Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

PRAF Frequently Asked Questions

PRAF Frequently Asked Questions




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 move to the next tab?

You move 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 the primary PI is supervised under.  There are certain instances where you will be the PI on 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?

If you are planning to spend more than 20% effort on the proposed project, you will need to get permission from your department head to release you from one of your courses.   You will be asked to upload documentation in the attachment section of the PRAF.   We will soon have a course release document available on the RSP website.  Until then, a copy of an email or letter 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 awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the program of activates.

Cooperative Agreement: An award similar to a grant, but (one in) which the sponsor’s staff may be actively involved in the proposal preparations, and anticipates having substantial involvement in research activities once the award has been made.

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

If you are not sure, please choose the category that most closely represents your proposal. 

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 call RSP for assistance.

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, you will put Iowa State 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.   You may also contact RSP for assistance.

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. If your project is one year long, leave the column labeled Total Years blank. If your budget is multiple years, 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. 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. 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. 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. We cannot launch workflow until the entire form is complete.


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 workspace 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 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 proposals in this space.  An example may be letters of support (&/or Subaward documents:   [SOW, biosketch, budget, budget justification/narrative, LOI, face page or other forms, etc.]?]).

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 RFP or RFA associated with the proposal.  If there is not one, upload a word document stating that no RFP or RFA exists.

Review and Submit Tab


26. What do I do when I am finished?

When the form is complete, you 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 successfully launched into workflow, you will need to go into you E-Business Suite and approve the PRAF at the first step in workflow.  The PRAF will show up in your worklist notifications.