NORM (Niner Online Research Management), UNC Charlotte's comprehensive research proposal and award management system from pre-award to post-award with electronic signatures, also serves as a data repository with comprehensive reporting. It is accessible from the Research and Economic Development home page and from the Research Services & Outreach (ORSO) website. Any UNC Charlotte faculty or staff member can log into NORM using their user name and password.
ORSO no longer accepts paper Internal Processing Forms (IPFs). Proposals must be submitted to ORSO through NORM, which allows the office to retain an electronic copy of all documents associated with proposals and awards. This also allows the principal investigator (PI) to post drafts of the proposal and budget for review by the college-based research offices or ORSO in advance.
The IPFs are routed and approved electronically. The lead PI or departmental administrator should complete the Start New Proposal screen. Once completed, the system will automatically generate a proposal number. Faculty should complete this information in NORM as soon as possible and at least two weeks prior to the submission deadline. The earlier this is done, the better prepared the college-based research offices or ORSO will be to assist the faculty. Proposal files consisting of the proposal narrative, budget, budget justification, letters of support and other documents can be uploaded in the Attachments section within the system. Departmental, college and center/institute approvals will be routed electronically. Once approved, either the college-based research office or ORSO will approve and submit the final proposal.
Below are some tips for completing e-IPFs in NORM:
General Information Screen:
Funding Agency (required field) vs. Prime Funding Agency (required only if UNC Charlotte is a subcontractor on another institution’s proposal). The funding agency is the agency or sponsor whose name will be on the check to UNC Charlotte or to whom the Office of Grants & Contracts Administration will send invoices. The prime funding agency applies when UNC Charlotte receives a subgrant or subcontract from an intermediate funding source. (e.g., NIH awards a grant to Duke and Duke awards a subgrant to UNC Charlotte. NIH is the prime funding agency, and Duke is the funding agency.) Leave this field blank if UNC Charlotte is not a subcontractor on another institution’s proposal.
Award Admin Dept. The award admin department is the department that will manage the grant if awarded; it should be the lead PI’s department. Entering the department in this field makes it the first department that must approve the proposal. NOTE: Do not enter the college in this field because the college will be set up as the first approver and colleges should always approve after departments and centers.
Affiliated Center/Institute. Select the UNC Charlotte centers/institutes that will contribute space, personnel, equipment or cost-sharing to this project. You can select as many centers/institutes as necessary. Be sure to add the center(s)/institute(s) before you submit the e-IPF so the unit(s) will be set up to approve the e-IPF.
Sponsor Deadline. If there is an actual deadline, enter that date. If there is no hard deadline, enter a date and add a submission note on the final e-IPF screen indicating that the deadline is not firm but that you want the proposal submitted as soon as possible.
Investigators/Research Team Screen:
NORM terminology here is somewhat different from that traditionally used at UNC Charlotte. In NORM, the Lead Principal Investigator is the person we usually call the PI, and this person has to certify in NORM. The Principal Investigator is the person we usually call the Co-PI, and this person has to certify in NORM. The Investigator is a team member who does not have PI/Co-PI status; he/she does not have to certify in NORM.
The first team member assigned to the project is always the Lead PI; other team members should be added afterward.
A Lead PI or PI on any project who also serves as an e-IPF approver for a department, center, or college should not approve his/her own proposals in NORM. The alternate should approve. If no alternate is listed for a unit, Ellen Zavala can temporarily add an e-IPF approver if requested to do so before the e-IPF is submitted. Plan ahead and notify her (704-687-1881 or by e-mail) as soon as possible.
% Effort. This field indicates the budgeted percentage of effort for the project period. If the percentage of effort is different in the academic year than the summer, enter a ballpark percentage of effort and include an explanation in the Submission Notes section.
You must attach your proposal narrative (a draft is acceptable) and budget files before submitting your e-IPF. If you do not, you risk having your chair or dean reject the e-IPF in NORM and sending it back to you for resubmission. If that happens, anyone who previously approved the e-IPF will have to re-approve it.
Approving Depts Screen:
Pay close attention to the list of approving departments and make sure all are listed that need to be listed. You may have to add some departments. For example, if a department is providing cost sharing and no one from that department is on the research team, you will have to manually add that department.
1st Approving Department should be the Lead PI’s department. If that is not the case, you will have to change the Award Admin Dept on the first screen.
Each department, center, and college will have a drop down list of numbers beginning with a “2” and going up to the number of units listed. At this point, you can set the routing as sequential or concurrent. When you determine this order, you should ensure departments/centers are to be approved before it goes to any of the deans. This is especially important when you need approvals quickly. Once satisfied with the order, click on the Authorize Approval Listing button.
Submission Notes Screen:
This space allows you to insert special notes that you want to be sure your chairs and deans see. Use this feature as much as you need to.
Submit Proposal Button:
When all screens are completed and you are sure there will be no changes, Submit your e-IPF/proposal.
All Lead PIs and PIs will receive an email indicating that they need to log in and certify the e-IPF/proposal. You must do this before the admin office will submit your proposal.
If you have any questions about NORM, you may contact Ellen Zavala at 704-687-1881.