Proposal Preparation and Submission

Page Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) is the office authorized for submitting proposals for external funding on behalf of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.All proposals must be submitted through RAMP and approved by RSP before submission. Any document that requires an official signature must be signed by an authorized representative.

To ensure sufficient time for review and approval, we ask that all proposals be sent to your Dean's Office and routed to RSP (Research and Sponsored Programs) at least five (5) days before the submission due date. If you plan to submit your proposal on the day of the deadline, especially if it is late in the day, please inform the RSP Proposal Team. The Proposal Team will make every effort to ensure timely submission to the sponsor.

Sponsored programs administration is a shared responsibility at UW-Madison. Read retired Vice Chancellor for Research Steve Ackerman's Making Research Work: Getting ahead of grant deadlines leads to greater success for some tips on a successful proposal submission.

For more information about RSP proposal submission processes, please review our proposal submission reminders.

The Proposal Team at RSP is a collaborative group of members who work together to facilitate the submission of research proposals from across campus. During the review process, each team member has the responsibility of ensuring that the application complies with the policies set forth by the Sponsor, Federal, State, and University.

If you have questions, please contact your Department Administrator, your Dean's office, and/or reach out to your Proposal Team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are RSP's business hours? RSP's business hours are 7:45am - 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. All proposal submissions to sponsors will be made during these hours.

Who should I contact if I have a proposal question? Please contact your Department Administrator, your Dean's office, and/or reach out to your Proposal Team.

Which proposals need to be processed though RSP? All sponsored project proposals must receive review and approval from an authorized official (RSP) before they can be submitted to the sponsor.

As the PI, can I submit to the sponsor directly if no signatures or approval is required? Yes. However, RSP must review and approve all proposals to external funding agencies before they can be submitted to the sponsor. This is the case regardless of whether or not the sponsor requires an authorized signature.

Can a proposal be submitted when I am absent from the office? If the Principal Investigator (PI) is unable to be present during a proposal submission, it is expected that the PI reviews and approves as much of the final submission as possible before their planned absence. It is critically important to have someone from the department available for the entire proposal submission in case any issues need to be addressed.

What do I need on a RAMP record? The proposal team expects the following to be included in the RAMP record:

  1. Funding announcement
  2. Scope of Work
  3. Budget
  4. Budget justification
If possible, it would be best if the Principial Investigator (PI) or department could upload a complete copy of the proposal document under the Attachments tab. In addition, please provide clear submission instructions under the Submission Instructions tab, being as specific as possible.

Finding Funding

Principal Investigators (PI) are responsible for seeking external sources to fund their research or public service projects. They can request assistance from their department administrators in identifying potential funding opportunities. Once investigators have identified a funding opportunity, they should inform their department research administrators, who will help prepare and submit a proposal to the sponsor.

RSP has developed the Finding Funding page to assist the campus community in finding suitable funding sources.

Budget Development

Building a budget is one of the most important aspects of putting together a proposal; it takes time and effort to create a budget that will suit your needs. RSP provides several budget spreadsheets to assist in budget calculations. When used, these spreadsheets provide accurate calculations of salary, fringe benefits, and Indirect costs (also referred to as Facilities and Administration (F&A) costs).

Your College or School research administrator can assist in developing your budget.

For more guidance in the identifying the budget spreadsheet that will be most helpful for you, visit the Budget Development Tools on our site.

Required Approvals

Before a proposal is submitted to RSP, the Principal Investigator (PI) must demonstrate that the proposal is compliant with Sponsor, Federal, State, and University regulations. If there are any questions regarding compliance, please contact the appropriate campus compliance office for more information.

Proposals must be reviewed and approved prior to submission (as indicated by an approval or signature in RAMP) by:

  • The Principal Investigator
  • The Department (Not every Division requires Departmental approval. Please check with your Department and Division)
  • The Dean or Director (or designated College/School Research Administrator)
  • RSP Proposal Team

The following additional reviews and approvals are required before your proposal is submitted to RSP for review via RAMP:

  • If the principal investigator is an academic staff member, follow the procedures outlined in the "Limited or Permanent Principal Investigator Status for Academic Staff" policy.
  • If proposals involve the resources of more than one department, school, or college (including university cost sharing) the proposal must be reviewed by appropriate officials of each unit using an ancillary review in RAMP.
    • Click here for more information on required approvals for cross-campus research.
  • Proposal budgets must incorporate indirect costs in accordance with UW's Official F&A and Fringe Benefits Rate Agreement unless an exception applies. If a waiver of indirect cost rates is desired, a letter requesting the waiver and justification must be uploaded to the RAMP record and an ancillary review request must be sent to your dean or director (designated college/school research administrator).Once your dean or director approves, they need to email Brenda Egan to receive RSP approval from the Director/Vice Chancellor of Research.
  • If a Principal Investigator (PI) is applying to a funding announcement that includes a limit to the number of applications our institution can submit, please obtain approval from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) and include the approval on the RAMP record. More information can be found on the OVCR website.
RAMP Record Routing and RSP Approval

For best business practice, the Proposal Team expects the following to be included in the RAMP record:

  1. Funding announcement
  2. Scope of Work
  3. Budget
  4. Budget Justification
If possible, it would be best if the Principial Investigator (PI) or department could upload a complete copy of the proposal document under the Attachments tab. In addition, please provide clear submission instructions under the Submission Instructions tab, being as specific as possible. For more detailed guidance, please refer to our Proposal Submission Reminders.

If you are submitting to a foreign sponsor in foreign currency, please include the currency conversion used at the time the US Dollar budget was created.

If your proposal includes an F&A rate other than the UW's offical F&A and Fringe Benefits Rate, please provide justification and documentation. This will assist your Dean’s Office and RSP in conducting a proper review by the deadline.

If you have any legal documents or documents that require significant processing time such as Representations and Certifications, subrecipient forms or questionnaires, please send a RAMP email to the RSP Proposal Team while the record is in Draft Status.This will allow sufficient lead time for RSP to work on the documents. Note also that the RAMP record will still need to be routed as usual prior to the submission deadline.

The Research and Sponsored Programs office closes at 4:30pm. To ensure sufficient time for review and approval, we ask taht all proposals be sent to your Dean's Office and routed to RSP at least five (5) days before the submission due date. If you need to submit on the day of the deadline, especially late in the day, please inform the RSP Proposal Team. The Proposal Team will make every every to ensure timely submission to the sponsor, but we cannot make any guarantees.

Please contact your Dean's Office or visit our RAMP Resources Page for more information or guidance. Additionally, you can reach out to the RSP Proposal Team.

Click here for more information on changes in submission routing guidances from WISPER to RAMP.

Sponsor Specific Information

Sponsors typically accept applications electronically through their own application system or via email. However, most sponsors require an Authorized Official to submit the application. In some cases, sponsors may allow the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit the final RSP-approved application.

Sponsors may have terms and conditions or other information that should be reviewed and submitted by an Authorized Official (RSP), even for sponsors that allow the PI to submit applications. If you are unsurea bout whether RSP should review and/or submit information, please consult with your Dean's Office or the Proposal Team.

If you are working on a proposal in a sponsor system that is new to you or you are unfamiliar with the proposal process, please contact the Proposal Team. We are always happy to work with campus research teams in advance to ensure the proposal is completed correctly and submitted on time.

The following are some RSP guidelines for common sponsor application systems.

Requests for Additional Information and JIT

After the proposal is submitted, the sponsor may have questions or require additional information before making an award. This is commonly referred to as a Just-In-Time (JIT) request. It's important to note that certain sponsors like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) only accept JIT responses from an authorized official - specifically the Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) Office's Proposal Team.

Automated emailed JIT requests from the National Insitutes of Health (NIH) do not require immediate action. If a Principal Investigator (PI) receives an automated JIT request, they and the department can start gathering the necessary information if they anticipate a JIT request from the NIH Grants Management System (GMS). When the NIH GMS issues a JIT request, follow the instructions outlined below.

When RSP receives JIT requests, the proposal team will upload a copy of the request to the RAMP record. Afterward, the proposal team will send approval to the campus contact to complete the request. Once the request has been completed, the campus contact will upload the information as instructed to RAMP, and the RSP Specialist assigned to the RAMP record will submit the materials to the sponsor.

If the Department or PI recieves a request for information other than scientific information, please notify the RAMP RSP Specialist on the RAMP record. When the request is ready to be submitted, there may be times when additional Division approval will be necessary - such as a revised budget that changes the total dollar amount of hte funding proposal.

Requests for additional information and JIT may include a request for the PI to submit other support and approvals for clearances, such as IRB and IACUC.

For IACUC AND IRB approvals:: Unless the animal or human subject work begins after the project's start date, RSP needs to see documentation that this specific project has been approved or determined congruent with the approved protocol. The congruency letter must be uploaded in the Attachments tab of the RAMP record or the project must be listed in PLuS.

Below is a list of references that may be helpful in completing these requests.

Contact the Proposal Team

For any questions on the above information or if you need immediate assistance please contact the Proposal Team.

For more information on the functions and responsiblities of the Proposal Team, please click here.