UPPS 02.02.01 - Applying for Sponsored Programs
Applying for Sponsored Programs
UPPS No. 02.02.01
Issue No. 12
Effective Date: 8/28/2019
Next Review Date: 7/01/2021 (ONY)
Sr. Reviewer: Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Federal Relations
This policy will:
differentiate between types of support provided to Texas State University by outside organizations;
determine signatory authority and management assignment;
ensure governmental rules and regulations are applied appropriately;
provide direction to faculty and staff regarding solicitation, accounting, reporting, and communication; and
provide guidelines for developing and submitting proposals through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).
This policy applies to all external funds received by Texas State from governmental agencies or private organizations – including foundations, corporations, and other non-governmental organizations – for the purposes of research or service objectives provided in the form of gifts, grants, and contracts. The use of these descriptive terms by the donor or sponsor does not determine the classification of the award.
Classification is an internal university administrative decision based on the conditions of the award agreement, including the intended purpose of the funding, economic benefits provided to funder, scope of work, penalty for non-performance, restrictions on publication, and intellectual property rights. Final determination of the classification and assignment of external awards is made by the associate vice president for Research & Federal Relations (AVPR), in consultation with the assistant vice president for University Advancement (AVPUA). The AVPR has signature authority for sponsored programs and the vice president for University Advancement (VPUA) has signature authority for gift agreements.
Proper classification and processing of awards is critical to the university’s ability to comply with any terms specified by the sponsor or donor, meet reporting requirements, properly recover direct and indirect costs, ensure the completeness and accuracy of records and reporting, and facilitate acceptable levels of accountability and stewardship.
Funds may have characteristics that meet necessary criteria for both the gift and grant categories. It is common for external awards classified as grants and managed as sponsored programs through ORSP to also be recorded as philanthropic contributions for reporting purposes by University Advancement (UA). In such cases, expenditures will be reported under ORSP and UA will record as a grant from a philanthropic sponsor in the donor database.
Texas State encourages faculty and staff to pursue sponsored program activities in their areas of expertise. Because scholarly activities augment teaching, faculty are expected to participate in meetings, conventions, and other activities that promote scholarship and creative work, including applying for and administering sponsored programs.
Texas State’s policies apply to all sponsored programs, unless the granting agency establishes exceptions. In these cases, sponsor guidelines must clearly identify any policies that deviate from Texas State policies. These exceptions may not conflict with federal or state law or with the Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations. The ORSP shall determine all conflicts and mediate all solutions.
UNIVERSITY PHILOSOPHY AND DEFINITIONS
Gift – a voluntary contribution of external support by a donor whose primary intent is philanthropic, and who expects nothing significant of economic or tangible value in return beyond what any general member of the public would receive, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor’s wishes. Benefits that do not void the tax-deductibility of the gift, as described in IRS Publication 526, and indirect benefits such as tax advantages or business or personal goodwill derived from close association with the university and the miscellaneous benefits derived from donor status shall not be deemed to be inconsistent with the classification of support as a gift. Gifts may originate from individuals, partnerships, associations, foundations, or corporations. A grant from a governmental entity is not included in this term. UPPS No. 03.05.01, Soliciting, Accepting and Processing Gifts and Grants from Private Sources, includes additional guidance on coordination with UA on proposals for philanthropic funding. In general, the following characteristics describe a gift:
the external support does not meet the criteria for a sponsored project;
the external support is irrevocable, providing the gift is used in accordance with any valid use restrictions accepted by the university;
the principal investigator (PI) or account manager will not incur expenses prior to receipt of funds from the sponsor. For all awards deemed gifts that will be managed by UA, awards must be paid in full before funds will be made available for budget and spending purposes. UA will not manage cost-reimbursement agreements;
no goods, services, or deliverables are offered to the donor or exchanged in consideration of receipt of the external support, excepting benefits that do not void the tax-deductibility of the gift as described in IRS Publication 526;
the donor provides the support to the university without the expectation of direct economic benefit or other tangible benefit. Indirect benefits such as tax advantages or business or personal goodwill derived from close association with the university and the miscellaneous benefits derived from donor status shall not be deemed to be inconsistent with the classification of support as a gift;
detailed financial reporting or accounting for use of external support is not generally required, although it shall be acceptable for the donor to request information from the university about utilization or impact of the external support, including expenditures and fund balances. These reports may be thought of as good stewardship, and, as such, may be required by the terms of a gift. They are not characterized as contractual obligations or “deliverables;”
public recognition by the university of donors through accepted university underwriting guidelines shall not be deemed to be inconsistent with classification of support as a gift; and
no contractual requirements are imposed and there are no “deliverables” to the donor that would meet the criteria of a sponsored project. However, the gift may be accompanied by an agreement that outlines its intended use. For example, gifts may be provided to support a department, an individual faculty member’s laboratory, or a construction project.
Sponsored Programs or Projects – activities sponsored, in whole or in part, by sources external to the university for which there is an expectation on the sponsor’s part for deliverables or project specific outcomes. The university awards sponsored programs through various mechanisms (e.g., grants, contracts, non-teaching consulting services, cooperative agreements, or other legally-binding means of transfer).
Sponsored programs, identified by the following characteristics, may support instruction, public services, or research activities. Programs do not need to include all of the following elements to be considered “sponsored:”
sponsor requires specific deliverables that reflect performance levels, data results, or expenditure reporting tied to specific invoicing requirements. This does not include minimal requirements generally relating to required donor pledge payments, the university’s commitment to effectuate the donor’s intent, or regular reporting that may be thought of as requirements of good stewardship, and, as such, may be required by the terms of a gift;
sponsor requires return of unexpended funds related to delivery of an exchange transaction, not including gift terms specifying return of funds if not used in accordance with philanthropic donor intent;
award designates a sponsor employee (agent) as project technical monitor, as opposed to designating a contact person for correspondence purposes;
award contains special benefits or rights related to intellectual property and technology transfer not generally made publicly available;
award restricts or requires publication or use of results;
award payments are contingent upon specific performance milestones or invoices for service; not including regular fiscal reporting to a philanthropic donor that may be associated with pledge payments;
Award requires protection of sponsor and confidential information provided by the sponsor.
request for funding will be used to fulfill a matching or cost-sharing commitment on another sponsored project or requires a matching, cost-sharing, or other financial commitment from the university;
the project is linked to other sponsored research projects or contracts being conducted by faculty and researchers;
project involves the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, radioisotopes on humans, radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, human body substances, etiologic agents, or proprietary materials;
award includes or allows for facilities and administrative costs;
award includes percentage of faculty time charged on project that requires time and effort reporting; or
use of university resources (e.g., equipment, space, students) mandate processing through ORSP to determine who is to be notified and who is to approve the use of and the creation of these resources.
Grant – a type of financial assistance awarded to an organization for the conduct of research or other program as specified in a university- submitted proposal. The proposal typically defines a scope of work or performance. The sponsor may make an award based upon a competitive review and establish performance terms and conditions. The proposal may state these terms generally, as in many federal awards, or may specifically describe allowable and unallowable activities and costs. Unless prohibited by sponsor regulations, individuals involved with the award may modify performance, as necessary, under project conditions. The proposal may allow the university to approve such modifications internally or may require sponsor authorization. A sponsor may award grants through simple contractual agreements, letters of authorization, payments of fees, or other similar mechanisms.
Contract – an agreement for carrying out a specific service or procuring a product that entails an exchange relationship with specific obligations for the recipient and usually for the primary purpose of the economic benefit of the sponsor. Contracts are more restrictive mechanisms for securing services than grants and may specify penalties for non-performance. In a Fixed Cost or Fee for Service Agreement, one party pays the other party a predetermined price, regardless of actual costs, for services rendered. In a Cost-Reimbursement Agreement, the sponsor pays for the full costs incurred for the work conducted up to an agreed-upon amount and for which the sponsor generally requires invoices containing back-up documentation of costs incurred. In a Percent Completion contract, the sponsor contracts for completion of specific tasks and makes payment upon receipt and approval of a report or other deliverable.
Research, assessment, specific work performance, instruction, training, or similar activities are reasons for awarding contracts. Generally, contracts will define specific details of the legal relationship between the participating entities and will incorporate the description and cost of the work to be performed either as a legally binding attachment or embedded in the contract document. A purchase order may constitute a contract.
Matching Grant – required by some sponsors, where the applicant must demonstrate commitment to the proposed activity by providing funds in support of the overall project costs. Institutional resources may generate matching funds, either in-kind (donated time, space, equipment use, etc.), cash, or the funds may originate from other outside entities (third parties).
Cost-sharing has become a major issue in federal awards. Many programs prohibit cost-sharing. The federal government issued specific guidance on matching funds and the responsibilities of recipients in accounting for these funds. Failure to comply may result in loss of revenue associated with the specifically funded project, or in general sanctions against the institution. In cases where cost-sharing is permitted, the following are the three types of cost-sharing:
Mandatory – required by the sponsor and specifically referenced in the proposal, budget, or other submitted document. The source of funds for on-campus cost-share must be identified by the PI upon proposal submission and again upon award and is verified through respective expenditures recorded on the institution’s accounting system;
Voluntary Committed – committed by the institution in the proposal, budget, or other submitted document to enhance the possibility of funding, but NOT required by the sponsor. The source of funds for on-campus cost-share must be identified by the PI at proposal submission and again upon award and is verified through respective expenditures recorded on the institution’s accounting system (NOTE: After award, a proposal initially submitted with voluntary cost-sharing converts to mandatory cost-sharing); and
Voluntary Uncommitted – the university or PI provides more cost-sharing than promised or required. For example, if a PI spends more time on the project than originally projected, the university must track and verify these funds.
The policy of the university is to limit matching to no more than the minimum required by the sponsor. Inclusion of “voluntary committed” or “voluntary uncommitted” funds in proposal submissions must be approved by the AVPR.
Funds promised or provided by third parties to a sponsored program must meet the same reporting requirements imposed on the institution. The recipient (university) is responsible for acquiring and maintaining third-party matching documentation. For Texas State, the PI is responsible for this documentation.
Challenge Grant – a grant that provides monies in response to monies from other sources, usually according to a formula. A challenge grant may, for example, offer two dollars for every dollar it obtains from a fund drive. The grant usually has a fixed upper limit and may have a challenge minimum below which the sponsor will not create a grant. This form of grant is fairly common in the arts, humanities, and some other fields, but is less common in the sciences. A challenge grant differs from a matching grant in at least one important respect, the amount of money that the recipient organization realizes from a challenge grant may vary widely, depending upon how successful that organization is in meeting the challenge. Matching grants usually award a clearly defined amount and require the institution to obtain a specified sum before making any award.
Cooperative Agreement – an award similar to a grant, but one in which the sponsor’s staff may play an active role in proposal preparation and anticipate substantial involvement in research activities after receiving the award.
Non-Teaching Consulting Services – as an agent of the university, is defined as additional activity beyond duties assigned by the institution, professional in nature, and based in the appropriate discipline for which the individual receives additional compensation during the contract year. Consultancy services include addressing the technical and professional needs of communities, groups, agencies, businesses, and other entities outside the university. Consulting services are NOT sponsored programs unless the university is the direct recipient of funds and liable for the conduct of the activity performed by the university employee. In this instance, it is essential that these contracts are managed as sponsored programs, in that they involve coordination of faculty time and effort reporting and determination of appropriate overload policy interpretation.
Training, Workshops, Non-Credit Teaching – proposals for conducting training, workshops, or non-credit teaching functions that are considered sponsored programs if they meet any of the above-stated criteria.
Internships – externally-supported opportunities for an individual (student or faculty member) to engage in an extended learning activity. If the university receives internship funds and the funding mechanism contains specific details concerning the intern’s or institution’s obligation, the university must treat the activity as a sponsored program, subject to internal approval, and submit it as such.
Congressional or Legislative Allocations – in certain circumstances, funds are directly appropriated by federal or state governing bodies to the university for specific purposes. It is important that the purpose of these funds represents the intent of the funding entity. In the case of most federal and state appropriations, the most common conveyance mechanism is to attach these funds to an existing agency program, and to request a proposal describing how the university will utilize these in keeping with the general intent of that specific program’s mandate. The university then receives the award from the agency. In this circumstance, the federal or state regulations and restrictions applied to all recipients of funds under that agency program apply to the use of funds awarded to the university. For this reason, proposals requesting support under direct appropriations become sponsored programs to facilitate proper accounting and management.
Limited Submission – a limitation placed by the funder on the number of proposals that can be submitted by an organization for consideration of funding under a specific sponsored program.
E-Verify – an internet-based system that requires an employer, using information reported on an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the Social Security Administration, operates the E-Verify system. There is no charge for employers to use E-Verify.
PROCEDURES FOR APPLYING FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS
Faculty and staff wishing to submit a proposal to an external funding source should confer with their chair, director, college research coordinator, and their dean to discuss the proposal plans, particularly when the proposal involves committing university resources (e.g., additional space required, renovation, cost-sharing). ORSP serves as the next point of contact for faculty or staff seeking external funds. When the commitment of university resources (cost-sharing or cost-matching) requires additional space or additional staff (including post-doctoral research associates) for the project’s completion, the PI must notify their chair, director, or dean.
The AVPR is responsible for submitting proposals to public and private funding agencies, except for proposals that require submission by UA, the Development Foundation, or faculty fellowships requiring direct contact with faculty.
Faculty and staff must submit all proposals for research or sponsored programs (whether for grants or contracts) through ORSP. They must submit all proposals for permanent endowments, certain types of scholarships, and capital improvements through the VPUA. Proposals for research or sponsored programs (whether for grants or contracts) required to be submitted through a 501(c)(3) organization may be submitted through ORSP via the Texas State University Research Foundation or the Texas State University Development Foundation. Proposals not submitted through proper university channels are subject to recall at the AVPR’s discretion.
Each college and school has at least one research coordinator, often tasked with proposal support for PIs during proposal development.
Pre-Award Support Services must receive the complete proposal package (including a complete budget, narrative, executive summary, and all required sponsor forms) no later than three working days prior to the submission deadline or proposal submission is not guaranteed.
Pre-Award Support Services will update changes submitted within the three-day review window, if time permits. Staff reserve the right to effect changes to bring the proposal into compliance with program guidelines and will inform the PI in writing of changes made prior to submitting the proposal.
Only the following are eligible to serve as a PI on a sponsored program (the college dean or the AVPR may approve exceptions to this policy):
full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty;
full-time research faculty;
certain directors of research program centers or institutes; and
full-time staff employees.
University faculty and staff who wish to submit a proposal to an external funding source are encouraged to contact their chair, dean, or director to discuss the proposal plans.
The PI of the project must notify Pre-Award Support Services by initiating each proposal in Kuali research to begin working with assigned staff on budget development and initiating the internal routing process.
Other responsibilities of the PI include the following:
ensuring the accuracy of all material in the proposal and for compliance with all federal, state, and private regulations, and policies of The Texas State University System (TSUS) and Texas State, such as those relating to scientific misconduct in research, disclosure of conflicts of interest (financial and otherwise), and management of human research subjects or lab animals. The PI has the responsibility to become informed about those regulations, with guidance from the Research, Integrity and Compliance (RIC) unit within ORSP;
loading the proposal information (with the help of Pre-Award Support Services) into the proposal management system for internal routing;
developing and verifying all financial data with Pre-Award Support Services prior to routing the proposal. Pre-Award Support Services will determine that the requested facilities and administration costs conform to the university’s federally negotiated rate or the maximum allowed by the funding source. PIs are not authorized to negotiate sponsored program agreement terms with prospective funders. The AVPR must approve all deviations from the specified sponsor rate or federally negotiated rate in writing;
identifying all requirements for space needed to operate the contract or grant. If the needed space is not available and under the control of the department chair, the dean must identify available space under control of the college. If space is not available within the college, the PI must add a request for rent or lease funds in the contract or grant budget to obtain space. If the sponsored program’s success requires space, the PI must arrange, at the department or college level, for additional space before submitting the proposal to Pre-Award Support Services (see UPPS No. 08.01.01, Scheduling of University Facilities, and UPPS No. 01.03.01, Space Management);
determining, with RIC’s assistance, which university review boards must review proposal methodology or protocols for compliance with state and federal guidelines concerning research activities. The PI must meet all compliance requirements prior to expending funds (and prior to proposal submission, in some cases). Relevant university review boards include: the Institutional Review Board on the Use of Human Subjects in Research (see UPPS No. 02.02.03, Protection of Human Research Subjects) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (see UPPS No. 02.02.05, Animal Care and Use Policy). For information regarding export controls, see UPPS No. 02.02.10, Export Control Laws and Regulations, and biosafety. Certain training is required for proposals meeting the above requirements. RIC can assist and guide the PI and other personnel to the appropriate training provided by CITI training that most review boards require to be up to date prior to award setup;
identifying, with assistance from Pre-Award Support Services, any technology needs. The PI must notify Pre-Award Support Services and the vice president for Information Technology of requirements related to hardware or software procurement or technical support;
ensuring, with the help from Information Security Office, that sensitive, restricted, and confidential data collected, stored, and reported in conjunction with the grant or contract receive the appropriate protections. To meet this responsibility, the PI should become familiar with the data classification guidelines in Section 02.08 of UPPS No. 04.01.11, Risk Management of Information Resources;
identifying the amount and source of matching funds, both monetary and in-kind, as well as making sure that the account manager for these funds has approved the pledge through the internal routing process or in writing. The sponsor must approve pledges of indirect cost as all or part of a match requirement;
ensuring, with help from ORSP, that the proposal complies with pertinent state, federal, or university policy such as those relating to scientific misconduct in research or disclosure of financial conflicts of interest, coordination of financial aid, and management of human subjects and lab animals;
ensuring, with help from ORSP, that the proposal complies with affirmative action regulations and that it meets any other regulations that might apply, such as those mandated by Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and other relevant federal and state laws pertaining to persons with disabilities;
identifying, with assistance from ORSP, any facility and infrastructure needs. The PI must notify the vice president for Finance and Support Services and the associate vice president for Facilities of facility, infrastructure, and utility requirements as well as obtain planning, design, and cost estimating support (see UPPS No. 01.03.02, University Construction Policy for additional guidance); and
when a PI discovers a solicitation they plan to pursue is a limited submission, the PI must inform the Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) unit within the ORSP of the limit as outlined in AA/PPS No. 03.01.02, Limited Submissions for Certain Sponsored Programs.
Responsibilities of ORSP:
When Pre-Award Support Services receives proposals in the required format and by the deadline as specified in Section 03.04 a., it shall:
review each proposal submitted for completeness and appropriate use of institutional assumptions to the best of its ability;
return the proposal to the PI if there are any questions regarding the proposal’s completeness or with appropriate use of institutional assumptions; and
upon approval by all required parties by the deadline as specified in Section 03.04 a., submit the proposal for consideration to the potential sponsor.
In the event that Pre-Award Support Services receives the proposal in an incorrect format or past the deadline specified in Section 03.04 a., they shall attempt to submit the proposal on behalf of the PI and the university. The university shall retain the right to rescind, recall, or otherwise remove the proposal from the sponsor’s funding consideration. Pre-Award Support Services staff is not responsible for delinquent or missed proposal submissions when it did not receive the proposal in the proper form or by the specified internal deadline.
Timeline – The PI must allow enough time for adequate review of the proposal by the chair, dean, or director. The PI with the assistance of Pre-Award Support Services staff should initiate internal routing in the proposal management system with a finalized budget and Scope of Work at least three business days prior to the submission as specified in Section 03.04 a. (also see Section 04.).
Special Consideration – Before employing faculty, staff, or students with received awards, the PI must follow all university Human Resources policies and procedures for current and future staff.
PIs, with the help of Pre-Award Support Services staff, must receive approval for their proposals by releasing their proposal for routing and approval through the proposal management system. Proposals from private sources will also be reviewed by UA for possible coordination perUPPS No. 03.05.01, Soliciting, Accepting and Processing Gifts and Grants from Private Sources. The proposal should be complete, including at a minimum:
an abstract or narrative;
complete budget; and
the completed KC questionnaire.
The funding source may send the notification of acceptance or rejection to any of a number of different locations. The office receiving the notification must forward it to Pre-Award Support Services. Failure to do so will delay establishment of a Texas State account for accepted grants.
The action required as a result of the rejection of a proposal varies from one proposal to another. Therefore, the PI or Pre-Award Support Services staff will determine the proper individuals to notify concerning the rejection notification.
Per UPPS No. 03.05.01, Soliciting, Accepting and Processing Gifts and Grants from Private Sources, proposals to private sources may be subject to review and coordination with UA. Pre-Award Support Services will coordinate with UA to establish and document protocols for review and classification of awards from private sources, transition of philanthropic awards to UA, and notifications to the PI and other relevant individuals, as appropriate.
AWARD IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES
A sponsored program is not operational until the funding document is signed by all those required and the PI approves all terms and conditions. Awards at Texas State are made to the university and are not personal grants or contracts to the PI. Only the president, or his or her designee, can obligate the university and are the only persons authorized to sign a grant or contract. Before making a commitment, financial or otherwise, the university must receive a signed copy of the contract or a formal award in writing or the funding source must guarantee to the director of Pre-Award Support Services that such award is in transit. If a PI deems it necessary to begin work prior to receiving an executed agreement, the PI can establish a provisional expenditure account in accordance with Section 05.03 of UPPS No. 02.02.02, Sponsored Programs – Post Award. In the event that a PI or other unauthorized individual or contracting official signs a contract or award with a funding source, the university may hold that individual personally liable for any expenditure or obligation of university resources to the subsequently invalid contract or award. Additionally, the university may take disciplinary action against that individual including revocation of the individual’s status as a PI.
Acceptance of the award constitutes a commitment by the PI to comply throughout the grant period with all policies of TSUS, the university, all state and federal regulations, and with all funding agency requirements. If the PI does not comply, the AVPR will ensure that the university fulfills its contractual obligations under the award’s terms. These steps may include removing the PI from the grant or contract and prohibiting him or her from future work as a PI.
When Pre-Award Support Services receives the award notification, the director and staff will review the agreement’s financial terms and seek the PI’s written approval. Upon PI approval, ORSP will establish a Texas State account. In the event that terms are not satisfactory, the director of Pre-Award Support Services will attempt to renegotiate the terms and conditions of the award. If negotiations are not successful and the terms are considered unacceptable, the AVPR may reject the award on behalf of the university.
The university will not reimburse individuals for expenditures from any source other than the appropriate Texas State account, even prior to the establishment of a Texas State account, as these are personal liabilities of the person making the expenditure. Exceptions due to extraordinary circumstances require approval of the AVPR.
When ORSP receives an approved federal contract containing the E-Verify clause (73 FR 6770), it will notify the PI associated with the contract, who will then contact Human Resources to provide instructions.
Refer to UPPS No. 02.02.02, Sponsored Programs – Post Award, for policies regarding managing an awarded grant.
REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS
Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
Position Date Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Federal Relations July 1 ONY Assistant Vice President for University Advancement July 1 ONY Director, Pre-Award Support Services July 1 ONY
This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.
Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Federal Relations; senior reviewer of this UPPS
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs