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Guidelines for Participating in SBIR/STTR Programs

A number of federal agencies have programs supporting the research and development activities of small businesses that foster collaboration with university research.  ORS is seeing increasing numbers of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) collaborations, both, where UH faculty, staff and students are subcontractors of small businesses and where UH faculty, staff and students are themselves the proprietors of start-up companies.  UH recognizes the importance of the SBIR and STTR program goals such as stimulating technological innovation and encouraging technology commercialization, both of which, increase productivity and economic growth.  However, some of these types of activities and the relationships fostered between small businesses and UH faculty, staff and students may give rise to conflicts of interest and/or conflict of commitment issues.

The Vice President for Research and Innovation (VPRI), the Office Technology Transfer and Economic Development (OTTED) and ORS have created these guidelines to address issues of SBIR and STTR funded projects.

  1. The Principal Investigator (PI) on subcontracts/subawards to UH and the PI on the SBIR/STTR award to the small business must not be the same individual.
  2. UH employees should not be the PI on SBIR awards (SBIR program requires the PI to be primarily employed, >50%, by the small business), without an exception/approval from the Deciding Official (Vice President for Research and Innovation).
  3. The proposed research to be performed at and by the small business must be clearly delineated and distinct from the research to be performed at UH.  Additionally, the small business must provide evidence of adequate facilities (laboratory, office…) to perform the work.  The small business may not utilize any UH resources for any of their activities.
  4. UH employees (including members of their immediate family) who have ownership interest in the small business receiving a SBIR/STTR award may not conduct or direct research in his/her own laboratory through subcontracts/subawards from that small business.
  5. All licensing and intellectual property issues must be reviewed by OTTED and agreements must be in place before any UH subcontract/subaward is executed.
  6. The implementation of a COI management plan may be required when these guidelines are inadequate, and will be determined on a case by case basis.

What to Do When You Receive an Extramural Grant Award

You have just been notified that your grant was awarded.  Congratulations!

For the initial account set up, the ORS Project Fiscal accountant assigned to the sponsor will:
(1) Assign the appropriate account number,
(2) Create the Award in KFS,
(3) Review and input any additional attributes required for a CG account, and
(4) Input the sponsor-approved budget.

This Account and Single-Sided Budget Adjustment (SSBA) eDocs will be routed via the Kuali Financial System workflow to the Fiscal Administrator (FA) at UH Hilo - Paula Gealon 932-7688 at the UH Hilo Office for Research, Fiscal Administration Section (aka RAPD) and will be included in her Action List.  It is the responsibility of the FA to review the account attributes and budget for accuracy and initiate any changes in KFS as necessary. Contact the ORS accountant if there are any questions; please see the   link to the ORS website to identify the accountant assigned to your grant’s sponsor:

In general the account eDocs should be available for FA to review within three working days of the notice that the award has been finalized.  The account set up may require that certain compliance actions have been taken, such as approval of your study by the Human Studies Committee or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. If these actions are required for your grant and are not completed at the time the award is finalized, establishing the account in KFS will be delayed. The ORS website also contains useful information for account set up and management:

You may also want to contact the ORS Contracts & Grants Specialists assigned to your unit on the ORS Contracts & Grants Specialist Assignment page found here:

These staff members provide assistance in answering questions you may have on any of the terms and conditions in your grant or contract which can have a significant impact on the tasks you need to do to assure the success of your project.  Final decisions on grant transactions are made by the Fiscal Administrator.

Pre-Proposal/White Paper Submission Process

A pre-proposal (also known as white paper) is generally a short statement of your project objectives, methodology, intended audience and estimated budget sometimes required by a sponsor in advance of the submission of a formal proposal. A principal investigator (PI) is not required to create a myGRANT proposal development record at the pre-proposal stage. A myGRANT proposal development record will only be required when a PI is invited to submit a full proposal to the sponsor following white paper submission.

However, some principal investigators (PIs) may elect to create a myGRANT proposal development at the pre-proposal stage to ensure that all necessary approvals are documented. It is the PI's responsibility to obtain approvals for any resource commitments from their chancellor, dean/director, department chair, as applicable, and their fiscal administrator. Resource commitments include but are not limited to, time and effort and/or cost sharing requirements.

The following is the process to be followed at the pre-proposal stage.

myGRANT Proposal Development Record Created

If the PI elects to create a myGRANT proposal development record at the pre-proposal stage, once it has gone through full workflow routing, the ORS Specialist will review the record for compliance with UH, sponsor and solicitation requirements. The ORS Specialist will ensure that the proposal type is marked "preliminary" in the myGRANT proposal development record.

Once the ORS Specialist completes review, they will submit the pre-proposal to the sponsor.

No myGRANT Proposal Development Record Created

  1. Sponsor Requires Endorsement by Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)

    If the sponsor requires endorsement of the pre-proposal by the UH AOR and no myGRANT proposal development record is created, the ORS Specialist will request written documentation of approval of any resource commitments (e.g., time and effort and/or cost-sharing commitments) from the chancellor, dean/director, and/or department chair, as applicable, and the PI's fiscal administrator.

    Once necessary approvals have been received, the ORS Specialist will submit the pre‑proposal to the sponsor.
  2. Sponsor Does Not Require AOR Endorsement

    If the sponsor does not require endorsement by the UH AOR, it is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that approvals of any resource commitments (e.g., time and effort and/or cost-sharing commitments) from the chancellor, dean/director, and/or department chair, as applicable, and the PI's fiscal administrator are on file with the pre-proposal submitted at the departmental level. If the PI is subsequently invited to submit a full proposal, copies of the preliminary file should be attached in the "Abstracts and Attachments" tab when the myGRANT proposal development record is created.


Submitting a UH Extramural Funding Proposal

I. Preparation

A successful proposal is well-developed, clearly defined, and entails cooperation among colleagues and the administrative staff of the University of Hawai'i.  The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and the Office of Research Services (ORS) provides technical assistance in proposal development and maintains up-to-date guidelines from numerous funding agencies.  Funding opportunities and proposal development guidance can be found on the ORS website at

Preparation is the key to a winning proposal.  If this is your first proposal, you may want to discuss the process with someone who has proposal-writing experience, such as a colleague in your department or in your field of expertise.  You will want to inform your Department Chair and/or Vice Chancellor, and fiscal staff, of your intention to submit a proposal as well.  Please note that any extramural funding proposal submitted in your capacity as a University employee is submitted from the University of Hawai'i and is awarded to the University, rather than to an individual. Both you and the University share responsibility for the programmatic and fiscal activities that take place over the course of the sponsored project.

II. Contact ORS

Once you have decided to apply for extramural funding, it is important to inform the ORS Hilo Service Center of your intention.  Contact information may be found at    They are your essential resource in assisting with the proposal preparation and submission process.  They will assist you in accessing the proposal instructions, guidelines and means of submission.  They will also help you determine if the University meets funding eligibility requirements.  The ORS Hilo Service Center staff provides proposal development assistance and resources such as access to forms, institutional legal information, budget development tools, and proposal review.  You are encouraged to contact them at anytime, even while you search for funding or are in the process of developing project ideas.


Extramural funds, including grants and contracts, are administered by the UH Office of Research Services (ORS) using myGRANT, the UH System's online research administration software that is required for use by all UH campuses. myGRANT: As of February 16, 2012, the use of myGRANT is mandatory for all proposal submissions for all UH campuses. Please see ORS  web page for myGRANT information

An approved myGRANT proposal development record is required before an extramural funding proposal may be submitted.  Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and ensure that both campus and ORS approvers have enough time to review the proposal in its entirety.  It is highly recommended that you submit your myGRANT proposal for approval at least two weeks before the sponsor deadline.  If this is not possible, campus and ORS approvers may not have adequate time to properly review your proposal and to offer the best chance for funding.  Sponsors generally recognize a proposal that has been rushed and put together last minute, which potentially lessens chances for funding. 

IV. Proposal Submission

The sponsor will describe proposal submission requirements in the proposal guidelines and instructions.  The means of submitting a proposal will differ between sponsors and sometimes differ by programs within a sponsoring organization.  The majority of federal proposals are submitted electronically while other sponsors may require hard copy proposals to be mailed or delivered.  Be sure to allow adequate time for proposal submission; we recommend allowing a minimum of two business days to submit electronic proposals in case the system rejects them, and five business days if hard copies need to be mailed.  If the proposal instructions require registration with an electronic proposal system, such as, Fastlane, or eRA-Commons, please contact ORS to help with this process.  The University of Hawai'i is already registered with the most common electronic submission systems, such as  If you are submitting an NSF or NIH proposal, you can register through ORS at   ORS specialists are the only individuals authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the University of Hawai'i.  Proposals that have not been processed through ORS risk the possibility that the University may not be able to accept resulting award funds.Again, it is imperative that you contact the ORS Hilo Service Center early in your proposal development process. For more information  please see ORS web site on Proposal submission and review process

ORS staff members are trained to assist proposal developers throughout the process and to make the submission as seamless as possible.  Contacting ORS Hilo Service Center staff assigned to your unit and begin planning the proposal development process as early as possible.