Statement on Sponsored Projects for Research, Scholarly Work, and Public Service
Southwestern University encourages individuals who seek grant funding in support of their academic work on campus or in any other way to benefit the University. To facilitate this process, the Development Office will coordinate all grant processes. Consultation is available to applicants on the technical aspects of grant application procedures through the Development Office. Assistance in planning appropriate visits to foundations and agencies, when indicated, is also available.
The following procedures are intended to promote efficiency in seeking, coordinating, and monitoring grants on behalf of the University and to ensure timely grant reporting.
These procedures do not apply to requests by faculty or other individuals who seek external funding to support their personal, sabbatical, or private activities unless funding received is managed through the University’s Business Office. The Development Office will assist faculty in these personal efforts by providing reference materials on external grant opportunities and, when requested, by reviewing and/or editing their applications for such support.
The conduct of sponsored activities at Southwestern University will be guided at all times by the following primary and basic objectives:
- the advancement, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship at the undergraduate level, and
- the protection and advancement of the interest and welfare of the University.
Sponsored activities include all organized programs supported by funds obtained from 1) grants awarded for specific projects, 2) institutional grants (obtained from outside sources but allocated internally at University discretion), and 3) project contracts from sponsoring agencies.
Procedures for Submitting Grant Proposals
All proposals or plans to pursue grants or awards must be circulated at the concept stage to the appropriate Department Chair or Supervisor. The Grant Proposal Clearance form serves as cover sheet and remains with each successive draft.
As stated on the cover sheet, the faculty member assures that:
- The proposal is consistent with the overall academic objectives of the University.
- Adequate facilities and space will be available for the successful conduct of the proposed research or program. The designated and negotiated share of the time and those members of the faculty, technical personnel, student assistants, and staff who have committed to perform the research will be made available.
- The technical capacity of the project personnel to perform the proposed effort effectively and to meet the sponsor’s requirements is available.
- The project does not divert University resources from the attainment of the academic goals of the University.
- The budget for the proposed project will adequately support the work proposed, including allowances for contingencies and compensation. Any University contribution should be specifically provided for and approved whether in the form of direct or indirect expenses.
- The project conforms with the University’s standards of academic freedom, including the right to publish results of the investigation.
From time to time, grantors specify policies or procedures that conflict with University policy (for instance, requirements specifying salary ranges, or required liability coverage for off-campus activities). In cases of incompatibility between the policies of the University and the outside supporting agency, University policy has priority. Exceptions must be approved by the appropriate academic and administrative authorities of the University.
The Department Chair or Supervisor signifies approval of the preliminary draft by signing the cover sheet and forwarding it to the appropriate member of the President’s Senior Staff (usually the Provost). If the draft is not approved, it is to be returned to the Project Director (also known as the Principal Investigator) for further development.
A Project Director whose Department Chair or Supervisor rejects a concept has right of appeal to the appropriate member of the President’s Senior Staff. In this event, the original proposal and a cover letter appealing the decision is forwarded to the member of the President’s Senior Staff by the Project Director. Approval or rejection of the concept is at the discretion of the member of the President’s Senior Staff.
Internal Review Timetable
The Development Office determines that all requirements of the sponsoring agency (grantor) and the University (including necessary administrative clearance and signatures) are satisfied before formal application is made. Proposal writers would be well advised to check with their Department Chair and the Provost at least two weeks prior to the proposal deadline, to be sure that these key people will be available to sign the requisite forms.
- Generally speaking, allow at least two days for the chair and three working days for the Provost to read, request any revisions, and approve the proposed narrative and budget.
- Allow at least three working days for the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs and the Associate Vice President for Finance, in cooperation with the Provost’s Office, to review the budget and check for compliance with institutional and sponsor’s regulations.
- The proposal budget quite often goes through a series of revisions, some prompted by the proposal writer(s) and others at the suggestion of the Provost or Vice President for Fiscal Affairs. If the scope of the project and/or the budget is revised after the initial draft has been approved, the final draft will need to be resubmitted for approval to each of the administrative officers who signed the initial draft. The Development Office is available for assistance in these matters.
- The Development Office will provide word processing service for the preparation of the final grant application, if needed.
- In most cases, grant proposals are submitted to the sponsoring agency/funding organization by the Development Office. Copies of proposals are provided by the Development Office to the Provost and to the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs. The Development Office packages and delivers the requisite number of copies to the intended grantor.
- When a proposal is submitted, the Development Office notifies the President’s Senior Staff about the intent of the proposal and the review schedule of the grantor. These individuals can then more accurately respond to inquiries or conversations about the proposal.
- If a grant request is denied or held by the funding organization for later review, a copy of the correspondence relating this information is held in the files of the Development Office and also by the intended grant recipient. All University officials notified of the proposal submission are informed by the Development Office about important changes in the status of the proposal.
Management Procedures for a Grant-Funded Account
The Development Office is responsible for circulating any notice received of any proposal funded or refused. From time to time, the President, the Provost, the Department Chair, or the Project Director will receive the initial funding notice. This information should be reported immediately to the Development Office. Information about the receipt of a grant or award remains confidential until the University has officially accepted funding.
- If the grant request is approved, a copy of the notification is forwarded to the Development Office. The Development Office will consult with the appropriate officers of the University to determine who will serve as the Grant Manager(s). In most cases, the Grant Manager is the intended grant recipient. One or more officers of the University may also be asked to supervise the grant. Individuals previously notified about the submission of the proposal are similarly notified of the forthcoming grant and the identity of the Grant Manager(s).
- The Development Office asks the Comptroller to assign an account number to the grant and indicates which Grant Manager(s) can approve expenditures from this grant account. All pertinent information regarding intent of the grant, matching funds necessary for receipt of the grant, effective dates of the grant, and required financial reports due to the Grantor are forwarded to the Comptroller to ensure efficient financial management of the grant account.
- In the event that a grant award obligates the University to raise matching funds in order to realize the grant, University policy requires that the requisite fund raising be pursued, and the minimum necessary matching funds deposited to the grant account, prior to authorization of any expenditures from the account. The fund raising schedule necessary for securing matching funds will be determined by the Development Office, in cooperation with the Grant Manager(s). Should the fund raising effort not succeed within the specified schedule, the original project funds will be returned by the University to the grantor.
- The Grant Manager(s) authorized to expend funds from the grant account use this grant account number on purchase requisition forms or any other appropriate University forms to assure that proper debits and credits are processed by the Business Office when bills are paid.
- The primary Grant Manager maintains a file in his or her department office, which contains all information, including the original proposal and grantor’s reporting guidelines. A cover sheet supplied by the Development Office indicates reporting deadlines. The file should also contain copies of all purchase orders, invoices, staff advance payment or reimbursement forms, and/or other materials relating to expenditures from the grant account.
- Careful coordination between the Grant Manager and the Comptroller should also assure proper expenditures relative to salary and benefits paid out of University accounts, part or all of which can justifiably be transferred from the operating budget to the grant account. These salary and benefit expenses may vary from year to year, but each should be clearly defined in the proposal and the proposal budget approved by the Grantor.
- The Development Office will notify the Comptroller and Grant Manager(s) regarding receipt of required “matching funds” applicable to a designated grant account. The “combined” amount will assure an accurate total in the grant account.
- In determining salaries paid to faculty from grants and contracts during the summer and/or academic year, the University will rely on the guidelines of the granting agency to determine the appropriate salary. In the development of grant proposals, faculty may use their current salary and the salaries paid for summer teaching as benchmarks for salary requests.
Grant Reporting Procedures
- The Development Office maintains a master file containing pertinent information on all grants and required reporting dates. Although the Grant Manager(s) and Comptroller should follow through independently, the Development Office will provide notice of upcoming reporting deadlines.
- The Grant Manager is responsible for developing appropriate narrative information to be used for interim and/or final reports, and the Comptroller is responsible for preparing financial information for reports as required by the Grantor’s guidelines. Submission of the interim and final reports should be coordinated with the Development Office.
- The Development Office assists Grant Managers and the Comptroller with reporting processes to the extent that they need assistance.
- When the Grant Manager, the Comptroller, the Development Office, and/or other applicable employee resigns, retires, goes on sabbatical, or is out of his or her office for an extended period of time, all necessary steps should be taken to assure the orderly transition of grant requests, management, coordination, and reporting responsibilities. Appropriate individuals should be informed about personnel changes that affect grant accounts.
These procedures are designed to coordinate efficiently and effectively grant-seeking and grant-managing processes. Proposed revisions should be submitted to the Faculty Affairs Council.
APPROVED: April 26, 1994
For more information about applying for grants, go to www.southwestern.edu/grant-process.