Office of Research and Graduation Education Pre-award Services Available

The Office of Research and Graduate Education offers centralized pre-award support services to students planning on submitting fellowship proposals for extramural support. Our experienced team serve as pre-award partners to reduce the administrative burden and allow students more time to focus on their science/training plans. Our team assists throughout the entire pre-award process from advising on the funding opportunity guidelines, proposal planning and content development through obtaining institutional endorsement for submission to the funding agency. For additional information on the support services we have available, please visit our website at the link above or contact Lana Yoho, Director, at or Melissa Kuhn, Grants Administrator, at to schedule a time to discuss services available.

What help should I seek when searching for a fellowship opportunity?

Assistance with applying for a fellowship should begin with the sponsor and selection of an appropriate funding mechanism.  Consult with your faculty mentor and plan to contact the program officer at the agency to make sure your proposal is a good fit for the research area(s) they are funding. If it is not, they are often able to make recommendations and point you towards other opportunities that better aligns with your project and goals. Additionally, discussing your proposals early on with your faculty mentors and securing time for them to review and provide feedback on your proposal is one of your greatest assets. Having someone else critique documents can help spot common errors, typos, or places within the narrative where ideas or plans were not fully developed and may require additional editing. This feedback can be invaluable in making your proposal more competitive and maximizing your chances of being awarded a fellowship.

Considering applying for a fellowship?

Please remember all extramural grant proposals (regardless of size or complexity) must be submitted through the University’s electronic research portal, Kuali Coeus (KC+), and receive institutional endorsement prior to submitting the proposal to the sponsor. While serving a Principle Investigator on a proposal for which the WVU RC will serve as the legal applicant of record, you can never send any type of proposal documents to a collaborating institution or sponsor without first submitting the proposal materials through the proper institutional processes for review and endorsement to submit. Please contact the pre-award partners in the Office of Research and Graduate Education for additional information and assistance with the preparation of application materials.

Am I eligible to apply for a funding mechanism?

When considering a funding mechanism to apply for, carefully read the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in its entirety to determine content requirements and budgetary criteria. All sponsors identify applicant organization eligibility criteria and requirements. This establishes who can serve as an eligible applicant institution for the submission of the proposal (such as institutions of higher education, Nonprofits/for-Profit organizations, local & federal government, foreign entities). Additionally, the FOAs also identify all eligible individual requirements for anyone wishing to submit a proposal under the role of Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI). Ensuring all eligibility requirements are met by the applicant organization and/or PD/PI should be considered at the beginning of the pre-award process. Please contact the Pre-award Team in the Office of Research and Graduate Education for additional information and assistance with this process.

Student Pre-Award Tip: Do I need to register for an account to submit a proposal?

Many sponsoring agencies require users to register in their electronic system in order to prepare an application for submission. While WVU/WVU RC maintain all required registrations for the institution as the lead applicant submitting the proposal on behalf of a PI, the PI often still needs to register for an individual account to be affiliated with WVU/WVU RC in order to gain access to the proposal package features (i.e., ASSIST, etc.). To avoid possible delays in the proposal process, please review the funding mechanism guidelines carefully to determine if you will need to register in advance of preparing an application in a sponsor’s electronic system. Please contact the Office of Research and Graduate Education Pre-award staff for questions and guidance regarding individual user registrations.

Office of Research and Graduation Education Pre-award Services Available

For additional information on the support services we have available, please visit our website at the link above or contact Lana Yoho, Director, at or Melissa Kuhn, Grants Administrator, at to schedule a time to discuss services available.

How far in advance of the sponsor’s deadline do I need to submit my proposal through the internal KC Proposal Summary to ensure an on-time submission to the sponsor?

The internal deadline for review and approval of proposal documentation at the HSC level is 8 business days in advance of a sponsor’s deadline. This allows 3 days for the HSC review to ensure compliance with agency guidelines and subsequently 5 days for OSP’s final review and submission. Full and complete proposals submitted to OSP 5 business days in advance of a sponsor deadline will receive a full review. Proposals submitted with draft (placeholder) documents

will receive partial review. Proposals received after the 5 business day window are reviewed and submitted by OSP as time and workload permits.

How can I find available funding opportunities to support my research and training?

Students can access Pivot, a comprehensive source of global funding opportunities to search for available fellowships and other funding opportunities. Access to Pivot is limited to authenticated WVU users (i.e., email address ending in; Please be sure to visit the Pivot Channel to learn more about this free database provided by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Please click here to Create an account or sign in in to Pivot to be able to track and share opportunities, save searches, get automatic alerts, edit your profile, view groups and more. Other useful search engines include the site or the National Institutes of Health Find Grant Funding (NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts), which are one-stop-shops for searching for available funding opportunities.

What is an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)?

An institutional AOR (often referred to as a Signing Official/SO) is the designated representative in matters relating to the project and administration of grants. At WVU, the AOR/SO is located in the Office of Sponsored Programs. The AOR is responsible for signing and approving all extramurally sponsored applications. The AOR submits grant materials as the applicant organization on behalf of a PI. Additionally, the AOR certifies the organization will comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations, to include required certifications, assurances, terms and conditions, identified in the funding announcement.

Establishing Proposal Timelines

Preparing a fully developed proposal may take up to several months to achieve so never delay initiating the proposal process. Taking advantage of resources (i.e. writing courses, templates, pre-award services) available in the HSC can aide in the successful completion of a good proposal. Establishing a reasonable timeline for completing the required proposal components will reduce the chances of submitting an incomplete proposal containing possible errors or omissions to the funding agency. Please contact the pre-award unit in the Office of Research & Graduate Education for additional information on resources available.

Tips for successful grant applications

When seeking extramural funding, always begin the pre-award process early and utilize resources the HSC and WVU has in place to support research. Work closely with your primary mentor(s) to select a team of collaborators that will further your training in the program and aide in the successful completion of the project. When selecting a sponsor and funding opportunity, make sure your research objectives align with the sponsor’s overall mission and purpose of the opportunity selected. Additionally, make sure you read the funding mechanism and all corresponding sponsor guidelines closely. When preparing your documents, give the sponsor exactly what they want. Following the application guidelines is essential and will prevent your proposal from receiving a possible administrative withdrawal at the agency due to noncompliance with their guidelines.

Can I Submit Proposals on my own as a Principle Investigator?

Anyone serving as a PI of a sponsored project at WVU must have their application submitted through the institution’s signatory officials. Signing Officials have a high degree of responsibility including many legal in nature. Sponsoring agencies from Nonprofits/for-Profit organizations, local & federal government, foreign entities, etc. require that an authorized organizational representative submit proposals on behalf of a PI. The institution will serve as the legal owner of the award (contract, agreement, etc.) while the PI conceives and develops the proposal. The institution is responsible for administering the award while the PI holds the overall responsibility for meeting all project goals, objectives and deliverables as described in the funded project.

How do agency pre-proposal requests differ from full proposal requests?

Some funding opportunities require a pre-proposal, or sometimes called white papers or Letters of Intent (LOI). Typically, pre-proposal requests require a brief narrative outlining the overall goals of the project and information on the key research team. Pre-proposals serve as a preliminary review to determine how well the project fits with the agency’s priorities. These proposals generally do not require institutional endorsement, assurances or financial details, and as such can often be submitted directly by the PI to the sponsor since they do not obligate the University to the project.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), in collaboration with the PI, is responsible for submitting full proposal requests seeking extramural support. Full proposals responding to a funding solicitation, and which commit resources and other certifications at the Institution, can only be submitted to the sponsor via a signatory official’s endorsement.

NIH NRSA Fellowship Specifics

NRSA Individual Fellowship (F30, F31, F32) awards are available to support the training of pre- and postdoctoral scientists, dual-degree investigators and senior fellows. NIH fellowship applications follow the general F Fellowship Instructions. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will include additional instructions needed to complete the documents for your application submission. NOFO instructions are in addition to general application guidelines and must be followed. It’s also important to note that the funding institutes may have different program requirements for the NOFO. Each NOFO will contain a direct link to a “Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements, and Staff Contacts”. This information may be helpful in determining requirements for the institute selected.

Reasons a fellow should consider applying for an individual fellowship

Applying for a predoctoral or postdoctoral fellowship provides the fellow with experience towards developing essential grant writing skills, and learning about the sponsor’s proposal and award administrative processes. Competing against a large pool of candidates and receiving an individual fellowship from an external sponsor is very prestigious and can make a fellow more competitive for subsequent awards. Additionally, fellowships provide needed resources for fellows. The awards often provide funding that the fellow can use at their discretion as long as it supports the training and research plan funded by the sponsor. For instance, fellowships typically provide support for travel to conferences or other research/educational expenses (research supplies, books, tutorials, etc.).

Research Forrest