Frequently Asked Questions



Where can I find funding resources?
From the Funding Resources page you can browse Federal Agencies, State Agencies and Foundations websites to search for funding announcements. The Office of Research & Economic Development also posts funding opportunities on its website. Other sources containing thousands of funding opportunities are the Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN) database and the Community of Science (COS) Funding Opportunities Database.


How do I write a proposal?
You should prepare your proposal according to the Sponsor's application guidelines. Application guidelines will describe funding priorities, mandatory sections, budget considerations, formatting and submission requirements. Refer to Section I.C.8. of the OSP Guide for typical proposal elements.


How do I prepare a budget?
As an estimate of project costs, the budget should reflect the decisions you have made in planning the project. A budget should list in detail all expected items of costs (ex. salaries, wages, fringe benefits, operating services, supplies, equipment, publications, travel, tuition, other direct expenses, and facilities and administrative costs). Section I.C.8. of the OSP Guide provides further detail on typical cost categories.

To assist PI's, an excel spreadsheet for development of a generic budget is available. PI's can also contact the Office of Sponsored Programs for questions regarding budget preparation.


What rates (fringe benefits, indirect costs) do I use?


Who can be a PI/Co-PI?
In order to ensure compliance with university regulations and policies, the principal investigator (PI) and co-principal investigator (Co-PI) must be an employee of the institution unless the proposal involves one of the following:

  • Non-LSU employees will participate on the project as part of a proposed subcontractor.
  • The sponsor requires the proposal to include non-LSU employees as Co-PIs (i.e. NSF GOALI proposals)

For collaborative proposals where LSU is the lead institution, non-LSU employees should be listed as investigators on their institution’s proposal cover sheet. A joint project narrative for the collaborative proposal may include the non-LSU employees as co-PIs.

With department and college approvals, the following may be named as PI:

  • Full or part-time faculty and staff
  • Prospective full or part-time faculty and staff who will be on the university payroll (i.e. in a paid status) during the time of the award.
  • Visiting faculty who will be on the university payroll (i.e. in a paid status) during the time of the award
  • Adjunct or gratis faculty who will be on the university payroll (i.e. in a paid status) at the time of the award
  • Emeritus faculty may serve as PI provided they can fulfill the technical and administrative responsibilities of the project as well as meet Sponsor's approval.

With department and college approvals, the following may be named as Co-PI:

  • Anyone who can be named as PI
  • Graduate assistant (a faculty member or unit head must be listed as the PI)
  • Adjunct or gratis faculty not on the university payroll (i.e. not in a paid status)
  • Visiting faculty not on the university payroll (i.e. not in a paid status)

Sponsors may impose stricter regulations. Accordingly, PIs and Co-PIs currently not in a paid status must disclose their current position classifications. If changes to position classifications occur during the course of a funded project, sponsor approval may be necessary.


How do I route a proposal in SPS for approval?

  1. Streamlined Review (Required)

    Load the following information into the Sponsored Programs System at least three days prior to the proposal mailing deadline.
    • Proposal cover sheet and investigator information
    • Budget and budget justification
    • Any special approvals/proposal information
    • Any sponsor forms which contain budgetary information and/or require Authorized Organizational Representative signature

      If the proposal is submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP), a copy of the RFP must be loaded or a website must be indicated on the coversheet.
  2. Expanded Review (Optional)

    OSP staff is available to review the complete proposal for adherence to sponsor guidelines at the request of PI/PD provided that the proposal is submitted timely (three days for standard proposals/ten days for collaborative, multi-disciplinary, or center proposals) through SPS system. In addition, a complete review of proposals to private entities will be conducted since a "Standard Research Agreement" will be prepared and submitted with the proposal.

Call OSP (8-2760) if you have any questions about SPS proposal routing process.


What is required for cost share/match?
The university has Cost Sharing Guidelines for proposing and documenting cost share. It is important that researchers have an understanding of these guidelines since there has been a renewed emphasis placed on cost sharing and its administration by the Federal government.


If I make no commitment of effort on my proposed project, yet I am forced to put a percentage effort on the Current and Pending Support form of the grant application, does this constitute cost share for this project?
No, current and pending support is not part of the budget and so does not meet the definition of cost sharing 2 CFR § 215.23. For this reason we are no longer considering effort shown on the current and pending support section to be voluntary committed cost sharing. See NSF revised policy:
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/csfaqs_jan11.pdf


What do I need for a subcontractor?
The following documentation is required for each subcontractor. All documentation should be obtained prior to submitting proposal to OSP for review.

  • Letter of collaboration signed by the collaborating researcher and the authorized representative for the organization. The letter should include the requested amount and cost share amount, if applicable. See sample letter.
  • Scope of work (only required for OSP expanded review)
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Copy of fringe benefit and indirect cost rate agreement (not required if subcontractor is a university)


Where can I find a list of approved Service Centers?

A list of approved Service Centers is available on the Office of Budget and Planning website located here. In order to charge sponsored projects for on-campus facilities usage, the facility must be an approved Service Center.


What LSU internal forms do I use?

  • The OSP-1 Form is used to route new awards and amendments.
  • The OSP-2 Form is used to route modifications that LSU can approve internally under "Expanded Authorities" or modifications that require sponsor prior approval. (Also see Post Award Modifications)
  • The OSP-3 Form is used to initiate a subaward.
  • The OSP-4 Form is used to initiate a subaward amendment.

Where can I find Sponsor forms?
OSP has created excel spreadsheets for some sponsor budget forms. Other sponsor forms can be found on the respective websites.


Get University ID numbers for Sponsor cover sheets.
See the LSU Information and University Contacts page. General Information Required by Agencies of the OSP Guide.


How do I get approval for research involving human subjects, animals, hazardous materials, select agents, etc.?
Each oversight committee has established requirements for obtaining approval. You should contact the committees or persons responsible for approving proposals to discuss requirements for approval. Final approvals by committees are given electronically in SPS.


How do I get approval for extra compensation?
Extra compensation requests require: 1) approval of the department head of the department initiating the request and the department head of the employee's primary home department and their respective deans/directors; 2) approval from Human Resource Management; and 3) approval from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. See PS-43. PI's must upload the justification for extra compensation in SPS prior to routing their proposal. Approval for extra compensation is given in SPS.


How do I negotiate/accept an award?
All award documents are forwarded to the Principal Investigator for review. After reviewing the award document, the Principal Investigator must attach an OSP-1 Form, obtain appropriate signatures and return all documents to the Office of Sponsored Programs. If during the proposal submission process only a streamlined review was conducted by the Office of Sponsored Programs, a complete review of the full proposal is required prior to award acceptance. Principal Investigators must attach a copy of the full proposal submitted to the Sponsor. Any discrepancies between the approved budget and budget justification and the rest of the proposal will be forwarded to the Vice Chancellors for Finance and Administrative Services and Research and Economic Development for appropriate action. Significant errors or unsubstantiated commitments may result in declination of the award by the university. 

The OSP-1 Form is available on the OSP website. The Principal Investigator should fill out the OSP-1 Form electronically and print for routing and signatures. If the funded amount is reduced or increased, the PI must include a revised budget, and a revised scope of work (if applicable).


How do I get a sponsored project account?
When OSP receives a fully executed award document, it is forwarded along with proposal to Sponsored Program Accounting (SPA). SPA will establish a restricted account number for the project and send a Record of Grant Establishment (RGE) to the PI through the department. To see if an account has been established, you can check the on-line Chart of Accounts (COA). See LSU's Post Award Administration User Manual.

If you need an account number before your agreement is fully executed, you can complete a Request for Tentative Account Number Form, obtain department head approval and forward to OSP (202 Himes Hall). A tentative account should only be established when the PI is sure of funding and all compliance special approvals have been obtained. The department will be responsible for any unallowable charges, or for costs incurred should the project not be funded.


Administering a Sponsored Project
The Principal Investigator (PI) holds primary responsibility for the technical conduct of the project, and for administrative and budgetary management. The PI is responsible for complying with all contractual obligations, including technical and administrative requirements. PI's should carefully review the terms and conditions of their awards to ensure compliance.


Preparing a Subcontract Agreement
When an award is received in which a portion is subcontracted, the PI should complete and forward to OSP  the OSP-3 Form. OSP will draft the subcontract and send to PI for review. After reviewing the subaward for accuracy, the PI or his/her designee must prepare a requisition and send the requisition and subcontract agreement to the Purchasing Office. The Purchasing Office will obtain necessary signatures. Thereafter, an executed copy of the subcontract, along with a university purchase order and a notification to commence with the specified subcontract work, will be sent to the subcontractor.

If a modification to the subcontract becomes necessary, the PI should complete and forward to OSP the OSP-4 Form. The same procedure as specified above are to be applied to the modified subcontract.


Post Award Modifications
During the course of the project it may be necessary to make modifications (ex. no-cost extension, rebudget, change in scope, change PI, etc). All requests to modify a sponsored project must be approved by OSP prior to submission to the Sponsor. PI's should prepare a letter of request, attach the OSP-2 Form and send to OSP for review/approval. Upon approval, OSP will return to PI for transmittal to Sponsor.

Many federal agencies have authorized universities to approve a number of post award modifications internally using the Institutional Prior Approval System. Agencies can authorize universities to:

  • rebudget
  • incur pre-award costs 90 days prior to award
  • initiate a one-time, no cost extension up to 12 months
  • approve equipment purchases
  • carry forward unobligated balances

Modifications that can be approved internally should be routed to OSP using the OSP-2 Form. Upon review and approval, OSP will notify the awarding agency when required and forward request to the Sponsored Program Accounting Office.

Further information regarding post-award modifications is available in the LSU Post Award Administration User's Manual.