Request for External Funding

For purposes of this policy, the term “proposal” is used interchangeably with “pre-proposal,” “white paper,” “preliminary proposal,” or “concept paper” (list may not be all inclusive).

When Can a Principal Investigator Submit a Proposal Without University Review and Authorization? 

University approval requirements for proposals depend on the requirements of the sponsor and the commitments (or lack thereof) written into the proposal.  Per Michigan Tech Board of Trustees policy, only certain individuals are authorized to commit the University to perform research activity.  In general, those authorized individuals reside in Sponsored Programs.

A proposal may be submitted directly to the potential sponsor by the Principal Investigator (without prior University review and authorization) when all of the following conditions are met:

  1. No itemized budget is provided.  While budget detail requires University review for accuracy, it is acceptable to discuss, in general terms, the broad needs of the project (i.e. graduate support, faculty time, equipment needs, etc.).  An estimate of total cost as a lump-sum figure can be provided without University review.  It should be clear to the potential sponsor that the amount quoted is only an estimate and should in no way be considered a firm quote.  Investigators are cautioned that the amount quoted initially frequently becomes the upper limit of the formal proposal or agreement, so estimate carefully.  Sponsored Programs staff are available to assist investigators with cost estimates, if desired.
  2. No specific commitment of University personnel, facilities, and/or funds (including cost share) are provided.
  3. The potential sponsor does not require a University authorized signature with the proposal.  Proposals that are required to be submitted through electronic systems such as FastLane or (this list is not all inclusive) nearly always require a University authorized signature. Please note that while a preliminary proposal submitted through an electronic system may not immediately require university approval, a subsequent full proposal may need to be linked to a university account in the electronic submission system. If you are submitting through an electronic portal, please contact Sponsored Programs to be sure whether university submission will be needed at any project stage.

When submitting a proposal that has not been reviewed by an authorized University representative, the following statement must be included in the proposal, when the sponsor’s submission process allows it to be added:

The information provided in this document is for discussion purposes only.  It does not represent a firm quote and it does not commit University personnel, facilities or funds. Final terms and conditions of this sponsored activity are subject to University review and authorization of a formal proposal or agreement. 

The type of proposal that most often meets the requirements to be submitted directly by the investigator is a notification of interest (e.g., letter of intent, preliminary proposal, concept paper) to submit a future formal proposal on behalf of the University.  Care must be taken to ensure that any proposal contacts or activities prior to submission of a formally approved proposal on behalf of the University do not create any University commitments.

When Must a Proposal be Reviewed and Authorized by the University?

All proposals that do not meet the conditions above must be submitted through Sponsored Programs.  Standard internal deadlines apply for all proposals submitted through Sponsored Programs.