Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 40: Sponsored Agreements

Proposal Processing and Development

BPPM 40.02

For more information contact:
   Office of Research Support and Operations
   Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships

Approval Policy

WSU investigators seeking extramural support must obtain approval from the following officers, or delegates, as appropriate prior to submitting a proposal to the Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO):

  • Department chair
  • Research director
  • Vice president
  • Chancellor
  • Area dean

It is essential that University endorsement be obtained before submittal since a proposal is preliminary to a grant, contract, or other agreement that obligates WSU facilities, equipment, and personnel.

This policy applies to requests for support for research, training, education and other scholarly activities funded through grant functions.

All proposed project activities must conform to University policy.

ORSO Coordination

Office of Research Support and Operations reviews the proposed application, coordinates University endorsement, and sends the proposal to the external funding source.

ORSO coordinates the proposal review and approval process. All written contacts with extramural funding sources are transmitted or approved by ORSO.

eREX Form

Principal Investigators (PIs) complete an electronic Request for Approval of Application for Extramural Support (eREX) form, which is routed with the proposal through the indicated review chain. A link to the eREX form is located on the ORSO Forms and Templates website.


Principal Investigators (PIs) are strongly encouraged to submit the eREX form with all proposal documents and approvals to ORSO five working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline. It is important to allocate sufficient time for the routing process to obtain all necessary approvals no later than two working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline to allow for a full proposal review before submission to the sponsor.

ORSO processes proposals that are fully approved up to two working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline. A working day is defined as 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding University holidays or closures. If sponsor deadlines fall outside a normal working day, contact ORSO to work out other arrangements, as necessary.

In addition, it is strongly recommended that areas/campuses create an internal deadline policy for their faculty to encourage on-time proposal submissions.


Proposals submitted to ORSO with less than two working days before a sponsor’s deadline, or that do not complete the approval process before that time require a waiver as part of the eREX routing process. ORSO makes all reasonable efforts to submit a proposal received under an approved waiver.

Note: In these cases, ORSO does not ensure that a proposal requiring electronic submission can be transmitted error-free and in time to meet the sponsor’s deadline.

Waivers to the minimum two working day rule may be made for the following reasons with an appropriate justification:

  • Official University closure (e.g., inclement weather).
  • Serious illness, injury, or death of a PI, Co-PI, or any other key personnel or immediate family member.
  • Agency announcement of the funding opportunity was made less than two weeks prior to the deadline (documentation required).
  • Sponsor experienced complications or system technical issues prior to the deadline (documentation required).

Waiver requests for reasons other than those noted above require a PI waiver justification that includes a reasonable rationale and written endorsement by all individuals in the following approval chain:

  • Department chair/school director and/or research director
  • Area dean or Associate/Assistant Dean for Research and/or Chancellor or Vice Chancellor for Research and/or vice president or associate/assistant vice president
  • ORSO Associate Vice President or designee (for review and approval)

At times, proposals do not make it through the approval process regardless of when the eREX is submitted. PIs and units work with ORSO on a case-by-case basis to determine if, and how, these proposals are submitted lacking full internal approvals.

Funding Search

PIs in all disciplines who are searching for a funding source are encouraged to sign up to receive e-mail funding alerts from the University subscription to the PIVOT database.

In order for PIVOT to validate investigators’ affiliation and set up the email alert function, a WSU email account must be used.

Funding sources found in PIVOT may be private or public.

Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships (ORAP) personnel are available to assist investigators with completing the online registration for PIVOT.

Proposal Preparation

The PI determines the most appropriate funding source and prepares a proposal in accordance with the sponsor’s guidelines.

ORAP personnel are available to assist investigators in grant writing, grantsmanship, and proposal preparation. ORAP also offers grant writing workshops and seminars.

PIs should work closely with their Research Administrators (RAs) during the development of the proposal to ensure that all University and agency policies and guidelines are met.

A departmental contact list is available in the myResearch database.

Guideline 1 and Guideline 2

Office of Research (OR)/ORSO Guideline 1 and OR/ORSO Guideline 2 provide information regarding proposal preparation and necessary procedures to follow to obtain institutional (WSU) endorsement. PIs should obtain current copies from the ORSO Guidelines Index website.

Budget Approval

The PI obtains approval of the proposal’s budget from a budget-certified individual within their department, unit, college, or campus before routing the eREX form and proposal through the review chain.

Private Sponsors

Some sponsors have regulations requiring that proposals be submitted only by institutions that comply with tax code 26 USC 501(c)(3). While WSU has a similar status, the University is not a 501(c)(3) institution. Also, the WSU Foundation (WSUF) serves as the primary contact for some private sponsors.

If the sponsor requires the requesting institution to have 501(c)(3) status or if the sponsor relies upon the WSU Foundation as the primary contact, ORSO routes the proposal to the WSUF for submission. For additional information regarding private sponsors that fall into these categories, review the ORSO WSU/WSUF Private Grant Sponsors web page.

eREX Form

A completed eREX form accompanies all proposals submitted for institutional review and approval (see eRex Form).

The form is for WSU use only. It provides ORSO and other WSU personnel with a concise summary of the proposal, including the budget, names of all PIs, special considerations, and an abstract of the proposed work.

Completing the eREX Form

The PI completes the form according to directions indicated in OR/ORSO Guideline 1 and OR/ORSO Guideline 2. Investigators may obtain current copies of Guidelines 1 and 2 from the OR/ORSO Guidelines Index website.


The eREX form and proposal are routed through the review chain and signatures obtained from administrators indicated on the form, or their delegates.

Proposals involving multiple colleges, departments, campuses, or programs must be reviewed and approved by each unit’s administrator (dean, chair, research director, vice president and/or chancellor), or their delegate.

Revisions:  October 2022 (Rev. 599); Jan. 2021 (Rev. 560); Aug. 2019 (Rev. 534); April. 2017 (Rev. 489); April 2007 (Rev. 296); Feb. 2007 (Rev. 293); July 1995 (Rev. 97).