Instructions for Proposal Preparers

Using the University of Maine Proposal Approval Routing System (PARS)


The PARS system was designed as a tool to aid faculty and ORA staff in securing required University approvals prior to submitting proposals to sponsors. It is not meant to replace the necessary communication between faculty, administration, and ORA staff during proposal preparation , but rather to provide a central location where all of the information and approvals can be accessed and acted upon by those who need to do so. Each department and college still retains the right to impose additional requirements such as in-person interviews, document signatures, personnel scheduling, etc. deemed necessary for the administration of their own operations.


Getting Help

Each of the major screens at the PARS site has a help screen associated with it. Click the "Help" link at the top right side of the page. The help text will load in a separate window so that the session will not be interrupted. [Note: some popup blockers may disable this feature until configured to accept popups from the PARS site.] In addition, ORA staff will be glad to answer any questions by phone. For technical issues or suggestions for improvement of the site, call or email Matt McSpadden (  581-1419).



            PARS incorporates page-by-page security. Do not use the "Back" or "Forward" buttons on your browser to navigate, the site may not operate properly and your session may be terminated.


Proposal Preparation

Step 1 - Register

Users may register by filling out the registration form at the PARS website ( A valid e-mail address and a formal affiliation with the University of Maine is required. Departmental staff should not request accounts, but may use the login of Faculty members or administrators (with their permission) to assist in preparing or approving proposals. In order to use the PARS system, the registrant MUST complete online Financial Conflict of Interest training. For more information go to


Step 2 - Log in

Open a web browser and go to . Enter the login and password obtained in Step 1. The first time you log in, you will be asked to review the biographical information and email address in their profile. Subsequent logins will take you directly to the User Activities Menu. Sessions are automatically terminated after 1 hour of inactivity.


Step 3 - Choose an activity from the User Activities Menu

            Continue to Prepare a Proposal - View, edit, route, check status, or submit proposals to ORA that you are working on.

            Create a New Proposal -  start a new blank proposal.

            Respond to a Request for Approval – approve or decline a request for your approval

Change password or update User Profile – change your password, update contact information, add a surrogate user’s email address.

Request a No-cost Extension – ask for an extension to the performance period of an existing award.

View previously submitted proposals – choose from a list of proposals that you have submitted or approved to get a printed copy of the proposal



Step 4 - Create a proposal

            Proposals may only be created by the Principal Investigator/Project Director. Click the "Create a New Proposal" button. To start a proposal, you must supply a title and indicate the percent responsibility of the PI.

            The proposal preparation consists of 3 task areas:

                        A. Information collection          

                        B. Document file uploads

                        C. Routing


            A. Information collection

            The information collection area has 8 single-screen subsections, accessed from

the Proposal Information Menu screen. The menu shows a button for each section, with the last modified date to the right of each section's button:

                        1. Proposal Details and Cover Sheet - performance dates, etc.

                        2. Personnel, Consultants and Subawards - who will work on the project?

                        3. Use of Animals, Human Subjects, or DNA – protocol review boards, international aspects/export controls.

                        4. Project Activity - classification of  technology sector and research phase, signature and emerging programs affiliations.

                        5. Sponsor Information - name, contact information, location of guidelines.

                        6. Facilities – use of facilities and space.

                        7. Safety and Environmental Management (SEM) - certifications or medical evaluations for special working conditions, use of radioactive materials, environmental issues, etc.

8. Cost Sharing - specify sources of University matching funds or other financial contributions to the project.


Each subsection consists of just a few questions and must be completed in order to submit the proposal to ORA. Sections which might not be applicable have a checkbox or link to click to mark them as such.


B. Document File Uploads

Upload a budget file, a budget justification file (narrative budget explanation), and a project summary. It is strongly recommended that preparers use the  ORA Budget Spreadsheet to create a budget. Any text editor can be used for the justification and summary files.

PARS does not restrict the type of file uploaded, it is the preparer's responsibility to use a format that can be viewed by anyone that must approve the project. ORA can convert files to PDF format upon request (even after they are uploaded if necessary). The summary file should be a brief discussion in simple language of the project activity and potential outcomes, suitable for publication in news releases or other public forums.

C. Routing and Status

In the Proposal Routing section, a list of currently assigned approvers, the notification date and status of each approval request appears at the top of the page. Click the Add Approver/Reviewer button to add each person who needs to approve the project. [Important: at least one person must be selected as the closing department administrator for the project.] Select the approver's name from the list and assign a routing number.  This is a number that you choose (usually between 1 and 20). As lower routing numbers are notified and approve, the next highest number is then notified. You may assign the same number to more than one approver so that all approvers at that level can be notified at the same time. By default, co-PIs are assigned the number 0 and should be first to approve that they have agreed to participate and to certify whether or not they have a significant financial conflict of interest. Other approvers must be given a routing number of at least 1.  On the next screen that is presented, assign one or more roles. If a person that you wish to associate with the proposal does not appear on the list, contact ORA to have them added.


Step 5 - Check Completeness and Route Proposal

            Before routing the proposal for approvals, it should be checked for completeness by clicking the "Check Proposal" button. Incomplete sections will be listed with links to them. This operation does not check for accuracy of data, just whether it has been entered. If the proposal is ready to route, the results

            screen will say so. Click the “Turn on Routing” button to begin the automated notification process. Once routing has started the proposal will no longer be available. If you need to interrupt routing, contact ORA.


Step 6 - Check Approval Status

            You will be notified by email when an approver takes action on your proposal. You may also check the approvals list in PARS to check the status of the requests. When all approvers have approved the proposal, it is automatically submitted to ORA for review prior to the proposal being submitted to the sponsor.