Proposal Clearance

Before submission to an external funding agency, all UofL proposals must be reviewed and have the appropriate approvals. The review process includes review by the department chair/unit head, the respective dean or designee and potential review and approval by university compliance offices/committees, such as the Human Subjects Protection Program/Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Animal Use/Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

The following documents are required for review: 

Review and approval by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration is the final step in the process prior to proposal submission. Proposals are submitted by the institution on behalf of the principal investigator (PI). In the event that the sponsoring agency allows the PI to directly submit, a fully signed copy of the PCF is required prior to submission.

The complete package (final version of proposal and signed PCF) should be submitted via iRIS. More information is available in the UofL Research Handbook

Proposals for all sponsored activities (including research, training/education, public service, clinical research, and clinical trials/drug/device studies) must be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA), for review and approval prior to submission to the sponsor.



For proposals that are required to be institutionally submitted (i.e., via OSPA to the sponsor, PIs must submit the entire completed and final proposal (in the form, if any, provided by the particular sponsor [e.g., nonprofit foundation application form;, NSF, etc. if a federal submission]), inclusive of ALL sponsor- or agency-mandated components to OSPA five (5) full business days prior to the sponsoring agency’s deadline date. Submissions must be made through iRIS.

Examples of required documents include the institutional signature page, abstract, budget and budget justification narrative, data sharing plan, etc. For NIH proposals, the SF424 form must be included. These may be uploaded to the iRIS eProposal form.

If the iRIS Short Form is used instead of the eProposal, or if the PI’s or any collaborating department requires departmental signoff prior to submission to OPSA, a completed Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) signed by the principal investigators (PIs), co-investigators (Co-Is), faculty members, key personnel, department chair(s), dean(s) and/or appropriate unit head(s) should be submitted in addition to the proposal application/documents. Use the PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page as required. If such additional individuals have not been named at the time of proposal, insert percent effort and title for the position, using “TBD” in place of individual’s name. Signatures of all such other participants will be required prior to the establishment of an award.

SBIR/STTR PROPOSALS: Only small business concerns are eligible applicants under the federal SBIR/STTR programs. Planned UofL subaward proposals to a small business concern are to be submitted for review to OSPA following the procedure above. Include the electronic version of the UofL-specific consortium/subcontractor pages of the electronic proposal that the small business concern will incorporate into its submission, along with the completed/signed PCF and associated attachments, as needed. If the UofL activities are not clearly identified in the small business concern’s overall technical statement of work, also provide to OSPA a UofL-specific statement of work. (NOTE: Please submit SBIR/STTR subaward proposals to OSPA sufficiently in advance of the federal deadline to allow OSPA review, as well as review and upload by the small business concern.)

For proposals to be submitted directly by the PI to the sponsor, PIs are required to submit, as applicable, any page requiring authorized university signature, all sponsor/agency form pages, an abstract/description of the UofL scope of work/project, budget (including all project personnel and percent effort), budget justification narrative, a copy of or web link to the sponsor’s program guidelines, and a contract if appropriate, to OSPA five (5) full business days prior to the sponsor’s deadline date.  Submissions must be made through iRIS. 

If the iRIS Short Form is used instead of the eProposal, or if the PI’s or any collaborating department requires departmental signoff prior to submission to OPSA, a completed Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) signed by the principal investigators (PIs), co-investigators (Co-Is), faculty members, key personnel, department chair(s), dean(s) and/or appropriate unit head(s) should be submitted in addition to the proposal application/documents.  Use the PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page as required. If such additional individuals have not been named at the time of proposal, insert percent effort and title for the position, using “TBD” in place of individual’s name. Signatures of all such other participants will be required prior to the establishment of an award.


An unfunded collaboration is a relationship where each party is independently funding its portion of a research project which is anticipated to achieve a common goal. As the name indicates, no funding is provided to the university by the other party. In general, unfunded collaborations should be reviewed carefully for the benefit to the university as well as the other party (e.g., to ensure public funds are not used for private gain). A formal written agreement may not always be needed dependent upon the nature of the collaborative project; however, it is usually advisable to document in writing the expected duties and responsibilities as well as document any risk or liability issues. If institutional approval is needed, a Proposal Clearance Form should be prepared in accordance with these instructions, and OSPA will review and negotiate the terms of such an agreement and sign it on behalf of ULRF.

In any case, the UofL PI should inform his/her department chair, dean, and/or unit head of all unfunded collaborations, and should contact the UofL Research Integrity Program if any conflict of interest exists. In addition, the funding source for UofL's participation in such collaborative work will need to be identified. If the funds are other than unrestricted (e.g., gift or departmental funds), it may be necessary to verify with the provider of the funds that such funds may be used for the collaboration.

Gifts are administered by the Development Office through the University of Louisville Foundation, Inc. and do not require preparation and submission of a Proposal Clearance Form. Guidance for determining if the project is a sponsored activity or a gift can be found in the UofL Guidelines for Designating Funding as a Gift or a Sponsored Program. You may consult with OSPA to ensure compliance with applicable university policies and procedures and to assist in answering questions regarding proper processing within the university.


  • The project title listed should be the official title of the proposal. This will allow the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) the ability to locate the proposal if limited information is provided during negotiation/award. A nonconfidential title should be used. Due to PeopleSoft data entry restrictions, please limit the length of the title to no more than 254 characters.
  • List complete information for principal investigators, co-investigators and all other participants. If the proposal involves multiple PIs, list the contact PI (the single point of contact to the sponsor) in the initial blank, then provide complete information for each of the other PIs and/or Co-Is. Also answer for other UofL participants. Use the PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page as needed. (Note: Complete information is required for key personnel at time of proposal, for all other identified individuals at time of award.) List any unfilled position by role on project (e.g., postdoctoral fellow, GRA, technician, etc.).

    The department name and number refer to the academic appointment (ACAP) of the PIs and Co-Is. If the PIs and/or Co-Is are from different departments, the department chair, dean and/or unit head for each must sign the PCF and PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page, as required.

    The percent effort on the project is the percent of university effort being committed for this project. (If the project is multiple years, identify percent effort per year. For example, if the first year is 20%, second year is 15% and third year is 10%, enter 20%/15%/10% or state the percentage per year.)

    The percent RIF (formerly "collaboration") must total 100%, distributed among project PIs and Co-Is. This information determines the distribution of research infrastructure funds (RIF) and departmental research infrastructure funds (DRIF) which are a return of a portion of indirect costs to support efforts to secure and maintain extramurally funded activities.

    The percent project contribution must total 100%, distributed among project PIs and Co-Is for the project, and must be greater than or equal to 1% for each individual investigator. This represents the contribution that each investigator will make to the project. It is based upon an agreement between the project’s PI(s) and Co-I(s) and is used to assign institutional “credit” for the project and research space (through institutional reporting) to individuals/schools/colleges. All PIs and Co-Is should report project contribution whether or not they are scheduled to receive RIF.

    The intellectual property policy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) governs employees (with or without compensation, full- or part-time). Complete this line if you have any type of appointment with VA or VA Hospital. For example, if you have a dual or joint appointment with VA Hospital, this policy impacts the intellectual property of research you do with others. You may be required to disclose intellectual property resulting from research to the VA. Indicate the amount or percentage of your appointment with VA.
  • (a) Identify the agency, company, or foundation to which this proposal will be sent and which will issue payments directly to the university. Check appropriate box to identify if primary source of funding to this sponsor will be federal- or state-sponsored. Identify the funding agency URL (web address). For nongovernmental sponsors, identify a contact name and full contact information.

    (b) If this is a collaborative project, a potential subaward agreement or other flow-through arrangement, indicate name of entity providing overall funding but not direct payments to the university. Check box if not applicable. Identify the funding agency URL (web address). For nongovernmental sponsors, identify a contact name and full contact information.
  • Identify the name of the program to which you are applying. Indicate the agency program number (e.g., Program Announcement number, Broad Agency Announcement number, Request For Proposals/Request For Applications number) and the CFDA number if applicable or known.
  • (a.) Indicate if project is a clinical trial, device study or drug study using the UofL definition of clinical trial for the purpose of proposal submission. If yes, include a completed Clinical Attachment with your submission.

    (b) Indicate if the project will use the clinical services/resources or facilities of an affiliated entity/health-care provider: Norton Healthcare (NHC), Uof L Health, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). If yes, include a completed Clinical Attachment with your submission.

    (c) Indicate if the project will involve specimens, tissues or personally identifiable (not de-identified as defined by HIPAA) data/information (human materials). If yes, include a completed Clinical Attachment. If your project will use “human materials” for which IRB review is required, remember to (i) include IRB review fee in your budget, and (ii) submit the appropriate documents to the IRB in adequate time to have needed approvals by the time of award.

    (d) Indicate if human materials or other biological/chemical materials are being received by the university from another entity or if we are sending such from the university to another entity.

  • Indicate whether funding instrument will be a grant, subgrant/subcontract, cooperative agreement or contract. For guidance, see the Research Handbook, Section 3.2
  • Indicate whether award will be new, a competitive renewal, a continuation, a supplement, an SBIR or STTR (indicate phase in respective blank), a transfer, or other (specify in blank).
  • Indicate whether the project purpose is research, training/education, public service, other sponsored activity (typically includes service agreements), clinical trial, clinical research (involves human subjects but the project does not meet the definition of a clinical trial as specified in 5a above), or other (specify in blank).
  • Indicate if the Development Office participated in the proposal preparation. Provide the name of your contact if applicable.
  • Identify any Board of Trustees-approved center or institute through which this project will be conducted.
  • Identify any UofL service center participating in this project. Include an estimate of the budget from this project for the service center and the time period in which the center will be utilized.
  • Indicate if equipment will be supplied by the sponsor or others to enable you to complete the project (versus you procuring equipment or using existing equipment). The PI is responsible for notifying Risk Management if any third party-owned equipment will be brought into the university. The resulting contract/award should address risk of loss, insurance or liability issues.
  • Indicate if software supplied by the sponsor or obtained from a third party will be used in the project. Note: A separate license agreement may be required.
  • Please identify the field of science category closest to your efforts on this project. If your area is not specifically listed, please use one of the OTHER options and provide specific information in the indicated area.
  • Please list keywords appropriate for research interests related specifically to this proposal. These keywords identify faculty research areas in order to match them to requests for information and for distributing extramural funding opportunities.
  • If the project requires any UofL participant to interact with or handle human subjects, animals, or agents impacting environmental health and safety (ionizing radiation devices/isotopes; recombinant DNA; pathogenic organisms; CDC/USDA select agents; human blood, tissues, cell lines, other potentially infectious materials [OPIM]; highly toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic agents), the proposal must be submitted to the respective committees for internal review. If the project will involve one of the items a–h, (i.e., yes is checked), the PI must contact the appropriate office or committee that oversees the safe use and regulation of these items. Compliance committees and offices, including contact numbers, are listed on the Research and Innovation web site. The university will accept an “approval pending” if the internal review is not completed prior to the proposal deadline unless otherwise required by the sponsoring entity. A copy of the approval letter(s) associated with the project (or other official approval mechanism used by the committee) must be on file in Sponsored Programs Administration, prior to chartfield establishment. For clinical trials, a chartfield may be established for site initiation visits and other startup costs and the clinical trial agreement may be executed prior to receiving final IRB approval, but no human subjects can be consented/enrolled without the IRB approval. If available at the time of proposal submission, list the IRB, IACUC or IBC approval number in the respective area, and indicate the approval date or other status for items a–h. Approvals from IRB, IACUC or IBC referencing the OSPA project number should be supplied to OSPA upon the PI’s receipt of such approvals to avoid delays in establishment of the award.
  • Faculty release time occurs when an appropriate percentage of time is not available according to the annual workload agreement.
  • Salary recovery occurs when any portion of a faculty member’s university-sponsored institutional base salary is to be paid by the sponsor.
  • Approved additional nonbase pay (formerly known as “x-pay”) is considered only on an exceptional basis. The faculty member must sign a statement indicating that the effort on the grant plus any outside work does not exceed an average of one day per week paid by UofL as permitted under Section 4.3.3 of the Redbook. If the effort exceeds the “one day per week” rule, salary release to compensate the university must be recovered.
  • Check “yes” if sponsor requires cost share or matching funds. Fill in details in budget section.
  • The unit dean should provide notification to central administration if such commitments will require collaboration between units or support from central administration.
  • The PI should follow up with the unit dean to assure that the new courses, degree programs, centers or institutes are appropriate and will be implemented to fulfill the obligations of the resulting award/contract.

Please note:

  • The unit dean is asked to approve a plan for the need for additional space or facilities to provide information for overall planning. Please follow up with your unit to ensure that the required activities will be available or completed by the anticipated time of award.
  • The unit dean must approve a plan for any of these activities to provide information for overall institutional planning. Please follow up with your unit to ensure that the required space or facilities will be available by the anticipated time of award.
  • The unit dean should consider what might be needed and be sure to provide pertinent information to others affected. Include a list of the special requirements.
  • Equipment, technology systems and capital construction which exceed $200,000 require authorization in the state budget before they can be acquired or construction started. You should submit plans for such items through your unit’s capital construction/major equipment planning process so that they can be included for state budget authorization. Include the contact person and phone number.
  • Where will the bulk of the university work take place? If more than 50% of a project's salaries and wages are incurred at an off-campus facility (exclusive of any subaward performance sites), the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project. Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than one facilities & administrative cost (a.k.a. indirect cost) rate. (See F&A indirect cost information.) Identify the campus, building and room number.


When completing the budget section, please include the amounts for the ENTIRE PERIOD OF THE PROPOSAL (unless otherwise directed by the sponsor). As a result it will not be necessary to complete a new PCF each year of the funded project. Once the PI(s), chair(s), and appropriate dean(s) and/or unit head(s) approve the initial proposal, their approvals are not necessary for subsequent years unless changes to budget, percent effort, personnel, etc. are later required.

      1. (a) Indicate previously assigned chartfield number (e.g., OGMB/OGMN number) if proposal is for a renewal, continuation or supplement of an existing award or contract.

        (b) If the department ID number for budget, expenditure and procurement purposes is different from the primary appointment of the PI, it must be listed.

        (c) Budget Period – Indicate the timeframe (month/day/year) for which the funds are requested. If the grant period is more than one year, include all years.

        (d) Requested from Sponsor – Direct Costs: Budget categories should include all direct cost amounts requested from the sponsor. Provide amounts for the following budget pool categories as applicable:

        Salary & Wages 511000
        Fringe Benefits 512000
        Equipment > $5K per item 190000 List equipment costing less than $5,000 per item under Supplies & Expense
        Alteration/Renovation > $100K 190000 Cost revisions which cause budget to fall below $100K threshold per project (e.g., final cost is only $99K, or two separate renovation projects total $50K each) will disqualify project as a capitalized expense and will incur F&A when spent
        Subawards < $25K 545295 List the cumulative total up to the first $25,000 for all subawards; identify subawards individually in Item 19; any subcontracts should be listed as Supplies & Expense 519000
        Subawards > $25K 545297 List the cumulative total of amounts over $25,000 for all subawards
        Supplies & Expense 519000
        Travel 535000
        Tuition 520000
        Participant Support 520000

        (e) Add the amounts identified in 18d. The sum of these categorized amounts is the total direct cost (TDC) base.

        See full explanation of F&A costs and related budget issues at F&A Indirect Costs

        (f) UofL Cost Share—Cost sharing must be identified if: Sponsor requires specific university matching; time and effort of university personnel on the project is not allowed by the sponsor; salary being requested is not equivalent to committed effort; university cost sharing is committed in the narrative of the proposal. Include foregone F&A that would otherwise have been recovered had the direct cost amounts not been cost shared. The PI must provide justification for all cost sharing identified in the proposal. Indicate the speedtype from which each cost share category will be paid.

        NOTE: Due to federal rules all committed cost sharing identified in the proposal to the sponsor must be separately budgeted and accounted for. Non-mandatory cost sharing should not be committed.

        Budget categories should include amounts of in-kind or new funds needed for the project. The source of these funds must be identified by speedtype number. In-kind funds are those already available for the project. New funds are new dollars from UofL sources not currently available, but approved for this project. See the university's policy concerning the Tuition Remission Cost Sharing for GRA on grants and contracts.  If there is a third-party cost share, please enter name of entity, type of cost sharing, and amount in budget remarks section. Also, submit with the PCF written confirmation of the agreement FROM the third party. ANY COST SHARING MUST BE APPROVED IN WRITING BY THE APPROPRIATE UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION TO THE OUTSIDE AGENCY.

        (g) Exclusions to TDC Base – List any direct costs that have been included in the amounts in section 18d that are not subject to facilities & administrative (F&A) charges. Be sure to explain any items under the Other category.

        (h) Add the amounts identified in 18g to show total exclusions.

        (i) Subtract the sum of these exclusions (18h) from the total direct costs (18e). The result is the modified total direct cost (MTDC) base.

        (j) F&A – List the F&A rate applicable to this project. Multiply the TDC base (18e) or MTDC base (18i), as applicable, by the F&A rate to show the amount of F&A costs. Note: Typically only industry clinical projects or projects utilizing a published and uniformly applied indirect rate that is less than our federally negotiated rate are eligible to use the TDC base in calculating F&A.

        Select the appropriate F&A type from the dropdown menu. Choose from Organized Research, Instruction, Other Sponsored Activities, Industry Clinical.

        Select the appropriate F&A base from the dropdown menu. Choose from Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC), Total Direct Cost (TDC), Industry Direct Clinical (IDC), Other.

        (k) Total Cost of Project – Add the TDC base from 18e and the F&A amount from 18j to show the total cost of the project. Provide totals for sponsored funds as well as cost-shared amounts.

        A checkbox is provided to indicate the PI’s request to set up the budget within the PeopleSoft financial system as a lump sum rather than broken down by category. This option is available for projects funded by nonfederal sponsors that do not limit spending to budget categories and do not require approval for variances from proposed budgets. Note: This option is not applicable to NIH modular budgets.

        (l) Budget Remarks: Please comment on any cost share or third-party match, on any nonstandard F&A items, and on any budget item requiring explanation or justification.

      2. List any organizations—including Professional Services Corporations (PSC) or Private Practice Plans—that will provide services or receive payments from ULRF for this project. Include the cumulative costs in budget: all subawards in Subawards ≤ or > $25K; all subcontracts in Supplies & Expense. Include with your proposal submission a statement of work for each subawardee and subcontractor.
      3. Responsible Signatory: Each principal investigator, co-investigator, faculty member, key personnel, other participant, department chair (or appropriate unit head), and unit dean (or appropriate unit head) must sign. Additional signature lines are available on a separate page (PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page) accessible via the hyperlink at the end of Item 2 on the PCF. Each signatory must be aware of what is being signed and the associated individual level of responsibility.


  • It is possible that your unit has procedures or requirements in addition to those indicated here.
  • The responsible signatures must be obtained BEFORE the PCF is submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA)for final approval.
  • If the signed PCF is submitted electronically to OSPA, it is understood that each department of academic appointment, college, school, unit or institutional office will maintain its own original signatures as presented on its copy of the PCF.
  • If you are aware of intellectual property issues on this project, please review our Intellectual Property Policy. Contact the Commercialization EPI-Center (852-2965) if you have any questions.
  • Please remember to include the name of the individual to be contacted for questions and follow-up by OSPA. When possible it is recommended to list someone in addition to the PI, such as a unit business manager. Include the sponsor’s deadline date (if applicable) at the top of the PCF form.
  • The OSPA will contact you or your department (if an email address or phone number is provided) when your approved paper proposal is ready to be picked up. (Not applicable for electronic submissions.)
  • In the case of proposals to be submitted directly by the PI, you are responsible for getting your proposal to the sponsor by the proposal deadline, unless other arrangements have been made in advance. OSPA will copy and mail your paper proposal to the sponsor if it is provided to OSPA in final form seven (7) working days before the deadline and arrangements are made in advance with an OSPA staff member.
  • All award notifications must be sent to OSPA who will notify the PIs, any Co-Is and the unit liaisons of the university chartfield and speedtype numbers assigned to the funded award. When the PI learns from the sponsoring agency that funding for the proposal looks promising or likely, please notify the OSPA so that items needing to be completed prior to time of award can be addressed.
  • If you have any question about the items on the PCF, the PCF/MIRA Additional Signature Page, or the PCF Clinical Attachment, please call the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.