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 ORSP 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 ORSP 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 interupted. [Note: some popup blockers may disable this feature until configured to accept popups from the PARS site.] In addition, ORSP staff will be glad to answer any questions by phone. For technical issues or suggestions for improvement of the site, call or email Cliff Wilbur ( 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 calling ORSP at 581-1471 to request a login name and password, or a request may be made by filling out the registration form at the PARS website ( A valid e-mail address and an affiliation with the University of Maine is required. Departmental staff should not request accounts, but may use the login of Faculty members (with their permission) to assist in preparing or approving proposals.


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 ORSP that you are working on.

            Create a New Proposal -  start a new blank proposal.

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

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 be created by PIs, Co-PIs, or designated college "super-users".  Click the "Create a New Proposal" button. To start a proposal, you must supply a title, indicate who the Principal Investigator is, and your role (if not PI).

            The proposal preparation consists of 3 task areas:

                        A. Information collection          

                        B. Document file uploads

                        C. Routing and Submission


            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, title, total amount requested, etc.

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

                        3. Use of Animals, Human Subjects, or DNA - review boards

                        4. Project Activity - classification of  technology sector and research phase

                        5. Sponsor Information - name, location of guidelines

                        6. Facilities and Locations - sites where the project will be performed

                        7. Safety and Environmental Management (SEM) - certifications or

medical evaluations for special working conditions, use of radioactive materials, environmental issues

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 ORSP. 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 and a budget justification file (narrative budget explanation). It is strongly recommended that preparers use the ORSP budget template (Excel) available at ORSPBudget.xls to create a budget. Any text editor can be used for the justification file. Place for a third file upload is provided to hold an abstract, summary, or other file, as required by administrators or to provide further explanations. 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. ORSP can convert files to PDF format upon request (even after they are uploaded if necessary).

C. Routing and Status

In the Proposal Routing and Submission 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 account 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 if the order in which they approve is not important. By default, co-PIs are assigned the number 0 and should be first to approve that they agree to participate and certify their financial conflict of interest statement (PARS shows them this when they approve). Others 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 either as personnel or as an approver does not appear on the list, contact ORSP to have them added.


Step 5 - Check Completeness and Route Proposal

            Before configuring routing, the proposal 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. The button will change to “Turn Routing Off” in case you need to interupt the process later.


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 for each proposal at PARS to check the status of each request for approval.


Step 7 - Submit the Proposal to ORSP

            Submitting the proposal notifies ORSP that the approval process is complete and the proposal is ready to be prepared for submission to the sponsor. Once submitted to ORSP, the proposal will no longer appear in the preparation area. If a proposal is submitted inadvertently or needs further revision or review, contact ORSP to have it "unsubmitted".