Office of Sponsored Programs (Policy 5030)

University Policy 5030

Download a Printable Version of Policy 5030


Effective Date

November 1987

Last Revision Date

February 2017

Responsible Party

Vice President for Research and Economic Development, (208) 426-5732
Office of Sponsored Programs, (208) 426-4420

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all university personnel involved in the administration or performance of sponsored projects.

Additional Authority

  • University Policy 1090 (Intellectual Property)
  • University Policy 1110 (Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy)
  • University Policy 5010 (Research Faculty Policies and Procedures)
  • University Policy 5020 (Principal Investigator Eligibility)
  • University Policy 5100 (Sponsored Projects and Charitable Gifts)
  • University Policy 6100 (Allocation and Distribution of Recovered Facilities and Administrative Costs)
  • University Policy 6110 (Cost Sharing)
  • Idaho State Board of Education Policy Section V.N.

1. Policy Purpose

To establish the authority and define the required processes for securing and managing sponsored projects.

2. Policy Statement

Boise State University is committed to fostering an environment where research and creative activity thrive.  The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for:

(i) coordinating sponsored project proposal submission;

(ii) negotiating and accepting sponsored project awards;

(iii) negotiating amendments, changes and disputes with sponsors; and

(iv) administrative and financial oversight of sponsored project awards. OSP is the unit responsible for ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations that apply to sponsored projects.

All sponsored project proposals and awards must be processed through the OSP.

3. Definitions

3.1 Award

The formal written agreement that is entered into by the University and by the sponsor. Awards are made by various funding mechanisms including grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.

3.2 Budget

A detailed statement outlining estimated project costs to support the sponsored project.

3.3 Contract

The sponsor is a buyer of goods and services for the direct benefit of the sponsor. The sponsor may act as technical overseer. Contracts have firm timelines and deliverable requirements. Sometimes, terms and conditions are identified prior to submitting a proposal, and confirmed prior to accepting a contract. Contracts can have various payment structures.

3.4 Cooperative Agreement

A cooperative agreement is a type of federal award that provides assistance to a particular project with substantial federal involvement throughout the life of the project.

3.5 Grant

An award type used to support a particular project with minimal involvement and control by the sponsor. Grants generally contain fewer administrative requirements than other funding types.

3.6 Principal Investigator (PI)

The individual responsible for the technical and financial performance of a sponsored project.

3.7 Project Director (PD)

Synonym of Principal Investigator.

3.8 Proposal

A sponsored project proposal is a request for external funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions. More than that, it is an official record of what is promised to a sponsor by the University in return for the funding requested in the proposal budget.

3.9 Sponsor

An external entity that provides funding for a sponsored project.

3.10 Sponsored Project

A grant, contract, cooperative agreement, sub grant, subcontract, consortium agreement, purchase order, or memorandum of understanding (hereafter collectively referred to as a “sponsored project”) that formalizes the transfer of money or property from a sponsor in exchange for specified activities (e.g., research and development, instruction, public services etc.), and may require specific deliverables such as detailed financial and/or technical reporting by the recipient. Performance is usually to be accomplished within a specified time frame, with payment subject to revocation. It may include provisions related to intellectual property and publication rights. The University’s Office of Sponsored Programs in the Division of Research and Economic and Development is responsible for accepting and administering sponsored projects.

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

4.1 Proposal Submission and Review Process

Proposal Review: All sponsored project proposals must be routed through the OSP prior to submission to the prospective sponsor. A proposal must be submitted to the OSP in final form, at least three working days prior to deadline date. PIs and PDs must follow the proposal preparation process.

4.2 Sponsored Projects Requiring Special Reviews

When preparing a proposal, it is important to keep in mind that certain special reviews and approvals may be necessary to ensure compliance with University and sponsor requirements. Special reviews may include:

a. Human Subjects Review- Proposed work including the use of human subjects must be reviewed by the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB approval must be obtained before the work begins.

b. Animal Care Review- Proposed work for activities involving the use of vertebrate animals must be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). IACUC approval must be obtained before work begins.

c. Biohazards Safety Review- Proposed activities involving infectious or select agents; recombinant DNA research; biological toxins, mutagens and teratogens; bioengineering research; and/or the use of human blood, body fluids or tissues must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) before the work begins.

4.3 Award Notification, Review, Negotiation, and Acceptance

a. The OSP is the campus unit with the responsibility for reviewing, negotiating, and institutionally accepting sponsored project awards received from external sponsors. All award documents should be routed to OSP. Individual principal investigators, projects directors, and staff may not sign award agreements.

b. The OSP will complete a comprehensive review of all of the terms and conditions of a sponsored project award. The OSP is responsible for conducting negotiations with sponsors to obtain mutually-acceptable terms and conditions. The OSP will consult with PIs and PDs and other campus units as necessary. Examples of items that are frequently negotiated include:

  • Publication restrictions
  • Indemnifications provisions
  • Warranty provisions
  • Insurance provisions
  • Intellectual property
  • Financial and technical reporting requirements

The full process for award negotiation and acceptance will be completed by the OSP.

4.4 New Account Set Up

After completion of the sponsored project award negotiation and acceptance, work on the project may commence. OSP generates and sets up a new department ID in the finance system and sends an award notification email to the PI, Business Manager, Research Administrator, Department Administrator and other personnel as appropriate. The department ID and other information related to the new award are communicated at that time.

4.5 Pre-Award Spending

There may be a legitimate need to start a sponsored project prior to acceptance of an award from a sponsor. In limited circumstances an advance account can be requested to accommodate pre-award spending. If for any reason an award is not received, or if sponsor conditions preclude pre-award-date expenses, the department/college is responsible for any unallowable expenditures. An Advance ID form must be completed to initiate the advance account.

4.6 Award Management

a. Management of sponsored projects is the responsibility of the principal investigator. The PI is responsible for the technical direction of the project and managing funds in accordance with the award terms and conditions, university policies, and state and federal regulations and ensuring that the funds are only expended to directly support the project effort.

b. The PI may delegate day to day post-award and financial management functions to departmental or college administrators. These activities may include:

  • Initiating financial transactions such as p-card purchases, employment action forms, travel requisitions, etc.
  • Reconciling projects on a regular basis to ensure that the expenses charged to the sponsored project are reasonable, allocable, and allowable.
  • Tracking performance to ensure that the project is completed in a timely manner.

c. The OSP provides oversight of award management activities. OSP award management activities may include:

  • Interpreting and providing guidance on regulations related to sponsored projects.
  • Preparing and submitting financial reports and invoices to sponsors.
  • Monitoring accounts receivable and following up as necessary to secure payments.
  • Reviewing and approving re-budgeting or cost transfer requests.
  • Preparing information on sponsored project accounts as needed for annual single audit and serve as the primary contact for outside auditors.
  • Coordinating completion of patent reports, property reports, and certifications requested by sponsoring agencies.
  • Verifying expenses that post to project accounts.
  • Financial system report interpretation.
  • Facilities and administrative cost distribution.
  • Reporting cost sharing and program income to sponsors.

Revision History

July 1993; July 1995; September 2004; February 2017