Prepare Proposals

Prepare Proposals

The Federal Contract Services team is responsible for the review and approval of sponsored research proposals to federal agencies or organizations where if awarded, the prime source of funding is a Federal Contract.  The preparation of a well-organized, thoroughly reviewed proposal is critical in the successful submission of an application for funding.  When a proposal for a Federal Contract award is submitted, the process is very similar to the process for submitting a proposal for a grant or a cooperative agreement.  

Important Notes Regarding Federal Contract Proposal Submissions

  1. Only full or part-time University of Pittsburgh faculty can submit proposals.
  2. Proposals are not "officially" received in the Office of Research (OR) until the entire submission packet is received from the department (including the stock 0136 form).
  3. For the Federal Contracts team, all proposal paperwork may be submitted electronically via
  4. The department is responsible for submission of the proposal to the sponsor.  Please copy OR ( on electronic submissions or provide a final copy if a hard copy is sent.

Researchers submitting initial proposals, and midstream proposals are required to submit the below documentation through the Office of Research for submission of their proposals.  Researchers submitting letters of intent, pre-proposals/applications, and white papers may also be required to submit paperwork through the Office of Research as explained on the Letters of Intent page.


Documents Required for Submission*
  1. If applicable, a draft Endorsement Letter (unsigned and sent via email for OR edit and review)
  2. Draft technical proposal, except final Information Technology Security language, if applicable (Note: Statement of Work (SOW) may be sufficient in some cases)
  3. Sponsor guidelines; this may be a weblink, a paper copy, or a PDF
  4. Current Conflict of Interest (COI) annual filings for all Investigator(s) and Key Personnel identified by the University of Pittsburgh and sponsor policies and procedures
  5. Any additional forms requiring Institutional signature or completion by OR
  6. Full legal names of all personnel working on project
  7. If a budget is required, the submission packet must also include:
    1. Final business proposal (i.e., detailed budget, budget justification, etc.)
    2. Signed stock 0136 forms - Please note that the sponsor deadline should be provided on page 1 of the stocks. The word "open" in that block indicates that there is no firm deadline to the sponsor.
    3. Waivers, if applicable (i.e., subaccount, F&A - as designated by your school, etc.)
    4. If there are proposed subcontracts and/or External Participant(s) to other organizations in our budget, we need that organization's budget (including full legal names), budget justification, scope of work or technical proposal, letter of endorsement (LOI/SOI) from an authorized institutional official (see sample), and if the sponsor is a PHS funded agency verification of compliance with FCOI regulations, or the completed FCOI Form 1 and FCOI Form 2

*Subject to sponsor requirements and/or OR procedure changes

If it is unclear at the proposal stage whether the funding will come to the University in the form of grant or a contract – who should I work with at the Office of Research and why? *Subject to sponsor requirements and/or OR procedure changes.

When a solicitation states that the award may be given in the form of either a grant, cooperative agreement, or procurement contract, a CFDA number is listed, and no FAR clauses are listed, you should work with your designated Grants and Contracts Officer.  Typically, these are seen under and NASA proposals.  Should it be awarded as a contract, it will be passed to the Federal Contract Services team for processing.

Once I submit a proposal for a competitively awarded Federal Contract, what happens next?

Once the proposal is submitted, the sponsor will evaluate your proposal and consider whether or not it will fund your work.  If the sponsor is interested in funding your project, you will enter into “negotiations” regarding the scope and price of the agreement.  This will usually involve several rounds of discussions with the funding agency.  This is called the Pre-Award Revisions stage.

Please note that it is possible for the government to award a Federal Contract without these types of negotiations.  As such, it is extremely important that each proposal submitted to the government be your best and final proposal with accurate budgetary information and detailed plans for your work. It may be awarded unilaterally without an opportunity to update the budget.

When the final agreement is received, as with any research agreement, the terms and conditions of that agreement will be fully reviewed and negotiated by the Office of Research with input from the Principal Investigator, project team, and Departmental Administrator, as needed.  It is important to note that only certain staff members within the Office of Research have the authority to sign agreements committing University staff and resources to an externally funded research project.