Grant Administration

Chemistry Grant Proposals

All Chemistry grant proposals are to be submitted through the Department of Chemistry Grants Manager to Princeton’s Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA).

The Grants Manager will assist with proposal development. Please take note of the deadline for the submission of your proposal and allow time for proper review by the Department of Chemistry and ORPA. A full 5 working days of lead time is required for institutional review and additional 3-5 working days should be allowed for review and processing by the Chemistry Grants Manager. All proposals must be submitted to ORPA through the University's grant database (COEUS) to obtain approval for the submission.

In order to adhere to the above timeline, please forward the deadline and funding announcement, along with the desired start and end dates for the project, to the Grants Manager as soon as you decide to submit a proposal. This will allow for a thorough review of the proposal requirements. Particular attention should be paid to requirements addressing allowable/unallowable expenditures, page limits, earliest start dates, font requirements and margin size. It is also important to make sure bio-sketches and current and pending support are updated to include the most up to date information, as required by the sponsor.

The Grants Manager will also assist with budget development based on the project needs. To begin developing the budget, provide the Grants Manager with details on the total dollar amount you are expecting to apply for, as well as information on the project’s specific needs. Below is a series of questions that can assist in determining what line items are typically included in a proposal budget. Cost sharing is not permitted without approval from the Dean of Faculty, unless it is required by the proposal. A budget justification should be prepared to explain all expenditures in the budget. Please note that Princeton University fully supports the academic year salaries of Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors, but makes no specific commitment of academic year time or salary to a particular research project.

It is only allowable to commit summer effort and charge summer salary (up to 2.5 months) to sponsored grants taking into consideration certain sponsor restrictions, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) policy that allows no more than two months of regular salary to any one Principal Investigator in any one year and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) salary cap. For reference, see the ORPA rate sheet.


Budget Development Guide

  • Will I be committing effort and thus budgeting Principal Investigator (PI) summer salary?
  • How many postdoctoral researchers would I like to budget and at what level of experience?
  • What graduate student support will I need? Will it be only during the academic year or would I like to budget summer support as well?
  • Does the NIH or NSF cap apply?
  • What Materials and Services will this proposal require?
  • Will I need to purchase any equipment for this project?
  • Do I need to budget any foreign or domestic travel?
  • Will I need to plan on costs for publications?
  • Will there be any subcontracts?
  • Will there be an exception to the full indirect cost rate? Certain sponsors restrict the indirect cost rate and in such cases the indirect cost rate may be lower. In these cases, the budget will account for full graduate student tuition rather than the reduced rate charged on grants that incur the full federally negotiated F&A rate.
  • Will the budget vary from year to year?

If there are plans to subcontract, you may use the subaward checklist to reference the required documentation.  the subcontractor must submit the subaward commitment form along with a budget, budget justification, a signed A-133 Questionnaire, and statement of work (SOW). 

The current rate sheet for budget development, and many other useful documents can be found on the Princeton ORPA website.


Award Process

Upon receipt of the award from the sponsor, the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) issues a Notice of Award (NOA) which assigns a chartstring to the award. This number is used to "charge" personnel and/or materials and services to the project. If an award was not fully funded at the time of receipt, the budget may need to be adjusted accordingly.


Monitoring Project Costs

Although the Business Office monitors all spending, the Principal Investigator is ultimately charged with being responsible for appropriate spending. If periodic review of the grant reveals unallowable charges, these will need to be covered with unrestricted funds. Moreover, unallowable charges removed from a fully-spent or closed grant will result in an available balance that may need to be returned to the sponsor.

Each project is different, but there are general guidelines that will help ensure funds are spent appropriately. When charging expenses to a grant, make sure they were included in the final budget submitted to the sponsor. If not, inquire with the Grants Manager to determine if this is indeed an allowable charge, or if a re-budget is required. Also, it is important that spending is within the start and end dates of the project. If pre-award spending is warranted, speak to the Grants Manager to complete the pre-award spending authorization, requesting the ability to do so. If an award is about to end but the project is not over, a no-cost extension may be an option and the Grants Manager can help determine eligibility.

Many unallowable costs are those that are considered indirect costs and they are covered under the standard Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Charge. These expenses include administrative salaries, copies, telephone services, office supplies, mailing services and more. Computers, printers and computer related supplies also fall under general administrative charges and in most circumstances are unallowable as direct charges on a sponsored research grant. Other unallowable costs are those that are considered professional development or personal expenses, such as membership dues. The direct and indirect charging policy is available on the Princeton Finance and Treasury website.

When charging costs to sponsored research grants, it is important to take the time to determine if the charge is allowable, allocable, and reasonable. A cost is allowable if it is permitted by the conditions of the sponsor and it is in line with Princeton University Policies. To determine if a cost is allocable, it needs to be incurred solely to benefit the project. For example: would a prudent person purchase this item, would it withstand public scrutiny, and is it necessary for the performance of the sponsored research project? The answer to each of these questions must be "yes."


Cost Transfers

There are times when costs may need to be transferred from one project grant to another. Perhaps an incorrect chartfield was referenced or the charge clearly belongs to an alternate chartstring. Charges are transferred via journal entries processed by the Business Office. If you find that a charge must be moved, please schedule a meeting with someone in the Business Office to discuss.

Please keep in mind:

Whether a charge is being moved to one chartfield or split among multiple chartfields, the charge must be allowable and allocable to that award. Also, there must be a clear reason as to why the charge must be moved.

If it is determined that a charge is eligible for transfer, the Business Office will require a brief explanation or confirmation in writing stipulating the reason the charge is being moved and how it pertains to the new chartfield(s).

*Note:  PIs are strongly encouraged to review their accounts on a monthly basis.  The Business Office monitors expenses charged as closely as possible, however the PI’s are better equipped to spot charges which may need to be adjusted.  As such, all retro-active adjustments should be identified and processed within 90 days of being incurred. 


Foreign Travel

Travel charges to federally funded sponsored research accounts must be in compliance with the Fly America Act, which requires the use of U.S. flag carriers to the maximum extent possible. This requirement is mandated by the federal government and has been in effect in various forms since the 1970s. In some instances, a non-U.S. air carrier may be used if it meets one or more of the exception criteria listed in the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) guidelines section 301-10.135-138. The waiver of Fly America Act checklist lists all available exceptions, which include Code Share and Open Skies Agreement. Note that some federal agencies may consider Canada, Mexico, and/or U.S. Territories as a “foreign” country.

Check with the Grants Manager for clarification on exceptions before travel is booked.

University travelers are encouraged to review the University Travel site for comprehensive travel information and to register their travel in the University Travel Database prior to traveling outside the United States.


General Travel Notes

It is important to note that a traveler may not be reimbursed from federal funds for any transportation costs for which the traveler improperly used a foreign air carrier service and for trips in which the traveler’s expense does not directly relate to the project.

Internet and telephone services while staying in a hotel are not typically considered direct charges to a sponsored grant, unless they are required to carry out research related to the project while traveling.

Travel reimbursements are reviewed by the Business Office for verification that the travel charge is allowable/allocable to a specific project grant/account prior to submission to accounts payable for processing. Examples of what is reviewed include: determining that travel is budgeted, ensuring that sufficient funds are available, and ensuring that the work of the personnel submitting the charges is directly related to the project.

Should you have questions regarding what charges are allowable prior to submission of vouchers for reimbursement, please contact the Business Office.

Additional information, including detail on ORPA’s training session, can be found on the Princeton ORPA website.