Grant Preparation, Submission and Management

Preparing and Submitting a Grant Application

The Office of Grants and Contracts (GCO) at the Medical College of Wisconsin supports investigators and research staff in submitting high quality, competitive and compliant funding proposals.

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  Who is eligible to be a Principal Investigator at MCW?

Please review the MCW Corporate Policy Principal Investigator Eligibility (RS.GC.050) for full details (intranet access required).

  What procedure must I follow to submit a grant, contract or agreement?

The document Submissions to the Office of Grants & Contracts (PDF) is a key for determining the method for submitting various types of grant applications, contracts and agreements.

  Are there resources to help me write my grant application?
  Is there support to help me submit my grant application in eBridge?
  • eBridge Training - Funding Proposals
    Most grant applications must be submitted via eBridge, a web-based software application. Research Systems Training offers hands-on training on how to use eBridge to submit your Funding Proposal.
  • eBridge Procedure Guides
    The Office of Grants & Contracts (GCO) provides the guides in PDF format which offer specific instructions on submitting grant applications.
  What is a typical timeline for submitting a grant proposal?
  What can I do to streamline the approval process?
  • Work with your department early in the submission process.
  • Follow the instructions issued by the funding agency for the application.
  • Be sure to justify any extraordinary budget increases from one year to the next and include full direct and facilities and administrative costs.
  • Make sure the correct facilities and administration (F&A) rate is applied to your project.
  • Make sure the application packet is completed and signed.
  • Allow enough time for both your department's approval of your application and the Office of Grants and Contracts to review, approve, and  submit your application.
  • Review Grant Preparation and Submission Timeline (PDF)
  What are the relevant policies and guidelines for grant submissions?

The Medical College of Wisconsin Office of Corporate Compliance maintains the following institutional policies pertaining to research and Grants & Contracts (intranet access required to view):

  Whom do I contact if I have questions?

Please refer to GCO Contacts to determine which grant support specialist can best assist you.

Managing Grants

A sponsored program is an activity which receives external support that carries with it conditions regarding the expenditure of funds, such as requiring a tangible (e.g. a written report) or intangible end product, or obligating the College to return support if project objectives are not realized. In contrast, a gift is support which has no stipulations of this kind and can be used by the institution as agreed upon with the donor.

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  About Sponsored Programs

The mission of the Sponsored Programs and Accounts Receivable Office is to help the MCW community achieve its educational and research mission by providing efficient and effective post award management support for sponsored projects. This mission will be accomplished while maintaining responsible stewardship of sponsored projects as directed by the values of our office and the applicable federal, state, and agency regulations and policies. The Office ensures effective communications with appropriate College offices concerning grant reporting and oversight responsibilities, and strives to provide professional and quality customer support and services.

  When can I start to spend my award money?

MCW receives funds from Federal and non-Federal sources as support for sponsored awards. There are legitimate instances when a Principal Investigator (PI) will need to incur costs associated with a sponsored award prior to official Notice of Award (NOA) receipt. Federal sponsors usually permit charges for up to 90 days before the start date and many industry sponsored clinical trials allow for start-up costs.

A pre-award start date can be in advance of the expected award start date if permitted by the award sponsor. All costs incurred on a pre-award account must be charged in accordance with the sponsoring agency agreement and/or guidelines. Rather than charging these expenses to an account not associated with the award and then having to process cost transfers after the award is officially accepted, the PI can request a pre-award account to be set up by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at (414) 955-8236 or

As pre-award accounts and their associated costs can put the College at risk, the requesting PI/Department will be required to identify an alternate (unsponsored) funding source that has adequate funds to cover pre-award costs if problems arise with the funding of the official award prior to Sponsored Program’s approval of a pre-award account. PIs are responsible for ensuring that all costs incurred before the award is officially received are charged correctly to the pre-award account. The pre-award account will continue to be used for charging allowable expenses once the award is made.

  What are my responsibilities as PI?

The PI must work with their academic department to meet the obligations and responsibilities of managing funds. The PI’s responsibilities include:

  1. Accounting for the spending of sponsored award funds with the assistance of the Department Administrator.

    The Medical College of Wisconsin, as a recipient of federal funds, must comply with OMB Circular A-21 “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions”. A-21 incorporates Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) 501, which requires that the College’s methods for estimating costs in pricing a proposal be consistent with the College’s practices for accumulating and reporting costs in the accounting records.

    The principal investigator and department are responsible for preparing the proposal budget in a manner that complies with OMB Circular A-21 and CAS 501 requirements, which includes submitting a proposal budget with line items that are consistent with the Expenditure Types available in the College’s accounting system and that represents the best estimate of actual costs to be incurred in performing the sponsored project.

    Through the use of Expenditure Types the principal investigator and department administrative staff are responsible for recording expenditures in the College accounting system at a level which provides a meaningful comparison for any significant amount of estimated cost in the proposal budget.
  2. Comply with all funding regulations and terms and conditions of each award

    With the assistance of their Department Administrator and the Office of Sponsored Programs, the PI is required to stay in compliance with regulations on allowable expenditures, carryforward of unobligated balances, close out of funds, timely reporting and other terms and conditions set forth in the award.
  3. Give special attention to monitoring the following:
    1. Cost Sharing
      The policy of the College is to include cost sharing in a proposal only when required by the funding agency or necessary to improve the proposal’s competitive position.

      The principal investigator is responsible for insuring that Cost Sharing Commitment Forms from each contributing department are included in the proposal package submitted to the Office of Grants and Contracts. The Cost Sharing Commitment Forms require approval by the Department Chair or authorized designee.
    2. Effort Reporting
      Effort as defined by the federal government and the College is time an individual spends on an activity, expressed as a percentage of the total time an individual devotes to MCW compensated professional activity. Total effort cannot be more or less than 100% and is not based on a 40-hour workweek.

      A person’s total percent effort includes effort committed to externally sponsored projects (including effort funded by the sponsor and effort supported by cost sharing), internally sponsored projects, teaching, patient care, community engagement, administrative activities, and/or other contributed effort.

      Once the award is funded, a determination must be made as to whether the proposed level of effort commitment is appropriate and the salary distribution is consistent with the committed effort. If the level of effort for key personnel needs to be adjusted by more than 25% based on the percent effort indicated in the original accepted budget and noted in the NOA, the sponsor must be notified of the level of effort change. If the percent of effort devoted to the award is greater than the salary support contributed by the sponsor, a Cost Sharing Commitment Form must be completed. The percent total of all salary allocations for an employee must equal 100%.
    3. Cost Accounting
      The Medical College of Wisconsin, as a recipient of Federal funds, must comply with OMB Circular A-21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.” These regulations incorporate Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) 502, which requires educational institutions to ensure that costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances are treated consistently. CAS 502 is intended to prevent the overcharging of costs to Federally sponsored projects.

      The College has developed a policy for proper charging of sponsored award funds. Included in the policy is a discussion on "Allowable Costs," "Unallowable Costs," "Normally Direct Costs," "Allocation of Direct Costs Among Multiple Sponsored Agreements," "Normally Facilities and Administrative Costs," and
      "Charging Normally Facilities and Administrative Costs as Direct Costs." These rules are also referred to as Cost Accounting Standards.
  Who provides post-award services?

Every department has a designated liaison with the Office of Sponsored Programs who will distribute information to all principal investigators. This liaison may be the Department Administrator or their designee.

Research investigators are also welcome to attend training sessions offered to administrative staff periodically by the Office of Sponsored Programs.

  How do I transfer grants to another PI or another institution?
  • Transferring to another MCW faculty member
    In order to transfer funding to another MCW faculty member, an investigator must initiate steps by contacting the Office of Grants & Contracts.
  • Transferring to another institution
    In order to transfer funds to another institution, an investigator must obtain a completed Relinquishment Statement from MCW, allowing for funds to be released to another institution.  Contact the Office of Grants & Contracts for details.
  How do I close fund accounts, grants and contracts?

Funding agencies and College policies require that final project reports for sponsored research be submitted in a timely manner in order to allow close out of accounts. Sponsored accounts do not automatically close when the grant expires, funds are fully expended or the PI leaves the College. The academic department will coordinate the closing of specific fund accounts with the Office of Sponsored Programs once they have received the final project reports from the PI.

  What are the relevant policies, procedures and guidelines?
  Whom do I contact if I have questions?

(414) 955-8236
(414) 955-6559 (fax)

View complete Sponsored Programs contact list here (intranet access required)

Sponsored Programs Website (intranet access required)

Our offices are located in Suite 3140
Medical Education Building
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509