Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sponsored program?

By sponsored program, we mean an activity that is externally funded by funding source (Sponsor) to support an approved instructional activity, research endeavor, or public service and for which there is a level of accountability to the sponsor that is characterized by three distinct components: 1) a pre-defined work plan or scope of work, 2) a budget, and 3) reporting requirements. All government-funded projects are sponsored programs.

How are sponsored programs awarded?

Grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements are the three types of award mechanisms for sponsored programs and serve as evidence of the receipt of support from external sources. The award agreement commits the sponsor to fund the project at a certain level and commits Jacksonville University to perform the activities specified in the proposal within a specified period of time.

Generally, when a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement is offered by a funding agency, it is awarded to the University on behalf of the project director or principal investigator (PI) who is primarily responsible for executing the requirements of the award.

Who can submit proposals to a sponsor?

The principal investigator, when developing and submitting a proposal and administering a project, is representing the University and is responsible for upholding the high standards expected of Jacksonville University projects. In most cases, the PI serves as the budget director with all responsibilities pursuant to fiscal management.

The official applicant for all sponsored programs is Jacksonville University, with the Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs designated as the official signatory on the application. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is responsible for the authorization of university commitments to and commitments on all sponsored programs, regardless of the type of sponsor or size of program. 

This means that all requests, applications, proposals, or other types of solicitations for sponsored programs funding must be coordinated through, and submitted by, the ORSP.

Who can accept awards from a sponsor?

Every request for external funds submitted by Jacksonville University is a legal agreement committing the University to engage in certain activities at a certain cost; therefore, the proposed project must align with university, college, and department goals, capabilities and policies. This is the rationale for all grant/contract proposals to be reviewed, and signed/approved by appropriate departments, colleges, the ORSP, Controller’s Office, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost. Faculty or staff members do not have the authority to bind the University in a legal manner: the signatory authority rests with the President, the Chief Financial Officer, or their designee.

What is the difference between a grant and a contract?

A grant is a financial assistance mechanism a sponsor uses to award funds for conducting a specified, approved project. The responsibility for the performance of the project rests primarily with the grant recipient. A contract is an award instrument establishing a legally binding procurement relationship between the sponsor and the recipient. It obligates the recipient to furnish a project outcome or service that is defined in detail in the written contract, and it binds the sponsor to pay for it.

Who is eligible to be a Principal Investigator?

All full time Jacksonville University faculty are eligible to be Principal Investigators. Employees or appointees with Jacksonville University (i.e., adjunct faculty, graduate assistants, and research associates) may be PIs with the endorsement of the department director/chairperson and appropriate senior administration approval.

What is the difference between a co-PI, a co-I, and a collaborator?

A Co-PI is a Co-director of the project, sharing leadership responsibilities with the other Principal Investigator(s). Co-Investigators (co-Is) and other collaborators contribute to the significant development of the project, but are not on equal footing with the PI. The terms Co-I and Collaborator are often used interchangeably, but the title Co-I should be reserved for collaborators who devote at least 5% effort to the project.

What is the difference between a collaborator and a consultant?

A collaborator is an individual who contributes significantly to the development of the project, whereas a consultant is usually a service provider who is not involved with shaping the project, but is performing routine services. Generally, collaborators are paid according to the percentage of effort they devote to a project, where as a consultant is paid by an hourly fee.

Do I need to review with anyone prior to submitting my proposal to ORSP?

YES. Your department chair, director, dean or administrative supervisor must be aware of your plans to pursue external funding. We strongly recommend communicating with your supervisor about the project, specifically to discuss your goals and budget needs, including release time, and other pertinent information. The ORSP is not responsible for communicating a PI's project in advance of the routing sheet being distributed.

Is a gift the same as a grant?

Generally, no. Some organizations call their awards “grants”, but they are really “gifts". Click here for more info.

I’m preparing a federal proposal. Do I need to register with

No, Jacksonville University is registered as an organization in PIs and other project personnel do not need accounts in ORSP will submit all application packages on behalf of the university and track the status of submissions through

Do I need IRB approval?

The Institutional Review Board (IRB)​ must review all research involving living individuals. The purpose of the review is to help assure the protection of the rights and the welfare of human subjects. More information about the IRB, including the policies and procedures, can be found on their website.

What is cost sharing and how do I deal with it?

Cost sharing is the commitment of Jacksonville University resources to a sponsored project. Cost sharing should be included in the proposal only when required. Cost share must be clearly indicated on the routing proposal form along with the account number that will be contributing the cost sharing if the project is awarded. Appropriate senior administration approval is required (College Dean, Provost and Chief Financial Officer).

How do I route a proposal?

A proposal must have the endorsement of campus officials and therefore requires signatures of the department chairperson/director, college dean, CFO, Provost, and the President. Prior to submission to a sponsor, PIs or designee must obtain all appropriate signatures. To start the process please contact ORSP.

How do I find federal funding opportunities?

Federal Funding Opportunities can be found at Grants.Go​v. Most federal agencies have posted program deadlines on their agency website. State, local and other funders' deadlines can also be found via the Web. Please also visit ORSP’s Funding Opportunities page for important deadlines.


Who can help me with my proposal budget?

ORSP is ready and able to help and can guide you through the process. A useful starting point is to consider the line items listed on JU's internal Budget Sheet.

Why do I need a budget justification?

A budget justification is a breakdown of your proposed budget in a narrative format. It provides you with an opportunity to explain to the funder why each of the line items is necessary to accomplish your scope of work. ORSP will assist in the creation and review of your budget to ensure compliance with both the funder’s guidelines and with JU’s internal policies and procedures.

What should I do if I've identified a program or project that requires external support?

Contact the ORSP. We will assist you in locating funding sources, and contacting program officers. You may also visit the Funding Opportunities to identify potential prospects. If you have a funder in mind, we can help you reach out to them and begin drafting a proposal.

What resources are available to me?

The ORSP's Apply For Funding page serves as a good starting point for prospective grant applicants. For the best quality proposal, please avoid waiting until the last minute to contact ORSP. The sooner you know, or are even considering applying, the better it is to notify ORSP.

What kinds of documents need to be routed? Letters of intent? Pre-applications? Only complete applications? What about technical reports?

Any letter of intent, pre-proposal, application, proposal or request for external funding must be approved by the University before being submitted; what varies is the level of institutional review. A letter of intent, also called a pre-proposal, should be reviewed by the ORSP at least 5 days before submission and does not need to be routed. Pre-proposals, which often include a preliminary budget request, must be reviewed by ORSP at least 5 days before submission, but do not need to be routed. Any and all Full proposals or applications that involve an exchange of money (i.e., funding coming into the University) must be reviewed by ORSP, Academic Affairs, the CFO, and the President before submission. We will do our best to assist you in meeting your deadline. Technical reports do not need to be routed.