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The role of the College of Arts & Sciences Research Office is to encourage and support the efforts of CAS faculty and staff to obtain extramural research funding. The CAS Research Office supplements, serves as a liaison with, and works within the context of the BU Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
The Research Office is staffed by Marla Krauss, Proposal Development Specialist. Marla works closely with the four CAS Associate Deans of the Faculty, who work with faculty on research support issues.
For forms and instructions related to research, see the forms page.
To learn how the Office of Research & Outreach can help with all your research needs, visit our Research & Outreach page.
Both the CAS Research Office and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) need to review and approve grant paperwork prior to submission. There could also be compliance issues that require additional review for some proposals. Please follow these steps:
For additional information, please contact Marla Krauss located at 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 115 at email@example.com or 617-358-5264 or the appropriate Associate Dean of the Faculty.
Determine Your Eligibility to Submit A Grant Proposal for Extramural Funding (Principle Investigator status)
The first step before working on a grant proposal is to determine whether you are eligible to submit a grant. This requires that you have Principal Investigator (PI) status.
The Boston University Policy on Principal Investigator (PI) Status is available here. It defines the obligations of a PI and identifies categories of members of the BU community who have full privileges to serve as a PI automatically, those who have no PI privileges, and in the circumstances in which individuals may have PI privileges if the appropriate Provost, Dean, Chair, or (in the case of postdoctoral associates) direct supervisor approves.
As stated in those documents, faculty who serve more than 50% time in unmodified standard faculty positions (except Instructors) defined in Section A of Classification of Ranks and Titles in the CAS Faculty and Staff Handbook plus those in the clinical and research tracks of the standard faculty positions have automatic PI rights.
Individuals who are not in the “automatic PI rights” positions should consult the BU and CAS policies about whether they might request PI status and how to do so.
The Dean of CAS will generally approve PI status for the following categories if the chair/director of the home academic unit approves PI status and certifies that the necessary commitments of space, facilities, and other resources can be made:
PI status is not automatically granted for these categories of individuals. It is essential to begin the process of requesting approval for PI status at the department and then College level before investing significant effort in proposal development. The PI Status Request form can be found here. The form must be signed by the Department Chair and sent to CAS 115 for approval. Once signed, the form will be sent to the Provost’s office for review and approval. Please be aware that the process of requesting PI status will add time to the proposal review process and should be sent to CAS 115 at least ten business days before sponsor deadline.
Contact Office of Sponsored Programs
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), located at 25 Buick Street, reviews grant proposals on behalf of Boston University for completeness and conformity to BU and sponsor policies and guidelines.
You should contact OSP a minimum of two times during the proposal preparation process:
1) When you decide to pursue a grant opportunity, please contact your OSP Research Administrator (RA) as soon as possible to let him/her know that you plan to submit an application for an upcoming deadline. A minimum of ten business days advance notice is required, but even more would be appreciated. Please provide the name of the sponsor to which you plan to apply, the program solicitation number (if applicable) and the deadline date. Your RA will be able to explain their review process and schedule. For a listing of OSP RAs by Department, please visit the OSP website.
2) Send all completed and signed proposal materials to OSP for review at least five business days before the deadline. OSP provides final review and approval of all grants submitted through BU. In many cases, OSP also submits the application to the sponsor.
For additional information on the proposal review and submission process, please visit OSP’s website. Please note that failure to meet an OSP deadline could impact the level of proposal review.
Submit Your Proposal to the CAS Research Office for Approval
The CAS Research Office provides CAS approval which OSP needs in order to complete their review. CAS approval is mandatory for all proposals. (Please see below for proposal package contents and submission information.) Once obtained, the CAS Research Office will forward the CAS Associate Dean’s signed approval to OSP. The PI is responsible for submitting all proposal documents directly to OSP for final review and approval.
It is essential that completed grant packages be submitted to the CAS Research Office seven business days before sponsor deadline. For proposals needing approvals beyond the Associate Dean level, such as from the Provost, proposal materials should be sent ten business days before sponsor deadline.
The purpose of the proposal review process is to ensure that your proposal is error-free and contains no elements that would cause the university to be unable to submit the proposal or to experience significant post-award complications. Common errors include: budget miscalculations or mis-specifications, problems with space availability, and complications regarding institutional “matches.”
Moreover, it is important to remember that a research grant is a contract between the granting agency and Boston University. In accepting the grant, BU incurs the obligations of the contract and compliance, although the Principal Investigator is held individually responsible for carrying out the terms of the contract and relevant regulations. The College and University carry out their reviews with these obligations in mind.
In some circumstances, it is appropriate to work with the CAS Research Office and/or CAS divisional Associate Dean before the proposal deadline to ensure challenges are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. This is certainly the case if the sponsoring agency requires an institutional match, if the PI believes that necessary facilities or other needs are not in place, or if there are any other unusual circumstances associated with the proposal that require management. In cases where the PI is not experienced at developing a proposal budget and the home department has no specialist to assist, Marla Krauss can assist, but once again, this requires adding additional lead time.
The proposal package must include the following components and BU forms:
Forms can be found here. The PSF is in the “Forms” section, along with a link to the COI page.
Please note that the COI form should be filled out electronically or, alternatively, can be downloaded, filled out and e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that paper COI forms should not be submitted with the materials sent to CAS 115, but the date of COI submission should be indicated on the PSF (above the signature lines.) Co-PI’s are also required to submit a separate completed COI.
Once all information has been compiled and the forms have been completed and signed, please send them as one PDF file to email@example.com.
Guidelines for Determining Independent Contractor vs. Employee Status for External Service Providers
University Departments that engage external service providers must submit the required documentation for determination of a service provider’s status before any services are performed or payment requests are processed. See the guidelines here.
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Waiver
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, also known as Indirect Costs (IDC), are critical because they support the operation, maintenance and administration of our research infrastructure. BU’s policy is to charge full F&A costs on all grants, unless the sponsor limits or disallows it. On rare occasions, a reduction in or waiver of F&A may be requested and approved.
If requesting an F&A waiver or reduction, please fill out the relevant section on the PSF form and provide a justification in the PSF comments section. F&A waiver requests originally required a separate form, but it has now been incorporated into the PSF. Please be aware that requesting an F&A waiver/reduction will require Provost approval and will increase proposal review time. Proposals making these requests should be submitted to CAS 115 at least 10 business days before sponsor deadline.
If a sponsor limits or disallows F&A, please indicate the limitation in the PSF comments section and provide documentation of the sponsor’s IDC policy in the proposal package for CAS 115. It is not necessary to submit an F&A Waiver request in these situations.
To summarize, an F&A waiver is not needed when a sponsor limits or disallows F&A costs and you adhere to their guidelines. Approval is required when a sponsor allows F&A and you wish to request less than what could be requested.
BU has standard F&A rates that have been negotiated with the federal government. The ones most commonly used are 64.5% (valid through June 30, 2018) or 65% for on campus projects. It’s 26% for off campus projects. These rates are for federal opportunities. When 50% or more of a project’s time is on campus, use a rate of 64.5% or 65% of the direct costs to calculate F&A costs. When 50% or more of the work is done off campus, use a 26% rate to calculate costs. There are separate rates for training and other types of research proposals. You can find a complete list of F&A rates, including those for non-federal opportunities, here.
Not all direct costs can be used in F&A cost calculations, per BU policy. In addition, sponsors can have their own restrictions. Please review the sponsor’s proposal guidelines and see a budget specialist for questions. For further information regarding BU’s policies, please visit the OSP’s website.
Cost sharing refers to costs (e.g., salary for time spent on a grant-funded project) normally funded through a grant that a researcher instead requests that BU pays. There are multiple reasons why cost sharing might be requested; For example, a sponsor may require it, or the sponsor might have a salary cap that necessitates it.
Cost sharing may or may not require approval by the Provost’s office. You can learn about the Provost’s Office policy, and download their forms, here.
Cost share requests should be specified in the Cost Share section on the PSF. Please be aware that it is no longer necessary to fill out a separate cost share signature sheet, since that information is now incorporated within the PSF. However, it is still necessary to fill out a cost share budget form. Proposals with cost share requests should be sent to CAS 115 at least ten business days prior to sponsor deadline to allow for additional review.
Please be aware that there are two kinds of cost sharing: direct and indirect. These correspond to direct and indirect costs on your budget. A direct cost is whatever you are requesting funds to cover, such as salary or a piece of equipment. Indirect costs refer to BU’s overhead, as explained in the F&A Waiver section above. Indirect cost sharing refers to one of the following: 1) the amount of indirect costs that correspond to the direct cost sharing, 2) the amount of indirect costs that BU is waiving under an approved F&A Waiver form, or 3) the difference between a sponsor’s maximum allowed F&A rate and BU’s rate.
This is how to calculate cost share for $10,000 worth of one person’s salary:
Cost Share Request
Base salary: $10,000
Fringe: $2,760 (if using a 27.6% fringe rate)
Total salary: $12,760
Indirect costs: $8,128 (The indirect costs were calculated by multiplying the F&A rate (63.7% in this case) by $12,760, the total direct costs.)
Total direct costs: $12,760
Total indirect costs: $8,128
Total cost share: $20,888
It is important for BU to track cost sharing because it could impact our federally negotiated indirect cost rate. The first year’s worth of both direct and indirect cost sharing must be indicated on the PSF. Cost sharing should also be indicated on your budget and discussed within the budget justification section of your proposal. For more information on cost sharing, visit the Office of Sponsored Programs Handbook.
Projects need compliance review if using human subjects (IRB), animals (IACUC), specific scientific research equipment (like lasers) and/or performing underwater research.
Policies and guidelines relating to external funding can be obtained from Sponsored Programs
View the Sponsored Programs Handbook
BU’s OFR builds sustained, mutually beneficial partnerships between the University and the charitable organizations that share our research, teaching, and social service missions.
A searchable database of current, humanities-related fellowships
Information about CAS’ available travel funds for academic conference attendance
A reporting tool that has been developed specifically for Principal Investigators to provide a consolidated, easy-to-access view of budget and expenditure data for grants in his or her portfolio
BU Research showcases some of the groundbreaking work that’s taking place at BU and provides information about the policies, facilities, and offices that support all scholarly and research activities across the institution.
Several offices, committees, and panels regulate research activities on the Charles River and Medical campuses
The purpose of the IRB is to assure that research involving human subjects is conducted ethically and in a way that protects the rights and safety of the subjects.
This site contains a list of the policies that have a broad application throughout the University, including ethics and academic freedom.
Here you will find information about research accounting, facilities and administrative costs, and fringe benefits rates.
A software package that searches federal and foundation databases for funding opportunities