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Frequently Asked Questions

Do indirect costs need to be included on every proposal submitted through the University?

Full indirect costs must be included on every proposal unless the sponsor has a written policy stating that indirect costs are not allowed or are restricted to a lower rate. Any exceptions to this must be approved by ORA.

Do letters of inquiry or pre-proposals require internal review and approval?

ORA must review any pre-proposals or letters of inquiry when a budget or institutional authorization is required or if the sponsor only allows a limited number of proposals per institution.

Has the proposal submission process changed under Peoplesoft 8.9?

The proposal submission process has not changed although the internal form has a different appearance. The internal form is now a computer-generated form that comes directly from the Peoplesoft system. Once the proposal information is entered into the system, the internal form is generated and is routed via EchoSign for signatures.

How can an investigator get set up in ERA commons?

Send an email message to your grants and contracts administrator in the Office of Research Administration requesting to be set up in the Commons. If you are unsure who the grants and contracts administrator for your college is, please call 978-934-4750 and someone will assist you. Once they have initiated the process, you will get an email message directly from the Commons with further instruction on setting up your password and using the site.

How can an investigator get set up in the SMARTS/SPIN system?

An investigator should email a request to Linda will then send a list of keywords and instruction by return email. More information about SMARTS/SPIN is available on our website.

How can incorrect charges be transferred from either an overhead account or project to the correct project?

The UML cost transfer form must be completed and submitted to the Financial Administrator for your college in the Office of Research Administration. Download the form (pdf). Instructions for the form are available online.

Is the University registered to submit proposals through

Yes, the Office of Research Administration is registered and has submitted proposals to many different sponsors through

What are the current fringe benefit rates and overhead rate?

Current rates are available online.

What if an investigator is offered an opportunity by colleagues at another institution or organization to participate in a project (i.e. receive a sub-award) — what needs to be done?

Working on a project funded by an outside agency to another college or university is, in principle, no different from applying directly to a sponsor for external funding. ORA should be contacted soon after it is clear that an application will be made by the collaborating institution. In effect, you are applying to the lead university to fund your research, program or project.
You must provide the lead university with a description of the work you propose and a budget which includes the appropriate direct and indirect costs. This information needs to be reviewed and approved, just like any other external funding request, PRIOR to submission of the application by the lead institution. If the proposal is successful, the lead institution will make an award to UML in the form of a subcontract or sub-grant which contains the same terms and conditions to which it is bound.

What if UMass Lowell is to be the lead institution for an application involving another university or organization?

Collaborative proposals in which UMass Lowell is the lead institution usually require more lead time than other funding requests. Before a proposal can be sent to a sponsor, it is critical that permission from an authorizing official from each of the collaborating institutions is received by UMass Lowell.

What is the definition of "sponsored programs?"

A sponsored program is an activity which receives external support that carries with it conditions regarding the expenditure of funds, requires a product such as a final report, or requires that the University return unspent funds at the end of the project. In contrast, a gift is support which has no such stipulations and can be used by the institution as agreed upon with the donor.

What is the process for putting budgeted staff onto a sponsored research project?

To hire new staff for a project, work with Human Resources to recruit for the funded position. For existing staff, complete a Personnel Action Form through HR which includes the project number and percentage of effort for the employee. Signed timesheets, submitted weekly, should include the correct project number and number of hours so that the project is charged appropriately for the work performed. To verify charges, refer to the direct labor report, distributed monthly, which will show actual salary charges that have come through on the project.

What is UMass Lowell's tax ID number (also known as the entity ID number)?

The tax ID number, as well as other information such as the DUNS number, can be found on our website.

What signatures are needed on the internal routing form when submitting a proposal?

According to the UMass Board of Trustees policy, every proposal must be approved by at least two higher organizational authorities with regard to appropriate University goals and resources. Normally, in the case of academic departments, the programmatic aspects of proposals must be approved first by the appropriate Chair (or equivalent) and then by the Dean of the School or College or his/her designee.
This review should ensure that the proposal is consistent with the goals and objectives of the department, college or institution and should also assess the impact of the project upon the future resources of the organization and any changes in the level of institutional support which may result from the acceptance of an award.
Prior to signing, the Chair and/or the Dean must confirm the availability of space, major technical resources and equipment, institutional support personnel, and must endorse commitments for cost sharing, matching funds, or any proposed retention of project-supported personnel after the expiration of the award. If such confirmations and endorsements cannot be made, the Chair or Dean should refer the proposal to other appropriate campus officials for resolution.
If in a particular case the Chair and Dean are unable to review and approve a proposal, or to make the required commitments and endorsements as to resources and cost sharing, then such proposal must be approved by the Chancellor or his/her designee.

When an investigator leaves UMass Lowell for another institution, can he/she transfer existing awards to the new institution?

For the vast majority of sponsored projects, faculty can transfer grants when they are the principal investigator. Contact the Office of Research Administration to begin the process.

When are monthly cost reports sent out for existing awards?

Reports are sent out by the UMass President's office within a week after the accounting records are closed for the month, generally before the fifteenth of the month.

Where should Non-disclosure agreements be sent for review and signature?

Non-disclosure agreements should be sent to the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) for review and signature.

Who is eligible to serve as principal investigator?

To be eligible to serve as a principal investigator, an individual must hold one of the following titles: professor, associate professor, assistant professor, research professor or other designated full-time, benefited professional position. Full-time benefited individuals holding other than professor titles must obtain approval of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation or his/her designee to submit research, public service or training proposals to an extramural sponsor.

How do I categorize an external contributor on my project (Subcontract vs. Consultant vs. Vendor)?

We have a webpage that explains how to categorize an external contributor (Subcontract vs. Consultant vs. Vendor).