Notify the Proper People of Intent to Submit a Proposal

Consider Key Budget Issues

Determine the Award Type

Determine the Proposal Type

Determine the Submission Process

Notify the Proper People of Intent to Submit Proposal

Co-Investigators & Collaborators

Co-Investigators and Collaborators serve as key personnel on the proposal.

Needed action: Co-Investigators and collaborators must provide current CVs/Biosketches and salary information for the proposal budget.

Needed action: Collaborators from other institutions who will be included in the project under a subaward must provide the information outlined under the subaward process when LLU is the grantor.

Department Chair or Center Director

Your department chair or center director will review and give administrative approval to the proposal before it is submitted to the sponsor.

School DeanYour school dean will review and give administrative approval to the proposal before it is submitted to the sponsor.
School Business OfficerYour school business officer will review and give administrative approval to the proposal before the dean approves the proposal.
Research Administration

Research Administration assists the PI in preparing the administrative sections of the proposal and getting administrative approvals. Research Administration also assists in submitting the proposal to the sponsor.

Needed action: Contact the Grant Pre-Award Management Analyst as soon as you have identified a funding opportunity you wish to apply for. Provide a copy of the funding announcement, along with any amendments to the announcement.

Research Affairs - Financial Management

Research Affairs - Financial Management assists the PI in drafting the proposal budget and working out key budget issues. Financial Management reviews and approves the preliminary and final budget before submitting to the sponsor.

Needed action: Contact your assigned Financial Analyst as soon as possible.

Consider Key Budget Issues

Charging Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs as Direct Costs

The following are typically facilities and administrative ( F&A; formerly called "indirect") costs, but may be allowable as direct costs if they are included in the proposed budget and justification, are necessary to meet the objectives of the project, have a direct benefit to the project, and are approved by the sponsor:
  • Clerical and administrative salaries & wages and fringe benefits
  • Subscriptions
  • Membership in professional or scientific organizations
  • Office supplies
  • Utilities
  • Telephones, cell phones, pagers
  • Computers and software

(See LLU budget categories for a complete list of direct and indirect costs)

Example: Normally, office supplies such as paper would not be considered a direct cost on a project, and federal laws would prohibit the PI from charging them to the project. However, if the project requires the distribution of 10,000 surveys, then it would be reasonable to purchase paper as a direct cost. Contact Research Affairs - Financial Management for further guidance.

For more information, see LLU's F&A Primer. See also the LLUAHSC policy & procedure: Charging Facilities and Administrative (Indirect) Costs to Sponsored Projects.

Waiving Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs

The PI should make every effort to recover the project's full F&A costs (formerly called indirect costs) from the sponsor. If the sponsor will not or cannot pay the full amount, these costs may be waived or reduced under certain conditions. Favorable consideration will be given to the following:
  • Projects that lead to funding from sponsors that do not restrict F&A charges
  • Projects that support research capacity growth in strategic areas, or
  • Projects that promise greater quantifiable recognition for LLU.

To submit a waiver request:

  1. Complete an Facilities and Administrative Cost Waiver or Reduction Request form.
  2. Attach the approved waiver request to the LLU Transmittal and submit to Research Affairs - Financial Management when getting final budget approval.
    • If the sponsor has an official policy that uniformly limits F&A on all awards, attach a copy of the policy to the waiver request. This information may be found in the funding announcement, on the sponsor's website, or on a standard letter. If using a letter, it must be written on the sponsor's letterhead and signed by an authorized signatory such as the president, vice president, or treasurer.
    • Also include a written rationale explaining why LLU should subsidize the project.
  3. If Financial Management approves, submit the waiver request to your department or school when getting administrative approvals. Your dean must approve the request.
  4. Final approval must be granted by the Vice President for Research Affairs as the last step of the approval process.

For more information, see LLU's F&A Primer.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is the portion of sponsored project costs not borne by the sponsor, i.e. costs paid for by the institution. Occasionally a sponsor requires cost sharing as a condition of the award ( mandatory cost sharing). Cost sharing also occurs when the institution voluntarily commits funds beyond those awarded by a sponsor to support a particular grant or contract ( voluntary cost sharing).

Cost sharing must follow LLUAHSC policy & procedure: Cost Sharing, Matching, & In-Kind Contributions on Sponsored Projects. Generally speaking, unless cost sharing is required by the sponsor, PIs (or chairs, directors, deans and other institution officials) should avoid making cost sharing commitments in a proposal. This is because a cost sharing commitment:

  • is a legal, binding agreement to pay part of the research costs from departmental/school funds. The school must pay those costs even if other grant funds become available;
  • increases the administrative burden on the PI's department/unit since it will be responsible for tracking/reporting shared costs if the sponsor makes an award;
  • causes the institution to forfeit the recovery of direct costs and also the recovery of associated F&A costs; and
  • is subject to audit.

If the PI and/or department head believe that cost sharing must be included, then s/he is urged to contact Research Affairs - Financial Management early in the proposal process for assistance in preparing the proposal budget. The PI must submit a Cost Authorization form , which will require written approval from the PI's chair, director, and/or dean.

Cost sharing is primarily required by federal sponsors, and the obligation must be met using non-federal funds. Only charges that would be allowable as direct costs are allowable as cost sharing (for a full list of direct cost items, see LLU Budget Categories). Federal flow through funds may NOT be used as a cost sharing source unless prior written approval has been received from both the federal sponsor and the flow through entity.

Appropriate alignment of Personnel Effort:

The most common form of cost sharing is committing salaries and fringe benefits without requesting compensation from the sponsor. For example: if a proposal states that a researcher will contribute 10% of her time to a project during the first budget period, but her salary will not be charged to the award, then the PI's department has committed to pay the cost of the dollar amount (i.e. cost share) equal to 10% of the researcher's salary, plus associated fringe benefits. For most awards, the percent effort reported for each person should be the same as the fraction of salary requested. The proposed level of effort should be reasonable. The PI must consider the following:

  • the percentage of time committed to other sponsored projects;
  • the amount of effort devoted to other functions such as teaching and public service; and<
  • the size of the project.

See LLU's Primer on Effort Reporting for more information.


Subawards are described in more detail under Determine the Award type.

Determine the applicable process:

Restrictions on Extra Compensation for Faculty

Grants usually pay for a portion of an investigator's institutional salary and do not normally provide extra compensation beyond the faculty's salary. In unusual situations, faculty may be able to earn additional compensation under a grant or contract. The criteria that must be met to receive this extra compensation are outlined in LLUAHSC policy & procedure (see section 1.4): Charging Direct Costs to Sponsored Projects.

Research Space

Adapted from the Researcher's Guide from the University of Washington. Used with permission.

Template descriptions of institutional facilities and resources for research (i.e. "scientific environment") can be found under Prepare the Proposal. To avoid delays in processing and submitting the proposal, please use the following checklist to pro-actively identify and resolve issues regarding research space:

Will the research space that is presently available at LLU be adequate?

  • Has approval been given to use the rooms needed for the project?
  • Are any of the following renovations required:
    • partitions, ceilings, or walls shifted?
    • painting?
    • new lighting arrangements?
    • additional electrical power or internet connection?
    • water?
    • special services or facilities, new telephone, plastic pipe, drains, fume hoods, etc?
  • If renovations are required:
    • Have costs been estimated and approved by the appropriate LLU officer (dean, school business officer, chair, physical plant department or facilities management office)?
    • Are funds included as direct costs in the proposal budget?
    • Are any of the funds to be provided from University budgets? Are these funds available?
    • Are non-recurring costs (such as telephone installation or moving) included as direct costs in the proposal budget?

Will research space not currently available to LLU be required?

  • If non-LLU space is required:
    • Have rental or lease agreements been confirmed with the University Real Estate office?
    • Is rental cost included as a direct cost in the proposal budget?
    • Are the telephone costs (both installation and recurring) included as direct costs in the proposal budget?
    • If renovation of non-LLU space is required, has the cost of remodeling been included in the proposal budget?
  • If new space is to be constructed:
    • Have requirements been discussed with appropriate LLU officers (dean, school business officer, chair, physical plant department, or facilities management office)?
    • Are funds for planning and construction included in the proposal budget?
    • If the facilities of special research centers will be required, has the director of the center been consulted regarding available costs? Will the LLU Transmittal be appropriately signed by the director of the center?

Definitions and Guidelines for Cooperation of Philanthropy and Research Affairs in Gifts, Grants, and Contracts

Determine whether the proposal will result in a gift, grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, as these types of awards differ in both the process used to submit the proposal and in the sponsor's expectations.


A gift is money or goods given to LLU with "no strings attached" the giver does not expect a specific activity, product or information in return. Gifts normally have the following characteristics:

  • The notification letter from the donor allows the institution or investigator the freedom to use the funds to pursue a general area of interest without requiring a detailed study proposal;
  • The donor expects no deliverables, but may ask for a letter of thanks or a summary of how the funds were used. If explicit deliverables are expected (e.g., a detailed report of the data or results), the award would be considered a contract, not a gift;
  • Separate accounting procedures for the funds are not required; the donor has no audit rights;
  • Benefits from the activities supported by the gift accrue to the institution, the nation, or the world;
  • Though not imposed by the donor, compliance with specific regulations is required when the gift is used in particular ways. Using the donation to perform a human or animal study would invoke federal, state, local and institutional requirements for those types of research;
  • The institution has unlimited rights to publish information related to or resulting from the gift and ownership of intellectual property developed through activities supported by the gift.

There are several different categories of gifts that must be recognized. Depending on the donor's wishes, a gift may be restricted to support of a particular category of activities, or it may be unrestricted and used to support any activity. For each of those categories there are two further distinctions based upon how the original gift funds can be used: expendable and endowment.

What the gift is forHow/When the gift is spent


The donor does not designate a purpose


The gift amount is deposited in a discretionary or department account and may be used immediately on current projects


The donor designates the gift for a general category of activities


The gift must be invested and held in perpetuity by the institution. Only investment returns are available for spending on current projects.


The activity performed under a grant is usually guided by a detailed proposal submitted by the investigator and accepted by the sponsor. The work must be conducted within the general parameters acceptable to the sponsor and described in the grant proposal. Payment from the sponsor often takes the form of reimbursements for expenditures up to specified limits. Other features of grants include:
  • Unlimited right of the institution to publish information related to or resulting from the grant;
  • Unrestricted institutional ownership of intellectual property that results from the activity;
  • Except for the occasional sponsor who may restrict disclosures of a private funding source, non-disclosure agreements general do not apply to grants.


In a contract the sponsor agrees to finance an activity with written terms and conditions. Payment (usually a fixed price) is defined in a payment schedule and is tied to the submission of required deliverables. Failure to meet deliverables may result in termination of funding or legal action. A contract is a legally binding document and has three major elements:
  1. Statement of Work: A detailed statement of what activity or work is to be done.
  2. Acceptance: A formal statement accepting the provisions of the contract, including the legal names of the responsible contracting parties. Loma Linda University executes all research contracts on behalf of its principal investigators and is the legally responsible party.
  3. Exchange: The amount of money to be paid to the institution for the specific outcomes or deliverables defined in the statement of work.
Other features of contracts usually include:
  • The recipient is constrained to perform the activities indicated in the statement of work.
  • The nature of the work may not be altered without prior permission from the sponsor.
  • Spending must correspond to the agreed budget. Funds are often attached to specific outcomes and may be reclaimed by the sponsor for failure to deliver.
  • Publication of results may be delayed by the sponsor to review the manuscript for proprietary information or intellectual property.
  • The institution may be required to execute a non-disclosure agreement, especially when the sponsor provides the PI with access to its proprietary information.
  • Ownership of intellectual property developed under the contract is often claimed by the sponsor or must be negotiated with the sponsor.

Cooperative Agreements

A cooperative agreement lies somewhere between a grant and a contract. It entails more sponsor involvement and more restrictions than a grant, but has more flexibility than a contract.

If you're not sure whether your proposal will result in a cooperative agreement, contact the Contracts Analyst.

Office Accepting and Managing Awards

  • Gifts for which the donor does not identify or expect particular research activities, objectives, or receivables will be processed and managed by Philanthropy.
  • Funding, (including grants, contracts and cooperative agreements) from government, private and industry sponsors to pursue research, education, training and community service projects will be processed and managed by Research Affairs.
  • Research Affairs will ensure that the work is performed in compliance with sponsor, federal, state, and institutional requirements.
  • When there is uncertainty about which department should submit an application or manage the award funds, Research Affairs and Philanthropy will confer to resolve the question.
  • Research Affairs will provide access to the InfoEd database to responsible Philanthropy personnel. This will allow Philanthropy to view all proposals submitted or awarded by government, foundation and industry sponsors through Research Affairs. Philanthropy may also request reports of applications or awards processed by Research Affairs during a specific time period.
Type of AwardAward Process
GiftGifts should be coordinated with Philanthropy.
GrantFollow the Plan and Prepare the Proposal guidelines in the LLU Grants Guide
Cooperative AgreementContact Research Affairs - Financial Management to initiate a Cooperative Agreement.
ContractFor industry-sponsored research that is may result in new intellectual property, contact Research Affairs - Financial Management to initiate a Contract. For clinical research, contact the Clinical Trial Center. For all other contracts, contact the Contracts Analyst.

Depending on the award type, sponsors vary in how they expect LLU to handle the award.

Not strict: sponsor expects almost nothing in return
Cooperative Agreement
Very strict: sponsor expects very specific goods or services in return

Summary of Award Types

 GiftGrantCooperative AgreementContract

What the sponsor expects in return:

mostly recognition for the gift

Reports and Results

Reports and Results

Very specifically defined goods, services, or data

The direction of the project is guided by:

LLU President or designated PI

The PI

The PI and Sponsor

The Sponsor

Intellectual Property belongs to:





Office responsible for processing and management:


Research AffairsResearch Affairs

Research Affairs:

  • Clinical Trials Center: industry sponsored human studies
  • Technology Transfer: agreements that relate directly to intellectual property
  • RAFM Contract Analyst: all other contracts

Fixed Price vs. Cost-Reimbursable

Grants are usually cost-reimbursable and contracts are usually fixed price.
Fixed Price: In a fixed price agreement, the amount the sponsor agrees to pay is the exact amount the institution can receive. If the PI does not spend the full amount, there will be money left over (i.e. residual funds). If the PI spends more than this amount, s/he will be responsible for the difference.
Cost-Reimbursable: In a cost-reimbursable award, the institution is entitled to be reimbursed for incurred expenses as long as the costs are allowable and the total amount spent is not more than the total award. LLU prefers cost-reimbursable awards because they involve less financial risk.

Prime vs. Subawards

In addition to determining if the proposal will result in a gift, grant, contract or cooperative agreement, the PI should also determine if the proposal will result in a prime award or a subaward.
A prime award is a formal, legal agreement that an institution makes with an external sponsor to obtain research funds.
Example: A LLU faculty member applies for a NIH Research Project Grant (R01). In this case, the R01 is a prime award from NIH to LLU. The award granted to LLU by NIH is called the prime award.
A subaward is an award issued under the prime award to procure specific services or program-related tasks from a third party, usually because the resources or skills are not readily available at the primary institution. The third party is known as the subrecipient (or " sub") . Subawards commonly arise when a PI enlists the expertise/services of a colleague at another institution for a research project.
Example: Continuing with the same example, the LLU faculty member wishes to collaborate with a research colleague at UCLA, who will take on specialized tissue processing responsibilities of the project. LLU executes a formal agreement, generally in the form of a subaward, with UCLA under the auspices of the R01 from NIH. The R01 is the prime award, and the formal agreement between LLU and UCLA is the subaward. LLU is the prime award recipient, and UCLA is the subrecipient (i.e. sub).
It's important to keep track of prime and subaward relationships because the prime sponsor's terms and conditions "flow through" to all subrecipients.
Example: Continuing with the same example, NIH's terms and conditions accepted by LLU for the prime award "flow through" to UCLA, which must also agree to comply with them. LLU is the "flow-through" entity through which the applicable terms and conditions flow to the subrecipient.
Note that subawards are not used for goods or services that offer little or no input to the programmatic performance or design of the project, such as:
  • procuring supplies or services from commercial vendors (e.g. ordering glassware from a lab supply company or hiring a lab service to run diagnostic tests), or
  • hiring consultants or other professional service (e.g. web design, statistics, or editorial services).

LLU can participate in 2 types of subaward arrangements:

  1. LLU can be the grantor of a subaward (see examples above; See award process when LLU is the grantor of a subaward). Work to be completed under the auspices of a LLU sponsored research award is contracted to a third party. In this case:
    • The subrecipient takes full responsibility, including intellectual leadership, for the portion of the LLU research project they undertake. Thus the subrecipient's personnel may eventually become authors or co-authors of publications resulting from the research project.
    • Work is performed by the subrecipient's personnel using their own resources and usually at their site. Work with human and/or animal subjects at their site will require their institution's IRB and IACUC approval (in addition to LLU's IRB or IACUC approval).
    • Subawards on LLU sponsored projects are subject to F&A costs at the rate of the subrecipient institution, and LLU F&A costs on the first $25,000 at the LLU rate. Contact your Financial Analyst who will make the calculations for you.
  2. LLU can be the recipient of a subaward (i.e. subrecipient; See award process when LLU is the subrecipient of a subaward). The prime award is made to another institution or group of institutions, then a portion of it is distributed to Loma Linda University to complete specific tasks as part of the larger proposal.

Example: In contrast to the example above, UCLA receives an R01 award from NIH. The UCLA Principal Investigator wishes to collaborate with an LLU faculty member. UCLA issues a subaward to LLU under the R01 (the prime award). LLU must accept and comply with NIH's terms and conditions in the original R01, because they "flow through" to LLU via UCLA as the "flow-through" entity.

Determine the Proposal Type

Formal Proposals

All formal proposals must follow the institution's approval and submission process. See summary of award processes.

There are several types of formal proposals:
New: A new proposal is one that is being submitted to the sponsor for the first time.
Resubmission: An application that has been previously submitted, but was not funded, and is being resubmitted for new consideration. This second version is also called a revised application or a revision.
Renewal (competing continuation): An application requesting additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by a current award. A renewal application competes with all other applications and must be developed as fully as though the applicant is applying for the first time.
Continuation (non-competing): A non-competing application for an additional funding/budget period within a previously approved project period. These non-competing continuations or renewals usually consist of a progress report, vitae for new personnel, reprints of journal articles, and occasionally a budget.
Revision: An application that proposes a change in - 1) the Federal Government's financial obligations or contingent liability from an existing obligation; or 2) any other change in the terms and conditions of the existing award. For NIH and other PHS agencies, this is somewhat equivalent to a completing supplement.
Note: NSF does not use the Resubmission, Continuation or Revision proposal type designations. NIH and other PHS agencies do not use the Continuation proposal type designation.
Supplemental: Supplemental proposals request additional support to make sure the original scope of work can be done adequately.

Informal Proposals

An informal proposal is a short (2-5 pages) description of the proposed project that does not involve a commitment of LLU resources or a signature on behalf of the institution. Most informal proposals do not need to follow LLU's approval and submission process before being sent to the sponsor. However, the PI must get permission from and send a copy to Research Administration.
An informal proposal may include a total cost estimate, but does not include a budget and is not expected to result directly in an award. The purpose of an informal proposal is usually to get the potential sponsor interested enough to request a formal proposal.
Please note that any preliminary proposal that requires a detailed and justified budget, certifications or assurances, or institutional endorsement must be handled as a formal proposal.
Informal proposals go by many names and can vary slightly. Some types are:
Concept papers, white papers, or letter of inquiry: These are typically short (1-3 pages) descriptions of the proposed project to determine if it is within the sponsor's funding interests. PIs can also use this opportunity to request program information as well as guidelines and forms.
Preliminary proposals or pre-proposals: A preliminary proposal is essentially an expanded abstract. Normally 3-5 pages long, it describes the scope of work and the expected outcomes of the project. The certifications and assurances normally required for full proposals are not included at this stage. The pre-proposal does not include the detailed and justified budget, but may include an estimated budget.
Often the submission of a preliminary proposal to a federal agency is recommended or even required before submitting a formal proposal. After reviewing the preliminary proposal, the sponsor will determine whether the PI will be invited to submit a formal, full proposal.

Internal Grant Proposals

Does your department or school and schools at LLU offer internal research grants to LLU faculty? Please submit information about an internal grant opportunity to Research Affairs.

Grants for Research and School Part nerships (GRASP)

The GRASP grants are intended to provide inter-school collaboration in research, encourage more faculty to become involved in research, and develop grant preparation skills and generate preliminary data for subsequent extramural peer-reviewed proposals. For more information, visit the GRASP site.

Determine the Submission Process

It is important to understand the submission process early in the planning stages in order to allow the right amount of time to download, organize, prepare and submit all required electronic and/or hard copy forms.

Submission procedures are described on the Submit the Proposal page. Below is a brief description of each.

Electronic Submissions

The majority of proposal submissions are electronic and can be submitted in a variety of ways, e.g. as email attachments, through the portal or ProposalCentral, or directly to a sponsor website.

For the majority of submissions to federal sponsors via the portal, Loma Linda University uses the LLeRA (Loma Linda electronic Research Administration) system-to-system (S2S) software. Instructions for using this software are in the LLeRA Proposal Development Manual. Contact the contact the Grant Pre-Award Management Analyst early in the pre-award grants cycle to determine the submission route.

Examples of applications submitted through LLeRA:

  • All electronic submissions to NIH
  • Most other submissions that utilize the portal
  • Submissions in response to an internal funding opportunity

Examples of proposals currently NOT submitted through LLeRA:

  • Progress reports
  • Paper submissions
  • Submissions required to be submitted directly to a sponsor system (e.g., AHA)
  • Submissions to National Science Foundation (NSF)

Regardless of sponsor policy, all electronic submissions must be completed through Research Administration.

Paper Submissions

When sponsors require a hard copy of the proposal to be mailed, the grant proposal must go through the normal approval process before being released to the PI for mailing. It is strongly suggested that the PI mail the proposal with a service that has tracking and delivery confirmation abilities.