Office of Sponsored Research and Administrative Services

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the proposal process at WCSU? 

To initiate the proposal review/approval process, use the Intent to Apply form to obtain preliminary approval from your department chair, dean, the Associate VP for Finance & Administration, and the Interim Provost & VP of Academic Affairs. If your proposal involves the hiring of personnel or staff, you also will need the approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer. The form is available online at: Please complete and submit the Intent to Apply form at least 30 days prior to the proposal submission deadline.

If your project involves research with human subjects or with vertebrate animals, you will need to get the approval of WCSU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IRB form and instructions are available online at: The IACUC form is available online at:

At least two weeks prior to the submission deadline, provide a copy of your complete grant application/proposal, along with a completed Internal Administrative Approval Form signed by your department chair, to the director of the Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services to allow sufficient time for the internal review and approval process. The director will facilitate the timely review and approval of your proposal by the appropriate dean and officers. The Internal Administrative Approval Form is available online at: This final step is very important since WCSU may refuse an award for an application or proposal submitted without administrative approvals.

2. Where can I find basic facts about the University?

WestConn Facts & Figures

3. What is the University’s indirect cost rate (F&A rate)?

For grant applications that allow indirect costs, WCSU’s current negotiated indirect cost rate for activities on campus is  50% of direct salaries and wages including vacation, holiday, sick pay and other absences but excluding all other fringe benefits.  It is 32% for activities off campus.

4. What is the University’s Indirect Cost Distribution Policy?

Indirect reimbursements from grant awards are distributed as follows:

  • Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director receives 25% of indirect costs;
  • PI’s/Project Director’s Department receives 10% of indirect costs;
  • PI’s/Project Director’s School or Division receives 5% of indirect costs;
  • Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services receives 20% of indirect costs; and
  • University’s General Reserve receives 40% of indirect costs.

5. Where can I find information on external funding opportunities? 

To facilitate sponsored research, WCSU subscribes to SPINPlus, the world’s largest database of funding opportunities. You can access SPINPlus from any on-campus computer by going to To use SPINPlus off campus, and for added functionality like saving searches and activating SMARTS e-mail notifications, you need to create a username and password.

To create a username and password, click on the SPIN tab at the top of the homepage.  Click on the “Need to create a profile?” link on the bottom of the Login box.   Once you have created your username and password, the Director of the Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services will be notified by email by SpinPlus to go into the system and approve the username and password.  When this is completed, you will be able to sign into SPINPlus on or off campus.

6. How can I be successful at securing grants?

  • The single most important advice: follow the application guidelines! State your objectives clearly, demonstrate a compelling need for the proposed research or activity, offer evidence of your ability to complete the project successfully, and leverage previous grants, if possible.
  • Use a program planning or logic model to develop your project or concept. A program planning model developed by Nonprofits Works and Evaluation Enterprise is available online at
  • Consult with the director of the Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services in the early stages of project and proposal development.
  • Don’t wait until the 11th hour of the last day to submit your proposal, especially if it has to be submitted electronically!