"INSTAAR is dedicated to a better understanding of our planet, from Colorado to the global scale. To do that, we must secure research funds, and here is where you will find helpful information on how INSTAAR can facilitate that process. Our goal is to make the proposal process as painless and fun as possible, and we do that by allowing you, the investigator, to focus on your scientific ideas while we focus on the administrative details. Want to submit a budget on a cocktail napkin? No problem, and all we ask is that you dry the napkin first, or better yet, use a pencil. So go ahead and write that brilliant proposal and then change the world. We’re happy to help."
  —Jim White, Director

Catherine Larkins, INSTAAR CFO, will help with budget preparation and serve as the liaison to the proposal analyst at the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG).  Any questions about proposals should be directed to her. Chrystal Pochay is the proposal backup if Catherine Larkins is out for an extended period.

Who can submit proposals?

INSTAAR Faculty and Affiliates can route proposals through CU.  OCG has definitions of who is eligible to be a Principal Investigator (PI).

Where can I find funding?

The CU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research has a very good reference page for finding funding at

What are the deadlines?

OCG deadline is a minimum of 5 working days before the submission is due, more if project includes subcontracts, collaborators or other complexities.  This give the proposal analyst time to review documents and budgets and get the proposal transferred to proper electronic forms for submission. The Vice Chancellor for Research supports these deadlines.

Since the OCG minimum deadline is 5 working days, the recommended deadline to get proposal materials to your INSTAAR liaison is 10 working days before the submission is due.

Proposal forms

PSR form – includes basic PI and Co-PI information, solicitation and application information, grant information, DA-ICR split, and DEPA certifications.  It can be signed electronically, or printed and signed. If you use a Mac, please open in Adobe, not in Preview, or you will not be able to save and email the complete form.

Contact Information Form – needed for collaborations or subcontractors to give contact information at another institution.

Other forms for collaborations, subcontracts, etc. may be required and will be emailed to the PI when applicable.

Process—new proposals

In a nutshell: Two to three weeks (or more) before the proposal deadline: complete the PSR form and draft a budget; send to INSTAAR CFO Catherine Larkins. If there are collaborators or subcontractors, also submit Contact Information Form. 

Catherine Larkins will send additional forms, if needed, and will work with you to develop the budget that meets your needs.  Also if additional information or approvals are needed from other campus units (departments, centers, institutes, administrative offices), she will be the liaison to those units.

Once the budget is finalized, and all signatures are on the PSR form, Catherine Larkins will forward to the OCG Proposal Analyst no later than 5 working days before the proposal due date.  OCG will complete the Cover sheet and Budget Sheets for the official proposal submission.

The PI is responsible for all other documents required by the Funding Announcement including:

  • Project summary
  • Project description
  • Budget justification
  • Bio sketches
  • References
  • Current and pending support statements
  • Facilities, equipment and other resources

Submitting these documents in a timely manner will ensure that the OCG proposal analyst has time to review and recommend any edits. The Proposal Analyst's job is to make sure that the proposal meets
 all requirements in the solicitation.

OCG will send the proposal to the sponsor when all documents are uploaded (Fastlane) or submitted ( and other platforms). The PI will get a confirmation of submission from OCG. 

Process—supplemental proposals to existing grants

For supplemental proposals generally less documentation is needed.  Once the budget is finalized, and all signatures are on the PSR form, Catherine Larkins will forward to the OCG Proposal Analyst no later than 5 working days before the proposal due date.  The Proposal Analyst will also need:

  • Summary of proposed work
  • Budget justification
  • Justification of the supplement (different than budget justification)

Process—proposals that include subcontracts

In addition to the usual documents for a proposal described above, you will need to provide additional documentation for subcontracts.  The subcontractor, in addition to the budget, budget justification and statement of work, will be asked to provide documentation of institutional support by completing the Subrecipient Commitment Form and sending a copy of their institution’s Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.  The PI will demonstrate review of the documents submitted by the subcontractor on the Subcontract Review Form.  If the subcontract is over $5,000 (and, of course, it is) the PI will also be asked to provide a Sole Source Justification. 

More information about proposal submission can be found on the OCG website at