Guidance of supporting practices for complex and large proposals and projects

September 1, 2020

Oregon State University recognizes that there is an increasing trend for funding agencies to fund complex multi-disciplinary projects that are potentially associated with a variety of complicating factors. The work of developing these proposals is more complex, and the administration and management of these projects (once awarded) is also more complicated. Further, success in obtaining funding from some of these programs may depend on the level of institutional support that can be provided and documented in the proposal. All of these factors form significant additional work for faculty and can be perceived as a barrier for faculty who are considering leading these projects. Yet, given the funding trends, it is essential for OSU to be competitive in this realm. The following guidance details the possible modes of support that can be provided to PIs to encourage them to take the lead on large projects and strengthen the proposals so that they can be successful.  

Complex projects, in this context, are defined by a number of potential attributes, including (but not limited to) projects that

  • require long-term large-scale projects with large budgets, e.g. ~$10M over 5 years
  • involve establishment of a prestigious program or center (e.g. a Science and Technology Center) in a signature area for OSU as defined by SP4.0 or other university-wide initiatives and priorities
  • require additional space, staffing, outreach and marketing efforts, equipment, or faculty hires, and require strong evidence for such institutional support for success at the proposal stage
  • involve complex relationships with partner entities, such as multiple sub-awards, contracts, lease or purchase agreements, procurements, or other financially complicated arrangements
  • are associated with large amount of cost share
  • involve a large number of collaborating investigators at various institutions.

For proposals that meet these criteria, OSU may be able to make additional support available. This support could come in the form of:

  • additional support during proposal preparation and submission, including targeted meetings during budget development and organization of proposal reviews with an internal review team
  • additional resources to provide adequate space, funds for space renovations, additional equipment, or support for additional faculty hires
  • additional dedicated staff within various support offices (i.e. URM, OSRAA) to provide dedicated project support

The exact nature of the provided support will be catered to the needs of the individual projects with an emphasis of providing specific support that will help in making the proposal successful.  The desired support should be negotiated at the proposal stage with the VPR and the Provost. Attention will be paid to the amount of support provided by home Colleges or Centers/Institutes and the amount of F&A dollars that will be generated by the project. However, the mechanism for support will not be a re-distribution of generated F&A. Rather, the support will be in the form of direct and explicit institutional investment in the endeavor by central administration.