FAQs: Proposal Preparation & Submission

How do you set up Whitehead Institute and MIT Biology Department Proposals?

Whitehead Institute (WIBR) is a separate entity from MIT but the MIT/WIBR affiliation agreement allows WI Faculty to submit proposals via the Institute as they also have appointments in the MIT Biology Department. These proposals would be for awards they would not be eligible to receive if they were to submit directly through Whitehead i.e. solicitations that must be submitted by an educational institution.

MIT accepts the proposal which is budgeted with WIBR direct and indirect costs using WIBR’s current rates but with an additional line item defined as “Subaward-first $25,000 subject to F&A”. MIT enters its own current F&A rate on $25,000 on that categorical budget line and submits the proposal. (e.g. in FY 2014 MIT would enter $25,000 x .56 = $14,000 on the budget line)

When an award is received in MIT the account is set up for the WIBR PI in the Biology Department who will process a requisition to issue an award to WIBR to allow for the pass through of funds from MIT to WIBR. The Research Subaward Team then writes the subaward to the WIBR for the total funding minus the “Subaward-first $25,000 subject to F&A” line item amount.

WIBR submits regular invoices to MIT for payment, as well as whatever reports are required by the terms of the award.

If you have questions about this process please contact your Contract Administrator at RAS.

Can a postdoctoral fellow be charged to a research account?

Postdoctoral fellow appointments, as referred to in 5.3.3 of MIT Policies and Procedures, are not appropriate costs for organized research activities (research project WBS) of the Institute. The primary purpose of the postdoctoral fellow appointment is the development of the individual and not the advancement of a research project. See Policy reference below.

Non-federal awards in particular could mention the term Fellow in the context of recruiting postdoctoral level staff to work in their research programs. When we do have major agreements where the sponsor is supporting both an organized research program and a fellowship award program (two distinct purposes), RAS creates a research WBS for the organized research program and a fellowship WBS for the fellowship award program.

Please note, however, that where grants are made for the primary purpose of postdoctoral research training (e.g. NIH T32 training grants), consistent with A-21, the grant is established in an organized research account and postdoctoral fellow appointments are allowable charges to the research account.

MIT Policies and Procedures | 5.3 Academic Research Staff Appointments

What special reviews may be necessary?

Special review is required if the project includes any of the following:

  • Use of human subjects
  • Use of animals
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Radioactive materials
  • International commitments
  • Rental of space, construction or renovation of MIT property
  • Sponsorship from a private foundation

If your project includes any of the above, please visit the Special Review section for additional details.

How long in advance of the Sponsor's deadline should the proposal reach RAS?

Proposals must reach RAS five working days before the Sponsor's deadline. Given the growing complexity of the proposal submission process, it is critical that principal investigators adhere to these internal deadlines in order that staff members in the Departments, Labs and Centers and RAS have time to work through the many issues that arise before submitting a proposal by the sponsor's deadline. 

This Five-Day Calculator tool has been developed to help determine when a proposal is due to RAS.

The sponsor is requiring that the proposed personnel effort be shown in man-hours. How do I do this?

If MIT is responding to a competitive solicitation requiring man-hours, proposals sometimes include estimated man-hours conversion rates, with the following statement: MIT’s accounting system does not support estimating, accumulating and reporting personnel costs on a man-hour basis. Estimated man-hour conversion information is provided for sponsor proposal evaluation purposes only.  If an award is made, costs will be accumulated and reported on a man-month basis.