A Brief Introduction to UA Sponsored Projects

July 10, 2014

Few graduate students are familiar with Sponsored Projects. But if you plan on continued research, chances are that you will eventually need to know about this department. Lori Schultz, Assistant Director of UA Sponsored Projects, generously provided the following brief introduction.

What is the purpose of Sponsored Projects?

A "Sponsored Project" is typically defined as a body of work funded by an external entity.  The work may be research, instructional, or have another purpose.  Sponsored Projects provides services around the lifecycle of this work ­ from the proposal stage through the life of the project.  We review and approve proposal submission for the University of Arizona.  We manage the funds that come in for externally funded projects, and provide financial reporting, budget management, and invoicing services. We help faculty, graduate students, and departments navigate the various rules of the grants and contracts they receive to fund their work.

Who needs to and who does not need to submit to Sponsored Projects?

The majority of awards from external entities, called "sponsors" comes through Sponsored Projects, so chances are high that we'll need to review your proposal.  Proposals for external funding come from UA faculty and graduate students.  If you are working on a proposal for programs like the NSF Graduate Fellowship, where the award is made directly to you, you do not need to submit your application through Sponsored Projects.  Also, if you are submitting directly to a University of Arizona department for funds, Sponsored Projects does not need to see the application.  All of this can be confusing, so when in doubt, give us a call, and we can help you understand the process.

What happens once a grant application is submitted to Sponsored Projects?

Our Preaward team will review the project abstract, budget, budget narrative, and information about the sponsor and funding opportunity.  We work with the UA department/college to make corrections to the application forms and budget (when needed), and we provide institutional approval for the proposal submission.  Our team completes the process for proposals that are submitted electronically to the sponsor. Departments/investigators send hard copy proposals through the mail or special delivery after our review.

What tips do you have for graduate students who need to submit to Sponsored Projects?

  1. Your department/college business office will be a great resource for helping you identify information you need for your application.The budgeting part of any proposal is often the most challenging, but your college/department can usually help you understand how to budget UA salaries, operations, and other costs.

  2. Read your funding opportunity (also called a solicitation, RFP, program announcement, etc) carefully. It will contain valuable information on what the sponsor expects to see (or not see) in your proposal, including deadlines, budget limits, programmatic information, and objectives.

  3. Plan for deadlines.Sponsored Projects and your department and college will need to see your application materials well in advance of the deadline listed in the funding opportunity.

  4. Contact us early in your proposal preparation process for advice and guidance.The sooner we know about your proposal, the more we can help.

    Is there anything else that you would like graduate students to know about Sponsored Projects?

    If you choose a career in research or higher education, you'll run into a "sponsored projects" department at other universities, institutions, and even companies.   Having even a small understanding of the sponsored projects process will help eliminate some of the unknowns whether you stay at the University of Arizona, or move to another organization.

Article by Shelley Hawthorne Smith, Assistant Director Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement, and Lori Schultz, Assistant Director of UA Sponsored Projects

Feel free to redistribute this information, but please acknowledge the University of Arizona Graduate College Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement.