Frequently Asked Questions | Grants & Research


What is the first step for submitting a grant through MSU Extension?

The first step is to contact your Institute Director (ID), Associate ID, and our Grant Services team at MSUE.GrantServices@campusad.msu.edu regarding your intended application as soon as possible. In your email, include the following information:

  • Funding agency, allowable F&A/IDC rate
  • Funding Solicitation (number/title/web address)
  • Project Title
  • Start and End Date
  • Estimated Costs of the Proposal
  • Proposal Deadline

Alternatively, once you receive approval from your institute leadership, fill out this Proposal Submission Form.

Most of this information will be in the funding solicitation, so read carefully. Approval by MSU Extension leadership is required prior to submission of a grant application.

Watch this short video and print out the accompanying PDF to gain understand of deadlines you need to immediately be aware of.



Where can I find definitions to common acronyms used in grant proposals?

This five-minute video by Bill Humphreys, Research Coordinator with College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides a wonderful overview of terminology.

For future reference, MSU's Sponsored Programs Administration office maintains a website of acronyms.


What are Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A, IDC)?

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, also called indirect costs (IDC), are a percentage of your budget that are allocated to support the university’s infrastructure. Please watch this five-minute video prepared by the MSU AgBioResearch Office of Research Support for more information:

More information about MSU's F&A rates can be found here.


How do I know if my Extension project needs IRB review? 

Submitting project activities and data collection protocols to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a necessary step in conducting research at MSU. Key questions and a formal process determines if activities are considered research, therefore requiring IRB approval. This 20-minute video covers what kind of projects require IRB approval, types of IRB reviews, and information about the Determination of Human Subjects Research process for projects you are not certain are considered research by the university.

More information about regulatory requirements, including IRB, can be found here.


How can I check if I have my HRPP/IRB Certification?

Principal investigators (PIs) and individuals engaged in human research overseen by MSU must complete and maintain current Human Research Protection training prior to engaging in human subject research. You must receive Human Research Protection Certification (HRPP/IRB Certification) through the Click training system by completing both the “Overview of Human Research Protection at MSU” and “Ethical and Regulatory Considerations” online modules.

MSU individuals who previously completed MSU IRB training (i.e. MSU IRB Initial Tutorial or CITI Renewal) will only be required to complete the “Overview of Human Research Protection at MSU” module.  The CITI Program is no longer used for required MSU IRB training.  Individuals who previously completed MSU IRB required training (i.e. MSU IRB Initial Tutorial or CITI Renewal) will maintain the expiration date assigned as part of that training completion. They will need to complete the new MSU HRPP/IRB Certification prior to that expiration date.  

Access to IRB Training Records. IRB training records can be accessed at any time through the Click training system. There will no longer be an “expired on” date for your HRPP/IRB certification.




What is an example of a financial conflict of interest (COI)?

A common financial conflict of interest would be when you have stock in a company that you are getting a grant from; in other words, when you are personally profiting from an outside source that is somehow tied to the grant funding. To learn more about conflicts of interest, visit the Office of Research Regulatory Support's What to Disclose webpage.

An introductory video on COI from the MSU Office of Regulatory Affairs is below.





What is cost share? 

Cost share, also called match or in-kind contribution, is the part of the total project costs on a sponsored (grant-funded) project that are paid from sources other than the sponsor. It may refer to cash contributions, donated services, or use of facilities. Find the MSU Cost Share Policy here.



What is an ECORRW?

The Export Control and Open Research Review Worksheet (ECORRW) helps identify export controlled technologies or materials found on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) list, and/or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) list, and to identify research activities planned with international entities that may be subject to trade sanctions.

The online Export Control and Open Research Review Worksheet (ECORRW) is designed to ensure that MSU is complying with U.S. Government statutes and regulations dealing with export controls and trade sanctions. MSU has an Office of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions (ECTS) which can help you.  MSU's Office of Sponsored Programs has a export control procedures webpage outlining the criteria which determine if you will have to prepare an ECORRW.

If your project requires this form, know that you may need to be reviewed for compliance again after the initial review if funds are added to the project, the scope of work changes, or if there is a change in PIs or co-PIs on your project.

Note that, in the old eTransmittal system, ECORRWs were identified by the App number. The are now identified with the PD number from KR.

For support, contact the Office of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions at export@msu.edu or at 517-432-4499.




What is an Institutionally Limited Submission or Application?

Sometimes a solicitation indicates that it will limit the number of proposals that can come from an institution. In such a case, MSU has to coordinate so that a decision can be reached regarding which proposal has the best chance of getting funded. When this happens, it is referred to as an "Institutionally Limited Application," and approval to submit your proposal must be granted. The MSU Extension Grant Services team can help with this process. Learn more on the Office of Research & Innovation's website on the Institutionally Limited Application Procedure




If I find a potential grant source, how do I check if they are already funding another project at MSU?

Grant Services staff have the ability to look up past applications and awards for all of MSUE. We can also request a search from the central office to see all of MSU’s applications and awards. If the application requires this information, please let us know at msue.grantservices@msu.edu and we will assist.




When do we need to include the 7.65% fringe for student labor?

Student labor should be budgeted at 0% of salaries paid during the academic year and 7.65% during the summer semester depending on the number of credits in which they are enrolled.  If a student falls below a minimum number of credits set by the IRS, e.g., undergrads enrolled for less than 6 credits; master's level students enrolled for less than 5;  and doctoral level students enrolled for less than 3 credits, then the account will be charged FICA and Medicare at 7.65%.

More information about salary/fringe calculation can be found here.




Do I need to do a Proposal Document in KR for a letter of intent or a pre-proposal?

A pre-proposal does not require a PD, except in the following situations:

  • The pre-proposal includes cost share commitments.
  • The RFA indicates that there is only a 5% variance allowed between the pre-proposal budget and the full proposal budget.
  • The subaward category is more than 75% of the total budgeted direct costs.
  • The sponsor requires OSP budget review.
  • There are intellectual property ownership and/or export control issues.
  • OSP confirms or determines that the proposal requires special review or approvals.

When a PD is required, it should be fully-routed and approved three business days prior to the pre-proposal submission, in accordance with the MSU Proposal Deadline Policy.

Please contact the Grant Services team for more guidance and never assume that an on-line submission will be automatically released to the sponsor by OSP. This is a common misunderstanding for the National Science Foundation pre-proposal submission process.

OSP recommends that the PI seek Research Dean approval before pre-proposal submission if the PI doesn’t meet MSU's PI eligibility requirements.