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Internal Approval Process- eTransmittal (Archived)

What is an eTransmittal?

An eTransmittal is an internal MSU Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) electronic routing form related to research, scholarship projects and other sponsored project activities.  These activities are defined as work which the University conducts to uncover new and different trends or facts leading to a discovery. The pathway to discovery and the creativity of new ideas is in the hands of a principal investigator and other University employees and usually starts as a proposal which outlines a promising area of inquiry. Such work is an investigation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories in light of new facts, development of new analytical and experimental protocols, or practical applications of such new theories, analysis, data gathering and experiments.

The form collects basic identification information, academic and F&A credit, project type and budget information, compliance questions and certifications, pertinent documents and electronic signatures. Completion of this document is required for all proposal submissions.

In order to provide the best service possible, OSP has a “10:6:3” proposal preparation policy. “10:6:3” means that the solicitation, if applicable, should be provided to OSP at least ten (10) business days in advance; the final budget for OSP review at least six (6) business days in advance; and the complete proposal for submission three full business days (3) before the submission deadline.  Please see the MSU Sponsored Projects Proposal Deadline Policy for more detail.

To begin the eTransmittal process, log into your web Portal page, then select the “Add New Blank eTransmittal” link. As stated in the proposal preparation instructions, OSP should receive the final budget for review and approval in an email to the applicable team at least six (6) days before the RFP due date.  Please provide the draft eTransmittal number when you provide the budget.   Once the budget is approved by OSP, please attach the budget, budget narrative and statement of work to the form.  Add a note to the eTransmittal indicating who and when the budget was approved. The sections are labeled:

Principal Investigators

In this section you add the Principal Investigator (PI) name(s) from a selection box. Please input the lead PI first when multiple PIs are involved in the project.

The system pre-populates the form with the researcher’s base appointment org code which is used in conjunction with academic credit, F&A distribution return, and the electronic routing approval process. For example, a base appointment with an org code 10032142 is used to identify the PI's department and college. The first two numbers after the “100” of an org code represents the college (e.g. "32" represents the College of Natural Science) and the last three numbers represents the department (e.g. "142" represents the Chemistry Department within the College of Natural Science).

For projects with one PI appointed within one college, you would input 100% into both the F&A Distribution (FAD) and Academic Distribution (AD) boxes located on the far right. For projects involving multiple PIs and/or split appointments, all FAD boxes must total 100% and all AD boxes must total 100%.

The pre-populated PI information is stored in a "PI Profile" database. The PI should keep his/her contact information up-to-date; please see the Q&A section below for contact update instructions. Additionally, the PI can view their current F&A/Academic/Space distribution settings within the web profile editing screen. Modification of the distribution is handled by your assigned College Administrator. The modification process is also detailed in the Q&A section below.

On the left hand side of the PI's name, there is an indicator for conflict of interest annual certification and related training.  The annual certification is needed for National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Health (NIH) proposals.  The training requirement is necessary for NIH at award phase.

Project Participants

This section is required to be completed for all PHS or NSF proposals. All named MSU project participants must be listed as well as their role on the project (see the "Notes" section below for additional information related to non-MSU FCOI disclosures). If the project participant is considered to be an Investigator on the project then the COI requirements must be met before the submission of proposal. Please refer to our COI Tools page for additional information and the specific FAQ guidance related to Project Participants.

Estimated F&A Summary

This section provides a formula-driven summary of anticipated F&A cost return to the PI's college and department. This summary shows the total budgeted F&A cost amount (F&A), the 10% amount of F&A for the college, and the 10% amount of F&A for the department. If the department F&A is split between multiple units, then those departments providing the postaward administration and the research space receive a greater portion of the 10% department F&A.

Contacts and Sponsor Information

In this section you will select multiple contacts which are defined for you below:

  • Preaward Unit: Choose the Unit that will be assisting with the proposal preparation.
  • Preaward Contact: Choose a contact person that will be assisting with the proposal preparation.
  • Postaward Unit: Choose the Unit that will be in charge of the postaward administration. This unit will receive the bookkeeping credit.
  • Postaward Contact: Choose a contact person who will administer the unit’s postaward administration for this project.
  • Fiscal Officer: This is a KFS role that approves account set-up, account edits, budget reallocations, and transactions. This person is the “signature authority” over the project’s accounting transactions and maintenance documents. The Fiscal Officer ensures that accounting and other information is accurate and complete.
  • Account Supervisor: This is a KFS role that receives an FYI at account set-up and with account edits. This person is can be the Director/Chair of the Unit or another individual that has oversight of the Unit account. This person receives an FYI on account setups as well as amendments processed on the account.

In this section you will, also, select the Direct Sponsor and the Prime Sponsor, if applicable (i.e. pass-through funding). For example, collaboration with Ohio State University as a subcontractor for a proposal submission to the US department of Energy (DOE) would show OSU as the Direct Sponsor and DOE as the Prime Sponsor.

Project Title & Classifications

In this section you add the project title, project keywords, agency deadline, and select the nature and type of the project.

If any portion of your project includes research, then select one of the options beginning with the word “Research” for the type of project. For example, the federal government defines research related to the protection of human subjects as a "systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities"; see 45 CFR 46.102(d). The key to determining whether a project includes research as defined by federal regulations is whether it is designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge and the results are published or otherwise shared in a public manner as general knowledge such as in a thesis, dissertation, manuscript, poster, or paper presented at a conference, etc.

  • Project Keywords - If the compliance question "Are there international activities involved in this project?" is checked yes, please state the countries involved in the Keywords box. See more information below regarding when to check "yes" for international activities.

Project Budget (Sponsor’s Share Only)

In this section you add the project dates and amounts for the first year and total project. The amounts are split between the direct and F&A budgeted amounts.

Other Financials

In this section you add the F&A rate (indicate basis in notes section), total amount of budgeted subawards/subcontracts, and the total amount of budgeted cost share.

  • Cost Share - the total amount of the mandatory cost share required by the sponsor as specified in the proposal announcement or sponsor guidelines. Generally, cost share is referred to as institutional commitment (i.e. contributed project costs reflected in MSU's accounting systems generally called "MSU cost share" or "cash contributions"), in-kind (i.e. project costs provided by organizations external to MSU), and match (i.e. a possible combination of institutional commitment and in-kind contributions).
    • Voluntary committed cost share, if any, should be listed in the notes section of the eTransmittal. Voluntary cost share is usually comprised of contributed PI effort.
    • See the OSP Cost Share policy

Project Details

In this section you are required to answer questions that assist in the review and approval process.

If "International Activities" are contemplated, then check "yes" and note the countries involved in the "Keywords" box provided. "International activities” are project efforts conducted by MSU faculty, staff, students, or MSU’s subawardees and/or contractors for research, education, outreach, or capacity building that have significant activity outside the United States or are U.S.-based collaborations with international partners or institutions.  This information is used by MSU's International Studies and Programs (ISP) Dean's Office to help ISP identify and stay informed of all proposed international activities (see ISP link to Travelers Abroad Registration Database).  ISP tracks grants with “international activities” to determine MSU’s international research engagement and trends.  MSU faculty administrators, and ISP use this information for program development, reporting, partner and donor discussions, and strategic planning.

If "Does the project involve Human Subjects" question is checked "yes" in the application, then the eTransmittal question should be checked "yes" regardless if the Human Subjects Research is eligible for exemption under 45 CFA 46.101(b)(1-6) -> see NIH Human Subject Regulations Decision Charts for more information.

If your project involves an OFAC country (see list at, please inform your OSP staff member assisting you with your proposal and also contact the Office of Export Control and Trade Sanctions (ECTS) at 517-432-4499 or for additional guidance prior to proposal submission since additional review and approval is required.  If an OFAC country is not involved but the project involves international activities, then an export control review long or short form will need to be completed prior to an award being accepted.  These forms can be found on the following website:

File Attachments - As stated in the OSP Develop Budget Overview webpage, do not route the eTransmittal until the draft budget has been approved by your OSP proposal team member.  In this section you add the appropriate documentation (e.g. OSP approved budget, budget justification only if required by the sponsor, the final or close-to-final Statement of Work, VPRGS approved F&A waiver if applicable, OPB Space-plan, etc). NOTE:  (1) At a minimum, the Budget (and budget justification only if required by sponsor) and final or close-to-final Statement of Work needs to be attached to the eTransmittal so that the PI, Chair & Dean can approve prior to the proposal submission. (2) Do not attach any time-sensitive documents such as the electronic proposal package, coverpage or other documents that require OSP submission/signature since the eTransmittal may not route to the appropriate proposal team contact; these documents should always be submitted directly to the appropriate proposal team for review and submission/signature.


In this section you can add a text note.  If the F&A rate is different than the standard negotiated rate, indicate the rationale and base (MTDC, TDC, salary and wages only, none allowed per sponsor policy) here.  For NSF and PHS proposals, the PI or Administrator should add to the eTransmittal Notes section, before it is routed, any non-MSU individual that is considered an “Investigator” and provide the completed paper COI form to the MSU FCOI Office (or fax: 517-432-9555) with a copy to OSP before submission.  See FCOI FAQ for additional information at about Consultants listed as Senior/Key in PHS proposals

PI Signature Authority

This section shows the electronic signature date of the PI. Their electronic signature is not delegated, therefore, when the PI electronically signs the eTransmittal they certify the following Code of Conduct statement and the Conflict of Interest policy (see example COI form at bottom of this page):

  • Certification: I/we will conduct all research and creative activity in a manner consistent with accepted scholarly standards and in conformity with legal, professional, and University codes, policies, and regulations governing research and creative endeavors. I understand the proposed use of human subjects, human materials, vertebrate animals, hazardous substances, or international activities require appropriate review and approval prior to initiating the project.

Department Signature Authority (i.e. individuals who sign for the department)

This section shows a list of individuals who can sign for the proposal when routed and the electronic signature date of the Chair or the Chair’s designee after the eTransmittal is processed. You may receive an error statement “Unassigned Signature Authorization” ; this means that the Dean has not established a Chair designee or the Chair for the related CUC has not been identified in the system.

College Signature Authority (i.e. individuals who sign for the college)

This section shows a list of individuals who can sign for the proposal when routed and the electronic signature date of the Dean or the Dean’s designee after the eTransmittal is processed. When the Chair and Dean electronically sign the eTransmittal they certify the following:

  • Endorsement by department(s) and college(s) indicates approval of the project; approval to approach listed grantor(s); cognizance of project's risks and of administrative obligations; confirmation that appropriate space and facilities are/will be available; and that arrangements for matching funds are in place if the proposal is funded.

Frequently Asked Questions and Instructions:

Q. Principal Investigators - How do I update my PI profile?
A. Please follow the following steps:

  • Sign into the Portal.
  • In the left side of your screen click the "green" menu item "Profile", then "My Profile".
  • This will navigate your browser to your PI User Profile. On this screen you can update your personal and departmental contact information and input your research expertise keywords to facilitate MSU PI research collaboration.
  • Click "Save" to update your information.

Included in the profile tabs are your F&A, Academic, and Space credit distribution details; please contact your College Administrator if this information needs updating.

Q. Principal Investigators - What if I need a different "F&A/Academic/Space" distribution than what is represented by my base appointment?
A. You should contact your College Administrator (CA) to request the change. To identify the CA, after sign-in click the green menu item "Profile" located on the left of your screen, then "Department Manager". The results will show your CA’s name in the box labeled “College Admins (No Signature Authority)”.

Q. Principal Investigators - What if my proposal needs a unique overhead distribution shared between multiple departments?

A. For proposals that required a unique overhead distribution, you should contact your College Administrator (CA) to request the change. To identify the CA, after sign-in click the green menu item "Profile" located on the left of your screen, then "Department Manager". The results will show your CA’s name in the box labeled “College Admins (No Signature Authority)”.
Please see How to Edit Credit Distribution

Project Details - Space Planning

Q. What is needed if I checked "additional space"?

A. You should create and attach your space plan to the eTransmittal for review by the Facilities Planning and Space Management – Office of Planning and Budgets. The space plan should be developed in consultation with the lead Dean or relevant Vice President’s office space representative and include three essential components:

  • Provide commentary regarding the type, amount, and when the space will be needed based on personnel, equipment, technology, and needs of specialized activities.
  • Explain how the unit intends to meet the space needs through reallocation within currently assigned space in the department or college or reallocated from another MAU.
  • Identify and address the need for any space alterations or improvements; please include a cost estimate developed by the MSU Physical Plant and the funding plan that covers the estimate.

As the PI, you have primary responsibility for developing the space plan including approval by the lead Dean(s) associated with your project.

Note: It is recognized that in selected instances, the space plan may not be fully developed prior to the required submittable date. However, if the contract or grant is awarded, prior to acceptance of the award by the Board of Trustees, a plan must be in place that provides the space that may be needed, related alterations required, and includes a funding plan to address the alterations. For additional questions contact: Facilities Planning and Space Management – Office of Planning and Budgets Ph. 355-1843.

Q. Do I need to process an eTransmittal if a pre-proposal (also called a "Letter of Intent to submit a proposal" or "Preliminary Proposal" or "White Paper") is requested by the sponsor?

A. No, a pre-proposal or Letter of Intent doesn't require an eTransmittal since they can be withdrawn by MSU (this includes online submissions that are released by OSP or require OSP signatures) there are cost share commitments or other issues involved (e.g. where it is anticipated that a large share of the award is not retained by MSU - e.g. a large subaward category that is more than 75% of the total budgeted direct costs; sponsor required AOR budget review; intellectual property ownership; export control issues; etc.).  When these issues exists, the eTransmittal should follow the MSU Proposal Deadline Policy and be fully-routed and approved prior to the pre-proposal submission.  Pre-proposals that don't need an eTransmittal but are released by OSP or requires OSP signatures should be provided to OSP one-day in advance of the sponsor's deadline (contact your OSP representative for more guidance and >never assume that on-line submissions will be automatically released to the sponsor - e.g. contact your OSP representative if you need an NSF pre-proposal released in Fastlane).  We recommend that the PI seek "PI Exception Approval" or Research Dean concurrence before the pre-proposal submission if they don't meet the required eligibility requirements for submitting (PI exception approval is required at time of full proposal submission).

Category: Proposal Development    Subcategories: OSP, Policy, Proposal

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