Frequently Asked Questions

Submission Process

What documents do I need to submit to ORSP as part of a complete proposal package?

The following documents must be completed and submitted to ORSP in order to process a proposal submission. The proposal documents can be hand delivered to ORSP or emailed to Sharon Kaufman at or Rebecca Denman at

  1. Proposal Authorization Request form
  2. Detailed budget
  3. Budget justification
  4. Scope of work or project narrative
  5. Sponsor guidelines/RFP
  6. All sponsor-required proposal documents
  7. Protocol approval statements (if applicable)
  8. PI conflict of interest statement (if applicable)

Can ORSP help me prepare my proposal?

ORSP will review your proposal per agency guidelines and help you prepare your budget during the development of your proposal. ORSP can also assist you with editing services, provided sufficient notification. Please call 501-916-6227 or email Lydia Perry to discuss editing services.

Do you offer proposal editing assistance?

Yes! If you would like someone to look over your proposal, contact ORSP editor Stevie Nielson at

Can I submit the proposal directly to the sponsor?

No, it is the university’s policy that all proposals must go through ORSP for administrative and academic approval regardless of the deadline, sponsor requirements, or amount of the request. UA Little Rock sponsored projects must be reviewed and signed by university administration prior to submission to the sponsor. All proposals must be reviewed and signed by officials at the university prior to submission, whether the sponsor requires it or not. Sponsors are aware of this requirement. Policy: Requirement to Submit Proposals and to Receive Awards for Grants and Contracts through the University

How do I account for administrative and clerical costs in my sponsored project?

For federally sponsored projects, UA Little Rock must adhere to the Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200. Therefore, the salaries of administrative and clerical staff, office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, and memberships should normally be treated as facilities and administration (indirect costs). Direct charging of these types of costs may be appropriate in some circumstances.

What is UA Little Rock’s fringe benefit rate?

The fringe benefit rate applied to salaries and wages in sponsored projects covers the university’s cost of providing fringe benefits to grant and agreement funded employees. The rates provided here (Frequently Requested Information) are estimates meant only to anticipate a possible range of actual fringe benefit rates.

Can I sign as Authorized Official on a project?

No, unless you are one of the following UA Little Rock-designated signing officials. The contracting Signature Authority and/or Authorized Official for all contracts and for paper proposals and award notices with a year one project cost over $250,000 is the Vice Chancellor for Finance. For paper proposals and award notices with a year one project cost under $250,000, the Director of ORSP, is the Authorized Official and/or Signature Authority. For electronically submitted proposals, please contact Sharon Kaufman ( to determine the Authorized Official for a specific project or submission portal.

How long does it take for ORSP to review/approve a proposal?

The time required for review of a proposal varies with its length, complexity, accuracy, and the care taken in its preparation and prior review. It also depends upon the present workload in ORSP. To allow for necessary corrections and revisions and for greater assurance that we will meet the sponsor deadline, you must submit your proposal to ORSP at least five (5) full business days before the sponsor deadline. Some proposals that contain cost-sharing commitments, legal conditions, or compliance may require additional lead-time.

How do I get an NSF PIN number?

We will generate a PIN number for faculty or professional staff members who wish to apply for an NSF grant. After accessing Fastlane for the first time, the faculty or professional staff may then sign on to Fastlane after that. Please request an NSF number by emailing ORSP staff in the Grants and Contracts Processing and Submission or ERA areas.

How do I handle having subawards or subcontracts in my budget?

Each subaward should be properly identified in your prime budget; subgrants are collaborative efforts, and subcontracts are procurement of services. For a subgrant, you should have a separate budget, budget justification, scope of work, and letter of commitment signed by the subgrant institution and reflecting the approved subgrant indirect cost. Be aware that federal agencies will require the same information from the subgrant’s principle investigator as is required from the UA Little Rock PI.

For subcontracts, you should also submit a separate budget, budget justification, scope of work or services to be performed, and letter of commitment. Additional costing or pricing documentation may be necessary depending on the program announcement for the specific project. You should involve the Office of Procurement Services in any discussion of possible subcontracts included in your proposal to ensure a smooth transition upon award.

Please note that UA Little Rock will charge indirect cost on the first $25,000 of each subaward per our negotiated IDC rate agreement. It is also important when involving subawards in your budgets that you allow additional time for the paperwork to be processed at the subrecipient’s home institution.

I am in the process of preparing a proposal through It states that I am required to register. What do I need to do to get registered?

You will need to register in the submission system to upload your proposal documents in the Workspace. Click Register at the top-right corner of the page to complete your registration.

Can I search for funding on

Yes. is designed to not only be a ‘one-stop’ submission system for federal agencies, but also a repository for federal funding announcements and grant opportunities. Simply browse the Find Open Grant Opportunities tab on the homepage and use the search parameters of your choosing. You can even subscribe to emails that will alert you to potential funding opportunities.

Can I submit my own proposal in

No. Like NSF’s Fastlane system, you will upload the documents into, but ORSP will be responsible for ‘pushing the button’, or the actual submitting of your proposal.

How long does the submission process take?

ORSP needs five (5) days prior to the due date to review your proposal. Once review is complete and accurate document(s) are uploaded into, the submission process usually takes 1-2 hours.

Who should I talk to if I need assistance or to submit with

Please contact ORSP staff in the Grants and Contracts Processing and Submission or ERA areas.

How can I create PDF files to include in my application?

DoPDF is an easy-to-use PDF converter. It is free for both personal and commercial use. Once downloaded and installed, you may create PDF files by selecting the “Print” command from within your text or spreadsheet application.


What are F&A (indirect) costs?

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are expenses generated at the university by the performance of extramurally funded projects on and off campus. F&A costs are also known as indirect costs or overhead costs. An F&A cost is a cost that is not easily identified or cannot be associated with one specific project. Examples of F&A costs at an institution include general supplies (paper, toner, pencils, etc.), secretarial or general administrative assistance, utilities, and maintenance. F&A expenses are generated on a project according to the established F&A rate. Effective July 1 2023, the new federally negotiated F&A rates are 43.5% Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) for Organized Research, 44.5% for Instruction, 38.5% MTDC for other Sponsored Activities, and 26% MTDC for off campus. Proposals should include the maximum allowable F&A rate.

A PI does not have the authority to reduce or waive the F&A rate or to accept or negotiate a reduced or waived F&A rate with a sponsor. If a reduced or waived rate is either required or suggested, a PI is required to submit one of the following: 1) A copy of the sponsor’s standard policy (or program/grant announcement) indicating the reduced or eliminated F&A rate requirement for that program; or 2) A completed UA Little Rock Request for Indirect Cost Reduction or Waiver Form, signed and approved through the Vice Provost for Research.

What is the F&A negotiated rate and will this vary by sponsor?

Effective July 1 2023, UA Little Rock’s F&A or IDC (indirect costs) negotiated rate is 43.5% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) for Research, 44.5% for Instruction, and 38.5% for Other Sponsored Activities. The off-campus rate (which has explicit criteria that must be met, please refer to the UA Little Rock Negotiated F&A Rate Agreement for this criteria) is 26%. The regular negotiated rate is required for all sponsored projects regardless of the sponsor or type of funding. Some programs have a printed F&A rate restriction either in the program guidelines or grant announcement or in a company’s written policies. Documentation of a rate restriction must be provided with the PAR and the proposal or agreement upon submission of the project to ORSP. Indirect Cost Policy.

What is MTDC and TDC?

Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) is the base on which F&A is applied, which includes salary/wage costs, plus fringe benefits, materials, travel, other direct expenses (such as services), and the first $25,000 of a subaward. However, it excludes equipment, tuition remission, scholarships, fellowships, participant support costs, and any part of a subaward over $25,000. Total Direct Cost (TDC) is the total direct costs on a project with no exclusions.

When can I apply the Off-Campus F&A Rate?

Off-campus F&A (indirect cost) rates pertain to all activities performed in facilities not owned by UA Little Rock and to which rent payments are directly allocated to the project’s budget, then the off-campus F&A rate will apply to that specific criteria. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-site, then the off-site rate will apply to the entire project.


The sponsor notified me that my proposal was funded. May I begin my project now?

No. After you receive electronic or written notification of your award from the sponsor, you must contact ORSP prior to beginning your project. ORSP will work with the sponsor to finalize the award and assure all awards and compliance issues have been addressed. We will then set up your account so that you can begin your project.

Why can’t I spend my grant money any way I want?

Sponsored funds are subject to UA Little Rock purchasing restrictions, and they may be subject to additional specific federal, state, or agency restrictions. Always check with your Grants Manager and the Office of Procurement Services before spending grant money to make sure that you can be reimbursed for your purchases.

When should I request a no-cost extension?

Individual sponsor requirements vary. First-time requests are generally due to the sponsor thirty (30) days prior to the current end date of the project. Any subsequent extension requests, if permitted, are due to the sponsor sixty (60) days prior to the extended end date of the project. Please allow a reasonable amount of time for us to review and process your request.

Other Questions

What is UA Little Rock's tax exempt status? Can I receive funding from a sponsor who requires a 501(c)(3) status?

UA Little Rock is classified with an IRS coded tax exempt status of 170(c)(1), not 501(c)(3). If sponsors specifically require the organization to have a 501(c)(3) status, we may not be eligible to receive funding from them.

What is the difference between a grant and a gift?

Grants generally carry obligations for reporting of technical or financial activity that the sponsor may require. Grants are intended to support specific projects and set objectives; periodic written reports are required; the accounting of funds received are separate from other awards; and you must apply for and receive the award through ORSP to assure compliance with university and agency policies. A gift normally requires no formal proposal or reporting; these funds can be combined with gifts of a similar nature for similar purposes, do not have to be in a separate fund (account), and may be for a specific project or unrestricted institutional purposes.

What is Research Compliance and why is it important?

Federal regulations require institutions to review and approve research projects using human participants, animals, bio agents, etc. prior to accepting an award. Also, other issues such as potential conflicts of interest, export control issues, and effort commitments need to be reviewed and addressed.