Chapter 2-500: Proposal Review

Campus and Laboratory Contract and Grant (or Sponsored Projects) Offices provide guidance to Principal Investigators on the preparation of proposals for extramural sponsors as well as for intra-University programs. Contract and Grant Offices are responsible for the review of proposals for research, scholarly or professional training, or public service related either to research or to scholarly or professional training. The purpose of this review is to assure that proposals comply with applicable University policies and sponsor guidelines or regulations. Authority to approve a proposal by signing it rests with University officials, who have formal delegation of contract and grant authority, or their designees.

At a minimum, a proposal normally describes the scope of the work proposed, states how much it will cost, and names the responsible Principal Investigator or Project Director. For purposes of reporting proposals and awards to the Corporate Contract and Grant Information System (CGX), it is important that the proposal have a descriptive title. (See Sections 2-581 and 2-660.) The scope of work must be as explicit as possible in proposals submitted to commercial sponsors in order to avoid any conflicts over patent rights given to the sponsor.

2-510 Special Reviews or Coordination

Each Contract and Grant or Sponsored Projects Office requires that proposals be submitted to it with a completed proposal approval form. This approval form is developed by the Contract and Grant Office to provide a checklist of items to be addressed as part of the proposal development, approvals required in accordance with University policies, and signatures required from other University officials. (See Section 2-570 below.)

Questions concerning such regulatory issues as the use of animal or human subjects, recombinant DNA, pathogenic agents, and hazardous materials are included to assure compliance with federal and State regulations and University policies governing these areas. Chapters 18, Protection of Research Subjects, and 3, Environmental Health and Safety, of this Manual provide further information on these subjects.

Approvals by Department Chairs, Unit Heads, or Deans are needed in order to assure the appropriateness of any commitments of University resources required by the proposed project as well as the appropriateness of the project in accordance with University Regulation No. 4. (See Section 2-130.) Such commitments may include laboratory space, computer facilities, cost of renovations, personnel, and cost sharing. The Principal Investigator's proposed effort, salary, and any leave or release time in the proposal require the approval signatures of the Department Chair, Unit Head or Dean, as applicable, according to local procedures.

2-511 Use of Words in Proposed Titles Designated for ORUs

The Administrative Policies and Procedures Concerning Organized Research Units indicate that organized research units are usually designated by the terms: Institute, Laboratory, Center or Station in their name. The policies state that

In the solicitation of extramural funds for a research project by a unit that has not been granted ORU status, care should be taken not to use terminology nor make representations which suggest that the proposing unit is in fact a University-approved ORU or is about to become one. The designations enumerated in the following paragraphs [sic., Institute, Laboratory, Center or Station] shall not be used as formal labels for units that are not ORUs, with the exception of Center, as noted. If a unit is likely to evolve into an ORU after a trial period of operation, the possibility should be mentioned at a suitable stage in the planning; in such a case, the designation Center or Project is suitable.

The policies explain that the word “Center”

May be used for research units not formally constituted as ORUs upon approval by the Chancellor after consultation with the divisional Academic Senate. Before approval is granted for a Center that is not an ORU, the campus may stipulate terms and conditions such as a process for appropriate periodic review, including administration, programs, and budget; appointment of a director and advisory committee; an appropriate campus reporting relationship; and progress reports. Station: a unit that provides physical facilities for interdepartmental research in a broad area (e.g., agriculture), sometimes housing other units and serving several campuses. The terms Facility or Observatory may be used to define units similar in function but with more narrow interests.

See Chapter 10-140 of this Manual for further information on Organized Research Units.

2-512 Non-State-Funded Minor and Major Capital Improvement Projects

The contract and grant delegations of authority to Chancellors, Vice Presidents and LBNL Director and, subsequently, to Contract and Grant Officers as described in Chapter 13, Sections 13-700 and 13-900, of this Manual do not include proposals or awards “which require the construction of facilities not previously approved,” in accordance with the authority granted to the President in Standing Order 100.4(dd). Chancellors are delegated certain authority to approve amendments to the Capital Improvement Program for non-State funded minor capital improvement projects and for non-State-funded major capital improvement projects and to solicit and accept or execute extramural grants and contracts for construction of facilities as described in Chapter 13-1210. Review and approval of a proposal or award which involves construction or renovation of facilities should be in accordance with that Section of this Manual.

2-513 Citizenship Restrictions

Proposal application guidelines should be reviewed for any citizenship restrictions imposed by the sponsor. The University’s policy on accepting awards with citizenship restrictions is set forth in this Manual in 14-700, Funds Restricted to U.S. Citizens, and in RPAC Research & Technology Transfer Memos.

2-514 Export Controls

The University’s policies, guidance, and training for compliance with federal export control regulations in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR Parts 700-799); U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR Parts 120-130); and U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Sanctions Program and Country Information is published on the OP Office of Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services (ECAS) website, as well as on campus websites.

As stated on that website, the University’s compliance with federal export controls is based upon maintaining an open, fundamental research environment, such that scientific data and results qualify as being in the “public domain” under The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and are not subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) under the provisions related to “publicly available technology”, “published information and software”, “information resulting from fundamental research”, and ”educational information”. By qualifying under these sections of EAR and ITAR, the University can avoid the problems associated with “deemed exports” of technical data, and then secure any required export licenses for actual shipment of controlled items into or out of the United States. In this manner, UC can maintain its open research and education environment while also complying with the export regulations.

All sponsor proposal guidelines should be reviewed for any restrictions on the University’s right to publish or to use or share data in any manner. Further guidance on this subject can be found on the OP Office of Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services website, in Chapter 11 of this Manual, and on RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

2-520 Budget Preparation

Budgets should be prepared in accordance with the sponsor's guidelines or regulations and University policies. They should sufficiently cover all anticipated costs, both direct and indirect, which would be incurred under the work proposed. In order to ensure appropriate indirect cost recovery, proposals must comply with existing policies on indirect costs. Chapters 5 - Cost Sharing, 6 - Financial - General, 7 - Budgets and Expenditures, and 8 - Indirect Costs in this Manual provide other pertinent information for budget development. Additional guidance is issued via RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

2-521 General Considerations

The budget section of a proposal represents the Principal Investigator's best estimate of the costs that will be incurred by the proposed project. Such estimates should be based on the standards outlined in Sections 2-522 through 2-527, as supplemented by the information contained in Section 2-528 on forecasting long-range needs and in 2-529 on documenting the method for determining cost estimates. These sections describe some of the cost elements that may be anticipated for a proposed project. Additional allowable costs not described here, such as subcontracts, computer costs, and rent, are described in Chapter 7-200 of this Manual.

Proposal budgets should be as detailed as the sponsor's instructions require. Where the sponsor requires specific estimates for selected cost elements, the following standards should be adhered to in order to arrive at reasonable and consistent budget amounts for those kinds of costs. When a cost that is not generally allowed, except by special approval of the sponsor, is deemed necessary to carry out the proposed project, it should be included as a specific item in the proposal.

2-522 Salaries, Wages, and Fringe Benefits

Salaries, wages, and fringe benefits must be estimated consistently, regardless of the fund source and in accordance with an approved pay plan, rate or schedule, and published University policy. (Also see Academic Personnel Manual-600.)

Proposed University personnel salaries should be in accordance with the current academic or staff salary schedules for each particular job classification. Projected range adjustments, merit increases, and fringe benefit increases/decreases should be specified in accordance with guidance provided by the Office of the President and by the campus Human Resources Offices. (Also see Section 2-528 for forecasting increases or decreases.) Compensation must be in accordance with APM-600 et. seq., especially Section 600-80 for faculty; Personnel Policies for Staff Members: Compensation - 30 Salary; and Senior Management Group Policies: Regents Policy 7701, Appointment and Compensation; and PPSM II-71 Senior Management Supplemental Benefit Program. University policies on compensation conform with OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, Section J.10., Compensation for personal services.

In no event should extramural support be used as a means to increase the regular academic salary of a University faculty member. Faculty may receive additional compensation for extramurally-funded research activities as described below.

APM-600-14 states that no academic year, full-time appointee shall receive additional compensation from University sources for services directly related to the appointee's recognized duties during the academic year, that is, from the beginning of the Fall term, as established in the University calendar, through the end of the Spring term.

Extra compensation may be paid to full-time faculty members only during quarters when the faculty member is not under a service appointment. Extra compensation for honoraria or lecturers and similar services may also be permitted. (See APM-666).

APM-600-14 goes on to say that no academic year, full-time appointee shall receive compensation at a rate higher than the appointee's regular annual salary for any additional duties performed during the period between the Spring and the Fall terms (and the vacation period in the case of a fiscal-year appointee). No agreement between the University and a sponsor shall include provisions for a higher rate.

The monthly rate of extra compensation may not exceed one-ninth of the regular academic salary for an academic year appointee (See APM-600, Appendix 1). In exceptional circumstances, the Chancellor may approve payment of one eleventh of the annual salary of a fiscal-year appointee to the Professor, Astronomer, or Agronomist in the Agricultural Experiment Station series as additional compensation for work performed during his/her vacation. An appropriate number of accrued vacation days must be deducted. (See APM-600-14c.)

Faculty members participating in the University's health sciences compensation plans may receive compensation above the fiscal year salary rate in accordance with plans approved by The Regents and guidelines established by the Chancellors and approved by the President.

A member of the faculty on sabbatical leave at partial salary may receive additional salary for time devoted to certain contract or grant projects of not more than the difference between the sabbatical leave salary and the applicable full-time University salary for the period involved, providing that funds have been made available for this specific purpose by the funding agency. Collection of this sabbatical leave salary augmentation does not affect any eligibility which the faculty member has for employment during off-duty months when not on sabbatical leave. (See APM-740-18 for additional information and restrictions on compensation during sabbatical leave.) Other circumstances and restrictions for faculty receiving additional compensation are described in the APM-600. These include additional compensation for services as a consultant, lecture fees or honoraria, and manuscript reading fees.

Personnel employed in the Professional Research classification (including those in the Professional Research, Specialist, and the Postdoctoral Scholars and Project (e.g., Scientist Series) under contracts or grants should have approved titles and remuneration in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Academic Personnel Manual, including APM Sections 310, 311, 330, and 390. Graduate Student Researcher positions are defined in APM-112.

2-523 Consultants

According to Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Purchases of Goods and Services; Supply Chain Management, consultants can be used:

[O]nly when the decision is consistent with protecting the core teaching, research, service, and patient care functions of the individual campus or medical center; is in response to a demonstrated, sound business need; and minimizes to the extent possible the impact on University staff (Section III.5).

It is not appropriate to use a consultant agreement to obtain routine, non-advisory services of an individual. University policies and procedures for contracting with consultants are in Chapter 16-440 of this Manual and in Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Section III.5., Employee-Supplier Relationships. In addition, sponsors may restrict payments to consultants and/or require prior approval of consultant agreements. The policy on faculty serving as consultants on projects conducted under the auspices of the University is in Academic Personnel Manual-664, Additional Compensation/Services as Faculty Consultant.

2-524 Travel

Estimates of travel costs should be made for each day of travel using Business and Finance Bulletin G-28, Policy and Regulations Governing Travel, as a guide, supplemented by COP published mileage rates, UC travel services, and other appropriate sources.

2-525 Services, Supplies, and Miscellaneous Budget Items

Good faith estimates of costs of services and miscellaneous items should be made based on past experience and telephone or written quotations (Also see BUS-43).

2-526 Equipment

Estimates of the cost of each item or piece of equipment listed should be based on a catalogue, telephone, or written quotation. The estimated cost should include sales tax, shipping, and assembly, if necessary. (See Section II.B.1. of Accounting Manual Chapter P-415-10, Capitalization of Property, Plant, and Equipment). Sales tax is not included if, at the time of purchase, title to the piece of equipment vests in the federal government. Generally, under federal grants, and also under federal contracts when the equipment costs less than $5,000, title vests in the University at the point of acquisition and sales tax is payable. (Also see BUS-43 and Chapters 7-221 and 15-220 in this Manual.)

If a piece of equipment is to be fabricated, the cost of its components plus all materials, supplies, and services from outside vendors or authorized internal recharge activities used in the fabrication process are exempt from indirect costs, if title is retained by the University and the item has a useful life expectancy of more than one year. Departmental labor, travel or other operating expenses associated with the fabrication such as salaries of Principal Investigators, graduate student researchers, or other comparable personnel who participate in the fabrication process are not included in the acquisition cost of the item and are subject to indirect costs. If the fabricated piece of equipment is a deliverable and title is not retained by the University, all costs of its fabrication are subject to indirect costs. If the fabricated item has a life expectancy of less than one year, it does not meet the definition of equipment and all fabrication costs are subject to indirect costs. For more information on the treatment of fabricated property see Accounting Manual Chapter P-415-32, and Contract and Grant Manual sections 7-205 and 15-240.

For further information about equipment and definitions, see Chapter 7-205 and 15-122 of this Manual.

2-527 Major Capital Construction or Modification of a University Facility – Amendments to the Capital Improvement Program

Any construction or modification of a University facility, whether a major or minor capital improvement, to be paid for with extramural funds is subject to the same review and approvals as those made with regular University funds. The Chancellors' delegation of authority to approve solicitations to extramural sponsors which include construction or modification of a campus facility is outlined in Chapter 13-1210 of this Manual. Accordingly, any extramural proposal for research, training or public service which includes a request for funding for a facility modification must be appropriately coordinated with campus Facilities Management as well.

2-528 Forecasting Increases or Decreases

The Principal Investigator is ultimately responsible for project cost estimates. Campuses may develop policies for proposal budget preparation that include escalating or de-escalating factors. These policies should result in forecasting overall increases or decreases in a manner that is consistent campus-wide and reasonable, considering such factors as historical cost patterns for that campus and probable trends.

2-529 Documenting Estimates

Campuses should have procedures for verifying cost estimates in proposal budgets. Records on how estimated costs were determined must be kept. Supporting documentation should be in writing and show clearly and in sufficient detail how each proposed cost element amount was developed. For example, supporting documentation for salaries and wages would include the name, academic rank or payroll title, and salary step of each employee on the proposed budget. If a particular position is not filled, the proposed salary generally should not be higher than the middle step for that title.

2-530 Awards Terms and Conditions Announced with the RFP

Award terms and conditions announced with the Request For Proposal (RFP) need to be reviewed for compliance with University policies. Any comments on or exceptions to terms and conditions must be submitted to the sponsor with the proposal. Award terms and conditions are discussed in Section 2-630.

2-540 Proprietary Data

If a proposal contains proprietary data, the applicable sections must be marked as such. In RFPs and Request For Applications (RFAs) which the sponsor thinks would solicit proprietary data, the sponsor usually has instructions on how to note on the proposal cover page and the applicable sections that the proposal contains proprietary data.

2-550 Assurances, Representations, and Certifications

Federal and State agencies usually require that various assurances, representations, and certifications be submitted with proposals. These assurances, representations, and certifications are concerned with compliance with laws and regulations governing such areas as equal opportunity and affirmative action, clean air and water, labor surplus areas, and defaults on loans. The number of such representations, certifications, and assurances vary from agency to agency and, from time to time, within the same agency, as new ones continue to be required. However, a number of basic requirements common to most federal agencies can be identified. They are based on current Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR and FAR supplements) that are usually derived from federal statutory requirements or Executive Orders. Often the wording and format of a representation, certification, or assurance is specified either in the acquisition regulation or in the statute from which the regulation is derived.

While most federal agencies require that representations, certifications, and assurances be included by reference or listed with every proposal, some agencies allow one annual campus signature on certain representations and certifications. For federal agencies, this annual acceptance of representations and certifications by campus can be done on-line at the federal Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA). In addition, some federal and State agencies may include them in their awards rather than in proposals.

Because the representations, certifications, and assurances required by federal and State agencies are constantly subject to change, this Manual does not attempt to provide a complete list. For representations and certifications required in connection with federal contracts and grants and other new assurances, see the Office of the President RPAC Research Administration website: Lists of Certifications Related to Federal Contracts and Grants. Section 2-F10 provides a listing of federal documents which contain representations, certifications and assurances that are normally required in connection with federal research contracts and grants. In addition, some specific representations, certifications, and assurances are discussed in this Manual’s chapters which cover their applicable subject areas. These include: Chapter 3 - Environmental Health and Safety; Chapter 12 - Labor Standards; Chapter 14 - Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action; and Chapter 16 - Purchasing.

2-551 Compliance with Applicable Laws and Regulations

The University makes every effort to comply with all applicable federal, State, and local laws and regulations. University systems and procedures are designed to ensure compliance with existing laws and regulations. Various University offices are responsible for designing and implementing any necessary changes in University systems and procedures to comply with new laws and regulations.

When an agency requires certification or assurance of compliance with specific applicable laws or regulations, there are three things to consider:

  1. Compliance is only being required as applicable. If the law or regulation is not applicable to the University or program being funded, then it is preferable to line out this certification or assurance in the proposal or award. The agency can be provided with documentation verifying the University's exemption from the law or regulation. An alternative to deleting a certification or assurance not applicable to the University would be to add the words "if applicable to the University" after the clause.
  2. The official certifying on behalf of the University is not expected to investigate whether there are any specific instances of non-compliance within the University; general knowledge that there are policies and procedures in place to implement the law or regulation is sufficient.
  3. If the official certifying on behalf of the University is aware of material violations of the law or regulations, then the certification should not be signed. The campus and/or Office of the President Compliance Officer and/or Controller, depending on the nature of the violation, should be notified of any such violation.

See Section 2-F10 for guidance on federal laws and regulations that are applicable to federally sponsored research contracts and grants to the University. (See also the OP RPAC Research Administration website: Lists of Certifications Related to Federal Contracts and Grants.

2-552 Cost or Pricing Data

In accordance with FAR15.403 -- Obtaining Cost or Pricing Data, federal contract proposals over $650,000 must disclose relevant cost or pricing data to enable the government to analyze proposed costs in order to ensure that they are fair and reasonable. Federal agencies may require that a Certificate of Current Cost or Pricing Data be signed. By signing such a Certificate, the Contract and Grant Officer is certifying that the "cost or pricing data are accurate, complete, and current" (See Section 2-F09.) The proposed budget could be reduced in an award if the cost or pricing data are found to be incorrect.

The Department of Defense does not require non-profit educational institutions and other non-profit organizations to certify cost data in proposals for DOD-funded cost-reimbursement contracts or subcontracts. The DOD waiver of this requirement applies only to signing the Certificate of Current Cost or Pricing Data, not to the submission of the actual data.

2-560 Multiple UC Campus Projects

When a Principal Investigator wants to involve more than one UC campus in a proposed project, one campus serves as the prime campus and the other campuses involved are considered participating campuses. University policy regarding administration of extramurally funded, multiple UC campus projects is presented in Chapter 10, Sections 10-240 through 10-248, of this Manual. Operating guidance for multiple UC campus projects is provided via RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

2-570 Approvals

All formal proposals submitted to extramural sponsors as well as intra-University programs should have the signed approval of the Principal Investigator, the Department Chair, and the Unit Head or Dean, as applicable. Formal proposals must also have approval of the Contract and Grant Officer with delegated authority to sign such proposals. (See Chapter 13.) Required approvals for participating campuses on multiple UC campus projects are described in Chapter 10-241 of this Manual. Required approvals may be on the internal campus contracts and grants proposal cover sheet and/or the sponsor's proposal face page. (See Section 2-510 above.) For information about the submission process for informal proposals, see Chapter 1-510 in this Manual.

2-580 Additional Review/Reporting Requirements

2-581 Corporate Contract and Grant Reporting System (CGX)

All proposals and awards must be reported to the Contract and Grant Reporting System (CGX) as described in Chapter 10-420. Detailed instructions are issued via OP RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

2-582 Disclosure of Financial Interest in Private Sponsors of Research and Other Conflict of Interest Policies

The State of California Fair Political Practices Commission has mandated that a Principal Investigator must disclose financial interests that he or she (or his or her spouse, registered domestic partner, or children) has in a private sponsor 1 of research which is funded in whole or in part by:

  1. a contract or grant from a nongovernmental entity sponsor, or
  2. other funds from a nongovernmental entity earmarked by the donor for a specific project or for a specific researcher.

These requirements are mandated by State regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission, Title 2, Division 6, California Code of Regulations § 18755, “Statements of Economic Interests: Person or Persons at an Institution of Higher Education with Principal Responsibility for a Research Project." See also Title 2, Division 6, California Code of Regulations§18702.4(c), Materiality Standard: Financial Interest in Source of Gift (See Section 2-S01).

The University Policy on Disclosure of Financial Interest in Private Sponsors of Research was issued by the Office of the President on April 26, 1984, and Guidelines for Disclosure and Review of Principal Investigator's Financial Interest in Private Sponsors of Research was issued on April 27, 1984. The disclosure statement required by the April 26, 1984 Policy, Form 700-U, Principal Investigator's Statement of Economic Interests, may be submitted to the Contract and Grant Office along with any research proposal to a private (nongovernmental) sponsor. If it is not submitted at that time, it must be filed before final acceptance of the contract, grant, or gift. Filers also must submit a statement , when funding is renewed that discloses reportable investments, income and business positions that the filer held or received during the period between the date the initial Form 700-U was filed and the date the project contract, grant, or gift was renewed.; and

A PI filing a Form 700-U must indicate whether they (or their spouse, registered domestic partner, or dependent children) has the following kinds of economic interest in a nongovernmental entity sponsor of their research:

  • holding a position of management, or serving as a director, officer, partner, trustee, consultant or employee of the nongovernmental entity;
  • having an investment of $2000 or more in the nongovernmental entity;
  • having received income or loans of $500 or more from the nongovernmental entity during the reporting period; or gifts of $50 or more;
  • having received from the nongovernmental entity during the reporting period travel payments that are reportable as gifts or income.

When an interest of a Principal Investigator in a sponsor is disclosed, a campus committee must review whether the contract, grant or gift can be accepted.

Other applicable University policies related to conflict of interest are summarized in:

1 Other than a nongovernmental entity sponsor that has been designated by the Fair Political Practices Commission as one that does not trigger a disclosure requirement. See Regulations of Fair Political Practices Commission, Title 2, Division 6, California Codes of Regulations §18755(d).

2-583 Regental Approval

Standing Order 100.4(dd) states the conditions under which a proposal for extramural support must be submitted to The Regents for authorized University approval. A general discussion of Regental approval can be found in Chapter 10, Sections 10-211 through 10-217. Procedures for submitting proposals for Regental approval are issued via RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

Procedures for the submission of proposals which exceed campus delegations of authority, but do not require Regental approval, are also set forth via RPAC Research and Technology Transfer Memos.

2-584 State Clearinghouse Procedures

Executive Order 12372 on intergovernmental review of federal programs allows states to set up procedures for reviewing federal assistance programs which affect them. The Order requires federal agencies to either follow State recommendations on proposed federal funding or explain their reasons for not doing so. (See Section 2-F03.) The specific programs of federal agencies which require clearinghouse submission are noted in their Assistance. The federal agency issuing the RFP or RFA is responsible for specifying if the submission of an SF-424 is required for the specific program. The University is not responsible for making this determination. At the time a proposal for a federal program which requires review by the State is submitted to the federal agency, a copy of Standard Form SF-424 is submitted for the proposed project to the State "single point of contact,” along with the narrative portion of the proposal. (See Section 2-F07.) In California, the required copy of the SF-424 is submitted to:

State Clearinghouse
1400 Tenth Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 445-0613

Some campuses are also required to submit this material to a local clearinghouse, such as a local consortium of city governments, where there is one, at the time the proposal is submitted to the federal agency.