Sponsored Programs FAQ
What is EPSCoR?
EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Funding) is a federal program to increase funding for a group of states which receive below a certain portion of the total federal dollars awarded for research. The NSF EPSCoR program provides state infrastructure grants and co-funds individual proposals from designated states (including Arkansas).
Proposal Preparation Questions (Pre-Award)
What are indirect costs?
The federal government and many other funding agencies allow universities to charge for the costs of doing research which cannot be directly attributed to a specific project. These are called Facilities and Adminstrative (F&A) Costs because they generally fall into one of these two categories.
Do I have to include indirect costs in my budget?
Yes. The indirect cost rates reflect the real and substantiated overhead costs required for carrying out research. The alternative is to ask students or Arkansas citizens to pay these costs from tuition or tax revenues. Federal agencies have negotiated indirect cost rates and have agreed to pay them. If a foundation or other granting agency has published indirect costs rates which are lower than our negotiated rates, then we normally agree to the lower rates.
Why do I have to go through RSSP?
We hope you want to go through RSSP because we provide services that are helpful to you in assembling and submitting your proposal and managing an award. You have to go through RSSP because we are the unit authorized to make commitments to funding agencies on behalf of the University of Arkansas regarding externally funded research and other sponored projects carried out by the Fayetteville campus.
How do I find funding?
You need to find an agency, foundation, or company that shares your interests and is willing to fund your project. Here are some ideas:
- Talk to your colleagues here and at other institutions;
- Consult newsletters and websites of your professional societies;
- If your interests coincide with a federal agency (NSF, NIH, NEH, NASA), search their websites for solicitations and look at abstracts of funded projects;
- Use a funding search tool such as Pivot or The Grant Advisor Plus. RSSP provides assistance with these search engines.
What is Cost-sharing or Matching?
Cost-sharing is money, services, or other considerations designated to a research project by the University. Some funding agencies may require a specified level of cost-sharing for particular projects. You may want to request voluntary cost-sharing to increase your total budget or meet funding agency limits. Cost-sharing, if granted, is often distributed between department, college, and university sources. Consult with RSSP staff and use this form to request cost-sharing at the time of your proposal submission.
Award Management Questions (Post-Award)
Can I buy a laptop computer or an iPad with my federal grant?
Generally, no. The federal government expects the University to provide standard multi-purpose items needed for you to do your job, including carrying out your research. This is why we are paid indirect costs. These items can be purchased with RIF funds. If you need a special purpose computer for your research project, put the cost in your budget and provide a detailed justification.
When should I request an advance cost center number?
An Advanced Cost Center number may be requested when you are certain a grant will be awarded, but has not been received. It is understood that if the project is not awarded, all costs will be transferred to the department’s maintenance cost center listed on the form. Complete the Advance Cost Center form, obtain appropriate signatures and fax to RSSP at 5-3846.
When should I request a continuation of cost center?
A Continuation of Cost Center form may be completed when a grant/contract is expected to receive an approved time extension and/or additional funds. It is understood that if the project is not approved for the extension, all expenditures on this cost center number beyond the original award end date will be transferred to the department’s maintenance cost center number(s) indicated on the form. It is also understood that transfers to the department’s salary cost center number may be made only for permanent employees of the University. The salary of any employee whose employment is dependent upon continuation of the contract/grant must have his/her salary transferred to the department’s maintenance cost center in the event of non-renewal of the contract/grant. Complete the form, obtain appropriate signatures and fax to RSSP at 5-3846.
How do I request a later end date for my award?
A project time extension always requires a justification and is submitted to the sponsor by RSSP. Some sponsors allow a one-time one year extension approved by RSSP. All additional requests must be approved by a grants officer at the funding agency. A justification is required for each request. To begin the process, send an email to Sandra McKinley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Joshua Boice (email@example.com) with the time requested and a justification for the request. They will contact the sponsor.
Industry Sponsored Research
Will the university accept Firm Fixed Price contracts?
We can but it puts us a some risk if the costs exceed the amount of the contract. RSSP will ask that the department and/or college agree to back-stop any overages.