed by NJIT. Consultants are hired usually to accomplish specific tasks of brief duration. The University has an approved consultant agreement will be prepared in the Sponsored  Programs Office.

When preparing for Federal "Contracts" the budgetary information for Consultants will require the Consultant's name, salary, number of hours, and Hourly Rate that the Consultant will be working on the project. Federal projects may have limitations for the maximum daily rate for consultants. Contact SRARD for additional information.

Tuition
Tuition support for students working on a project should be budgeted using the current rate for either an in-state or out-of-state student, whichever is appropriate. Rates can be obtained from either SRARD or Graduate Studies. Projections for tuition rates in future years should be discussed with SRARD.  A computation list may be viewed in our "Forms" area of this Website.

Travel
The purpose of all trips should be stated. Domestic and foreign trips must be shown separately. The actual cost of accommodations, meals and local transportation should be specified and the costs must be reasonable. Contact SRARD to obtain information on current foreign per diem rates, as well as federal travel regulations, and domestic travel. Also see the "NJIT Travel Policy" which can be obtained in the "Faculty and Staff Guide to Public and Private Funding".

When preparing for Federal "Contracts" the budgetary information for Travel will require a detailed breakdown of the travel expected.  The breakdown must include: Month of travel; Description; Number of Travelers; Number of Trips; Number of Days; Airfare/Train fare; Rental Car; Per Diem Rate; Lodging Rate; & Purpose.

Subcontracts
Subcontracts are agreements between NJIT and other organizations or institutions who will perform a portion of the scope of work for the principal grant recipient. If work is to be performed by a subcontractor, include the subcontractor’s authorized proposal and budget. In the proposal, the PI must document the reason for choosing a particular subcontractor. When an agency makes an award to NJIT, a subcontract will be prepared by Sponsored Research Administration and authorized by the appropriate university representative. Subcontract terms may be negotiated by the attorneys for the university.

Indirect Costs/Overhead
It is the policy of the university to request full recovery of all costs incurred in the performance of externally supported projects. This includes both direct and indirect costs.

Indirect costs (sometimes called overhead) are all costs incurred that are not readily identifiable with a specific project, but that are necessary to the general operation of the university and the successful completion of the project.

Included in the calculation of the indirect cost rate are utilities, general and departmental administration, library, accounting and purchasing services.

Indirect costs are currently calculated by totaling all budgeted salaries and wages in the proposal budget and multiplying by the current approved indirect cost rate.

The rate for the period can be found on the budget worksheet templates, the salary computation guidelines, and the US DHHS Agreement. This calculation excludes equipment costing >2,499.00 and student tuition. In addition, only the first $25,000 of each subcontract listed should be included in the indirect cost calculation.  This should be calculated during the first year if possible.

Indirect costs will not be waived. The only exceptions are:

  • Submission to an agency whereby the charter of such agency either explicitly limits or prohibits payment of indirect cost to outside organizations
  • Recommendation of the Senior Vice President for Research and Development that a waiver of indirect cost is necessary to conduct the research

NOTE: Questions about indirect costs can be addressed to either SRARD or GCS.

Other
Miscellaneous budget items, especially those of significant cost, should be described on the budget form. Questions regarding the allow ability of specific items should be directed to Sponsored Research Administration.

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Proposal Policies

Cost Sharing and Matching
Some grant programs require that sponsor funds be matched with non-sponsor funds or that NJIT in some way participate in sharing the costs of a project. To that extent, and in order to be competitive in gaining grants and contracts, NJIT may participate in cost sharing, sometimes called matching.

All forms of cost sharing and matching must meet these criteria:

  • Allowable under OMB Circular A-21 "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions"
  • Necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient completion of the project
  • A federal source cannot be used to match a federal project
  • Not already included as match to other federal or state funded projects
  • Included in the approved sponsor budget
  • Verifiable in NJIT records

Any match or cost sharing agreement with a sponsor must be approved in advance by the Senior Vice President for Research and Development. Sources of match or cost sharing must be identified and meet the above criteria before approval will be made.

Cost Sharing Statements can be obtained form SRARD or found in the Forms section of this Website.

Cost Sharing Sources
One potential source of cost sharing support is faculty release time. NJIT’s current release time policy is to contribute one half of the release time required for a given project during the academic year. The other half would be included in the agency request.

Some other sources of cost sharing support are: student support, equipment funds, or the use of unique or highly specialized equipment. Academic departments are encouraged to provide matching funds.

Written Approvals Required
All proposals submitted by researchers must have proper internal approvals before they are eligible for submission.

Generally these approvals include the Department Chair, Dean, Center Director and the Senior Vice President for Research and Development.

Proposals that are determined to have exceptional matching fund requirements, facilities, space or insurance considerations may require additional approvals as necessary.

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Other SRARD Services

Protection of Human Subjects
In accordance with federal regulations, the university is responsible for safeguarding the rights, health and welfare of people who serve as subjects in research or teaching experiments. NJIT has adopted policy and procedures designed to ensure their safety, dignity and privacy.

Protection of human subjects is first, and foremost, the responsibility of the investigator in charge of the activity. Working under university auspices, the investigator brings the institution into a position of direct and legal responsibility. This responsibility is met by a process of peer review and prior approval for activities in which people are to be used as subjects.

The Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects meets on a case-by-case basis.

Researchers should contact the SRARD director prior to proposal submission and for additional information.

Hazardous Materials
Research projects may involve the use of hazardous materials (radioactive materials, chemicals, RDNA, etc.). The intended use of these materials must be disclosed prior to the start date of the research on the "Proposal Routing Form."

Use of these materials must be brought to the attention of the SRARD director, who will review and forward the information to the appropriate university offices.

Contract Negotiation/Award Execution
Authority to Execute Legal Documents

SRARD negotiates all grants and contracts on behalf of the PI and in the best interest of NJIT. Contracts (excluding construction contracts and classified contracts), memoranda of agreement, and other legal instruments relating to Sponsored Research Administration are negotiated with the review and assistance of counsel for the university, and will be executed by the Senior Vice President for Research and Development. Other signatures are not binding as they carry no delegated authority.

Contract Notification
Following successful negotiations, the sponsoring agency issues a formal grant/contract document. SRARD receives the final contract, and obtains authorized institutional signatures as necessary to fully execute the award.

SRARD then processes the appropriate paperwork to establish an NJIT grant account in accordance with the proposal specifications and establishes a project account on the FRS. The agreement is then forwarded to the PI, Dean and GCS.

Federal Representation and Certifications
Due to the increased emphasis on federal regulatory issues, a growing number of sponsoring agencies are requiring NJIT to certify its position on various issues. They include lobbying, drug-free workplace and debarment/suspension. These certifications may be included with the proposal or as part of the final contracting/award process. These certifications are prepared by SRARD and always require a presidential/vice presidential signature.

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Conflict of Interest Policy (updated February 1998)

Definition
A “conflict of interest” exists whenever a person misuses, or gives the appearance of misusing, a position of public trust for private benefit or personal advantage.  A conflict may occur anywhere along a broad spectrum of actions ranging from overtly criminal conduct to behavior that could potentially lead to a perception of ethical impropriety.

Preface
New Jersey Institute of Technology (“the university”) has a long-standing policy of forbidding any activity that creates a conflict between an employee’s obligations to the university (including its approved affiliates) and the employee’s private interests, be they personal, financial, proprietary, familial, or political.  This policy statement is issued periodically for the guidance of all university employees: faculty, staff, and students. Both the policy and its implementation procedures will be administered fairly and equitably.

Statement of Policy
Consistent with the law and executive mandates governing public entities in the State of New Jersey, and consistent with its good faith covenants and contractual obligations, the university reaffirms and restates its conflict of interest policy as follows:

As a public, research institution of higher education, serving the State of New Jersey, the higher education community, and the general public, the university is cognizant that it occupies a position of trust.  The university therefore accepts an unequivocal obligation to preclude the occurrence of legal and ethical impropriety, including the appearance of impropriety, on the part of its employees.

The university forbids any conduct that places, or appears to place, an employee’s personal, financial, proprietary, familial, or political interests in conflict with the university’s best interests or the university’s contractual obligations.  Supervisory personnel shall not knowingly condone a clear conflict of interest and will be held accountable for enforcing this policy.

To facilitate compliance, the university requires self-disclosure of an existing conflict or potential conflict.  A potential conflict is defined as any circumstance that creates a reasonable doubt as to legal or ethical propriety under this policy or the law.

This policy statement applies to all university employees (faculty, staff, and student employees).

The specific examples offered below illustrate some of the types of conflict that require both self-disclosure by the employee and corrective action.  The following items are to be understood as illustrative guidelines, and not as a comprehensive or exhaustive list of prohibitions:

  • Unauthorized utilization of university research findings, facilities, or derivative tangible or intangible products for private financial advantage, direct or indirect;
  • Unauthorized utilization of privileged, proprietary university information, gained through a position with the university, including any affiliated enterprise, for utilization in private business or in private, non-university-affiliated research or consulting endeavors;
  • Exerting intentional, direct or indirect influence in contractual matters or other operational matters between the university (including its affiliates) and any private enterprise in which a personal, financial, proprietary, familial, and/or political interest is involved;
  • Pursuing and/or maintaining any non-university business interest and/or professional endeavor that significantly interferes with the employee’s commitment of time and professional energy to the university;
  • Unauthorized acceptance or extension of monetary, personal, or other reasonably discernible favors from or to a private enterprise with which the university conducts business or persons with whom the university conducts business;
  • Engaging a university student or another university employee without authorization as an employee, consultant, or third party contractor of a business, research, or consulting venture in which the employee holds a significant ownership or financial interest;
  • Undisclosed familial relationships with students or employees where one party to the relationship holds either decisional authority, recommending authority, or significant influence over the academic, economic, and/or employment standing of the other party;
  • Solicitation or acceptance of personal favors (including sexual favors) from students or other employees in return for positive academic evaluation, financial consideration, improvement in employment status, or other significant consideration related to university operations;
  • Undisclosed and unauthorized maintenance of an interest in both a private intellectual, professional, scientific, or technical endeavor and a university or affiliated endeavor in the same or a similar intellectual, professional, scientific, and/or technical field.

Some conflicts of interest may arise unintentionally.  Other situations, though not constituting an actual conflict of interest, may carry an appearance of impropriety.  This policy applies to both unintentional conflicts and the appearance of conflict.

Full disclosure is required in all cases.  Some conflict situations may be amenable to modification leading to university and/or affiliate authorization.  Certain potential conflict situations may be managed in an acceptable manner through close scrutiny and strict adherence to prescribed conditions.

It is not the intent of this policy to authorize or encourage needless intrusion upon any individual’s personal behavior or endeavors.  It requires self-disclosure.  While vigilant enforcement is expected, reckless or malicious disclosure of alleged conflict or rumor-mongering by third parties is discouraged and may be subject to sanctions.

Procedures

Disclosure
Self-disclosure is not only the least invasive means of ensuring compliance with this policy but also affords the opportunity for mutually compatible resolution of actual or potential conflicts of interest.  The responsibility for full self-disclosure rests with each employee.

Disclosure necessitated by a developing or potential conflict should be directed to the attention of either the employee’s immediate supervisor or, at the employee’s option, the vice president under whose stewardship the employee works.

Annual Disclosure Requirement
Annual disclosure is required of each employee, whether or not a conflict situation has arisen and has been disclosed in accordance with this policy and procedure within the past year.  Annual disclosure shall be made either through completion of the attached “conflict-of-interest disclosure form” or through certification to the university in a signed letter which addresses all issues specified in the university-provided form.

Annual disclosure shall be forwarded directly to the appropriate academic dean or vice president.  All members of the senior staff shall forward annual disclosure to the President.

Consultation and Review
The Office of General Counsel is available for consultation by any employee who is uncertain as to whether a specific set of circumstances constitutes a conflict or potential conflict in violation of this policy.

Such consultation will be treated as confidential to the greatest degree practicable in conformity with university regulations and applicable law.  Following consultation, responsibility for formal self-disclosure remains with each individual employee.

All disclosure is subject to review by the Office of General Counsel for conformity with policy and procedure.

Consequences of Conflicts of Interest
Disclosed conflicts will be managed in a manner acceptable to the university and the employee wherever feasible and warranted.

Undisclosed conflicts may result in sanctions ranging from notice to discontinue a specific activity to termination of employment.

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Post Award

Budget Modifications

A PI may need a budget revision to an award because of unforeseen circumstances which changes the manner in which funds are expended during the awarded period of performance.  In such cases the PI may request a budget revision. 

Criteria:  What is the benefit to NJIT?

Chair & Dean approval is required to transfer AY release time to summer salary or to any other category.

Students:

  • Need justification as to why funds are being taken away from students.
  • The Chair and Dean approval is required when funds are being taken away from students (stipend or tuition).

F&A Effects:

  • Gain for NJIT = no justification required.
  • Loss for NJIT = requires full justification.

All budget revisions that affect the following, the SRA must be processed through this office, SRA, email: srard@njit.edu. 

  • Sponsor Agency Approval is required
  • Indirect Costs
  • AY Release Time
  • Student Stipend
  • Student Tuition
  • $1,000 or above

All budget revisions that do not affect the above areas and are under $1,000 may be processed directly through G&C without SRA approval.

A budget revision/modification requires justification.  It should contain the following:

  • NJIT Index Number:
  • Awarding Agency:
  • Agency Award Number:
  • How much money you want to transfer?
  • Where do you want to take the money from? (Banner AccountNumber: supply, equipment, personnel, etc.)
  • Where do you want to move the money to? (Banner Account: supply, equipment, personnel, etc.)
  • Why do you need to transfer the money?
  • What will be the effect on the project?
  • Is the awarding Agency approval needed?
  • If Agency approval is required, Agency POC email address.

For further guidance refer to NJIT University Policy & Procedure PP 12-03 Grants & Contracts – Budget Revisions @ URL  http://www.njit.edu/policies/.

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No-Cost Extensions

Occasionally a PI may need a no-cost extension to the award because of unforeseen circumstances which prevented the technical completion of the award during the awarded period of performance.  In such cases the PI may request a no-cost extension.

Requests for no cost extensions for the sole purpose of expending remaining funds when the award has been completed are not a valid justification.

All requests for a no cost extension are processed through this office, SRA, email: srard@njit.edu.  The following information is required in order for us to request a no cost extension from the awarding agency:

  • NJIT Index Number:
  • Awarding Agency:
  • Project Title:
  • Awarding Agency Point of Contact Information, Email Address:
  • Justification:
    • What was the “technical” cause for the delay in completing the award in the required period?
    • Why do you need the no cost extension?
    • What will be the effect on the project without it?
  • Remaining Funds:
  • Proposed New End Date:

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