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Proposal and Award Process

Grants and Contracts Development works closely with the Office of Sponsored Projects. The following figure illustrates the pre-award and post-award process involved in receiving and managing external funding.  Grants and Contracts Development manages the pre-award processes and the Office of Sponsored Projects manages the post-award processes.

Overview of Proposal Submission (Pre-Award) & Project Management (Post-Award)

Before you Begin:

  • What to Expect – Applying for and Managing a Grant

     The Grants and Contracts Development Team is here to support faculty and staff throughout the proposal development process.  We strive to make the process of preparing and submitting a proposal as straightforward as possible. The proposal development process takes minimally many weeks, and typically many months.  We are here to provide guidance, support the preparation of documents, facilitate internal approvals, and assemble and submit the proposal.  Along the way, the PI/PD leads the proposal development effort, developing content and preparing documents. Please see below – Proposal Development Process for a detailed description of roles and responsibilities.

    Once a project is funded, principal investigators/project directors (PIs/PDs) will work with the Office of Sponsored Projects with CSUSM Corporation through the duration of the award. CSUSM Corporation is responsible for the management of external funds awarded to CSUSM.

    At the outset, we want to convey that the administration of an externally funded project is a significant responsibility. We ask Principal Investigators/Project Directors as well as Co-Principial Investigators/Co-Project Directors to review the PI/PD Assurances and Co-PI/Co-PD Assurances to see the scope considerations that require their attention when it comes to managing a projects. These are assurances that are listed in the Cayuse Proposal Form as well.  

    PIs/PDs report a substantial amount of their time on the administrative aspects of managing an award, including the hiring and oversight of students and staff, monitoring the project budget, incurring expenditures, and reporting. Throughout the proposal development process, we encourage proposers to consider the level of support needed to perform the tasks and to budget accordingly.

  • What to Expect – Success after the First Attempt?
    We hope principal investigators/project directors make the pursuit of external funds a professional habit. Proposers are often not successful in receiving funding after the first submission. We encourage you to resubmit.
  • How we support the proposal development process

    While the PI/PD is responsible for reading the specific solicitation as well as the sponsors’ guidelines (e.g. NIH Forms F, NSF PAPPG) and preparing documents accordingly, Grants and Contracts Development provides another level of review for compliance. Here are some of roles and responsibilities in the proposal stage.

    Principal Investigator/Project Director Roles

    • Notify Grants and Contracts Development regarding submission 20 business days before the deadline
    • Complete Conflict of Interest Disclosure (where relevant)
    • Coordinate with appropriate departments as needed for specific issues related to the proposal (e.g. Safety, Health and Sustainability; IRB; IACUC; Global Education)
    • Develop proposal content according to sponsor guidance and RFA requirements
    • Secure sources of cost-sharing, approval for space, and other considerations by consulting chair and dean/MPP
    • Ensure approval of reduced indirect cost exception (where relevant)
    • Prepare budget with Grants and Contracts Development, finalizing 10 days in advance of the deadline
    • Provide final documents to Grants and Contracts Specialist according to the dates indicated on proposal timeline
    • Confirm accuracy and completeness of assembled package and approve submission


    Grants and Contracts Specialist Roles

    • Review sponsor guidelines and ensure PI follows guidance
    • Serve as point of contact for collaborating institutions
    • Provide timeline for proposal development, templates, checklist of documents required for submission
    • Support PI with budget development to ensure compliance with institutional and sponsor policies/guidance
    • Consult with other appropriate departments as needed for specific issues related to the proposal (e.g. Safety, Health and Sustainability, Risk Management; IRB; IACUC; Global Education)
    • Communicate Conflict of Interest and Responsible Conduct of Research requirements and collect COI forms
    • Ensure indirect cost recovery exceptions have been approved (where relevant)
    • Circulate proposal for internal approvals
    • Assemble proposals in sponsor’s platform (e.g.,,
    • Serve in the capacity of CSUSM’s Authorizing Official (Authorized Organizational Representative or AOR) for providing contracting and granting agencies assurances
    • Proposal submission

    With enough time, Grants and Contracts Development can assist in additional proposal tasks such as drafting language for Facilities documents and provide other boilerplate, formatting biosketches and initiating current and pending support forms, reviewing the narrative and summary and provide comments/suggestions.

Find Funding

STEP 1: Pre-Award Process

STEP 2: Transition from Pre-Award to Post-Award

STEP 3: Post-Award Processes

STEP 4: Project Completion

  • Project Close-out