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Proposal FAQs

What are the documents I need to give to the Office of Research to submit a proposal?

The proposal delivered to the Office of Research will always include:

  1. A completed Coeus proposal transmittal with all required approvals, including the department head(s) and the dean(s) for all investigators.
  2. Project Budget
  3. Budget Justification
  4. Project Abstract
  5. Completed Conflict of Interest Statement
  6. Completed Export Control Questionnaire
  7. Completed sponsor submission forms
  8. Copy of the solicitation or the web address for the solicitation

In addition, the submission may include as required:

  1. Cost Sharing Commitment Form
  2. Indirect Cost Waiver Form
  3. Animal Use Committee Form
  4. Human Subjects Protocol
  5. Radioactive Materials Form
  6. Biosafety Form 

When should I submit my proposal to the Office of Research?

Office of Research must review and approve all proposals prior to sponsor submission. The increase in e-submissions has highlighted the need for sufficient lead time to ensure successful submission.

In order to ensure sufficient time for review, corrections and on-time submission, Office of Research should receive the proposal at least five working days prior to the sponsors due date. If subcontracts to other institutions are planned, then Office of Research should receive the proposal no later than three business days prior to the sponsors due date.

How should I budget for salaries on a proposal?

Salary compensation should be included in a grant proposal for any individual contributing time and effort to the project. The effort should be represented as a % of time, which will then be reflected as a % of salary (i.e. 10% of your time should = 10% of your salary). Any effort that is committed to the project but funds are not requested from the sponsor is a cost share item.

How should I determine if salary should be academic year vs. summer?

Salary should be charged during the time period that the effort is expended. If the effort is spent during the academic year, the salary should be charged during the academic year. If the effort is spent during the summer, the salary should be charged during the summer. If the effort is spent as a combination of academic year and summer, the salary in the grant should reflect that as well

Is summer compensation available to everyone?

Summer compensation is only available to 9/12 faculty members. Extra compensation is not available from a grant for 12/12 faculty, or staff members. Grant funds may not be used to augment the total salary or salary rate during the normal term of appointment for any individual

Is there a limit to how much salary I can charge to a grant?

Each organization has its own rules and regulations governing limitations on salary charges about which you need to be aware. Some typical items that will create a potential red flag for a sponsor or an auditor is a faculty member with 100% effort, or fully committed for 3 months over the summer for a 9/12 employee. Fully committing your time and effort means you work on nothing but the research, and do not work on other activities such as administration or even grant writing of future proposals. Fully committing your summer time means you take no time off or vacation over the summer.

Is there a limit to how much summer compensation I can get?

Summer compensation is limited to 3/12 of a faculty member’s base salary. Please note that certain organizations have their own rules and limits on compensation, which will supersede this rule. For example, the NSF limits the TOTAL salary compensation for ALL NSF grants to 2 months, regardless of when that effort is charged (i.e. summer vs. academic year). The NSF will allow you to request an exception to this rule, but it must be requested in the PROPOSAL phase of a grant.

Can I include administrative or clerical salaries on my proposal?

Administrative and clerical support typically cannot be included in a grant proposal. These types of salaries are typically considered indirect costs and therefore are included in our IDC rate. Exceptions are allowed for large planning grants, which would require a large amount of administrative or clerical support, as long as these costs can easily be readily and specifically identified.

What is the current IDC (F&A) rate?

The current IDC (indirect cost) rate for the University is dependent upon the type of research being performed and the location of the majority of the work being performed. Go to Facilities & Administrative Agreement for the current IDC rates for the University.   This link also provides information on the types of costs our IDC reimbursement covers.

Do I have to use this rate?

It is Drexel’s policy to request the appropriate federally negotiated indirect cost rate in the proposal budget for all sponsored projects regardless of funding source unless a sponsoring agency's written policy will not permit full recovery of indirect costs.

Can I request to use a lower rate?

An indirect cost waiver/reduction is an institutional agreement that the university will charge indirect costs at a rate lower than its federally-negotiated rate agreement stipulates. Waivers, while rare, may be requested by the Principal Investigator with the approval from the appropriate Dean/Director’s Office during the proposal development process. On a case-by-case basis, the final review and approval/disapproval of the waiver request will be made in the Office of Research before the proposal is submitted.

But our rate is too high, and it makes my proposal not competitive

Unacceptable reasons for an indirect cost waiver include, but are not limited to:

  • To increase the competiveness of the award
  • The PI did not submit the proposal through the proper method, and they have already ‘agreed’ to a lower IDC rate.
  • More info on what is and is not acceptable reasons can be found at the following link: Understanding Facilities and Administrative (Indirect) Costs
  • But I am doing the work off campus

    If more than 50% of the work performed by Drexel on a project is conducted off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project (currently 26%). The “off-campus” designation usually applies to grants in which rent is paid directly by the sponsor. The “off-campus” designation DOES NOT refer to field work.

What kinds of costs can be charged to a research project account?

In general, only direct costs that are required and necessary to accomplish the work statement may be included in proposal budgets. Such costs must be allocable, reasonable, and allowable by OMB Circular A-21 (The Cost Principles). Typical costs include compensation and associated benefits for researchers and graduate students (consistent with Section J.10), supplies, travel, equipment, etc. F&A costs, calculated by applying the current rate agreement to the modified total direct costs, may be included in most cases. Charges to project accounts must be consistent with the approved project budget. Membership and subscription fees are not allowed as a direct cost.

How do I get reimbursed for summer salary from a research grant?

Research extra compensation is submitted from the department thru the EPAF system and must be submitted by the 10th of the month to ensure payment will be included in the respective month’s pay. Please be mindful of any sponsor regulations when requesting summer compensation (e.g. NSF 2 month rule)

Why do I have to abide by the Fly America Act when the flights are cheaper on X carrier?

The Fly America Act (41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143) requires that all federally funded travel be on a US flag carrier or US flag carrier service provided under a code-share agreement, except under specific situations.

There are some exceptions to the Fly America Act

If a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from your origin to your destination, you must use the U.S. fag air carrier service unless such use would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more.

If a US flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) between your origin and destination, you must use a US flag air carrier on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:

  1. Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside the US by 2 or more; or
  2. Extend your travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
  3. Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

For travel outside the US, if a US flag air carrier provides service between your origin and destination, you must always use a US flag carrier for such travel unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:

  1. Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside the US by 2 or more; or
  2. Extend your travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
  3. Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

What if my Sponsor/Organization is not in Coeus?

If you have performed a search for a Sponsor or Organization (be sure to try a search with the asterisk* before or after all or part of the sponsor name; i.e.: *Penn*, *Pennsylvania, Penn*) in Coeus and cannot find it, please request that it be added by emailing with all of the organization’s information details. Organizations must have a DUNS number and a congressional district as well as contact information.

I accidentally deleted a proposal; can it be recovered?

No. Please use the delete proposal option with caution, proposals cannot be recovered. Proposals that have been routed cannot be deleted, and the option will disappear. If you would like those proposals removed from your queue please contact

Proposal Database Administrator Lock message

If the message Database Administrator Lock appears, you will not be able to save any updates until the lock has been removed. First, try the Locks link on the top right of Coeus screen. Remove a lock if it is there. If you are still not able to save, contact your Program Administrator. They are able to check to see if someone is currently editing the proposal.

Coeus does not have the S2S forms not in the correct order/ formatting

Coeus prints the forms in alphabetical order by form name. will put the data-stream sent in the order they want, as well as insert a table of contents. The ERA Commons will also add page numbers and put headers and footers on each page. In Coeus Premium, the Up/Down arrows can be used to put Proposal Personnel in the order required by the Sponsor; however the Up/Down arrows in the Narrative module do not affect the way the system transmits or prints the uploaded files.

Activity Type Changed message

Receipt of a warning message that the Activity Type has changed indicates that the Activity Type selected on the General Info page is different from the Activity Type used in the budget. This occurs when a budget has been marked complete and then the General Info activity type selected is changed. You should always have matching activity types, so go back and mark the budget incomplete. Coeus will prompt you with a sync budget activity type message. Click Yes. Then you may mark the budget complete again.

Cannot save proposal on first entry of General Info tab

If the fields of the General Info tab have not been completed correctly upon the first entry, the proposal will not save. Remember to use the Search link for the Sponsor field. An incorrect entry in this field is the number one cause of the inability to save.

I am submitting a Non-Competing Renewal, Resubmission, Revision or Changed/Corrected Proposal how do I link to my previous Coeus proposal?

For Non-Competing Renewals, select the search link by the Original Proposal field and search for the originally submitted proposal. Resubmissions, Revisions and Change/Corrected Proposals should be searched on the basis of the current submission to complete the Original Proposal field. Additionally, for Renewals, and Non-Competing Renewals provide the award number, again use the search link, and search by title, account or PI.

Change of Proposal Period

If the proposal start and end date on the General Info tab changes from when a budget is started, the budget dates should be changed as well. Upon entering the budget after the General Info dates change, Coeus will prompt the user to confirm change of dates. You must click Save on the Adjust Periods Tab for the new dates to appear in the budget. If you are copying a budget from a previous proposal and the number of project years has decreased, contact or your Program Administrator to make the adjustment for you.

TBA people in the budget

When entering TBA persons in the budget, please include a unique identifier in the JobCode field of the Personnel tab. Otherwise, all persons with this TBA type will be condensed into one person. If you try to make this adjustment after adding effort in the budget, you will receive an error message, because the originally entered person (by jobcode) no longer is an available reference for the budget calculations.

A note about TBA base salaries: All personnel automatically receive a 3% increase on the fiscal year, unless changed. It is easiest if you add TBA base salaries with this 3% increase in mind. Determine how many months of your budget the TBA person would be receiving the increase and subtract this amount from your base salary.

Removing persons from a budget

To remove any person from a budget, first remove the person from the salary/percent effort matrix on the Personnel Budget tab. The person should not appear in any year, and then proceed to the Personnel tab. You may then remove the person from this list of potential personnel.

The base salary for a budget person is not calculating correctly

In the Budget Set Up-Personnel, be sure that the Appointment Type selected is correct. The monthly base salary denominator will be number associated with the months of Appointment Type. Check your base salary here as well. Remember that a 3% increase at the start of every fiscal year will apply unless you made a modification (on Proposal Rates tab.) Next, confirm that on the Budget Personnel tab, the Salary Type for that individual corresponds with the number of months of the Appointment Type. 

I need to remove inflation for only one person

This action must be performed by, your Program Administrator or a Coeus Power User (Premium.) The action will need to be performed before that person is added to the Personnel Budget tab matrix. Please provide the percent of effort and charge in your request.

Cost Sharing Distribution tips

The Coeus Lite Cost Sharing Distribution function has a known bug in the sensitivity of distribution of cents (which will be fixed in Coeus version 4.5.1). Please follow this process for best results: Before adding additional cost sharing distribution lines, add a source account for each of the automatically populated amounts in the Cost Sharing Distribution List. Remove any fiscal year where the cost sharing amount is zero. Save. Then split out any necessary distribution for a fiscal year one year at a time, saving between fiscal years (this way, if you run into a problem you know which fiscal year it occurs in, and all other work is saved.) When distributing an amount between source accounts for one fiscal year, use the cents on only one line. Double check calculations; do they add up to the total cost sharing amount on the top screen?