Compiled by Cindy Kinney, SOM Office of Research Administration, April 2020
Putting notes in RAMS SPOT is always helpful to reviewers. If your proposal is unusual in any way, adding a note regarding the unique situation helps expedite reviews.
Note: the SOM Reviewers do not always see public comments logged in RAMS-SPOT after SOM has "Requested Changes" on a proposal.
Possible major issues
- Be sure to include all required internal forms, with signatures
- Coverage Analysis Screening Form
- Make sure the form is completed and signed. If the PI hasn’t signed this form, the proposal will be returned.
- VCUHS Employee Participation Approval Form
- Any individual who is a VCUHS or MCVP employee who will be participating on the project must have an approved VCUHS employee form.
- Remember to budget these individuals in the general cost grid – not the personnel grid
- F&A Exemption Request Form
- There are situations when waiving F&A costs is necessary. This situation requires pre-approval from the Dean’s office. Make sure you begin the approval process as early as possible.
- PI Eligibility Exception Form
- Situations such as hospital residents, non-faculty staff, etc. being PI requires pre-approval by the Dean’s office. Please submit the form for review as soon as possible.
- Voluntary cost share (other than sponsor-mandated salary caps)
- This pre-approval process for SOM is newly revised. For example, if your PI wants to propose effort (greater than the minimum 1%) but not request salary support on the project, this situation requires pre-approval by the SOM Dean’s office. See the policies below:
- Coverage Analysis Screening Form
- Refer to SOM's Obtaining Review and Signature in the SOM Office of Research Administration guide
- Other situations where SOM Dean support is being requested such as additional space that will be needed for budgeted equipment. Contact SOMRA as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Missing documents
- Make sure the minimum documents are included: budget, budget justification, statement of work, and CV/biosketches.
Other items to note, not major but will hold up review
- Salary questions.
- Especially around salary adjustment times, salary amounts in RAMS-SPOT may be incorrect. Try to verify Institutional Base Salary and put a comment in RAMS-SPOT indicating you’ve verified the salaries.
- Follow the current NIH post doc minimum salary and SOM graduate student stipend amount (refer to Proposal Budgeting Tools)
- Budget discrepancies
- Budget amounts should agree in RAMS-SPOT, the sponsor budget, and any internal spreadsheets uploaded. Things may be off by a few dollars due to rounding but these should all agree for the most part.
- When you change something in the RAMS-SPOT budget and have to update the SF-424 budget, make sure the total Federal request number is updated. It doesn’t automatically update.
- Internal subaccounts
- Make sure that the direct cost amount includes both salary and fringe. Other budget items can also be included.
- Provide a notation for each subaccount regarding who/what is included in the direct cost amount.
- When budgeting in RAMS-SPOT, if you have a line item that is going to vary in amount for each budget period, you can put $1 in the unit cost field and then put the actual dollar amount you are requesting for each budget period. This way you can have one RAMS-SPOT line for a budget item that varies considerably from budget period to budget period. Do not check ‘apply inflation’ in this case.
- For renewals and resubmissions make sure to include the NIH identifier on the SF-424 cover page. For DoD applications, make sure to put the eBRAP log in number in the Federal identifier field in the SF-424.
- For Federal applications, make sure to run the validation feature in RAMS-SPOT prior to routing and use the "Hide/Show Errors" function when in the RAMS-SPOT budget or SF-424 forms.
- For Federal Applications, put the eBRAP user name, NIH Commons user name, or other PI identifier in the "agency credential" field in the SF-424 as per the sponsor guidance.