Frequently Needed Information

What is our Federal-Wide Assurance number, Animal Welfare Assurance number, DUNS, CAGE, TIN and other Federal IDs?

The most commonly requested organizational codes and numbers are listed below and also in our Frequently Needed Information section of this website. If you cannot find what you need on this list, please contact your Proposal Analyst.

  • Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS): 007431505
  • DHHS Animal Welfare Assurance #: D16-00388 (former number was A3646-01)
  • Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code: 4B475
  • Congressional District: CO-002
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN): 84-6000555 (1-846000555-A2 for HHS & Dept. of Education)
  • DHHS Human Subjects Assurance #: FWA00003492
What is our federally negotiated F&A Rate Agreement?
Where is a copy of the IRS tax exempt status letter verifying the University's non-profit tax status?

Finding Funding Questions

What resources are available to identify funding opportunities for sponsored projects?

The Research and Innovation Office (RIO) offers a variety of tools and resources to help faculty, students, and staff identify opportunities for scholarly activities. These include internal funding opportunities, limited submissions, and links to external funding resources.

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Through a collaboration between the University Libraries, RIO, and Advancement, the CU Boulder campus now has access to Foundation Directory Online, a tool beneficial to those seeking grant funding, company information, and job opportunities.

The data in Foundation Directory Online, which is updated weekly, is compiled from IRS information returns, grantmaker websites, annual reports, printed application guidelines, the philanthropic press and various other sources. It includes more than 140,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S.; a database of more than 4,000 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; a database of more than 3.8 million recently awarded grants; and a keyword-searchable database of more than one million recently filed IRS Forms 990 and 990-PF.

You can access the Foundation Directory Online tool on campus or using VPN.

In addition, CU Boulder launched a pilot online fundraising platform in May 2014 as another option for funding projects. Visit the Boulder Crowdfunding website for additional information on this funding option.

Common Proposal Questions

How do I contact my Proposal Analyst and what information should I provide?

Use the OCG Unit Directory to locate your department’s Proposal Analyst.

In your email to your Proposal Analyst, please include your Proposal Submission Request form and budget. Budget details can be provided in text form or using a budget template. View our proposal development pages for more information on starting a new proposal.

How early do I need to contact my Proposal Analyst?

Please contact your Proposal Analyst as soon as you have identified a funding opportunity. At a minimum, you should contact your analyst no later than five business days before the sponsor deadline, and provide your completed Proposal Submission Request (PSR) formbudget, and budget justification in your request. Budget details can be provided in text form or using a budget template.

When do I need to have the final proposal ready?

According to OCG’s Five Business Day Rule, your PSR form, budget, and budget justification should be sent your Proposal Analyst for review at least five business days before the sponsor deadline. The rest of your proposal should be completed and routed to your Proposal Analyst as early as possible to ensure a thorough review.

If you’re submitting a proposal through Grants.gov, we highly recommend submitting at least two business days before the deadline. It can take several hours to several days for Grants.gov and the specific agency to process and approve your proposal. Any errors that occur after a deadline, regardless of when you receive notification of an error, will prevent submission and acceptance of your proposal.

What are the responsibilities of the PI and Proposal Analyst?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is always responsible for the budget justification, documents related to project personnel, and the technical portions of the proposal, as well as for being familiar with sponsor and program submission guidelines. 

Your Proposal Analyst will assist with developing a proposal budget, as well as help to ensure that the proposal adheres to sponsor guidelines and other applicable policies and regulations.

Additionally, PIs are responsible for providing signed internal forms to Proposal Analysts such as the IDC Addendum, Cost Sharing Addendum, and subrecipient forms. Internal forms will be saved as part of the internal proposal file.

When do I contact my Proposal Analyst vs. Grant or Contract Officer?

If you would like to discuss a research proposal or other sponsored funding application, contact your Proposal Analyst. Also contact your Proposal Analyst for any other questions that arise prior to receiving an award and for assistance with progress reports. 

If you have already received an award, contact your Grant or Contract Officer. The OCG team assigned to your department can be found in the Unit Directory

View our organizational structure for more information about the team functions within OCG.

Proposal Analysts are always happy to assist with navigating you to who to contact in OCG.

Does my proposal need to go through OCG?

Most proposals, especially to federal sponsors, require OCG’s involvement, and you should contact your Proposal Analyst as early as possible.

OCG will help develop your budget and guide you through the submission process as well as check to ensure that your proposal complies with sponsor guidelines and any other relevant policies and regulations. Many sponsors also require that an Authorized Organizational Representative (or Signing Official) submit your proposal.

Even if the sponsor allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit the proposal, if funding will come through the University, OCG will still need to review the full proposal prior to submission. Submitting without OCG’s assistance can result in detrimental budget errors and delays in processing your award.

Here are two situations in which you may not need to involve OCG:

Preliminary proposals (or similar – such as white papers or concept papers) do not require OCG involvement unless a budget is included or if the sponsor requires that an Authorized Organizational Representative submit the pre-proposal.

Fellowships that do not require an institutional endorsement and the funding will go directly to the student may be submitted directly by the student without OCG involvement.

In any instance, if you’d like assistance with budgeting, please contact your Proposal Analyst.

The program announcement limits the number of submissions from our institution. Who should I contact?

Contact your Proposal Analyst if the program announcement limits the number of submissions from CU Boulder. S/he will work with the Research and Innovation Office (RIO) to determine whether or not there is or will be an internal competition in place.

Where can I find information regarding CU’s internal competitions?

For more information regarding limited campus competitions, please visit the Research and Innovation Office (RIO) website.

How can I get my funds faster?

By involving your Proposal Analyst prior to proposal submission, you are ensuring that a completed proposal is on file at OCG, which your Grant or Contract Officer will need in order to process the award.

It is also important to have all required approvals on file, including your DEPA and IACUC/IRB approvals, as appropriate.

Should I contact OCG for fellowship proposals?

Yes, you will need to work with your Proposal Analyst on fellowship proposals.

Exception: If the sponsor does not require an institutional endorsement and the check will be made directly to the student, then you do not need to involve your Proposal Analyst.

What do I need to know about working with Industry?

If you plan to be involved in an Industry proposal, contact the Office of Industry Collaboration. Depending on the particular sponsor and program guidelines, there may be special requirements.

Who is eligible to be a PI?

View the Prinicipal Investigator Eligibility policy for a complete list.

I have questions about what to provide on the Proposal Submission Request (PSR) form. Where can I get more information?

Detailed guidance on completing the PSR form is available in the PSR User Guide. Your Proposal Analyst can also assist with any questions.

Submission Registration Questions

How do I register for NSF's FastLane and NIH's eRA Commons?

For NSF FastLane and NIH eRA Commons registrations, please contact Lyn Milliken at lyn.milliken@colorado.edu.

How do I register for NASA's NSPIRES?

For NASA, we use the NSPIRES system for proposal submission.

You must register through NSPIRES

After you register, an email will be sent to an OCG staff member to approve your registration. They will contact you with further instructions. The Principal Investigator starts the proposal in NSPIRES and completes the proposal requirements, including uploading required attachments. Your Proposal Analyst will enter the budget.  

When ready, you will need to “Lock” your proposal. Your Proposal Analyst will then review the proposal for anything that might prevent submission or review. When everything is complete, your Proposal Analyst will submit your proposal through the NSPIRES system.

Do I need to register for Grants.gov or SAM (System for Award Management)?

No, Investigators do not need to register for Grants.gov or SAM.  CU Boulder is registered as an institution in both systems. OCG staff are registered users of Grants.gov and have the authority to submit all proposals on behalf of the University.

How do I change my NSF (FastLane) password?

To register a new account in FastLane, or change the institutional affiliation of your existing FastLane account to CU, please email Lyn Milliken.

If you can’t remember your current FastLane password, but it has not expired, contact your assigned OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken, and they can send it to you if we have it on file.

If FastLane requires you to change your password after logging in, follow the directions given to you on the screen to change the password, and then send the new password to your OCG proposal analyst and/or Lyn Milliken, so we can update our records.

If your FastLane password has expired, go to www.research.gov and click “Log In,” then “Forgot Password.” Enter your NSF ID number (if you don’t remember it, contact your OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken and we can look it up for you) and click “Send Temporary Password.” An email will be sent to the address NSF currently has on file containing instructions on how to reset your password. Passwords must contain between 8 and 20 characters, from at least three of the following four categories:

  • Upper-case letters
  • Lower-case letters
  • Numbers
  • One of these special characters: # & % ! @ ( )

You cannot re-use any of the previous six passwords for your account. After 10 unsuccessful login attempts, your account will be locked. It may take 30 minutes or longer for the new password to propagate through all of NSF’s systems, so plan ahead and do not attempt a password change while on deadline for a proposal submission. Once you have changed your password, please email it to your OCG proposal analyst and/or Lyn Milliken, so we can update our records.

Research.gov provides both a password reset guide (including screen captures of all the various stages in the process) and an FAQ page about the process. If you need additional assistance beyond the information contained in those documents, contact your OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken.

Proposal Development Questions

What do sponsors mean by PI, Co-PI, Co-I, senior personnel, etc.?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the lead scientist on a research project and has primary responsibility for the design, execution and management of the project.

Co-PI (Co-Principal Investigator) and Co-I (Co-Investigator) designations may be used when multiple Investigators are permitted on a project. Co-PIs/Co-Is are typically considered Senior/Key Personnel and play a central role in the project.

Sponsor definitions vary; carefully read the guidelines for each proposal before assigning project roles.

What is a statement of work?

A Statement of Work or Scope of Work (SOW) is a document that outlines the project activities, deliverables, and timeline for completion. The SOW should clearly explain what tasks will be completed and by when. CU Boulder does not currently have a required template, but the document should be in narrative format.

If an award check will be issued to me directly and I will not use the University’s resources, do I need to involve OCG in my proposal?

If the award will be made directly to the Principal Investigator and not to the University, OCG does not typically need to be involved. This occurs most frequently with fellowships and consultant agreements. 

For consultant agreements, it is important that the University’s resources are not being used.

If you have any questions, contact your Proposal Analyst.

If multiple departments are involved in a proposal, do I need to do anything regarding indirect cost recovery (ICR) splits?

When multiple departments are involved in a proposal, indirect costs are normally shared between them. An agreement will need to be in place in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the respective Department Chair(s) or Institute Director(s) for any standing ICR splits. 

For one-time ICR splits unique to a particular proposal, your Proposal Analyst will need Chair/Director email approval. 

For more information, see the ICR Splits Policy.

Who do I contact for NIH Just in Time (JIT) information?

Contact your Proposal Analyst for all NIH JIT requests. The Principal Investiagor will need to upload JIT information in eRA Commons according to the instructions provided by NIH.

Notify your Proposal Analyst when the files have been uploaded, and s/he will review and submit the information to NIH.

Do I need to budget for graduate research assistant tuition?

Yes, according to CU Boulder policy, we are required to budget for graduate student tuition if the graduate student is working during the academic year.

How do I determine effort on a project?

The Principal Investigator should determine the appropriate level of effort for all project personnel based on the expected time commitment required to complete their portions of the proposed project.

Effort should be expressed in terms of percent time on a monthly basis, e.g. “50% time, 3 months summer” or “10% time, 9 months AY.”

Some program guidelines may limit or set a minimum level of effort for certain project personnel so it is important to carefully read the guidelines.

How long can my NIH application title be?

Answer as provided on NIH Extramural Nexus

The project title must be no more than 200 characters long, including the spaces between words. The NIH application guide provides answers to this and many more application submission questions.

Why do I need to be careful naming the PDF attachments for my NIH application?

Answer as provided on NIH Extramural Nexus

Electronic systems can be a little finicky when presented with file names that include unexpected characters. Take care to follow the directions in the NIH application guide to ensure smooth processing of your application. PDF file names should be less than 50 characters, including punctuation and spaces. File names can contain any of the following characters: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore, hyphen, space, period, parenthesis, curly braces, square brackets, tilde, exclamation point, comma, semicolon, apostrophe, at sign, number sign, dollar sign, percent sign, plus sign, and equal sign. While single spaces are allowed between words or characters in the file name, do not use two or more spaces in a row between words or characters as this will cause errors. File names should NOT contain ampersands (“&”).

For more tips on creating your PDFs for your text attachments, visit the NIH PDF guidelines.

Budget Preparation Questions

Who can help me develop a proposal budget?

Your Proposal Analyst will help you develop your proposal budget. Visit the Proposal Development pages for more details and information on what your Proposal Analyst will need in order to get started.

What do I include in a budget justification?

Your budget justification should thoroughly justify all costs within your final budget and should be written in narrative format.

OCG has a budget justification template and a budget justification checklist to help you complete your justification.

What is the purpose of the budget justification?

The University has fiduciary responsibility as a steward of Federal and other sponsored funding that requires us to demonstrate on all proposals submitted and awards received that the costs budgeted are allocable, allowable, and reasonable. A Budget Justification:

  1. Provides details that demonstrate adherence to these critical qualifications and assures that, if awarded, a submitted budget will be charging against costs meeting those standards.
  2. May be required for prior approval of some costs, such as administrative salaries, as well as detailed justification for costs, including equipment, travel, participant support, materials and supplies, and the F&A rate.
  3. Is used at the end of a project for award closeout to confirm that all costs charged are allowable and, as needed, had prior approval from the sponsor. 

Instances where a sponsor does not require a Budget Justification at proposal phase are rare; however, beginning in April 2018, OCG and the Campus Controller’s Office will no longer require a Budget Justification if one is not required by the sponsor. In some cases, sponsors require additional budget information after the proposal has been submitted which could include a justification of costs.  In these instances the justification of applicable budget items will be requested from the PI, submitted to the sponsor as required, and will become a permanent part of the proposal record.

Even if a sponsor does not require a Budget Justification at proposal or award, costs supported by sponsored funding must still be allocable, allowable, reasonable, and abide by University policy. See the Cost Principles for more details.

What is considered cost share?

Cost share essentially means that the University is “donating” money, employee effort, or tangible goods towards the direct costs of a sponsored research project. These contributions may be made by CU Boulder, the Prinicpal Investigator, or by other third parties, but all are a form of cost share. 

CU Boulder generally prohibits cost share unless it is specifically required by the sponsor or program guidelines, and/or is in the best interests of CU Boulder. Any quantified commitments (or quantifiable based on the details provided) are considered cost share, and should not be included in your proposal unless you have obtained official University approvals.

Official approvals must be in place before submitting proposals that include any form of cost share. Review CU Boulder’s Cost Share Policy and contact your Proposal Analyst with questions well in advance of the proposal submission deadline.

For detailed information about cost share at the proposal stage, see Proposals and Cost Share.

Do I need an IDC Waiver or an IDC Addendum?

IDC Addendums are required whenever a sponsor limits indirect costs to a rate that is less than our federally negotiated rate.

IDC Waivers are required when full indirect costs are permitted by the sponsor, but the Principal Investigator does not want to request full indirect costs for reasons that can be fully justified.

Contact your Proposal Analyst to process either request.

Who do I contact about a revised budget?

If you have not yet received the official award document, contact your Proposal Analyst.

If the award has already been issued, contact your Grant or Contract Officer.

Can I request a deviation in the two month salary support on an NSF grant?

As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. CU Boulder considers our fiscal year as the one year period. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. If anticipated, any compensation in excess of the two months can be requested from NSF in the proposal with the required documentation and justification. NSF also provides CU Boulder rebudgeting authority to internally approve changes to personnel salary support, even if that results in support that exceeds two months.

If you want to propose and/or expense more than two months direct NSF salary support in any 12 month period, you should include the following applicable criteria to assist you in developing your justification, either at proposal or for a budget deviation after the award has been funded.

  • The additional salary support is necessary to fulfill the research objective of the project
  • The project will be negatively impacted by not supporting additional Principal Investigator paid effort
  • How the costs are reasonable, directly benefit the project, and represent prudent use of the sponsor’s funds
  • An explanation for other budgeted costs that will be reduced in order to compensate for the additional unbudgeted salary support

OCG is currently developing a large number of procedural guidelines regarding cost principles, including a process for budget deviations expected to be in effect in early 2016.

What is the difference between Direct Costs and Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs?

Direct costs solely support and are traceable to a specific project. These costs may include laboratory supplies, research equipment, salary support for researchers and project directors, and travel. This is both the core of university research and where the bulk of the sponsor investment is spent.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs cover a portion of the infrastructure necessary to conduct research (these costs cannot be readily identified to a specific project). These costs include utilities such as light and heat, telecommunications, and the administrative functions necessary to comply with regulations and conduct business. View the F&A Costs Handout for information on what is included in F&A costs.

Where can I go for assistance with identifying position salary budget estimates to include in my proposal?

The compensation team in Human Resources can help identify market salary rates for various types of work in all fields, including Professional Research Assistants and Research Associates.  Send whatever information you have on the proposed position title(s), duties, and the date you need the information back in an email to resfachr@colorado.edu. A compensation consultant will follow up with you.

DEPA & Other Compliance Questions

How do I submit my DEPA (Disclosure of External Professional Activities)?

You can access your DEPA through the MyCU portal. Select the “CU Resources” tab, click on “Faculty Reporting & DEPA,” and follow the instructions provided. After completing a brief questionnaire, you can submit your DEPA.

Note that anyone responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the research must have a current DEPA on file in order to submit a proposal.

For detailed direction and further assistance, see the Disclosure of External Professional Activities (DEPA) Form webpage.

When do I submit my DEPA?

The general deadline for submitting an annual Disclosure of External Professional Activities (DEPA) is March 31 of each calendar year.

New employees should submit within 30 days from the date of hire.

Updates to the DEPA should occur within 30 days of a change in DEPA status.

Regardless of the March 31 general deadline, all DEPAs must have an approval status in the current calendar year prior to the release of new or continuing award monies, so DEPA submission may be requested prior to March 31.

Lead Principal Investigators on sponsored projects are ultimately responsible to see that anyone who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research is also in compliance with the University’s DEPA reporting requirements.

For more information about DEPA visit the Office of Research Integrity website.

When should I obtain IRB, IACUC, biohazardous materials, and/or other compliance approvals?

Most approvals, such as Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and biohazardous materials, are generally not required at proposal stage but should be obtained as soon as possible.

NIH requests IACUC and IRB approvals at the JIT stage.

If awarded, no project award funds may be used until all approvals have been obtained from the appropriate compliance offices.

Contact the Office of Research Integrity to begin the approval process.

Notice of Award Questions

What should I do if I receive a notice of award?

If you receive notice of an award, send this to ocg@colorado.edu. If the notice of award requests further documentation and/or a revised budget before the award may be issued, then please contact your Proposal Analyst.

All official award documents should be forwarded to ocg@colorado.edu for logging and a Grant or Contract Officer will be in touch with you soon. Please do not sign the award, as only certain individuals in the University are authorized to sign awards and an unauthorized signature could render the agreement null and void.

If your project requires any approvals, such as for the use of animals, human subjects, controlled substances or biohazardous materials, and you do not yet have approval, we highly recommend starting the approval process as soon as possible. For more information, see the Office of Research Integrity website.

What do I do if I receive an award, but I did not submit my proposal through OCG?

All sponsored funding applications must be submitted through OCG. If you did not work with OCG at proposal stage and you receive an award, contact your Proposal Analyst as soon as possible. S/he will work with you to develop a proposal “after the fact,” which is required in order to issue a SpeedType.

Your proposal must include, at a minimum: budget (Excel format), Budget Justification (narrative format), Statement of Work, and Proposal Submission Request (PSR) form.

Post Award Questions

Who is responsible for preparing and submitting my progress reports?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for preparing progress reports. Sponsored Projects Accounting provides financial report information. Some sponsors require that an Authorized Organizational Representative sign and/or submit the report. Your Proposal Analyst can assist with this.

For NIH, once an RPPR is fully completed and checked for any errors, the PI should route the report to Betty Rasmussen, Contracts & Grants Specialist in OCG, for review and submission.

I want to do a No-Cost extension. Who should I contact?

A No-Cost extension extends the project date without additional funding. Contact your Grant or Contract Officer for assistance.