Pre-Award Requirements

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 (SRA) 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.

Back to top

Proposal Budget Preparation


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

SRA 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
SRA 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 SRA 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 SRA or GCS.

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.).

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 SRA 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 SRA for additional information.

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 SRA or Graduate Studies. Projections for tuition rates in future years should be discussed with SRA.  A computation list may be viewed in our "Forms" area of this Website.

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 SRA 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 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 SRA 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 >4,999 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 Vice Provost 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 SRA or GCS.

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 SRA.

Back to top

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 Vice Provost 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 from SRA 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 Vice Provost 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.

Back to top

Other SRA 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 SRA 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 SRA director, who will review and forward the information to the appropriate university offices.

Contract Negotiation/Award Execution
Authority to Execute Legal Documents

SRA 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 are negotiated with the review and assistance of counsel for the university, and will be executed by the Vice Provost 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. SRA receives the final contract, and obtains authorized institutional signatures as necessary to fully execute the award.

SRA 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 SRA and always require a presidential/vice presidential signature.

Back to top

Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (updated August 23, 2012)

The latest version of the Financial Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at the following URL:


Back to top

Federal Grant Applications Submission Guidelines

STEP 1: Download a Grant Application Package

If you need to search for the Funding Opportunity, please go to Search Grants. If you know the Funding Opportunity Number you wish to download, please go to

Downloading a grant application package allows you to complete it offline and route it through your organization for review before submitting. Click to verify if your Adobe software version is compatible with

Instructions on how to open and use the forms in the package are on the application package cover sheet. Agency specific instructions are available for download when you download your application package, which will include required information for your submission.

STEP 2: Complete the Grant Application Package

Complete the grant application offline. Save changes to your application as you go, does NOT automatically save changes. The package cannot be submitted until all required fields have been completed.

If you're having problems completing the package, visit

STEP 3: Submit the Completed Grant Application Package to SRA

After you have entered all the necessary information, checked the package for errors and saved your package, email the package to

Caution: It is recommended the total application submission not exceed 200 MB and individual attachments not exceed 100 MB.

Once the package has been reviewed and the package is ready for submission through, the SRA will submit tit and provide the PI with a confirmation.

For additional information, please see


Back to the top

Pre-Award Index Setup

PI prepares a request for Pre-Award consisting of the following:

  • Letter or e-mail from agency approving the project. The letter or e-mail should have at a minimum:
    1. Starting date of the project.
    2. Total amount of the project.
    3. Language indicating that they are authorizing NJIT to start incurring expenses.
    4. For NSF there has to be a justification that the funding is necessary for the effective and economical conduct of the project.
  • Budget for pre-award, as required.

PI secures Department and/or College approval and adds it to the package.

* There is no Pre-Award for Contracts.  A negotiation of the “Start Date” will be required.

A Staff member from SRA reviews all of the information above for the request.  After all the information is reviewed and complete, the SRA staff member sends an e-mail with all the information attached to the SRA Director requesting pre-award.

* As this is our internal process please do not cc any other party.


The SRA Director will seek approval from upper management.

  • Vice Provost for Research & Development
  • Sr. VP for Administration and Treasurer

Once approved by all parties, an e-mail is generated advising of the approval and distributed to the following:

  • Vice Provost for Research & Development
  • Associate VP of Finance and Controller
  • Director, Sponsored Research Administration
  • Director, Grants and Contract Accounting

The Director, SRA, will forward a copy of the email to the SRA Staff member initiating the request indicating the following:

  • Contact GCA if they need any documentation
  • Contact the PI if additional information is needed
  • Follow up to ensure Index is set-up.

The Staff member files the package electronically, enters the information on the SRA Grants listing marked as “Pre-Award”, and sends the information to the SRA AA to file in the paper file. Please see Grants Management Guide for additional information.

For additional information, please see the Grant Management Guide