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FAQ

101805-business-promo-04.jpgQ. I think I want to write a grant proposal. How do I begin?
A. Begin by searching for a sponsor fit in the links listed on the General Funding Opportunities and Regents Funding Opportunities pages. To begin writing your grant, visit the links on the Grant Writing Tutorials page. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is always available to assist you in person, and we can offer particular assistance with budget development. Please call us at Ext. 2563 or e-mail debi.benoit@nicholls.edu.

Q. Why do I have to go through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to submit my grant?
A.
An award is made to the university not an individual. Therefore the ultimate responsibility is assumed by the university. This is why the government and most sponsors require certifications and assurances signed by the University’s official signatory. The official signatory for grants also resides with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs  and is designated to Debi Benoit. In addition, ORSP strives to ensure that the best quality proposal is submitted to the funder.

Q. What is “cost-sharing,” and how does it work?
A. Sometimes sponsors require that the applicant share or “match” some of the project cost as an indicator of commitment. There are two common forms of matching: “in-cash” and “in-kind.” See details under Pre-award Handbook.

Q. What are the fringe benefit rates?
A.
Due to recent escalating costs, please estimate fringe benefits on salaries in grants (whether paid by sponsors or used as matching funds) at 30 percent for full-time (employed at least 50 percent time) faculty and staff. Call ORSP for a quote on part-time employees.

Fringe is NOT calculated on subcontractors, GAs and student workers with some exceptions: 1) If students are hired for summer employment and are not enrolled full-time in summer school, you must include 7.65 percent for their fringe rate, and 2) LASIP grants and other State Department of Education training grants that pay K-12 teachers stipends may also include retirement benefits.

Q. What is the indirect cost rate?
A. The federally negotiated rate is 54 percent of salaries and wages (excluding fringe) or the sponsor’s allowable rate. In this case, you must attach written documentation from the sponsor indicating their policy on indirects. On non-federal grants, the university policy is 20 percent of salaries and wages plus fringe or 15 percent of the total grant. Additionally, if the sponsor dictates otherwise you must provide written documentation indicating such.

Q. What are the Congressional and Senate districts’ numbers and representatives for the Nicholls community?
A.  Congressional District 6 – Rep. William “Bill” Cassidy
La. State House District 51: – Joe Harrison
La. State House District 52:  – Gordon Dove
La. State House District 53:  – Lenar Whitney
La. State house District 54: – Jerry Gisclair
La. State House District 55:  – Jerome Richard

Q. How much should I pay my students (graduate and undergraduate)?
A. You may request whatever you deem appropriate from the funding agency. Keep in mind that justifications for all budget items are required, and it is important to provide a good rationalization for the request.

Graduate Assistants:

  • Athletic Training ($4,500) – Pos# 000003
  • Teaching/Specialist ($3,500) – Pos# 000004
  • Marine Biology Advanced ($5,500) – pos# 000005
  • Non-Teaching/Non-Specialist ($2,500) – pos# 000006
  • Marine Biology ($4,500)- pos# 000007
  • Teaching New Math ($5,500) – pos# 000008

Q. Do I need to submit letters of collaboration when submitting a preliminary proposal?
A. The sponsor will indicate if this is necessary at this stage. However, if it is requested, you must make sure that the letter specifies what the partner is contributing to the program, that the letter is on agency stationary and that it is dated and signed by an official of the agency. Avoid cookie cutter letters.

Q. How much do I pay a consultant?
A. Consultants should be paid on the basis of their history of consultancy fees, noting that certain agencies maintain maximum rates (e.g. U.S. Department of Education – $513/day; U.S. Department of Justice – $450/day; and NSF $537/day).

Q. How do I list other Nicholls faculty on grants if they are not a Co-PI?
A. They may be listed by name and department with pertinent percentage of time under personnel.

Q. What are the Nicholls Federal ID (Tax Exempt) or EIN and DUNS numbers?
A. Federal ID (Tax Exempt) or EIN Number: 72-6011797
DUNS Number: 065479529

Q. What items may not be listed as match or cost share?
A. Keep in mind that the university is responsible for documenting and providing all cost sharing obligations to auditors. The main area of cost sharing is equipment, personnel, travel and indirect cost. All of these items are easy to document when the grant/contract ends.

Q. What is our Federal-Wide Assurance number?
A. Under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) human subjects protection regulations (at 45 C.F.R. 46.103), every institution engaged in human subjects research funded or conducted by DHHS must obtain an Assurance Of Compliance approved by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). Both “awardee” institutions and collaborating “performance site” institutions must file assurances. The university’s number is FWA00003378.

Q. If my grant includes research with humans or animals must I get clearance from HSIRB and IACUC?
A. Yes. The university’s Internal Review Board number is IRB00002608. Dr. Denis Soignier (Denis.Soignier@nicholls.edu), assistant professor of psychology, is chair of the HSIRB. The chair of the IACUC is Dr. S Michele Robichaux (Michelle.Robichaux@nicholls.edu), associate professor of biology.

Q. How are limited submission proposals handled?
A. If a faculty member learns of a funding opportunity with limited submission and wishes to respond to it, it is his/her responsibility to notify the Research and Sponsored Programs Office immediately. If the Sponsored Programs Office learns of a funding opportunity with submission limitation, a notification is sent via university-wide e-mail.

In the event that two or more faculty members wish to submit to a funding opportunity with a submission limitation, an internal competition is held. If an internal competition is required, the Research and Sponsored Programs Office will request the submission of a brief description of the proposal and a preliminary budget for each proposal to be evaluated by Sponsored Programs and pertinent university representatives.

Q. My grant is funded! How do I get my money?
A. After you supply ORSP and Grants Accounting with your award notice/letter, Grants Accounting will request that you complete a set-up form. A budget account number will then be issued to you. The Grants Accounting Department will advise you on the administration of your grant account.

Q. Can I start spending the award money before the funds reach the university?
A. Sometimes no, sometimes yes. Only the Controller’s office knows, so contact Cindy Andrews (Cindy.Andrews@nicholls.edu), Accounting and Payroll.

Q. My grant calls for a subcontract to be prepared. How do I go about doing that?
A. To prepare a subcontract, the PI must provide the following information to Terry Dupre (Terry.Dupre@nicholls.edu), director of purchasing:

  1. The grant account number for the project
  2. The name of the entity which Nicholls is subcontracting
  3. The statement of work for the subcontractor
  4. The budget for the subcontractor
  5. The period of performance for the subcontract
  6. The name, address, telephone, fax and e-mail address for the subcontractors: PI and contract administrator
  7. How the subcontractor is to invoice Nicholls: monthly, quarterly, by a set schedule (provide the schedule dates for invoicing), pursuant to a deliverables schedule (if via a deliverables schedule, please provide that schedule)
  8. The name and address of the person to whom we should send the subcontract for signing (if different than the contract person)

Q. My grant is ending and I would like to transfer remaining funds to a miscellaneous account. Is this possible?
A. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is primarily a pre-award office. Pre-award is associated with the activities performed before the grant proposal is funded. The Grant Accounting Office handles all post-award activity. Post-award activity includes all functions of a grant after the award is issued. Transferring of funds is a post-award activity and must be cleared through Cindy Andrews (Cindy.Andrews@nicholls.edu), Accounting and Payroll.

Q. My grant work is not completed and I need to extend the grant’s ending date.  I have money left in the grant budget and need to re-budget funds within my grant.  How do I go about doing either of these? 
A. You will need to create a letter to the funding agency asking to extend the grant deadline (No-Cost Extension Letter) or to re-budget funds.  If the re-budget is for the Board of Regents, use the budget form here (Board of Regents Project Change Form). If the re-budget is for another funding agency other than Board of Regents, use the budget form here (sample budget). Both requests, either to extend the date of the grant or to re-budget funds, needs to be routed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

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