How do I change my eRA Commons role?

The Office of Sponsored Projects will manage this request on your behalf. Please contact [email protected] or call the office at 401-863-2777 for changes to your eRA Commons role.

Request cost-sharing for a grant proposal?

Cost-Sharing Funds are available to help meet sponsor requirements and to increase competitiveness on certain external funding opportunities. For questions on OVPR cost-sharing, or to request cost sharing funds, please email Stephanie Endy in the Office of the Vice President for Research ([email protected])

Get assistance with a large, complicated grant proposal?

The Office of Research Development can assist you in thinking about all the components required for a competitive proposal. RD provides program management for large and/or multi-department grant applications, where RD serves as the primary point of contact for faculty for all aspects of a grant, helping the faculty member find the right person at Brown for any grant-related questions and planning ahead for all support a principal investigator (PI) may need from offices throughout OVPR and other organizational units at Brown to submit a successful proposal.

How do I know if I can serve as Principal Investigator on a proposal or an award?
How do I distinguish between a Subaward and Contractor (Vendor/Consultant)?
How do I know if I should use the on or off campus F&A (Indirect) Cost Rate?
Learn the difference between Grants and Contracts (managed by the Office of Sponsored Projects) and Gifts (managed by the Advancement Office)?

There can be a fine line between Gifts (managed by Brown's Advancement Office) and Grants and Contracts (managed by the Office of Sponsored Projects). 

To make the correct categorization, here is a checklist to consider:  

Is the funding from an Individual (not an organization) ?  if Y = Gift

Is the funding from federal, state, or local government agency or a flow-through from one of these agencies ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Is the funding in response to a proposal with a specific statement of work or defined deliverables ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Is there a line item budget ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Are there budget restrictions ? (e.g, prior approval required for re-budgeting from one line item to another ) if Y = Grant/Contract

Are unexpended (i.e., unspent)  funds or property required to be returned to the sponsor at the end of the project ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Do any terms of the award address patents, copyrights, rights in data or licensing of inventions ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Do any terms of the award require detailed financial reporting beyond a basic summary of expenditures ?  if Y = Grant/Contract

Do the terms of the award allow for audit of expenses or technical/programmatic activity ? if Y = Grant/Contract

Do the terms of the award require indemnification of sponsor by Brown ? if Y = Grant/Contract


Please contact your OSP Grant & Contract Administrator or Grant & Contract Accountant  if you'd like further assistance with this, or any question you may have regarding your research support.

What is the NIH Salary Cap?

A legislatively-mandated provision limiting the direct salary (also known as salary or institutional base salary, but excluding any fringe benefits and F&A costs) for individuals working on NIH grants, cooperative agreement awards, and extramural research and development contracts. The salary limitation rate applies to any individual whose salary is charged directly to awards from these agencies.

For more FAQs on NIH Salary Cap please see the NIH Salary Cap FAQs webpage.

How do I include students or PostDocs that are supported by foreign governments or institutions in my NIH Other Support?

Please see this template for including this information. 

How do I know I'm using an acceptable e-signature on my proposal and award documents

Electronic signatures were formally adopted by OSP in 2019. OSP uses "e-signing" on outgoing subaward agreements and amendments in addition to standard grants & contract documents. For example, many foundations now require the use of the Docusign tool for award endorsement. 

At the proposal stage, we encourage electronic signature on internal forms including Investigator Certifications when a Certified Digital Signature is used. Using Adobe’s “Fill & Sign” tool is not secure or certified, so these signatures cannot not be accepted. Instead, use the Digital Signature option in the Adobe “Certificates” tool. Adobe's instructions can be found here and we've prepared our own instructions here.   

If you have questions or a digital signature isn't possible for whatever reason, please reach out to your OSP Representative and we'll find a solution

How do I know the authorized signatory to sign my proposal, award, agreement or contract?

Please visit the Office of General Counsel's website, and consult their Contracts Signature Delegation  guide. In this guide, research is discussed on pp 13-14, and it is linked at their page's end (updated 9/25/19). 

How Do I Distinguish between a White Paper, LOI, Pre-Proposal, and a Full Proposal?
How Do I Determine How Much PI Effort is Required for a Proposal?

A measurable amount of effort should be devoted to each project in order for an Investigator to complete the scope of work as proposed per the Uniform Guidance 2CFR 200.306(k) ("UG"). In that section, the UG references an Office of Management and Budget (OMG) clarification memo that stated "most Federally-funded research programs should have some level of committed faculty (or senior researcher) effort, paid or unpaid by the Federal government." In addition, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement notes that "...'zero percent' effort or 'as needed effort; is not an acceptable level of involvement for 'key personnel'. These requirements do not apply to:

  • equipment/instrumentation awards
  • dissertation support, training grants or other awards intended to be student augmentation; and 
  • conference awards
  • travel awards