University of California
ANR Employees

Contracts & Grants: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I have questions on:


Grant Tracking System

  1. What is the Grant Tracking System and what items will I need to upload in order to submit my proposal?
    • All proposals must be submitted to the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) using the ANR Grant Tracking system at least 5 days prior to the proposal deadline to allow for processing. GTS can be accessed via the UC ANR Portal.

      Upload the following documentation in GTS:

      • Project budget & budget justification
      • Scope of work
      • A copy of the sponsor’s guidelines

      As applicable:
      • Cover Page
      • Financial Disclosure Forms (For more information on when these items may be applicable please visit: COI Compliance. For copies of the forms to be completed: Forms page)
      • IRB, IACUC or other Compliance approvals (For more information on when these items may be applicable please visit: EH&S Compliance)
      • PI Exception requests (PI Eligibility Page)
      • Important addresses, email addresses, phone numbers or contacts for Sponsor and any Subcontractors
      • Subcontractor information including Letter of Support, Subrecipient Commitment Form (Forms page), Budget and Scope of Work
      • Letters of Support for Cost Share Commitments

      *Click on the Submit to Reviewers button and your proposal will be routed to the reviewers you have identified and OCG for approval prior to submission to the sponsor.

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Proposal Preparation

  1. I am working on a Pre-Proposal/Concept proposal. Does this need to be reviewed by your office?
    • Pre-Proposals which do not require a detailed budget or signature from an authorized representative of ANR, are not required to be reviewed by OCG prior to submission to the agency. If invited to submit a full proposal, the full proposal would require OCG review at that time. However, while drafting your pre-proposal, please feel free to contact OCG if you have any questions on the sponsor’s guidelines which you’d like us to review or if you have general budget questions.

  2. Why do I need to submit my proposal through the Office of Contracts and Grants?
    • It is the policy of the University of California that faculty or other university employees who receive any part of their salary through the university, or whose activities use any university resources or facilities, must submit their proposals through the appropriate local contracts and grants office. At ANR the Office of Contracts and Grants serves in that capacity. This ensures that all extramurally funded projects conducted either by University employees or with the use of University resources or facilities have proper signature authority and comply with relevant University policies and guidelines. Proposals for extramural support must be submitted through the OCG via the ANR Grant Tracking System (GTS). Please see the Proposal Page for more information on the process. 

  3. Why do I need a budget justification?
    • OCG reviews budgets for allowability and allocability of estimated costs, and uses the budget justification to assist in assessing allowability and allocability.  Your budget justification provides the reviewer with an explanation of the cost estimation methods used to project the costs and an explanation of why the projected costs are necessary for the research or project.

  4. Where I can I find our current Indirect Cost Rate Agreement?
    • Our current indirect cost rate Agreement was signed on 08/19/2013 and goes through June 30, 2018. The indirect cost rate will vary based on 1) whether the project is Research or Other Sponsored Activity and 2) the fiscal year. Please see the Indirect Cost page for more information on indirect costs and the current rate agreement.

  5. What does Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) mean?
    • When using our Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate, the rate is applied to a base figure known as Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) which is the Total Direct Costs (TDC) less:
      • Equipment
      • Capital expenditures
      • Patient care charges
      • Tuition remission
      • Rental costs of off-site facilities
      • Scholarships and fellowships
      • Portion of each subgrant/subcontract in excess of $25,000

    • ***Please note if using a different indirect cost rate due to sponsor policy, the base used to calculate the indirect costs may be different.

  6. When calculating indirect costs using a MTDC base, why do I include the full cost of a Consultant or Vendor in the base? With subawards only the first $25,000 is included in the base.
    • Whether the relationship with a subrecipient is characterized as a subaward or as a vendor will affect differences in the terms and conditions of the award. The Uniform Guidance limits the application of the indirect cost rate to the first $25,000 of each subaward when transferring a portion of the substantive work of a sponsored agreement to a third party. Purchases of standard commercial goods or services such as routine testing, administrative support, or consultant agreements are not considered subawards for this purpose, are not included in the subcontract line item of a proposal budget, and are not subject to the $25,000 limit for application of overhead. For more information on how to classify your subrecipient, please visit the Subrecipients budget preparation page.

  7. What should I do if the sponsor does not allow indirect costs or specifies a lower rate?
    • An exception to approved indirect cost rates may be requested for non-profit sponsors and domestic governmental agencies when the sponsor’s policy limits its payment of indirect costs by statute or published agency regulation or policy. The sponsor's indirect cost rate must be a bona fide restriction initiated by the sponsor and not an ad hoc restriction based on discussion with the campus. This sponsor policy exception does not generally apply to for-profit organizations or foreign government organizations. If you think an award might be subject to lower-than-standard overhead, contact the ANR Office of Contracts and Grants. We can check to determine if the university has already granted an exception for an individual sponsor’s program or if a request to waive overhead in the particular case will be successful. For more information on this subject, please see the Indirect Cost page.

  8. What are composite fringe benefit rates and where can I find the current rates?
    • A Composite Benefit Rate is an average of all eligible benefits (except tuition and fee remission, leave accrual and General and Employment Liability-GAEL) applicable to an employee based on which employee rate group they are assigned. All employee benefit charges for employees paid from ANR Chart L and UC Davis Charts 3 and S accounts will post using Composite Benefit Rates. They do not apply to staff at Office of the President, or those on the Berkeley or Riverside campuses. Please see the Direct Cost Budget Preparation page for more information on composite fringe benefits and a link to the current rates on Chart L.

  9. Can I charge leave accrual to my project?
    • No, you cannot. According to our federally negotiated rate agreement, leave accrual is part of the salary of each eligible employee, and is never allowable as a separate direct charge. Salaries and Fringe benefits should not be padded to add Leave Accrual costs.

  10. What’s our DUNS Number? EIN Number? Congressional District?

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New Award / Award Management Questions

  1. How do I determine if my funding is a Gift or a Grant?
    • Gifts are funds that are given to the university in support of a particular program or a particular advisor's research and the donor does not expect anything of significant value in return. Gifts do not require us to adhere to a strictly defined budget or to provide any reports on how the money was spent or on the research the money supported. Grants, on the other hand, may require something in return, such as for example a report on the research results. Please see the Gifts Versus Grants Page for more detailed information. 

  2. Who should the award be made out to?
    • At the University of California all awards must be made to The Regents of the University of California, not to Cooperative Extension offices, Research and Extension Centers, Statewide Programs, schools, colleges, or 4-H Councils.

  3. My award being held for processing pending an IRB protocol. Do I have any options so I can start work on areas of my project which do not involve human subjects?
    • An approved IRB protocol is required to be in place before any work involving human subjects can take place and therefore OCG cannot release the award until that protocol is in place. However if funds are required to start work on aspects of the project that do not involve human subjects, then please contact OCG for more information. With the PI’s assurance we may be able to approve an Advance Account specifically for those activities which do not involve Human Subjects.

  4. Can I start spending on an award before it is fully executed?
    • Spending prior to notification of a fully executed award is discouraged. However, there are situations where funding is delayed and the project is ready to commence. If a delay in funding is anticipated, an advance expenditure authorization may be requested. Requests to establish an advance account must be submitted through the BOC or your unit Business Manager for approval. The PI and his or her director must guarantee that if the proposal is not awarded all pre-award expenses will be funded by the unit or other discretionary funds. Once these approvals have been obtained, the request will be forwarded to OCG for review and approval. Please visit the Forms page for a copy of the Advance Account Form. 

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  1. What is Export Control and who should I contact with questions?
    • The United States export laws and regulations operate to restrict the use of and access to controlled information, goods, and technology for reasons of national security or protection of trade. However, both the EAR andtheITAR exclude fundamental research from the requirements of the regulations. Fundamental research is defined as "basic and applied research in science and engineering conducted at an institution of higher learning in the United States where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from research the results of which are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific U.S. Government access and dissemination controls." Information which is publicly available also is excluded from the purview of the export control regulations. To guarantee the application of these exclusions, researchers should publish their findings to the fullest extent possible and should not agree to confidentiality clauses or other terms that restrict the dissemination of research materials and results.

      The fundamental research and public domain exclusions do not apply to tangible items that are being taken or shipped outside of the U.S. For example, taking your laptop outside of the U.S. can be subject to export control regulations. In such cases, those items must be analyzed to determine whether they are subject to export controls. For questions on this process, please contact the Office of Contracts and Grants at The process of obtaining an export license from the government can be lengthy, so please plan accordingly.

  2. Do I need to complete a Conflict of Interest form on my project and which one?
    • The conflict of interest (COI) requirements can be complex and please contact OCG if you have any questions on which forms you’ll need to complete. The COI page has more detailed information regarding this question. A very brief snapshot of whether or notaCOI form will be required for your project is as follows:
      • If your project involves Human Subjects or funded by NSF or one of the other sponsors identified on the COI page, then you will need to complete the form 800 at the time of proposal.
      • If your project is funded by a private entity (including flow through), you would need to complete the form 700U unless the entity is on the Exempt list. This form would be completed at the time of award.
      • If your project is funded by a Public Health Service entity or one of the other sponsors identified on the COI page, then you will need to complete the PHS COI Forms including Form 1, the PI Certification Form, and the PHS COI Training and Training Certification form at the time of proposal.

  3. My project involving human subjects is “exempt”. Do I still need a protocol?
    • Certain categories of Human Research may be exempt from regulation but still require IRB review. It is the responsibility of the organization, not the investigator, to determine whether Human Research is exempt from IRB review.

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