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Division of Research and Graduate Studies


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What is ORSP’s role at Fresno State?

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is the University’s central administrative unit responsible for securing external resources through grants and contracts, and providing financial and contractual stewardship of awards. ORSP provides guidance and support to the university community in an environment that fosters the creative process and the enrichment of students and teaching, while ensuring protection of the university’s financial, contractual, and regulatory obligations as well as accountability to external funding sources. The Office provides advice and assistance to faculty members in preparing and submitting proposals requesting funds for research and other sponsored programs.

Who is eligible to submit proposals through ORSP?

In most cases individuals who serve as PIs shall be full-time faculty, MPP (management personnel plan) or staff employees at the University who are responsible for a funded project. Faculty participants in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) may apply for or serve as sole principal investigators on grants only where the grant can be accomplished during the period of active employment under FERP. Other individuals shall seek authorization from the AVPRSP. Such individuals shall not receive an appointment to a faculty classification.

Who is the proposal development coordinator for my area?

Please see the list of ORSP grants administrators for the appropriate contact information.

How far in advance of the proposal deadline should I contact ORSP?

Please contact ORSP as soon as you know you are going to submit a proposal. You must notify ORSP at least three weeks before your deadline, so that we can ensure we will have the staffing resources available to work with you (for all submissions, an additional week is required). Your first step is to complete our online Project Information Form (PIF), which provides the information we will need to complete your budget. If you have any questions about filling out this form, please contact your grants administrator.

Are ORSP and Fresno State registered with for electronic proposal submissions?

Yes, ORSP and Fresno State are fully registered with

What is Fresno State’s multi-year Facilities and Administrative (indirect cost) rate agreement?

Facilities and administrative costs (also called indirect costs) are the costs associated with providing facilities and administrative support for the conduct of research and other sponsored activities are necessary if faculty and staff are to be successful in their efforts. These real costs of a university are not readily identifiable with a particular project or activity but, nonetheless, are necessary to the general operation of a university and the conduct of its activities. They include the costs of operating and maintaining buildings and grounds, equipment, the libraries, and of providing administration at the university, college and department levels.

Fresno State has a multi-year Facilities and Administrative (indirect cost) rate agreement with the federal government. This agreement specifies the F&A cost rates to be applied to awards from federal and non-federal sponsors. The agreement is dated July 1, 2013, and is effective through June 30, 2018. The rates specified in the agreement are as follows:

The rate for on-campus research is 40%; for off-campus research, 19%.

Exceptions to these rates occur when a funding agency places a cap on the F&A rate. In this case, ORSP must have written guidelines from the funding agency stating that there is a limit on F&A costs.

If you would like to discuss any variance from the above rates, you must speak directly with your grants administrator. View Fresno State’s Indirect Cost Agreement (pdf format).

Who should I contact about getting approval to use human subjects or animals in my research?

Any research involving human subjects must have the approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects Protection. Human subject review and approval are coordinated by Constance Jones. The Fresno State IRB website is located here.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees all activities involving the use of animals in research at Fresno State. For questions regarding IACUC review and approval, contact Paul Crosbie, at 278-2074 or

What is the difference between a grant and a contract?

Grants are a form of assistance, as distinguished from contracts, which are a form of procurement. A grant is conceived by the investigator, who defines the scope of work and retains control over the activities and results. Grants may come from a governmental, quasi-governmental entity, or the private-sector (including individuals). A grant may include funding for indirect costs or overhead including funds for facilities and administration. Although grants do not typically seek specific research outcomes, they do come with terms and conditions.

A contract is conceived, procured and closely monitored by the sponsor. Federal contracts are subject to an extensive body of laws that govern terms, conditions, sanctions, and remedies. The contractual scope of work is determined by the sponsor, who generally retains ownership of the results.

Can the PI sign as the Authorized Official on behalf of the University?

No. A formal proposal to conduct research or a sponsored project with support from an external agency represents an offer to perform services by Fresno State. It is necessary, therefore, that any such proposal has the endorsement of those individuals responsible for carrying out the project (i.e., the PI) as well as those individuals authorized to commit the University’s resources and/or enter into a legal contract for services.

Proposals for sponsored programs require the appropriate review and approval process by the correct campus officials. Approval is required on all proposals PRIOR to submission to the funding agency. Proposals for sponsored programs shall not be submitted to a potential sponsor on behalf of the University and/or Foundation without prior written approval on the Project Information Form (PIF) of the President or Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs and of the University’s Chief Financial Officer or designee.

All contracts and grant award agreements -- as opposed to proposals --require two (2) signatures. Any combination of two of the following signatures may be used. ORSP and Foundation Staff Counsel review all contracts and will obtain required approvals on contracts.

How will I know if my grant gets funded?

It is most common for granting agencies to contact the Principal Investigator. The National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation have online systems that notify the P.I. and our office. Some granting agencies do not notify ORSP, so you should contact your grants administrator when you receive notification of funding. Many agencies will also send reviewers’ comments to you. We would appreciate receiving a copy of those comments for our files. These copies will also help us to assist you if you decide to resubmit an amended proposal.

What happens next when my grant gets funded?

You will be connected to a grant accountant within Foundation Financial Services who will set up an account for you. This person will be your contact for accounting and personnel information.