Research Development

Duke Proposal Process

How Proposals are Processed for Submission to Funding Agencies

All research proposals for Duke University (excluding the Medical School) are submitted through the Office of Research Support (ORS). Principal Investigators (PIs) bear a legal responsibility for the work to be done, including budget management, but ORS provides guarantees to the funder that Duke University will bear the responsibility for providing resources and good management practices for proposals and awards. 

Five Days Before Proposal Deadline

Five business days (or more) before the proposal is due to the funding agency your grant manager will submit your proposal for institutional review into the Sponsored Projects System (SPS). SPS gathers information Duke needs to vet a proposal and routes the proposal automatically to the home departments and schools of the faculty involved in the proposal. The purpose of the review process is to make sure that the requirements of the solicitation are met and the departments and schools that may be making commitments in the proposals have had a chance to check the budget, etc. for accuracy and appropriateness. The five day requirement is firm. If a few key features of the proposal cannot be submitted to SPS on time (usually an abstract, a budget, the solicitation name or number, and some identifying information about the PI and Co-Investigators), a waiver is required. With very few exceptions, if the proposal is being submitted via grants.gov, SPS feeds directly into the grants.gov system.  

After Award

Once the proposal has been submitted and an award is granted, ORS will set up the account codes needed to manage the financial aspects of the grant. Your grant manager or business manager will usually interact with ORS in that process. After that, the PI is responsible for meeting all of the technical and financial requirements of the award and will work with their grant manager to ensure compliance with the financial requirements.

The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for post-award management for all of Duke University, including the School of Medicine. Most of your interaction with the Office of Sponsored Programs will probably be through a grant manager or your department’s business manager.