UCI Project Lifecycle

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This is a summary of a UCI Proposal Project Lifecycle—e.g. the steps one would go through from conceiving an idea, to submitting a proposal, receiving funding, managing the funded project and finally closeout—presented in a regular webpage format for accessibility reasons. If you found this website through a Google search and would like to view this information in an interactive infographic format, click here.

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Find Funding

So, you have a project in mind, but like most things, you need some $$ to get it done.

Fortunately there are numerous resources online for funding opportunities. For example, almost every federal agency has some grant funding division and there are hundreds of private foundations.

Unfortunately this means you could spend as much time browsing for research funding as you could spend doing the research.

To simplify things, here are 5 recommended resources to help you find funding:

  1. Pivot*
  2. Grants.gov
  3. Foundation Directory*
  4. Young Investigator Funding Opportunities

Visit our Funding Search Tools page for more information about these services and a tutorial on how to get started with Pivot.

*Foundation Directory and Pivot require login from a UCI network. If accessing Pivot off-campus, please use the UCI VPN service. Also please note that UCI’s subscription to Foundation Directory is expected to expire in March 2019 and may not be available after this date.

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Develop Proposal

Proposal Development, isn’t just about writing the grant, it’s prep-work; making sure you have everything in place for a successful submission. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Review the funding organization’s guidelines, identify the deadline, and make note of special issues and requirements.
  • Speak to a Program Manager/Director at the funding organization early and often. Start by drafting a 1-page summary or “white paper” of your project, sending it to the Program Manager via email, and requesting an opportunity to briefly discuss the project on the phone to determine whether it fits with the funding organization’s funding priorities and goals.
  • Identify and contact your Sponsored Projects (SPA) Contracts & Grants Officer (CGO) to let him/her know you are planning to submit the proposal. Work with him/her to identify any special steps you’ll need to take to prepare the proposal and develop a timeline to ensure an on-time submission. Your CGO is here to help, get to know them (bring cookies).
  • Some academic units have staff on hand to help with both pre and post award management. Check with your Chair/Director or  your Dean’s office to find out what resources are available.
    • Department Staff  can help you prepare the proposal, including budgets and necessary forms.  They may also help you identify regulatory and campus review requirements (Animal/Human/Biosafety/Financial Disclosure).
    • Your CGO provides expert guidance on sponsor guidelines and will review the proposal prepared at the department level.

In addition to Department Staff and your CGO, UCI has a number Research Development and related professionals who can help with the proposal development process. Visit the Professionals Directory on this website to find help, or use “Ask Beth” in the lower right hand of this screen.

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Route & Submit Proposal

Proposal Submission is not only the last step in the pre-award process, but also an applicant’s last chance to make sure everything is in order before the proposal is in the hands of the funding agency. Thus communicating with your CGO is vital to successful proposal submission.

Here are a few things you can do to help ensure a successful submission:

  • Notify your Contracts & Grants Officer as early as possible that you intend to submit a proposal.
  • Familiarize yourself with Kuali Research (KR), which is the system used to route your proposal to the CGO and submission to the sponsor.
    • Note: Departmental staff can assist with this effort.
  • Submit/Route your proposal for internal review (i.e. to Sponsored Projects) no later than 5 days before the sponsor’s deadline. Earlier if you can.
  • Remember that SPA does not perform a scientific review on your scope of work, therefore the scope of work may be in draft form when you submit a proposal for review and you may continue to work on the science writing.  The final scope of work must be submitted no less than 8-hours prior to the sponsor’s deadline.

Making sure that everything is ready to submit is critically important to the proposal process. With funding lines historically low and sponsors inundated with requests for the same limited resources, working closely with department staff and your CGO will put you in the best position for funding success.

For additional information about the UCI Proposal Submission process, please review this helpful FAQ on Guidelines for Submitting Extramural Proposals to Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA).


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Setup Project

If you get to this step, congratulations this  means you got awarded!

Grant award letters and agreements are generally sent to a central email account. If you do happen to receive an award letter or agreement directly, email it to awards@research.uci.edu, including the PI’s name and KC document number. Also notify your department’s post award administrator.

Upon receipt of an award notification, Sponsored Projects will need to work collaboratively with you to obtain additional information on some or all of the following:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the award file to ensure all compliance requirements are in place.
  • Review and negotiate the agreement as necessary.
  • Setup the award and transmit to Contracts & Grants Accounting for additional financial setup.

Once this is complete the funds are made available to you so the research project may begin.




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Manage Project

Managing the award for the life of the project is a group effort, but the primary responsibility rests with you the PI.

For example, as PI your primary responsibilities include:

  • The scientific integrity and management of the project’s scope of work
  • The financial management of project funds
  • Adherence to all University and sponsor policies, technical reporting and record keeping requirements and terms and conditions of the award.

Don’t worry though, you’re not on your own!  For example, the Office of Research can provide support in the areas of international travel and shipping (which includes Export Control regulations), changes to research protocols (e.g. IACUC, IRB and hSCRO) and prior approvals for changes to the award requirements or terms and conditions.  Your departmental staff can assist with purchasing, travel arrangements, budgeting/re-budgeting,  payroll/personnel issues(e.g. hiring and firing) and effort reporting. Contracts & Grants Accounting (CGA) can assist with financial reporting to the sponsor, internal financial reporting and effort and cost share reporting.

Maintaining close communications with key offices/personnel is vital to successfully managing your project.

Visit the Office of Research webpage on Post-award management and Contract & Grant Accounting’s website for additional information. Your school/department may also have helpful resources on their website.


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Closeout Project

The closeout of a project is the process by which the sponsor determines that all applicable administrative actions and all scientific work on the award have been completed and that all final deliverables (e.g. technical report) have been submitted and accepted by the sponsor.

The University has an obligation to close all sponsored projects and to submit any final technical and financial reports in a manner consistent with the terms and conditions of the award. The necessary closing procedures may vary, depending on the policies of the sponsor, whether the support was in the form of a grant, cooperative agreement or contract and the specific terms and conditions of the award.

Since sponsors do not send expiration letters, it is your responsibility as the PI to check the award document for all pertinent details about closeout procedures and dates.

Awards are considered completed when all work is finished or on the date on which the award expires or terminates. If, at the end of the project period, the Principal Investigator has not secured a renewal, supplement or no-cost extension, closeout must be conducted.

Some sponsors may require that final reports be signed by an Authorized Official of the University. In these cases, the report should be sent to Sponsored Projects or Industry Sponsored Research office as appropriate for signature.

For more information please visit the Award Closeout section on the Office of Research website.


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Research Ethics & Compliance

A foundational aspect of a successful research project, Research Ethics & Compliance covers a broad range of activity from general guidelines about conducting research responsibly to specific regulations governing a type of research (e.g., human subjects research). Please visit the following resources for more information:

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