As a condition of accepting sponsor funds, the University must comply with a variety of award terms and, in the case of Federal funding, regulations that govern all awards. The concept of compliance begins with the presentation of a proposal and continues for as long as the University is willing to accept funding from external sources. Since all external funding must be accepted by and on behalf of the University, and not individual faculty members, it is the University's responsibility, through its faculty and other employees, to provide assurance to sponsors that all funds are accounted for and managed appropriately. Beyond the financial aspects of compliance are those that concern how the University manages its activities that are related to sponsored projects, including human subjects and animals used in research, among the many.
The subject of compliance is too complex to provide an adequate discussion of the many issues involved in this type of forum. Rather, what follows is a summary of compliance and management issues, as excerpted from Managing Externally Funded Programs at Colleges and Universities - A Guideline to Good Management Practices, published by the Council on Governmental Relations (CoGR) in May of 1998. The principles enunciated here (italicized and in bold print) highlight a variety of areas in which compliance and sound management of sponsor funds are critical to successfully discharging the University's obligations in accepting sponsored project funding. After each principle is stated, a brief summary is provided to indicate what the University must do in order to comply with the spirit of that principle.
Principle I. Fiscal Administration
- Proposal Costing. The college or university has a proposal costing and budget administration system which provides for consistency in preparation of proposal budgets to satisfy both internal procedures and external regulations.
This principle requires that the University have written policies and procedures for proposal processing and budget administration, which are disseminated at all levels of the institution and that proposals be prepared based upon consistently applied direct and indirect cost accounting practices.
- Allowable Costs. The college or university has in place a financial control system that limits costs charged to accounts funded by a sponsor to costs allowable by that sponsor, in amounts that are properly allocable.
Adherence to this principle requires written policies and procedures that define the allowability of costs in a manner consistent with the federal cost principles or other applicable standards of other sponsors. Further, the University must ensure the proper differentiation of costs allocable as either direct costs or indirect costs (now called facilities and administrative costs).
- Financial Accounting and Reporting. The college or university has an established financial management system that complies with federal, state, and institutional regulations and/or policies.
The University must have written policies and procedures that guide its financial management of awards and an accounting system that provides for the identification and control of all extramural funding.
- Cash Management. The college or university has a cash management system that complies with federal, internal, and, if necessary, state regulations and which provides adequate control and necessary flexibility to make timely deposits and disbursements of sponsored project funds.
Critical to compliance with sound cash management practices are, a.) appropriate policies and procedures to receive and deposit all monies on a timely basis and to invest them when permitted in accordance with University policies and federal regulations and b.) policies and procedures to record the receipt of income and disbursement of cash, to invoice sponsors for receivables, and to report cash management activities to sponsors.
- Effort Reporting and Cost Sharing. The college or university has effort reporting and cost sharing systems for personnel whose effort supports the organized research activities of the institution.
These systems must comply with OMB Circulars A-21 and A-110 (See Federal Regulations & Guidelines). The University must have written policies and procedures for effort reporting and cost sharing which are consistently applied in proposing, accumulating, and reporting costs both to external sponsors and within the institution.
Principle II. Procurement
The college or university has a procurement system for acquiring goods and services in a fair, competitive, and timely manner with special emphasis placed on acquisitions for research. Compliance with this principle requires, a.) a system of written policies and procedures for purchase of goods and services, b.) a written procurement system that meets the requirements of OMB Circular A-110, and contractor procurement system reviews, as applicable, c.) procedures to determine, prior to purchasing, that no unnecessarily duplicative equipment is available to meet project needs, d.) an expedited purchase option, and e.) policies and procedures for contracting and monitoring the performance of subrecipients.
Principle III. Property Management
The college or university has a property management system capable of cont rolling both federal and non-federal property. Such a system must be guided by written policies and procedures that address property matters and include, a.) the ability to protect property in which the University has invested sponsored project funds, b.) a property inventory system, c.) capability to report property activities to external sponsors, and d.) capability of determining what inventory should be retained, salvaged, or disposed of.
Principle IV. Personnel
The college or university has adequate staff to provide a personnel management program to enable it to accomplish its goals and objectives. This program provides safeguards to assure that the college or university complies with laws and regulations regarding recruiting, hiring, conditions and termination of employment. To effectively comply with this principle, the University must have written personnel policies and procedures that are available to all employees and which provide procedures for consistency in the recruiting, hiring, compensating, disciplining and terminating of employees. The University's personnel policies must also address regulatory issues, such as equal employment opportunity, nondiscrimination, prevention of sexual harassment, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Principle V. Audits
The college or university has an audit management system which demonstrates that the institution is well-managed, in accordance with its own internal policies and federal regulations. The college or university's auditors and external auditors, under appropriate circumstances, have full access to the institution's records, properties, and personnel as those relate to any given subject under review. Compliance with this principle requires that the University has written policies and procedures for both its external independent audit and its internal audit responsibilities and procedures for recurring review of its finances, compliance with its administrative directives, and conformance with governmental laws and regulations. The University must also comply with government auditing requirements (e.g., (OMB Circular A-133) with respect to its federal programs.
Principle VI. Health, Safety, and Regulatory Compliance
- Insurance (Risk Management). The college or university has risk financing mechanisms which comply with federal and, where necessary, state regulations and provide a reasonable level of protection against unanticipated property loss and liability exposure. The University must have a system to identify and evaluate potential injury, property loss, and liability exposure and policies regarding the property loss and liability exposures that will be assumed internally and those that will be transferred. Also, the University must have a system for the management and resolution of liability claims, a record keeping system for its risk management programs, and, if self-insured, a system for responding to property loss and liability claims.
Human Subjects. The college or university has a system which complies with federal and, where necessary, state and local government regulations and with the requirements of non-federal sponsors to protect the rights, well-being, and personal privacy of human subjects in research. Compliance with this principle requires that:
- the University has filed a written assurance with the Department of Health and Human Services and received approval in accordance with federal regulations;
- the University provide for its investigators and other individuals identified in proposals as "key personnel" a formal education program in the use of human subjects in research;
- the University has established at least one Institutional Review Board (IRB) in accordance with federal regulations to review, approve, require modifications in, or disapprove research activities involving humans as subjects;
- if the University accepts research projects involving investigational new drugs (INDs), it has policies and mechanisms for handling such activities;
- changes in policies and procedures are made in a timely manner and, where appropriate, communicated to the University community; and
- policies exist to notify appropriate personnel when emergency treatment of patients is required and to provide for such treatment, when necessary.
Animal Care. The college or university has a system to assure the existence of policies and procedures which comply with federal and, where necessary, state and local government regulations and with the requirements of non-federal sponsors to humanely, efficiently, effectively, and legally use live vertebrate animals in research covered by such regulations. Compliance with this principle requires that:
- the University has filed a written assurance with the Department of Health and Human Services and received approval thereof, and has also received Department of Agriculture registration;
- the University has established at least one Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) in accordance with federal regulations to review, approve, require modifications to, or disapprove activities involving animals used in research;
- the University has programs and procedures for training and medical examination of scientists, animal technicians, and other individuals involved in animal care or use;
- adequate systems are in place to track, report, and maintain compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service (PHS) Good Laboratory Practices Guide.
- Biohazards. The college or university has a system to assure the existence of policies and procedures which comply with federal and, where necessary, state and local government regulations and with requirements for the identification, classification, and control of biological hazards (biohazards) associated with research (including recombinant DNA). The University must have guidelines to specify the minimum training standards for personnel competence and procedures for the physical containment and proper handling of the various classes of biohazards. The University must also maintain a Biosafety Committee to establish standards, provide consultant services, review biological research proposals for compliance with standards, and recommend training and education methods for biohazard laboratory personnel. Finally, a procedure must be in place for review of sponsored project proposals prior to submission to an external sponsor or prior to project initiation when such proposals involve recombinant DNA research that is not exempt and/or include use of or exposure to potential biohazards.
- Security. The college or university has a system to assure the existence of policies and/or programs concerning security for campus buildings, other college or university facilities, equipment and, if appropriate, classified materials. Compliance with this principle provides that the University have policies and procedures for the security of the buildings, grounds, facilities, and animals of the institution to provide protection from loss or disruption of University and/or sponsor investments in its research programs. Examples of these policies include a fire protection program, procedures for access to buildings and/or laboratories under specified conditions, and safeguarding classified and/or proprietary materials.
- Health and Safety. The college or university is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees, faculty, students, and visitors. Evidence of compliance with this principle includes having written policies pertaining to institutional requirements for health and safety standards in the workplace, the ability to manage hazardous waste or radioactive material, an occupational safety and health program for faculty, staff, and students involved in research activities, and processes to evaluate, plan, and implement actions to comply with federal regulations (e.g., environmental, Americans with Disabilities Act).
Principle VII. Grant and Contract Management
- Programmatic Performance. The college or university has a system to assure adequate performance and reporting of performance of sponsored project activities. Compliance with this principle requires that the University have trained personnel who are knowledgeable of sponsor regulations, requirements, and procedures and policies and procedures regarding responsibility for preparation of and submission of required reports and other deliverables. Further, the University must have procedures regarding the provision notification of upcoming termination dates and other milestones for sponsored projects to appropriate academic and other internal offices and be able to assure performance and compliance with terms and conditions of its subrecipients and that subawards are appropriately closed out.
- Prior Approvals. The college or university has a system for seeking required sponsor prior approvals and for reviewing and granting delegated prior approvals. The University must have policies and procedures by which prior approvals of sponsors may be requested, where required, and adequate records of all prior approvals requested and granted must be maintained. The University also must have procedures to provide for certification that requested cost transfers are timely, beneficial, project-related, and consistent with approved project objectives.
- Agency Management Requirements. The college or university has a system to manage externally funded programs in accordance with the requirements of each sponsor. To comply with this principle, the University must have a system to gather appropriate sponsoring agency management requirements and to disseminate them to affected personnel. In addition, the University must have in place procedures to meet and document its cost sharing and matching requirements on awards and must communicate these procedures to appropriate institutional officials.
Principle VIII. Records Management
The college or university has a records retention system for awards and related documents. The University must have procedures in place for the maintenance of records, documents, and other supporting evidence necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of management systems and internal procedures. In addition, the University must have policies regarding the retention of technical records, including data, pertaining to sponsored projects.
Principle IX. Intellectual Property
The college or university has an intellectual property management system adequate to comply with terms and conditions of agreements with external sponsors and university policies, as well as with pertinent laws and regulations, including those of the federal government. To comply with this principle, the University's intellectual property management system must have the capability of properly dealing with patentable inventions, copyrightable works (including, but not limited to, scientific and technical writings, computer software, and technical data in any form), tangible research products over which control of distribution is maintained, and privileged data maintained as proprietary know-how, trade secrets, or confidential information, as permitted by institutional policy. Further, the University must have policies and procedures for obtaining sufficient rights in intellectual property to satisfy the requirements of agreements with external sponsors and for transferring these inventions to the marketplace.
Principle X. Research Ethics, Integrity, and Conflicts
The college or university has policies that provide the means to comply with federal standards of accountability in maintaining the integrity of its research program. Such policies are made known to employees and subrecipients and set forth procedures for resolving questions concerning possible conflicts of interest, conflicts of commitment, procurement integrity and allegations of research misconduct. Compliance with this principle requires that:
- the University must have written policies to assist employees in determining whether and to what extent outside public and private activities may conflict with their primary research and academic activities or other institutional responsibilities;
- written policies and procedures must be in place for the purpose of identifying, managing, and resolving possible conflicts of interest;
- the University must have written policies to guide the actions of employees involved in the preparation, submission, and negotiation of agreements with subrecipients;
- the University must have written policies for promoting the design, conduct, and reporting of research and, where required by regulation, providing and subsequently assuring that appropriate training in ethics and research integrity is taking place; and
- the University must have a written policy and procedure for resolving allegations of misconduct and/or fraud and abuse and protecting whistleblowers.
Principle XI. Electronic Research Administration
The college or university has appropriate procedures in place to allow it to access and utilize electronic proposal, award, administrative, and financial management systems of the federal government and other sponsors. The University must have staff adequately trained to manage electronic research initiatives of the federal government and other sponsors as they are implemented and must be able to manage required financial matters electronically, when required.
Principle XII. General Management
The college or university has a system to assure that it undertakes general management reviews in a timely manner and takes appropriate actions based on those reviews. Compliance with this principle requires that the University consider policies and practices related to the management of externally funded projects as a whole, i.e., integrated, rather than a series of individual, unrelated parts, and assigns priorities to these policies. The University must also perform a periodic review of its policies, practices, and procedures and make necessary revisions based upon changes in policies, rules, and regulations. Finally, the University must ensure that institutional policies and procedures are in written form and reflect the current management practices of the institution.
Questions regarding the subject of compliance or any of the University's current policies and procedures related to sponsored projects may be addressed to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
Compliance Information: Federal Regulations, Guidelines, Etc.
This page contains links to Federal regulations, specific agency guidelines, and to other useful information related to sponsored projects administration. To access the hyperlinks, right-click on the link and go to “open Hyperlink.”
Federal Regulations, Guidelines, and Information
This page contains links to many of the Federal regulations, specific agency guidelines, and to other useful information related to sponsored projects administration.
A-21 - (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions)
A-110 - (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education)
A-133 - (Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR)
NEH General Grant Provisions for Organizations
NIH Grants Policy Statement
NSF Grant General Conditions (GC-1)
NSF Grant Proposal Guide
NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
NSF Administration of NSF Conference or Group Travel Award Grant Special Conditions
Other Federal Information
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
Code of Federal Regulations
Fly America Act
Government Printing Office (GPO) Access
Interagency Edison (Invention Reporting)
Library of Congress
U.S. General Services Agency (GSA)
Domestic Per-Diem Rates
Foreign Per-Diem Rates
U.S. Government Manual
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office