Sponsored Research

Our commitment

Assist in the execution of proposals and applications which reflect the superior quality and robust competitiveness of Cornell University research.

Our mission

  1. Provide administrative support to CALS principal investigators and academic departments during the proposal development process from concept to submission.
  2. Build proposal budgets in a format which communicates the costs associated with a project in a clear and uncomplicated manner which address the considerations of post-award accounting practices and policies.
  3. Understand and communicate sponsor, university, college, and department procedures and policies.
  4. Work closely with colleagues at the Cornell Office of Sponsored Programs through the pre-award process; as stewards of initial and revised pre-award budgets, documentation, and correspondence.
  5. Promote proposal award success within CALS.

Our Vision

We accelerate purpose-driven science by supporting inquiry that crosses disciplinary boundaries and stretches from discovery to invention.

We help in this effort by preparing funding proposals which reflect the superior quality and robust competitiveness of Cornell University research and extension.

Our Purpose

  1. Provide administrative support to CALS principal investigators and academic departments during the proposal development process from concept to submission.
  2. Build proposal budgets in a format which communicates the costs associated with a project in a clear and uncomplicated manner including considerations for post-award accounting practices and policies.
  3. Understand and communicate sponsor, university, college, and department procedures and policies.
  4. Work closely with colleagues at the Cornell Office of Sponsored Programs through the pre-award process; as stewards of initial and revised pre-award budgets, documentation, and correspondence.
  5. Promote proposal award success within CALS.

Grant Proposal Team

Working with a member of the team allows PIs to focus primarily on their proposed Scope of Work; thus alleviating administrative burden. Such services include:

  • Assistance interpreting program solicitations, sponsor application guides, and Cornell policies.
  • Working with PIs to draft a detailed and specific budget and budget justification which serves as the primary driver for setting up a grant award.
  • Coordinating with outside university and collaborating partners to collect all pertinent documentation, signatures, and assurances such as; letters of commitment, subcontract budgets, and subcontract forms etc.
  • Assistance navigating new electronic submission systems and platforms
  • Formatting various elements of the proposal package such as; biographical sketches/CVs; current & pending reports, etc. 
  • Filling out necessary application forms such as; grants.gov packages, NSF Fastlane packages, and federal forms SF424 and 424A.
  • Drafting and circulating internal documentation (if applicable)

Grant and Contract Officers 

The responsibilities of the two CALS Grant and Contract Officers differ from the Grant Proposal Team. CALS GCOs are authorized to sign and submit proposals to sponsors. Such services include:

  • Review of proposals to ensure they comply with all Cornell and sponsor policies.
  • Working with PIs, department, and OSP staff to correct any omissions or address any questions related to a proposal.

Submitting final proposals and applications directly to the sponsor.

A. Purpose:

CALS OSR understands that it is in the best interests of the PI, College, and University to put our best academic footprint forward. We acknowledge that project narratives need time to develop, and that last minute input from collaborators can be extremely valuable.

In order to provide CALS researchers with the time needed to refine their narratives, Cornell has adopted a policy which will allow PIs to retain the “Scope of Work” for proposals to Federal Sponsors. 

A link to the complete policy can be found here: Proposal Review Guidelines

B. Risks:

It is important to note that turning over incomplete portions of any application carries with it some risk; such as missed deadlines, incomplete applications, and dropped or missing attachments. OSR will make every effort to submit a complete and final application to the sponsor; however, turning in the Scope of Work at the last minute is at the risk of the PI.

C. Eligibility:

  1. The PI must make the arrangement in advance
    1. In writing via email in advance of the deadline
  2. Must make an effort to submit all other proposal elements in advance,
    1. Preferably five (5) business days before a deadline
    2. Work with your department specialist or a member the Grant Proposal Team. They can help PIs meet this goal.
  3. Provided the above conditions are met, the final Scope of Work can be submitted on your deadline date.
  4. Proposals are submitted on a “first-come” basis on any given deadline date.

 

D. Scope of Work is defined as follows for each sponsor:

 

NSF

Project Summary, Project Description, Reference Cited

USDA

Project Summary, Project Narrative, References Cited

NIH

Introduction, Specific Aims, Research Strategy, References Cited

Other Sponsors

Contact GCO

It is our responsibility to provide full support to people who work with us early and are responsive to requests for information. Requests for assistance will be handled as best as possible given each specific situation, peak grant season, and presume a full complement of available staff. 

The response times below refer to active/actionable requests and they are different than courtesy messages acknowledging receipt of communications sent by you.

Timely courtesy messages stating that your request has been received can be expected from of all staff in the Research Office, regardless of your deadline date.

  1. Normal - The Research Office is notified that a proposal deadline is 6 months to 1 month away.

Response Time: 4 business days

GPT - The requester should discuss with the team member key information as early as possible. This timeline allows for the team to fully assist with all aspects of the proposal development process.

GCO - The Contract Officer will assist with submission of your proposal to the sponsor – with review based on receipt date as prescribed by Cornell OSP. This timeline allows for full comprehensive review of all aspects of the proposal.

  1. Critical - The Research Office is notified that a proposal deadline is 3 to 2 weeks away.

Response Time: 2 business days

GPT - This timeline allows for the team assist with limited portions of your proposal such as budget, and Form 10. Other services are only available as time permits. In order for a proposal to remain at the critical level, the PI must be readily available for reciprocal consultation/response within 2 business days.

GCO - The Contract Officer will assist with submission of your proposal to the sponsor – with limited review based on receipt date as prescribed by Cornell OSP. Other services are only available as time permits.

Requests for assistance submitted under item a.) Normal Conditions, above, take precedent over those under item b.) Critical Conditions.

  1. Intensive - The Research Office is notified that a proposal deadline is 1 week away.

Response Time: 1 business day

GPT - In order for a proposal to remain at the intensive level, the PI must be readily available for reciprocal response within 1 business day. The team member will have extremely limited availability. They may be able to assist with Form 10. Other services are only available as time permits, and are not guaranteed.

GCO - The Contract Officer will have extremely limited time. They will only provide a minimum review. Other services are available only as time permits, and are not guaranteed.

Requests for assistance submitted under item a.) Normal Conditions, and b.) Critical Conditions above, take precedent over those under item c.) Intensive Conditions.

  1. Imminent – The Research Office is notified that a proposal due in less than 2 days.

Response Time: Immediate.

GPT - The proposal team will not be able to assist with your proposal.

GCO - CALS OSR and OSP will make every reasonable effort to submit your proposal before the deadline. However, technical errors and system shutdowns may prevent submission. We encourage you to work with our team early and often, to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Last minute proposals are submitted on a first-come/first-serve basis and priority is given to people who finalize their applications early. This increases the risk of missing your deadline.

The Grant Proposal Team is dedicated to assisting CALS PIs with proposal development and assembling application packages. Support assignments are indicated below. 

Geneva Campus:

Donna Loeb, Team Lead (Geneva): drr2 [at] cornell.edu

  • all units at Cornell AgriTech

Ithaca Campus:

Erin Oates, Sr. Grant Coordinator: eo73 [at] cornell.edu

  • Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Department of Food Science (Ithaca)
  • Product Testing Agreements
  • Industry Agreements
  • College-level signature authority for Form 10

Carol Fisher, Grant Coordinator: cf44 [at] cornell.edu

  • School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Horticulture (Ithaca)
  • School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology (Ithaca)
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension, including Regional Agriculture Teams

Riley Schwengel, Grant Coordinator: rs2549 [at] cornell.edu

  • Department of Animal Science
  • Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Communication
  • Department of Development Sociology
  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Plant Biology

Matthew Stockton, Grant Coordinator: mcs274 [at] cornell.edu

  • Department of Computational Biology
  • Department of Statistics and Data Science
  • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Soil and Crop Sciences
  • School of Integrative Plant Science, Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • Sea Grant

Grant & Contract Officers are dedicated to reviewing final proposal packages and submitting funding requests to sponsors.

  • Elizabeth Estabrook, GCO: ee54 [at] cornell.edu
  • Rose Hastings, GCO: rwh10 [at] cornell.edu
  • F&A Approval Decision Tree
  • F&A Approval Procedures

The cost of conducting research consists of two broad types of costs – direct costs and facilities and administrative costs (F&A), also known as indirect costs. Direct costs are those research costs that can be identified easily and with a high degree of accuracy specifically with a sponsored project. F&A costs are costs incurred for common or joint objectives as a part of sponsored activities but that cannot be identified with a particular sponsored project. Cornell and CALS policy is that sponsored projects should pay full (F&A) cost rates.

The current federally determined contract college F&A rate is 57.0% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). MTDC consists of all direct costs minus the following exclusions: equipment costs $5,000 or greater, subcontract costs in excess of $25,000, participant support, rental of off-campus property, graduate student tuition, and graduate health insurance. This rate has been negotiated and accepted by the Federal government. However, not all agencies, foundations, or other donors agree to this rate. F&A rates for some categories of sponsors are shown in the table below. For sponsors not included in the table or if you have questions about an appropriate rate, consult with CALS OSR.

Sponsor

F&A rate effective 1 July 2017

NIH, NSF (including awards from SBIR/STTR projects)

57% of MTDC unless otherwise noted in solicitation

USDA, NIFA

42.857% of TDC unless otherwise noted in solicitation

New York State (NYS) agencies, including New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI)

18% of TDC

State agencies outside of New York

57% of MTDC

NYS commodity groups and national commodity groups that NY farmers contribute to

18% of TDC

State commodity groups outside of NY

57% of MTDC

Corporations

  1. Scope of work within guidelines for a standard product testing agreement
  2. Scope of work for a non-standard product testing  agreement
  3. Scope of work for a sponsored research agreement

 

  1. 18% of MTDC
     
  2. 37% MTDC
     
  3. 57% MTDC
Life Sciences incubator funds received by CALS faculty for startup companies physically located at the McGovern Center 18% TDC

Foundations

If required by the foundation to be less than 57%, the rate is to be negotiated with the investigator, Sr. Assoc. Dean, and foundation.

Subcontracts

57% of the first $25,000 of each subcontract for those sponsors that calculate F&A costs on MTDC. For agencies where F&A costs are based on TDC, there are no exclusions on the subcontract.

Training Grants: These are awards that enable CALS to establish, expand, or improve graduate degree programs. Must collect maximum allowable IDC or institutional allowance as noted in the solicitation.

Additional Info: OSP Facilities & Administrative Costs

When working with foundations or other philanthropic donors, it is important to identify whether the funding will be a restricted gift or a sponsored contract. Usually the criteria listed by the sponsor in the RFP or invitation to apply for funding will help the CALS OSR make this determination. In addition, the wording in the proposal can assist in determining whether an award will be considered a restricted gift or a sponsored project, specifically, the description of activities and deliverables contained in the proposal.

If an award is a “restricted gift,” University policy requires a 10% F&A charge on the award. All other awards from foundations or other donors should assume the full F&A rate will be required, unless the procedures for requesting permission for “variances” to the F&A rates described in the next section are followed.

All proposals to foundations and corporations must be submitted to CALS OSR with a Form 10. CALS OSR will then send the proposal to either the Office of Sponsored Research or the Office of Foundation Relations.

Some sponsors use an F&A rate different from those described in Section 7. If a sponsor prohibits the CALS rate and is not specifically named in Section 7, the Unit Chair must request an exception to the standard rate from the Senior Associate Dean. The rates stated in Section 7 are not considered exceptions, so for those agencies and those rates, no special permission is required from the SAD. Requests for variances of the standard F&A rates must be conveyed at least 2 weeks in advance of the sponsor’s deadline. These requests should be accompanied by a summary description of the project, rationale for reduced F&A, and a simple budget for the entire project. Also include the stated policy of the sponsor regarding F&A costs, if the stated policy is to allow a certain maximum F&A rate which is below the University rate. The chair should be willing to convey the priority of this request. It will need to be balanced against initiatives (renovations, equipment, positions, bridging funds) desired by the department as a whole.

CALS is required to pay a university charge on all external funds received in CALS accounts. For awards that have an F&A rate that is less than 18%, the unit will be required to pay to the college the difference between 18% of total direct costs and the actual F&A recovered. This minimum does not apply to foundations or other philanthropic groups where F&A rates are to be negotiated. This cost recovery does not represent the full cost that CALS pays to the university, nor the full indirect costs for the research.

Note: If the total budget is less than $50,000, CALS automatically approves the waiver request with 18% committed department funding.