Sponsored Projects Policies & Procedures
Award Contracts/ Subawards
Award contracts from external sponsors funding research, educational or service projects conducted by UTC must be processed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). In addition, subawards that pay outside/third parties to do a portion of the work on an externally-funded project must be processed through the ORSP office. Additional information is available at Award Contracts and Subawards.
Conflict of Interests
UT Faculty and staff are expected to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that their outside financial interests (including interests of a spouse, dependent children, and nondependent children) do not place them in conflict with carrying out their duties and responsibilities as employees of the university. Conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the following situations:
- A UT employee allows outside financial interests to interfere with or compromise judgment and objectivity with respect to duties and responsibilities to the university and sponsoring organizations.
- A UT employee makes university decisions or uses university resources in a manner that results or is expected to result in (1) personal financial gain or the financial gain of relatives or (2) an unfair advantage or favored treatment afforded to a third party outside the university.
- A UT employee allows outside financial interests to affect the design, conduct, or reporting of research.
UT Fiscal Policy #FI0125 explains the UT Conflict of Interest Policy, provides examples of conflicts of interest and includes information about faculty and staff reporting requirements and links to the Outside Interest Disclosure Form that all faculty and staff should complete annually.
Cost-share, also called matching funds, is sometimes required for grant programs. Cost-share is financial or other resources (personnel time, etc.)which the funding organization requests or requires that the applicant contribute or “share” to support the grant-funded program or project.
Cost-share may be in cash or in-kind. Cash cost-share is when UTC or a partner commits to outlay funds to support the project / program. In-kind cost-share occurs when UTC or a partner commits to providing resources that are not cash but can be assigned a cash value (e.g., personnel time, use of facilities, use of equipment, etc.). If you are working on a project that involves cost-share, contact ORSP immediately for additional information specific to the project you are working on. Here are some general notes about the use of cost-share:
- All UTC cost-share must be approved in writing by an appropriate administrator and by the Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations during the internal approval process.
- All cost-share from partnering organizations must be approved in writing by an appropriate administrator from the partnering organization.
- During the project period, it is the responsibility of the Primary Investigator / Project Director to keep appropriate records and document that all cost-share commitments are honored.
Eligibility to Serve as a Principal Investigator or Project Director on a UTC Sponsored Program
The following personnel are eligible to serve as the PI or PD on a sponsored program:
- Full-time UTC staff
- Full-time UTC faculty in tenured, tenure-track, and non tenure-track appointments
Adjunct faculty and individuals in courtesy or honorary appointments typically are not eligible to serve as the PI/PD on a sponsored program.
Facilities & Administrative Costs
Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs, also referred to as indirect costs or overhead, are those costs associated with providing and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the research enterprise (buildings and their maintenance, libraries, etc.) and which cannot easily be identified with a specific project. The university expects that appropriate F&A costs will be included in all proposal budgets, unless the sponsor specifically prohibits them, and it is expected that F&A costs will be recovered to the maximum extent possible.
“Facilities” is defined as depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses. “Administration” is defined as general administration and expenses, departmental and college administration, sponsored projects administration, and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of Facilities.
The UT system has developed a Fiscal Policy that outlines the differences between Direct and Indirect Costs, which can be found here: http://policy.tennessee.edu/fiscal_policy/fi0206/
Further, UTC has established procedures for how the F&A recoveries should be distributed once they are returned to the university. Those procedures are outlined in this document. (PDF)
Funding Agency Approvals for Project Modifications / Revisions
Once a grant or contract is funded, It may be necessary to make changes to the proposed plan. For example, you may need to make adjustments to the budget, the project period, key personnel, etc. Most federal funding agencies allow institutions some discretion in making modest adjustments to the program, but many funding agencies require prior written approval before changes can be implemented. This chart summarizes regulations from the Office of Management and Budget regarding project changes that do not require prior approval from the funding agency as well as changes that do require prior approval. You will need to work with the ORSP on all project modifications/revisions.
Hamilton County Department of Education Partnership Projects
The Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) requires that proposals that involve partnership activities be reviewed and approved by HCDE administrators and, in certain cases, the Hamilton County School Board prior to submission of the grant application. If a project will involve Hamilton County schools in any way, please contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs immediately to discuss the HCDE review and approval process.
Prior to submission, all grant proposals must be approved by the appropriate director of operations, assistant superintendent or curriculum and instruction director, and the chief financial officer.
Grant Proposals requesting between $10,000 - $100,000 also require approval by the superintendent and school board chairman. Required documentation must be submitted to HCDE personnel in a timely manner that will allow a minimum of 10 working days for review and approval.
Grant proposals requesting $100,000 or more require school board approval. Required documentation must be submitted to HCDE personnel 20 working days before the next scheduled school board meeting. Please see the Schedule for information on HCDE School Board meeting dates and associated deadlines for submitting information about partnership proposals.
Required Documentation: HCDE requires that the following documents be submitted:
- A completed Grant Submission Approval Form (contact the ORSP to initiate the process)
- An executive summary which includes the purpose of the grant, the time commitment of staff, students, and others; the project time period, the monitoring / evaluation process, and the name of the project director
- A budget for the project
- Letters of commitment from the principals of individual schools to be involved in the project
Internal Approval Process
All proposals, contracts, and sub-contracts must be approved through UTC’s internal approval process. This process is completed electronically using the Evisions online system.
- At least 5 business days before the deadline, the Principal Investigator (PI) must log into Evisions from any computer and complete a Proposal Questionnaire. Resource documents on how to complete this questionnaire may be found on the Evisions Help Documents page of our website and through embedded links in the Evisions system. The PI will need to attach, at a minimum, a finalized budget, a narrative draft, and an outside interests disclosure form for each proposla team member to their Evisions proposal questionnaire.
- Once the proposal questionnaire is submitted in Evisions, the review occurs as follows:
- All PIs (including the PI that completed the questionnaire) and Co-PIs listed in Evisions will be prompted to certify the questionnaire for accuracy.
- ORSP will be prompted to review the questionnaire for accuracy and completeness. If alterations are necessary, ORSP will contact the PI directly. Once ORSP has approved the proposal questionnaire it will be disseminated electronically to appropriate administrators.
- Administrators will review and approve or request changes to the proposal. Typically, approving administrators include the Department Head / Director of departments with committed faculty, staff, or resources and the Dean of Colleges with committed faculty, staff, or resources. If cost-share or space allocation is involved, the Vice-Chancellor for Finance & Operations is also required to review and approve the proposal.
- Once approval is secured from all appropriate administrators, the PI should schedule a meeting with his or her ORSP Staff Liaison to submit the proposal to the funding agency.
ORSP is happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the Evisions system or the internal approval process. Do not hesitate to contact us!
Proposal Development and Submission
ORSP is the central hub for proposal submissions, and all proposals, contract bids, and sub-contracts must be reviewed and approved by ORSP and appropriate UTC administrators through the internal approval process. The internal approval process requires that proposal writers submit to ORSP staff a complete and correct budget and a narrative description of the project (a draft or executive summary is appropriate) no later than 5 business days in advance of the deadline. See the Grant Proposal Checklist for details on proposal development requirements and recommended strategies. The UTC Faculty Handbook also has helpful information (see section 7.3.2)
Restricted (R) Account Set-Up
ORSP works in conjunction with the Office of Budget and Finance to initiate the set-up of all restricted accounts for externally funded awards. In order to do this, our office needs a few basic documents. The necessary documents are 1) award documentation—this is usually an award letter or contract—from the sponsoring agency that lists both the award amount and the project period and 2) a detailed budget that matches the amount listed in the award documentation. In some cases, additional information may be required; however, our office will work with the PI in those instances to make certain that an account is set up in a timely manner. Once the account is established, the office of Budget and Finance will email the PI with the account name and number.
The University of Tennessee has developed a Statement of Policy on Misconduct in Research and Service.
- UT Statement of policy on Misconduct in Research and Service (pdf)
- UT Statement of Policy on Misconduct in Research and Service: Addendum A - Federal Register Citations (pdf)
When preparing travel plans, please consult http://treasurer.tennessee.edu/travel. This site provides information on current university travel regulations including reimbursement rates for in-state and out-of-state travel, travel fiscal policy, information on international travel, travel forms, and mileage reimbursement rates.
Use of Sample Proposals
ORSP frequently provides sample funded proposals from other institutions that proposal writers can use to help identify the hallmarks of a successful proposal.
These documents have been graciously provided by the proposal applicant / writer to illustrate the logical arguments, clarity, level of detail, etc. needed to successfully compete in grants competitions. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD INFORMATION BE TAKEN FROM THESE DOCUMENTS WITHOUT PROPER REFERENCE / CITATION. To do so may violate legal and ethical codes of conduct.
UT Policy on Patents, Copyrights, and Other Intellectual Property
This policy covers your rights and what to do if you invent or create something while working on a university grant, contract, or other externally-sponsored activity. Intellectual property includes inventions, discoveries, products, computer code and software, written materials, methods, recordings, arts, crafts, and technology-based academic materials.
- Intellectual Property: UT Statement of Policy
- Presentation by Mary Ann Russell of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation regarding intellectual property issues
- COMING SOON - Flow Chart of UT policy on Intellectual Property ownership (patents, copyrights, inventions, & other intellectual properties)