New to OSU? Getting started Guide

Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA)
New to OSU?

We use an online system called Cayuse to prepare and submit proposals. You will need to register here to use the portal.

  • Cayuse SP: is used to submit proposals for signatures, approval and submission (internal to OSU).
  • Cayuse 424 is only used when submitting proposals through (e.g. DOE, NIH, etc) (the form that goes to the agency)
  • Submit your Cayuse record 5-7 business days before the due date. You only need the budget, justification and draft abstract, scope of work to submit the SP record for internal review. 
Some useful links
Other useful links

How do I register with NSF?

If you need to register with to submit proposals as a PI/ Co-PI, then you'll need to register at You won't be able to submit proposals until OSU affiliates you with OSU. You can follow the steps below to register with NSF. Once you register, OSRAA will get an email requesting to add you to their affiliation.

You can only have one NSF ID and that ID must be affiliated with your current organization. More information is here:

If you do not have an NSF ID, then you’ll need to follow this video to create one as PI/coPI

You may need OSU’s DUNS number or other information. All information on OSU can be found here

How do I calculate % Effort for the Cayuse SP record?

% Effort = Total Person months / Total Project time.

So, if you request 1 person month (P.M.) salary every year for 3 years that would be either

(1/12)*100  = 8.33%   OR   (3/36)*100 = 8.33%

The latter calculation is useful if you are requesting different P.M. per year.
In this case, for example: 

P.M.   Y1 = 1, Y2 = 2, Y3 = 0.5.

Total P.M. = 3.5

You'd use:   3.5 / 36  * 100 =  9.72%

How do I transfer my grants from my previous institution?

When a grant is transferred from one institution to another, there are several general steps to the process. Please see the Research Office's guidelines on transferring grants. They also have a PI Checklist for Transfer of a Grant to Oregon State University.


Where can I find funding opportunities?

College of Science
  • ECOS and GP-ECOS: events, funding opportunities posted for faculty or research associates (project investigators)
  • GP-ECOS includes events, funding opportunities, fellowships, scholarships geared for graduate students or postdoctoral scholars
OSU listed funding opportunities
Agency links

The agency doesn't allow tuition? How can I get tuition support?

Ask your departmental chair about tuition support in this case. For more information, check out the graduate school information for OSU Foundation Fellow Tuition Support/Training Grant and External Fellowship Tuition Relief/Targeted Graduate Tuition Scholarships

Deadline is around mid February.

  1. OSU Foundation Fellow Tuition Scholarship: Information and Nomination Instructions:
  2. Training Grant and External Fellowship Tuition Relief: Information and Nomination Instructions:
  3. Targeted Graduate Tuition Scholarships: Information and Nomination Instructions:

Each tuition support mechanism listed above (1-3) is tied to a particular award type. Please refer to the associated links for details.

NSF: If you use Arial 10 point or the new portal: Read This!

The new portal for proposal submissions will eventually replace Fastlane.

  • If you use the new portal to prepare and submit proposals, all documents must adhere to the guidelines within the portal. You will need to create pdfs to upload. The system will automatically check for compliance. If a pdf is non-compliant, you will not be allowed to upload it. 
  • Please follow the instructions within portal, because those take precedence over the PAPPG.

If you use Fastlane, the PAPPG allows alternate fonts. If you use Arial 10 point, please note grant writer, Donn Forbes experience:

"The NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG, the rule book) allows 10-point Arial type and requires at least 6 lines of text per vertical inch. If you draft a page in 10-point Arial and print it and measure the number of lines per inch with a ruler, you’ll find exactly six. So, you would naturally expect that if you submit a proposal with 10-point Arial type, you’d be safe. Not so.

Conversion to pdf often shrinks the type. Printers can also shrink the type. There are cases in which reviewers or program managers printed the pdf files, measured the number of lines per inch with a ruler, found 5.9x lines per inch, and returned the proposal without review. 

If you’re going to submit an NSF proposal in Arial 10-point type, the best way to protect yourself from administrative disqualification is to select 1.15x line spacing instead of single spacing (Format > Paragraph  > Line Spacing > Multiple > 1.15). Then you’ll be safe."

-- Donn Forbes

-------------- Work around option 2 -------------------

  1. Open the PDF you created in Acrobat (Pro) and see if the font size under the Edit function is coming up smaller than 10.  
  2. Then print it again to your PDF printer, but at a slightly increased size (usually 104% works, depending on the shrinkage encountered).
  3. This should restore the font size to 10 and kept the margins to 1 inch, since Acrobat cut off the outside edges.

I have questions about cost share.

If you need to request cost share, please use the form located in the sidebar.

According to Federal Uniform Guidance (Code of Federal Regulations) cost sharing or matching (e-CFR §200.306) is defined as that portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds. Cost sharing represents a legal obligation by OSU and can be in the form of cash or in-kind contribution. There are two types of cost share, voluntary and mandatory cost sharing.

Mandatory cost sharing is defined as cost share required by the agency and described by the specific funding announcement. Voluntary cost share is cost sharing not stated in proposal guidelines, but described as a quantifiable amount of resources contributed to the project. Voluntary cost share is not allowed except under extenuating circumstances.

e-CFR §200.306 states: "Under Federal research proposals, voluntary committed cost sharing is not expected. It cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of applications or proposals, but may be considered if it is both in accordance with Federal awarding agency regulations and specified in a notice of funding opportunity."

If you are working on a proposal that requires cost share, you'll need to discuss your needs with your department and/or college Dean. Documentation for cost share will be required in your Cayuse record.

For more information on cost share at OSU, check out these links:

What should I write in a postdoctoral mentoring plan?

There are several online resoures to assist you with developing a postdoctoral mentoring plan. See the graduate school page on "Developing a Mentoring Plan for NSF proposals", "The Responsibilities of mentors of postdoctoral scholars and fellows" and the "Individual Development Plan" page

Do you have guidance for Data Management Plans?

Can faculty be consultants on another award?

Let's say you want to consult on another grant at another University. Would this go through OSU?

Please refer to the OSU Faculty Handbook for more information on OSU's Conflict of Commitment Policy.

Before engaging in outside activities in your field, faculty must complete the Request for Approval of Outside Activities form to ensure there are no conflicts of commitment.  This form can be found here:   "With supervisor approval, a full-time professorial faculty member may engage in outside professional activities related to his or her University responsibilities one day in each work week during periods of full-time employment."

If a consultant role is appropriate then the other university would prepare a Personal Services Contract for the consulting services provided; this would not require a Cayuse proposal.

It is important that the PI consider his/her contribution and collaboration on the project.

  • Is it more appropriate for this to be an incoming subaward with a budget to include salary, fringe benefits as well as other items such as travel, materials/supplies, indirect costs, etc.?  
  • Will they be responsible for contributing to future publications and/or deliverables (reports, etc.)?  This option would require a proposal in Cayuse SP and the resulting subaward and funding would be handled by OSRAA.

More on consultants vs sub awards

Consultants/Fees: "These costs are for professional fees, e.g., consulting and legal fees, services rendered by commercial firms; service charges by institutional service departments; and fees assessed by other state agencies. Generally, all services must be performed within the award period. Consulting costs are normally identified separately in the budget and may also be called Personal Services Contracts (PSC). OSU employees and graduate students may not be listed as consultants on OSU budgets."

Subawards: "The subaward process is used when OSU passes through a portion of the sponsored award to another entity for the purpose of programmatic effort on the project or when OSU receives a portion of a sponsored award from another organization. All the terms and conditions that are part of the primary award must be included in the subaward document. Signature of acceptance of these terms by the receiving entity is required."

For more information on determing if you need to set up a consultant or a subaward, please visit, "Is this a subaward or a procurement" at the Research Office.

Gift cards for participants

Do you provide incentives to participants on your grants? Do you provide gift cards? If so, how do you know how many to purchase without ending up with leftover gift cards after the grant ends?

Here are some tips

If gift cards are purchased on a department account up front, and then the grant reimburses as they are given out to participants, you don't have this issue.  Any remaining gift cards then belong to the department.  They can then use them for another project as needed. 

Same for petty cash.  The department sets up the petty cash on a department index.  Then as the funds are used, the petty cash fund is reimbursed by the grant.  Once the grant closes, the petty cash is closed and the amount reimbursed to the department.  Departments should be able to have some flexible funds to do this.  This way, the federal funds only pay for the actual participant costs.

Use a system in which you only upload money onto a gift card immediately before distribution

OSU has a Policy for Gift Card Purchases!

Fiscal Policy for Gift Cards in 03-140-512

Cash Incentives? We have a policy for that too! 

Fiscal Policy Miscellaneous: 03-140-513

Units who perform testing of products often advertise that they will give anyone who takes the test an incentive, for example $5.00.  The unit will pay out the testing incentives and document how much was given, and to whom.  A Departmental Advance is required to receive the funds to distribute.  The advance will be “cleared” by the appropriate Business Center through the process identified in FIS 407-07 Departmental Advances (Non-Travel).

What are the activity codes in Cayuse SP?

Basic Research

  • Research undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without any particular application or use in mind.
  • Basic Research – systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge of understanding of the subject.  Basic research is specifically organized to produce identified outcomes.

Applied Research          

  • Research conducted to gain the knowledge or understanding to meet a specific, recognized need.
  • Utilizes basic research outcomes or theories in practice; i.e., toward the production of new materials, devices or systems.
  • Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met   


  • The systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including the design and development of prototypes and processes.
  • The systematic study of designing, developing, and evaluating instructional programs, processes, and prototypes or products that must meet certain criteria and consistency; especially important in the field of instructional technology.              

Other Sponsored Activity           

  • Support of student services, educational resources, cooperative extension and outreach programs, community service partnerships, public service programs, etc.  Can be testing as well.
  • Sponsored Research & Other Sponsored Activity, on campus,
  • This includes project support for activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops, art acquisition, exhibitions, specific travel grants, and community service projects  

Research Training          

  • Activities where the primary objective is for development or extension of an individual’s research skills, techniques, and knowledge toward a career in research; fellowship or training projects where the students usually are not employees;
  • There is usually an educational requirement as part of the fellowship or traineeship, including mentorship of postdocs.

What can I put under Participant Support?

Funding agencies defer to university policy as long as they comply with the uniform guidance

OSRAA's policy on Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs refer to costs paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees attending conferences, meetings, symposia, training activities and workshops. A participant must be an individual who is attending in the context of a "trainee."

  • Participant support costs may include transportation, per diem, stipends, supplies, conference fees, and other related costs (registration fees, books, instructional materials) for participants only. 
  • Conference panelists, organizers, consultants and speakers are not considered trainees and should not be included in the participant support section of the budget.
  • Employees of OSU, who are not students, should not be included under participant support in a proposal budget.  Their costs should be incorporated into other budget categories (e.g. travel).  Employees who are a student at OSU (including Graduate Research Assistants) may be considered a participant under the definition above, and included under participant support in a proposal budget, only if the grant in which they are employed is different than the grant which is sponsoring their training (i.e. a student cannot be a GRA and a participant in the same grant).
  • For the vast majority of proposal budgets (when the indirect costs are based on “MTDC” or modified total direct costs), participant support costs (non-employee participants) are exempt from indirect costs.  When the sponsor specifies that F&A cost be based on the total award (“TDC” or total direct costs), participant support costs are included in the indirect cost calculation.

My REU students want to access Dixon or they need a computer. How can I help them?

Some undergraduates who come to campus for a summer research program would like to use Dixon Rec Center and/or may need access to computers. We've put a handy guide together to answer these questions:

How to justify exceeding the two-month salary limit (NSF)


Suggested Language for NSF Proposal Budget Justifications
  1. If the requested salary support for a single project exceeds the two-month limit, the following statement should be inserted into the proposal budget justification: 

    The proposed salary for (insert name) exceeds the two-month limit for senior personnel. The proposed level of commitment for this proposal is appropriate to the scope of work and is required in order to fulfill the objectives of this project within the proposed time frame.

  1. If the requested salary support combined with existing support on currently held NSF projects exceeds the two-month limit, the statement below should be inserted into the proposal budget justification: 

    The proposed salary for (insert name), in combination with other current NSF support (insert award numbers), exceeds the two-month limit for senior personnel. The proposed level of commitment for this proposal is appropriate for the scope of work and is required in order to fulfill the objectives of this project within the proposed time frame.