Routing of Grant Proposals

Routing Defined

The purpose of "routing a grant proposal" is to advise and inform University administrators, including the appropriate department chair and college dean, of possible future project activities of a current NLU faculty or staff member. A proposed project may require special accommodations such as release from teaching assignments, additional space allocation, or assignment of additional graduate students. Routing a final proposal also allows the Office of Institutional Advancement to check the proposal for compliance with applicable University policies and state and federal regulations related to research and grants.
Any formal proposal requesting project support from an external funding organization must be routed for internal review and approval before it is submitted to the funding organization. These organizations include all federal, state, county, and local government agencies; foundations; nonprofit organizations; private corporations; and private groups and individuals that make grant awards to universities, contract with universities, or otherwise enter into agreements with universities to provide funds to support specific projects for the performance of a specific scope of work.
Informal or preliminary proposals should not be routed. Only final copies must be routed.

Formal Proposal

Formal grant proposals include all final submissions to governmental grant programs, proposed contracts, and proposed cooperative agreements, which will obligate or commit the University in some way.

Routing Process

How: Electronically


  1. THE PROPOSAL.  In its final form. Changes made to a completed proposal after routing may result in removal of the proposal by the University from competition.
  2. THE NLU FINAL PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM‌. A National-Louis University FINAL Proposal Approval Form is required to accompany all grants and contract proposals being routed.  This form is available online [insert link to correlating text below]. The project director completes the routing form by entering the required information and signs the form as the project director or principal investigator (PI).
  3. EMAIL VERIFICATIONS. Electronic signatures must be accompanied by an email from said individuals to verify accuracy. That original email must be forwarded to the staff member with whom you are working in the Office of Institutional Advancement.
  4. FUNDING GUIDELINES.  The guidelines of the funding organization must be routed with the proposal. 
  5. THE BUDGET (DIRECT COSTS).  A full, detailed budget must be routed with the proposal.  Several specific budgetary items are requested on the routing form.
    1. The "Direct Costs" category records the total of expected costs that can be directly charged to the proposed project, such as personnel, fringe benefits, supplies, travel, telephone, postage and equipment.  The project director should carefully consider all of the expected cost categories anticipated in the proposed project.  Provisions need to be made when appropriate for clerical support and support for students.
    2. The "Indirect Costs" category records expected costs of the project that cannot be directly charged to it. This includes costs related to office use, security, accounting, purchasing and other University facilities and operations.
    3. Project directors may request a partial or full waiver of indirect costs for a project being proposed to a funding organization.  A waiver of indirect costs may be approved on the basis that the project will provide a benefit to an academic program.  Prior approval is required for any waiver.
  6. MATCHING COSTS.  Some funding organizations require that a project be partially supported by the University.  University support is commonly referred to as matching.  Under "University Support Requested" on the routing form, four possible matching categories are listed:
    1. New Monies.   Enter new dollars being requested for the project in the New Monies category.  New monies require approval from the Vice President for Business Affairs.
    2. Budgeted Monies.  Enter all contributions to be made from an existing budget, such as a departmental or college budget, in the Budgeted Monies category.  This includes all University support in the form of faculty and staff time to be paid from an existing budget as well as the costs of supplies, telephones, and postage to be paid from an existing budget.  All matching from an existing budget needs prior approval.
    3. In-Kind.  Enter all support for which no cash is exchanged in the In-Kind category. This includes the fair market value of the cost of the use of equipment and the use of special facilities not included in the indirect cost pool.  The use of University offices and office furniture may not be included in the In-Kind category since these costs are already included in the indirect cost pool.
    4. Indirect Cost Waiver Used as Matching.  Enter a request to waive indirect costs when the funding agency accepts the University's established federal indirect cost rate, but the University chooses to contribute that amount to the project.
  7. SPECIAL APPROVALS.  If approval is required from any safety committees, such as the Institutional Review Board for the use of human subjects or the Animal Care and Utilization Committee, the appropriate committee should be contacted before the proposal is routed.  At the time of routing, the approval of the committee chair must be indicated on the routing form (and attached original email).  After these initial electronic signatures are obtained, the project director (or PI) forwards the routing form, grant narrative, budget and guidelines to the appropriate college dean and the Provost's Office. 

ALLOW ONE WEEK. A minimum of one week is required for routing a proposal through the University.  Each proposal must be carefully reviewed by before being submitted.
Two weeks prior to your deadline, you must route an electronic draft (with the guidelines and routing form) to your representative in the Office of Institutional Advancement.  Your representative will then route your grant to:

  1. Your College Dean
  2. Provost Office
  3. President's Office (for any grant over $100,000)

This will be done electronically.  Each office will sign off on the proposal and return to the Office of Institutional Giving after three working days.

AUTHORIZED UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL.  Most funding organizations require a proposal to be signed by an "authorized official" of the University. The Vice President for Institutional Advancement and the President have been designated to sign as the "authorized official" for proposals submitted to external funding organizations. Faculty are not authorized to sign for the University.



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