Proposal review checklist
Whether this is your first proposal at Northern Arizona
University or one of many, we hope you will find it helpful to know how your
proposal is reviewed in the Office of Grant and Contract Services.
Although this checklist includes most of the issues of
potential concern to external sponsors and/or to the university, it is only a
guide and some items may not apply to your proposal. The primary documents we
review are the proposal approval form (the PAF), the sponsor’s program
announcement, and the completed proposal. Our review includes the following
types of issues:
Proposal Approval Form (PAF)
- Proposal approval form is complete, including all required
- The PI is eligible to submit.
- Approval (prospect clearance) has been received
from the NAU Foundation/Office of University Advancement for a proposal to a
foundation or business/corporation.
- Required compliance approvals (e.g., protocol
approval dates for human subjects, animal use protocols, radiation safety,
etc.) are documented; or if pending, the date of planned submission is given.
- Cost share or match is identified on the routing
form and supporting documentation is attached.
- Sponsor cost-sharing or matching requirements
voluntary, non-mandatory cost share has been authorized by the chair, director
and/or dean, and Vice Provost for Research.
- F and A rate is indicated on the routing form.
- Sponsor F and A restrictions are documented.
- University-approved waivers or reductions are
identified on the PAF and authorized in writing by the chair, director and/or
dean, and the Vice Provost for Research.
- Supplementary forms for subcontracts, inclusion
of administrative costs, the NSF/NIH investigator disclosure form, etc., if
applicable, are attached.
- A description and signed letter of approval are
attached if the proposal requires new construction or space beyond that which
is currently available in the department.
- The proposal format conforms to sponsor
requirements for type size, margins, spacing, page restrictions; requirements
for references, biographical sketches, etc.
- Proposal summary/abstract meets sponsor
- Institutional commitments described in the
proposal are documented on the cost share form and/or a letter signed by an
authorized institutional signatory.
- Third party cost share is documented by a signed
letter stating the value of the specific monetary and/or in-kind commitments.
- Deliverables are consistent with ABOR
requirements for ownership of Intellectual Property.
- Institutional statistical and other data on
student enrollment/graduation rates, etc. is accurate (information should be
reviewed with PAIR prior to submission).
- Proposed collaborations/subcontracts have been
authorized in writing by the partner agency/university, and include a budget and
proposed scope of work.
- Budget and budget justification match scope of
- Cost data (salaries, fringe benefits, operating
and material costs, indirect costs) are accurate and amounts shown are correct.
- Costs appear to be reasonable, allowable,
allocable, and necessary in accordance with the applicable federal cost
principles (OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/Grants/
or Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 31.2, Contracts with Commercial
Organizations, codified at 48 CFR 31.2, and available at http://www.arnet.gov/far/.
- Salaries and wages
- Pay rates (academic/summer vs. calendar year,
student hourly etc.) are identified. Faculty on nine month contracts paid out
over 12 months are eligible to earn three months summer salary.
- Summer salary is calculated based on the rate of
pay for the academic year just ended.
- Overall faculty level-of-effort, from all
sources, is not greater than 100%.
- Faculty academic year salary clearly indicates
whether release or supplemental pay is requested. Document supplemental pay
requests in accordance with OMB Circular A-21 Section J(8) requirements.
- Justifications are provided for administrative/clerical
staff support in accordance with OMB Circular A-21, Section F(6)(b).
- Cost-of-living adjustments are appropriate
(three to five percent).
- Expected promotions/tenure adjustments have been
factored into salaries.
- Students do not work more than 20 hours per week
total (0.5 FTE) from all sources.
- Undergraduate research stipends (not wages) are
listed under participant support (even if they are paid out as wages).
- Employee-related expenses (ERE) or fringe benefits
- A flat rate is not used for all employees;
rather ERE rates are estimated for each employee based on the employee’s
eligibility for and election of benefits (family or single health coverage,
- Graduate research assistants (GRA) receive
tuition remission and insurance benefits in accordance with their appointments
(full time or part time). See policy guidelines.
- Equipment and supply items are correctly
categorized. Northern Arizona University defines equipment as movable tangible
property having a life expectancy of one year or more and a unit cost of $5,000
or more. The following items are capitalized when ordered on the same purchase
order and have an aggregate cost of $5,000 or more: central processing unit
(CPU), keyboard, monitor, and operating system (not including application
software like Microsoft Word).
- Travel costs are described in sufficient detail
to be able to determine reasonableness.
- Consultant rates are documented and within
- Food and refreshment costs are clearly
documented and justified in proposal.
- Subcontracts are identified and subcontractor
has agreed to participate; Request to Issue a Subcontract Form has been
- Materials and supplies are project-related and
reasonable, allowable, allocable and necessary.
- The university’s
federally approved rates are used unless a different rate has been specified by
the sponsor (documentation attached) or approved in writing by the Chairs,
Deans, and Vice President for Research (allow two weeks for review).
- Use of the
off-campus indirect rate has been approved.
- All cost share is listed on the PAF, including
the amount and source of the cost share or match.
- Authorizing signatures are provided for internal
cost share and match.
- External cost share is documented by a letter of
specific support from the collaborator.