University of Rochester

Office of Research and Project Administration

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q. How do I find out about available grant funding sources?
A. The ORPA home page features a database of up-to-date listings of sponsoring agencies' program announcements and their deadlines. Karen Ernst in ORPA (x5-8044) is also available to assist in any search for funding sources.

 Q. What is "University sign-off" and where do I find the sign-off form?
A. University sign-off is the process by which each proposal is reviewed and approved prior to submission to a funding agency. Minimum mandatory signatures are the principal investigator (PI), the PI's department chair, the dean of the PI's School/College (under certain conditions), and ORPA, in that order. Additional signatures are needed if humans, animals, biohazards, etc. are used. This University sign-off review assures everyone that the proposed project furthers the teaching, research, and clinical objectives of the University, that the appropriate personnel and facilities are available for the proposed project, that all reasonable and allowable costs are included in the budget, and that all policy and compliance issues have been addressed prior to the submission. The sign-off form is available online.

To get a better understanding of the proposal submission process, look up the ORPA Guide for the Submission of Sponsored Project Proposals. (There are several specific ORPA Guides at this web site, as well as the ORPA Manual. All contain helpful information. To find out how we compare to previous years in our sponsored programs expenditures, look up the ORPA Annual Report.

 Q. How do I know when something has to go through University sign-off?
A. All sponsored programs proposals must go through University sign-off. A sponsored program is identified as such when any of the conditions listed below apply:

(Not considered sponsored programs are contracts entered into by faculty for scholarly writing and artistic creation or a subset of service agreements administered by the School of Medicine and Dentistry in ledger three accounts.)

 Q. Where can I find information on facilities and administrative costs? Fringe benefit rates?
A. Current facilities and administrative costs (indirect) rates and fringe benefit rates can be found at

 Q. Where can I find funding agency application forms?
A. Links to funding agency application forms can be found at

 Q. Where can I find out about the Conflict of Interest policy? Do I turn in the forms to ORPA?
A. The Conflict of Interest Policy can be accessed at The forms, which should be collected in accordance with individual school/college policies, must be completed on an annual basis or when a potential conflict is identified. All positive disclosures must be forwarded to the appropriate Dean.

 Q. When and where do I get an account number so I can spend my grant money?
A. At the time an award is made, ORPA will request an account number from the Office of Research Accounting and Costing Standards (ORACS). Once that number is received, an internal Notice of Award will be prepared (which will generate a monthly ledger report form ORACS as expenditures accrue) and sent to the PI, the department administrator, and ORACS.

 Q. Whom do I call with questions about my grant? How do I find out who my research administrator is?

A. Call the main number at ORPA (x5-4031) and identify what department you are from. ORPA assignments are distributed by department, and you will be referred to your research administrator. If you just want to know who to call in the future, visit our Contact Information page and scroll down to "Department Assignments."

 Q. How can I keep up-to-date on sponsored program training opportunities, program and application announcements, deadlines, policies, etc.?
A. The ORPA listserv offers a listing of recent announcements and an e-mail link to sign up for the listserv.