LPL Research Proposal Information Guide


Writing a research proposal for potential funding can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be stressful! Detailed in the expandable tabs below is guidance on how to prepare, route, and submit your research proposal through the University of Arizona’s Lunar & Planetary Lab.

In LPL, NASA remains the primary source of sponsored funding awarded to our PIs and Co-Is. Given this, much of the guidance below often refers directly to requirements commonly seen in NASA solicitations; though it’s important to note that the majority of proposal elements and steps in the development, review, approval, and submission process can be applied to all proposals, regardless of sponsor or funding source.

See the LPL NASA Proposals ToolKit page for more in-depth information and guidance on NASA-specific requirements.

To ensure a smooth proposal development process and timely, successful submission, it's important to start as early as possible by getting in contact with the appropriate team members and the LPL Research Administration team to notify them of an upcoming proposal and deadline.

The information provided on this LPL-operated site is considered supplementary to the information included on UA RII’s Research Support/SPS site.
New PI? Need a refresher?

First, review the RII’s New Investigator Checklist which provides a comprehensive list of UA resources, requisite systems, UA compliance departments, and other helpful resources.

Next, read through the RII’s Proposal Development Guide which provides a step-by-step guide through the entire sponsored research process: beginning at opportunity identification/assessment, and ending at award close-out.


Looking to submit the LPL RA Proposal Support Request form?

Find it here to notify the RA team of your intent to submit:  LPL Proposal Support Request form OR send an email to PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOmNlYmNiZm55ZkB5Y3kubmV2bWJhbi5ycWgiPmNlYmNiZm55ZkB5Y3kubmV2bWJhbi5ycWg8L24+.

The LPL Proposal Support Request webform is automatically sent to the LPL RA team upon submission. You should expect one of them to follow up via email within 2 business days of form submission to confirm the materials received and communicate the next steps.

UA Research Administration


  LPL Research Administration (RA)

  Proposal Development & Support

LPL RA general proposal communications (can be used for RFPs!): 


 Postaward Management & Support

      Research Administration Team (postaward)

Other Useful Links

Research, Innovation, & Impact serves as the leadership and support office for sponsored activities at the UA. Two offices under RII with which we work regularly are Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) and Research Compliance Services (RCS).

 Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) 

Before submitting a proposal to any sponsor, the proposal materials, particularly the detailed budget and budget narrative/justification, need to be routed, reviewed, and approved by an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), from the UA’s central research administration office called Sponsored Projects Services (SPS).

While the PI is responsible for the scientific and technical aspects of a proposal, the AOR’s signature on a proposal submission indicates that a UA AOR has reviewed the proposal for accuracy and compliance and approves/certifies the costs budgeted for the proposed investigation.

If a proposal will be submitted via a sponsor’s electronic submission system (e.g. NSPIRES, STGMS,, SPS will also be the office to review and submit the electronic proposal on behalf of the Principal Investigator (PI) and UA.

 Office of Research and Outside Interests (OROI)/Conflict of Interest (part of RCS)

In terms of research compliance, the main RCS office LPL works with is OROI; the office which handles conflict of interest matters. UA employees and project investigators should be aware of the Conflict of Interest Commitment Policy. Outside obligations, financial interests, or other employment may be considered a conflict of interest or commitment.

An interest exists if an employee is in a position to influence a business transaction in which the University is involved. The Arizona Conflict of Interest statute requires the employee to disclose in writing any substantial interest the employee or their close relatives may have in dealing with the University.

To start routing a UAR proposal, there is a specific question concerning whether the proposed project will involve any conflict. When a conflict does exist, a researcher should follow the instructions on the UA COI website to complete a COI disclosure form. There are a variety of forms to choose from depending on an individual's role on a project. The prompts should be followed to ensure the appropriate form is selected, whether it be a new disclosure form or a modification to an existing disclosure form.

For federal or sub-federal proposals, the Office of Responsible Outside Interests (OROI) must approve the UAR proposal before it is sent to SPS for review and approval.

All project investigators must have a current COI disclosure on file for OROI to approve. Disclosures last for 12 calendar months.

See COI Requirements at Proposal Submission for more information.

UAccess Research (UAR) & the Routing Process 

Institutional approvals are obtained by routing an electronic proposal record through a system called UAccess Research (UAR). The proposal will route to the appropriate individuals, departments, and offices, before arriving at its final stop at Sponsored Projects Services. The routing order is shown below.

Note: UAR proposal cannot move onto the next approval level until all approvals from the previous level have been obtained.

Once UAR proposal starts routing, it’ll immediately route to the PI’s UAR Action List and go to the following individuals and offices/departments, in order, depending on relevant parties to the proposal:

PI, Co-I(s), Key Personnel, Dept Approver(s)   College Approver(s)   Conflict of Interest office (OROI/COI)   SPS Preaward

PI & Co-I(s)
Key Personnel
Dept Approver(s)


College Approver(s)
COI office


Sponsored Projects Services Preaward



UAR routing
(UA review & approval)


Sponsor submission system


Generally, there are a number of proposal elements included in the final proposal submission to a sponsor, but in most cases, not all of those elements is required for UAR routing. It’s important to understand what is and is not required to initiate routing in order to prioritize your proposal timeline accordingly. (More on that below)

Below is a list of required materials to initiate the internal proposal routing process through the UAR system.

This list is NOT comprehensive of all proposal documents required by the sponsor; only the minimum requirements for UAR routing, and SPS review and approval.

  • Statement of Work (SOW), project summary, OR abstract
    • This should be generated/provided by the PI
    • A project summary is the minimum requirement.
      • Copy/paste of the Project Summary in NSPIRES is perfect
  • Detailed Budget
    • This will be generated by the LPL RA based on the budget assumptions provided by the PI.
    • Budgets are required to be routed in Excel format.
    • Includes cost detail broken into the following categories: labor/effort, salary, ERE, operations/ODCs (materials, supplies, tuition, lab & analytical expenses, etc), travel, capital equipment, subcontracts (non-UA Co-Is), and IDC
    • For proposals which require a redacted/anonymized budget narrative, this will be generated by the LPL RA after the detailed budget narrative is reviewed and pre-approved by SPS.
  • Detailed Budget Justification/Budget Narrative
    • This will be generated by the LPL RA based on the detailed budget and input from the PI.
    • The intent of this document is to provide an explanatory text to accompany the detailed budget; providing a project-specific justification for all budgeted costs.
    • For proposals which require a redacted/anonymized budget narrative, this will be generated by the LPL RA after the detailed budget narrative is reviewed and pre-approved by SPS.
  • Capital equipment quote(s) (if applicable)
    • Equipment with a unit cost of $5,000 or more requires a supporting quote detailing the cost, description, and vendor information
  • Subcontract proposal(s) (if applicable)
    • If there are Co-Is included in a proposal at a non-UA institution, we would budget them as a subcontractor in our proposal budget. To facilitate the incorporation of any Co-I/non-UA budget materials, we need to request a subcontract proposal from the Co-I institution. We recommend sending an RFP document to detail the list of requested items in the appropriate format to ensure timely submission.
    • Subcontracts included in a UA-led proposal, we will need at least the following documents to route with our UA proposal documents:
      • Co-I-specific SOW
      • Co-I institution's detailed budget
      • Detailed budget narrative/justification
        • (NASA proposals) Redacted (and anonymized, if DAPR) budget and budget narrative should also be included
      • Capital equipment quote(s), if applicable
      • Co-I institution's F&A Rate Agreement, or any supporting documentation to justify any indirect cost rate, employee benefits rate, or fees included in the budget
  • Documents requiring a University of Arizona AOR signature, if applicable
    • E.g. cover letters, letters of intent, subrecipient commitment form 
  • Supplementary documentation to support proposal documents, if applicable
    • E.g. Salary verification memos, offer letter for pending hire, correspondence related to proposal preparation guidance (i.e. Program Officer guidance for unique cases such as grant or PI transfers), etc.
  • Program solicitation/AO/RFP
    • Provide a copy of the sponsor's solicitation or RFP details
    • If we are not the lead PI institution on a proposal, we should include the prime sponsor's solicitation guidance, in addition to any formal guidance or RFP from the lead/PI institution

Sponsored projects will review the documents for accuracy, completeness, and for compliance with sponsor guidelines. SPS does NOT review the technical aspects of the proposal.

Refer to the Templates section for downloading available sponsor- and UA/LPL-developed templates that may be helpful in your proposal development.

See Principal Investigator, Project Director, Co-Investigator (PI, PD, Co-I) Eligibility chart on Research, Innovation & Impact (RII).

Serving in the role of Principal Investigator/Project Director/Co-Investigator on an activity is a privilege granted to certain people associated with the University of Arizona. With the oversight responsibility implicit in the University's engagement in the activity, including acceptance of outside funds for a project, the University must be in a position of authority over the PI/PD/Co-I’s actions. Therefore, an individual's participation in University of Arizona research is dependent upon that individual's relationship with the institution.  Research, Innovation & Impact (RII) has set out guidelines that must be met for the consideration of granting status as a PI/PD/Co-I to any individual. 

Participation as a Principal Investigator/Project Director/Co-Investigator for the University of Arizona must have a minimum employment requirement of 0.50 FTE and belong to an eligible employment category. Reach out to your college for clarification on guidance for eligibility.

Every proposal in UAR requires award credit and F&A revenue to be distributed (by %) between all Key Personnel; the PI will be asked how they would like this credit split.

The definition of award credit is an allocated percentage of academic or intellectual credit to investigators and their respective department/college. These amounts are used in University publications on externally funded activity. Award Credit may be influenced by factors like intellectual ideas and merit and/or pre-proposal work or anticipated post-award activity.

F&A Revenue refers to Facilities and Administrative Revenue (otherwise known as “indirect costs”). The University charges an F&A rate of 53.50% on all externally funded, on-campus grants. Once those grants are awarded and spending occurs, the associated F&A for those expenses is collected by the University and distributed quarterly to colleges and then to departments. The F&A splits we enter in the UAccess Research Proposal Document (or UAR) will dictate how F&A revenue for a grant will be disbursed. F&A Revenue distribution may be influenced by factors like: Proposed budget authority for each investigator; Institutional space to complete the award; Units that will provide post-award administrative support.

Both of these splits should not be confused with an investigator’s level of effort on the grant. That is a separate and different number. See SPS site for more information on award credit and F&A splits.

In LPL, you will work with the department’s Research Administration (RA) team shown above to prepare your detailed budget, budget narrative, and other proposal materials required for institutional routing in the UA’s research administration system, UAccess Research (UAR). An LPL RA will also assist with the electronic submission of finalized proposal materials.

It’s preferred to have the LPL RA prepare the budget documents as they will have current templates that are most likely to be compliant with the latest requirements, in addition to having access to the current rate information for salaries, benefits, tuition, etc.

For every proposal, the LPL RA needs to prioritize the budget development, UAR routing, and SPS budget pre-approval steps before any work is done in the sponsor’s electronic system, or before proposal documents are generated for proposal elements other than those required for UAR routing (e.g. redacted budget and budget narrative, Table of Work Effort). Be mindful that even the smallest of budget changes affect several proposal elements, therefore final pdf budget and budget narrative pages (including redacted or redacted & anonymized versions) will not be generated until SPS pre-approval of the detailed budget and budget narrative has been received.

For proposals submitted to a sponsor’s web-based system (e.g. NSPIRES,, STGMS), the LPL RA will populate the system’s budget table(s) with the detailed budget costs as approved by SPS.

If a proposal will be submitted via means other than directly to a sponsor’s submission web-based system (e.g. email to lead PI institution), the PI and/or an LPL RA or Business Manager can submit the proposal materials once SPS/AOR approval is obtained.

We want our proposals given the most competitive chance. Planning a timeline for the proposal development and submission process is one way to help prioritize multiple proposal elements to ensure successful submission.

  Prioritizing the appropriate proposal elements 

In proposal development, different documents and elements are needed at various stages. To make the most of your efforts, create a timeline that prioritizes elements required for UAR routing and SPS review before those needed in the final sponsor proposal package. 

A few practical examples of what this may mean:

  • Remember that the S/T/M section for an NSPIRES proposal isn't essential for SPS review, but the budget and budget narrative is. Therefore, prioritize finalizing the budget details before dedicating all attention to the S/T/M text.
  • Similarly, the Current & Pending is not required for the initial SPS review. Begin by focusing on the budget development and routing requirements before pivoting to the proposal elements not required for UAR routing.
  • Another aspect to consider is the redacted or anonymized and redacted budget documents, often required by NASA proposals subject to DAPR. Changes in the detailed budget may necessitate adjustments in the redacted files; thus, the redacted budget files will not be generated until SPS has pre-approved the routed, detailed budget documents.


The table below offers an overview of the documents or components required at different stages of the proposal development process:
NASA Step-1/
Team development    



UAR routing & SPS budget review



Submission to sponsor

List of team members

Project Summary


Project summary

Detailed budget & budget narrative/justification

Quotes, Co-I subcontract proposals

Program-specific guidance that affects budget


SPS pre-approved detailed budget & budget narrative

Finalized SOW

Redacted (& anonymized, if applicable) budget & budget narrative



Data Management Plan

Facilities & Equipment statement


  • Proposal submission and RA support are NOT GUARANTEED in the event a PI proposal is non-compliant with the timeline represented below.


  • If the internal deadlines are not or cannot be met, a PI may still choose to route and submit a proposal for funding; but submission is not guaranteed. If submitted in this case, it is at the PI'S OWN RISK, and with the understanding that a thorough compliance review was not possible before submission.


  • Due to the volume of proposals submitted through LPL, requests are handled on a first-in-first-out basis.

To guarantee proposal submission, the following internal deadlines must be followed and factored into the overall proposal timeline. If the internal deadlines are not met, PI assumes the risk of the proposal not being submitted.

3 WEEKS (21 cal. days) before due date Last day to submit LPL Proposal Support Request form/email request for LPL RA support
7 BUSINESS DAYS before due date Last day to START UAR routing of PI-approved budget documents
3 BUSINESS DAYS before due date **FINAL Form of proposal released/finalized/locked for submission by 8am three business days before due date. (SPS 3-day deadline policy)

If UA is not the lead PI institution on a proposal, our (UA) due date would be considered the date our Co-I/subcontractor proposal materials are due to the lead/PI institution - NOT the prime sponsor's due date.

(e.g. UA is Co-I on an APL-led NASA proposal. NASA deadline is Aug 31, but APL requests our Co-I proposal by Aug 20. Our Sponsor Due Date would be considered Aug 20.)

  SPS Three-Day Deadline Policy 

The Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) Three-Day Deadline applies to any proposals or proposal-related items which require UA approval, submission, and/or signature from an Authorized Organizational Representation (AOR).

All proposals routed through UAR should be provided to SPS in final form** 3 full business days prior to the funding-agency deadline. 

Requests for indirect cost waivers should be submitted to SPS with the attached signed form 5 business days prior to the proposal agency deadline for paper proposals, 8 business days for electronic submissions.

If a proposal is not compliant with the SPS 3-day deadline policy, proposal submission cannot be guaranteed.

**Final form for electronic proposals means that the proposal is completely finished and ready for submission: 

UAR routing completed, SPS budget pre-approval received, and ready for submission to the sponsoring agency

  • NASA proposals, FINAL FORM = NSPIRES proposal generated and Released to Org by PI
  • NSF proposals, FINAL FORM = SRO Access has been allowed in by PI
  • StSci proposals, FINAL FORM = Save & Notify has been hit once budget docs loaded by LPL RA or PI


The following table will give an idea of when a proposal should be finalized for SPS submission based on the 3-day deadline policy:

Sponsor Due Date






Weekend Day

**FINAL proposal due to SPS







The table below is adapted from the SPS Proposals timeline (PDF) and represents a timeline to follow for a standard R&A grant proposal submission, accounting for internal LPL and UA deadlines. The sponsor’s deadline date is the primary driver of the entire proposal timeline.


30-90+ days before due date  


Inform LPL RA of intent to submit via LPL Proposal Support Request form or email

Thoroughly read and understand sponsor's AO/solicitation for program-specific requirements and guidelines

Provide RA with high-level budget assumptions to start the detailed budget and budget narrative development

If applicable, request subcontractor proposals for non-UA Co-Is, quotes for capital equipment, etc.

Final day to inform LPL RA of intent to submit proposal for guaranteed submission

3 weeks before due date  


10-30 days before due date  


Finalize detailed budget and budget narrative, including final subcontractor materials (if applicable)

Route proposal budget documents for institutional approvals and SPS review in UAccess Research (UAR)

Prepare and compile non-budget-related proposal materials while budget is routing

Final budget documents will be provided to PI once SPS pre-approves UAR budget

Final day to start UAR routing for guaranteed submission

1 week before due date  


5-7 days before due date  


Proposal must be submitted/released to SPS in FINAL FORM, THREE (3) business days before the sponsor's due date.

Full proposal submitted/released to SPS in final form for final review and submission

FINAL FORM means that the budget has been routed and SPS pre-approved, and final electronic package loaded to sponsor submission system.

Final day to provide proposal in FINAL FORM to guarantee submission

3 business days before due date  


Sponsor Due Date

If UA is the lead/PI institution, this is the prime sponsor's due date

If UA is NOT the PI institution, this is the lead/PI institution's due date for subcontractor/Co-I proposals (typically 2-3 weeks before prime sponsor deadline)


Adhering to the timeline above allows adequate time to prepare the budget materials required for routing, and helps us maintain compliance with internal proposal deadlines, which are dependent on the sponsor’s deadline. It also shows respect for the RA’s time and effort, in addition to the time and effort of your fellow investigators who are submitting proposals that also require attention and support.

If you would like a Red Team review of an R&A proposal, please follow these LPL guidelines:

At least 6 weeks before the proposal due date: Contact the Director’s Office, and let Mark Marley ( know that you want a Red Team review. Please include the name of the proposal, a very brief summary or abstract, and a list of suggested reviewers. We will set up a UA Box account into which your proposal and the reviews can be deposited. You will be notified about how to access the Box, and at least three reviewers will be enlisted.

At least 4 weeks before the proposal due date: upload a copy of at least the Scientific, Technical and Management section of the proposal to the Box. If more is uploaded (such as the Budget Explanation), more will be reviewed.

At least 2 weeks before the proposal due date: The reviews will be uploaded to the Box, and the review team chair will provide a debriefing.

If you receive a Red Team review, you are agreeing to serve on other Red Teams. However, Red Team reviewers will not be restricted to those who have had Red Team reviews—most Red Teams will include at least one person who is not faculty on the Team.

Ensure your credentials are active and correct in the sponsor’s online proposal/grants system if one will be used. If we will not be the lead PI institution on a proposal, active registration in the online systems is typically still required for Co-Is, or investigators funded via a subaward/subcontract.

Submit LPL RA Proposal Support Request Form 

To notify the LPL RA of an upcoming proposal, the LPL PI should submit an LPL Proposal Support Request form OR send an email to

The LPL Proposal Support Request webform is automatically sent to the LPL RA team upon submission. You should expect one of them to follow up via email within 2 business days of form submission to confirm the materials received and communicate the next steps.