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Frequently Asked Questions

This sheet contains a microcosm of the possible questions and/or situations that may be encountered by researchers and administrators working on proposals. Please contact our office if you have any further questions.

How do I find out about grant opportunities? Who is my first point of contact?
There are several online resources available for finding funding opportunities. These are outlined in the Principal Investigator’s Handbook, Chapter 2. A simple google search of your proposed topic and grants as keywords can often work. If you wish to make an appointment to discuss potential opportunities, email the Office of Grants and Research services at grantsoffice@shu.edu.

How do I learn how to write a grant?
The best way to learn how to write proposals is to do it. See the PI Handbook, Chapter 3 for details and narratives and Chapter 4 for budgeting. It is a good idea to start small. The Offices of Grants and research Services, Government Relations and Corporate and Foundation Relations all offer proposal writing assistance. OGRS may be able to offer support or attendance at external proposal-writing workshops tied to specific opportunities. General grant writing related workshops are offered periodically at the University. Through the Office of Government Relations, the University contracts with Winning Strategies Washington to assist and support faculty with Federal grant proposals. Faculty and researchers interested in participating in grant writing classes/workshops should contact OGRS for a schedule of upcoming classes/workshops.

Frequently Requested Information: Seton Hall University 
Seton Hall University is a private non-profit educational institution.
The University is tax exempt under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code

  • Entity Identification Number (EIN):
    22-1500645 
  • Dun and Bradstreet Number
    07-932-4315 
  • Animal Welfare Assurance Number:
    A-3461-01
  • Human Subjects Assurance Number:
    FWA00001223
  • Misconduct in Science Filed:
    March 29, 2017
  • Congressional District (Newark):
    Newark 10th 
  • State Legislative District
    SO Village 27th 
  • Date of the most recent DHHS Facilities and Administration (F&A or Indirect Cost) Agreement
    November 14, 2014

Do all grant applications and proposals have to go through the approval process?  
University policy requires that all grant applications and proposals must go through the usual approval process before it is submitted to a potential sponsor or funding agency.  This is true whether the application or proposal for a grant is submitted to a private funding sponsor, such as a foundation or corporation, a public sponsor, such as a Federal or State agency, or to any other organization, such as a professional association or society.  This is also true whether the application or proposal is a new project, a continuation, a renewal, or a supplement.  The only exceptions are gifts and most fellowship applications.

What is the approval procedure for proposals? 
In order to process an external proposal through the University, you need to obtain the approval signatures of the appropriate administrative offices e.g., department chair and dean on the Approval Form that accompanies the formal proposal through the internal review process. This sheet specifies the level of institutional commitment to the proposed activity and provides evidence of departmental and dean's support. After departmental and collegiate approvals are obtained the application is sent to OGRS for final review and sign-off.

What are my responsibilities as a Principal Investigator (PI)?
A Principal Investigator is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Additional details are contained in the Principal Investigator’s Handbook, Chapter 1.

Who is the SHU official authorized to sign proposals for the University?

The Director of the Office of Grants & Research Services is authorized to sign proposals for the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Director's name and title should be entered on all proposal cover sheets and proposal certification forms as the Authorized Institutional Official:

Nicholas H. Snow, Ph.D. 
Interim Director of Grants and Research Services
Seton Hall University
Presidents Hall
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079

What is the official mailing address to be shown on proposals for Seton Hall University? 
Seton Hall University
Office of Grants & Research Services
Presidents Hall
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079
Ph. (973) 275-2974
Fax. (973) 275-2978

How does the University define a gift, and how do fellowships differ from grants?
Gifts to the University of an unrestricted nature, or those restricted to general or generic program use, which do not include any quid pro quo conditions, are not subject to the endorsement process. A gift is defined as an asset conveyed to the University for which there is no consideration or obligation of performance, and for which the donor has no means of enforcement beyond revocation of the gift in the event that the University fails to honor the covenants under which the asset was bestowed. Gifts from corporations and foundations are handled by the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. 

Fellowships are awards made to individual applicants from sponsors like the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Sciences Research Council. The applicant therefore is an individual and not Seton Hall University. Fellowship applications do not normally go through the approval process; however, in a few cases sponsors choose to award fellowship funds to the University on behalf of a faculty member. In these cases, the University is the applicant and the application must go through the approval process.

What is the Cognizant Audit Agency? 
Our cognizant agency is the federal agency with which we negotiate our F&A or indirect costs and fringe benefit rate agreements.

US Department of Health & Human Services

What is the Summer Research Grant process?
SHU’s University Research Council (URC) coordinates and administers the Summer Research Grant competition each year. The URC was established to foster faculty research and to promote faculty development activities, including the identification of priorities and programs which shall provide opportunities for faculty growth and renewal. Each year this faculty committee, with administrative support provided by the Office of Grants and Research Services on behalf of the Provost's Office conducts an awards competition for research-expense grants and summer stipends in accord with guidelines approved by the University. Specific information about the application process can found on the URC webpage https://www13.shu.edu/offices/ogrs-urc.cfm.

What is the role of the chair and dean in the grants, corps, foundation process?
The Principal Investigator’s Department Chair and Dean are responsible for approving the grant application of the Principal Investigator prior to the application being submitted to the funding sponsor. Their approval is documented by their signature on the Intent to Apply for External Funding Form. The Dean is also responsible for the approval of any release time being requested by the Principal Investigator.

What is SHU’s record in the last three years for external funding?
Over the past three years, the University has obtained about $7.5 Million per year in external grants and contracts.

What is cost sharing or matching? 
The Federal Government defines cost sharing as "that portion of the project or program costs not borne by the Federal Government."  In other words, cost sharing on a proposal is the amount of cash, in-kind support (e.g. department paid salaries), or any other support the University promises to commit to the proposed project.  Cost sharing may also include third party support on a budget (e.g. funding from another external grant).

There are several agencies that require cost sharing commitments on grants and it is important to show cost sharing in these instances.  It is important to be as accurate as possible on all cost sharing commitments.  When a grant is awarded with a cost shared budget, the cost sharing becomes a condition of the grant and the University is held accountable for the management and tracking of the cost sharing portion of the project.  Therefore, we recommend including cost sharing in a proposal only when the funding agency requires cost sharing.

*Note - If your budget includes cost sharing, you must complete and submit the cost sharing form page 3 of the Approval Form to the Office of Grants & Research Services.  Please also note that course release (workload buyout) and student tuition are also examples of cost sharing that require authorization.  Please discuss any questions concerning cost sharing with OGRS staff. 

How should I proceed if an agency does not allow F&A costs charged in a proposal budget? 
Seton Hall University has a federally negotiated F&A cost agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Therefore, Federal agencies honor our F&A cost rate charges on grants and proposals.  This is a common practice for most universities that receive Federal grant funding.  Most New Jersey agencies do not pay F&A costs.  You should check with the agency to confirm its F&A policy.

Often, certain private foundations or companies will not allow F&A costs on a proposal or award.  In this case, the Principal Investigator will need to obtain either a copy of the guidelines noting the exclusion of F&A costs or a statement from the funding agency.

When a sponsor will only allow a reduced F&A costs rate (e.g. 8%), that rate should be charged against the TDC or Total Direct Costs.  The TDC will include all costs in the budget, with no exclusions.  For example, if the direct costs are $100,000 and the sponsor allows 8% of F&A costs rate, the F&A costs are $8,000 ($100,000 x 8%), and the total request cost (direct and F&A costs) is $108,000 ($100,000 + $8,000).

How do I calculate F&A or Facilities and Administrative (Indirect) Costs?
When creating a proposal budget, F&A costs are calculated as a percentage of the salaries and wages included in the personnel costs on the budget. Effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018, the indirect cost rate is 57.5% of all salaries and wages for on campus projects and 27.2% of all salaries and wages for off-campus projects.

What are the current fringe benefits?
The FY 2018 rate will be effective July 1, 2017 and is applicable to all projects.  

Fringe Benefit Rate Table

Account Description FY 2018 Rate
6111 Faculty Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6112 Faculty Salaries - Full Time - Law School 33.0%
6121 Faculty Summer Salaries - Full Time 9.0%
6122 Faculty Salary Overload 9.0%
6124 Faculty Stipends 9.0%
6131 Faculty Salary Unallocated Budget  41.2%
6133 Faculty Contributed Service 9.0%
6141 Adjunct Faculty Salaries 9.0%
6142 Adjunct Faculty Summer - Part Time 9.0%
6211 Administrative Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6212 Administrative Salaries - Part Time - Without Benefits 9.0%
6213 Administrative Salaries - Part Time - With Benefits 41.2%
6214 Administrative Supplemental 9.0%
6215 Automobile Allowance 9.0%
6221 Administrative Bi-Weekly Pay  41.2%
6224 Administrative Bi-Weekly Overtime  9.0%
6231 Coaching Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6232 Coaching Salaries - Part Time - Without Benefits 9.0%
6233 Coaching Salaries - Part Time - With Benefits 41.2%
6234 Coaching - Bonuses 9.0%
6254 Administrative Contributed Service  9.0%
6258 Unallocated Administrative Salary Budget  41.2%
6311 Staff Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6312 Staff Salaries - Part Time - Without Benefits 9.0%
6313 Staff Salaries - Part Time - With Benefits 41.2%
6314 Staff Overtime 9.0%
6315 Temporary Staff - Full Time and Part Time 9.0%
6318 Staff Supplemental 9.0%
6341 Paraprof. Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6342 Paraprof. Salaries - Part Time - Without Benefits 9.0%
6343 Paraprof. Salaries - Part Time -With Benefits 41.2%
6344 Paraprof. Salaries - Overtime  9.0%
6361 Maintenance Salaries - Full Time 41.2%
6363 Maintenance Salaries - Part Time - With Benefits 41.2%
6364 Maintenance Overtime 41.2%
6365 Temporary Maintenance - Full Time and Part Time 41.2%
6511 Student Salaries - Hourly 0.0%
6513 Undergraduate Stipend 0.0%
6514 Undergraduate Summer Stipend 0.0%
6531 Graduate Assistant Stipend 0.0%
6532 Graduate Assistant Tuition Remission  0.0%
6533 Graduate Stipend  0.0%
6534 Graduate Salaries - Hourly  0.0%
6541 Postdoctoral Fellows 41.2%

What are indirect costs for research grants?
Indirect Costs in research grants are the ancillary costs associated with supporting research projects at the University (e.g. lab space/facilities, utilities, library services, purchasing department, etc.), but that cannot be budgeted as direct costs on grant applications. SHU has a federally-approved indirect cost rate, which must be used in all federal grant application, unless the funding opportunity guidelines for a specific grant states that a different indirect costs must be used. Details can be found in the PI Handbook, Chapter 4.

What if I am asking for release time in my grant? How is that approved? How do we account for that in the institutional contribution? 1/6, 1/8 of salary? adjunct replacement?
Release time for a faculty member must be approved by the faculty member’s Dean prior to the submission of the grant application to the sponsor. Approval of the Dean is documented when the Dean signs the Cost Sharing page of the Intent to Apply for External Funding form. One 3-credit course buy-out is the equivalent 1/9 of salary for a faculty members on 9 month appointment. For faculty with 12 month appointments, a course buy-out is equivalent to 1/12 of salary. In both cases, fringe benefits and indirect cost recovery must be accounted for as well. Details can be found in Chapter 4 of the Principal Investigator’s Handbook. Please allow extra time for approval of release time and work closely with OGRS in advance on the budget if release time is requested.

How should I proceed if another organization (university or other) wants to include me (an SHU Faculty Member) as a Co-Principal Investigator on a grant? 
When researchers from Seton Hall University are featured as Co-Principal Investigators on another institution's proposal, the primary organization or institution submitting the proposal to the agency, usually issues a subcontract to Seton Hall when the grant is awarded. Therefore it is necessary to have documentation on file in the Office of Grants & Research Services in the event of an award. In preparation for such an event, the Seton Hall researcher will need to submit a statement of work, a budget and a signed Approval Form to the Office of Grants & Research Services. This must be accomplished before the final proposal documents are sent to the submitting institution.

How should I proceed if I need to issue a subcontract from my grant award to another institution?
When you are ready for Seton Hall University to issue a subcontract from your grant to another agency you will need to use the following guidelines:

SUBCONTRACTS

When a subcontract is issued from a grant awarded to Seton Hall, the Principal Investigator should initiate the subcontracting process by contacting the Office of Grants & Research Services. The following documentation is required before a subcontract can be issued to the subcontractee (e.g. a university or agency):

  1. A subcontractor letter of commitment (from the subcontractee or agency)

  2. Subcontractor Statement of Work (from the subcontractee)

  3. Subcontractor Budget (approved and signed by the subcontractee's organization)

  4. Subcontractor Period of Performance

  5. Subcontractor Project Director and Address

Please contact the Office of Grants & Research Services at extension 2974 if you need additional information.

Who is Winning Strategies Washington? What can they do for me? How do I enlist their support?
Winning Strategies is a Washington DC based consulting and lobbying firm that can assist the SHU community with identifying funding opportunities, assist with editing project narratives, arrange meetings/calls with Program Officers of relevant federal agencies that offer funding opportunities, and securing Congressional letters of support. Support from Winning Strategies is enlisted through the Office of Government Relations.

If a proposal requires a data management plan or data that muse be secured according to specific requirements, how is this managed?
If a data management plan is required, the University Libraries provide several means depending on the specific requirements of the sponsor. Usually, this will involve depositing data for open access in the e-repository that is already in use campus-wide for publications and dissertations. If the opposite is required and data must be secured, the university is prepared to manage the data to the NIST 800-171 standard required by the Federal government. In either case, please ensure that OGRS is informed of the need for a data management plan as early on in the process as possible. Statements regarding data management plans will require extra time to prepare.

How is the IRB involved in grant proposal submissions?
Proposals including research involving human subjects should be discussed with the IRB prior to submission. While IRB approval is usually not required for submission, it will be required prior to the sponsor releasing funds. Failure or delay in obtaining IRB approval can cause the sponsor to retract funds for an approval grant. Be advised that final IRB approval can require 2-3 months if corrections tot eh protocol are required. Seton Hall University's Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research (IRB) has been established in accordance with federal regulation. The IRB reviews all proposed research involving human subjects in order to ensure that subjects' rights and welfare are adequately protected. The University's IRB Office is administered and empowered through the Office of the Provost. The IRB is comprised primarily of faculty members from disciplines that conduct research involving human subjects (i.e., nursing, allied health fields, education, psychology, sociology, etc.). Community representatives who have no formal ties to the University also sit on the IRB. Additional information about the IRB can be found on the IRB webpage.

Who is responsible for the actual submission (pushing the button or mailing) of a grant?
For all governmental submissions, OGRS is the only office authorized to submit a proposal. For corporate or foundation submissions, OGRS or Corporate and Foundation Relations may submit proposals.

What happens when a proposal is awarded?
All award documentation is recorded by the Office of Grants & Research Services and forwarded for account creation and maintenance. Most award documents will be forwarded to the Grants Accounting Office. However,some researchers may personally receive the documentation therefore it is important that all grant documentation (award letter, checks or other correspondence) are submitted to the Office of Grants & Research Services for review and processing. When all documentation for an award is received, it will be shared with the Grants Accounting Office, which will then set up a grant account for the Principal Investigator.

How/when does the College Budget Director get involved in accounting for grants or other sources?
Each College/School at the University develops their own procedures for how/when their Budget Director becomes involved with accounting and financial matters related to grant funding. Please consult with the Dean’s Office at your particular College/School for specific procedures.

What SHU financial units are involved in accounting of funds?
The Office of Grants Accounting (within the Division of Finance) is the financial office within the University responsible for the accounting for grant funds. Among other things, the Office of Grants Accounting prepares and submits financial expenditure reports to grant sponsors.

Once a grant is awarded, how is the PI oriented to his/her responsibilities?
Upon the awarding of a grant, the PI should meet with OGRS and with Grants Accounting to go over the specific responsibilities and requirements for technical and fiscal reporting, respectfully. OGRS should initiate these meetings, but the PI should in any event.

Who is responsible for ensuring that all protocols are followed, all timelines for reporting are met, etc?
Ultimately the PI bears responsibility for ensuring that timelines are met and protocols are followed. As the project progresses, Grants Accounting reminds PIs in advance of fiscal deadlines for use of funds and closeout. When these reminders are received, this is a good time to ensure that technical requirements are being met. For most Federal grants, the government will send notices if a grant is out of compliance and there is usually an opportunity to become compliant without penalty. Failure to file timely technical reports can result in the PI being deemed ineligible for future awards by the sponsor. If the project involves protocols for human subjects, animal subjects, radiation or lab safety, the PI is responsible and will be held accountable if the protocols are not followed. These are monitored by the relevant University bodies.

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