Steps in Grant/Contract Proposal Review and Approval Process

 1. Notification of Intent to Submit

Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) contacts PreAward staff as soon as a decision to pursue funding is made, preferably no less than 12 full working days prior to the funding agency’s deadline or the intended submission date, whichever is sooner. (If submitting as a subaward, the submission date is the date UNI materials are due to the lead applicant.)

  • PI/PD provides PreAward staff with any proposal/application guidelines
  • PI/PD and PreAward staff schedule or complete Proposal Interview
2. Proposal Interview

To plan the upcoming proposal submission, the PI/PD and PreAward staff (via in-person meeting or phone call) –

  • Review as needed:
  • Grant announcement and sponsor guidelines
  • Applicant eligibility
  • Project details such as partners, participants, project dates
  • Budgeting needs and process
  • Special circumstances such as subawards, hiring, collaborations etc.
  • Submission method and system, and any registration needs
3. Budget Review

PI/PD submits required budget materials by email to PreAward staff by 9:00 AM no less than 7 full working days prior to their submission date.  We encourage PI/PDs to seek comments from PreAward staff on draft budgets as early as possible, but especially for more complex budgets including, for example, multiple types of UNI personnel, cost sharing commitments, participant costs, or subawards to partnering organizations.

Required Budget Materials for Review:

1) Detailed budget spreadsheet in Excel

2) Budget justification or detailed scope of work

3) Subaward budget(s) and support documents, if applicable

4) Cost share/match budget, if applicable

5) Draft of the proposal narrative, when possible

During the Budget Review, PreAward staff examines the budget and budget justification to ensure compliance with University and funding agency guidelines, to avoid unnecessary under- or over-budgeting, and to lay the groundwork for efficient and effective grants and contracts management. 

4. Routing of Proposal Routing & Approval Form


PI/PD begins the electronic PRAF for all required administrative approvals with the following documents attached:

1) Project abstract or scope of work

2) Project budget and budget narrative

3) Grant program guidelines/solicitation

4) Cost share form - if included in proposal

5) Special Compensation form - if included in proposal

6) Course Release - documentation that course release is approved


PI/PD returns completed PRAF to PreAward staff. 

5. Final File Review

By 9:00 AM no less than 2 full working days prior to the submission date, the PI/PD either emails all final electronic file(s) or electronically grants RSP “submit” access within the electronic system, and notifies the PreAward staff that the PI/PD is ready to submit. If not using an electronic submission system, copies of all paper application materials should be delivered to PreAward staff.

PreAward staff conducts a final review of all the application materials. They will examine the electronic files or paper files to ensure to the best of their ability that no errors are present in regards to registration, forms, attachments, or other components of the proposal file that might interrupt successful submission. PreAward staff notifies the PI/PD of any needed changes.  The PI/PD should be available by phone or email in case questions arise or revisions are necessary. 

6. RSP Approval and Proposal Submission

Once all files, documents, and approvals are in order without errors, the Grants and Contracts Administrator or a RSP designee authorizes the proposal submission. RSP submits the final, approved proposal to the funding agency by mail, e-mail or through an electronic submission system, unless other arrangements have been made.



See Also:

Sponsored Projects Submission Policy

Proposal Review and Approval Process