Costing Policy & Analysis

Research Administration Office

University of California

Operating Guidance

No. 95-12
October 20, 1995

Subject: Certifications Related to Federal Contracts and Grants

The enclosed document was distributed to Chancellors and the Vice President--Agriculture and Natural Resources on October 10. It contains an analysis of 61 certifications general required in connection with Federal research and training support, along with guidance on campus actions needed to ensure compliance. An earlier draft of the document was distributed via an Information Letter on April 3, 1995.

At the Contract and Grant conference in Riverside on January 25, 1994, University Counsel Christine Helwick led a discussion on the settlement of a lawsuit under the False Claims Act against the University and the implications of this settlement. The discussion centered on the uneasiness that Contract and Grant Officers felt when they routinely signed representations and certifications in federal grant and contract proposals, because for most of these certifications it was some other campus office that was ultimately responsible for compliance. The upshot was that the campuses requested OP to help out by undertaking a review of federal certifications and providing guidance on procedures or systems necessary to provide a reasonable level of assurance of compliance. The enclosed document is the result of that request.

Refer: Bill Sellers, (510) 987-9847,

Subject Index: 02
Organization Index: F-005, U-115

David F. Mears
Research Administration Office


October 10, 1995


Certifications Related to Federal Contracts and Grants

Dear Colleagues:

Enclosed are lists of the major certifications that the University is required to make in connection with proposals for and the award of Federal grants and/or contracts. Most of these certifications are made by the campus Contract and Grant Officer signing the grant application or contract proposal, although some require a separate document to be signed. We are writing to clarify for campus officials their responsibilities with respect to the various certifications, and to provide guidance on procedures or systems necessary to provide a reasonable level of assurance of campus compliance.

Background Information

In February 1994, the University of California settled a claim of research fraud for $625,000 at the San Diego campus under the False Claims Act. In commenting on the case, Science magazine quoted a former acting director of the National Institutes of Health, Office of Scientific Integrity: "for the first time in history, universities may be held legally accountable for signing on the front of a grant application that all statements are true and complete." This case has prompted the Office of the President to undertake an extensive review of such certifications and, at the recommendation of the Office of General Counsel, to take appropriate steps to ensure ongoing University compliance.

The Office of the President, Research Administration Office, collected and analyzed 61 certifications generally required in connection with Federal research and training support. This effort did not include University compliance with Federal award terms and conditions for which certifications are not required, nor with certifications for State or private programs.

The 61 Federally-required certification have been divided into three categories:

The UCOP Research Administration Office will place the enclosed certification lists, as well as full-text copies of related background materials and references, on line and will update the lists as new certifications are required. The lists will be accessible via the Worldwide Web (/raohome/). The UCOP Research Administration Office will continue, via Contract and Grant Memos, to alert campuses of any compliance problems associated with certifications.

Requested Campus Action

For each of the certifications listed, we have provided guidance on compliance. Each campus must have procedures for ensuring compliance with certifications made in connection with Federal contracts and grants. One suggested approach is for the campus to appoint a designated official who would assign appropriate campus offices to: (a) review, at least once every two years, existing systems and procedures for conformance with these certifications; and (b) report back to the designated official on the results of these reviews. The campus Contract and Grant office staff would then be advised by the designated official whether and under what conditions the certifications could continue to be signed.

If you have any questions, please contact David Mears, Director, UCOP Research Administration Office, University of California, 300 Lakeside Drive, 12th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612-3550 (e-mail:; fax: 510-835-3705). We appreciate your cooperation and assistance in this matter.

C. Judson King
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President--Academic Affairs

V. Wayne Kennedy
Senior Vice President--Business and Finance


cc: (w/o)
Executive Director Feuerborn
Director Mears
Special Assistant Gardner
University Counsel Patti