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The Office of Research Administration supports the mission of the college by providing administrative and management services for sponsored projects. Sponsored projects include grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements–from both the public and private sectors–which support research, instructional and service projects.

Our goal is to provide effective and efficient support services throughout the life of all sponsored projects (pre-award, post-award, and close out). We also work to ensure compliance with Federal regulations and requirements as well as with the policies, procedures, and guidelines of the University.

  • Pre-Award Services: provide proposal and budget development support services to faculty and staff necessary to identify, develop, and submit external grant and contract applications, and administers internal funding opportunities.
  • Post-Award Services: provide fiscal support necessary to responsibly manage funds awarded, consistent with University policy, requirements of funding sources, and federal regulations and time/effort reporting.
  • Research Compliance: provide information and training for successful preparation for and ethical implementation of research within federal, state, local and institutional regulatory practices including, but not limited to, protection of human and animal subjects, hazardous materials, biosafety and HIPAA.
  • Limited Submissions: work with the Office of the Vice President for Research to respond to research funding opportunities for which a limited number of submissions are permitted from Penn State.
  • COINS: Help faculty with disclosures of significant financial interests and all annual updates for COINS (Conflict Of INterest System).
  • Conflict of Interest: help with individual and institutional conflict of interest policies, guidelines, and procedures and strives to ensure compliance with all federal regulations and University policies.
  • Funding Opportunities: help faculty find targeted funding opportunities.

Download pdf of guidelines

  1. The EMS Proposal Submission Guidelines are compliant with and implement University policy RA20 – Proposal Submission (
  2. The EMS Proposal Submission Guidelines are intended to balance multiple competing priorities:
  • To provide EMS researchers a streamlined and efficient proposal submission process that recognizes Principal Investigator (PI) time constraints and minimizes administrative burden.
  • To enable the EMS Research Office and department/institute pre-award staff to provide the highest possible customer service, flexibility and responsiveness to our faculty.
  • To ensure pre-award staff can manage their workloads and perform their jobs to the best of their abilities within the standard 40-hour work week (with a few high-priority exceptions).
  • To provide consistent and equitable support to over 150 PIs submitting 400+ proposals per year, and to ensure each proposal is prepared and submitted with the best chance for success.
  1. The EMS Research Office staff and designated department/institute research AA’s are tasked with supporting all aspects of proposal document preparation and compliance review.  However, the PI is ultimately responsible for the content of the proposal.

The PI should be familiar with all proposal preparation requirements as stated in the sponsor’s solicitation, funding opportunity announcement, or request for proposal.
The PI is required to complete all technical and project-specific proposal documents.
The PI is required to review and approve all final proposal documents before the proposal is submitted to the sponsor.

Per RA20, faculty members are encouraged to submit all proposal materials to their designated proposal preparation staff at least five (5) workdays prior to the proposal due date.

PIs should notify their department/institute research AA of their intent to submit a proposal immediately upon PI decision, conceivably weeks/months in advance of the deadline. PIs should update their department/institute research AA and their Research Office pre-award coordinator of any subsequent change to their proposal submission intentions.
Any submission deadline later than 5:00 p.m. on a given date will be treated as if the deadline was actually 5:00 p.m. to align with pre-award staff work schedules.
After all proposal documents are submitted, the PI is expected to remain available for communication with department/institute and Research Office staff until the final proposal is submitted to the sponsor to answer questions, clarify intent, edit documents as needed, and approve the final proposal package.  It is the PI’s responsibility to designate an alternate in advance if the PI will be on travel or otherwise unavailable during this period.

The EMS “24 Hour” Rule

As stated previously, PIs should be targeting submission of all proposal documents to the Research Office five workdays prior to the submission deadline as a standard practice.  EMS has established the “24 Rule” as a last-chance threshold to accommodate submissions under urgent or extenuating circumstances.
Full, complete and accurate proposal documents
must be submitted to the Research Office a minimum of 24 hours (one official workday) prior to the published submission deadline.

Draft documents or revisions in process are not acceptable.
Documents and budgets that require substantial rework or multiple revisions requested by the Research Office to comply with solicitation requirements may invalidate acceptance.
If the proposal includes cost share, written commitments from all sources (department head, associate dean, OVPR/central, etc.) are required at the 24 hour pre-submission point.|
A lack of timely response from the PI or designee to resolve a critical proposal question/issue may invalidate the submission of the proposal.

Fair Warning:  PIs who routinely submit documents at the 24-hour point run a high risk of having their proposal submission rejected.  As the EMS proposal volume increases each year, existing staff no longer have the capacity for rapid response as they may have in the past.  Staff will not be asked to stay late or work weekends for proposals submitted at the last minute.

Notification of Non-Compliance

If full, complete and accurate proposal documents are not received at the 24 hour point, the EMS Research Office will not commit to meeting the submission deadline.
The PI will be notified by email from the Research Office Director or Senior Coordinator (Jennifer Lear or Tammy Fetterolf) if his/her proposal is not in compliance with all proposal submission requirements and deadlines.  Dr. Hellmann and the Department/Institute Head will be copied on the email.
The email will include these or similar statements:  “While we will make our best effort to move your proposal forward, the EMS Research Office will not commit to meeting the submission deadline.  Other proposals in process will be given priority and your proposal will be worked only as time and staffing permit.”

High-Volume Submission Deadlines

The Research Office may, as needed, establish earlier deadlines in advance of expected high-volume submission dates.

“High volume” will generally refer to 5 or more proposals for a single solicitation, or other similar numbers of proposals for multiple solicitations.

An email will be distributed via the EMS faculty/staff listserve providing an alert of the expected high-volume date, and instituting a specific deadline (i.e., 3 days rather than 24 hours) for all submissions on that date.

Open Solicitations and “Soft” Submission Deadlines

As stated previously, PIs should be targeting submission of all documents to the Research Office five workdays prior to the deadline as a standard practice.  A similar timeline is required for proposals in response to open solicitations, to enable consistent and equitable support to all.
If a proposal submission has no published submission deadline, the Research Office commits to submitting all proposals within five workdays after full, complete and accurate proposal documents are received. PIs should refrain from committing to shorter submission windows with Program Officers or other sponsor contacts.