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Policies and Procedures

9.01 Grants and Contracts

Grants, Contracts, Memoranda, Letters of Agreement, and Agreements

All binding contracts, grants, memoranda of agreement, or simple letters of agreement, and/or any other similar contractual bond, proposed to be entered into by any university, college, department, or agency, will not be valid or binding until each is finally reviewed and signed by the Vice-President for Administrative Services or his representative.

Grants and Contracts -- Proposals

The purpose of this statement is to clarify some of the procedures in connection with the preparation and submission of all research or training contracts, grants, or fellowship proposals. It is not intended to apply to other contacts with federal agencies, most of which are made through the grants and contracts administrator.

Attention is directed to the Board of Regents' statement of principles relating to the negotiation of contracts, grants, or fellowships (7.13 Procedural Guide). It will be noted that Deans and Directors are to advise the Vice-President and Provost (or his designee, at the present time the Dean of the Graduate School) regarding project proposals and obtain authorization to negotiate. The Provost or his designee is charged with responsibility for maintaining contact between the university and such agencies as NSF, NASA, NIH, etc. For purposes of uniformity, it is requested that contacts with these agencies concerning contracts, grants, or fellowships not be made without prior approval of the Provost or his designee.

Upon authorization by the Provost or his designee, formal negotiations may be initiated by the project leader, the Department Head, and/or Dean or Director in consultation with the Vice-President for Administrative Services, or a representative.

When the formal proposal is completed, whether it is for research, training, or service, it must be accompanied with an application for request for external funds which provides space for the signature of the project leader, the departmental executive officer, Dean or Director, the Provost or his designee, the Vice-President for Administrative Services or his designee. The cover page of the proposal must provide space for the signature of the project director and the Vice-President for Administrative Services.

Ample time, no less than one week, must be provided for review and incorporation of necessary changes or corrections, and final approvals before submission deadlines. Proposals must be submitted in a form which will reflect credit on the university. Dittoed proposals will not be approved.

The formal proposal shall be submitted via the cognizant Dean or Director to the Provost or his designee who, upon review and approval, will sign and forward it to the Business Office. The financial arrangements and proposed budget will be reviewed by the Vice- President for Administrative Services or a representative, and, if in order, signed. One copy should be provided for the Provost or his designee, and one copy for the Vice- President for Administrative Services or his designee, except in the case of applications which are prepared on one reproducible copy on forms provided by the agency. Later, when reproduced copies are returned by the agency, the file copy shall be provided. Each project budget should contain an item to cover the cost of "employee benefits."

This is for retirement, insurance, social security, etc., premiums paid by the institution. The contracts and grants office advises on policies and changes in rates as they become effective.

Each project budget should also include an item to compensate the university for its overhead or indirect costs which include such items as administration, accounting, purchasing, use of buildings and equipment, janitorial service, utilities, use of library, etc.

Overhead rates are determined after the close of each fiscal year by an audit. The overhead rate is applied retroactively to reimbursable contracts with agencies of the Department of Defense and certain other federal agencies, and is also used as a provisional rate until completion or the next year's audit.

Certain government agencies, operating under grants rather than reimbursable contracts, have overhead rates fixed by Congressional action. Some variations of rates apply in the case of fellowship grants, equipment grants, training grants, etc. Directives from the agencies and the contracts and grants office should be reviewed in order to determine the applicable rate.

Overhead or indirect cost reimbursement may be reduced or waived upon special authorization when the project is made in further support of a program actively carried on by the university. In some cases, private donors specifically require that no part of the funds be used to meet overhead or indirect costs, and that the university assume responsibilities for these expenses. It should be emphasized, however, that governmental agencies expect to pay overhead reimbursement to the extent permitted them by law.

Therefore, overhead should not be waived in these cases, even though the grant or contract is in further support of an active program. Any proposal which contemplates waiver of all or part of the overhead reimbursement must be discussed with Vice-President for Administrative Services or a representative before drafting in final form.

Some proposal forms contain a space for the name of the institution and its business or corporate status. The University of Northern Iowa is not a corporation, thus the form should indicate an agency of the state of Iowa.

In order to monitor and administer proposals for grants, contracts, and fellowships more effectively, an application for a request for external funds has been devised and should be used.

Only the principal investigator and the Vice-President for Administrative Services need to sign the cover page of the proposal. All other authorizing personnel should sign the application for request for external funds only.

When submitting the proposal to other than a federal or state agency, it is appropriate to use a memorandum of understanding.

Questions concerning financial arrangements are to be directed to the office of the Vice-President for Administrative Services or his representative. Questions regarding format or nature of the proposals should be directed to the office of the Provost or his designee. Clearance in advance of final printing usually saves time.

Contracts and grants which involve released time for faculty or matching time, require approval of a departmental executive officer, the Dean or Director, and the Provost.


Research Administration

  1. Provide institutional seed grants.

  2. Arrange for cooperative use of specialized research faculties.

  3. Maintain files and records on all pending proposals.

  4. Maintain files and records on all rejected proposals.

  5. Conduct faculty information services.

  6. Maintain a grants information library.

  7. Conduct resource search on behalf of university faculty members.

  8. Develop faculty interest profiles.

  9. Assist in proposal preparation.

  10. Acquire requisite forms and guidelines on behalf of faculty.

  11. Make available reference materials such as a grants preparation manual for faculty.

  12. Maintain a file of model proposals.

  13. Conduct seminars on the grants and contracts process for UNI faculty.

  14. Keep informed of changes in grant policies and procedures.

  15. Administer site visit arrangements.

  16. Review program of all educational proposals.

  17. Review grants and contracts for compliance of DHEW Human Subjects and Animals regulations.

  18. Act as campus based liaison with appropriate federal agencies.

  19. Provide for research assignments through the PDL System and faculty research awards.

Grants and Contracts Administration

  1. Maintain relationships with federal agencies and congressional liaisons.

  2. Establish patent services.

  3. Review and evaluate research projects for compliance requirements.

  4. Insure compliance with institutional policies:

    1. commitments for institutions support

    2. insuring fiscal accountability

    3. insuring responsible reporting and timely execution of projects

  5. Insure property administration.

  6. Monitor insurance requirements

  7. Insure accounting procedure compliance.

  8. Verify that purchases satisfy requirements of the granting agency and that the purchase process will withstand periodic review by the cognizant federal agency.

  9. Insure adequacy of sole source purchase arrangements.

  10. Identify, negotiate, and monitor indirect cost policies in accordance with OMB circular (73-8 or A-21).

  11. Advise the accounting department of administration and modification of the accounting system.

  12. Monitor budget adjustments from one category to another.

  13. Monitor agency requirements in terms of number, quantity, and construction of reports and billing or invoice forms.

  14. Verify that the university's system of reporting gives the required information.

  15. Insure space availability.

  16. Insure compliance with procedures required by classified documents, security clearance on individuals, faculty clearance, visits from residents of countries with security risks for the USA, or travel of faculty to restricted parts of the world.


President's Bulletin No. 78, 12/20/77