WISPER Proposal Entry Guide

Below is a general guide to entering a new proposal into WISPER; for additional resources and training materials, see our WISPER Resources page.
Click a step name to jump to a specific section.

General Tips

  • Information will save as you move from tab to tab. Then in doubt, click the yellow “Save” button to ensure that changes aren’t lost.
  • The “General Info” link will refresh the record and take you back to the General tab.
  • Until you route a record, it is only visible in your own inbox. In order for others to take action on a record, you must route it to an individual or division.

Log In to WISPERBack to Top

  • Access WISPER from the WISPER login page using your NetID and password.
  • All UW affiliates with a valid NetID are able to access WISPER; no account setup or approval needed.

Create New WISPER RecordBack to Top

  • Once logged in, click Create New Record in the upper-left corner of your WISPER home page.
  • Enter the requested information – Short Title, PI, Department, Sponsor (can be changed later, if needed) – and click Create Record.
  • A WISPER record ID is generated, which can be used to identify and track the record. This record ID appears in the upper-left corner of each entry form page.

Enter Proposal Information (General Tab)Back to Top

Basic Information

  • Enter Official Proposal Title, Project Begin/End Dates, Proposal Type, and Document Type
  • The PI, Department, Sponsor, and Short Title entered during record creation can be changed in this section, if needed
  • Outside Activites Report Submitted and Effort Training Completed indicators appear next to the PI name – both indicators must be Yes in order to submit the proposal.
  • Proposal Type/Document Type: Enter if known (CALS will complete if left blank)

Submission Instructions

  • Enter Sponsor Deadline, Submission Method, UW Campus Contact, and Submission Instructions
  • Paper Copy to SPO: If the proposal contains documents that require hard copy signature, or if there are necessary documents that cannot be uploaded electronically as attachments, check this box.
  • Sponsor Program/Reference Number: If known, note the sponsor program number and any unique reference number provided by sponsor to identify this record.


  • Answer Yes or No to each question – all Compliance questions must be answered in order to sign and submit the record!
  • Once the record is saved, click Enter Protocol Certification Details Here to add protocol info.
  • Protocol details are not needed in order to submit a proposal, but will be required at the award stage.


  • Use this section to record information about Co-PIs, Senior/Key personnel, and/or Fellows (in the case of fellowship applications).
  • To add an employee, click the Add Other Personnel to Record button. There is no limit to the number of employees that can be added to a record.
  • To delete personnel from a record, click the trash can icon to the right of the employee’s information.
Note: Due to PHS Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) requirements, it is important to list all PIs and Senior/Key Personnel in the WISPER record. This ensures that Outside Activities Report (OAR) information for these individuals is captured.


  • Enter Direct Costs and F&A Costs; the total budget will be calculated from the values in these fields.
  • Enter the applicable F&A rate (see our Budget Building page for information on determining the correct F&A rate).
  • Identify any cost sharing and provide brief comments, such as “Mandatory 1:1 requirements per RFA.”
  • On Campus: Default setting is YES; contact the CALS Research Division with questions.
  • Outgoing Subagreements: Select YES if the proposal includes subcontracts from the UW to other institutions.

PI SignatureBack to Top

  • The PI must sign the record electronically prior to proposal submission.
  • Only users listed on the record as PI have access to sign it. Others may use the “Send PI Signature Request” button to generate an automated email to the PI with a request and instructions to sign the record.
  • By signing the record, the PI verifies the information included in the record and attests to compliance with University, Federal Government, and Sponsor requirements.
  • Before signing the record, all Compliance questions must be answered.
  • To sign the record, click the Sign the Record link, which appears at the bottom of every page.

Add CommentsBack to Top

  • Use the Comments section of this tab to convey helpful details or other information, such as sponsor contacts, that cannot be entered into another field.

Note: All comments are visible to and editable by any users with access to the record. Recommended practice is to date and initial any comments you add.

ProjectsBack to Top

CALS Research Division will complete this section.

Request ApprovalsBack to Top

  • Approval requests do not transfer ownership of a record. The record remains in the same inbox, and approvers are simply notified to review and respond.
  • Departmental approval should be obtained via WISPER before routing a proposal to the CALS Research Division.
  • All proposals must be approved by the PI’s department chair (or delegate); additional approvals are needed if the proposal involves resources from multiple departments/schools/colleges.
  • Additional approvals are needed if the PI is not a tenure-track faculty member. See our PI Status page for additional information on approvals for these cases.
  • To request an approval:
    1. Click the Approvals tab, then click the Initiate New Approval Request button.
    2. Select the appropriate Approval Type.
    3. In the Approval Request field, enter any additional information you’d like to convey to the approver. Comments entered here become a permanent part of the record as soon as the approval is added.
    4. Choose the appropriate Approver Type, then use the lookup tool to select an employee or division (campus unit) as the approver.
    5. Click the Add Approval button at lower-left to submit the request.
  • When the request is submitted, approvers are notified via email and are able view the proposal and respond to the approval request from their WISPER account.
  • Any actions taken by approver(s) appear in the Document History tab of the record.

Approval Transfer

Use an Approval Transfer if you receive an approval request for which you are not the responsible party. This allows you to transfer the request to the appropriate individual.

Add AttachmentsBack to Top

  • Attachments should include: detailed budget, budget narrative, scope of work, subagreement documents (if applicable), matching commitments (if applicable)
  • Any type of file can be attached, but file names cannot exceed 64 characters.
  • To add an attachment, click the Attachments tab, then click the Upload Attachment button.
  • To delete an attachment, click the trash can icon next to the attachment.

Routing a RecordBack to Top

  • Routing transfers ownership of a record to another individual or to a division approver. The record is moved from one inbox list to another.
Etiquette Tip: Since routing removes a record from the owner’s inbox, do not route a record for which you are not the owner unless you and the record owner have communicated about it.
  • Routing is used to:
    • Move a record through the approval chain
    • Signify transfer of responsibility for proposal submission
  • To route a record, click the Route to Another Person button at the top of the General tab, or in the footer of any page
  • To submit a record for review by the CALS Research Division, click Route to 07-COLLEGE OF AG & LIFE SCIENCE
  • To route the record to another individual, click “Click Here to Route” to a specific person, and use the lookup tool to select an employee.
  • When the record is routed, recipient(s) are notified via email, and are able to access the record from their WISPER account.

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