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Research Resources

Grant-Related Frequently Asked Questions

Use these FAQ guides to navigate grant preparation, submission, and management at MCW. 

Preparing & Submitting a Grant Application

The MCW Office of Grants & Contracts 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?
The MCW Corporate Policy RS.GC.050, Principal Investigator Eligibility, outlines that full time faculty at MCW holding the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, are eligible to be a Principal Investigator (PI) on an internal and/or external extramurally funded award. Exceptions may be made. Please contact the Grants & Contracts Office for more information. 
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?

Scientific Writing Assistance
The Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) offers guidance for new investigators for every step of the application process.

Grant Boilerplate
The GCO offers boilerplate, templates, and sample language for topics such as: responsible conduct of research, biosketches, facilities and resources, and institutional data. Boilerplate language is also available for NIH Career, Fellowship, Research and Training Grants.

Funding Reports
The Office of Research prepares reports on NIH and other research funding for the Medical College of Wisconsin. Charts, rankings and data tables may be downloaded as enhancements to grant applications.

NIH All About Grants Podcast
The Office of Extramural Research (OER) presents podcasts (in mp3 format and written transcripts) 

Is there support to help me submit my grant application in eBridge?

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.

What is a typical timeline for submitting a grant proposal?

View full-size version of a typical timeline (PDF) 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?

MCW Office of Corporate Compliance maintains the following institutional policies pertaining to research and Grants & Contracts. Please contact the Office of Research for more information.

  • Requests to Granting Agencies (RS.GC.010)
  • Transfer of Grants, Contracts, or Equipment (RS.GC.020)
  • Requirements for Extramurally Funded Research Studies Involving Human Subjects (RS.GC.040)
  • Principal Investigator Eligibility (RS.GC.050)
  • Proposal Budget Preparation (RS.GC.070)
Who 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 MCW 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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What does the Office of Sponsored Programs do?

Operating as part of the Controller’s Office, the Office of Sponsored Programs helps the MCW community achieve its educational and research mission by providing efficient and effective post award management support for sponsored projects.  Sponsored Programs maintains responsible stewardship of sponsored projects as directed by the values of our office and the applicable federal, state, and agency regulations and policies. It also ensures effective communications with appropriate MCW 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 department can request a pre-award account to be set up by the Office of Sponsored Programs. eBridge should be used to request a pre-award account for awards with Funding Proposals (FPs) in the system. If eBridge will not be used for the award, the Pre-Award Account Establishment Form found on the Sponsored Programs Forms page, should be completed and sent to preawards@mcw.edu.

As pre-award accounts and their associated costs can put MCW 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. There are several MCW Corporate Policies related to sponsored awards that reference all of the PI’s responsibilities. Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs for more information. 

  • Cost Sharing Policy (BF.SP.010)
  • Cost Transfer Policy (BF.SP.020)
  • Direct and Indirect Cost Policy (BF.SP.030)
  • Grant and Contract Closeout (BF.SP.090)
  • Pre-Award Policy (BF.SP.060)
  • Rebudget (BF.SP.080)
  • Student Loan Forgiveness (BF.SP.100)
  • Subrecipient Monitoring and Management (BF.SP.050)
  • Time and Effort Reporting (BF.SP.070)
  • Office of Grants and Contracts Proposal Budget Preparation Policy (RS.GC.070)
  • Controller's Office Specialized Service Facility and Service Center Policy (BF.CN.020)
  • Controller's Office Fixed Asset Policy (BF.CN.040)
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 Grants & Contracts Office.

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 Grants & Contracts Office for details.

How do I close fund accounts, grants and contracts?

Funding agencies and MCW 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 MCW. 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.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs: sponsprog@mcw.edu

Our offices are located in Suite 145, Research Park Building, 10000 Innovation Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53226