Carnegie Mellon University

OSP offers FULL REVIEW of proposals submitted ≥ 3 full business days before the deadline. Submitting a proposal to OSP within this timeframe increases the chance of a successful submission!

Proposals that are submitted < 3 full business days before the deadline run the risk of an AS TIME PERMITS review, which could be at most for institutional risk. This very limited review increases the risk of an unsuccessful submission to the sponsor.

Green checkmark The information OSP checks when a proposal is submitted for review with less than 3 business days until the proposal submission deadline.
* A full business day is an official CMU workday between 8:30AM and 5:00PM.
** Adherence to Sponsor Guidelines includes items that will prevent a successful submission such as file names, file type, etc.
When applicable, OSP will contact other administrative offices within the University (General Counsel, Risk Management, Tech Transfer, Office of Research Integrity and Compliance, Sponsored Projects Accounting, etc...) if consultation is required. Such situations often consists of, but are not limited to the following items: interpretation of sponsor guidelines, uncommon terms and conditions within a solicitation, a complex scope of work or budget, involves risk, or requires pre-award compliance permissions.

1. Terms and Conditions

OSP reviews the Sponsor's solicitation and guidlines to identify and review uncommon terms and conditions. If identified, the Proposal Team will consult a Contracts Officer to determine if CMU can accept the terms and conditions, if additional information is needed, and/or how to proceed.

2. Limitations on Number of Applicants 

Some Sponsors limit the number of nominations or proposals that CMU may submit to a particular program. These special limited submission competitions are coordinated by OSP.


3. Submission Method and Deadline

OSP reviews Sponsor's solicitation and/or guidelines to determine the method of submission and the date and time the submission is due.

4. Certification and Assurances (Reps & Certs)

OSP reviews the certifications and assurances required by the Sponsor and assesses CMU's ability to accept and comply with these requirements. OSP will sign these documents, however, the departments should complete them.

5. Eligibility

OSP will assess who can serve as PI and notify the department(s) of special conditions. The department(s) will determine PI eligibility.

The SPARCS Proposal Routing is the internal approval form for sponsored programs. The SPARCS funding proposal should be completed by the Department with information from the Principal Investigator and submitted with all proposals.

1. SPEX Funding Proposal Complete

OSP reviews the SPARCS funding proposal to determine if all required information has been provided.

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2. Signatures Present and Correct

OSP reviews the SPARCS funding proposal to ensure it has been reviewed and approved by the Principal Investigator(s), Co-Principal Investigators(s) and the respective Department Chair(s) and School or Center.

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3. SPARCS Data Consistent with Sponsor Guidelines

OSP reviews the information provided in the SPEX routing sheet to ensure it follows the Sponsor guidelines or contacts Development/Foundation Relations for additional information if necessary.

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4. Institutional, Federal and State Compliance

A. Conflict of Interest

OSP determines if the Principal Investigator and other key personnel named on the proposed project have completed their annual Conflict of Interest certification and research-based certification in accordance with CMU COI policy.

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B. Human Subjects

OSP determines if human participants will be used in the conduct of the sponsored project and records the information in its system. If human subjects research is involved on the funding proposal, SPARCS will send an electronic notification to the IRB team members.

C. Vertebrate Animals

OSP determines if vertebrate animals will be used in the conduct of the sponsored projects and records the information in its system. If vertebrate animals are involved on the funding proposal, SPARCS will send an electronic notification to the IACUC team members.


OSP determines if rDNA will be used in the conduct of the sponsored project and records the information in its system. SPARCS will send an electronic notification to Environmental Health & Safety for review.

E. Export Controls

OSP determines if the proposal involves:

  • Restriction and/or control of public release by the Sponsor
  • Transfer, receipt, and/or disclosure of goods, technology, software, services, and funds originating from the United States to person(s) or entities in foreign countries or to non-U.S. persons anywhere
  • Developmental Research - Defense, weapons, space, classified and/or secured related use
  • Biological toxins and/or agents

If the proposed project does involve one or more of the above export control issues, SPARCS will send an electronic notification to the Export Controls team.

5. Out-Going Subaward Proposal

A. Letter of Commitment

OSP reviews the Letter of Commitment to ensure the contribution of the third party is authorized by an institutional or company official.

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B. Scope of Work

OSP reviews the scope of work of the sub-recipient to determine if the information provided sufficiently describes the proposed work and corresponds with the proposal narrative.

C. Subaward Budget (Including Justification)

OSP reviews the sub-recipient's budget to determine if the direct costs are consistent with the solicitation. The review also determines if the proposed costs are allowable, allocable, and reasonable. OSP also reviews the indirect cost requested and compares it to the sub-recipient's federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. If sub-recipient does not have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, sub-recipient may elect to use 10% MTDC de minimus rate.

D. Negotiated Rate Agreement

1. Application data consistent with SPARCS funding proposal
2. Cover/Face Page
3. Abstract or Project Summary
4. Narrative/Research Plan/Scope of Work
5. Bibliography/References
6. Curriculum Vitae/Biosketch
7. Other Support

8. Budget

OSP verifies the budget matches the approved budget in SPARCS. NOTE: OSP does not generally recalculate the application budget; however, if the budget differs from the SPARCS, OSP will check the updated budget once SPARCS has been corrected.

9. Budget Narrative/Justification
10. Resources & Facilities
11. Current & Pending Support (Effort Commitment)
12. Appendies/Supplmental Documents
13. Small Business Subcontract Plan
14. Data Management Plan

15. Background Intellectual Property/Data Rights Assertion

OSP determines if the proposed sponsored project commits background intellectual property (IP). If the proposed project does involve background IP, OSP needs to assess its availability for use in any foreground and/or project IP developed as part of the proposed sponsored project.

16. Additional Requirements from Sponsor (if applicable)