New proposal submissions policy expected to benefit campus researchers

Contact: Jeanne Baron

Chemistry beakers filled with colorful liquids.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A new policy has been established to help ensure that principal investigators at Western Michigan University have sufficient time to obtain the support needed to guarantee that all required documents are compliant with sponsor requirements.

The Proposal Submission Policy for External Funding and its procedures lay out a specific timeline for when major elements of a proposal must be completed and provided to the Office of the Vice President for Research. The process aims to limit the number of potential problems that could be encountered if principal investigators leave too little time for themselves or the research office to complete their respective responsibilities.

The proposal submission policy will go into effect July 1, but implementation will be enforced in two stages. During the initial phase—the July 1 to Aug. 31 transition period—the research office will be expecting principal investigators to learn about the new standards and follow them as closely as possible. Full enforcement will begin Sept. 1.

Need for policy

"We want to make sure researchers across campus have time to adjust to the new timeline required by OVPR. Therefore, there will be a transition period before the policy goes into full effect starting Sept. 1," says Sherine Obare, associate vice president for research.

"We expect that this process will minimize delays often encountered during the submission process and allow researchers time to prepare the best proposals for the sponsor, while giving OVPR sufficient time to assist researchers with the necessary documents, including budgets, access to agency electronic systems, letters of support and approval for required cost share."

Obare reports that many other universities have well-established proposal submission policies and says her office worked with the WMU Faculty Senate Research Policies Council to develop WMU's. The council approved the new policy's process at its Feb. 8 meeting.

Proposal preparation and submissions can be delayed for a variety of reasons, so it is important that faculty and staff have sufficient time for themselves as well as the research office. When sufficient time is available for proposal preparation, the process allows the researchers to have all the required documents submitted accurately.

"These new deadlines are not only best practice," says Terri Goss Kinzy, vice president for research. "They'll allow faculty to focus on conveying their ideas, while our team focuses on making sure proposals get the chance to be awarded."

Read more about the proposal submission policy. Direct questions to the appropriate program research officer.

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