Stanford researchers can use this quick guide to launch global health research projects, access the university’s many helpful resources, and navigate complex administrative systems to secure fundraising and project startup.
Develop an early concept note and budget using these potential resources:
Clarify process and timeline for proposal development, budgets, and approval
We strongly recommend you schedule a meeting with Global Business Services (“GBS”), Office of Research Administration (“ORA”), and Research Management Group (“RMG”) by completing the attached request/intake form. In the meantime, please consider the items below. Please note, the more background information you have on the topics below, the more productive the meeting will be.
Consider where the activity will take place and who will conduct activity where and for how long
Consider whether there will be a need to hire/engage locally
Will the project raise funds/generate revenue/charge participants, etc.? What would that flow of funds look like? Please note that funds could be subject to local taxation.
Large projects with significant in-country activity (e.g. a project >1 year where there is a need to either send Stanford personnel or hire locally for the entire length of time) may require Dean’s approval.
Flow of funds – there should be an explicit understanding of:
Once an individual collaborator has been identified, they should go through Stanford’s Restricted Party Screening process
Please note that there are different forms of contracts which depend on the nature of the activity. Consequently, there are different contracting offices who will prepare the contract and ensure it complies with related university policies and procedures. More clarity around your activity will guide and determine the central offices you will need to work with. Within the SoM, contact RMG to begin the process.
If you are responding to a sponsor’s Request for Proposals (RFP) or Program Announcement, note their deadline for submission. Is there sufficient time for you and your collaborators to develop a competitive proposal, AND for you to obtain Stanford approval to submit a proposal? Make a go/no-go decision.
To move forward with the proposal development, complete a Proposal Intake Form (PIF) in the SeRA system to provide information about your planned proposal. A Research Process Manager (RPM) will contact you to assist with the proposal development and will act as the Institutional Official for proposal submission.
Indirect Costs are also known as Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs. F&A costs are related to expenses incurred in conducting or supporting research, or other externally funded activities, but not directly attributable to a specific project (e.g. space, utilities, administration).
F&A rates are established in accordance with federal policy. They are negotiated between Stanford and the ONR (Office of Naval Research), the cognizant federal agency, which oversees the administration of sponsored agreements at Stanford. A listing of the rates and application can be found on the DoR website. Stanford is prohibited by statute from reducing its indirect cost rate for a foreign sponsor.
Consideration of an IDC rate that is lower than our federally negotiated rate:
Indirect Costs (Facilities & Administrative Rates): Stanford negotiates rates with the federal government. As a result, the University has established policies on the application of the rates and when a waiver of the negotiated rates to a lesser rate can be requested. University policy only allows indirect cost waivers for sponsors (excluding foreign sponsors) who meet the following criteria:
If the sponsor meets all of the criteria, an indirect cost waiver should be requested through the Research Management Group. Contact your Research Process Manager.
Organize and manage the proposal workflow. A scope of work for collaborators and a draft budget should be developed early so that this can be worked through iteratively and ultimately become the basis for the administrative agreement.
No later than 30-days prior to your sponsor’s deadline, complete a Proposal Intake Form (PIF) in the Stanford Electronic Research Administration System (SeRA) to engage the RMG and be assigned a Research Process Manager (RPM). A PIF requires you to identify the sponsor, provide the project start and end-dates, a draft budget or budget justification, identification of collaborators or potential subaward institutions, and a copy of the program announcement (if applicable). For more information refer to the Proposal Intake Form on the RMG Website
Draft your research proposal. (Stanford’s DoR offers trainings on Proposal and Budget Preparation, the Center for Innovation in Global Health and Professor Steve Luby teaches a 2-day Global Health Research Methods Retreat, and this global health scientific writing guide produced by Professor Steve Luby may also be informative)
If you have not yet been in touch with the GBS team, we recommend reaching out to them for a quick consultation on the scope of your in-country activities. GBS will include Stanford’s Global HR as necessary.
Iteratively revise proposal and budget based on input from collaborators and from RMG.
Work with your RPM in RMG to finalize budget and budget justification, any other funder required documents e.g. biosketches, letters of support, GANTT chart, or Monitoring & Evaluation Plan.
If Stanford is the grantee institution and you will be subcontracting pieces of work, ensure that your collaborator/subaward recipient has the requisite support and understanding to complete the Stanford paperwork required of all subcontractors
Allotting insufficient time for RMG to complete the submission paperwork
To manage their workflow, RMG has strict timelines. Initiate the Proposal Intake Form (PIF) and the budget early enough so that they can work with you towards a deadline – they recommend 30-days in advance. If you fail to engage well ahead of time, they may be unable to provide sufficient support for an on-time submission.
For NIH/NSF proposals, RMG must submit on the Principal Investigator / Stanford’s behalf.
For other proposals, there is often a choice. If the Principal Investigator submits, they are typically well-placed to address questions that arise and receive feedback from the donor. If the Principal Investigator submits, they need to cc their assigned Research Process Manager on the email.
Celebrate! Get to work.
Engage the Stanford Office of Research Administration (ORA) to review and sign the award letter or contract from the funder, and set up subcontracts with your partners.
Obtain human subjects (IRB) approval to proceed with the work.
You can follow up on the progress by logging into SeRA, inputting the SPO # for the proposal, and reading the latest update. If you have further questions or it appears stalled, check with your ORA Officer. Checking on progress every 1-2 weeks helps to flag potential delays, so that they can be addressed.
Submit your collaborator’s subcontract for approval. If there are substantial disagreements between Stanford and your collaborator’s institution (or the attorneys), it is often useful to convene a combined meeting that includes the PI’s and/or senior scientists on both sides with ORA and the attorneys. If the scientists are involved in the conversation, they can usually quickly agree on general principles that the attorneys can then put into a document.
Assuming that ORA will promptly reach a contractual agreement with the donor
Mismatch between donor’s expectation of project / research start date, and Stanford’s timeline for completing administrative processes