Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What are Facilities and Administrative Costs (AKA indirect costs)?
What are the Fringe Benefit Rates
F&A Rate Agreements: Memphis, GSM
Where do I get information regarding the NIH Salary Cap?

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Q: My grant proposal includes a subrecipient, and only the subrecipient will be using animals in the research. Do I need to mark "Yes" on the face page of my application to indicate that animals are being used, even if no animals are being used on this campus?
A: Yes. If the grant involves animal research, the pass-through entity (UTHSC, in this case) must mark “yes” and include the animal welfare assurance number on the face page. The protocol must be submitted to the UTHSC IACUC for approval, even though no animals are being used on this campus, if the project involves a subrecipient that will be using animals.

Q: I am planning a clinical study at The MED that is funded by departmental funds. What institutional approvals are necessary?
A: All human subject studies must be approved by the IRB. All studies at The MED must have their institutional approval. The contact at The MED is Maria van Werkhooven. All externally funded studies must be routed through SP.

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Research Contracts

Q: Where can I get information about the process for research agreements (including clinical trial agreements)?
A: See Research Contracts main page

Q: Where can I get forms for processing clinicl trials and research agreements?
A: See Research Contracts forms page

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Contract Processing

Q: When routing a contract modification/amendment, what amount should be included in SP for the current year and all years?

A: The modification/amendment should note the amount of the change: either an increase or decrease for the current and all years. E.g., if the original contract was for $100,000 for year 1 and a total of $200,000 for all years and the modification is increasing the contract by $10,000 per year, amount in SP for the modification should show $10,000/year. Conversely, if the mod decreases the funding by $10,000 per year, SP should show -$10,000/year.

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2016 NIH Due Dates (pdf)

Q: I am trying to meet the 5-working-day advance deadline for an electronic grant submission, but I am not finished with the science. Is it okay to send the package over for the 5-day-advance deadline, continue working on it, and then send a revised package later?
A: No. Unfortunately about 90-95% of the applications received in GRA have SOME errors. The GRA staff needs this time to correct the errors and submit the packages before the agency deadline. If a new package is sent over, the entire package must be reviewed again, increasing the opportunity for errors to be overlooked. If errors are noted by the PI on a specific section after submission to GRA, please contact for guidance.

Q: Why must I submit the final version of my grant 5 days before the deadline? I would like to have more time to read it over again and make corrections.
A: On any given deadline, the GRA receives many applications that must be processed. Each application takes time; if the PI sends another version, then the review process must start over. If the PI sends additional files via e-mail, there is a risk of error due to the possible confusion of the new and old versions. The only time corrections can be made is when the reviewer (Ginny or Jackie) requests corrections to ensure the grant follows the guidelines. The five-day deadline is also necessary for submissions to allow time for resubmissions in the event there is an error that must be corrected. An application has to be submitted without error by 5:00 p.m. Central time the day of the deadline, and waiting until the last minute runs the risk of not submitting on time as the email notice of an error is often delayed on deadline days due to the higher load on the servers.

Q: If I keep up with all the standard NIH deadlines, can I assume that the Office of Grants and Research Agreements is not busy during other times?
A: No. In addition to the standard NIH deadlines, which now fall about every two weeks, NIH RFAs and RFPs can be due almost any day. In addition, many other sponsors, including federal (e.g., NSF, HRSA, DOD), state, and private (e.g., AHA, CFRI, other foundations), have deadlines that fall on various dates throughout the year. Faculty who become aware of an upcoming deadline are requested to notify GRA in case we have not received the notice.

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Electronic grants (e-grants)

Q: For NIH grants, why does the application package list both a modular and a detailed budget form in the optional document section? Am I required to complete these ‘optional’ forms?

A: Yes, you do need to complete one of the budget forms for each submission. Both budget forms are in the optional section so you may use the type of budget form specified in your package instructions; in most cases, this will be the modular budget form.

Q: For electronic submissions, what should I list as the site of my NIH grant?
A: The site should be the campus address: 62 S. Dunlap, Suite 300, Memphis, TN 38163. More than one location may be listed in cases where co-investigators are working at other institutions.

Q: I have not had an opportunity to attend a training session on electronic grant submission. Will the GRA prepare the grant package for me if I send the scientific portion over electronically?
A: No. Unfortunately, GRA does not have the staff time to prepare grant applications for faculty. Departments should be working with faculty to be sure that everyone has the proper training and/or staff support to manage the electronic grant preparation process. Preparing the 424 package is no more difficult than filling out the Adobe forms; although it requires careful attention to detail. Individual training sessions for individuals or departments may be arranged upon request during non-deadline periods.

Q: When submitting an electronic grant application, is it okay if I send a partial package to GRA by the internal deadline date and then send additional sections later, to allow more time for me to write/review/correct the scientific sections or get collaboration letters, etc.?
A: No. If the package is not complete and in final form by the internal deadline date, wait until it is final to route it in SP. The risk is that you may miss a deadline. On any given deadline, GRA has many grant applications, and does not have sufficient time to review two or three versions of each nor, unfortunately, is there time to insert the various scientific portions in the proper places of the package without neglecting review of other grants proposals that have been submitted correctly and timely.

Q: I need to submit a proposal through Proposal Central. Is UTHSC registered there?
A:Yes, UTHSC is registered in Proposal Central. PIs must route their proposals in SP prior to submission via Proposal Central.

Q: I am submitting a grant which requires electronic submission by the PI. Do I have to let anyone know?
A: Yes, all externally funded grant proposals should be routed in SP for review and approval by department, college, and institutional offices prior to submission to the funding agency.

Q: May I designate someone as Co-PI on an NIH grant if it is offered in a drop down box on the key personnel page of
A: No, you may not name a Co-PI for an NIH proposal unless you are responding to an RFA that specifically allows Co-PIs. NIH allows multiple PIs but not Co-PIs. You must choose another option or you may designate a co-investigator by choosing “other.” See NIH policy on multiple PIs.

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Q: WWhen I complete my NIH Progress Report (RPPR) in Commons, to whom should I route it?
A: Route it to Virginia Geer or Jackie Easley, who will review it and route it to Debbie Smith for final submission. Ginny or Jackie will contact the PI if there are any corrections that need to be made.

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Where Can I Get Grant/Contract Forms?

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Funding Opportunities

Where Can I Find Information About Possible Sources of Funding for a Research Project I'm Planning?

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General Information

Where Can I Get Information For Grant Applications?
Who Signs Research Grants and Contracts?
IRS Tax Determination Letter
How to join research listservs?

Q: Is UT a 501(c) 3 organization?
A: No. UT is NOT a 501(c)3 organization. However, UT is tax-exempt as a state educational agency under section 170(c)1 of the Internal Revenue Code. If a sponsor's policy indicates that they give only to 501(c)3 organizations, the PI should check with the sponsor to be sure it requires 501(c) 3 status or if any tax-exempt entity may apply. If the sponsor REQUIRES 501(c)3 status, we may submit the grant through UTRF; however, the PI should allow additional time for review and signature by UTRF. ORA facilitates applications submitted through UTRF so they should be routed as ususal.

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Grant Application Process

Q: I'm working with another institution (e.g., St. Jude) to submit a proposal to a federal agency (e.g., NIH). What entity should I list as the "funding agency" in PAMS?
A: The "funding agency" should be the entity from which UT will receive funds. In the case of a proposed subaward for a grant that will be issued to St. Jude, the "funding agency" should be listed as "St. Jude." NIH should be listed as the Prime funding agency.

Q: How do I know if I have the correct grant application package?
A: The best way to be sure that you have the latest version of the grant application package is to go to either or the agency web site and pull down the package from there. Attempting to "revise" a package that was submitted earlier is risky since: (1) the package and/or some of the imbedded forms may have changed; and (2) you may forget to make changes on some pages and submit forms or data that have not been updated. Current forms for NIH R01, R03, R21, R08, R15, and F31 are available on the ORA Website.

Q: Must the electronic version of grants that are due in ORA five working days in advance be the FINAL version, or can I still be working on the grant while it's under review?
A: The FINAL version must be submitted to ORA five working days in advance to allow time for review and submission and correction of any possible errors found during the submission process.

Q:  I hope to apply for a grant that requires a letter of intent (LOI) first.  Does that LOI need to be routed in PAMS?
A:  You need to route it only if (1) the letter of intent requires institutional signature, (2) the LOI requires a budget, OR (3) an institutional official must submit the LOI.


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Grant Transfer

How do I transfer a grant?

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Q: I think I may have developed a new invention. What should I do?
A: To report an invention that arose in the course of University employment, complete an invention disclosure form found at Questions about completing the form or the invention process may be directed to UTRF at 901 448-7827 or to Debbie Smith in ORA at 901 448-4823.

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Q: If I'm not being paid from a grant or other research project, but am PI or participating in the project, should I list it on my “Other Support” page? If so, what % effort should I list?
A: NIH requirements state that all external support of research must be included and that percent efforts be shown, even if no salary support is covered by that project. The percent effort should match the amount of effort that is being expended on the project; if an individual is a PI on a project, he or she must be spending some effort on that project. Also, if a grant application listed an individual with a greater percent effort than the amount of salary support, the “Other Support” page should reflect the EFFORT, not the salary percentage.

Q: My NIH grant application received a score that appears to be in the fundable range. I have checked the NIH Commons for information about my grant application, and it is listed as "JIT." Should I submit the Just-in-Time information now?
A: No. Just-in-Time (JIT) information is submitted only at the request of the agency. When the agency is ready to receive the information, they will send an e-mail to the PI and the UT officials requesting JIT information. Some grants may show up in Commons with a "JIT" status, even though they may not be approved for funding.

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What are MTAs and Why Do We Need Them?

Q: If I am receiving biological materials from a colleague at another institution, is it okay if I sign a material transfer agreement?
A: No. Faculty should never sign contracts including confidentiality agreements and material transfer agreements; all such documents should be signed by an authorized institutional official. For information about the proper documents and signatures, faculty should consult with their business managers and/or the Office of Research Administration at 901-448-5587. Additionally, the receipt of some biological materials, including animals and some hazardous or potentially hazardous substances, will need to be approved by the appropriate compliance and/or safety committees/officials. Faculty should consult with their business managers and/or The Office of Research Compliance at 901-448-2164 for questions about additional requirements for receipt of biological materials.

Q: If a colleague at another institution requests materials from my lab, is it okay if I just send the material out?
A: No. Transfer of materials from UT to other institutions should be covered by an appropriate material transfer agreement PRIOR to shipping the material. If the material resulted from external funding, i.e., a grant or contract, there may be restrictions on the transfer. If the material is proprietary, i.e., the subject of an invention disclosure and/or patent application, there may also be restrictions. Faculty should contact the Office of Research Administration at 901-448-5587 for assistance in developing an appropriate document under which the material may be transferred. Additionally, if the material is biological and/or hazardous in nature, The Office of Research Compliance should be consulted at 901-448-2164 PRIOR to any transfer of biological or hazardous materials.

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NIH Multiple PIs

NIH Information on MPI

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NIH Public Access Policy

Q: I am submitting a journal article reporting the results of a study funded, in part, by the NIH. Do I have to submit the article to PubMed?
A: Yes, NIH requires that all articles be submitted to PubMed. Since some journals take care of the PubMed submission, the author is advised to check with the Journal or check the list of journals that submit to PubMed at Additional information about submission of NIH-funded articles can be found at or

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Post-Award Information

Q: How do I get my grant account set up?
A: Accounts are set up automatically upon receipt of notices of award. Work with your department business manager and Sponsored Projects Accounting to request a new account for a new grant or contract.

Q: I am the PI or have been named as Key Personnel on a funded grant but get no salary from the grant. Do I need to list this grant on my monthly effort certification?
A: Yes. If a person is listed as PI or Key Personnel on a funded grant, he or she must have included effort in the grant application. The employee must certify to the effort expended on all projects, even if no salary is paid by the grant. If the salary is incorrect, the employee must enter a variance code, or the system will automatically change the salary to match the certified effort. The correct variance code for this situation is F-Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing.

Q: My grant is in a no-cost extension and some people who were previously paid off the grant (perhaps including the PI) are no longer paid from that source. It is okay to show their effort reduced to 0% on progress reports, other support pages, and effort reports?
A: No. Individuals whose time is committed to a project should continue to show the appropriate level of effort on progress reports, other support pages, and effort reports, even if they are no longer being paid from a grant that is in a no-cost extension. A PI's effort should never be listed as 0%; by definition, if a person is a PI, he/she must be devoting some time to the project, regardless of salary support. Any change in effort of more than 25% of the original effort proposed for key personnel listed on the Notice of Award requires prior approval by the agency.

Q: How do I get a no-cost extension on my grant?
A: No-cost extensions are handled by Sponsored Projects Accounting. Faculty should contact their departmental business managers, who will work with Gerri Bussell to process the request for a grant that is expiring.

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Q: I am submitting a journal article reporting the results of a study funded, in part, by the NIH. Do I have to submit the article to PubMed?
A: Yes, NIH requires that all articles be submitted to PubMed. Since some journals take care of the PubMed submission, the author is advised to check with the Journal or check the list of journals that submit to PubMed at Additional information about submission of NIH-funded articles can be found at or

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Where Can I Get Information and abstracts for NIH awards at UTHSC?

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