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All, for years OSP has required faculty to send it the final and complete proposal 4 business days in advance of the sponsor deadline. This allows OSP to do a proper quality check, iterate with the faculty when problems are found, and avoid a mad dash at the end to get proposals out the door in time. Quite frankly, this deadline has never been enforced, and half of the proposals VSE submits violate the deadline. It is common for proposals to come together literally hours before the submission deadline. This is going to change.

Beginning October 1, OSP will begin enforcing the mandatory 4-day deadline. If your documents are not received 4 business days before the due date (not including the actual date of submission), it will not be submitted. If you are submitting a proposal that involves subcontractors, the mandatory documents from the subcontractor (Letter of Commitment, budget, SOW, …) must be submitted to OSP 10 business days before the due date.

Occasionally, there will be extenuating circumstances for failing to meet the 4-day deadline; e.g., an opportunity may pop up with very short notice, or a subcontractor may drop out at the last minute leaving the PI scrambling to replace it. Stuff happens. In those exceptional cases, both Aurali Dade (or her designee) and I will have to approve the submission.

This change will require better planning by some faculty, but together we can adjust to make the submission process smoother and the quality of our proposals higher.

The email from OSP below and the accompanying attachment provide more details. Please let either Terri or me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Dr. Art Pyster
Associate Dean for Research and Professor
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
703-717-8110
[log in to unmask]


From: OSP-AWARDS-L <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael Laskofski <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Michael Laskofski <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 5:25 PM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Internal Proposal Deadline Policy Update



Dear Colleagues,



Mason continues to make progress towards the research goals established in the University’s Strategic Plan including maintaining R1 status and reaching $225M in annual research expenditures by 2024.  According to the NSF Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey, Mason’s Total Research has increased from $84M in 2010 to $186M in 2019.  In addition to the overall increase in research expenditures, the university has submitted significantly more proposals over this period with 1000 proposals in 2010 to nearly 1400 in 2020.  These exceptional results, during challenging times is a testament to the great work and dedication of our faculty who continue to build their research programs.



In 2010, Mason’s Research Council established a 4 Day Proposal deadline policy requiring proposal materials be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) 4 days prior to the proposal deadline to ensure sponsor requirements were being met, budgets accurately reflected costs and necessary approvals were in place.  Since 2010 the policy has not been consistently followed and although there have been improvements in some academic units, the compliance rate across the university has consistently been 50% or less.  This results in proposals going to sponsors with limited review, risk of missed deadlines, stress on research administrators locally and centrally and delays or lack of support for faculty who do get their proposals submitted early because all resources are focused on last minute submissions.



Given the challenges associated with supporting a growing portfolio, maintaining R1 status, increasing requirements from sponsoring agencies, limited investments in research administrators locally and centrally and the lack of a comprehensive research administration system, the Office of Research and the Research Council felt that an update to the proposal deadline was required to ensure Mason can appropriately support proposal submissions across the university.



The updated Proposal Deadline Policy is attached to this message and will go into effect on October 1, 2020.



Some of the updates to the policy are:

  *   Emphasize the need to submit the online request for assistance at the earliest point in the submission to ensure the necessary resources are in place.  It’s better to submit the request and decide later not to submit.
  *   Clarify what is required at 4 days before the deadline day and that the final technical narrative is not due until 2 days before the deadline day.
  *   Include Letter of Intent (LOI) and Pre-Proposal procedures with examples of what does or does not need to be submitted through OSP.  The LOI and Pre-Proposal procedures link is included in the proposal deadline policy.
  *   Require additional time for the receipt of subaward materials.
  *   Highlight the fact that exceptions will only be granted in very exceptional circumstances (such as an opportunity released with a short turnaround time) must be approved by Dean (or designee) and the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact (or designee).


These updates and the associated implementation are consistent with other R1 universities.  In fact, the deadline of 4 days prior to the submission deadline day is shorter than the timing required at most R1s.

Thank you in advance for your collaboration as we continue to work together to support and grow Mason’s research portfolio.

Sincerely,

Aurali Dade, Interim Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact

Ann Ardis, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Robert Baker, Interim Dean, College of Education and Human Development
Kenneth Ball, Dean, Volgenau School of Engineering
Henry Butler, Dean, Antonin Scalia Law School
Rick Davis, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Germaine Louis, Dean, College of Health and Human Services
Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Dean, College of Science
Alpaslan Ozerdem, Dean, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Maury Peiperl, Dean, School of Business
Mark Rozell, Dean, Schar School of Policy and Government