Proposal Process Overview

Step 1:  Identify a Funding Opportunity

  • Most proposals are submitted in response to a sponsor’s solicitation (also known as a Request for Proposal or RFP, Funding Opportunity Announcement or FOA, Broad Agency Announcement or BAA). 
  • Many PIs know in advance what opportunity they intend to submit to, but for those who have an idea and want to find new opportunities, Pitt’s Office of Sponsored Programs has a search tool called Pivot that can help.

Step 2:  Notify Your Pre-Award Administrator

  • When you have identified an FOA and are ready to start work on a proposal, the next step is to notify your pre-award administrator by submitting an internal Proposal Information Form
  • This form collects relevant proposal details, including the deadline, proposed title and anticipated start and end dates, as well as items that will require special reviews or additional documentation, such as the involvement of human subjects or vertebrate animals, any anticipated subcontracts and international activities.
  • Once we have received your Proposal Information Form, your pre-award administrator will reach out to you about next steps, details for preparing a budget, what documents are needed, and other action items. 
  • In general, technical portions of the proposal are the responsibility of the PI, while the budget and purely administrative portions will be handled by your pre-award administrator. 
  • Every program has its own nuances, however, and there will often be overlap of responsibilities, such as non-technical sections of the proposal that require input from the PI. 

Step 3:  Budget and Proposal Preparation

  • Once the PI and pre-award administrator are clear on the allocation of duties, the pre-award administrator will develop a budget based on parameters provided by the PI, while the PI will work on the technical portions of the proposal. 
  • See the Budget Preparation section of our website for guidance on allowable vs. unallowable costs and other budgetary considerations.

Step 4:  PERIS, Proposal Routing and Submission to the Sponsor​

  • When the proposal documents and budget are complete, a Funding Proposal, or FP, must be created in PERIS, Pitt’s online proposal management system. 
  • Proposals to most federal sponsors other than NSF and NASA are transmitted directly from PERIS to the federal government’s online portals; this is what is known as a System-to-System Submission. 
  • All other proposals are submitted independently of PERIS, but still require an FP to be routed to Pitt’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for official university sign-off on the submission. See the Sponsor Quick Links section of our website for details on individual sponsor systems.
  • Once the complete and final proposal documents are uploaded into the FP in PERIS, the pre-award administrator will route the FP for review by the Office of the Dean, which consists of a two-stage review for adherence to the sponsor’s guidelines and all applicable sponsor and university policies. 
  • Changes may be requested as needed before submission. After any necessary changes have been made, the Dietrich School Dean’s Office will approve the FP, and it will then route to OSP for final sign off and/or submission to the sponsor. 
  • At this point, the pre-award administrator will also generate an email from PERIS that will prompt the PI to certify the proposal. 
  • The PI is asked to certify that the information in the proposal is true, acknowledge the potential consequences if anything is untrue, and accept overall responsibility in the event that an award is made. 
  • The Office of Sponsored Programs will not submit a proposal until the PI certification is complete. 

Sponsored Projects COVID-19 Updates

Several federal sponsors have created websites and issued guidance with FAQs, policy updates, and other information relating to proposals and awards impacted by COVID-19: