Frequently Asked Questions

OSPRS General FAQs

Policies related to the OSPRS can be located on the university's policy website, under the policy management area RSCH (Research).

Forms related to OSPRS can be found on the university's online forms page, under the Sponsored Programs and Research Services section.

Select the following link to view the university's Institutional Profile.

Please email or visit the Contact Us page on our site for more information

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Services is located in the Coastal Science Center, Suite 160.

The operating hours of the OSPRS are Monday - Thursday 8AM-5PM and Friday 8AM-12:30PM.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) FAQs

The Coastal Carolina University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects who are recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the university.

A human subject is "a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research:

  • Obtains information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or
  • Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes or generates identifiable private information or identifiable bio specimens."

Research is defined as a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. A project requires IRB review if it includes both human subjects and research.

There are Exempt and Expedited and Full Board Reviews.  Most human subject research at CCU is reviewed as Exempt because it produces “minimal risk” to the participants. In this context, “minimal risk” means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. Please note that, under federal regulations, pregnant women, prisoners, individuals with disabilities and children are all considered special populations and require a Full Board review. The CCU IRB defines children as anyone less than 18 years of age.

No. IRB review or approval cannot be granted retroactively and human subject research conducted without prior IRB approval can never be used as the basis for any publication.

If the survey will obtain private information on individuals (such as personally identifying data, personal experience revelations, medical disclosures, etc.), it must be reviewed and approved by the IRB.

An individual's participation in a research project can be described as anonymous only if it is impossible to know whether or not that individual participated in the study. For example, participation in an online survey would be considered anonymous if the responses could not be linked in any way to the individual. When participation is confidential, the research team knows that a particular individual has participated in the research, but the team members are obligated not to disclose that information to others outside the research team, except as allowed for in an informed consent document.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is an online program, used by universities nationwide to provide the required training for conducting research with human participants.

All CCU faculty, staff and students, and anyone who will serve on their research team, must complete the required courses for their researcher type. For more information refer to the “REQUIRED TRAINING FOR RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS” section of the OSPRS Research Compliance page.

Yes. Although your student may be leading the research project, as a faculty advisor, you are responsible for ensuring an appropriate research design; monitoring student conduct in the field, adherence to protocol and any adverse events or problems that may occur; responding to participant questions or concerns concerning their rights; and for assisting in the preparation of the protocol review request that will be submitted to the CCU IRB.

CCU will need to enter into what is called a Reliance Agreement (sometimes called an IRB authorization), which allows for one or more of the institutions engaged in the human subjects research project to cede review to another. Reliance Agreements may cover a single study, categories of study or all human subject research conducted under an institution’s Federalwide Assurance (FWA). This agreement requires the authorized signature of the all parties’ IRB. For more information or assistance with a Reliance Agreement, please contact

Coastal Carolina University requires researchers to secure site permission for research conducted at outside institutions and organizations. Examples of such institutions and organizations include universities, schools, clinics, businesses, non-profit organizations, charities, political organizations, religious organizations, clubs, hospitals, military organizations and public service sector organizations. If you will be recruiting from a site, using a site’s non-publicly available data, or conducting other study related activities with that site, then you must secure site permission to conduct your research.

It is highly recommended that you seek site permissions early on in your study planning as permissions are required prior to final IRB approval of any research protocol and data may not be collected from the site until IRB approval has been obtained. Please note that a site doesn’t only refer to a physical location or organization. If you are conducting research via the internet and intend to recruit participants from an organization or institution via email, website, or newsletter permission is still required.

Site letters are required to be printed on the site’s letterhead, dated within six months of IRB submission and signed by the appropriate signatory for the site.

Please visit our Research Compliance page for more detailed information regarding IRB.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) FAQs

The Coastal Carolina University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is an administrative body established to be responsible for reviewing and approving the use of live vertebrate animals being used in any research, teaching or testing project at the university.

Activities include research (including field studies and clinical trials), use of blood donor animals and breeding colonies, scheduled courses and continuing education offerings.

Only full-time faculty are allowed to serve as Principal Investigators for research activities involving vertebrate animals.

The IACUC requires anyone listed as key personnel on the protocol to take the "Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research" training course found at the following website: For all new submissions: All personnel must complete training prior to submission.

Please visit our Research Compliance page for more detailed information regarding IACUC.

Pre-Award FAQs

This term refers to any activity in pursuit of grant or contract funding that takes place prior to a sponsor issuing an official determination of award or declination.

Search for an agency, organization, foundation or company that shares your interests and is willing to fund your project. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk to your colleagues here and at other institutions;
  • Consult newsletters and websites of your professional societies;
  • If your interests coincide with a federal agency, search their websites for solicitations and look at abstracts of funded projects;
  • Sign up on for a daily or weekly notice of federal grant opportunities;
  • Use a funding search tool such as Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN); and
  • Visit the OSPRS Funding Opportunities page frequently.

In some cases, an organization will request that a proposal be submitted in order for them to release a gift to the university and they will refer to this as a “grant”. The OSPRS is responsible for sponsored projects and the Office for Advancement and Alumni Engagement is responsible for gifts to the university. A gift is something of value that is given to the university by a donor who expects nothing of significant value in return, other than recognition of the gift and its disposition in accordance with the donor’s wishes. A gift may be unrestricted, meaning that the university can use the funds as needed, or its use may be restricted by the donor. A sponsored project involves a written agreement between the university and sponsor, generally are in the form of a grant, contract of cooperative agreement, and has a defined scope of work to be performed, terms and condition, an approved budget and technical/financial reporting requirements in exchange for funding. If you considering a proposal and are unsure whether it would be a gift or sponsored project, please reach out to the for guidance.

Submission of all sponsored project proposals are the responsibility of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Services (OSPRS). Even if a sponsor does not require the endorsement of the university at the time of application, the OSPRS is responsible for ensuring contractual arrangements comply with federal, state and university guidelines. Review and involvement at the proposal stage help to avoid issues at the award stage such as using the incorrect rates (base salary, fringe benefits, IDC, etc.) and avoiding provisions that cannot be accepted by the university.

No. The OSPRS is the only office authorized to submit external funding requests on behalf of the university. Grant and contract funding are awarded to the university and not to individual faculty or staff. Coastal requires that proposals be reviewed and approved by an authorized official prior to submission to a sponsor in order to ensure that the faculty and university are eligible and can comply with the sponsor’s requirements, CCU policies and applicable state, federal or local rules and regulations. The AOR’s approval of the proposal certifies and assures that Coastal will comply with the required regulations. Failure to comply can result in penalties to the university and withdrawal or termination of funding. In order to be sure that you have the best chance for success, the OSPRS team will work to ensure that your application is complete, compliant and accurate whether it is a 10-page application or a 10 question online form.

Faculty and staff who are full-time university employees and enrolled students working with a faculty advisor may serve as Principal Investigators (PI). It is the responsibility of the PI to maintain academic and research integrity in the conduct of their sponsored project. In extenuating circumstances, an individual who is not a full-time employee may serve as PI, and such cases must be sanctioned by the Department Chair(s)/Director(s) and the college Dean(s) from which the proposal is being submitted.

Please contact to determine if an application needs to be routed to the OSPRS prior to submission to a sponsor.

Your Chair/Director and Dean are required to approve the submission of proposals so that they are aware of the research and sponsored activity taking place in their department and college. Their approvals are obtained electronically. Additionally, the Chair/Director and the Dean are permitted to commit university resources to the proposal, if required.

Yes or no, depending on whether or not the sponsor requires a budget and/or an authorized signature. If one of the following four scenarios exists, then the OSPRS policies, procedures and timelines for a full proposal are in effect.*

  1. A detailed budget is being submitted – If a detailed budget is being submitted. NOTE: This does not include submissions that require only a total dollar amount but no itemized costs.
  2. Cost-share is committed – The PI will be required to obtain a commitment from the Department Chair/Director and Dean responsible for providing the cost-share approval using the Grant Allocation Form.
  3. Terms and Conditions – If a submission requires the university to agree to certifications and representation or agreement to specific terms and conditions, then submission through the OSPRS is required to ensure legal review and official approval to submit.
  4. Signature of the Authorizing Official for the University is required – The Director of the OSPRS is the authorized official for the university in the submission of external funding proposals.

*Please note that if none of these four circumstances exists, you are asked to provide a copy of the submission to for resource planning purposes in anticipation of a full proposal to come.

When the sponsor limits the number of proposals from an institution, the Office of Research will conduct an internal (or limited submission) competition to determine who should submit on Coastal’s behalf. If you are interested in submitting a proposal that has limits on the number of proposals allowed per institution, please notify the OSPRS as soon as possible to indicate your interest to help ensure that there is sufficient time for us to review the solicitation and provide guidance to the Associate Provost for Research regarding the timeline for an internal review process.

Even if the sponsor deadline is after 5:00 pm EST, the deadline for Coastal’s submission remains 5:00 pm as that is considered the end of the working day for the university. If an exception to this standard is needed, please contact the OSPRS Director, Stephanie Cassavaugh, well in advance of the deadline to make special arrangements.

No, you do not need to register with or the Systems for Award Management (SAM). Coastal is registered as the official organization on these systems and updates the information annually. The OSPRS submits all application packages on behalf of the university.

Sponsor requirements vary. Most do not require approval of the use of human or animal subjects at the time of submission of a proposal. However, there are a few exceptions, and all sponsors require official approval before an award is made. Official, written, final approval of the IRB or IACUC must always be obtained before you begin any work on the project.

You will receive a confirmation emails from the OSPRS that the proposal has been submitted and we will keep you updated with any sponsor communication regarding the proposal. You may also hear directly from a sponsor with questions or requests for additional information and/or documentation. If this happens, you should provide notification to the OSPRS right away.

The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) of the university must review and accept all project awards. As a Principal Investigator, you cannot sign the agreement because you do not have the contractually authority to bind the university. Therefore, if received by a PI, all agreements should be forwarded to the OSPRS.

First, you will need to review the sponsor guidelines governing the grant to ensure that a transfer is allowed. You are advised to consult with the sponsored programs office of your previous institution for guidance. Second, please notify the OSPRS that you wish to transfer your grant by emailing In most cases, the previous institution will prepare a relinquishing statement to send to the sponsoring agency and you are asked to obtain a copy and send it to our office. The OSPRS will route your proposal with a copy of the budget and narrative to your new Chair and Dean for their review and approval of transfer and complete any necessary forms required by the sponsor. Should your project involve an issue of compliance (IRB, IACUC, etc.), we will also work with you on securing those approvals.

As an estimate of project costs, the budget should reflect the decisions you have made in planning the project. A budget should list in detail all expected items of costs (ex. salaries, wages, fringe benefits, supplies, equipment, publications, travel, tuition or other direct expenses). Each sponsor has a different budget preference, but you will work with the internal budget worksheets provided by the OSPRS and the information will be transferred to the sponsor’s required template or online system.

These are the costs to the university associated with an employee and include things like state retirement/group life, FICA (Social Security & Medicare), unemployment compensation and worker's compensation. The costs of health, dental or vision insurance are ONLY applied to a grant budget when an employee’s salary will be fully paid by the grant. There are different rates for different types of positions as well as student employees, so please always check the OSPRS institutional profile for accurate information. You may also click here for FY2024 Fringe Benefit Rates.

Cost-share is the provision of university or third-party funds in support of an externally funded project. Sources may include start-up funds, department/college research funds, indirect cost waivers or other funds accessible by the PI. Funds from other grants and contracts may not typically be used as cost-share. Most sponsors do not require cost-share; if it is not required, you should not provide it as part of your budget. If the sponsor requires it, you can cost share in two ways: 1. A cash match is a match of dollars; and 2. An in-kind match is a match of facilities, equipment or services (faculty effort).

Direct costs are those which can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project and which can be directly assigned to such activities, relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy. For example, the supplies needed for a research project are easy to identify, as are the salaries of the individuals who will work on the project and travel expenses for those individuals.

Indirect costs (IDC), or facilities and administrative costs (F&A), are costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objective. These include costs to support the university’s physical and administrative capacity to perform extramural projects. Examples of the facilities component of the IDC rate are utilities, depreciation and the cost of administration. The university’s current indirect cost rate is 49.59% of salaries, wages and fringe benefits for on-campus activities and 30.58% for off-campus activities. Please click here for CCU's current F&A Cost Rates.

Activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated are included in this category. Sponsored projects will not be subject to more than one F&A cost rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, that rate will apply to the entire project.

Most federal grants carry the full negotiated rate for IDC. However, Coastal recognizes that many other types of funders have their own policies regarding the use of their funds for overhead expenses. In the case where the funder has an official written and publicly disclosed policy in this regard that is applied on a consistent basis, or where a public solicitation for proposals defines a limit on indirect cost recovery as a condition of the program, Coastal will accept those requirements. If a PI is making a request for a waiver for any other reason, they must complete a Request for Indirect Cost Recovery Reduction or Waiver form and route to their Department Chair/Director and Dean before submitting to the OSPRS.

Allowable costs must be reasonable and allocable. A cost is reasonable if the amount paid is consistent with the amount that a prudent person under similar circumstances would pay.

A cost is allocable if:

  1. Tt was incurred solely to advance the work of the project;
  2. If it benefits the project in general in portions that can be reasonably approximated; 
  3. Or if it is necessary to the project.

Salary or wages are paid to employees, in return for the work performed by them for the university. This may be in the form of a fixed payment amount paid at regular intervals without regard to the number of hours being worked (salary) or payment to the employee as a result of the number of hours worked in a given period (wages). Stipends are paid to interns, trainees or apprentices, for doing work, conducting research or participating in a conference or workshop for the university with an aim of learning. The stipend is given to offset living expenses and not to compensate for the work performed. The amount of stipend is fixed and predetermined and has no IDC applied.

An instructional course release allows a faculty member to have a reduced teaching load under their normal academic year appointment. This means that the person is released from part of their teaching obligation while still being paid their regular full-time salary for that semester. The university allocates $4,116 per three-credit course as a line of salary for the PI. Those funds are then available to the department in order to fill the instructional course vacancy created by the release.

Any single item with a value of over $5,000 is equipment. Items of lesser value are materials and/or supplies. Sponsors determine who owns the title to equipment purchased on a grant. Normally, the university retains the title to most federally sponsored research equipment and we always try to negotiate title for the equipment.

If the item(s) can be purchased from a vendor on South Carolina state contract (, the total cost can be added to the line item budget with a quote attached to the budget justification. However, per South Carolina Procurement Code, if a specific item requested is not available from a state contracted vendor (or a reasonable substitute cannot be used from a state contracted vendor), you are required to submit a Grant Specified Exemption request to the university’s Chief Procurement Officer and receive approval to proceed PRIOR to submission of the proposal to the sponsor.

Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and conference registration fees paid to, or on behalf of, training participants (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. Expenses that are not directly attributable to the participant are not allowed, the fee charged by a guest presenter, for example.

Subawardees are entities or individuals that carry out a portion of the work as part of the larger contracted project. Subs will play a substantive portion of the research and participate in the designing and conducting of the work. Contractors (vendors) provide goods and/or services in support of the research project. A contractor has no participation in the design of the work or research. Consultants provide expert services in support of the research project. If you are unsure which category to use when preparing your proposal, the Pre-Award Coordinator will assist you in making that determination and ensuring it appears in the correct cost line on your final budget and that you have all the required documents associated with each.

No. A Coastal faculty member cannot be a consultant on a sponsored project, but may serve as a co-principal investigator, key or other personnel. The OSPRS will provide guidance on which category to use at the time of budget preparation.