Researcher's Manual - Participant Roles and Responsibility
The successful development, approval, and submission of an application for sponsored program funding involves many more people than the researcher alone. It is important to understand each participant’s role and responsibilities in the process to help ensure the proposal’s success even before it leaves campus.
Because the project will be built around the PI’s idea, he or she will have the central role in all aspects of sponsored programs. The PI will be responsible to the institution and the sponsor for the fiscal and intellectual management of the project.
- Finding Funding: It is the responsibility of the PI to find, review, and evaluate opportunities for proposal submission to make sure that the goals and mission of the sponsor are in alignment with the ideas and needs of the PI and the project in mind.
- Understanding Sponsor Requirements and Guidelines: The PI must understand all sponsor requirements and guidelines to ensure that their application will be successful.
- Proposal Development: The PI is responsible for writing the application, filling out all required forms, and ensuring that all parts and pieces are complete before submission.
- Proposal Routing: The PI is responsible for discussing the proposal with their Department Chair and Divisional Dean and securing their approval before submission. The PI is also responsible for securing written documentation of any commitments being made to the project from Lehman College or other entities.
- Proposal Approval: The PI is not legally able to commit the institution to an application for sponsored program funding. The PI is responsible for ensuring that the proposal has appropriate institutional approval from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs before submission.
- Proposal Submission: The PI is not usually responsible for the actual submission of the proposal, but requirements and processes vary from sponsor to sponsor. The PI is responsible for understanding the sponsor’s requirements for submission and communicating with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has at its core several varied responsibilities. Among these are to serve as a resource to the faculty in all areas of sponsored programs, to protect the institution from undue risk in sponsored programs, and to serve as liaison to the Research Foundation.
- Finding Funding: The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs produces a monthly newsletter summarizing funding opportunities with approaching due dates and offers a workshop in the Fall and Spring semesters that enables faculty and staff to learn how to identify funding sources and search for opportunities. ORSP also forwards specific announcements to faculty that may be interested.
- Understanding Sponsor Requirements & Guidelines: ORSP serves as advisor to faculty who may not have had much interaction with sponsors or understand the guidelines as presented. When questions arise about the administrative portion of a proposal, ORSP is available to answer the question from experience or assist in contacting the sponsor to understand the requirements.
- Proposal Development: The development of the proposal is the responsibility of the PI. However, many parts of the proposals may be unfamiliar or complex. ORSP offers workshops each semester to aid faculty members in developing their proposals. Topics currently include “Building a Budget,” “Introduction to NIH,” “Introduction to NSF,” “Introduction to NEH,” “Introduction to NIH Research Plans,” and “Introduction to NSF Project Narratives." ORSP is available to develop additional workshops as needed. ORSP maintains PI access to sponsor electronic systems such as eRA Commons for NIH and FastLane for NSF. Workload permitting, ORSP staff will also work with individual faculty members to assist in developing the administrative parts of proposals or to give feedback on any part of the proposal. Time preference is given to new or inexperienced faculty over seasoned or funded faculty, and proposals are prioritized by due date. Regardless of any assistance given by ORSP, the responsibility for filling out all forms ultimately rests with the PI.
Proposal Routing and Approval
- Paper Proposals: All proposals should be scanned and uploaded to Cayuse and routed for approval by the PI, the Department Chair, and the Divisional Dean, before being routed to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for review and signature. All proposals that include commitments of resources from the College must include letters outlining the commitment and be signed by the owner of the resources.
- Electronic Proposals: All proposals must be routed by the PI to the Department Chair, and the Divisional Dean before sending to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for review and submission. All proposals that include commitments of resources from the College must include letters outlining the commitment and be signed by the owner of the resources. The routing chain in Cayuse must also include owners of all resources committed to the project.
- Proposal Review: ORSP is responsible for reviewing all proposals to ensure that they are compliant with all Lehman College, Research Foundation of CUNY, City, State, and Federal policies and regulations. ORSP encourages researchers to discuss the project with them early to ensure that all necessary supporting documentation and explanations will be included in the proposal or routing along with the proposal.
- Proposal Submission: Unless required by the sponsor or necessary for other reasons, ORSP prefers to submit all applications directly.
- Finding Funding: The Research Foundation of CUNY maintains a paid subscription to the database COS that is accessible to all researchers and manages the internal PSC-CUNY proposal and award process. The RF does not have any formal role in finding funding.
- Proposal Development: The Research Foundation does not have any role in proposal development, but may be consulted if you have unusual or extremely large items in your budget.
- Proposal Routing: The Research Foundation does not have any role in proposal routing.
- Proposal Approval: The Research Foundation does not have any role in Proposal Approval.
- Proposal Submission: The Research Foundation does not have any role in Proposal Submission.
Department Chair. The Department Chair is responsible for understanding the researcher’s request, including any needs for space, reassigned time, equipment usage,and staff support. In signing the paper routing form or approving an electronic proposal, the Chair agrees to fulfill any and all Department-level commitments included in the proposal. Researchers are encouraged to discuss any commitments needed with the Chair at the beginning of proposal development and to consider including a letter of commitment from the Department Chair in the application as appropriate.
Divisional Dean. The Divisional Dean is responsible for understanding the impact of the proposal on the division, including any requests for space, facilities, staff, or regulated resources (such as but not limited to animals, human subjects, stem cells, or hazardous materials). In signing the paper routing form or approving an electronic proposal, the Dean agrees to support and fulfill all commitments of Dean-level resources included in the proposal. Researchers are encouraged to discuss the proposal and any commitments needed with the Dean at the beginning of proposal development and to consider including a letter of commitment from the Divisional Dean in the application as appropriate.
Other Institutional Officials. Research Projects occasionally require the commitment of resources not controlled by the Department Chair or Divisional Dean such as renovation of facilities, use of regulated resources such as human or animal subjects, STEM cells, hazardous materials, or tuition waivers. The proposal should be routed to the appropriate institutional officials responsible for the needed for the resources before being routed to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Researchers are encouraged to discuss the proposal and the commitments needed with the appropriate officials at the beginning of proposal development and must always include a letter of commitment from the appropriate institutional official(s) as part of the application.
Sponsor. The sponsor is responsible for clearly communicating the program goals, guidelines, and submission deadline to the public. The sponsor is NOT responsible for any special consideration or communication with Lehman College, its faculty or its staff. Requests for extensions or exclusions from parts of the requirements are granted solely at the discretion of the sponsor and my harm the researcher’s chances of being funded.