Requesting Proposal Assistance

The goal of the Office of Engineering Research Administration (OERA) is to ensure that proposals are compliant and submitted on time. We want your proposal to be successful. While there were advantages to our previous system of assigning coordinators to specific departments, more stringent and time-consuming compliance issues on both the pre- and post-award sides of research administration have made it increasingly difficult to manage workloads associated with departmental assignments.

Our updated procedure for requesting assistance with proposals is described below.

How to Request Proposal Assistance

Download and complete the fillable Proposal Information Form. Completing this form to the best of your ability will save significant back-and-forth communications between you and our office. We are aware that the form needs to be improved, and revisions are underway. The form is a precursor to a new electronic proposal request system that is under development. More information about this system will be disseminated in the future.

Email your request for assistance with preparing your proposal to OERAproposals@engr.psu.edu. Include your completed Proposal Information Form as an attachment.

OERA Coordinator Assignment

Your proposal will be assigned to a coordinator, based on sponsor, complexity, deadline, and staff workloads. You will be notified of which coordinator will assist with your proposal, and you will work with that coordinator one-on-one. When a coordinator is assigned to your proposal, he or she will read through the solicitation, build a draft budget, and begin to communicate with you concerning required files and specific deadlines for receiving your files.

OERA Deadlines

A best practice is to send us your request as soon as you know you are planning to submit a proposal.

You should allow two (2) weeks to process a proposal and longer if your proposal contains subcontracts and/or cost-share. If your proposal includes subcontracts and/or cost-share, add five (5) business days to provide adequate time to obtain cost-share approvals and to accumulate all required documents from the subs to include in the proposal.

We need to have your budget in final form four (4) business days (Monday-Friday, excluding weekends and holidays) prior to the deadline.

All other remaining files need to be received in final form three (3) business days prior to the deadline.

These deadlines also pertain to renewals, white papers, concept papers, and pre-proposals that require University signature.

There are some proposal deadlines, e.g., NSF, that result in a very heavy volume of proposals being submitted from the College. It is not unusual for our coordinators to be managing 35-40 proposals that are due on the same day. Adhering to the above deadlines will assist us with prioritizing workloads and meeting all deadlines. If you approach us with a last-minute request during these times, it is very likely that we will not be able to accommodate your request.

During times of heavy proposals when we may have 35-40 proposals due on the same day, each coordinator may find it necessary to adjust these deadlines in order to handle their assignments and meet deadlines. This will be clearly communicated to you as you begin to work with your coordinator.

OERA Business Hours

OERA is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office closes at 5:00 p.m., regardless of any proposal deadlines that are listed in the solicitation. Therefore, proposals must be received by OERA in time to submit by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the deadline, even when the sponsor deadline is in a different time zone or is later than 5:00 p.m.

Also, please remember that there are holidays when the University is officially closed and OERA is not available to work on or submit a proposal.