Contracts & Grants: Pre Award

ERI Contract and Grant administrators are available to assist eligible Principal Investigators (PIs) with proposal submissions.

Proposal Preparation 

ERI C&G administrators will work in consultation with the PI and/or Co-PI to complete proposal packages according to agency guidelines, adhering to the Office of Research (OR) policies, university policies, and federal regulations. This process should be started as early as possible (see Proposal Submission Timeline below). 

PIs must stay available and accessible throughout the proposal preparation process until proposal submission is confirmed. If they will be unavailable for any period of time because of travel or work in the field, they should communicate those timeframes with their administrator early. 

Proposal Submission 

Final approval must be obtained by the Office of Research prior to submission.  To ensure clear communication:

  • The PI and C&G administrator should clearly identify who will submit: OR, PI, or ERI.
  • The PI must review the final draft of the proposal and provide clear written confirmation when they are ready for the proposal to be submitted.
  • The PI must remain available and responsive to the grant administrator until proposal confirmation has been obtained. It is both the responsibility of the PI and C&G administrator to ensure timely submission.

Post-submission / Pre-Award Actions 

As the sponsoring agency reviews proposals, they may reach out to the PI, C&G administrator, and/or OR requesting clarifications or changes to the proposal so they can complete their review. It is both the responsibility of the PI and administrator to ensure accurate and timely responses. The Office of Research may need to review the responses or revisions prior to submission.


Who is eligible to serve as a PI?

Contact us early if you have questions about sole PI or Co-PI eligibility. The Office of Research provides detailed guidance on this topic. (see the “Table of PI Eligibility” for an easy reference).

How do I request an exception to PI eligibility? 

If the proposed PI or Co-PI holds a title that requires the Office of Research approval, the C&G administrator can provide the required Form 99.  An eligible PI must complete the form on behalf of the proposed PI and return it to ERI with the proposed PI’s CV.

What is a standard timeline for proposal submission (start to finish)?

To ensure that your proposal gets prepared, reviewed and submitted timely, we recommend the following timeline is followed.







Notify ERI C&G team of intent to submit 








Pre-review proposals requiring additional review due to OR no later than 5PM






Finalize Budget (for proposals requiring standard review)*

PI sends proposal drafts to ERI*

Pre-review proposal due to OR no later than 5PM*






Submission recommended by 5PM to allow 48 hours for sponsor system to validate the proposal for errors.

Sponsor Proposal Deadline

*For proposals requiring additional review (see below), timeframe shifts to three days earlier. 

4 Weeks Prior

As soon as you conceive of submitting a proposal, notify the ERI C&G administrators at of your intent to submit. 


11 Business Days Prior

If your proposal requires additional review by OR, please send your proposal drafts to the C&G administrator no later than 11 business days prior to the deadline so that we have sufficient time to prepare the pre-review copy for OR.  

Special circumstances requiring additional Office of Research review time include:

University acceptance of or exception to award terms and conditions Non-standard representations or certifications UC Cash request needed to meet cost share requirements Vital Interest Exception Requests to the full indirect cost rate. Requests submitted less than 5 business days prior to the deadline will be automatically denied.

If you submit your proposal too close to the deadline and there are unresolved issues that the C&G administrator is not given sufficient time to address or seek Office of Research approval, the PI is solely responsible for ensuring the proposal is compliant with all applicable guidelines and risks having the proposal denied by the sponsor for non-compliance. 

If ERI notices a pattern of non-compliance, we may decide to not work with you on future proposals.


8 Business Days Prior: 

Please send your proposal drafts to the C&G administrator no later than 8 business days prior to the deadline so that we have sufficient time to prepare the pre-review copy for OR. If OR receives pre-review proposal documents with less than the full seven business days, the proposal will be subject to an expedited review.  


2 Business Days Prior: 

Aim to submit early. Submission is recommended 48 hours prior to the sponsor deadline.



The date the proposal is due at the agency, or if we are a subcontractor, the date it is due at the submitting institution.  

Submissions after 12:00pm Noon are strongly discouraged.  They lead to undue stress on C&G administrators and Office of Research staff and increase the chance mistakes will be made.


Full Review vs. Expedited Review

The Office of Research and ERI C&G administrators strongly encourage PIs to aim for a full review.  

Full Review: With a full review, you receive the best service. OR reviews all proposal elements of your proposal for compliance with UC, sponsor, and federal policies.   Expedited Review: With an expedited review, OR reviews only the minimum proposal and budget elements and does not review the specific sponsor proposal requirements. Elements not reviewed become solely the responsibility of the C&G administrator and PI.
What’s needed to get a proposal started?

As soon as a PI decides to submit a proposal, they should notify the ERI C&G administrators either by submitting the Proposal Request Form (coming soon) or, at minimum, sending the following information to

  • Guidelines (link or attachment)
  • Deadline (including flow-through deadlines, when applicable)
  • Names of UCSB Co-PIs and/or Senior Personnel
  • Whether the project includes Subawards? If yes, institution names and PI/Admin contact information should be provided.
  • Start date and duration (# of months or years)
  • Project title (working title okay) 
  • Anticipated budget items
  • Whether the work will take place on- or off-campus
  • Whether cost share is required
Proposal documents: Who does what?

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the proposal documents needed to complete a proposal submission and who generally will be responsible for preparing them.

Please note: If ERI C&G administrators are given insufficient time to complete their tasks due to the last minute nature of the submission request, the PI may need to complete.




Sponsor Pages (e.g. NSF Fastlane /


  • NSF: Cover Page & Budget. 
  • NASA: NSPIRES Budget
  • Cayuse Pages


Detailed Budget

Prepares initial draft and updates with PI’s requested changes


Budget Justification

Prepares initial draft with standard language to match budget

Adds programmatic justification text, reviews.

Current and Pending

Prepares initial draft (unless PI has a recent current copy) and/or reviews SciENcv drafts provided by PI

Reviews drafts provided by admin and/or provides PDF from SciENcv

Internal UCSB Documents 

(eg. datasheet, EH&S form, NASA China Certs)

Prepares initial draft

Reviews, completes, signs

Subaward Proposal Documents

Makes initial request, reviews documents

Provides administrative contact at subaward institution, reviews documents.

All Other Proposal Documents

Reviews for compliance with guidelines



Budget: What are common budget items?

Below is a non-exhaustive list of common budget items.

  • Personnel (e.g. PI time, faculty summer salary, postdoc, lab assistant, graduate student researcher, undergraduate student assistant(s), etc. May also include administrative support, if applicable.)
  • Fringe Benefits (C&G administrators will determine rates based on title, etc.)
  • Graduate Student tuition, fees, and graduate student health insurance
  • Supplies (e.g. field work supplies, lab supplies, etc.)
  • Travel (e.g. to conferences, for field work, or to meet with collaborators, etc.)
  • Equipment (special-purpose equipment)
  • Other direct costs (e.g. publication costs, ERI computing support, data storage, services including campus recharges, etc.)
  • Subawards and Multi-Campus Agreements
  • Indirect costs (aka. overhead, F&A costs)
When is it appropriate to add administrative time to a budget?

References to other UC websites:




Some instances where it would be appropriate to include administrative costs include:

Large project budgets Includes costshare Limited IDC recovery (less than full federal %) Award administration will require ERI’s participation in invoicing the sponsor (i.e. keeping time logs, providing transaction backup, etc.) Difficult sponsors Frequent and/or complex financial reporting requirements Project requires extensive administrative coordination with other departments, campuses, and/or universities Collaborations involving three or more subrecipients High volume of ERI computing charges Activity in the project that requires a higher level of admin involvement (eg: conferences where ERI would need to process a high volume of travel or participant support, etc.) Project will require complex or detailed financial tracking (i.e. task based budgets)




 Related Links

Downloadable Resources: