Grants and Contracts

Need a Grant or Contract

Need a Grant or a Contract

Applying for a Grant

When you are interested in obtaining grant funding, ORSP is available to assist you at each step along the way.

Route to Successful Submission

Route to Successful Submission
  1. 3-5 Months before Agency Deadline - Recommended: Submit a PI Checklist, Begin proposal preparation, Review funding announcement, Request statistical and design support. 
  2. 4 Weeks before Agency Deadline - Submit a PI Checklist if you haven't already done so (Recommended), External pre-review of Federal proposals possible.
  3. 2-3 Weeks before Agency Deadline - Work with GA on budget, budget justification, and other proposal documents.
  4. 7 Business Days before Agency Deadline - Submit to your GA the final copy of your budget, budget justification, and draft narrative for internal review and approval by AVP, Finance and your Dean. 
  5. 2 Days before Agency Deadline - Mandatory: ORSP will submit your proposal to ensure error-free electronic submission.

If you are looking for funding sources, please see our Search Tab in the accordion below. Please note that if you plan to pursue funding from corporations or foundations we highly encourage you to contact the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations to discuss your project.

Once you have identified where you plan to apply, please inform us by filling out a PI Checklist, so that we can begin helping you with your proposal submission. Effective October 1, 2020, PI Checklists submitted within 4 weeks or fewer of a funding agency deadline will need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to assess staff capacity, and we will no longer be able to guarantee that the proposal will be submitted with short notice. You should submit your PI Checklist at least 5 weeks before your deadline, so that we can ensure we will have the staffing resources available to work with you.

As soon as we receive your PI Checklist, a member of our staff will contact you to schedule a meeting about your proposal. An HR specialist also will attend, to help with staffing classifications, salary and benefits information.

Publishing your research prior to submitting a grant proposal may increase your chances of being funded. Grant editing and research development assistance is also available.

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Weekly Funding Group Button

Description of signing up for ORSP Weekly Funding Opportunity Newsletter:

  1. Login to Pivot website
  2. Select "Groups" from middle column
  3. Under "Public Groups" click "Join Group" for the "Weekly Funding Opportunity Group"

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Search the Pivot database

Pivot is a Funding Opportunity research tool and database accessible from any on-campus computer. You can search by subject area or by faculty profile. SF State faculty and staff are eligible to create personal Pivot accounts to search for funding and track opportunities.

Set up and claim your account

Pivot help

Pivot's Knowledge Center is a great resource and guide on utilizing Pivot to its full potential.

If you have further questions contact Jessica Mankus (

Video Tutorials

Grant Development

What is Grant Development?

Grant development fits under the larger umbrella of research development and research administration. Grant development involves an assortment of activities including:

  • finding funding opportunities that match faculty expertise
  • creating a research plan (how to plot and create a timeline, pilot studies, research goals, assessment)
  • proposal development
  • strategic initiatives for research
  • technical writing and editing
  • building a research team
  • interaction with funding agencies and governmental offices
  • limited submissions review process
  • coordination with institutional research administration and leadership 
  • outreach activities (such as workshops on funding agencies or tips and tricks on proposal writing)
  • acting as a resource for institutional knowledge and information

What can a Grant Development Specialist do for me and my research?

Grant Development Specialist can provide technical writing and editing of proposals. She is also available to plan/discuss short and long term goals of your research, how to communicate the importance of your work to a variety of scientific and general audiences, help seek and apply for funding, assess reviewer comments and prepare for resubmission of proposals, and liaison between administration and faculty.

For newer faculty, assistance for developing plans for professional development and moving toward applying to external funding; for mid-career faculty, assistance if deciding to change research focus or experiencing difficulty securing external funding.

How can I use this Resource?

To begin, start early. Contact Jessica Mankus (

Writing and Editing Help 

Proposal Editing

Please contact Jessica Mankus, Grant Development Specialist (415-338-3052 or to assess your editing needs.

External Pre-review of Federal Proposals

With a highly competitive and limited federal funding environment, proposals need to be impeccable prior to submission. Faculty in many universities have found that pre-review of their proposals, through external consultants, reveals problems that may be fixed before final submission. ORSP will consider and pay for a pre-review of your proposal to a federal agency, if the narrative section is submitted one month before the proposal is due.

If you feel you meet this criterion, Request for External Pre-Review.

When writing an NIH grant proposal, as the applicant you will need to write a project summary/abstract and a project narrative. Check out this helpful table to describe the purpose and differences between the two:

Summary of differences between Project Summary/Abstract and Project Narrative for an NIH Grant
Project Summary/Abstract Project Narrative
  • A succinct and accurate description of the proposed work
  • Communicates the public health relevance of the project to the public
  • 30 lines of text or less
  • No more than 2-3 sentences
  • Use plain language understandable by a general audience
  • Use plain language understandable by a general audience
  • Include: the project’s broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, and a description of the research design and methods.
  • Do not include: proprietary or confidential information, or descriptions of past accomplishments.
  • Describe how, in the short or long term, the research would contribute to: the fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
  • If the application is funded, the summary/abstract will be available on RePORTER
  • If the application is funded, the narrative will be available on RePORTER

Data Sharing Plans

Since 1999, federal granting agencies are required to ensure that all data produced under federally-funded awards must be made available to the public.

Data Management Plan

In general, all research proposals expected to generate significant data should include a data management plan.  While particular data management and sharing requirements may be agency-specific, the major topics typically covered in a DMP include:

  • Types of data to be produced
  • Description of methodology of how data will be collected
  • Standards to be applied to the data format (i.e., metadata)
  • Provisions for archiving and preservation
  • Backup and storage procedures
  • Access policy and provisions for secondary users
  • Plans for eventual transition of the data collection after the project is complete
  • Any protection or security measures taken to protect participant confidentiality or intellectual property

Major Funding Agency Data Guidelines

National Science Foundation

Beginning January 18, 2011, a Data Management Plan (DMP) will be required for all new NSF proposals. The contents of this DMP will be reviewed and scored as part of the merit review process.

National Institutes of Health

For most grants over $500K, a data sharing plan must be included in the application and incorporated as a term and condition of the award. Final Research Data ?should be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants and protecting confidential and proprietary data. Currently, the NIH does not review this section as part of the proposal scoring process.

Electronic Grant Proposal Submissions

If you need to register for, NIH Assist, NIH eRA Commons, or another electronic grant proposal submission portal please contact a Grant Administrator.

Proposal Submission Policy

Once you have identified where you plan to apply, please inform us by filling out a PI Checklist, so that we can begin helping you with your proposal submission. We continue to recommend that PI Checklist be submitted 5 weeks prior to agency deadline. Effective October 1, 2020, PI Checklists submitted within 4 weeks or fewer of a funding agency deadline will need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to assess staff capacity, and we will no longer be able to guarantee that the proposal will be submitted with short notice.

SF State University submissions to external sponsors cannot be made without appropriate review and approval, as required under the Chancellor’s Executive Order 890. Therefore all approvals must occur prior to the submission deadline.

For this reason, ORSP has implemented a seven business day proposal submission policy, which was effective January 1, 2010:

All proposals must be received by ORSP no later than seven business days prior to the sponsor deadline. In order for a proposal to be considered "on time", the following documents are required:

  1. A finalized budget
  2. A final budget justification
  3. A draft of the proposal narrative

PIs will still be able to refine and work on the proposal narrative, but changes to the budget and budget justification will not be permitted, as these sections will be in the process of being routed and approved.

Proposals that are not submitted to ORSP by seven business days before the proposal deadline will not be submitted to the sponsor.

This policy applies to all PI Checklists submitted on or after January 1, 2010. For questions please consult your grant administrator.

Please disseminate this notice to staff. General questions about this policy can be directed to Michael Scott, AVP for Research,, 415-405-3943.

Applicant/Mailing Address

San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, ADM 471
San Francisco, CA 94132-1722

Type of Organization

State College

Entity Identification Number (EIN) Or Taxpayer Identification Number


DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System)


Unique Entity Identifier




NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System)


Human Subjects Assurance No.


Animal Welfare Assurance No.


Congressional District


California's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for submissions, per Executive Order 12372

Grants Coordination
State Clearinghouse
Office of Planning and Research
P.O. Box 3044, Room 222
Sacramento, California 95812-3044
Telephone: (916) 445-0613
Fax: (916) 323-3018

DHHS Agreement Dated F&A (Facilities and Administrative Costs)/Indirect Costs

01/22/2021 - SFSU_Facilities_and_Administrative_costs.pdf

SFSU F&A Campus Rate

Read SF State IDC Cost Agreement

Authorized Official Administrative Representative to be notified

Michael Scott
Associate Vice President for Research
Tel: 415.405.3943
Fax: 415.338.2493

Official Institutional Representative

Michael Scott
Associate Vice President for Research
Tel: 415.405.3943
Fax: 415.338.2493

Important information about SF State's multi-year Facilities and Administrative (indirect cost) rate agreement:

San Francisco State University has a multi-year Facilities and Administrative (indirect cost) rate agreement with the federal government. This agreement specifies the F&A cost rates to be applied to awards from federal and non-federal sponsors.

The rates specified in the agreement are as follows:

Current Rates (effective 7/1/2020 until 6/30/2025):
On-campus research: 55.0%
On-campus instruction: 50.0%
Other on-campus sponsored activities: 42.5%
Off-campus research, instruction, or other sponsored activities: 26.0%

Exceptions to these rates occur when a funding agency places a cap on the F&A rate. In this case, ORSP must have written guidelines from the funding agency stating that there is a limit on F&A costs.

If you would like to discuss any variance from the above rates, you must speak directly with Susan Pelton, Director for Research ( or 415-338-7090).

Read the SFSU Indirect Cost Agreement:

Analyze Data

Consultations are available at no cost to faculty

  • Stat CORR at SFSU is an ORSP-funded group whose aim is to support faculty in their statistical analysis needs.
    • Contact Rick Harvey ( or x8-3478) or Ed Connor ( or x8-6997) of the Stat CORR group for further information.
  • SF State is registered as a UCSF-Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) affiliate. ORSP can support initial consultations with this group.
    • We are registered as a UCSF-Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) affiliate. Contact Michael Scott, AVP for Research (415-405-3943 or for arranging consultation services with them for a wide range of design and statistical needs. ORSP can support initial consultations with this group.

Software is available online at no cost to faculty

  • Packages are available online at no cost to faculty, accessible from their campus computers. 
  • Software is available at no cost to faculty via campus computers. If you'd like to learn more or access, visit Labspace.

    • Currently Available:
    • 1D NMR Processor, 2D NMR Processor, 3D Viewer, Access 2016, Amos Graphics, Anaconda Navigator, ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, ChemBasic, CHNMR Viewer, Excel 2016, GamePlan32, IDLE Python GUI, Mathematica 11, MATLAB 2016a, Minitab 19, Nvivo (faculty only: research use license/not for instruction), PowerPoint 2016, Publisher 2016, PyMOL, R, SAP2000 (engineering students only), SAS 9.4, SPSS 24, SPSS 25, Stata 13 (specific departments only), Stata 15 (specific departments only), WinBUGS, Word 2016
  • Links to Research Methods and Statistics Resources

    StatSoft Statistics: Methods and Applications

    UCLA Statistics online textbook

    UCLA Statistical Computing

    UCLA online classes

    Meta analysis Spreadsheets

Campus-wide license for Qualtrics

  • SF State now has a campus-wide license for use of the rich survey instrument Qualtrics (you'll be asked to login using your SF State email credentials).
  • If you lose this shortcut, find Qualtrics through the SF Gateway portal -> IT Services -> Qualtrics.

Training Opportunities

  • Opportunities for faculty to receive statistics training and hands-on experience in a variety of areas.
  • American Psychological Association's Advanced Training Institute (APA-ATI). ATIs provide training and hands-on experience in a variety of areas, including statistical and computational techniques and research with culturally diverse populations.
  • University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research offers summer program courses. SF State is a member institution. Contact Francis Neely, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, (415) 338-1522,

Who is Eligible to Submit a Grant Proposal?

Principal Investigator Status Policy and Procedures

Eligibility Policy

  1. The right to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on University sponsored grants or contracts at San Francisco State is automatically granted to:
    • Probationary (tenure track) and tenured faculty.
    • Individuals who have: been offered a probationary (tenure track) or tenured faculty position, signed an acceptance letter, and have a volunteer appointment in an academic college or department. PI status in these cases shall be granted for the purposes of proposal preparation and submission, or the preparation and submission of requests to transfer existing funded programs to SF State.
    • Faculty with emeritus status who have a volunteer appointment in an academic college or department. This requires that Human Resources (HR) approve both a Request to Appoint a Volunteer form and an E-TRAC.
      (To get to the form go to the HR Forms page, and click on the 'Employment' tab, then download  'Request to Appoint a Volunteer' PDF)
    • Individuals with a Management Personnel Plan (MPP) appointment.
  2. Other individuals wishing to serve as a PI on a grant or contract administered by SF State may apply for provisional PI status. The application procedures for such status, and the procedures for continuation, are outlined below. The individual must have the support and recommendation of the relevant department Chair and college Dean. Deans should bear in mind that sponsored programs should be sufficiently important to the achievement of educational, research, or public service goals to justify the allocation of college, ORSP and other University resources.

    ​The Associate Vice President (AVP) for Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) shall review all applications and make recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Provost). The Provost shall either accept, request further consultation with the Dean and AVP for ORSP, or reject the application, as outlined below.

Provisional PI status (PI status) shall be for a maximum of two years, and continuation is subject to review procedures, also outlined below.

Procedures for individuals applying for provisional PI status


  1. The individual requesting PI status must have a current honorific faculty appointment. The application for such appointment shall be in accordance with the appropriate academic department’s policies and procedures. Examples include, but are not limited to: adjunct, in-residence, clinical or distinguished.
  2. Prepare a letter of application (maximum 2 pages) that shall include the following:
    • Summary of current research or scholarly work. The description should address both specific aims and broader impacts.
    • Description of how the work relates to the strategic mission of SF State and how it serves faculty and students.
    • Previous experience with funding applications, and previous funding received, if applicable.
    • List readiness to apply for external funding, e.g. funding opportunities that have been identified and submission deadlines.
    • Readiness to administer a sponsored program. This should include professional training and qualifications, experience in managing compliance and financial issues related to sponsored programs, and experience supervising staff and postdoctoral researchers.  Please be aware that nationally, PIs report that 40% of their time is spent on administrative duties.
    • Any required resources, including space (office, lab), computing resources, etc.
  3. Review, print and sign the PI Acceptance of Responsibility.
  4. Prepare a current curriculum vitae (CV).
  5. The applicant shall provide the letter of application, PI Acceptance of Responsibility and current CV to the department Chair.

Department Chair

  1. Review application materials.
  2. If the Chair supports the application, and the candidate has a current honorific in the department, the Chair shall forward all materials to the college Dean.

College Dean

  1. Review application materials.
  2. If the Dean supports the application, Dean shall prepare a letter of support. The letter of support shall include:
    • A description of how PI status for the applicant would assist the college in meeting its goals and objectives, as related to the strategic mission of the University.
    • A description of the resources that the college and other units on campus will provide in support of the applicant.
    • An acknowledgment that the college will employ the PI, if approved. Dean shall specify the job classification, salary rate and supervisor of the applicant.
  3. The Dean shall forward all applicant materials and letter of support to the AVP for ORSP.


  1. The AVP shall review all materials provided by the applicant and Dean.
  2. The AVP shall make a recommendation to the Provost and should consider the following options:
    • Approve for a specific sponsored program or for a specific time period (up to 2 years)
    • Approve subject to specific conditions (e.g. involvement of tenured faculty member with experience in grant and contract administration)
    • Defer decision with a request for additional information (e.g. if file is incomplete)
    • Disapprove (with explanation)


  1. Review and consider the Dean's and the AVP's recommendations and either accept, request consultation with the AVP, or reject the application. Prior to formally rejecting a recommendation, the Provost will consult with the Dean to discuss the reasons for considering the rejection and give the Dean the opportunity to provide additional information on behalf of the applicant.
  2. After all discussions have occurred, the Provost will issue a final written response to the AVP.

Procedures for Continuation as a Provisional PI Status

Annual Report

1. Applicant

Continuation as a PI will be based on an annual report from the PI summarizing her/his activities. The report should consist of a short narrative of results and accomplishments and a list of publications, presentations, grant applications submitted and funded. This report should be sent to the Dean.

2. Dean and AVP for ORSP

The AVP and Dean shall review the report and discuss the PIs ability to responsibly manage the programmatic and administrative responsibilities of their sponsored programs. If there are concerns then a formal review (see below) should take place.

Otherwise, a formal review of the PI status should take place every two years, at the same time as the review of honorific faculty status. These reviews are not a substitution for the reviews required for lecturers performed by the department for teaching or other assigned responsibilities.

Formal Review - Biennial

The formal review for continuation of PI status will take place, at a minimum, every two years. Continuation will also depend on the continued appointment in their honorific faculty position.


  1. Applicant will provide a report to the appropriate Dean summarizing his or her activities as a principal investigator at SF State. This should include a statement of how those activities have supported the University's mission. The report should illustrate competence in managing external funding.
  2. The report should be forwarded to the AVP along with supporting letters from the Dean of the appropriate college.


AVP will make a recommendation to the Provost for continuation or termination of the Provisional PI status


The Provost will issue a final written response to the AVP for ORSP and the Dean.

GENERAL SFSU BOILERPLATE (updated 10/20/2015)

General Description. Founded in 1899 as a teacher’s college, San Francisco State University (SFSU) has grown over the past four decades into a comprehensive public university with six colleges (Business; Education; Ethnic Studies; Health & Social Sciences; Liberal & Creative Arts; Science & Engineering) awarding baccalaureate degrees in 78 disciplines and master’s degrees in 63. Three joint doctoral programs are offered in conjunction with the University of California: a Ph.D. in special education with UC Berkeley; and both a D.P.T. and a D.P.T.Sc. in physical therapy with UCSF. In 2007, SFSU instituted its first fully independent doctoral program, an Ed.D. in educational leadership.

With a total enrollment of 29,465 in Fall 2014, SFSU is the sixth largest of the 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system and the seventh largest of all public master’s granting colleges and universities in the nation (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013). SFSU typically awards more than 7,000 degrees each year, 83% at the baccalaureate and 17% at the master’s level. SFSU and the other CSU campuses continue to provide the most affordable university education in California and frequently represent the only affordable option for economically disadvantaged students. A total of 47% of SFSU undergraduates receive Federal Pell Grants, and 78% of all SFSU students worked part- or full-time to help meet the cost of their education.

SFSU attracts an exceptionally diverse student population. SFSU is one of the nation’s most ethnically and culturally diverse campuses (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 2013). Of those declaring their ethnicity in Fall 2014, students of color comprised 68.2% of the undergraduates and 42.7% of the graduate students. The combined undergraduate and graduate student population is: 5.4% African American; 0.3% Native American; 27.3% Hispanic; 32.3% Asian/Pacific Islander; 28.3% White; and 6.5% “two or more races.” In total, 16,014 of the enrolled students are ethnic minorities, and 10,235 of these are from the four federally-designated underrepresented ethnic minority (URM) groups. About 57% of SFSU students are female. The average age is 23 years among undergraduates and 32 years among master’s students.9% of the undergraduates are first generation college students from families in which neither parent has attended college. Approximately 2.8% of the students receive services from the Disability Programs and Resource Center for communicative, learning, mobility, or visual disabilities, deafness, or other functional limitations.

Large numbers of students from underrepresented groups earn their degrees at SFSU. The campus recently ranked 13th out of 3,600 institutions surveyed nationally in the number of baccalaureate degrees and 80th in the number of masters’ degrees awarded to students of color (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 2014). Over the last five academic years (2007-Spring 2014), a total of 8,968 baccalaureate and 1,492 master’s degrees were awarded to URM students. Approximately 2.8% of the total degrees granted over the last five academic years were degrees granted to individuals with communicative, learning, mobility, or visual disability, deafness, or other functional limitations, consistent with the representation of these individuals in the general student population.

The diversity of students extends across the disciplines. In 2014, Diverse Issues in Higher Education rated SFSU as a top producer of minority baccalaureates nationally in 22 disciplinary areas. These areas, by national ranking, include: Communication/Journalism (#4); Business Administration/Management (#6); Visual and Performing Arts (#6); Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies (#7); History (#8); Area, Ethnic, Cultural and Gender Studies (#10); Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (#10); Hospitality Administration/Management (#10); Philosophy and Religious Studies (#13); English Language and Literature/Letters (#14); Homeland Security, Law, Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services (#17); Education (#20); Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (#21); Social Sciences (#22); Communication Disorders Sciences and Services (#23); Mathematics and Statistics (#23); Health Professions and Related Programs (#28); Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences (#29); Biological and Biomedical Sciences (#31); Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (#33); Psychology (#34); Natural Resources and Conservation (#39). Similarly, SFSU received top national rankings for master’s degrees awarded to ethnic minority students in: Foreign Languages, Literature, and Linguistics (#1); Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender and Group Studies (#5); English (#6); History (#9); Biological and Biomedical Sciences (#23); Physical Sciences (#23); Communication Disorders Sciences and Services (#25); Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies (#29); Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (#46); Social Sciences (#47); Mathematics and Statistics (#49).

The SFSU faculty is also exceptionally diverse. Of the 766 tenured/tenure-track faculty in Fall 2014, 49% were women and 34%, ethnic minorities (21% Asian/Pacific Islander; 7% Mexican American; 5% African American; and 1% Native American). The representation of women on the SFSU faculty increased from 38% to 48%, and the representation of faculty of color from 24% to 34%, during the period 1995 to 2011.

SFSU has an increasingly active research climate. Over the three years, total R&D expenditures have averaged $31.2 million per year. The three largest sources of research funding on campus are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Department of Education (USED). State and local agencies including the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and private foundations including the Spencer, Dreyfuss, Beckman and Genentech Foundations and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) are also prominent in the funding mix.

The momentum behind this emergent research culture can be attributed in part to a succession of major institutional awards from NIH to support faculty research training and infrastructure development on campus. These awards began with the University’s first Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Support for Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE) program in 1995, followed by multiple Research Infrastructure for Minority Institutions (RIMI) and Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program (M-RISP) awards from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). These investments, in turn, led to several large grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for SFSU to develop research collaborations with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to investigate cancer disparities in underrepresented communities. Recently, National Institutes of Health awarded a BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) to overcome the limitations of ongoing underrepresentation of some groups in the sciences which limits the effectiveness of our nation’s biomedical research workforce and constrains innovation and productivity in the scientific workforce. The mission of SF BUILD is to enhance diversity of the biomedical research workforce by transforming the teaching and research environments in science and math at SF State.

A recent Department of Education grant was awarded to faculty in the department of Special Education and Communicative Disorders to explore whether an emerging curriculum designed to prepare students with intellectual disabilities and autism for beginning reading programs in special education classrooms may also be effective in general education classrooms. In addition, SFSU was awarded a major grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to transform undergraduate instruction in the life sciences by developing and piloting an evidence-based approach to curricular innovation supporting the processes through which students learn to become scientists.

NSF has made an unprecedented investment in the campus research infrastructure, awarding SFSU investigators a total of 15 major research instrumentation (MRI) and 11 CAREER grants. In 2007 and again in 2010, three SFSU investigators received new CAREER awards in a single funding cycle, an extraordinary show of support from NSF’s most prestigious program of awards for junior faculty. One of these investigators went on in 2012 to become the first SFSU faculty member ever to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the US government on early career researchers.

While the vast majority of NSF support has been awarded to investigators in the College of Science and Engineering, two large campus-wide institutes and centers have attracted major federal funding for behavioral and social science research. The campus-wide Health Equity Institute (HEI) opened its doors in 2005 as a center for community-engaged research and education aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities. The Center for Education on Gender and Sexuality (CREGS) resulted from the merger in 2010 of several smaller interdisciplinary programs of the College of Health and Social Sciences. Faculty affiliated with HEI and CREGS have attracted an impressive array of research grants from the National Institutes of Health (including R01, R03, R15, R21, and K awards) as well as other major awards from the Ford Foundation, AIDS United, and other national and regional foundations.

Research and teaching are integrally related at SF State. The continuing emphasis on research and scholarly activity at SFSU can be understood, in part, as a natural extension of the university’s historic dedication to excellence in teaching. Research activities inform and enrich classroom and laboratory instruction as well as feed the university’s capacity for service through projects that move out into the community to address issues of pressing concern including health, education, and the environment. SFSU students—undergraduate and graduate alike—are regularly afforded opportunities for hands-on experiences in the laboratory and in the field that inspire discovery and ignite a passion for learning. On our campus, research is not considered a separate enterprise but rather an integral part of the education offered.

Students benefit from SFSU’s exemplary research training programs. Faculty investigators make it a priority to engage students fully in the research process and have been highly successful in obtaining funding to ensure that all students—including those from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences—receive high quality research training. Programs for this purpose include the NIH-funded Bridges to the Baccalaureate; Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE); Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC); Bridges to the Future; and Career Opportunities in Research (COR) programs. All of these include intensive mentored research experiences and professional development activities to help students develop the skills they need to succeed in competitive doctoral programs. Other externally-funded opportunities for student research training on campus include the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Bridges to Stem Cell Research, and the Beckman and Genentech Scholars programs.

Increasing numbers of underrepresented students from SFSU graduates go on to earn doctoral degrees in the biological sciences. A total of at least 210 URM students from SFSU have been admitted into highly competitive Ph.D. programs in biomedical research since 1993. While only 8 URM students received Ph.D.s prior to 2005, 121 earned Ph.D.s from 2005-2014, and another 88 are on track to complete their Ph.D. programs by 2020.While these numbers may seem small in absolute terms, they take on considerable significance in light of the national underrepresentation of minorities in the sciences.  For example, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics reports that only 33, 267, and 329 Ph.D. degrees in the biological sciences were awarded to Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans, respectively, in the entire United States in 2012 (National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. 2015. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2015. Special Report NSF 15-311. Arlington, VA).

Civic engagement and community service are deeply held institutional values at SFSU. A national leader in socially responsible education, SFSU was one of the first U.S. universities to include community service learning credit on student transcripts. Through its Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE), SFSU offers more than 500 courses that combine academic study with community service. 47% of all students take part in these courses each year and collectively contribute more than 875,000 hours annually to the surrounding community. This contribution would amount to more than $15 million annually if paid at the current San Francisco minimum wage. In recognition of this commitment to “teaching, learning and scholarship which engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration,” The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designated SFSU as a community engagement institution, one of the first universities in the nation to earn this classification. As a result of its dedication to civic involvement and long-standing partnerships with community-based organizations, cultural institutions, public schools, and emerging local industries, SFSU has earned a reputation as “the City’s University.”

For more info:

CSU data: CSU Institutional Research and Analysis

For demographic data on specific colleges, departments, and programs, please check with your Chair or Dean, or contact SFSU’s office of Academic Institutional Research, which maintains a wealth of demographic data about the campus.

What are Facilities & Administrative or Indirect Costs?

As a recipient of federal funds, San Francisco State University (SF State) is required to adopt costing policies that conform to Federal rules and regulations. Per Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200), the total cost of a sponsored agreement is the sum of the allowable direct costs incident to its performance, plus the allocable portion of the allowable Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs to the institution.

Costs that support sponsored research indirectly (F&A / indirect costs) are defined as those incurred for common or joint objectives which cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. Some examples of indirect costs include:

  • Utilities
  • Salaries, wages, and fringe benefits for clerical and administrative staff
  • Laptop computers and other highly desirable personal electronic devices (e.g. iPads)
  • Office supplies (basic supplies)
  • Subscriptions
  • Library books
  • Periodicals
  • Memberships
  • Office and general equipment (e.g. office furniture)
  • Photocopying
  • Postage
  • Repair and maintenance (e.g. equipment)
  • Telephone and internet (e.g. monthly bills)
  • Proposal development costs

SF State's cost accounting practices are defined in the required filing of its Disclosure Statement (DS-2) to the audit agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The DS-2 defines costs that can be directly charged to sponsored programs as being allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistently applied. Some examples of direct costs include:

  • Salaries and benefits of faculty, research associates, graduate students and technical personnel
  • Approved Independent Contractors / Special Consultants / Subcontracts
  • Participant Support (e.g. stipends) and Tuition
  • Laboratory supplies (e.g. chemicals)
  • Animals and animal care costs
  • Travel required for the project

Refer to SF State’s Charging Direct and Indirect Costs Policy for additional details.

Do I need to contact the Dean or Chair of my department?

We strongly advise that you contact both. If there is any costsharing or costmatching required in your grant, you will need approval from the Dean. In addition, release time must also be approved by your Dean.

When does my budget have to be completed?

Budgets should be completed seven business days before the submission deadline. At this time, we should also have all supporting documents, such as biosketches, C.V.s, resources, etc.

When does the narrative of my proposal have to be completed?

The narrative should be submitted in final form to the Proposal Preparation Specialist no later than two days before the submission deadline.

What types of activities can I charge to my project?

These types of activities can be charged to a sponsored project:

  • Directing or participating in any aspect of the research related to the specific project
  • Writing a progress report for the project, sometimes called a continuation proposal
  • Holding a meeting with lab staff to discuss the specific research project
  • Activities contributing and intimately related to work under the agreement, including:
    - Participating in appropriate seminars
    - Consulting with colleagues about specific aspects of the project
    - Delivering special lectures about specific aspects of the ongoing activity
    - Attending a conference held by an outside professional society to present  results
    - Reading scientific journals to keep up to date with the latest developments in one's field
    - Mentoring graduate students on the specific research project
  • Making an invention disclosure, and some other activities related to pursuing intellectual property


What activities cannot be allocated to my project?

The following cannot be charged to a sponsored project:

  • Proposal-writing, except for non-competing continuations (progress reports); this includes:
    • Developing necessary data to support a proposal
    • Writing, editing, and submitting a proposal
  • Administration, including service as a department chair or dean
  • Instruction, office hours, counseling for students, and mentoring graduate students on something other than the specific funded research project
  • Service on an IRB, IACUC, selection committee, or other similar group
  • Course or curriculum development
  • Writing textbook chapters
  • Fundraising
  • Lobbying
  • Work that falls outside of regular University business activities, such as:
    • Service as the primary editor of a journal
    • Peer review of manuscripts, regardless of whether compensation is received
    • Advisory activities for sponsors, including service on an NIH study section or NSF review panel, regardless of whether compensation is received

Have a Grant or Contract

Have a Grant or Contract

Need to Knows About Managing Grants

ORSP assists PIs and their administrative staff in managing research projects throughout an award's lifecycle. There are a variety of award management functions that ORSP conducts to ensure compliance with a project's funding terms and conditions; basic information about the most common functions is provided in this section.

After the award has been fully executed, the PI will work with their GA to set up a budget for the award (based upon what was submitted in the grant proposal). If there is an identified collaborator or entity at another University, ORSP will establish a subcontract so they may conduct their portion of the work on the project.

Once the budget has been established, the PI can begin to spend grant funds to conduct their research.

Depending on the funder, the type of award, approved spending categories, and funded activities, the PI will need to: engage in aspects of the University's Compliance Program; review and approve expenditures on the project; submit progress reports to the funder, and / or request a no-cost time extension on the award. There are also standard procedures for closing out a project that are initiated by ORSP prior to the award's end date.

Both the Principal Investigator (PI) and ORSP have important roles in the management of a sponsored project.

  • Completes the Scope of Work as agreed to by the sponsor in the award documents.
  • Manages the administrative duties associated with the award.
  • Works with ORSP to setup the budget or modify the budget.
  • Works with ORSP Human Resources to hire personnel.
  • Ensures expenses posted to the project account are allowable, necessary and reasonable, when in doubt, consult the Grant Administrator for the project.
  • Initiates and approves expenditures of grant funds; PI may delegate signature approval to other project team members or departmental personnel.
  • Monitors sub recipient performance and grant expenditures.
  • Notifies ORSP if there is any type of problem with the award.
  • Submits all project reports on time and in the correct format.
  • Ensures that all cost share has been reported to ORSP.
  • Reviews spending once a month and contacts the Grant Administrator to resolve issues.
  • Coordinates proposal preparation and submits proposals on behalf of the University.
  • Sets grant policies and procedures; administers the approved policies and procedures.
  • Coordinates the kick–off meeting for the start-up of new grant projects and ensures the PI and other personnel are aware of grant management policies, procedures and expectations.
  • Approves expenditures prior to sending requests to Accounts Payable (A/P). If there are questions about the allowability of an expenditure, the Grants Administrator will resolve that with the PI before documentation is forwarded to A/P.
  • Monitors award spending and activity via monthly financial reports. Resolves issues of allowable costs if necessary.
  • Recommends action steps for issues of grant performance identified in monitoring activity.
  • Coordinates requests to the sponsor for change in scope of scope, extensions, budget modification, etc.
  • Remains up-to-date federal regulations, compliance/audit requirements and University policies and procedures.


Once the funding agency has informed you and ORSP that your project has been funded, you will work with the Grants Administrator (GA) assigned to your project to setup a budget. As the Principal Investigator (PI), you should have submitted a budget to ORSP when you were developing your proposal. The GA assigned to your project will obtain this "Pre-Award" budget and verify that the submitted budget and the agency-awarded/funded budget match; if there are any discrepancies, your GA will contact you determine how to revise your budget.

Based on the budget approved by the funding agency, the GA will create a Budget Request form that includes a Delegation of Signature form indicating those individuals (aside from the PI) who should be granted signature authority on the project. A separate Delegation of Signature form will be required for each person aside from the PI who is granted signature authority on the project.

The GA will email the PI a copy of this form and the PI will print the form, sign where required, and obtain any additional signatures (co-PIs and individuals who have been delegated signature authority); the PI will return the hard copy of the forms, with all required signatures, to ORSP.

ORSP reviews for completion and processes the forms. In most cases, within 5 business days of receipt of the Budget Request and Delegation of Signature Authority forms the PI can request a PCard, hire staff / pay people, and otherwise start to spend grant funds.


  • The budget awarded by the funding agency may not match what you requested in your proposal; your GA will help you determine how to revise your budget accordingly
  • All signatures are required for the Budget Request and Delegation of Signature Authority forms to be considered complete


A subcontract is needed when a PI has identified an entity (at another institution) that will conduct some of the research, or contracted work, on a funded project. For example, a subcontract would be setup if a $500,000 award from NSF was awarded to Professor Jones (SF State), and $50,000 was needed to pay for work done by Professor Smith (at UCSC), for that work. In most cases, subcontracts are written into proposals and would be approved by the agency via the budget included in the award notification. In the event that a subcontract is not pre-approved by the funding agency, check with your GA to find out if it can be added later (noting that agency approval must be granted).

  • When a need for a subcontract has been identified on an award, the PI should contact their GA to discuss and provide the GA with their colleague's contact information at the other university. The GA verifies that the subcontract is allowed on the project.
  • The GA reviews the budget for the subcontract (usually included in the awarded/funded budget), then forwards it to the ORSP Grants Support Coordinator (GSC), who is the primary contract for subcontract setup.
  • If a Scope of Work has not already been provided, the GSC will contact the PI on the subcontract to acquire a copy; the SF State PI may want to assist in this process.
  • ORSP sets up the agreement, sends courtesy copies to both the subcontracted and SF State PIs, and sends the agreement to the contracts & grants office at the subcontracted PI's institution for them to execute.
  • The SF State PI will typically have little involvement in the subcontract agreement after this point, as most contact will take place between the GSC and the subcontracted PI's contracts & grants office.
  • The SF State PI and the subcontracted PI will collaborate on the work for the project, as outlined in the Scope of Work that was approved by the funder.


  • If the entity being subcontracted is programmatically involved with your project (not just providing a service), you will need to be aware of SF State's Subrecipient Monitoring requirements
  • If the SF State PI is being subcontracted to collaborate on research by a colleague at another institution, this is viewed as a regular award by ORSP and is setup in a similar fashion to regular awards granted to ORSP.


Once the PI has worked with their ORSP Grant Administrator to set up a budget for the project, they can usually begin to make expenditures. All expenditures on a project must correspond to an approved spending category in the budget approved by the funding agency (as received in the award notification letter).

Typical ways to spend grant funds include paying people, travel and hospitality expenses, and the purchase of project-related equipment and supplies. There are a multiple mechanisms that can be used to spend grant funds, depending upon what is being paid for or purchased. Please visit the buying stuff page if you are confused about which form to use for your purchase.

Budget Revision

General information about budget revisions for the most common funding agencies is listed below. Please refer to your project's specific funding regulations to determine whether budget revision is allowable; contact your Grants Administrator with any questions and to initiate the process.

US Department of Education

Recipients are required to both report and request prior approvals for deviations from awarded budgets and program plans. For non-construction awards, prior approval is required for any of the following program or budget related reasons:

  • Change in key personnel specified in the application or award documents
  • Change in the project's scope / objective, even if there is no associated budget revision
  • An absence of more than three months, or a 25% reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved PI
  • Need for additional Federal funding
  • Transfer of funds budgeted for indirect costs, or vice versa, if approval is required by the Secretary
  • The inclusion, unless waived, of costs that require prior approval in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations Title 2 Subtitle A Chapter II Part 200, Subpart E Cost Principles (for awards after Dec. 26, 2014)
    The inclusion, unless waived, of costs that require prior approval in accordance with OMB Circular A-21-Cost Principles (for awards before Dec. 26, 2014)
  • Transfer of funds allotted for training allowance (direct payment to trainees) to other categories
  • Unless described in the proposal and funded in the approved award, the subaward, transfer, or contracting out of any work under an award; this provision does not apply to the purchase of supplies, material, equipment, or general support services

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Unless otherwise specified in the award, prior written approval is required for the following activities and expenditures, and must be submitted electronically through NSF's Fastlane System:

  • Significant Project Changes
    • Transfer of project Effort
    • Change in objective or scope
    • Absence or change of PI
    • Change in the amount of cost sharing reflected on Line M of the award budget
    • Rearrangement/alteration aggregating $25,000 or over (Construction)
  • Reallocation of funds provided for participant or trainee support

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH grantees are allowed some flexibility to rebudget within and between categories; some types of changes require prior written approval while others do not. Grantee-initiated changes that require prior approval from the designated NIH official include: Change in scope

  • Change in key personnel
  • Change of grantee organization
  • Equipment purchases exceeding $25,000/unit, regardless of amount of NIH funds involved
  • Alteration and renovation (A&R) (rebudgeting into A&R cost exceeding 25% of total approved budget for a budget period)
  • Transferring amount from trainee costs
  • Capital expenditures (construction, land, or building acquisition)
  • Need for additional NIH funding

View Financial Reports

SFSU's Fiscal Affairs provides a finance reporting application referred to as "Finance Data Warehouse (FDW)". This reporting solution is available to all Principal Investigators with grants and contracts, and their administrative staff if requested.  To request access, complete the Finance Data Warehouse Access Request form located at Fiscal Affairs' Accounting webpage.

Access the financial reports at the FDW Login.  Use your SF State ID number and SF State password (the same as your SFSU email password) to login. You will also need your Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) passcode [more information on 2FA can be found at the Information Technology Services (ITS) website.

Contact Information Technology Services by submitting an online Service Request Ticket, via email to report issues or problems.  One can also contact Cathy Liu, Associate Controller at Fiscal Affairs or at ORSP for Rowena Manalo, Info & Rptg Specialist and for LCD, Kari Wong, Senior Grant Human Resources Administrator. 

Basic Instructions for accessing your financial reports (for more detailed instructions, go to Fiscal Affairs’ Accounting webpage):

  • Login to Finance Data Warehouse (FDW) using your UIN, password and 2FA passcode.
  • For 3080-Grants & Contracts, use the following dashboards: Sponsored Programs, Labor Cost Distribution, and Transaction Inquiry
  • For assistance pre-setting your FDW reports or further one-on-one training, contact Cathy Liu or Rowena Manalo.  More information can be found in the FDW FAQs and Setup Guidelines.
  • Contact your assigned Grant Administrator if you have any questions about any details you see in your financial data.


Finance Data Warehouse (FDW) login

Fiscal Affairs’ Accounting webpage

Information Technology Services (ITS) website

FDW Login and Training Materials

FDW Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Setup Guidelines

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Data Security and FERPA login

Data Security and FERPA information

Finance Data Warehouse Access Request form

ITS online Service Request Ticket, via email

Cathy Liu at Fiscal Affairs, or ORSP for Rowena Manalo, Kari Wong or your assigned Grant Administrator


If you expect a delay in receiving your award or in getting the contract fully executed, but need to start your work, you can request a Fund Advance. This spending mechanism provides Principal Investigators (PIs) an opportunity to initiate research and to begin incurring project-related expenses prior to institutional acceptance of an externally-sponsored award.

Requests for Fund Advances must be approved by the PI's Dean and the ORSP Director. Fund advances may be approved because of an established relationship with the sponsoring agency and/or because the sponsor has indicated confidence that the project will be funded.

There are two types of Fund Advances:

Pre-Award Spending Account

  • To incur pre-award costs up to 90 calendar days prior to the award start date.
  • Applies only to federal sponsors that allow pre-award spending.
  • All award terms and conditions apply to pre-award expenditures.

Advance Account

  • When an award letter for a new grant has not yet been received
  • For a new budget year of a continuing grant
  • For a contract which has not yet been finalized
  • Advance Accounts will be established for 120 calendar days. Extensions beyond 120 calendar days must be approved by the Dean and the ORSP Director.

Fund Advance Request Form

  • PIs must obtain their Dean's approval prior to submitting the Fund Advance Request form to their ORSP Grants Administrator. Supporting documentation, including copies of communication with the sponsor, a list of projects that have been recommended for funding, and/or a short history of the project and the nature of the relationship with the sponsor, should be included as it may assist the Dean and ORSP in making a decision about the Fund Advance.

Travel Expenses

Note: This page attempts outlines some of the most common aspects of travel at SF State. Please review carefully and refer to the SF State Travel Center Website for more information. If you have any questions, please contact your ORSP Grant Administrator.

Prior approval is required for all travel by CSU employees

Travel must be properly authorized via the Request for Authorization to Travel/Travel Advance (ATEA) for ORSP Projects form. This form must be completed and signed by the PI & the traveler (if not the PI), approved by the College Dean, then submitted to ORSP prior to making any reservations for airlines, car rentals or hotels.

  • This form is also required for mileage reimbursement if the traveler will be driving outside a radius of 25 miles from SF State (the definition of "a state of travel")
  • All Authorization to Travel request forms must be approved at the Associate Vice President (AVP)/Dean level
  • Please contact your GA directly if you need to request a travel advance for group travel
  • If your travel is international:
    In addition to the ATEA form, please also include a Request for Foreign Travel Insurance form signed by the PI, the traveler (if the PI is not the traveler), the Department Chair, and the Dean of the College (for the project that will be charged for travel expenses). A Release of Liability Packet is also required for students and non-employees. ORSP will review and inform the traveler of approval before the traveler can make their travel reservations. Completed forms must be received in ORSP 45 days prior to travel.
  • For more information about international travel, please visit the Enterprise Risk Management website.
    Summary of Approval for International Travel
  • U.S. Bank Personal Liability Travel Card Policy and Application


Use the Combined Travel Claim and Itemized List of actual Expenses form (“Travel Claim” form) to get reimbursed for approved travel-related expenses upon the completion of a trip.

  • For travel by air, travelers may book their flight using either their US Bank Travel card or personal credit card. Reimbursement works the same for both methods, as the traveler is responsible for paying the balance on the US Bank Travel card.
  • For car rental, travelers must book reservations through Concur Travel using either their US Bank Travel Card or personal credit card. Travelers must have completed SF State’s defensive driving course to be reimbursed for car rental (see below).
  • For travel in private vehicles, any employee driving a private vehicle on official University business must be certified by the Department of Environmental Health and Operational Safety (EHOS) and must have adequate liability insurance. See requirements for driving a private vehicle on University business. Please note that the EHOS does not grant any exemptions for drivers who have not met the qualification requirements.
  • The standard mileage reimbursement rate is 54 cents ($0.54) per mile for travel on or after January 1, 2016

Reimbursement for overnight trips

Travelers book their lodging accommodations and will be reimbursed for expenses via the Travel Claim form upon completion of the trip. Submit original receipts and a copy of the bank or credit card statement showing charges hitting the traveler's account.

  • Receipts are required for any expenses $75 or more (except subsistence claims, see below)
  • Subsistence is limited to $55 per day for travel in the continental US. Travelers pay for their meals and are reimbursed by noting meal expenses on the Travel Claim form.
    • Do not submit receipts for food unless it is to claim full reimbursement for any meals over $25.00 (not to exceed $55.00) on the first and last day of travel (partial days)
    • Incidentals are capped at $7.00 per day, and cannot be claimed during the first 24 hours of travel
  • Domestic lodging reimbursement is limited to $ per night
  • See caps and restrictions on areas outside the continental US
  • If travel is to attend a conference, a copy of the conference agenda must be attached to the travel claim packet

Fill out the Travel Claim form once your trip is over, noting that information entered on the Subsistence tab in the Excel file will auto-populate the coversheet. Attach receipts for lodging, car rental (if used), airfare, and shuttle / taxi (if more than $40). Also include receipts for business expenses (e.g. internet / fax at hotel, printing, copying, registration fees) and itemize those costs in the "Business Expense" column of the form.

Submit the completed Claim directly to the SF State Travel Office within 30 days. Include all required signatures (note: a PI can be both the Traveler and the Claimant) and include a sentence with a verb in the "Purpose of Trip" description. If you submit the form to your ORSP approver first, please note that it will be forwarded to the Travel Office for initial review prior to receiving ORSP approval.

SF State's Travel Center Website


  • All travel must be pre-approved on the ATEA form
    • Domestic travel requires approval from your Dean and ORSP
    • International Travel requires approval from your Department Chair and Dean
  • Local travel (more than 25 miles) can be covered by bundled/blanket approvals for a given time period
  • Submit your completed Claim directly to the SFSU Travel Center within 30 days of travel
  • Travel expenses can only be charged to a project if travel was itemized in the funded budget
  • Pay conference registration fees by check or with your P-Card; do not use a personal credit card
  • Do not use your P-Card to pay for food, hotel, airfare, or car rental
  • Drivers must be authorized by EHOS to drive on University Business; Defensive Driver Training is completed on-line; approver must verify that employee has a current Std 261 on file in the department
  • The In State Travel account code is 606001; Out of State Travel is account code 606002
  • Reimbursements of $100.00 or less will be handled through Petty Cash (use the form below)
  • If you submitted a request for payment and have confirmed with your GA that the check is missing, you should complete as much information as possible on an Stop Payment/Check Replacement Application form, and submit to your ORSP GA
  • For details on meals without travel or federal awards:

    The cost of meals or food within the local area (less than 25 miles from campus) is typically not allowed as a direct charge to a federal grant because the employee or trainee is not "traveling" and the cost is therefore considered a personal expense. In general, meals without associated travel are difficult to justify as a direct cost to a federal award of any type.

    When a food or beverage cost meets the following three criteria, and the PI provides written justification of the business purpose of the expenditures and how they relate to the specific research project (including purpose of the meeting, list of attendees, beginning and end times), such costs may be allowable on a sponsored project:

    • The cost must be allowable under both the provisions of Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200) AND the terms of a specific award
    • The cost must be allocable, that is, the project which pays the expense must benefit from it. More specifically, the food and beverage must be integral to a project-related event.
    • The cost must be reasonable, by reflecting what a "prudent person" would pay in a similar circumstance
  • Example of an allowable food charge:
    Lunch and refreshments provided for an all-day meeting of collaborators on a project (with formal agenda and participants from different locations)

    Examples of unallowable food charges:

    • Lab personnel meeting weekly to discuss progress on the grant
    • PI has lunch/dinner with a colleague and discusses research

(ATEA Form) Request for Authorization to Travel/Travel Advance for ORSP Projects

Combined Travel Expense Claim Form

Foreign Travel Insurance Information

Release of Liability form

Subsistence Summary

Petty Cash form

Business Expense / Hospitality Expenses

Use the Business Expense Reimbursement Request Form (Reimbursement/Hospitality) to pay a hospitality-related bill or invoice (if no Purchase Order was set up), or to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket hospitality-related or business goods expenses. Common examples of hospitality expenses include food and beverage, space rental, catering, and miscellaneous supplies (e.g. forks, napkins, tablecloths).


  • The payee / requestor must fully complete the *NEW* Business Expense Reimbursement Request Form (Reimbursement/Hospitality), include all required signatures, and populate the Chartfield information (the Account Code, Fund Code, Department ID, Program Code (if available), and the Project number to which the charges should post)
  • Select type of reimbursement: Non - Travel and Non -Hospitality Business Expenses  or  Hospitality Expenses
  • For hospitality expenses, please also list the event attendees if there are 25 or fewer participants; if this won't fit in the space provided, use the List of Employees/Guests form (see below). If there are more than 25 participants, you don't need to list attendees.
  • Attach the original receipt(s) or invoice(s) to the form and submit to ORSP for review and approval
  • ORSP submits to Accounts Payable for final review and processing
  • The associated check will either be mailed to the requestor or they will be asked to come pick it up, according to the disbursement method selected on the form
  • Payment can be made to a vendor in advance of the event by using this process: submit the invoice / written quote at least two weeks prior to the date of the event to allow time for processing

SF State's Accounts Payable Hospitality Website


  • Hospitality expenses can only be charged to your project if hospitality was itemized in the funded budget on the award
  • You cannot put hospitality expenses on your P-Card
  • You can also use a Purchase Order (PO) to pay for catering, or setup a blanket PO to pay for recurring catering expenses (paying from the blanket PO with an invoice for each event, as they occur)
  • If the payee / requestor is a new vendor in our system, they must also complete and submit a Vendor Data Record form to accompany the Direct Payment Request
  • Maximum rates for hospitality per person are as follows:
    Breakfast $15.00
    Lunch $25.00
    Dinner $40.00
    Light Refreshment $10.00
  • If you submitted a request for payment and have confirmed with your GA that it is missing, you should complete as much information as possible on an Application for Replacement of State Agency Trust Check form, and submit to your ORSP GA.

*NEW* Business Expense Reimbursement Request Form (Reimbursement/Hospitality)

List of Employees / Guests for Meal reimbursement

SF State Policy on the Payment or Reimbursement of Hospitality Expenses

Hospitality Purchasing Procedures

Commonly Used Account Codes

Direct Payment Request form

Vendor Data Record form

Application for Replacement of State Agency Trust Check

A  Direct Payment Request form may be made for Unviersity oblicagation for which little or no valuse can be added by processing the tranaction through standard procurement procedures.

Use a Direct Payment Request form to pay a bill or an invoice (if no Purchase Order was set up), or to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses. Common expenses that this form is used for include advertisements, postal and mailing charges, reimbursements, book, subscriptions, publications, registration fees, medical exams, insurance premiums, rent/utilities, membership fees, accreditation fees, etc.

The following are prohibited transactions:

  • Expenses / invoices over $5,000
  • Reimbursement over $1,000
  • Rental of any type
  • Service of any type regardless of where the services are performed
  • Reimbursement requests submitted more than 90 days after the expenditure


  1. The payee / requestor must fully complete the Direct Payment Request form, include all required signatures, and populate the Chartfield information in section 3 (Account, Fund, DeptID, and the Project number to which the charges should post).
  2. Attach the original receipt(s) or invoice(s) to the form and submit to ORSP, and also attach an evidence of pre-approval from the Procurement Department in the form of a Purchase Order, signed agreement, or other written approval (e.g. e-mail) authorizing this direct payment. Please refer to Direct Pay Policy for information on pre-approval instruction.
  3. ORSP submits to Accounts Payable for final review and processing.
  4. The associated check will either be mailed to the requestor or they will be asked to come pick it up, according to the disbursement method selected on the Direct Payment Request form.


  • Direct Payment requests must be made within 90 days of the transaction
  • If the payee / requestor is a new vendor in our system, they must also complete and submit a Vendor Data Record form to accompany the Direct Payment Request.
  • Original receipts are always required. If a copy of a receipt is submitted, it must be certified by the PI on the project by adding and signing off on the following certification:

"This receipt is a true and correct copy of the original, which has been lost or is otherwise unobtainable. I certify that our records have been checked and this receipt has not been submitted with a previous claim."
Signature of Payee: __________________________
Signature of Approver: ________________________

Direct Payment Request

Fiscal Affairs Direct Pay Policy

Commonly Used Account Codes

Vendor Data Record

Stop Payment/Check Replacement Application form

Request, Access, and Submit POs and Requisitions

A PO is a guarantee from the University to pay a future invoice. It can be used to purchase a variety of types of items for your project, including supplies, services, recurring charges, independent contractors, and University Corporation work orders. It should be set up in advance of the purchase (or before an invoice is issued). If an invoice has been submitted for an expense on your project, but a PO was not created first, the invoice will be paid and the PO process will not be initiated.

A PO is initiated by creating a Requisition in CFS (Common Financial System). PIs and administrative staff on projects who do not already have CFS access can request access by submitting a CFS Access Request form to their ORSP GA.

A requisition number is issued once it has been requested. The requisition goes through an electronic approval process and Procurement, the final approver in this process, creates a PO and issues PO number if approved.

Once the PO has been created and an invoice issued to the PI, the invoice(s) is submitted to ORSP with the signature of anyone with signature authority on the project, a brief statement indicating "OK to pay," and the PO number anywhere on the invoice. ORSP reviews and approves the invoice, and Accounts Payable will then issue payment.

CFS login


Petty Cash Reimbursements

Use the Petty Cash Reimbursement Request form for reimbursements of $50 or less (exclusive of sales tax) and submit to ORSP for review/approval by the GA for your project. The following must be submitted along with the Petty Cash Reimbursement form:

  • Original receipt(s) including date of purchase and vendor name; if the vendor name is not printed on the receipt, the vendor must provide their phone number and signature on the receipt
  • PI's signature on the receipt
  • If the Requestor will have someone else pick up the reimbursement money, a memo from the Requestor is needed
  • An explanation justifying the relevance of each item purchased to the project

Once the request has been approved by ORSP, the GA will contact the payee to pick up the approved form and the payee will submit the claim to the Bursar's Office. Check the Bursar's Office website for location, hours of operation and contact numbers.


  • For hospitality-related Petty Cash requests under $50, a Request for Payment/Reimbursement of Hospitality Expenses form must be attached to the petty cash request form before submitting to ORSP. Once the request has been approved by both ORSP Hospitality, the payee will be contacted to pick up the approved form and can then submit the claim to the Bursar's Office.
  • The person approving the Petty Cash Reimbursement Request form cannot also be the requestor.

Petty Cash Reimbursement Request form

Fiscal Affairs Bursar's Office Petty Cash Procedure


Obtaining a Procurement Card (P-Card) for a Project


  • You should first discuss with your GA whether you have the ability to use a P-Card on your project and if it would be beneficial to have one (e.g. you may be eligible for a P-Card, but would not need one if you won't be purchasing supplies and services for your project).
  • If your GA determines that it would be beneficial to have a P-Card for your project, you must fill out the P-Card Application Packet (ORSP users). Once you have completed these forms, submit to ORSP for review.
  • After review, ORSP will forward the completed forms to the P-Card office for processing. After processing, the P-Card office will invite the PI to a mandatory orientation for new cardholders that outlines P-Card guidelines and cardholder responsibilities (e.g. monthly reporting requirements, how to use to card, prohibited items).
  • After attending the orientation you are free to use the P-card once you receive it.
  • The cardholder must submit monthly reports to the P-Card office (these are shared with ORSP for review).
  • When your project is coming to an end, you must follow the P-Card Office's procedure for closing your card; refer to the guidelines outlined in the P-Card Handbook for more information.


  • There are two levels of review on your P-Card: ORSP reviews according to the terms and conditions of your award, while the P-Card office reviews for compliance with their own guidelines.
  • The following types of purchases are strictly prohibited: firearms, hazardous chemicals, hotels & transportation, pets, gifts, etc. Refer to the P-Card handbook for more information.
  • Timely submission of your monthly reports is critical. If you fail to submit three monthly reports, you will lose your card privileges.
  • If you need to change the default project number and/or add/delete a project number, initiate that change through your ORSP GA.
  • Your P-Card is a privilege, not a right; treat it accordingly.

P-Card Application Packet (ORSP users)

SF State P-Card Handbook

SF State P-Card Training Guide

Fiscal Affairs. Procurement Card website

ORSP assists grant-funded Faculty, Staff, Graduate Student Assistants, and Student Assistants with various aspects of human resource and personnel administration for their projects including hiring, classification review, and payroll-related issues. 

There are various ways to pay people from an award, depending on the work they will be doing. Some position classifications are written into proposal budgets and, if allowable, are itemized in the budget included in the award notification. Information on Reimbursed Release Time, Faculty Additional Pay, and procedures for a variety of hiring classifications are provided on the ORSP Human Resources Page

For more information, please contact your ORSP Grant Human Resource Administrator/Specialist. 

Funding Source Change Request Form can be found in Qualtrics Forms section down below.

ORSP HR Guide for PI:

What types of changes require prior approval from the agency for Federally-funded projects?

Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200) requires that Universities obtain prior approval for the following program- or budget-related reasons:

  • Change in project / program scope or objectives (even if there is no budget revision requiring prior written approval)
  • Change in a key person specified in the application or award document
  • An absence exceeding three months, or a 25% (or more) reduction in time devoted to the project, by the agency-approved Project Director or PI
  • The need for additional Federal funding
  • The transfer of amounts budgeted for facilities and administrative (F&A) costs to absorb increases in direct costs, or vice versa, if approval is required by the awarding agency
  • Inclusion of costs that require prior approval in accordance with Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200) unless waived by the awarding agency
  • Transfer of funds allotted for training (e.g. stipends) to other categories of expense Subawarding, transferring, or subcontracting out any work under an award unless described in the application and funded in the approved award(s). This provision does not apply to the purchase of supplies, material, equipment or general support services.


What administrative costs are charged to Federal Awards?

All purchases charged to federal grants must conform to allowability requirements, as described in the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200), and must be:

  • Reasonable and necessary
  • Allocable
  • Consistently treated in like circumstances
  • Conform to the requirements of Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200) and sponsor terms and conditions


Appropriate direct charge to grant

Inappropriate direct charge to grant (typically covered by F&A Costs)

Administrative/Clerical Salaries

The project requires an extensive amount of clerical/administrative support

General administrative support not specific to the project


Specialized equipment used specifically for the project.

General purpose equipment such as copiers, printers, printer cartridges, refrigerators

Highly Desirable Personal Electronic Devices

Computer used to store and access large databases, laptop to collect data in the field, a specialized computer for data analysis

A computer device to process reports, correspondence, publications, conduct teaching duties (laptops, iPads, etc.)

Office Supplies

Paper, envelopes, copies, etc. to support a project with a large mailing survey; project with ?above normal? office supply use; workshop materials, if funded as part of the project.

General office supplies used for project support, such as pens, tape, paper, copying costs, binders, notebooks, etc.

Membership dues

If required as part of the agreement, required as a part of registration for a conference, or authorized for a trainee/fellow on the grant

Renewal or new membership for general professional development


For special or unique needs only (e.g. shipping samples for analysis); must be significantly greater than routine usage

General postage costs, mailing documents

Telephone (cell and landlines)

Dedicated landlines or cell phones for surveys. Telephone hotline.

General use cell phone, phone charges in SF State office

Can I pay for local meals and meals with no associated travel on my federal award?

The cost of meals or food within the local area (less than 25 miles from campus) is typically not allowed as a direct charge to a federal grant because the employee or trainee is not "traveling" and the cost is therefore considered a personal expense. In general, meals without associated travel are difficult to justify as a direct cost to a federal award of any type.

When a food or beverage cost meets the following three criteria, and the PI provides written justification of the business purpose of the expenditures and how they relate to the specific research project (including purpose of the meeting, list of attendees, beginning and end times), such costs may be allowable on a sponsored project:

  • The cost must be allowable under both the provisions of Uniform Guidance (2 CFR §200) AND the terms of a specific award
  • The cost must be allocable, that is, the project which pays the expense must benefit from it. More specifically, the food and beverage must be integral to a project-related event.
  • The cost must be reasonable, by reflecting what a "prudent person" would pay in a similar circumstance

Example of an allowable food charge:

  • Lunch and refreshments provided for an all-day meeting of collaborators on a project (with formal agenda and participants from different locations)


Examples of unallowable food charges:

  • Lab personnel meeting weekly to discuss progress on the grant
  • PI has lunch/dinner with a colleague and discusses research


What is a "Chartfield"? How do I know which Account Code to use for my request?

A Chartfield is a set of numbers that lets Accounts Payable know where to post charges. It consists of Account Code, Fund Code (the first five digits of the ORSP project number), Department ID (3080 for ORSP projects; 3138 for Head Start projects), and the Project Number for your award. There are also some situations (usually involving Hospitality) in which you would include a Program Number as well.

This list includes the most commonly used Account Codes for ORSP projects:


FMS Account Code

Travel - In State


Travel - Out of State


Participants Travel


Contractual Services


Contractual Services - Waived


Independent Contractors




Supplies, Service, and Hospitality


Staff Training




Overhead - Admin (Indirect Costs)




Participant Supplies & Services


SFSU Foundation Work Order


Tuition & Fees


I have a Procurement Card for my ORSP project(s). I would like to change my default* project number and/or add/delete a project number to the GE P-Card online system. How do I do this?

SF State's procurement card office requires that all requests to change the default project number and to add or delete project numbers from the GE systems be approved by the ORSP Grants Administrator for the project. Please send all requests for changes in the GE system to the GA assigned to your project. Once the GA has reviewed and approved the request, s/he will forward the request to SFSU's p-card office in Fiscal Affairs. These types of requests generally take 3-5 business days to process.

*A default project number is assigned to the P-Card when the PI applies for the card. To assign charges to an alternate project, the cardholder must login to the GE online system to code the purchase to the intended project.


Can I buy a laptop, iPad, or GPS device and charge it to my ORSP project?

The Federal government has consistently informed the research community that it does not consider personal computers and electronic devices to be an appropriate direct cost to sponsored projects because general purpose computing and electronic support is considered to be an administrative cost covered by the F&A reimbursement.

Since computers and electronic devices (cell phones, iPads, GPS, laptops, etc.) are generally used for many different activities (instruction, research, administration, email, personal use, etc.), they are not usually considered direct costs to a federally funded project. 

To be considered as a direct cost, computers and/or electronic devices must be:

  • Fully described and justified in the proposed budget narrative and itemized in the proposal budget
  • Necessary to fulfill the project's scope of work
  • Approved by the sponsor
  • Specifically identified with and used exclusively on the project

Please Note: In cases where a computer/electronic device was not included in the original proposal budget and budget justification, yet the need for such an item develops during the course of the project, the PI must provide documentation of the need for the equipment to their GA for review and approval prior to purchasing the computer/electronic device.

Unallowable expenditures on computer or electronic devices will be removed from the project and will be charged to the faculty member/PIs department.