How-Tos

Navigate Federal Contracts at the Pre-Award State

General Proposal Process Overview

All proposals submitted to external funding agencies for sponsored research projects by University personnel must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS). To assist in this process, the Joint Research Office for Contracts (JROC) is responsible for reviewing the terms that are contained in a solicitation for a federal contract.

Most solicitations should indicate when funding will be awarded under a federal contract as opposed to a federal grant. If the award or solicitation contains references to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs or DFARs for DOD contracts), this is a good sign that the project will be funded through a Federal Contract, and the government may even include a template contract in the solicitation.

When the Federal Government issues a Solicitation (a/k/a Request for Proposals, Request for Quotation, or Broad Agency Announcement), the Solicitation might state that the proposer should indicate a preference for an award in the form of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. If the University requests a grant or cooperative agreement, there is no need to make any further request for specific terms and conditions for the award.

JROC will review any terms and conditions contained in the Solicitation. If the University requests a federal contract or if the solicitation indicates that a contract will be issued, the Federal Government requires that any changes to the terms and conditions be requested at the proposal phase. Therefore, JROC will provide an exception letter outlining any and all exceptions the University takes with the proposed terms and conditions. This letter will be forwarded to the DA and OSRS Grant Analyst for inclusion with the submission.

If the solicitation includes “Representations and Certifications”, JROC will fill out and sign that section after obtaining input as appropriate from the Principal Investigator.

Internal Submission Process

As soon as possible after deciding to submit a proposal (either directly or as a subcontractor) where the award may be issued as a contract, the Department Administrator or Principal Investigator should forward (1) entire Solicitation and (2) any correspondence with the federal agency to the appropriate OSRS Grants Analyst and JROC at ResearchContracts@wusm.wustl.edu and ResearchGrants@wusm.wustl.edu. The DA should submit the required budgetary and compliance documents though the PDS system for OSRS review. The OSRS Grant Analyst will review the submission to ensure adherence to all internal and external policies and procedures. All documents required for final submission must be received by OSRS and JROC at least five (5) business days prior to the sponsor due date to ensure adequate time for review.

*If the total (including indirect costs) proposed budget exceeds $700,000 for the entire period of performance, a Small Business Subcontracting Plan will likely need to be provided in the proposal.​