Our office hours are from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Most agencies have application forms on their web sites. You can also find St. Thomas-specific forms under the St. Thomas Internal Forms section of our website.

This depends upon the agency – check the program solicitation.  In most instances, agencies are using electronic submission engines.   In all cases, however, we will need one electronic copy of your proposal, and we recommend that you keep a copy for your own files.

Increasingly, proposals are being submitted electronically.  In cases where submission of a paper copy is allowed or required, you can either have us mail the proposal for you, or you can assume responsibility for mailing it yourself.  When the Sponsored Programs Office mails the package, it will be sent by FEDEX overnight express in most cases.

Grants and contracts are formally awarded to the University of St. Thomas.  The Principal Investigator is responsible for the intellectual content, and for carrying out the project in a way that is consistent with University policies, agency policies, and the original proposal.

The Sponsored Programs Office can help you with all electronic submissions.  There are also help pages available on this website for Grants.gov and Fastlane.

The internal review/approval process is a mechanism that allows for full institutional oversight of all proposals for external grant and contract funding.  Most grant and contract proposals involve the commitment of faculty and/or staff time and effort, the use of University space and equipment, and sometimes even University cash.  When submitted as part of a formal grant or contract proposal, these commitments are essentially promises made on the part of the University of St. Thomas to the potential sponsor, and the University is responsible for making sure that we are in compliance with all institutional, state and federal policies relating to sponsored programs.  All of these commitments have an impact on the University’s budget and its programs, and it is therefore important that University academic and fiscal officers have an opportunity to review and approve proposals prior to their submission to external funding agencies.

The review/approval process itself is quite straight-forward.  The Sponsored Programs Office helps you prepare out a two-page internal form (PRF) that summarizes information about the proposal.  You sign the PRF as the Principal Investigator, and then your department/program chair will sign, and your dean will sign the PRF.  The PRF then comes to the Sponsored Programs Office where we will have the proposal package reviewed by the Controller's Office, and we will conduct our own review.  Once your proposal package has been fully reviewed and approved, the Sponsored Programs Office sends you an e-mail confirming that fact.

Proposals that do not go through the internal review process prior to being submitted to the sponsor are invariably delayed when the time comes to make an award.  This delay has two primary sources:  1) the review and approval process that should have occurred before proposal submission must be completed before an award can be accepted; 2) quite frequently delays are experienced working with the sponsor to correct errors in the award documents--these errors could have been avoided had the proposal gone through the appropriate internal review.

No.  It is considered protected intellectual property.  We will release a grant proposal to a third party only if we have signed permission from the Principal Investigator.  Even when we receive permission to do so, however, we will not release the budget portions of a submitted proposal unless all individuals named in the budget sign a release as well.  This policy is meant to protect your privacy and that of your colleagues.  

The only exceptions to this rule pertain to 1) your chair, 2) some within the office of academic affairs, 3) the president and provost, 4) University Counsel, and 5) those individuals who have signed off on the proposal during the internal review/approval process.  These individuals have an absolute right to receive a copy of your complete proposal upon request.

The concept of an indirect cost rate originated with the federal government recognizing that when it funded projects, the direct costs it was paying for those projects did not cover the entire costs of the projects, and by not covering those costs the government was asking universities to subsidize the government's projects.  When the government sponsors a corporate project, it covers all the company's overhead costs on a project specific basis.  Companies employ large accounting staffs to calculate the overhead amounts that should be charged to each project.  As a result, typical overhead rates for corporations working for the government exceed 100% (sometimes even 200%)--hence the $600 hammer you might have heard about in the news.  In order to reduce costs and simplify the accounting burden for universities the government uses an indirect (F&A) rate for university projects.  This rate is calculated by the university (typically once every 3-5 years) using very prescriptive government guidelines on expenditures already incurred, then a negotiation occurs to set an agreed upon rate that the government will pay.  Note that the negotiated rate is always less than the actual rate.  In other words, the F&A rate is a reimbursement mechanism for the university to recover costs that have already been incurred for things like building depreciation, equipment depreciation, library, utilities and administrative costs.  The primary source of administrative costs is constituted by costs incurred in colleges and departments (departmental clerical staff, for instance).  Central administrative costs are generally a smaller fraction of the rate.  Since the costs have already been incurred by the University, they will be paid from somewhere within the University budget, so when a sponsor does not pay full indirect costs, the project is then subsidized by the entire University.  In fairness, all sponsors should be expected to pay the full indirect cost rate on sponsored projects.

Most universities allocate 100% of recovered indirect costs to their general fund.  In the case of the University of St. Thomas, we have made a commitment to redistribute a significant percentage of these funds to certain parts of the campus.This distribution varies depending on the specifics of the award and how the project is administered at the University, but the parameters of the distribution process are outlined in St. Thomas policy.  Depending on the circumstances, a certain percentage of the distribution will go to the college, department and Principal Investigator.

Call or email Michael Warnock at 651-962-6038 or mjwarnock@stthomas.edu for assistance developing your budget.  You can also check the resources available at this website under Budget Preparation.

Our indirect cost rate is currently 41% of modified total direct costs (MTDC).

“Modified total direct costs” (MTDC) is the basis on which we calculate the recovery of indirect costs from external funding agencies.  It is the sum of all direct costs in your budget, MINUS equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remission, rental costs of off-campus facilities, scholarship and fellowships, and subcontracts to other institutions in excess of $25,000.

Information on current fringe benefit rates and how you calculate them are available on the Budget Preparation page of this website.

This is negotiable.  If you are planning to work on a grant project during the academic year (when you are a full-time employee of the University of St. Thomas), you must indicate to the government how much of your effort (a percent of your time) you plan to spend on the grant project.  This diversion of effort must be approved by your chair, your dean, the Controller’s Office, and the Sponsored Programs Office.

In most cases, these funds become discretionary funds for use by your chair or dean.

You are free to commit time and effort to grant projects during the months when you are otherwise not being compensated by the University of St. Thomas.  Some agencies, however, restrict you to two months (the National Science Foundation is a good example).

The definition of an “academic year” depends upon your tenure home:

Faculty Tenure Home

Formal Academic Year

Most Academic Departments/Colleges

September 1 to May 31

School of Law

August 1 to May 31

School of Divinity

August 15 to May 31

You can budget for up to 15 weeks during Fall Semester, 4 weeks during January Term, 15 weeks during Spring Semester, and 15 weeks during the summer.

St. Thomas Human Resources establishes pay rates for student assistance. Use their website as a guide.

When a student is working on a grant-funded project and not taking any classes (typically in the summer), you must budget for fringes at a rate of 7.65%.  In the case of students who are taking courses (during the summer or the academic year), you do not have to budget for fringes.  More information is available on the Budget Preparation page of our site.


Contact your department chair and/or your dean to discuss matching funds.

These are separate offices that share a common commitment to helping faculty and staff find the funding you need in order to carry out your teaching, research, and service responsibilities.   The Sponsored Programs Office and Corporate and Foundation Relations focus on EXTERNAL sources of support, while the Faculty Development Center focuses on INTERNAL sources of support.  They divide their responsibilities like this:

  • Sponsored Programs Office – focuses on state and federal governmental programs
  • Corporate and Foundation Relations – focuses on corporations, foundations, and individuals only
  • Faculty Development Center – sponsors internal programs and provides internal funds

If you are unsure of which office you should contact, don’t hesitate to call any of us.  If you do not get the right office at first, we will direct you to the office you need.

First of all, congratulations! You should immediately notify your chair and the Sponsored Programs Office.  Just because you got a notification from the sponsor, don't assume that anyone else did.  The Sponsored Programs Office will work with you and the sponsor to take care of any final paperwork relating to the award.  Once the award documentation is executed, the Controller's Office will set up an expenditure account so that you can begin spending funds on the project.  You will be invited to meet with Controller's Office personnel so that they can review with you the accounting policies that pertain to the award.