Each proposal is carefully reviewed by a dedicated team member prior to submission.

The review by the RAResearch Administrator A sponsored programs team member w... will consist of the following core tasks. After the RA’s review, the RA will respond in writing to PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on... with results of review.

Proposal Review Process

The SPSponsored Programs (SP) is the coordinating office for all p... RA will review the technical narrative to determine whether compliance review issues have been appropriately identified and the relevant information noted on the Boston University Proposal Summary Form.

The RA will partner with other resources, either within SP or outside, as needed for consultation on certain compliance-related issues. Examples of these circumstances are:

  1. SP Contracting Expert: If the proposal involves review of any federal contract terms in the RFP, whether BU is the prime recipient or a subrecipient.
  2. SP Industry Contract Attorney: If the proposal:
    • involves an industry sponsor
    • if the proposal involves a non-industry sponsor but includes terms similar to those applicable to industry
    • if the proposal involved issues related to licensing, patents, outgoing materials, outgoing confidential information.
    • if a CDA is needed.
  3. Risk Management: If the proposal involves an insurance issue or requires an insurance certification.
  4. Sourcing and Procurement: If the proposal requires a small business subcontracting plan.

The RA will:

  • review salaries to confirm that they are based upon actual Boston University salaries or applicable standard rates and appropriately escalated during the proposed period of performance.
    • Note: 3% escalation is the standard, unless prohibited by the sponsor or funding mechanism. Exceptions should be documented in the file.
  • Confirm that fringe benefit and indirect cost rates have been appropriately applied and accurately calculated (including appropriate designation of on/off campus).
  • Review non-personnel direct costs to determine that they are allowable, accurately calculated, and appropriately categorized by sponsor and Boston University accounting standards.
  • Review proposed direct and indirect cost sharing to confirm that it has been documented and approved in accordance with BU Cost Sharing policy.
  • Review budget justification notes for accuracy, responsiveness to sponsor requirements, and consistency with proposed budget and scope of work.
  • Costs requested must meet standards for allowability, reasonableness, and allocability to the project being proposed.

Full Review will be initiated when the full Reviewable Package has been received by SP.

The RA will understand and consider the following key information when reviewing the sponsor guidelines.

  • Program purposes
  • Eligibility restrictions
  • Anticipated funding levels and stated limitations on funding
  • Sponsor deadline
  • Earliest start date and allowable period of performance
  • Allowable direct and indirect costs
  • Cost sharing requirements, if any
  • Required budget presentation to support technical review (e.g., by task or government fiscal year)
  • Required proposal components (including special, mandatory sections such as data management plans, postdoctoral mentoring plans, detailed plans for the protection of human subjects, and the responsible conduct of research [RCR] plans required for some training grants)
  • Formatting standards
  • Anticipated terms and conditions of award to identify terms which may not be acceptable to the University
  • Required representations and certifications
  • Application procedures–including sponsor and program-specific variations on the standard application forms (e.g. instructions for completing applications to specific agency and programs within the Grants.gov system)

The Preliminary Review is a high level overview of the application package to ensure it is complete and ready for full SP review. It is done within 24 hours of receipt of the first documents in SP at the latest, barring extraordinary circumstances.

The review consists of the following verification steps:

  • Verify all necessary proposal documents required by the sponsor per the solicitation guidelines are included and complete.
  • Verify the required BU documents including the PSF and any additional internal documents are included, complete, and signed
  • If the package is incomplete, the SP RA will email the DA and/or PI to request the missing items

The RA will review proposals to determine that all required forms have been included in the proposal, that they are prepared in the format required by the sponsor, and that the information included is reasonable and accurate.

The RA will review technical narrative to understand the scope of the project, implementation details (particularly relevant for budget development), and any University commitments being proposed which may not be evident elsewhere in the proposal. Particularly important for consideration:

  • Type of research
  • Location of research (on/off site)
  • Who is working on the proposal? Who are the BU key personnel?
  • Where will personnel be working/travelling?
  • Are there potential export control issues
  • Does the work involve humans, animals, hazardous chemicals or biohazards?