State of California Guidance

On November 2, 2015, the University of California (UC), California State University System (CSU) and California Department of General Services (DGS), on behalf of the State agencies, signed a Memorandum of Understanding implementing a model contract, with standard terms and conditions. This includes standardized proposal content requirements for contracts and grants. State Assembly Bill 20 (AB20) required the DGS and CSU, and encouraged UC, to negotiate the agreement, which it is commonly referred to as “AB20.”The California Model Agreement (CMA) changes the way the State and the universities conduct business. Foundational to the process is the understanding that complete proposals, approved and endorsed by the campus Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA), will be required prior to award. Proposals should contain enough detail to clarify expectations of the parties involved in order to avoid future misunderstandings, and to reduce the post-award administrative burden. The applicable CMA exhibits will become a part of the final award, so it is important to ensure that they are complete and accurate.The model terms stipulate that UC will provide the State with a proposal in advance of any award made. Proposals to the State should be submitted in compliance with the sposor's published guidelines. If the sponsor's published guidelines are conducive to submitting the proposal using the CMA exhibit format, then at a minimum the following standard proposal elements shall constitute a standard proposal. 

Proposals in response to RFP / RFA or Competitive Funding Announcements

Although a State RFP/RFA or competitive funding announcement may not include information as to whether the CMA is applicable to proposals submitted by UC campuses, in accordance with the MOU, the CMA is applicable to all new proposals submitted by UC campuses. When responding to an RFP/RFA or competitive funding announcement, the proposal should be prepared as follows:

  • If the announcement specifically state that the CMA is applicable, prepare the proposal application in accordance with the Standard Proposal Elements below.
  • If the announcement does not specifically state that the CMA is applicable and/or require the use of specific application forms for a particular project, prepare the proposal using the State’s particular forms.  This streamlines the agency’s review of applications and ensures that University proposals will not be organizationally inconsistent with the applicant pool. However, the CMA elements described above must be completed and provided to SPA for inclusion in the final award. The following State agencies have an approved alternate CMA:
    • California Department of Education
    • California Department of Public Health

Standard Proposal Elements

  • University Proposal to State: Cover Sheet  All University proposals must be accompanied by a signed Cover Sheet.
  • Exhibit A & B
    1. Project Summary/Abstract and Scope of Work (Exhibit A): Make sure the UCI Principal Investigator marks (or leaves blank) the appropriate Third Party Confidential Information Section:
      • If Third-Party Confidential Information is to be provided by the State:
        • Performance of the Scope of Work is anticipated to involve use of third-party Confidential Information and is subject to the terms of this Agreement; OR
        • A separate CNDA between the University and third-party is required by the third-party and is incorporated in this Agreement as Exhibit A7.
      • The State will mark the form whether the proposal is a “Contract” or “Grant.”
    2. Schedule of Deliverables (Exhibit A-1):
      • List all items that will be delivered to the State under the proposed Scope of Work. Include all reports, including draft reports for State review, and any other deliverables requested by the State and agreed to by the PI.
      • Items listed on the top half of the form will result in copyrights to such deliverables owned by UC. Items listed on the bottom half of the form will result in copyright to such deliverables owned by the State. CAUTION: Use of the bottom half of the form is appropriate if the purpose of the Scope of Work is to create copyrightable works for use by the State. SPA will need to review this list, as the State will receive a Non-Exclusive Royalty-Free license to every item listed as a Deliverable.
    3. Key Personnel (Exhibit A2): Changes to Key personnel listed on this Exhibit during an award period will require written State agency approvalDO NOT list all staff, ONLY list Key Personnel and only enter information sparingly. Use additional consecutively numbered pages as necessary.
    4. Authorized Representatives and Notices (Exhibit A3): Only list contact details for UCI individuals. State representatives will be populated at award stage.
    5. Use of Preexisting Data, Copyrighted Works and Deliverables (Exhibit A4):
      • Section A. State: Preexisting Data and/or copyrighted works to be provided to the University from the State: LEAVE BLANK.
      • Section B. University: Use of Preexisting Data or copyrighted works included in Deliverables identified in Exhibit A1 - List all pre-existing data, copyrighted works and deliverables owned by UCI. Make sure to mark NONE is there is no Pre-existing Data under Section B.
      • Section C. Anticipated restrictions on use of Project Data: Enter all information if the Principal Investigator anticipates that any of the project data generated during the performance of the project that may have a use restriction (e.g., participant identifying information). Make sure to mark NONE if there are no anticipated restrictions.
    6. Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Résumé (Exhibit A5): Attach CV/Résumé/Biosketch only for Key Personnel listed in Exhibit A2. No particular format is required.
    7. Current & Pending Support (Exhibit A6): Provide Current and Pending Support only for those individuals listed in Exhibit A2 (Key Personnel). There is no requirement to list the percent effort applicable to each project.
    8. Third Party Confidential Information (Exhibit A7): if applicable, information should have been identified in Exhibit A
    1. Budget Estimate for Proposed Project Period (Exhibit B)
      When an indirect cost rate less than established rates is required by the agency, complete the State Waiver Rationale form which should accompany your proposal in KR. Please contact Erika Blossom ( immediately if you plan to request a waiver for a State agency proposal.
    2. Budget Justification (Exhibit B1): The Budget Justification will include the Budget estimate categories.
    3. Subcontractor Budgets and Budget Justifications (Exhibit B2): Subcontractor should provide a detailed budget and use the same Exhibit B1 categories for their Budget Justification. (Only required if there are subrecipients).
  • Other elements, such as letters of support, can be included at the funding State agency’s request or as deemed necessary by the University’s Principal Investigator.

Special Guidance for California Energy Commission (CEC):

Proposals should be budgeted carefully so rate caps (e.g., benefit rates, salary rates, etc.) are never exceeded. Project spending needs to be monitored closely and prior approvals must be requested as dictated by the award.

Reminder: The proposal will become a part of the final award so it is important to ensure that they are complete and accurate.

Exceptions to the use of the CMA

The following specific State agencies are not subject to the CMA proposal or award process (See UCOP RPAC Memos RPAC-16-01 and RPAC-17-06). All other California State agencies and programs should be using the CMA:

  • CEC: EPIC program
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)
  • Market Order Boards

For activities meeting the criteria established in RPAC Memo 19-01, campuses may request an exemption from the requirement to use the CMA


Department of General Services

RPAC Guidance Memos

State of California Indirect Cost Rates

RPAC 16-01 State of California Model Agreement (formerly the AB20 Model Agreement)

RPAC 17-06 State of California Model Agreement 2017 Update

RPAC 17-07 Indirect Cost Recovery for State of California Awards

RPAC 19-01 California Model Agreement Exemption Requests for UC-initiated Activities that Are Not Contingent on State Funding