Proposal Management Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Who do I contact for help?
  • For questions about Unit business policy/requirements for creating research proposal, contact your Research Unit Liaison
  • For technical support (e.g., navigation, connectivity, and system errors), contact the ITS Service Center.
  • For submission or sponsor specific questions, contact a Project Representative
    • Phone: 734-764-5500
    • Fax: 734-763-4053 or 734-764-8510
Who receives system email notifications?

Based on the situation/event/system, activity emails are sent to:

  • U-M Principal Investigator & Primary Research Administrator
    • E.g., proposal routed for approval, reviewer requests changes, etc.
    • You cannot turn off the option to send emails to a U-M Principal Investigator or Primary Research Administrator.
  • PAF Email Notifier for each Department
    • This group will get emails when it is their department's turn to review a Proposal Approval Form (PAF) (instead of sending emails to all Reviewers).
    • Reviewers & Unit Liaisons for departments can change/control who is part of this email group for each Dept ID. This does not give Review access for the department. Reviewer or Reviewer Who Can Sign must be set-up separately. Contact your Unit Liaison for more information.
  • Selected individual using Post a Comment for the Entire Project Team
    • E.g., use system to send an email to U-M PI to ask them to sign PAF/Conflict of Interest Statement

See Proposal Management Email.

PAF ID Creation - Proposal vs. Pre-Proposal

PAF Personnel

How do I add U-M Investigators (e.g., Principal Investigator) to a PAF?

Add U-M Investigators, such as the U-M Principal Investigator, for the proposal in question 2.3 of the PAF by:

  1. Adding the person
  2. Selecting if he/she has permission to edit the PAF and/or SF424 ( forms)
  3. Selecting his/her role on the project
  4. Indicating if he/she is Senior/Key to the proposal
  5. Adding Appointment(s) for the person

Learn more about U-M Investigators and get detailed instructions

Who is considered an "Other Non-faculty Investigator" on a PAF?

This role applies to personnel who fit the definition of investigator, but do not hold a faculty appointment.

I'm a Research Administrator on a project, but I am absent. How does my colleague in the same office get access to my projects?

Your colleague must be added as Administrative Personnel to the projects in order to be able to access these projects in your absence. Learn more about Administrative Personnel.

U-M Principal Investigator

I am a Principal Investigator for a Proposal, how do I sign the PAF/Conflict of Interest Statement?

From Display PAF Summary, click the Sign PAF button.
From the Project Workspace for a PAF, click the Sign PAF activity.

See the Quick Reference Card for Principal Investigators for more information.

How do I request that the U-M Principal Investigator signs the PAF/Conflict of Interest Statement?

Call or email the U-M PI to let him/her know that he/she needs to sign the PAF/Conflict of Interest Statement.
Use the Post a Comment for the Entire Project activity to send the U-M PI a system email requesting them to sign the PAF. The email will have a direct link to the PAF Workspace. The PI will not have to find the PAF in their Home Workspace.

Learn how to Post a Comment for the Entire Project Team

Note: Many units will not review the PAF unless the PI has signed the PAF/Conflict of Interest Statement.

Working with Proposals in eRPM

Who can edit and view PAFs/proposals in eRPM?

U-M Investigators and Administrative Personnel listed on the PAF who have been assigned permission to edit (edit rights) to the PAF are the only people who can edit a proposal during the proposal preparation state.

Non-UM Investigators listed on the PAF cannot view or edit a PAF.

Anyone listed on a PAF (proposal) and its associated unit Reviewers are able to view a proposal.

Reviewers can make changes or request changes when the PAF/proposal is routed for internal unit review.

Is there an easy way to print my PAF/proposal?

You can print any page of the PAF Worksheet using the print button on each page.

The easiest way to print the entire PAF is to use the Display PAF Summary. It includes all information entered on the PAF Worksheet and attachments.

Learn how to View and Print a PAF Summary.

Will I be able to copy a PAF to create another one?

Yes, U-M Investigators and administrative personnel with edit rights on a PAF can "clone" that PAF in the eRPM system no matter what state it is in (e.g., Unit Review, Active, Cancelled).

Learn how to Clone a PAF.

Why can't I find an activity on my PAF/Project Workspace?

What activity (action) you can complete for a PAF depends on both its state and your role. If you do not see an activity:

  • Check the PAF State
  • Check your role — Some activities are available for unit Reviewers only.
  • Check to see if you are the Primary Research Administrator or U-M PI — Certain activities can only be completed by the people fulfilling these roles on the PAF. e.g., only the U-M PI or the Primary Research Administrator can route a PAF for unit review and approval.
How can I view and retain document versions?

To upload a new version of a previously posted document, attach the new version on the same row as the original, instead of on the blank row. The system posts the revised document as a new version, displays the "Last Uploaded" date, and provides access to past versions through a hyperlink on the version number.  See the Working with Documents procedure for details.

Who has access to sponsored project documents?

ORSP, U-M Investigators, Administrative Personnel, and relevant unit Reviewers have access to proposals, PAFs, routing and approval status information, and Awards.

Can I restrict access to sponsored project documents?

You may restrict access to specific project documents from some U-M Investigator roles or administrative personnel. You cannot restrict access from the U-M PI or Primary Administrative Contact. Reviewers and ORSP can view all sponsored project documents.

Learn more about Working with Documents.

How do I associate a subcontract with my PAF?

Adding a subcontract (SUBK) to a PAF/project has multiple steps. For full system instructions, see the Enter a Subcontract in eRPM procedure.

Proposal Preparation:

  1. Identify that the project will include a subcontract on the PAF.
  2. Enter high-level information (e.g., subcontracting organization, SUBK investigator, etc.) and upload Letter of Commitment or Notes (as applicable).

After the U-M project is awarded:

  1. Enter details and upload required documentation (e.g., budget) for the Office of Contract Administration (OCA) to create the contract.

Once added, the subcontract appears under the Subcontracts tab in the PAF Workspace and under the All SUBKs tab in Home Workspace.

What is the difference between the Post a Comment vs. Project Team Request ORSP Action activities?

The Post a Comment activity:

  • Is available on a PAF in any state
  • Displays a comment for anyone with access to the PAF to view
  • Can send an email notification to the project team and/or ORSP (only if an email recipient is selected)  
  • Does not change the state of the PAF or the Inbox display

The Project Team Request ORSP Action activity:

  • Is only available on the PAF after the PAF is routed to ORSP for review
  • Moves the PAF to the ORSP Project Representatives (PR)  Inbox
  • Does not generate an email notification
Why should I attach one final proposal document as a PDF?

When finalizing the proposal documents that will be sent to the sponsor, attach only ONE PDF file unless specifically indicated otherwise by the sponsor or your ORSP PR.  Including one PDF enables a faster submission of your proposal, and ​ensures that your proposal appears exactly how you want it submitted to the sponsor.

Making & Submitting Changes

Who can change the PAF?

The PAF can be changed the by the PI/Project Team, Reviewers, and ORSP. Reviewers and ORSP can request that the Project Team make changes to the PAF.

How do I know if someone has made changes to the PAF?

Anytime that changes are made to a PAF by a Reviewer or the ORSP, the Primary Research Administrator and the U-M PI receive a system email notification.

If the PAF is changed after the unit has approved it, a system email is sent to the department contact notifying him/her of the change.

All changes made to the PAF are tracked in a change log. Learn how to View Details of Changes.

How do the PI & Project Team make changes to the PAF?

The Project Team can make and submit changes to the PAF until it is routed to the ORSP for review.

  • Only the Primary Research Administrator or U-M PI can complete the "Project Team Make Changes" and "Project Team Submit Changes" activities.
  • Once a PAF is open for editing anyone with edit rights can make changes to the PAF.

Once the PAF is in a ORSP Review State, the Project Team must contact ORSP to make change. ORSP will either make the requested changes or unlock the PAF so the Project Team can make changes.

Learn how to make & submit PAF changes. in eRPM

Can I use eRPM for applications?

If the forms for your opportunity are available in eRPM, your submission can be assembled, routed, and submitted within the system. Learn more about from eRPM.

Are the forms for my opportunity supported?

Once you type in the FOA Number in PAF question 1.6 you will find out if all required forms are supported and what optional forms are supported.

There are over 150 forms used in applications. Each opportunity has a subset of those forms that are either required or optional. Many, but not all of these forms are supported by the eRPM system. If all the forms you wish to submit (those that are required plus optional forms you want to include) are supported, then you have the option to select the eResearch submission to (aka system to system) or Workspace submission to

How do I determine if the opportunity is available electronically?

While all Federal Agencies must post their funding opportunities in, not all opportunities are available for electronic submission through . If the FOA is not available for electronic submission to the sponsor select "no" to PAF question 1.3 and you will enter the FOA on another page.
To determine if your FOA is available for electronic submission, either:

  • On the web site, use the grant search to find the FOA. It will indicate if it is available for electronic submission.
  • In eRPM, select "yes" to PAF question 1.3 and enter the FOA on the next page. If you can't find it in, return to this page and select 'No," You will enter the FOA in question 1.11, Sponsor Solicitation Number.
Why is the link missing from the PAF workspace?

If you need to complete forms, but the link to access the forms is missing on the PAF workspace, then check the answer to question 6.2.2 Proposal Submission Methods.  For the link to be available in the PAF, the answer must be "eResearch submission to"

What is the difference between Workspace and system to system submission methods?

eResearch submission to (aka system to system)

This is referred to as the system to system (S2S) submission. This means the data is sent in an XML stream directly from our server to the server. The forms are filled out in eRPM by clicking on the link that appears on the PAF workspace.
Note: In order to see the link you must select “eResearch submission to” on the routing instructions page in the PAF.  This link allows you to edit the application. The forms are the same SF424 forms that you would see if you were filling out the Workspace application.  A response from regarding the submission status is usually received by eRPM in a few seconds. Busy proposal periods may take a little longer. The proposal status can be viewed in the SF424 workspace.
Advantages: better error checking, fewer submission errors, and option to copy map.

Workspace submission to -

A response from is sent via an email to the ORSP Project Representative. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to 48 hours. Responses are generally slower than a S2S submission.
In either case, the same proposal forms are filled out by the PI/Project Team and the same information is sent to  ORSP submits the proposals. 

What is Copy PAF Info to (copy mapping)?

Copy mapping means that the data entered on the PAF, along with some standard University of Michigan info will be transferred to the FOA forms. Not all forms that are supported by eRPM can be copy mapped. Copy mapping is only available if eResearch submission to submission method is selected.

See the Copy PAF Info to Form procedure for details.

Proposal Review

Why can't I route a PAF for approval?

To route a PAF for approval, you must either be the Primary Research Administrator or U-M PI. Learn more about managing the Primary Research Administrator.

Do I have to individually add each person who needs to review the PAF from other departments?

No, you just need to complete the PAF. The information you enter about U-M Investigators, space & budget will determine who the PAF is routed to for unit approval.

Routing information (departments, review status) appears in a table on the PAF Workspace after the PAF is routed for unit approval.

How do I look up outside interest disclosure status?

For PI & Project Team and unit Reviewers: verify disclosure status by clicking View Disclosure Information under Manage Data.

Certain sponsors, such as Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, require that those with a U-M Investigator role to disclose any outside interests with external organizations before the PAF can be submitted, and that any conflict of interest be managed prior to the award.

Who Can Log Project Team Submission to Sponsor?

Only the U-M PI or Primary Research Administrator can complete the activity Log Project Team Submission to Sponsor.


What systems do I use once my project has been awarded?

Post-award management (i.e., purchasing, HR functions, etc.) is completed in M-Pathways Financials. eRPM provides a repository for the PAF, proposal, award and award change requests/modifications records.

The Award Workspace displays, lists, and/or links to many related aspects of an award, such as individual funding commitments, compliance factors, required deliverables, etc.

Where do I find my historical PANs/PACs and Award information?

From the PAF Workspace look for your awarded projects under

  • Manage Data > View All Award Notices

From the Award workspace > Modifications tab, click to open the Modification workspace or Award Change Request workspace.

Who receives notification that an Award or Award Modification is Active?

Notifications are sent via email to all parties associated with an Award, including investigators, administrative personnel, and department contacts, specifically:

  • U-M Principal Investigator
  • Sponsor Principal Investigator
  • Participating Investigators with Specified Effort
  • Administrative Contacts (all administrators listed on proposal or project)
  • Any person (or group email address) listed as the Award Notifiers for a unit (department) that was required to review the PAF.

See Award Management Overview of Changes for more information.