Research and Scholarship FAQs

The PI's Role in the Pre-Award Process

PI roles

See USF PI Roles & Responsibilities (pdf download). Pi: Principle Investigator; URA: Unit Research Administrator; ORS: USF-College of Arts & Sciences Office of Research & Scholarship. 

See the Responsibilities for Principal Investigators through the Award Cycle (for pre-award, award setup, during the project, & during the closeout).

In the pre-award proposal stage, your role as a PI is to perform the following (URA assistance is noted in the process as well):

  • PI. Develop a novel research idea, fill a gap in research, or take scholarship in a new direction. Align your ideas with the funding agency's needs. Answer important questions that demonstrate the impact of your research; show feasibility of idea/research plan and PI/team expertise; integrate broader contexts.
  • PI. Consider feasibility: Preliminary Work. Address your project's proof-of-concept and those preliminary steps that demonstrate your relevant experience and the feasibility of your proposed research.
  • PI. Contact your department or college Unit Research Administrator (URA) who can help to facilitate many of the pre-award proposal components.
  • PI/ORS. Identify a funding agency. While your impactful research should drive your grant initiatives, identifying an appropriate funding source and determining your eligibility is critical to a good fit. The Office of Research & Scholarship (ORS) can assist you with your funding search. See also the ORS website's Funding Search.
  • PI/URA. Review RFP/agency guidelines. Once a funding agency is identified, the guidelines should be reviewed carefully. Check for PI and institution eligibility, project deadlines, the project's fit with agency's goals/objectives and timelines; proposal format and structure; supporting material required; & budget limitations and requirements.
  • PI. Design Checklists & Timelines What proposal pieces will you need to provide? What letters of support will you need? Who will be engaged as partners, collaborators, subcontrators? What does your preliminary budget look like? What funding registration and/or internal forms need to be completed? What will you require in terms of data management, post-doc mentoring, digital data research, & intellectual property plans? How complete is your CV and biosketch?
  • PI/URA. Check compliance requirements to include the USF internal form, any funding agency registration, USF conflict of interest form, other forms & applications, and any research integrity & compliance forms.
  • PI. Develop proposal narrative.
  • PI/ORS. Receive a proposal narrative review (recommended). Submit your proposal narrative to ORS to receive a timely comprehensive narrative review & revision suggestions/feedback.
  • PI/URA. Prepare proposal budget. See Budget Development for more information.
  • PI/URA. Complete the Proposal Form Set (i.e., SF424).
  • PI/URA. Collect Supporting Documents (i.e., letters of collaboration, institutional information, references, bio-sketches for all senior personnel, description of facilities, current & pending support, subcontract information).
  • PI/URA. Assemble the complete application package.
  • PI/URA. Submit a USF Internal Form.
  • PI/URA. Submit the proposal (once finalized and approved by all administrators) to your assigned Sponsored Research Administrator (SRA) who is authorized to submit the proposal to the funding agency.