Chapter 10-300: Contract and Grant Administration: Responsibilities and Duties

The research administration function of the University is a broad and complex function involving University personnel with expertise in varied subject areas and located in many different University organizational units. As discussed throughout this Manual, personnel involved in the administration of extramural awards are responsible for the research administration function from proposal development and submission through project closeout in accordance with the policies presented in this Manual and other applicable University policies, regulations, and guidance documents.

Many of the responsibilities and duties in contract and grant administration flow from the formal delegation of authority from The Regents to the President and the subsequent redelegation the appropriate other University officials as discussed in Chapter 13. Policy coverage on issues related to the submission of proposals and the acceptance and administration of awards, as discussed in Chapter 2, also applies to the responsibilities and duties related to the administration of contracts and grants for research, training and public services. Sections 10-310 through 10-350, below, present the general contract and grant administration duties and responsibilities of those segments of the University community involved in contract and grant administration.

10-310 Contract and Grant Officers

Contract and Grant Officers are responsible for ensuring that sponsors’ policies and procedures as accepted under an award document are in accordance with University policies. Through appropriate coordination and follow up, Contract and Grant Officers inform the responsible University personnel of sponsor requirements. Contract and Grant Officers' responsibilities support the research, instruction, and public service objectives of the individual sponsored project in conjunction with the broader University-wide contract and grant administration function and the basic missions of the University as presented in Chapter 1.

To exercise such responsibility successfully, Contract and Grant Officers must possess a broad knowledge of and familiarity with current University policy, the organization and operation of academic departments, Organized Research Units, and a wide range of related administrative offices such as, Purchasing/Materiel Management, Risk Management, Extramural Funds Accounting, Academic Personnel, and compliance review boards. It is important that Contract and Grant Officers consult, as necessary, with other campus and Office of the President Contract and Grant Officers (see 10-360), in order to ensure University policy consistency with external sponsors. In addition, Contract and Grant Officers must possess a broad knowledge of current governmental and private sector procurement and assistance policies, requirements, regulations, and practices. (See 10-360 through 10-362 for discussion on professional conferences and career development).

More specifically, Contract and Grant Officers are responsible for the following:

a. Proposal Review and Execution

Review all proposals to extramural sponsors for research, instruction, and public service projects submitted on behalf of The Regents for consistency with University policy and with sponsor terms and conditions and assure proper acceptance or execution of legally binding proposals on behalf of The Regents (see Chapter 13).

b. Negotiating, Accepting, Executing Awards

Negotiation of contract, grant, or cooperative agreement awards for scopes of work and terms and conditions acceptable to the Principal Investigator and academic department which are reasonable and consistent with University policy; obtain the approval of General Counsel when required (see 13-330); and assure proper acceptance or execution of such awards.

c. Interpreting and Explaining Award Conditions and Requirements

Advice Principal Investigators, other academic officials, project administrators, and appropriate or participating administrative offices and departmental staff of the commitments they are undertaking in the name of The Regents under accepted or executed awards.

d. Assisting Others in Discharging Responsibilities under an Award

Provide appropriate assistance and follow up to Principal Investigators, academic departments, and administrative offices to assure full compliance with the terms and conditions of the award, including deadlines and reporting requirements.

e. Implementing Contract and Grant Administration Policies

Take other actions as necessary for the proper implementation of all contract and grant administration policies as are set forth in this Manual and applicable campus manuals.

f. Participating in Conferences

Participate in internal University and external professional conferences as described in 10-360 through 10-362.

10-320 OP Research Policy Analysis and Coordination (RPAC)

The Office of the President (OP) Research Policy Analysis and Coordination (RPAC) Research Policy Managers have the same responsibilities for extramural projects located within the Office of the President as those described for all Contracts and Grants Officers in 10-310. RPAC staff are responsible for advising and assisting, as appropriate, campus Contracts and Grants Officers to ensure the adequate implementation of University policy and discharge of campus Contracts and Grants Officers' responsibilities as presented in 10-310.

Additionally, OP RAO is responsible for the following:

a. University Policy Development, Implementation, and Dissemination

Formulating University contract and grant administration policies to meet internal University needs as well as to address externally imposed sponsor requirements; coordinating approval of such policies by appropriate University officials; and disseminating such policies and information using via RPAC Memos or other applicable guidance documents.

b. Sponsor Policy Review and Comment

Providing ongoing recommendations and analysis to governmental and private sponsors concerning the sponsor's policies and requirements in order to establish optimum consistency between externally imposed sponsor requirements and University policies. Such information is transmitted through direct personal contact and negotiation, through formally proposed regulation review and comment, and through cooperation and coordination on issues and policies with the higher education community.

c. Master/Basic Agreements--Other Campus Assistance

Negotiating and administering Universitywide master contracts and grants and basic agreements for use by all campuses. Assisting campuses in carrying out their contract and grant administration responsibilities as discussed at 10-310 for those projects involving multiple University campuses (see 10-240), involving internal Universitywide funding programs (see 10-251 through 10-253), or involving Regental approval (see 10-210), as necessary.

d. Analysis and Planning

Conducting analyses of long range problems and preparing plans for improvement of the University's contract and grant administration function.

10-330 Principal Investigators

Eligibility for Principal Investigator status is covered in 1-530. Although formal legal obligations related to solicitation and acceptance/execution of extramural funding ultimately rests with the Board of Regents (see 13-510), and although responsibility for reviews and negotiation, coordination, guidance, and follow-up rests with Contracts and Grants Officers (see 10-310 and 10-320), a Principal Investigator is the individual with primary responsibility for:

  • the scientific integrity and management of the sponsored project;
  • the financial management of project funds (see 6-440);
  • adherence to all internal University policies; and
  • adherence to externally imposed sponsor terms and conditions including reporting and record keeping requirements contained in the award document.

10-340 College and School Deans, Provosts, Department Chairs, and Oru Directors

University College/School Deans, Provosts, Department Chairs, and ORU Directors are accountable for the performance of Principal Investigators within their units. Specific responsibilities related to this accountability vary among and within University campuses as a function of various academic organizational arrangements. Basic responsibilities, however, include:

  • determining an individual's eligibility for Principal Investigator status;
  • determining the consistency of the proposed project with the educational, research, and/or public service objectives of the organizational unit;
  • determining the appropriateness and acceptability of faculty time, space, equipment, and University financial commitments contained in proposals for sponsored projects.
  • assuring that project scope of work is consistent with internal University policies, with externally imposed sponsor terms and conditions, and with the organizational unit's educational, training, and/or other objectives; and
  • identifying appropriate funding sources to cover project costs not covered by the project sponsor's funds or by other funds available to the Principal Investigator.

10-350 Administrators of Contract and Grant Related Services

In addition to the responsibilities and duties of Contracts and Grants Officers, of Principal Investigators, and of administrators of academic units as discussed in this Chapter, the University's contract and grant administration function includes contract and grant related responsibilities of a wide range of Office of the President and campus organizational units.

These organizational units possess expertise in varied subject areas and perform a wide spectrum of contract and grant related services. Many of the offices most involved with contracts and grants, along with references to coverage on the authorities, responsibilities, and policy issues related to these offices addressed in other Chapters of this Manual, include:

10-360 Professional Conferences

University personnel involved in contract and grant administration are encouraged to attend appropriate professional conferences as discussed in 10-361 and 10-362. Such participation assists them in discharging their responsibilities as discussed in 10-300 through 10-350.

10-361 University Conferences

Personnel involved in the University's contract and grant administration function, particularly Contract and Grant Officers, should attend periodic Universitywide research administration, technology transfer and other subject-specific conferences and trainings in order to:

  • Promote better understanding of University policy and to maximize consistency of University policy as presented to external sponsors;
  • Share information and experiences to develop a better understanding of sponsors' programs, policies, and procedures; and
  • Discuss unique problems and solutions encountered in the contract and grant administration function and exchange management concepts and innovations.

10-362 External Professional Conferences

Personnel involved in the University's contract and grant administration function are encouraged to attend external professional contract and grant administration-related conferences and courses sponsored by the higher education community and related associations and by external sponsors, as appropriate, in order to:

  • Share information, and stay apprised of current developments and develop a better understanding of sponsors' policies and programs;
  • Become familiar with higher education community positions on issues and maximize consistency among educational institutions on positions taken with external sponsors; and
  • Establish personal contacts with other university and sponsor representatives to enhance contract and grant administration policy development and negotiation processes.