Pre-Award Administration

Pre-Award Administration is dedicated to supporting UWM faculty and staff with the development and submission of quality proposals and contracts that are both technically and administratively compliant with sponsor and campus requirements. The goal of submitting the highest quality proposal is accomplished through the strong collaboration between researchers and research administration staff.

Located in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Pre-Award Specialists are assigned to each UWM Division/School/College or unit to serve as a primary point of contact and to help facilitate the overall grant process while balancing the need for institutional and sponsor regulatory compliance. We are here to help you in the following areas:

  • Proposal Review and Approval: OSP staff confirm the proposal has received all necessary internal approvals, review the proposal to ensure it meets sponsor and institutional technical guidelines and requirements, and conforms to all applicable regulations.
  • Proposal Authorization: OSP staff serve as authorized institutional officials on behalf of the University and will sign/certify proposal submissions to sponsors.
  • Award Negotiation, Acceptance, and Set-up: Review award terms and conditions prior to acceptance and set-up award accounts.
  • Establish, Amend, and Execute Outgoing Subawards: Technical Preparation of subaward agreements between UWM and subrecipient institutions.
  • Review and Execute Non-Financial Agreements: OSP is charged with the review and execution of research-related non-financial agreements such as Data Use Agreements, Material Transfer Agreements, and Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Proposal Preparation

Below is a general list of items that may be necessary to submit with a proposal. Each sponsor may have their own guidelines and require additional materials/information. Contact your Pre-Award Specialist to discuss the requirements for a specific funding opportunity.

Budget Development & Approval

OSP maintains a host of resources for budget development and approval.

Cost-Sharing (Matching Funds)

If a project requires cost-sharing, or matching funds, contact your chair, dean, and/or division head to discuss the proposed cost-sharing commitment. The commitment must be documented appropriately in the proposal and in the WISPER record; failure to provide the appropriate documentation may delay proposal submission and/or award acceptance.

As a resource to campus, the Office of Sponsored Programs has assembled a list of Frequently Asked Questions as it relates to cost-share.

If the project includes a subrecipient that will provide cost-sharing, the subrecipient must provide an institutional commitment letter that describes the proposed cost-sharing. See Subawards for additional information, or contact your Pre-Award Specialist.

Data Management Plans

Many federal sponsors require Principal Investigators to include with their proposal a plan that describes how the data generated from the funded project will be accessed, stored, managed, and shared. UWM Library Data Services offers comprehensive data management planning support and training. Additionally, UWM Library Data Services publishes a Data Management Guide for researchers on our campus. Guidance is also available from a host of online resources, including:

  • Department of Energy Data Management Plans: Effective October 1, 2014, all new, renewal, and some supplemental requests for funding to the Department of Energy Office of Science will require the inclusion of a Data Management Plan.
  • DMPTool: A free tool to help you develop data management plans for most NSF and NIH applications.
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR): Useful for researchers in the social sciences and humanities, this site provides data management plan creation, implementation, and monitoring information, and hosts data in a repository for public access.
  • Institute of Education Sciences: Useful guidance for education researchers on data sharing and management.
  • MANTRA Research Data Management Training: MANTRA is a free, online course to provide best practices on data management, use, maintenance, and security.
  • National Institutes of Health: Guidance and resources for developing data sharing and management plans for NIH-funded projects.
  • National Science Foundation: Data management plans are required for all NSF proposals. Each Directorate has its own content requirements for data management plans; however, program solicitations that provide specific guidance/instructions on data management plans supersede Directorate-wide guidance and must be followed.
  • UWM Data Publishing Guide (PDF): In addition to various federal agency data sharing requirements, many academic journals also require researchers to share data following publication.

Frequently Requested Information

OSP maintains a list of Frequently Requested Information that is typically required for developing budgets, completing forms, and submitting proposals to various external sponsors.

SciENcv, My NCBI, NSF, NIH, and Biographical Sketches

In response to changes in biosketch formats at both NIH and NSF, NIH has developed the Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae [SciENcv] system. SciENcv allows researchers to develop a “master CV” which can then be tailored to specific grant applications. Currently SciENcv can produce properly formatted biographical sketches for NIH and NSF applications; it is anticipated that SciENcv will be expanded to produce biographical sketches for other agencies in the future.

In addition to the CV function, SciENcv has been linked to NIH‘s My NCBI system, which assists researchers in complying with the NIH Public Access Policy by conducting automatic searches through PubMed, and maintaining a list of bibliographic citations for researchers’ work. My NCBI is able to “feed” data to SciENcv for researchers, thereby reducing administrative workload associated with generating biographical sketches through the SciENcv system.

Researchers are not required to use My NCBI and SciENcv for the development of biographical sketches; these tools have been developed as a flexible system to help researchers manage their biographical data. Researchers may continue to compile their biographical sketch using whatever tools they prefer, so long as the final product complies with NIH and NSF requirements.

Using My NCBI and SciENcv

To use SciENcv and My NCBI, researchers will need to create an account and create their Professional Profile. Basic instructions follow below.

  1. Register with My NCBI. Applicants who seek only NSF funding must register with My NCBI in order to eventually access SciENcv.
  2. After creating your account, you will want to update “My Bibliography,” which is used to generate the publications/products section for an NSF or NIH Biographical Sketch. Allow plenty of time to create the My Bibliography section; for researchers with significant publication records, it may be a lengthy process to update their publication history in My NCBI.
  3. SciENcv is accessible through My NCBI. Once logged into My NCBI, go to the SciENcv portlet and click on the hyperlink “Click Here.”
  4. You can use any of three methods to create your professional profile in SciENcv: by manually entering data using a template; from an automated feed through an external data source; or by making a duplicate of an existing profile.
  5. SciENcv will prompt users through the process of creating an NSF or NIH biographical sketch.

In addition to creating a complete cv and generating properly formatted NIH and NSF biosketches, My NCBI and SciENcv have a variety of other functions to help manage professional profiles and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy; below are some of the available resources for using the system.

Resources Available


Resource Instructions/Notes
My NCBI Help This is the complete instruction manual for the My NCBI tool. The link at right includes instructions to create an account as well as instructions for all components.
My NCBI Home Page Tutorial This video provides a brief overview of the My NCBI home page and functions.
Saving Searches and Setting
Email Alerts Tutorial
This video provides instructions on how to save searches and create email alerts in NCBI databases.
My Bibliography Help The My Bibliography function in My NCBI allows users to save citations directly from PubMed or to manually enter citations using templates.My Bibliography also allows users to view whether if publications comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.
My Bibliography Tutorial This video provides instructions on how to use the My Bibliography function of My NCBI.
My Bibliography Delegate
My NCBI account holders may delegate access to other individuals in order to view and edit your My Bibliography collection. The delegation feature also allows others to view, edit, and create profiles in SciENcv.
My Bibliography: Public Access
Compliance Tutorial
This video provides information for NIH-funded scientists in linking funding to their citations and manage compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
Saving Results in Collections
in My NCBI Tutorial
This video includes instructions on how to save search results in Collections, including the Favorites Collections. Collections is a function of My NCBI.


Resource Instructions/Notes
SciENcv Help This is the complete instruction manual for the SciENcv tool. SciENcv allows users to document education, employment, research activities, publications, honors, grants, and other professional contributions.
SciENcv Tutorial This tutorial provides an overview of the SciENcv tool and how to create, share, and maintain NIH Biographical Sketches.
SciENcv Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions regarding SciENcv are available; additional questions will be available in the future.
SciENcv Blogpost: Features Overview This 2014 NCBI blogpost provides an overview of the major functional aspects of SciENcv, including the use of delegates and downloading PDF, Microsoft Word, or XML versions of biographical sketches.

NIH Biographical Sketch

Resource Instructions/Notes
NOT-OD-15-032: New Biosketch
Format Requirement
This notice details the purpose and format of the new NIH Biographical Sketch format required for submissions on or after May 25, 2015.
NOT-OD-16-080: Clarifications
and Consolidated Biosketch Instructions
This notice details clarifications and the NIH Biographical Sketch instructions for submissions on or after May 25, 2016.
Frequently Asked Questions NIH has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to the new NIH Biographical Sketch format.
Biographical Sketch Templates and
Instructions (Including Fellowship Applications)
NIH has provided templates for applicants to create biographical sketches using the prescribed NIH format. Applicants with deadlines on or after May 25, 2016 should download the Version D format page.

NSF Biographical Sketch

Resource Instructions/Notes
Grant Proposal Guide: Biographical Sketch The NSF Grant Proposal Guide provides the instructions for the required elements of an NSF Biographical Sketch.
Biographical Sketch Template (.docx) A Microsoft Word template of the NSF Biographical Sketch is available for use by UWM Principal Investigators.


A subaward is a mechanism used when a substantive portion of the research is to be conducted by a third party, such as a collaborator at another university, hospital, non-profit, museum, business, etc. It is a contractual agreement between the Prime (lead) Recipient and the Subrecipient (third party). The subaward details the terms and conditions under which the research will be conducted, this includes a statement of work and budget specific to the Subrecipient.

UWM as the Primary (Lead) Institution

If you are a Principal Investigator and are funding one or more colleagues from another organization on your project, your colleagues must provide the following information to you prior to proposal submission:

  1. A letter of commitment or Statement of Intent to Enter into a Consortium Agreement from their organization(s) signed by an individual authorized to bind the organization to a grant/contract. If cost-sharing is proposed, the letter must include a statement indicating the organization will provide the cost-share amount during the award term.
  2. A statement of work describing the organization’s role in the project.
  3. A budget and budget justification, approved by their organization, of their share of the project costs (including information related to cost-sharing, if applicable).

Additional documents may be required depending on the requirements of the grant program or sponsor.

UWM as the Subawardee

If you are a Principal Investigator on a proposal in which another organization is the Prime Recipient, provide the following information to the Principal Investigator prior to proposal submission:

  1. A letter of commitment from the UWM Office of Sponsored Programs (contact your Pre-Award Specialist for assistance).
  2. A statement of work describing UWM‘s role in the project.
  3. A budget and budget justification, approved by the UWM Office of Sponsored Programs, for UWM‘s share of the project costs.

The Prime Recipient may require additional documents depending on their policies and the requirements of the grant program or sponsor.

Subaward requirements vary among sponsors and programs; carefully review the sponsor’s guidelines and contact the Pre-Award Specialist assigned to your Division/School/College for assistance.

UWM Data Sources for Research Development

A host of data sources are available to support proposal development—both from UWM and from external sources.

UWM Data/Sources

Resource/Link Description
UWM Fact Book Provides a general overview of UWM, including student characteristics, headcount enrollment, credit load, grades, degrees, and faculty/staff employment.
Access to Success (A2S) UWM‘s umbrella program that encompasses high-impact practices and documents student participation. Tracked activities include mentoring, tutoring, advising, learning communities, course re-design initiatives, and undergraduate research. Data is tracked each year by targeted status and remediation placement. The data is presented for UWM as a whole, by each School/College, by each race/ethnicity, and by gender.
Common Data Set (CDS) A collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers of college resource guides. UWM data is comparable with that provided by other institutions within their CDS reports. The CDS can be used as a resource for FAQs ranging from enrollment, financial aid, faculty/staff, and facilities.
Department/Program Toolkits & Resources Provides admission, enrollment, financial, and other data by department, field of study, and/or Division/School/College.
Senior Satisfaction Survey This satisfaction survey provides information on students’ experiences and topics such as advising, faculty, and facilities.
Integrated Post-Secondary
Data System (IPEDS)
Reported data is federally mandated for post-secondary institutions that receive federal funds.
Office of Assessment and
Institutional Research (OAIR)
Supports and advances UWM‘s strategic goals by providing official comprehensive, timely, and user-friendly information for institutional planning, policy, decision-making, and evaluation projects and processes.

External Agency Data Sources

Resource/Link Description
UW System Office of Policy
Analysis and Research
Informs planning, policy development, evaluation, and decision-making processes at the UW System-level. Data is also available on UW System institutions.
National Association of
Counties (NACo)
A repository for county geographic and demographic data within the U.S. Data may be used for proposal development. Data on all federal grant and contract awards issued by the U.S. government.
U.S. Census Bureau Collects and compiles information on the population of the U.S., including income and education level attained. Data may be used for proposal development and to demonstrate eligibility for certain programs.
U.S. Institute of Education
Data on educational institutions throughout the U.S., including public and private K-12 schools and districts, institutions of higher education, and libraries.
Wisconsin Department of
Public Instruction (WISEdash)
Data on Wisconsin public schools, including test scores, attendance, graduation rates, teacher/administrator data, and other information that may be used for proposal development.


Other Pre-Award Considerations

Principal Investigators must be cognizant of other institutional, state, and federal requirements that govern sponsored programs.

Research Compliance

OSP provides research compliance support, technical assistance, and training to researchers.

Material Transfer

When research involves the use of a biological material or other substances received from an outside entity, a Material Transfer Agreement may be required. UWM has a template (.docx) for outgoing Material Transfers; incoming Material Transfer Agreements may be routed to OSP for institutional review via WISPER.

Principal Investigator Status

Only faculty and those academic staff with probationary or indefinite status may serve as a Principal Investigator (PI or Co-PI) on a sponsored project. Others may serve as a PI or Co-PI only with permission from both the dean/division head and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. The request should include a Request for Limited PI Status Form (.docx) and a current curriculum vitae/résumé.


Forms and Downloads

Forms and Downloads are available to support proposal development and award management at UWM.


The Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing (WISPER) system is the electronic tool for routing extramural funding applications and agreements at UWM.

Proposal Submission

OSP is responsible for maintaining all institutional registrations for extramural proposal submission systems, such as and NSF FastLane. Pre-Award Specialists will help faculty and staff register to use proposal submission systems, if needed.

Principal Investigators should allow adequate time for the review and submission of a proposal through an electronic system. Although some sponsors may allow proposal submissions after normal business hours, technical support may not be available if issues arise during the submission process.

Electronic Proposal Submission Systems

Here is a brief list of electronic proposal submission systems. Pre-Award Specialists are available to help support submissions to other sponsors not included in this list.

Sponsor Agency System Name Description
U.S. Federal Government The primary gateway for all federal proposal submissions. To create or participate in a proposal, PIs must be registered in Workspace with an Organization Applicant Profile linked to UWM. OSP maintains the institutional account and will submit proposals through Workspace.
U.S. Federal Government FedConnect The primary contracting portal for the U.S. government. PIs should NOT request an account; OSP maintains the institutional account and will submit proposals through FedConnect.
National Science Foundation (NSF) PIs must be registered with in order to develop and submit proposals. Please complete a registration form and return it to your Pre-Award Specialist.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) eRA Commons While most NIH proposals are submitted through, PIs must be registered in eRA Commons in order to submit a proposal. Please complete an eRA Commons Registration Form (.docx) and return it to your Pre-Award Specialist.
U.S Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) eBRAP A pre‐application is required for all applications and must be submitted via eBRAP. Full applications must be submitted through
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) eXCHANGE PIs with plans to submit concept, white, or technical papers to various DOE offices may require registration. Contact your Pre-Award Specialist for assistance.
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) PRIMO PIs must create an account in order to prepare and submit Letters of Intent for grant competitions, and to route full proposal applications submitted via
NASA NSPIRES PIs must be registered to develop and submit proposals. Contact your Pre-Award Specialist for assistance with account creation or maintenance.

Proposal Submission Process

OSP provides a wide range of services to help submit proposals, contracts, or other agreements, including:

  • Identifying funding opportunities that align with your research, scholarly, outreach, programmatic, and entrepreneurial plans.
  • Providing proposal development assistance.
  • Providing technical assistance with the preparation and submission of grants, contracts, and other agreements.
  • Reviewing and accepting awards.

Following proposal submission, the sponsor will notify the Principal Investigator on the outcome of the review process. Often, the notification is sent directly to the Principal Investigator only; please inform your Pre-Award Specialist of the outcome.



Following a proposal submission, OSP will facilitate the award negotiation and setup process or can assist with the revision and resubmission of a proposal.

Award Negotiation and Setup Process

Pre-Award Specialists support Principal Investigators during the initial award notification phase to ensure that:

  • The original proposal has been reviewed and approved by the PI’s department chair, dean/division head, and/or other campus officials.
  • The award terms and conditions are agreeable to all parties.
  • Information requested by the sponsor at the time of award has been submitted and approved.

OSP is responsible for ensuring that the terms and conditions of an award are acceptable to UWM. Most grant awards have relatively standard terms and conditions; however, some conditions may require review by the PI and/or other campus officials.

After the award terms and conditions have been approved by the sponsor and UWM, all requested information has been submitted to the sponsor, and compliance requirements have been meet, the PI will receive an org/project code to manage the award. This information should be kept for reference during the award period. The PI will work closely with the Post-Award Specialist assigned during the award phase.

Revision and Resubmission

Sponsors may decline funding for a variety of reasons. PIs should carefully review declination letters and the reviewers’ feedback (if available) to determine whether to revise and resubmit the proposal to a future or alternate competition. Contact Research Development Services to discuss a potential revision and resubmission plan.


Sponsored Programs Glossary/Acronyms

Research administrators use many acronyms and terms. This glossary and acronyms list provides an overview for many common terms.