Loyola University Maryland

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

The Routing Process

The Loyola University routing policy requires an internal review process for all proposals that will be submitted to external sponsors as well as all proposals that include a commitment of faculty time.  Any proposal that will result in a grant to Loyola must be routed before it is submitted to an external agency. This includes foundation or other proposals that include faculty time or resource commitments made on behalf of the University.

Who can serve as the lead on a grant submitted on behalf of the University?

Ordinarily, tenured and tenure-track (T/TT) faculty members and heads of administrative units may serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) or project director on a proposal to a funding agency. Many funding agencies limit eligibility, therefore, program guidelines should always be reviewed to ensure eligibility. Other faculty members who are interested in submitting a proposal on behalf of Loyola generally must work with a T/TT faculty member who agrees to serve as the PI for a prospective award. When the lead will not be a T/TT faculty member or unit head, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) should be contacted at the early stages of proposal development to determine who the lead will be.

Why rout a proposal?

The routing process provides a streamlined and efficient method to facilitate the internal review of grant applications prior to submission. Routing a proposal ensures that, if awarded: Loyola’s administration is aware of the project and is prepared to accept the award subject to successful negotiation of terms and conditions; Institutional commitments (e.g. course releases, matching funds, support needed from other University offices) are planned for and can be met (such as course coverage); Costs included in the budget are compliant and calculated according to Loyola and sponsor policy (such as fringe benefits, indirect costs, etc.); Institutional information is accurate and complete (e.g. appropriate authorized representatives have signed, etc.); Space and facility needs can be accommodated; and Compliance requirements (e.g. human subjects) can be met.

When must a proposal be routed?

If a proposal would result in a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, subaward, or fellowship to Loyola upon award, then it must be routed before being submitted to a funding agency. In addition to proposals submitted by the ORSP, proposals developed in consultation with the Advancement Division that involve stipend, course releases and/or salary payments to specified faculty members, or academic resource commitments, or involve compliance requirements should be routed.

Which proposals do not require routing?

There is no requirement to rout proposals that will result in private agreements to an individual and have no institutional requirements or impact (e.g. use of institutional resources, compliance requirements, etc.). In general, this is limited to fellowships that are awarded directly to the applicant. However, if a tenure-track faculty is using the fellowship application to fulfill his or her tenure-track research requirement, the fellowship proposal will need to be routed. Regardless of whether or not proposals are for fellowships or grants, faculty members are encouraged to advise their Department Chair, Dean, and the ORSP of individual fellowships and awards that they seek or obtain as these are important scholarly endeavors and achievements. The ORSP offers assistance with preparing fellowship applications, acknowledges faculty effort, and publicizes awards received.

What about Letters of Inquiry?

Funding organizations sometimes require applicants to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) prior to inviting a full proposal. The LOI provides an overview of the proposed project so that the prospective funder can evaluate whether the project fits the organization’s funding interests. Because LOIs typically describe anticipated institutional commitments such as course release time, additional campus space, or matching funds, the PI must discuss the funding source and project with the ORSP before submitting a LOI. The ORSP would determine if routing is required. LOIs requiring an authorized signature must be routed.

What about proposals to private, non-government funding sources?

PIs who are interested in submitting a proposal to a private funding source (such as a corporation, foundation, or individual) must consult with the ORSP. The ORSP will communicate with the Corporate and Foundation Relations to ensure a unified approach is made to the funding organization. The Corporate and Foundation Relations will communicate with the ORSP to ensure that they are aware that a grant may be awarded that requires institutional management

What is the routing procedure?

The routing procedure must be completed before a proposal may be submitted. The ORSP recommends that PI’s deliver proposals to their ORSP contact two weeks prior to the receipt deadline. However, the minimum time necessary to route an application is five working days prior to the deadline. The following outlines each step in the process.

Step One (to be completed by the PI)

The PI should meet with his/her Department Chair and Dean during the preliminary stages of proposal development. These meetings should provide some indication of a department's and Loyola’s ability and willingness to meet the programmatic and financial requirements of the proposed project.

Step Two (to be completed by the PI)

When the application nears submission, the PI completes and signs the routing form. Any Loyola collaborators must sign as well. All PI’s and Co-PIs also must complete Conflict of Interest forms. When outside collaborators are involved, an institutional letter of commitment, statement of work, and budget typically will be required no later than five days prior to the proposal deadline. The ORSP can help to facilitate obtaining the required documents.

The collaborators deliver the proposal materials and the routing form to the Chair(s) who must sign for any listed Loyola collaborator. For administrators, the supervisor signs in place of the chair. If the Chair is a PI/Co-PI, then he/she should sign the routing form as both PI and Chair. The Chair’s signature confirms awareness of and support for any institutional commitments made in the proposal (i.e. provide leave time, facilities, etc.).

The PI delivers the proposal to the ORSP along with the routing form, the Conflict of Interest forms and any other forms requiring institutional signatures. The signed routing form and proposal must be delivered to the ORSP no later than five working days prior to the deadline. This provides sufficient time for the ORSP to obtain the required signatures. The ORSP cannot guarantee submission of proposals that they receive late, however, it will work with the PI to try to ensure that the proposal is received by the funding agency deadline.

Note: The NSF has published evidence of a higher success rate for proposals that are submitted several days prior to the deadline. Grants.gov does not consider a proposal submitted until it has been validated, which may take several days. Therefore, grants.gov suggests that proposals be submitted three days prior to the stated deadline

Step Three (to be completed by the ORSP)

The ORSP reviews the proposal to assure that it adheres to sponsor and institutional requirements, making any adjustments that may be needed in consultation with the PI.

Step Four (to be completed by the ORSP)

The ORSP completes the routing process, obtaining the required signatures on the routing form. The requirements for faculty proposals are as follows: The Vice President for Academic Affairs must sign the routing form for proposals that include:

  • more than one course release per year for any faculty member
  • matching funds (other than faculty in-kind effort)
  • extensive institutional resources (e.g. space needs, new hiring) or
  • a commitment to develop a new minor, major or other program that requires institutional vetting through the governance process adding another 4- 6 months to the process.

The Director of the ORSP may sign:

  • Resubmissions of proposals that have previously been routed that do not require institutional commitments, and
  • Renewals that do not require institutional commitments.

The Dean will serve as the final signature for all other proposals including fellowships that confer eligibility for a Tenure-track Research Leave. For proposals submitted by Administrators routing through the Vice President overseeing the unit(s) is required. In the absence of the appropriate Vice President, an Associate Vice President may sign. Likewise in the absence of a Dean, an Associate Dean may sign. Completion of the routing process confers authorization to submit by the ORSP. Routing forms are not included as part of the grant application. In an emergency, the Director of the ORSP is authorized to submit a proposal that has not completed the entire review process. The proposal would then be routed after-the-fact up through the Vice President. If the proposal is deemed problematic, the ORSP would withdraw it. The chart below summarizes the final signature needed for different types of proposals.

When is a Conflict of Interest form needed?

The University faculty and staff are expected to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that their outside financial interests (including interests of a spouse, dependent children, and nondependent children) do not place them in conflict with carrying out their duties and responsibilities as employees of the University. Conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the following situations:

  • A University employee makes university decisions or uses university resources in a manner that results or is expected to result in (1) personal financial gain or the financial gain of relatives, or (2) an unfair advantage or favored treatment afforded to a third party outside the university.
  • A University employee allows outside financial interests to affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research.

All University faculty and staff named in a grant proposal or contract must submit a Conflict of Interest Form to the ORSP office. These forms must be completed and signed by the individual and attached to the Routing Form prior to submission.