Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

PRAF Frequently Asked Questions

PRAF Frequently Asked Questions - downloadable version




1. Should I choose preliminary or full proposal on the START PRAF page?

Select preliminary for pre-proposals, letters of intent or other submissions that are not considered a full proposal. Select full proposal for all other submissions.

2. Do I have to use the flashlight search option?

Yes. Anytime you see the green flashlight icon, you must click on it to do a search.  The field will then auto-populate based on information from an established database. 

3. Can I save the PRAF and come back later?

Yes. If you would like to save the PRAF and work on it later, click on the Save button found at the bottom of each tab.

4. How do I navigate to the next tab?

You can navigate to the next tab by clicking “Save and proceed” at the bottom of each page.


Investigator Tab


5. What if I can’t find my name in the PI search function?

The PI search function pulls directly from the Human Resources Employee Database.  Thus, every current UNI employee should be listed.  If you are having trouble finding your name, try searching by first or last name only, or enter only a portion of your first and/or last name.

6. Who is the department responsible for oversight?

Most times this will be the department of the primary PI.  There are certain instances in which a project that is managed by a different department. If this is the case, you will put that department as the responsible party.

7. When do I mark yes for a course release?

Faculty planning to spend more than 20% effort during the academic year on the proposed project will need to get permission from their department head to release you from one of your courses. You will be asked to upload documentation in the attachment section of the PRAF. A copy of an email from your department head will suffice. 

8. Do I have to list key personnel in the Co-PI field?

No. Only enter those distinctly designated as Co-PI on the grant application.


Proposal Tab


9. What is the difference between a Grant and Cooperative Agreement?

Grant: A type of financial assistance awarded for the conduct of research or other programs as specified in an approved proposal.  A grant, as opposed to a cooperative agreement, is used whenever the sponsor anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the program of activities.

Cooperative Agreement: An award similar to a grant, however the sponsor’s staff may be actively involved in the proposal preparation, and anticipates having substantial involvement in project activities once the award has been made.

10. What if I am not sure if it is a grant or a cooperative agreement?

This is usually specified in the the Request for Proposals / Solicitation.

11. What if I can’t find my sponsor/agency on the list?

If you can’t find the funder on the list, please search and select “Not Found” from the list of options. You may also contact the preaward staff for assistance, and the sponsor will be added to the database.

12. If this is a subaward, what do I choose for sponsor/agency?

If UNI is a subawardee (collaborator) on a grant submission from another institution or organization, you will put that institution as the Sponsor/Agency. When asked below for the Prime/Lead Organization, you will put the sponsor/agency that is the ultimate source of funding. For instance, if you are a subawardee on a National Science Foundation proposal that is being submitted by Iowa State University, you will put Iowa State University as the Sponsor/Agency and National Science Foundation as the prime/lead organization.

13. What if I can’t find my funding opportunity/program title in the search function?

If you cannot find your funding opportunity listed, please search and select “Unknown” from the dropdown menu.  

14. What if I don’t know what the project function is?

Please choose the function that most closely represents your project.  If you are completely unsure, please contact RSP for assistance or leave the field blank.


Budget and Cost Sharing Tab


15. What do I put in the budget totals box?

Use your budget to complete the budget page. Enter the first year totals in the column labeled First Year and the total project costs in the column Total Years.

16. What is program income?

Program income is defined as income earned by a grant recipient from activities which are supported by the direct costs of an award. It includes, but is not limited to: Fees earned for services performed under the grant, revenue generated from conference fees, the sale of conference materials, royalties from patents and copyrights, and income from the sale of research materials. For more details, please visit the RSP website.

17. What is cost share?

Cost share is the portion of the project or program costs that are not borne by the sponsor. Cost sharing that occurs on sponsored projects may be voluntary or involuntary (required). If your project has cost share, you will need to upload a cost share form in the attachments section of the PRAF. The cost share form can be found here.

18. What F&A rate do I choose?

On the right side of the tab is a box labeled F&A (indirect) cost rate. You must answer all three questions in this box. In the first section, you will choose which F&A rate you utilized in your budget.  If you are using UNI’s full F&A rate, select MTDC (Modified Total Direct Costs). If you are using an F&A rate other than the full rate and you are including all costs in the F&A calculation, select TDC (Total Direct Costs). If neither of these apply, select OTHER

In the next box, you will choose which rate is applicable to your project.  You will either choose the On Campus rate (35.1%), the Off Campus rate (13.15%), Sponsor Limited or Other Reduction. The Off Campus rate is used only if facility rental costs are directly charged to the project. If you choose either Sponsored Limited or Other Reduction, you must subsequently choose which rate you utilized in the next dropdown box.


Compliance Certifications and Special Approvals Tab


19. Can I leave any of the compliance fields blank?

Every question/blank must be completed; however if you are unsure how to answer something, you can leave a field blank and contact RSP for assistance.


Attachments Tab


20. What should I attach if my proposal is not entirely completed prior to submitting the PRAF?

It is fine to upload draft versions of the Scope/Abstract, Budget and Budget Narrative. 

21. How do I upload documents?

Click the browse button beside each requested document, select the document from your computer and then click the upload button to the right.

22. What if I get an error message when trying to upload an attachment?

Most error messages are from an unaccepted file name or type.  Please be sure to look at which file extensions are accepted next to the upload button. If you are receiving an error because of the file name, rename your file and upload it again.

23. What should I upload as other attachments?

You don’t have to upload anything else.  If you want to, you can upload additional documents pertinent to your proposal in this space. 

24. Where can I find a cost share form?

The cost share form is found on the RSP website

25. What do I upload under Grant Guidelines?

You will upload the Request for Proposals associated with the proposal. If there is not one, upload a word document stating that no RFP exists.


Review and Submit Tab


26. What do I do when I am finished?

When the form is complete, click the “To Workflow Launch Page” at the bottom of your review screen. On the next page, select “Launch Workflow.” Your PRAF will then be routed to RSP for initial review. 

27. What do I do if I get an error message when I try to launch Workflow?

If you get a red “Error” message at the top of your form it means you have missing information in one of the required fields.  Please look under the error message to be directed to the page that has the error. You will need to fix the error before you are able to launch the PRAF into Workflow. You can also save the PRAF and call RSP for assistance.

28.  What do I do after I launch the PRAF?

After the PRAF is initially approved by RSP, you may need to go into your E-Business Suite and approve the PRAF yourself.  The PRAF will show up in your worklist notifications. At any time, you can log into the PRAF system and see where it is in Workflow.