Frequently Asked Questions

How do I route a Proposal?

All proposals should be routed through the Office of Research Services using GU Pass.  The Proposal in GU Pass should be completed in full and endorsed  by your appropriate departmental chair.  Once the proposal is approved at the department level it will be routed through the system to the Office of Research Services for review and approval before submission to the sponsor.

GU PASS routes an electronic transmittal package for PI review and assurance, Chair approval and review and approval by ORS.  Visit FAQ for GU Pass. To facilitate the navigation on GU Pass we have created this GU Pass Job Aid.

If you have never submitted a proposal in GU Pass please contact the GU Pass team ( to create an account before submitting a proposal

How do I route a Proposal for the Law Center?

All proposals should be routed through the Grants Administration department prior to submitting using GU Pass. The Grants team can assist in budget development and ensure the proposal package is complete and had obtained necessary approvals. Such approvals are needed in the instance a potential conflict of interest arise or a reduced indirect cost is requested by the Sponsor. Once the Grants team approve the proposal package, it can be routed through ORS using GU Pass.

How far in advance do I have to submit my application for review and approval to the Office of Research Services ORS?

The Office of Research Services (ORS) submits the proposals. All proposals for external research funding by Main Campus/Law Center faculty and Centers/Institutes must be reviewed by the Grants and Contracts team of the Office of Research Services (ORS) prior to submission and by the Grants team at the Law Center prior to submission to ORS. To ensure comprehensive and high quality reviews, all proposal documents must be submitted in a timely fashion.

In particular faculty should comply with the following deadlines:

  • FIVE DAY RULE: all administrative components, including budgets, must be submitted at least five business days prior to the sponsor’s submission deadline; and
  • THREE DAY RULE: all technical/scientific components must be submitted at least three business days prior to the sponsor’s submission deadline.

Proposals that do not comply with these deadlines will be reviewed to the extent possible, but quality assurance and compliance with university and sponsor requirements cannot be guaranteed.

For private foundations and other organizations the PI can submit the proposal directly to the sponsor once ORS has approved the proposal in GU Pass.

What are the Main Campus Research Proposal Steps and Deadlines?

Please visit Main Campus Research Proposal Steps and Deadlines for additional information.

I have never written a proposal before where do I start?

Please check resources available on this section.

Who submits a proposal to a Foundation?

Once your proposal in GU Pass has received ORS approval the PI submits to the Foundation via their portal, in some instances the sponsor will require the proposal to be submitted via email. Please take note of their specific guidance.

Can I serve as a PI or Co-I if I am a Fellow (non tenure-track faculty) ?

Yes, fellows may serve as PI or co-PI as far as they have the Chair’s approval.  

What are Facilities and Administrative Cost (F&A, Indirect or Overhead)?

Facilities and Administrative costs, commonly referred to as indirect costs, are charges not directly borne by the project.  For example, cost associated with utilities and administration are indirectly charged. Our current NICRA can be found here. Please visit Rates, Facts & Figures for additional information.

Please refer to de minimis rate as per 2 CFR 200.414(f) “any non-Federal entity that does not have a current negotiated (including provisional) rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in appendix VII to this part, paragraph D.1.b, may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. No documentation is required to justify the 10% de minimis indirect cost rate. As described in §200.403, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time”.

What are the Principles Underlying Indirect Costs for External Grants and Contracts?

Please refer to the University Support for Activities of Externally Funded Research in Research Institutes, Centers, and Initiatives

Who is the Authorized Organizational Representative? 

he authorization to sign proposals, awards and other non-financial official documents related to sponsored programs is vested in staff within the Office of Research Services (ORS). The Authorized Organizational Representative is an individual(s) who can represent, commit and legally bind the University on applications or proposals submitted to sponsors and to represent the University in negotiations for and administration of sponsored programs and their associated activities.

Chairs, faculty and staff are not authorized to obligate the University on paper or electronic applications or proposals or to execute the resulting grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts for sponsored projects.

Who do I contact for Proposal Development support in Main Campus?

Jill T. Brasky – ORS – Research Development Specialist

Dennis Blumenfield – ORS – Research Development Specialist

Any request for Proposal Development assistance can be sent to:

Who do I contact for Proposal Review and Approval?

All proposals are required to be routed in GU-PASS for institutional review and approval prior to the sponsor’s deadline:

All Federal Proposals (except DoD & NSF), Blair Ribeiro – Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator

DoD and Non-Federal Proposals (All Private, Non-For Profit and DOD), Marie McElroy – Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator

NSF Proposals, Hector Tiongson – Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator

Pre Award Management, Rocio Marino-Crumley – Manager Grants and Contracts Team

Which proposals need to be processed through Office of Research Services (ORS)?

Any proposal requiring an authorized university signature and involves a project that commits University resources, proposes deliverables, requires a budget, involves a sub-recipient, involves human subjects, animal subjects, radiation or biohazards. Contact the ORS Team via email  if you have questions whether your proposal should be submitted through ORS.

Why does my Chair need to sign off on my proposal?

Your Chair/Dean are required to sign off on the proposal so that they are aware of the research and sponsored activity taking place in their department and college; their endorsement are obtained via the routing of the proposal in GU Pass. Additionally, the Chair and Dean are permitted to commit University resources to the proposal if required. Their endorsements authorizing such commitments are necessary for the University’s records.

Where can I find additional information for Proposal Development?

Please visit here for additional information on proposal development and additional resources.

How do I include sub-agreements in my proposal?

Each subcontract should be properly identified in your prime proposed budget (usually under the line contractual).  In addition, you should have a separate institutional approved itemized budget and scope of work for each subcontract reflecting the approved overhead. It is important to mention that IDC will be charged to the full sub-award in a foundation or nonprofit proposal.

Georgetown University requires a consortium letter from the sub-recipient institution. You should be aware that the federal agencies will require the same information of the subcontract’s Principal Investigator as is required of yourself.  

Under Federal Grants Georgetown University will charge overhead on the first $25,000 of each subcontract.  Please allow additional time for the paperwork to be processed at the subrecipient’s home institution.

What documents does ORS need to prepare an outgoing subagreement?

In addition to a scope of work and milestones and payments, please request a Letter of Intent from our subs.  The LOI should include the subawardee project director, institutional administrator, period of performance, total of the agreement Upon receipt of these documentation ORS will access our database to determine whether the subawardee institution needs to register as supplier in GMS.

  • When Georgetown University is a subrecipient, and if a Letter of Intent (LOI) template is needed, then please choose from one of the two LOI templates below, but not both: GU LOI_Letter or GU LOI_Form. 
  • When Georgetown University  has a subrecipient (outgoing subaward) on a project, please use the following LOI template below if one is needed and if the subrecipient does not have an LOI template of their own please use Subrecipient_ LOI Template.

When a proposal is considered to be off-campus and therefore subject to the lower overhead rate?

The definition of off-campus is dependent upon how the work is to be charged rather than where the work is to be done. Our negotiated rate agreement defines off-campus:

For all activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project, the off-campus rate will apply. Grants or contract will not be subject to more than one F&A cost rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project. An approval by Law Center’s CFO is required whenever a lower overhead rate is proposed by the Sponsor.

What letters of intent are needed for a proposal submission?

When Georgetown University  is a subrecipient, and if a Letter of Intent (LOI) template is needed, then please choose from one of the two LOI templates below, but not both: GU LOI_Letter or GU LOI_Form. 

When Georgetown University  has a subrecipient (outgoing subaward) on a project, please use the following LOI template below if one is needed and if the subrecipient does not have an LOI template of their own please use Subrecipient_ LOI Template.

Other sample letters for proposals can be found here.

Where can I find the guidelines to set up At Risk Accounts?

Please visit Advance (At-Risk) Accounts to view the University’s policy on Advance Accounts, which are primarily used for new grants that are awaiting the Notice of Award and for multi-year grants that are waiting for their annual authorization. 

As of March 16, 2021, the Provost’s Finance Office has authorized the use of Advance Accounts for multi-year grants that are waiting for their annual authorization and for new grants waiting for their notice of award.  To set up an At-Risk account, complete the at-risk account form and route to the appropriate offices for signature before sending it to ORS for approval.

Who will submit the Law Center’s proposal after Office of Research Services (ORS) approve?

The PI or their delegate can notify ORS whether they choose to submit the proposal or have ORS submit the proposal.  The Law Center’s Grants Administration department can also submit the proposal on behalf of the PI.

How do I transfer an award TO Georgetown University?

Review the agency guidelines governing the grant and notify the Office of Research Services of your desire to transfer your grant.  

The previous institution will need to prepare a relinquishing statement (required for federal projects) to send to the sponsoring agency.  Obtain a copy of the relinquishing statement for your records and the GU Office of Research Services 

Route the transfer as if it was a GU proposal using GU Pass with the attached revised budget and other key documentation.  If the project involves issues of compliance, you will need to secure approval from the appropriate Georgetown University Office  (human subjects, animal use, etc).

How do I transfer an award FROM Georgetown University?

Review the sponsor’s guidelines governing the transferring of the grant.  Please verify that the transfers are possible and contact the transfer recipient for how to reapply for the funds.  

Sponsor approval is required for all grant/contract transfers, so in lieu of a specific format, draft a letter to your sponsor requesting approval to transfer the award. The letter should contain identifying information about the award (PI Name, Title, Grant/Contract Number), the effective date of the transfer, the new institution, unexpended balance (direct and F&A costs), and the list of equipment to be transferred (if any). Send the letter to ORS for review and institutional approval.

NSF Transfer Procedures

The principal investigator initiates the FastLane request and forwards it to Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services for review and institutional approval. See the NSF Award and Administration Guide, Section II.B.2.g (new window), Disposition of a Grant When a PI/PD Transfers from One Organization to Another Organization, for more information.

NIH Transfer Procedures
The principal investigator and department initiate the Relinquishing Statement and complete the Final Invention Statement and Certification. Submit both forms to the Office of Research Services (ORS) for review and institutional approval via email: Please see the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section (new window), Change of Grantee Organization, for more information. Upon receipt, we will prepare a relinquishing statement (federal projects) to be sent to the sponsoring agency.

Sponsors with no specific guidelines

For sponsors with no specific format or instructions, contact Office of Research Services (ORS) via email at with the required information listed above under Transfer Process.

Who decides which proposal is to be submitted in a limited submission?

Please refer to the internal policy for Limited Submission

What is Cost Sharing and what can be used as a cost share?

Cost Sharing is requested by some sponsors, in this case is called mandatory cost sharing. Cost sharing included in proposals that is not required by the sponsor is referred to as voluntary cost sharing. However, it is Georgetown University policy not to volunteer cost sharing. Once cost sharing has been included in the proposals and that proposal has been accepted by the sponsor, the University has the obligation to provide the cost sharing proposed regardless if it is mandatory or voluntary. The PI(s) are responsible for keeping track and safe-keeping of the cost share’ supporting documents once they have identified and secured the appropriate resources to meet the cost sharing requirement. Please refer to the GU policy for cost sharing on sponsored programs.

How to submit a Progress Report to NIH ?

The RPPR is used by grantees to submit progress reports to NIH on their grant awards. Here are the NIH guidelines that provide an overview of the annual RPPR, the final RPPR and the interim RPPR. The PI should initiate all RPPRs in era commons.

ORS is the Authorized Official (AO) for the submission of RPPRs, therefore, after completing the RPPR, please route it to Blair Ribeiro, Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator in ORS (, who will serve as the AO to officially submit the RPPR via eRA Commons.  For questions regarding creating a user name in eRA Commons or other related issues, please contact ORS via

Who processes the Material Transfer Agreements?

When materials are transferred into or out of Georgetown, a Material Transfer Agreement is needed. The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that the investigator’s freedom to perform research, publish data and exert rights to ownership is not limited and the provisions of the MTA should not conflict with academic missions of Georgetown or create unnecessary risk for the institution. Please contact Office of Commercialization Technology

Difference Gift vs. Grant vs. Revenue Generating Agreement

A Guide for Differentiating between a Gift, a Grant, and a Revenue Generating Agreement (RGA) can be found here

Useful links for Proposals and Awards