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Background and Process for Sponsored Programs

Summary

Review the details regarding Sponsored Programs conducted at William & Mary.

Full Description

The Vice Provost for Research (VPR) is the institutional official charged with ensuring that throughout all Schools of the College, the university’s research enterprise is managed in accordance with federal, state, and institutional regulations and guidelines.  As part of that responsibility,  the VPR is charged with   authorizing submission of all proposals for external funding.  Further, it is the VPR’s obligation  to decline any award not processed in accordance with College guidelines.

The VPR and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) would like to remind researchers of William and Mary’s guidelines and requirements governing application, negotiation, and management of funds awarded by external entities.  While these policies have been standard operating procedure for many years, newer members of our faculty may not be aware of the requirements, and it is appropriate to remind senior faculty of the importance of  following guidelines that were put in place to protect all participants in the process.  Investigators are served by a careful and timely proposal review that ensures submission of a professional document that complies with funding agency requirements.  The university and taxpayers are protected when there is a careful evaluation of the costs and compliance and audit requirements of proposed projects.  Further the proposal is the first step in meeting standards for financial and administrative audits.  While all proposals must follow William and Mary’s documented procedures, there are situations when it is  particularly important to include the Office of the VPR at the beginning of the process -  specifically projects that would require the College to provide matching funds, buy special equipment, supply residence hall rooms,  enhance infrastructure, make changes to buildings or grounds to perform proposed activities or obligate the College to long-term commitments that may continue after the end of the award period.

Background
  • A proposal is a document to any prospective funding entity regardless of whether the College will be a direct recipient or serve as a subcontractor or subrecipient with another organization.  In other words, proposals to participate as a subcontractor must also be reviewed and approved using the same procedures.
  • ALL proposals (or funding requests) to external agencies must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) PRIOR to submission.
  • Faculty and staff members, including Principal Investigators and Program Leaders, and Project Leaders are NOT empowered to commit the College in contractual obligations.
Briefly,  steps that you should follow to comply with College procedures include:
  1. Contact the OSP as soon as you think you might pursue a call for proposals or whenever you think there might be an opportunity for funding for your work.  The OSP will then assign a person to assist and help you in whatever way possible in assembling the submission package.  It is important to have OSP personnel engaged as you undertake discussions with potential sponsors.
  2. The first official step in the process is submission of the online digital routing and review form which has replaced the printed “yellow sheet.”  This form can be accessed at https://grants.wm.edu/wm_prod/index.cfm using your assigned WM log-on and password. Timely submission of the digital routing and review form, along with a rough draft budget and proposal narrative should be submitted as soon as possible but no later than 5 working days prior to the submission date for the proposal.  This will provide time to coordinate with Department Chairs, Deans, the VPR, and various compliance committees.  Additionally,  please realize that requests for supplemental resource commitments by the College, such as a need for facilities modifications, commitment for student housing, and reduced F&A require more time for review and approvals. In other words, the greater the need for institutional support, the earlier the routing and review form needs to be submitted.
  3. The 5-day requirement allows OSP time to review documents and prepare the variety of mandatory forms and digital packages needed for on-line submissions.  We are aware that investigators work on proposals until the last moment, so forwarding draft copies of all documents as you prepare them is a good way to initiate and expedite the review process.
  4. Investigators are often contacted by agency personnel and program officers to discuss and negotiate specific details of potential agreements. While discussions with program officers/research directors can be appropriate and helpful, please do not offer extraordinary terms or conditions or over-promise what the institution will agree to do. Detailed negotiations may involve specifics of price, unrecovered institutional costs, intellectual property rights, reduction in overhead, and personnel requirements  and must involve OSP. Researchers are urged to limit their commitments to defining specific tasks and project goals. Commitments of resources and final financial details must be cleared through the VPR and OSP.
  5. Department Chairs, Deans, and Principal Investigators are NOT authorized to sign any award or funding agreement on behalf of the College.
  6. Since all awards are contractual documents obligating the university to specific requirements and deliverables, ANY change in terms and conditions must be requested and negotiated through OSP and accepted by that office. Changes to existing agreements such as extensions in the period of performance (with or without cost), requests for budget adjustments, changes in principal investigator, addition or substitution of major labor categories, addition of deliverables, changes to intellectual property terms,  or changes in the scope of work must be reviewed and submitted by OSP. This is as easy as telling your OSP administrator what changes you would like to make in the contract. OSP will work with the funding entity and if necessary will initiate conference calls with agency representative(s) to accomplish the requested adjustments. OSP will not authorize any changes that are not submitted and documented through this office.

We appreciate your cooperation.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.