Proposal Review and Submission

Last updated on August 5, 2016 4 min read Proposal Submission - Proposal Review and Submission

In most cases, Sponsored Programs is the only office authorized to submit proposals on behalf of BU. The purpose of our proposal review is twofold: to confirm that the applicant meets all of the sponsor’s requirements and to ensure that the proposal complies with University policies and procedures for sponsored activity.

To conduct a timely and thoughtful review, Sponsored Programs requires that investigators and their departmental administrators supply a complete proposal package, including all administrative components, five business days prior to the sponsor’s deadline. All technical components are required at least three business days beforehand. These internal deadlines allow for a thorough review and adequate time to make any necessary corrections, maximizing the chances for a proposal’s success.

While Sponsored Programs helps with submission and management of grants from federal sponsors and nonprofits, researchers may also pursue funding opportunities working with industry partners. Industry-specific agreements are not handled by Sponsored Programs but are instead negotiated and executed by the Industry Engagement team or learn more about industry-sponsored research at BU.

Package for Submission to Sponsored Programs

The proposal package should include the following for all proposals:

5 Business Days Before Sponsor Deadline

  • A completed Boston University Proposal Summary form signed by the investigator and appropriate administrators at the department, center, and college levels.
  • A copy of the sponsor’s proposal guidelines or program solicitation number.
  • Sponsor forms/application package with all administrative information completed, biosketches (if applicable),  all subaward documents (if applicable), facility/equipment pages (if applicable), project summary, and draft technical narrative.
  • The final budget and budget justification in the format required by the sponsor.
    • Note: in certain circumstances, Sponsored Programs may ask for supporting budget documentation, if the sponsor’s format is not consistent with institutional practice.

3 Business Days Before Sponsor Deadline

  • Final Technical Components: i.e. Final Narrative, Abstract, Bibliography, Specific Aims, Milestones, etc.

Proposal Package Considerations


Letter(s) of Support and Biosketch/CV. If sponsor has specific requirements for consultants, required documents should be included.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is a financial commitment by the University toward the total cost of a project from a source other than the granting organization. Types of cost sharing may include:

  • Mandatory Cost Sharing
  • Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing
  • Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing
  • In-Kind/Matching

As of September 1, 2016, all cost share budget worksheets have been condensed to one Excel file. In addition, all cost share requests are now part of the Proposal Summary Form (PSF). If you have any additional questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your Sponsored Programs RA or

If your proposal requires approval from the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research, please forward the relevant material to Linda Martin.

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Learn more about cost share at BU with training materials and resources.

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Your questions about cost sharing are answered in our FAQs.

A Waiver/Reduction Approvals

If the proposal requests an F&A rate lower than the sponsor’s published rate. See guidelines

Note: A sponsor’s published rate can be, for example, posted on a website or included in an email from an appropriate institutional officer.

Investigators with Joint VA-BU Medical Campus Appointment

Memorandum of Understanding.

Principal Investigator Status Request

Approved requests for Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI).


Complete documentation for all proposed subcontracts as required by the sponsor guidelines. At a minimum this includes a letter of intent signed by an institutional official, scope of work, budget/budget justification, the subcontractor’s most recent negotiated rate agreement (if applicable), Biosketch/CVs for key personnel (if applicable), information on the status of IRB and IACUC approvals (if applicable).

Financial Conflicts of Interest

Disclose all potential financial conflicts of interest.


Electronic Submission

When a sponsor requires electronic submission by an Authorized Organizational Representative of the university, the proposal will be submitted by the Sponsored Programs RA (Research Administrator).

  • For electronic submissions, the RA will complete a final check prior to submission to confirm that the proposal is complete, passes sponsor system requirements for successful transmission, and is as the investigator wants it to be.
  • After submission, the RA will verify that any proposal submitted electronically has been successfully received by the sponsor in time to meet the sponsor’s deadline.
  • Many sponsors require that investigators register and obtain a system account.
    • The NIH registration process must be coordinated through a central SP representative who is authorized to request registration credentials. Since affiliations are typically institution-specific, faculty are reminded that—even if registered via one institution—an additional institutional affiliation or change of institution requires a new registration.
    • For all other federal agencies, investigators and research personnel can create their own account. Please reach out to if you need assistance or have questions.
Register with ERA Commons

Paper Submission

When a sponsor requires hard copy submission, the proposal will be returned to the PI or department administrator for submission. In the case of paper submissions, a copy of the proposal as submitted to the sponsor will be requested and checked by the RA for consistency with the proposal as approved by Sponsored Programs before it is filed in Sponsored Programs records.

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