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Proposal Development

The Department Research Administrator (DRA) staff within the School of Natural Sciences supports and assists PIs in the development of proposals for external related funding. The RA staff will assist you with the development of the budget for all proposals. 

Research Development Services (RDS), a unit with the Office of Research supports and assist in the development limited submissions, complex proposals, and funding over $1 million dollars. Details regarding the services provided by RDS can be located on the RDS website

The UC Merced Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) requires that a proposal be submitted at least five (5) business days before the deadline for full review and approval to the sponsoring agency. Grants Administration within the School of Natural Sciences requires that a proposal be submitted at least nine (9) business days before the required SPO deadline. These deadlines are established to ensure that proposals are developed and reviewed thoroughly prior to submission to the sponsoring agency.

Proposal submission deadline: example here


UC Merced utilizes Cayuse, an online software application for its Research Administration related functions Proposal development, proposal submission, and post award management is done through Cayuse. There are two versions of Cayuse that UC Merced utilizes: CayuseSP and Cayuse424. 


Cayuse SP is utilized to create an institutional record related to that PI's proposal. The SP record is used by different departments to track and account for those proposals that are being submitted or are awarded. All proposals must have a CayuseSP record created.

The approval routing systems requires proper approval before SPO will review. The Dean of the School of Natural Sciences (or designee) needs to approve all proposals to ensure compliance with university and school policies once SPO has completed its review. 


Cayuse424 is a web based system that allows UC Merced PIs and staff to submit proposals to (most federal agencies). Use Cayuse424 to submit all your proposals to federal agencies unless the proposal is one of the following:

  • a collaborative submission to NSF - submit this type of proposal through FastLane
  • a proposal to a non-federal agency that requires submission through the sponsor's submission system
  • a proposal requiring a application package not supported by Cayuse424
  • a standard proposal to NSF - you may continue to prepare and submit these through FastLane

Getting started with Cayuse:

Getting Started

In working with the Department Research Administrator (DRA), here are some things to have ready to assist you in the proposal development process:

Proposal needs to be completed before routing. Proper approvals are required. Scientific components can still be in draft

Items required (*) to route Cayuse SP record: (needs to be uploaded to SP record)

Complete proposal means all the items listed are present. The technical/science sections of the proposal may be in draft form. The PI may continue to finalize the technical/science sections while SPO is reviewing the proposal. 

Process Map: Non submissions (SP) - insert language for different systems for submission/use

Process Map: submissions (SP and 424) - insert language for different systems for submission/use


- Post Doc Salaries, Student Assistant Salaries, GSR Tuition & Fees