Chapter 5 – Policy and Procedures on Gifts, Grants, and Contracts

(Business Office 3/8/65, Vice President for Research and University Business Office 3/11/91; amended 9/93; 12/96; 12/06; 1/08; 1/09; 3/10; 10/10; 2/11; 5/12; 4/13)

5.1 General

(Amended 4/13)

The policies and procedures contained in V-5.2 through V-5.4 outline the faculty/staff process for obtaining and managing external funding in the form of gifts, grants, and contracts in support of their educational, research, and service activities.

Gifts, grants, and contracts are divided into two groups for the purpose of this section. The first is the formal process in which the sponsor requires the applicant to submit a written application. The second is a more informal process such as a written letter or telephone call to solicit funding, or, in some cases, funds may be received without any prior contact with the funding organization or individual. 

5.2 Processing Applications for Gifts, Grants, and Contracts for Which Applications Are Required

(Amended 2/11; 5/12)
  1. Preparing applications. Most funding agencies have specific requirements and/or forms for the application process. The Division of Sponsored Programs in the Office of the Vice President for Research is specifically designated as a University resource available to assist faculty and staff with instructions on preparing the proposal application, processing the proposal, and complying with grant submission deadlines. The staff in this office is available to answer questions that may arise with respect to budget format, current University facilities and administrative costs, fringe benefits, cost-sharing requirements, and compliance issues.
  2. Preparing the University of Iowa Proposal Routing Form. Each grant and contract proposal for external support should be attached to a proposal routing form and routed through appropriate administrative offices for review and approval, as described at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/ui-routing-policy-procedure. Frequent questions for consideration might include:
    1. Does the project fit within the overall educational, research, or service objectives of the department and/or college?
    2. Will the proposed project interfere with the current effort(s) of those involved in the proposal?
    3. Is there adequate space and/or sufficient equipment available to support the proposed activities?
    4. Will human subjects or vertebrate animals be involved in the proposed research?
    5. Are there federal guidelines that must be adhered to as in the case of recombinant DNA, human pathogens, blood-borne pathogens, chemical hazards, or any other safety or health hazard?
    6. Is there a requirement for matching funds, and/or a commitment to other forms of University cost-sharing, and, if so, will these funds and/or other forms of cost-sharing be available at the collegiate or departmental level?
    7. Is there the potential for a conflict of interest with any of the participants should the proposal be funded?
    8. Are there conditions that could subject the proposed project to federal export control regulations?
  3. The Division of Sponsored Programs:
    1. forwards requests for University matching funds not available at the departmental or collegiate level to the Vice President for Research and/or the Executive Vice President and Provost for review. Such requests might include funds for research assistants or matching funds for equipment. Requests that might involve renovation costs are forwarded to the University Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer;
    2. forwards proposals requesting new tenure track faculty or a new curriculum program to the Executive Vice President and Provost for approval;
    3. authorizes the submission of the proposal on behalf of the University; and
    4. maintains information about the proposal in a computerized tracking system and provides a monthly report of proposals submitted and awards received to various offices on campus and to the Board of Regents.
  4. Review, negotiation, and acceptance of grants and contracts. When notification of award of a grant or contract is received, the Division of Sponsored Programs reviews and negotiates the final terms and conditions of the award with the sponsor and the project director. When the negotiation is complete, those documents that require formal University acceptance will receive the appropriate signature and will then be forwarded to the sponsor for final signature. When all documents are finalized, an Award Authorization Activation Notice is issued by the Division of Sponsored Programs which authorizes the opening of an account by the Grant Accounting Office and also notifies departmental and collegiate officers of the award and its stipulations. 

5.3 Project Management Responsibilities

(Amended 1/09)
  1. The University, in accepting externally sponsored awards, assures its sponsors that project activities are conducted in accordance with the scope of work and that expenditures incurred under these awards comply with applicable sponsor and University policies. This assurance is not possible unless there is a coordinated effort between the project directors, their departments and colleges, and the University's central administrative offices to properly administer the sponsored awards. Paragraphs b through f below describe the roles played and the responsibilities assumed in the administration of sponsored awards by the project director, the department executive officer, the collegiate administrative officer, the Division of Sponsored Programs, and the Grant Accounting Office.
  2. Project director roles and responsibilities. The project director is responsible for the overall programmatic and fiscal direction of the sponsored project. In that role, he or she must decide how best to allocate the financial resources available to successfully carry out the project activities. He or she may require assistance of the department both in processing the routine paperwork associated with the obligation and expenditure of funds and in the regular review of the fiscal status of the sponsored project. The project director is ultimately responsible to his or her departmental executive officer for resolving in a timely manner any overexpenditures or unallowable costs that occur on a sponsored project. The project director's signature on the proposal routing form indicates his or her agreement to assume responsibility for project fiscal management; to abide by all University, governmental, and sponsor certifications, policies, and regulations; and to report any inventions or financial conflicts of interest in accordance with prescribed University policies (see V-30 University of Iowa Intellectual Property Policy and II-18 Conflicts of Commitment and Interest).
  3. Departmental executive officer roles and responsibilities. The Departmental Executive Officer (DEO) is responsible for assuring that costs incurred under sponsored projects conducted within the department comply with sponsor and University policies and are within the resources available to the project directors. Discharge of this important role should follow an established review process and be performed regularly. In the event that project overexpenditures occur, the DEO must cover the overexpenditures from other departmental resources. The DEO's signature on the proposal routing form indicates acceptance of the responsibilities of the department in sponsored projects management.
  4. Collegiate administrative officer (dean) roles and responsibilities. The collegiate dean is responsible for general oversight of the sponsored activities conducted within the college. This may include, but is not limited to, assuring that departments have adequate facilities and other resources for achieving project goals and objectives, assuring that faculty time commitments on sponsored activities do not conflict with other departmental or University responsibilities, monitoring departmental financial resources, and assuring that departments are complying with the various regulatory requirements of the sponsors and the University as they apply to sponsored activities. Collegiate deans may also be asked to help provide interim financial support for project directors who experience a temporary loss of external support for their research activities.
  5. Division of Sponsored Programs roles and responsibilities. In addition to the responsibilities described in V-5.2 above, the Division of Sponsored Programs is responsible for activities such as preparation and issuance of subcontracts, interpretation of sponsor and University policies as they apply to project management, and acting as the University Authorizing Official signatory on behalf of the Vice President for Research for all correspondence requiring institutional approval. Information regarding the Division of Sponsored Programs is available at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu.
  6. Grant Accounting Office roles and responsibilities. The Grant Accounting Office is responsible for providing a number of post-award services associated with the fiscal management of sponsored projects including, but not limited to, establishing the accounting and budget records for sponsored projects, interpreting sponsor and University fiscal policies for faculty and staff, working with faculty and staff to provide accurate and timely financial information relative to sponsored projects, monitoring expenditures under sponsored projects for compliance with sponsor and University policies and procedures, preparing financial reports to sponsors, carrying out all cash management responsibilities associated with the funding of sponsored projects, and acting as a liaison with other University administrative support units, sponsors, and auditors.

5.4 Transfer of Grant/Change of Project Director

(Amended 3/10)
  1. Transfer. A project director leaving The University of Iowa and relocating to another institution may, in some instances, transfer externally funded research projects to the new institution. The procedure for transferring grants and contracts from The University of Iowa to another institution and the corresponding Grant Transfer Request Form are posted at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/transferring-grants-and-contracts-and-ui#fromUI. Since each case is unique, personnel from the Division of Sponsored Programs may provide additional procedures when applicable.

    If equipment items purchased through existing grants are requested to be transferred, the project director must complete the PDF iconTitle Transfer of University Equipment Form posted on the Capital Assets Management website at https://cam.fo.uiowa.edu/content/forms-and-instructions. Final approval regarding equipment transfers will rest with the Business Office.
  2. Withdrawal. If the project director relinquishes the primary direction of the project, the sponsor, the departmental and the collegiate officers, and the Division of Sponsored Programs should be notified immediately in writing. If appropriate, the University may request continuance of the project under the leadership of another project director. The qualifications and background on the proposed new project director should be recommended at the departmental level, and approved by appropriate collegiate officers as well as the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The University procedure for requesting a change in project director is outlined at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/change-project-director-internal-procedure

5.5 Facilities and Administrative Costs

Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, formerly known as indirect costs, are real costs to the University that cannot be directly identified with and charged to a specific project. F&A costs include the costs of operating and maintaining buildings and grounds, equipment, and libraries, as well as administrative costs at the institutional, collegiate, and departmental levels. Since it is not practical to identify the F&A costs applicable to each specific project, these costs are grouped into pools and distributed to those activities of the University such as instruction and research in accordance with the requirements specified in the federal Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions." The end product of this cost distribution process is an F&A rate or series of F&A rates approved by the federal government as the basis for determining the amount of F&A costs chargeable to individual grant and contract awards. These costs are generally charged to all external grants and contracts unless the sponsor's written policy prohibits or limits such reimbursement. Additional information regarding charging F&A costs to grants and contracts is available at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/facilities-administrative-fa-costs.

5.6 Gifts and Grants

(Amended 3/10; 10/10; 4/13)
  1. Proposals for grants or other awards to support UI faculty, staff, and student research must be processed through the appropriate University administrative offices and forwarded to the University's Division of Sponsored Programs. If the proposal is directed to a corporate and foundation sponsor that has designated The University of Iowa Foundation to officially request/accept the funds, DSP will forward the proposal to the UI Foundation for submission to the sponsor after required University approvals have been obtained. In general, proposals that would be funded by a contract or any form of agreement having specific conditions for performance, such as pharmaceutical clinical trials, should not be forwarded by The University of Iowa Foundation or designate that The University of Iowa Foundation receive the funding.
  2. The University of Iowa Foundation, the preferred channel for private gifts to The University of Iowa, may accept grants and grant agreements on behalf of The University of Iowa. The funds the Foundation receives for sponsored research will be transferred to University accounts on a timely basis as they are needed for use by the University faculty, staff, and students conducting the sponsored activities. Such funds are not to be expended directly from Foundation accounts, but rather must pass through University accounts. The University, and not the Foundation, will be responsible for accounting for and reporting on the expenditure of these funds, providing technical and other required reports to the sponsor, and adhering to all other terms and conditions of the award. Prior to their acceptance by the Foundation, all such awards including copies of letters of transmittal or agreement shall be reviewed by the Division of Sponsored Programs to determine their acceptability by the University.
  3. Gifts and grants not requested through an application process. The checks for gifts and grants received directly by University units, together with the correspondence or copies of correspondence relating to the specific purposes or conditions of usage for the gift or grant, are forwarded to the Grant Accounting Office (gifts) or the Division of Sponsored Programs (grants). This provides information for establishing grant account numbers and administering the gift or grant according to the wishes of the donor. Checks that are not considered true gifts should not be deposited in gift accounts. Examples may include income received from miscellaneous sales and services that are more appropriately associated with other organized activities being conducted in University departments.

For additional information on external funding procedures, please see the Guidelines for Defining, Requesting, and Receiving Gifts and Sponsored Project Funding available through the Division of Sponsored Programs website at https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/new-guidelines-distinguishing-gifts-and-sponsored-project-funding.

5.7 External Funding for Alteration of an Existing Structure or New Construction

(Amended 3/10)

Applications seeking external funding for this purpose are generally developed in conjunction with the University Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Prior to developing the application, the Campus Planning Committee makes a recommendation to the President about the project and its location. With these approvals, all plans, compliance statements, and cost estimates must secure the approval of the Board of Regents prior to submission. 

5.8 Other Policies Governing Externally Sponsored Activities

(Amended 3/10; 10/10)

For additional internal and external policies and procedures governing externally sponsored activities, see the following websites:

Division of Sponsored Programs policies and procedures: https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/policies-and-procedures

Grant Accounting Office policies and procedures: https://gao.fo.uiowa.edu/policies-procedures

Office of the Vice President for Research policies and compliance: https://research.uiowa.edu/researchers/policies-and-compliance

Research Administration Handbook: https://dsp.research.uiowa.edu/rah/research-administration-handbook

Researcher Handbook: https://researcherhandbook.research.uiowa.edu

University of Iowa Research Foundation: https://uirf.research.uiowa.edu

Additional information may be obtained through the Division of Sponsored Programs (100 Gilmore Hall) and the Grant Accounting Office (118 South Clinton Street).

(See also V-1.2.)