Proposal Process

This section contains the steps and processes involved in preparing and submitting a proposal through OSP.

If you are looking for funding opportunities, please visit the Research Development website.

To begin the process, simply login to RAMP Grants and create a funding proposal.

Mason has adopted an internal deadline of four full business days, excluding the day of submission, in advance of the sponsor’s deadline.  OSP must receive Department/College reviewed and approved final documents within this timeframe, please follow this link for full details on this policy: Internal Proposal Deadline Policy

OSP, the Department/College and the Principal Investigator (PI) need to work together to meet this goal.  We recommend you initiate a proposal in RAMP and/or contact OSP as soon as you begin considering developing a proposal for external funding.

Sponsors may request Letters of Intent (LOIs) to allow them to assess whether or not there is a good match between the proposed project and their interests:  Letters of Intent Procedures

If the Sponsor limits the number of applicants from an institution, the proposal is subject to the limited submission opportunity process.  PIs must obtain approval from the Research Development office by emailing before creating the proposal in RAMP.

The PI is a faculty member who submitted a proposal that was accepted and funded by an external sponsor, also referred to as the project director. The PI has the primary responsibility for technical compliance, completion of programmatic work, and fiscal stewardship of sponsor funds.

Biosketch and Current and Pending Information

NSF Current and Pending Requirements

Confidential Information

As a part of sponsored project activities or preliminary discussions with a potential sponsor, it is often necessary to disclose confidential or proprietary information owned by Mason or the sponsor to each other. In those cases, separate nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) may be executed to specify restrictions on the use of such confidential information and the requirements for safeguarding it. Typically, NDAs require the parties to use the same reasonable efforts to protect each other’s confidential or proprietary information as they do their own and only those directly participating in the project activities are permitted access to such information. It is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that all project participants understand and agree to terms of use regarding the confidential or proprietary information. It is Mason policy for each PI to sign their NDA in a “read and understood“ capacity acknowledging their responsibilities for safeguarding the confidential or proprietary information of the sponsor.  OSP will review, negotiate and provide the institutional signature for all NDAs executed by the University.  Please contact the Contracts Team for additional information or assistance.

Conflict of Interest

Each investigator is required to disclose situations where “significant financial interests” are present through submitting an online Conflict of Interest Certification. Proposals cannot be submitted until all named personnel submit their disclosures.

Cost Sharing

Cost Share is the portion of project expenditures related to a sponsored project that is contributed by parties other than the sponsor, and not directly charged to the sponsored fund.  See University Policy Number 4016.

Types of Cost Share include:

  • Mandatory Committed (tracked and reported to the sponsor) – required by the sponsor and is therefore referenced in the proposal by dollar amount and type.
  • Voluntary Committed (tracked and reported to the sponsor) – not required by the sponsor, but is still referenced in the proposal by dollar amount and type. Becomes mandatory if project is awarded.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted (tracked internally, but not reported to the sponsor) – not required by the sponsor, not mentioned or referenced anywhere in the proposal.

Cost Sharing must be proposed, approved, administered, and accounted for in a consistent and prudent manner. This includes understanding workload implications of the cost share commitment, determining when cost sharing is appropriate, and accurately recording and reporting cost share expenditures.

If a sponsored project includes cost share, use the appropriate non-sponsored organization number, with the cost share activity code provided in the project’s OSP award letter, to charge and track cost shared expenditures for the life of the award.

Cost sharing Represents Real Costs to Mason

  • Cost sharing represents a redirection of University resources from instruction or other activities to support a sponsored project. The PI, department chair, college dean or director, and other administrators should carefully weigh the cost-effectiveness and the expected benefits of cost sharing prior to making the commitment in a proposal. Effort committed may not exceed that allowed by the faculty or staff member’s appointment.

Some projects allow for pre-award expenses. However, any costs incurred prior to the award are incurred at the PI’s risk and may not be reimbursed if the sponsor does not allow pre-award spending.

Sponsor-Specific Resources:

Additional Proposal Resources: