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Pre-Award Subfunction

The pre-award subfunction encompasses all efforts associated with applying for sponsored research. The full spectrum of processes:

  • Identifying a funding opportunity
  • Creating all elements required by (each) funder, including a detailed budget
  • Routing the proposal for approval through departments and schools to OSR for review and approval
  • Submitting the proposal to the funder (electronically if
  • Negotiating the award
  • Providing any additional required elements prior to the actual receipt of the award notice 
  • Reporting in Cognos Reporting on high-level proposal and award data tracked in Proposal Tracking

The  eventual process is both highly distributed, with the actual proposal creation performed by PI’s and administrators and approval by department chairs and/or Deans; and also centralized in OSR for the review and approval, submission (if electronic), and tracking of proposal and award negotiation.

InfoEd Proposal Development

SPINPlus and Proposal Tracking

Both of the following modules of InfoEd were launched in July, 2007 and are now in post-production support.

  • SPIN for funding opportunity identification
  • Proposal Tracking to be used by OSR for tracking proposals and awards
    (replacing the legacy NUORISN system).
    • Access to Proposal Tracking and to standard reports in Cognos Reporting rolled out to the research community in late November 2007.

PeopleSoft Interface

The long-term goal is to interface demographic and proposal budget information from InfoEd Proposal Tracking to PeopleSoft Grants, thereby eliminating much of the double-entry of award data done by OSR in both NUORISN and CUFS.


The Pre-Award Management business process is intended to provide the following benefits to Northwestern:

Proposal Tracking & Associated Standard Report Access:

  • Ability to capture proposal summary and detail for multi-project proposals
  • Enable a single repository for all of a proposal’s notes, awards, and documents
  • Distribute access to proposal data to research community, enabling departments to eliminate their own proposal tracking systems

Proposal Development & SPINPlus:

  • Provide a standardized method of proposal creation with pick lists to quickly and accurately identify and pre-populate sponsor, institutional, departmental, and professional information needed for the proposal
  • Enhance the consistency of training for budget preparation across the University through the use of a common tool
  • Provide default sponsor, mechanism, and funding opportunity values and validations through proposal creation from SPIN which pre-populate fields on various pages throughout the entire proposal
  • Provide system-to-system submission to for all federal sponsors
  • Eliminate duplicate entry of proposal data on OSR-1 forms and in NUORISN, as the data will flow from Proposal Development to Proposal Tracking
  • Provide electronic workflow, eliminating the need for paper approvals and routing and providing the ability to easily track status and exchange reviewer comments
  • Provide increased accuracy and efficiency for proposal creation/reporting through the use of standardized salary and appointment information, F&A and Fringe rates, and sponsor data . Deviations from the standardized values will aid OSR in proposal review
  • Minimize errors during the proposal development process
  • Reduce dependence on paper files
  • Provide the opportunity to easily copy and modify prior proposals for future submissions
  • Improve the IRB/ACUC interface