Institutional Support Commitments for Extramural Proposals 

SDSU’s administration is committed to helping faculty secure extramural funding for research, scholarship, and creative activities. Programs are offered and supported by the Division of Research & Innovation (DRI), the SDSU Research Foundation (SDSURF), and the colleges. Examples include recovery of full Facilities and Administrative cost (indirect costs) to Principal Investigators’ Research Support Fund (RSF), as well as teaching release time programs.

For some grant opportunities, institutional commitment is required by the funding agency. More often, institutional commitment, though not required, is understood to make a proposal more competitive with reviewers or the funding agency. In other cases, for instance in large center grants, the administrative demands of a proposed project make it appropriate for the PI to request special consideration from the University for specific commitments.  

SDSU’s institutional commitment will be informed by the stated requirements or expectations of the funding agency, by the size of the award and associated indirect costs, and by the relevance of the project to University and College strategic priorities. SDSU does not typically make special support commitments for single-investigator awards.

The University is strategic in agreeing to and in structuring its institutional support commitments. Commitments often require coordination between multiple units. The administration is especially interested in making commitments that are specifically required or encouraged by the funding agency, or that would facilitate new, large multi-investigator projects. 

Institutional commitment can take several forms, including:

Space. New projects, especially large, collaborative, and interdisciplinary projects, occasionally require assignment of new or additional office or laboratory space. SDSU’s ability to make new space commitments depends on space availability and- in the case of SDSURF space- on the generation of sufficient RSF from the grant. Unless specifically indicated by appropriate SDSU administrators, such space commitments will normally only be for the length of the award.

Equipment or equipment maintenance. Some instrumentation programs require an institutional contribution. Support for new equipment or for maintenance contracts may involve multiple contributions, including from RSF funds allocated to faculty. Commitment for maintenance contracts will normally be for the length of the award.

Graduate or undergraduate student support. Such support can leverage student support provided by the grant itself. 

Seed funds for research projects that are unfunded by the project itself but that generally fall under the purview of the project. Such support is typically considered for large, center-type proposals, and it is often directed to support newly hired faculty or faculty who are changing research direction.  

Assigned faculty time or staff support for administrative tasks. Typically, this would be negotiated for unusually large or complex projects involving several PIs or institutions.

Assigned faculty time for research. Assigned time for research will depend on the agreement of the Dean or Department Chair / School Director, and will be informed by College research assigned time policy. Faculty also have the option to buy out time at the full salary rate.

PIs requesting institutional commitment for a new proposal or a competing renewal) should follow these steps:

  1. Deans will be the primary point of contact for PI’s in negotiating institutional support, regardless of the source of support (i.e., DRI, SDSURF, or the College). The Dean (or Associate Dean delegate) will work directly with VPRI, SDSURF, and/or other potential SDSU contributors.
  2. When a proposal involves more than one PI from SDSU, the PIs should first decide amongst themselves who is the lead PI responsible for negotiating SDSU’s institutional commitment. When RSF is applicable, PIs should also decide beforehand how RSF is to be distributed between them, as it impacts the college RSF distributions and the Deans’ institutional commitments. 
  3. PIs should initiate a request for institutional support at least two weeks before the proposal deadline. If multiple colleges are involved, requests should be made at least four weeks before the submission deadline. A request should include the following:
    1. RFP highlighting any requirement for institutional commitments or cost sharing
    2. Draft budget including expected overheard from award and any subcontracts to/from other institutions.
    3. Institutional commitments being requested and a justification for the request.
  4. The Dean (or the Associate Dean delegate) will review a request within 7 days and initiate work with other stakeholders to obtain commitments.
  5. Once institutional commitments are agreed upon, it is the responsibility of the PI or lead PI to provide to their Dean (or Associate Dean delegate) a draft letter of support outlining institutional commitments that have been agreed upon for finalization and signature.