fbpx Submitting a Proposal | University of West Alabama Skip to main content
Explore UWA Request Info Schedule a Visit Apply Now

Submitting a Proposal

If you have identified a funder or sponsor, please read the instructions below for next steps. To search for funding, check out the Finding Funding page.


  1. Cayuse is a web-based software package that is designed to simplify the preparation and electronic submission of proposals. At UWA, we use Cayuse as the submission portal for proposals that are sent to Grants.gov. OSPR also uses it to track ALL proposals submitted, therefore, anyone wishing to submit a grant must use Cayuse. Access it using your UWA credentials.  https://uwa.cayuse424.com

  2. Complete the summary page of your application in Cayuse using the instructions found on the Policies/Procedures/Forms page. OSPR will assign your application an identification number. 

  3. Contact OSPR and receive necessary training on internal routing and the process of submission, and get a copy of any internal forms that need to be completed (such as a budget template or other required forms).

Proposal Development

  1. Read the solicitation (RFP, RFA, grant guide) thoroughly; it will contain all of the information you need to complete the application, including supporting materials such as resumes, letters, or other special documentation; and will explain what you should include in your project narrative and budget.

  2. Attach a copy of the solicitation to the documents section of the Cayuse application. Attach other required documents as you complete them. Finalize a budget and budget justification, then provide OSPR with a signed copy of your conflict of interest form and complete a final draft of your narrative. 

  3. Work with OSPR to address any concerns that reviewers may have and ensure that internal approvals are complete. 

Internal Review and Approval

All applications to be submitted to an external sponsor must undergo internal review and approval before submission. This review ensures that a proposal is at least viewed and approved by the department chair/unit head, as well as the Dean. Cayuse 424 allows users to route their applications from PI to Chair, Dean, Provost, President, and finally to OSPR, where approvals by all parties can be viewed. OSPR requires all routing approvals to be completed by three days before the application deadline. Some applications may also require additional resources, facilities/space, release time, or commitments on the part of the University, which may result in additional approvals from the relevant offices. This review and concurrence ensures that the University will be able to meet any requirements in your proposal. The last reviewer will always be the University's Authorized Official Representative (AOR).

The internal review also addresses key compliance issues such as the protection of human subjects, care and use of animals in research, laboratory safety training, hazardous materials and controlled substances, and export controls. More information on these compliance issues can be found on the Compliance page.

Submitting Your Proposal

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is the central clearinghouse for submission of ALL grant proposals. As such, OSPR will submit your proposal on behalf of the university using Cayuse 424 when possible; in other cases, OSPR will use the agency’s own submission engines to submit applications. Some agencies only allow one submission per institution to a specific solicitation. Having OSPR submit all proposals ensures that applications aren’t duplicated when the agency has submission restrictions.

Recommended PI and Proposal Timeline Considerations

The PI informs OSPR as soon as possible upon learning of the grant opportunity. As soon as the PI decides to submit a proposal, they should also inform their unit head, dean, and the OSPR. This prior notification is especially important in the following instances:

  • If the project is particularly large or complex

  • Provides documented communication of all parties

  • Unusual terms and conditions referenced in the funding announcement

  • Limitations on the number of institutional applicants

  • Interdisciplinary proposals requiring approvals from multiple units or colleges

  • Partnerships with other agencies/Universities which may result in subawards or contracts

During this time, you should work with the OSPR staff to establish a budget, find match/cost share if needed, and complete a Cayuse application for routing.

5 Business Days Prior to the Sponsor Deadline:

The PI submits or has already submitted all required documents to OSPR, including:

  • Signed and completed Conflict of Interest form 

  • Sponsor guidelines, funding announcement

  • Proposal narrative

  • Budget, including commitments for any matching funds

  • Budget justification

  • Special administrative documents (if applicable) as required by sponsor

  • All other proposal components (for example, letters of support/collaboration, any documentation requiring signatures of dean/provost/president) 

3 Days Prior to Submission:

The completed proposal (all final documents, no drafts) must be released to the OSPR. This allows for one final check by the OSPR and the AOR to resolve any errors or address any corrections that need to be made. With confirmation from the PI, the AOR will submit the proposal to the sponsor on behalf of the University. Almost all sponsors require submission by the AOR; only in special circumstances will the PI submit the proposal and in those cases the PI may only do so AFTER approval by the AOR, per University procedures.

Late Submission to Internal Deadlines:

If the proposal materials do not reach the OSPR by the internal deadlines (listed above), OSPR may not have time to complete a thorough review of the application and submission will be at the discretion of the AOR.


The vast majority of applications are submitted electronically, either through a sponsor specific website/portal, via Cayuse (all federal proposals except for those to the National Science Foundation are submitted through Cayuse), or via an agency submission portal. If hard copies need to be mailed to a sponsor, please let your OSPR contact know in advance.

It is important to note that except in extremely rare cases, sponsors make awards to the University instead of the PI as an individual, which means that applications must be submitted on behalf of the University by the University's AOR. Submitting a proposal to a sponsor as the PI without approval of the AOR will likely lead to the disqualification of your proposal, if not by the sponsor, by the University.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

In the scope of externally sponsored projects, Conflicts of Interest (COIs) are defined as a situation in which a person (either the PI or a person at the sponsor to which the PI is applying) is in a position to derive personal benefit from awarding the proposal. This is typically manifested by someone applying to an organization where a family member has a say in which proposals get awarded, for example. If this is the case, the COI must be reported to UWA and often to the potential sponsor. Not disclosing COIs can lead to stiff penalties to the individuals involved as well as to the University.

To ensure that COIs are disclosed, UWA has two COI forms, one for submissions to the National Institutes of Health (called the PHS Conflict of Interest Form) and the other which is used for any other sponsor (called the Standard Conflict of Interest Form). Each PI will need to fill out one of them before submission of your proposal even if you do not have a COI to disclose. Both of these forms can be found on our Forms page.

Human/Animal Subjects

Please read sponsor guidelines carefully regarding human and animal research subject approvals. Some sponsors require institutional approval letters at the time of application submission, but most often these approvals can be acquired during or around the time of the award. Regardless of the timing, if you have human subjects or animal subjects involved in your proposed project you will need to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approvals, respectively, at some point. Because there might be little time between notification that a proposal might be funded and the award, it is recommended to prepare the IACUC and IRB approval ahead of time. If you receive an award that requires IRB/IACUC approval, OSPR will not release your funds and no work on the project can start until the respective approvals are confirmed.

Please contact the OSPR at an early stage about the status of your project in terms of human subjects. Projects involving surveys, human cells, or medical records may require IRB approval. The OSPR staff will provide advice about the level of review required (expedited, full committee, etc.) and the associated fees.

The Compliance page contains links to all of these and other internal compliance guidance.


Request Info

Submit your information to be contacted by phone/email.


* Required Information

I authorize the University of West Alabama and its representatives to contact me via SMS. I am providing my consent by leaving the opt-in checked. Message and data rates may apply. Terms.

By submitting your information, you confirm you have read the Privacy Policy.