Activities that take place before, simultaneously with or independently of a proposal being assembled fall into the “pre proposal” phase of the sponsored project lifecycle.

Confidentiality (non-disclosure), material transfer and data use agreements

CDAs are contracts that govern the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information between parties. Often, a CDA is used to enable parties to evaluate the potential of a proposed collaboration in advance of an MTA or DUA.

MTAs and DUAs are contracts that establish the terms and conditions governing the use of material or data received from (or sent to) an outside entity. The outside entity may be another university, a government agency or other non-profit entity, or a for-profit company. These agreements address important issues such as liability, intellectual property, publication rights and regulatory compliance, among others.

These agreements are negotiated by the Division of Sponsored Programs’ Gray Team on behalf of the university. As with a grant award, a CDA, MTA or DUA is executed between institutions, not individuals. Investigators do not have the authority to sign these agreements on behalf of VCU.

For assistance

Gray team

Kristin Schmidt Berube
Contracts Manager
Division of Sponsored Programs
(804) 828-6772

Limited submission applications

VCU compliance notice and guidance

VCU Limited Submission Compliance Notice

Instructions and screenshots for new limited submission opportunities process

Helpful links

Access limited submission opportunities


Melissa Throckmorton
Director of Research Development and Strategic Projects, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
(804) 827-1443

Other activities

NIH account request

Individual account needed for role-based access to NIH era Commons systems.

Associated document/form NIH account request e-form
Responsible VCU unit(s) PI/Study Staff initiates e-form, Division of Sponsored Programs completes action in sponsor system.

New sponsor in RAMS-SPOT

Search for sponsor name in RAMS-SPOT using “%key word.” If sponsor name not listed, indicate “TBD.”

Related VCU systems RAMS-SPOT [RAMS SPOT get started - funding proposal smart form provides additional guidance.]
Responsible VCU unit(s) PI/Study Staff indicates ‘TBD” in Funding Proposal sponsor field, Division of Sponsored Programs completes request.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

Some sponsors request a letter of intent prior to receipt of a full proposal. If the submission requires Division of Sponsored Programs signature, process LOI as "Pre-proposal" in RAMS-SPOT. LOI may or may not lead to a full proposal.

VCU policy or compliance notice

Division of Sponsored Programs responsibilities compliance notice 

Related VCU systems RAMS-SPOT [RAMS SPOT get started - funding proposal smart form provides additional guidance.]
Responsible VCU unit(s) PI/Study Staff initiates funding proposal in RAMS-SPOT, Division of Sponsored Programs reviews and approves.

Who can be a principal investigator? (PI eligibility)

All proposed principal investigators must meet the requirements of the VCU policy or be an approved exception, prior to proposal submission.

Associated document/form Principal investigator (PI) eligibility exception
VCU policy or compliance notice Principal Investigator Eligibility
Responsible VCU unit(s) PI/Study Staff should initiate