Sponsored Project Procurement

Policy number: 10.4

Policy section: Research

Revised Date: January 2, 2019


1. Definitions

Definitions of capitalized terms are set forth in Appendix A.

2. Purpose

This purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for procurement of goods and services for Sponsored Projects. Excluded from this policy are employment relationships, travel, subcontracts, and Subrecipient and consulting agreements to which other University Policies are applicable. This policy also provides instructions on the roles and responsibilities of University stakeholders in the procurement of goods and services for Sponsored Projects.

3. Policy Statement

The purchase of goods and services for Sponsored Projects will be made according to current federal laws, regulations, and policies as identified in the Research Handbook, and any terms and conditions imposed by an Award. Such purchases will be subject to the same internal controls (administrative, accounting, and purchasing) as other University purchases, with modifications to accommodate federal requirements.

4. General Procurement Principles and Restrictions

  1. Procurement for Sponsored Projects is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator/Project Director. The Administrative Offices will monitor procurement. The Principal Investigator/Project Director is responsible for informing the appropriate Administrative Offices of difficulties related to procurement. Guidance for addressing procurement issues is provided in the Research Handbook. The Administrative Offices will be responsible for keeping the Principal Investigator/Project Director informed of all changes in compliance and regulatory matters. The Administrative Offices are authorized to contact all Sponsors to determine the nature and extent of all compliance and/or regulatory constraints that apply to Sponsored Project procurement and to file all required reports relating thereto.
  2. The Principal Investigator/Project Director, the Administrative Offices, and others responsible for procurement for a Sponsored Project must comply with all University Policies relating to procurement, including, without limitation, this policy and other guidelines, procedures, and requirements set forth in the Research Handbook and on the Grant and Contract Accounting website.
  3. The splitting of purchases to avoid compliance with requirements related to any purchase threshold is strictly prohibited.

5. Roles and Responsibilities: Principal Investigator/Project Director

The Principal Investigator/Project Director is responsible for:

  1. Documenting specifications for items to be procured.
  2. Preparing the purchase requisition (including the justification page), ensuring that the procurement is free of conflict of interest and specifications are free of restrictions that may unnecessarily inhibit competition, making an effort to prevent duplicate purchases, and demonstrating good faith effort to obtain the item from small businesses, minority owned firms, and women’s business enterprises as required by federal laws, regulations, and policies.
  3. Obtaining cost or price data for each purchase which may include quotes, bids, competitive proposals or purchasing cooperatives.
  4. Complying with University and Sponsor requirements. An example is a “Buy America” clause in a federal Award.
  5. Complying with requirements of the Office of Legal Affairs, the Director of Purchasing and, in connection with acquisition of computer hardware or software, the Office of Information Technology, before issuing a requisition.

6. Roles and Responsibilities: Office of Research and Graduate Studies

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is responsible for:

  1. Identifying special pass-down clauses for use in negotiation with the vendor and/or preparation of the purchase requisition.
  2. Preparing service agreements, subcontracts, and Subrecipient agreements.
  3. Obtaining government and sponsor approvals when required.

7. Roles and Responsibilities: Office of Grant and Contract Accounting

The Office of Grant and Contract Accounting is responsible for:

  1. Monitoring allowability, allocability, and reasonableness of Sponsored Project costs.
  2. Determining completeness of purchase requisitions.
  3. Maintaining central files (requisitions, purchase orders, subcontracts, service agreements, and Subrecipient agreements).

8. Roles and Responsibilities: Purchasing Department

The Purchasing Department is responsible for:

  1. Providing departments and Principal Investigators/Project Directors information and resources on available Small Business or Small Disadvantaged Business vendors by commodity, including reports and analysis by maintaining an active vendor database.
  2. Issuing all purchase orders.
  3. Attaching all special pass-down clauses to purchase orders.
  4. Checking new vendors and periodically (at least annually) continuing vendors through the United States Government System for Awards Management for vendors with exclusion status to ensure compliance with federal regulations and policies.
  5. Reviewing vendor terms and conditions, if any, and addressing inconsistencies with University requirements.

9. Sanctions

Failure to comply with this policy and to carry out properly the prescribed procedures and responsibilities will result in disallowance of the amount charged against a Sponsored Project. In such cases, the offender will be held personally responsible for settling the charges. The deliberate charging of unallowable costs to a federally funded Sponsored Project may result in additional federal and/or institutional sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, the exclusion from future federal Funding and criminal prosecution for fraud.

10. Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

  • University Policy 10.1, Sponsored Projects and Activities
  • Research Handbook
  • Grant and Contract Accounting Website

Appendix A: Definitions

Administrative Offices” means, for the purpose of this policy, the University’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Grant and Contract Accounting, and the Purchasing Department.

"Award" means a Grant, subgrant, Contract, subcontract, or Cooperative Agreement that provides for Funding.

"Contract" means a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a Sponsor that provides Funding when a primary purpose is delivery to the Sponsor of property or services for the benefit of the Sponsor, in addition to the research, educational, or service benefit to the University.

"Cooperative Agreement" means a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a Sponsor that provides Funding when substantial interaction between the Sponsor and the University is anticipated during the performance of the Sponsored Project.

“Effort” means the time spent on Sponsored Projects and all other activities for which an individual is compensated by the University. See University Policy 10.15, Sponsored Project Effort Reporting

“Funding” means financial support for a Sponsored Project, including money, property, services or anything of value in lieu of money.

"Grant" means a legally enforceable agreement between the University and a Sponsor that provides Funding when:

  1. the Sponsor has no expectation of delivery of a specific product or service other than a final written report;
  2. no substantial interaction between the Sponsor and the University during performance is anticipated; and
  3. the agreement contains general terms and conditions that stipulate a period of performance and minimal reporting requirements.

“Pass Down Clause” means a provision within a Contract between two parties that is also enforced in subcontracts involving additional parties.

"Principal Investigator/Project Director” means the individual solely responsible for technical conduct of a Sponsored Project, technical contact with the Sponsor, expenditure of Sponsored Project Funding, and fulfillment of technical performance and reporting obligations under an Award. "Principal Investigator” (PI) includes an individual designated in an Award as "Project Director" (PD), when performing the functions of a Principal Investigator, or other individuals performing the functions of a Principal Investigator. For the period of the Award, the Principal Investigator/Project Director must be a full-time employee (staff, tenured or, tenure track faculty, Research Professor, Research Associate Professor or Research Assistant Professor) appointed pursuant to the University Policies governing Faculty Ranks, Classifications and Terms of Appointments, or, if approved by the Provost or his or her designee, a non-tenure track, non-tenure eligible faculty member Non-Tenure, Non-Tenure Eligible Series Faculty.

“Research Handbook” is a document maintained by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies outlining current procedures and requirements for the proposal, acceptance, execution, and oversight of Sponsored Projects.

"Sponsor” means any external entity that provides Funding to the University. Sponsors may be (i) governmental agencies (for example, federal, state or local governments or their administrative organizations); (ii) nonprofit organizations (for example, universities, nonprofit corporations, foundations or associations); (iii) for profit organizations (for example, corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and other business entities); or (iv) individuals.

"Sponsored Projects” means all projects, programs, research, training, public service and other activities that receive external Funding through Grants to the University or through Contracts or Cooperative Agreements between the University and a Sponsor, where one or more of the following obligations applies:

  1. Financial Obligation. The University is required to comply with conditions imposed when a Sponsor awards Funding for the performance of services or delivery of products described in a Statement of Work;
  2. Regulatory Obligation. The University is required to comply with Sponsor regulations.
  3. Reporting Obligation. The University is required to provide to the Sponsor technical performance reports or regulatory or administrative reports; or
  4. Accounting Obligation. The University is required to establish a separate accounting record of Sponsored Project expenditures to demonstrate allowability of costs, to maintain financial accountability, to make financial reports to the Sponsor, and to preserve appropriate records for audit.

“Statement of Work” means the component of a Proposal or an Award that describes the specific work to be undertaken and the products that will be produced by the Sponsored Project.

“Subaward” (also referred to as subgrant if the prime award is a Grant, subcontract if the prime award is a Contract or subagreement) means a formal, secondary agreement between the University and a qualified organization for the performance of a substantive portion of the program funded under an Award. The term also includes subawards made by a Subrecipient to a lower tier Subrecipient.

“Subrecipient” means the legal entity to which a Subaward is made and which is accountable to the University for the use of the Funding provided in carrying out a portion of the University’s programmatic Effort under a Sponsored Project. The term may include institutions of higher education, other non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and foreign or international organizations (such as agencies of the United Nations), if approved by the Sponsor.

“System for Award Management” means a federally owned and operated website that provides information in support of the management of federal grants and contracts.

“University Policies” means all University Policies included in the University Policy Manual and all other procedures, guidelines, and requirements of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting included in the Research Handbook, and the procedures, guidelines, and requirements of all University colleges, schools, departments, centers, institutes, and divisions.


Revised: January 2, 2019

Adopted: January 15, 2015