Frequently Asked Questions


How important is my budget and what are its components?

  • Budgets need to be as accurate as possible for research related expenses including, but not limited to, PI and co-PI efforts, Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Research Associates/Postdocs, fringe benefits, materials & supplies, travel, lab use fees, subcontracts, equipment, overhead (IDC), etc.
  • The budget outlines your anticipated project expenses and the budget justification is a narrative that provides further detail about how the use of these funds
  • Your Proposal Analyst will help you build your budget and guide you through allowable and unallowable costs and assist with the justification
  • Once awarded, your final approved budget becomes part of the contractual agreement for how and what you can spend; it is important to build your budget as accurately as possible to meet your research needs

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What is IDC/Overhead?

  • Overhead, or indirect costs, are administrative expenses that are required to operate the University, for example lights, building maintenance, library services, administrative functions (payroll, travel, etc).
  • Overhead is always applied to a proposal unless the solicitation explicitly states otherwise. If a solicitation limits or does not allow overhead, an email approval from your Department Head is required indicating he/she is aware of and approves the limited, or no, overhead; see the Budget Exception Policy (PDF).
  • ORA defaults to using the on-campus overhead rate unless over 50% of the research done by the PI and/or co-PIs (not GRAs) is occurring off-campus.
  • Mines calculates overhead based on the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). The MTDC base is calculated by excluding capital expenditures (buildings, individual items of equipment, alterations and renovations), the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000, participant support costs, and graduate student tuition, fees, and insurance.

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How do I budget cost share?
A complete cost share guidance document can also be found in Documents and Guides section.

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What is the difference between a Subcontract and Consultant/Independent Contractor?

  • Subcontractors are partners in the research and required to fulfill the same requirements of the PI (i.e. publications, advising students, etc.). They have programmatic decision making and their performance is integral to the overall success of the project. They complete a full proposal (scope of work, budget, and justification).
  • Consultants/Independent Contractors perform the ancillary services requested (lab testing, printing, etc) on the project. The work requested is part of their regular business operations and they provide the same goods or services for sale to others. They do not implement solutions or have the ability to publish on the results.
  • Use this Subcontractor or Contractor Determination Form to assist in making an evaluation for your research project

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How do I start a new proposal in Cayuse?

  • All research proposals are submitted for routing through Cayuse, Mines’ online proposal and award management system. Cayuse can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection and works best on Firefox and Internet Explorer; Safari will not allow you to upload documents.
  • Start a new proposal by going to mines.cayuse424.com, log in with your multipass username and password, click on Cayuse SP (for Start Proposal!), and click on Start New Proposal
  • At a minimum you need to enter:
    • Sponsor – if it’s not listed, please use Other as the placeholder and provide your Analyst with the Sponsor’s name and address so they can be entered
    • Short Project Name – PI last name, sponsor, and due date
    • Project Start and End Dates
    • Activity Code – typically this is Research, or for a Fellowship mark Fellowship
    • Award Admin Dept – this is the Center or Department responsible for managing the award
    • Primary Administrative Contact – the Administrative contact for the Award
    • Affiliated Dept(s)/Centers – DO NOT USE this field!
    • Sponsor Deadline
    • Title – if you don’t have a title yet write ‘TBD’
  • Once the first page is generated a 6-digit number appears
  • Answer the yes/no questions affiliated with Conflict of Interest, Regulatory Compliance, Export Control, and Intellectual Property
  • Add a 6-10 sentence Proposal Abstract; please do not copy and paste the entire abstract
  • Your Proposal Analyst will enter the Budget and help with uploading attachments
  • Green check marks appear as sections are completed; once all sections are complete and documents are uploaded the PI or Proposal Analyst can hit the ‘submit for routing’ button

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As a Center Director/Department Head, how do I certify a proposal in Cayuse and easily see all the components?

  • Login to Cayuse, click on Dept Approval Inbox and on the proposal needing to be certified
  • At the top, under ‘Proposal Routing Status’ the Proposal Number is listed, click the PDF icon next to Proposal Number. The PDF allows you to easily see all sections of the proposal including Sponsor, Research Team with effort (including co-PIs and Senior Personnel), Budget, Cost Share, Subcontractors, Abstract, and the Proposal Attachments
  • Attachments cannot be viewed in the pdf. To view attachments, click the paperclip icon at the far right side of the orange bar and attachments can be opened individually
  • To Approve the Proposal:
    • On the Proposal Routing Status screen, click on “Authorize Proposal.”
    • On the Proposal Authorization screen, click on “Submit Authorization”

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How do I find funding?

Mines Announcements

Sign up for Mines’ research announcements listserv to hear about funding opportunities. Email lkinzel@mines.edu and ask to be added to the research announcements list

Grant Forward

  • Mines subscribes to Grant Forward, an online tool to assist you in finding federal and non-federal funding opportunities
  • You can set up and personalize your account to receive notifications of upcoming funding opportunities that best fit your research
  • To set up a profile, follow these guidelines (PDF)

National Science Foundation (NSF) Funding Opportunities

You can also sign up for NSF daily email alerts with options that include new research opportunities and upcoming deadlines National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NASA Funding Opportunities

Grants.gov Funding Opportunities

  • Grants.gov subscription options – sign up to receive notifications regarding specific funding opportunities, save searches, and/or subscribe to all grant opportunities

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I found a limited submission, how can I apply?
The Research and Tech Transfer Office manages limited submissions for the University and often requires faculty to submit a concept paper for internal screening first. To ensure eligibility, if you find a limited submission that hasn’t been announced in the daily blast or through the Research Faculty listserve, contact limitedsubs@mines.edu.

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Who do I contact in ORA?
ORA staff are broken out by campus departments, to find who you should connect with view our Proposal, Contract, and Grant Assignments list

  • Proposal Analysts – Assist with building budgets, preparing sponsor required documents, and submitting proposals. Analysts ensure all submitted proposals are compliant with sponsor mandated guideline.
  • Contracts Team – Prepares, negotiates, and finalizes contractual items related to your award, including amendments, no cost extensions, and processing and issuing subcontract awards.
  • Grant Administrators – Help manage your award by reviewing and reconciling expenses in accordance with the Sponsor’s requirements, assist if your account is in deficit, and work with you to closeout your research award.
  • Billing Team – Assist with processing payments, submitting invoices to sponsors, submitting financial reports, and obtaining backup documentation as needed.

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My Award came in but was funded at a different amount than was proposed. Who can help me?
It is very common for Sponsors to fund research at a different dollar amount than was proposed. Your Proposal Analyst can help you with your rebudget and any other Sponsor required documents. The Contracts Team often gives the Proposal Analysts the heads up that a revised budget is required and the Analyst works with the PI to ensure costs are outlined correctly.

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How do I set up an At-Risk Account? What does At-Risk mean?

  • An At-Risk Account allows PIs to begin charging expenses while funding is waiting to arrive or being negotiated. Signatures from the PI and Department Head or Center Director must accompany all At-Risk requests. ORA reviews all requests to evaluate risk to Mines and the likelihood funds will be received by the Sponsor.
  • At-Risk requests should include an estimate of funds needed to cover costs for the next 90 days.
  • Complete this form to set up an At-risk account (PDF)

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Grants vs. Contracts – What is the difference in my agreements?

  • Grant: A grant is an award given to carry out a proposed scope of work. The sponsor has no substantial involvement in the work. Faculty use best efforts to follow the budget and have flexibility in adjusting the scope of work. Grants typically come from NSF, NIH, and ONR.
  • Contract: A Contract clearly identifies goods or services in the Scope of Work that the sponsor wants completed. The sponsor may act as technical overseer and may have substantial involvement. Contracts have a more rigid scope of work, firm timelines to complete the work, and deliverable requirements. Sometimes, terms and conditions are required when submitting a proposal and confirmed prior to accepting a contract. Contracts typically come from DOE, National Laboratories, or private companies.

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What is incremental funding?
Incremental funds are a portion of the whole amount of funds committed to a project. Providing a portion of the total funding gives the sponsor more control on expenses. Many times sponsors will limit the amount of funding by budget period, to determine a GO/NO GO decision, or to ensure certain tasks/milestones are met under the agreement.

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Do we have contract templates?
Yes, the Office of Research Administration has different types of agreements that support research at Mines. For more information on the different types of agreements managed through ORA, including Sponsored Research Agreements, Non-Disclosure (Confidentiality) Agreements, MOUs, IP Management, and others, request information by emailing awards@mines.edu.

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I’m being asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), what do I do?

  • Individual researchers do not have the authority to sign on behalf of Mines.
  • A company may ask you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to discuss a possible research project. Anytime you receive an NDA, please forward to awards@mines.edu for the ORA Contracts Team to review.
  • ORA will review and negotiate terms that are acceptable for both parties and have the faculty member co-sign the agreement to acknowledge the terms and conditions.

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How do I request a No Cost Extension (NCE)?
A no-cost extension can be submitted by ORA, on behalf of the PI, when all three of the following conditions are met:

  • The end of the project period is approaching, and
  • There is a programmatic need to continue the research, and
  • There are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended effort

To request a NCE, please send the following information to your Contract Administrator

  • Fund/Index Number (4xxxxx)
  • New desired end date
  • A short justification for the need of the extension; and
  • A short explanation of how the remaining funding will be used

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How do I change the Principal Investigator (PI) on a Project?

  • If a current PI plans on relinquishing management of a project that will continue at Mines a substitute PI will need to be identified.
  • The Contracts Team will work with the PI and the sponsor to receive approval of the change.
  • To request an Change in PI, ORA will need the following:
    • The new PI Name
    • The New PI’s current Curriculum Vitae and/or biosketch, and
    • A brief justification the change and explanation on how the new PI has the capabilities to conduct the project.

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I received notice of funding, can I spend now?

  • Letter of Intent informs faculty that their proposal has been selected for award. At this stage, the award is coming but the formal agreement has not been received. PIs cannot spend at this point unless they have an approved At-Risk.
  • An Award Agreement will provide the details of the award, and any terms and conditions the sponsor requires in the performance of the project including the approved period of performance, budget, deliverables, payment terms, publication rights, etc. Frequently, Mines does not receive the full amount of the award and the funding may be limited to a Budget Period or other parameters.
  • Once the award is signed and the award has been set up by your Grant Administrator, the PI will receive an automated email from ora@mines.edu with the Cayuse award set up notice. At this point, PIs can begin spending.

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What is involved when I subcontract?

  • Subcontracts are drafted by the ORA Contracts Team based on the proposal provided by the Subcontractor and the requirements of the Award Agreement. If you would like to include specific terms (such as deliverable schedules), please be sure to let your Contract Administrator know.
  • Read more about Subcontracts

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What Prior-Approvals are required?

  • Sponsor Prior Approvals – Expenses for certain budget categories may require Sponsor prior-approval for allowability **BEFORE ** they can be charged to a fund. Most common pre-approvals include:
    • Change in PI or change in PI effort
    • Equipment purchase, if not originally budgeted
    • Foreign Travel
    • Change in Scope of Work
    • Budget changes affecting more than 10% of the budget
    • Changes in cost share commitment
    • Addition of Program Income
    • Addition of a Subcontractor if not part of the original agreement
  • Mines Pre-Audits – Internal Forms that require ORA review before processing include:
    • Travel Authorization (T/A)/Travel Expense (T/E) TA/TE Forms, TEM and FAQs
    • Voucher Reimbursements (VR)
    • Purchase order requisitions

Note: Please follow submission instructions for these forms. ORA, Procurement and the Controller’s office have workflow processes in place to obtain ORA review and signature.

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How do I Pay Students or Faculty on a Research Grant?

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What do I do if an employee was paid on the wrong fund?

  • If a student or faculty was paid on the wrong fund, and you know where the employee should have been paid, please follow the Payroll instructions by processing a Banner Payroll Redistribution Request Form (XLS)
  • If you do not know where the employee should have been paid, contact your Grant Administrator who can research where this employee should have been charged and can spearhead the process to make this change

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What are Time and Effort Certifications used for?
Time and Effort Certifications are Mines’ way of providing assurance to federal sponsors that effort was devoted at a level that reasonably reflects the activity for which the employee is compensated. These Certifications are completed three times per year – after each Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters

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What is a Cost Transfer? And what type of back-up documents do you need?

  • A cost transfer is an after-the-fact reallocation of an expense that moves from one fund to another. Costs should be charged to the correct Banner fund number for that sponsored project when first incurred.
  • It may be necessary to transfer a misappropriated expense from one fund to another. Such transfers require careful monitoring for compliance with Mines’ policies, federal regulations and cost principals for sponsored projects. Please submit a completed Journal Entry form and appropriate documentation to your Grant Administrator
  • Backup documentation – All cost transfers must be supported by back-up documentation that fully explains the error and should include a justification that clearly shows:
    • Where the incorrect charge currently resides-which includes:
      • a. A copy of the fund detail that shows the fund number and period charged
      • b. An explanation for why the expense was charged to the incorrect Fund and how the expense is allowable on the receiving Banner Fund (e.g., attach documentation of sponsor approval or justification for the charge if necessary)
      • c. The allocation method used if transferring expenses to multiple Funds
      • d. How systematic reasons which may have caused the problem to be repeated have been addressed and corrected
      • e. If the transfer is more than 90 days old, please explain the reason for the delay in the timely processing of the transfer
    • Cost transfers that may receive additional ORA and Sponsor review:
      • a. Large cost transfers that exceed $10K or 10% of the award
      • b. Transfers within the first or last 60 days of a project
      • c. Transfers that do not meet the timeliness criteria

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Who submits reports to sponsors?

  • ORA sends final financial reports and final invoices to the sponsor. ORA will also send final patent and property reports as needed.
  • The PI is responsible for sending any technical reports. When a project has technical reports, please email a copy of the cover page describing the type of report and a transmittal letter or email showing when it was emailed to your Grant Administrator to complete the project file.

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What types of things delay invoicing?
Two things most commonly delay invoicing 1) accounts in deficit and 2) delayed progress reports. Your Grant Administrator can help rectify the deficit balance and submitting progress reports to the sponsor on time can ensure faster processing of invoices.

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My Award is ending, how do I start the Closeout process?
The first step to closeout is filling out and submitting the Closeout Memo; this is emailed from ora@mines.edu and PI’s begin receiving these emails 90 days prior to expiration of their project.

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What happens if I’m overspent and trying to close an award?
An award cannot be closed if it is overspent. Be sure to work with your Grant Administrator to process any deficits. Information on resolving a deficit is below.

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How do I resolve my deficit?

  • A deficit occurs when the expenses on a project exceed the contracted amount provided by the Sponsor
  • If a fund is in deficit, a review is necessary to determine if:
    • The deficit is due to expenses on the project that were charged in error, in which case expenses need to be transferred to the correct project OR
    • The deficit is due to an overrun of the funded amount. In this case, the expenses that caused the overrun need to be removed to a non-research fund number.
  • The PI can specify how he/she would like the charges removed based upon the above explanations. This information can be communicated through the Closeout Memo.

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What is the difference between closing a cost reimbursable and fixed priced award?

  • Fixed Price Award: If all funding has been received and there is a surplus after all expenses have cleared, the available funds can be transferred to the PI’s research development fund. The transfer is based upon the remaining available funding less the IDC charged on the project. Review of the remaining balance must be approved to be transferred if the available balance is more than 10% of the funded amount.
  • Cost Reimbursable Award: Mines can only receive payment for allowable expenses; if there is remaining budget at the end of the project, it will be removed and the project will close short. These unused balances cannot not be transferred to the PI’s Research Development fund.

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What is the My Funds Report (AFBR – All Funds Balance Report)?
My Funds is a user-friendly Cognos report that offers a snapshot of an individual’s fund balances and activity. Funds included in the report:

  • External and University Sponsored Research
  • Cost Share
  • Professional and Research Development
  • Foundation and University Gifts
  • Auxiliary
  • Other Departmental Cash

General and Capital/Plant funds are not included in this phase. Within the report, funds are organized by type, with drill down capability to summarize information on budget, activity, encumbrances, available balance, plus more detailed accounting for line-item tuition and salary information.

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Who Can Use My Funds?
Academic Faculty and Research Faculty are automatically authorized to run the report in My Funds. All others must submit a Cognos Authorization Form to the Business Intelligence Team at bi@mines.edu in order to use the report. Please navigate to Trailhead > Staff Resources > Operational Data Store > to download the Cognos Authorization Form.

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Where do I access My Funds?
PIs, Co-PIs, and Fund Managers with Cognos authorization and a portfolio of funds can login to Trailhead, select the My Funds left navigation item, then login to the welcome screen for Cognos. The report will generate automatically, displaying all funds with which they are associated. There are also quick links directly to the Cognos welcome screen located on the Controller’s Office home page and the ORA home page.

Fiscal Officers, Program Administrators, and others with Cognos authorization, can access the report (which is known as the ‘All Funds Balance Report’, or AFBR) directly via Cognos by logging in, navigating to Team Content ‎> Finance ‎> General Campus ‎> Controller Campus ‎> AFBR and running the report ‘AFBR-L1-summary’. The user will be prompted to select from a pulldown list of current PI, Co-PI, and Fund Manager names.

Please note, when using an off-campus network, VPN connection is required to run My Funds; the preferred method can be found on the CCIT VPN page.

 

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I have an error message. What do I do now?
There are two known error messages that a user may receive when clicking on the My Funds tab within Trailhead. 1) No Cognos authorization: If you receive the error message shown below, it means that you have not been automatically authorized and may need to submit a Cognos Authorization Form. Contact bi@mines.edu regarding you Cognos authorization status No Access Error 2) Password mismatch between Trailhead and Luminis Connector: If you receive the error message shown below, it means that your Trailhead (multipass) and Luminis Connector password have become mismatched. Please contact ora@mines.edu and rsantiago@mines.edu so that we may have someone from the Identity Management team assist you in updating your password(s). Password error If you receive any other error message, please submit a HelpDesk ticket to CCIT in the service catalog section “Business & Administrative Services > Cognos > Cognos Enhancement/Management Request.

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Is there training for My Funds?
As there are two methods to access the report, there are two corresponding user guides: My Funds: Trailhead Access to Cognos Login and Report Guide, for PIs, Co-PIs and Fund Managers, and AFBR: Direct Access to Cognos Login and Report Guide for Fiscal Officers, Program Administrators, and others with Cognos authorization. Choose the relevant guide for assistance with learning the basic report functionality. If, after exploring the report, you would like more information or guided help, please contact ora@mines.edu for more information.

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What types of funds are included in this report?
Currently included in My Funds are Sponsored Research, University Sponsored Research, Cost Share, Professional Development, Research Development, Foundation Gifts, School Gifts, Auxiliary and Other Departmental Cash funds. In future, General and Plant funds will be added to the report.

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Why does a closed fund show up in this report?
The main filter for this report is the Banner FTMFUND Termination Date field. If this field is null, the fund information is pulled into the report. There are many reasons that a ‘closed’ fund might not have a Termination Date entered in Banner FTMFUND, including closeout period not completed, closeout documents not filed, data entry error, etc. If you believe a fund is closed and should have a Termination Date but does not, please contact ORA at ora@mines.edu.

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Who do I contact if one of my funds is missing from this report?
For errors in this report regarding Sponsored Research funds, please contact ORA at ora@mines.edu. For all other funds, please contact the Controller’s office at CO-Accounting@mines.edu.

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Is that all there is?
Upcoming phases of the report include adding general funds, providing encumbrance detail, and enhancing the report with advanced user interface functions. Detailed information regarding these phases and features will be provided as they become available.

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Do I have to connect to VPN to view this report?
Viewing the My Funds report requires connection to VPN when running the report from any computer connected to an off-campus network. When connected to direct or wireless campus networks, VPN connection is not necessary to run the report. The preferred methods for connecting to VPN areViscosity or OpenVPN.

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