EFFECTIVE DATE: November 30, 2021
ISSUE #: 4
PRESIDENT: Dr. Loren J. Blanchard
This Policy Statement provides guidelines for the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) to
encourage and assist faculty and staff who engage in sponsored programs intended to extend
knowledge for the University community and the greater community that the University serves.
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) serves to expand the educational
opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students at the University, support
research activities, encourage scholarly inquiry, and support the development of new
knowledge in order to enhance the academic structure of the University.
2.1 A sponsored program is defined as that which meets the following criteria:
2.1.1 program binds UHD to a specific scope or statement of work;
2.1.2 progress, technical, financial, or other deliverables are required;
2.1.3 periodic billings or report of expenditures are required;
2.1.4 unexpended funds are returned to the sponsor at the end of the program;
2.1.5 program involves the disposition of property, tangible or intangible, that result
from the program; and/or
2.1.6 program has a specified performance period or completion date.
2.2 Grant, contract or cooperative agreement. Sponsored programs are awarded through
various mechanisms: grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, and/or other legally
binding means of transfer.
2.2.1 Grants are a type of financial assistance awarded to an organization for the
conduct of research or other program as specified in an approved proposal. The
proposal typically defines a scope of work or performance. The sponsor makes an award, which may be based upon a competitive review, and establishes terms
and conditions for performance. These terms may be generally stated, as in many
federal awards, or may specifically describe allowable and unallowable activities
2.2.2 Contracts may be awarded for research assessment, specific work performance,
instruction, training, and/or similar activities. Generally contracts will define
specific details of the legal relationship between the participating entities and will
incorporate the description and cost of the work to be performed either as a legally
binding attachment or embedded in the contract document. A purchase order
may be a form of contract. A contract is a legally binding arrangement or
performance agreement for carrying out a specific service or procuring a product
that entails specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Contracts are a
more restrictive mechanism than are grants, and may specify penalties for nonperformance.
2.2.3 A fixed cost or fee-for-service agreement is one in which one party pays the other
party a predetermined price regardless of actual costs for services rendered.
2.2.4 A cost-reimbursement agreement is one in which the sponsor pays for the full
costs incurred in the conduct of the work up to an agreed-upon amount, and for
which invoices containing backup information of costs incurred are generally
2.2.5 A cooperative agreement is an award similar to a grant, but in which the sponsor’s
staff may be actively involved in proposal preparation, and anticipates having
substantial involvement in research activities once the award has been made.
2.2.6 Cost sharing is the portion of the project costs not paid by federal funds. It is a
commitment either required by the sponsor or proposed by the Institution to use
resources other than the award itself for the completion of the award objectives.
2.3 The Principal Investigator (PI) is the individual specified by the University to be
responsible for carrying out the program or research that has been funded by an outside
sponsor. This responsibility is outlined in section 3.6 below.
2.4 Indirect costs (IDC) are awarded to the University by the sponsor to reimburse the
University for general support costs not easily identifiable and therefore not recoverable
as direct costs on the program. These costs are also referred to as Facilities and
Administrative (F&A) costs.
3.1 ORSP is the designated office for the submission of proposals to potential sponsors;
for the administration of grants, contracts and other agreements awarded to UHD by these
sponsors; and for compliance with applicable federal, state, and sponsor regulations.
ORSP is the only department authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the University.
3.2 The Associate Vice President for Faculty, Research and Sponsored Programs and the
Executive Director of Research and Sponsored Programs are the individuals designated
by the President and Provost of UHD with the responsibility and authority for submission
of proposals, acceptance of awards, and administration of sponsored programs for
UHD. The AVP-ORSP is responsible for compliance with applicable federal, state,
and sponsor regulations related to the performance of sponsored program awards for
3.3 Criteria for Sponsored Programs
3.3.1 The basic criterion for sponsored programs is that the program supports the
objectives of the principal investigator’s department and/or college and the
mission of the University.
3.3.2 The University determines the acceptability of externally funded program
proposals by weighing the University's benefits against costs and restrictions.
3.3.3 The University does not accept externally sponsored programs with any
restrictions which prevent adequate review of the appropriateness of the research
to the role and mission of the University.
3.3.4 The University recognizes the right of its faculty and staff to communicate the
results of their research, either through publication or presentations at meetings
and conferences. ORSP will negotiate the allowance of this policy with external
3.4 Eligibility of Proposer
3.4.1 For grant proposals, the proposer must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty
member with the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or
Instructor, or professional staff with the title of Director, and hold a full-time
appointment at the University at the time the program is proposed.
3.4.2 Lecturers and Senior Lecturers can only participate as a Co-PI on a proposal.
3.4.3 Sponsored program agreements are usually discontinued with the termination of full-time employment with the University. In some cases, the sponsor may allow
the University to retain the program with an alternative University PI or permit
transfer of the agreement with approval, to another university.
3.5 Submission of Sponsored Program Proposals
3.5.1 The PI must first notify ORSP, his/her Department Chair and Dean of their
intention to submit a grant application by submitting a Notice of Intent. The
Notice of Intent is due at least ten working days prior to the submission date.
3.5.2 Prior to submission by ORSP, the PI must obtain approval from his/her Department
Chair and Dean by submitting a Proposal Transmittal Form with a copy of the
proposal and budget prior to proposal submission. This form does not come in at
the same time the proposal is due. The form requires a pertinent information of the
program and a budget, including any required University resources. The completed
and approved Proposal Transmittal Form is due at least two working days prior to
the submission date.
3.5.3 Research proposals submitted to an external sponsor must be submitted to ORSP
for processing, at least five working days prior to the submission date to allow
sufficient time for review, approval, and execution of the submission.
3.5.4 ORSP reviews the proposal and any required University resources are evaluated,
negotiated, and approved by the applicable Dean and/or Vice President. The
proposal is submitted to the sponsor electronically (in most cases) by the ORSP.
Official proposal files are maintained by ORSP.
3.6 Management of Sponsored Programs
3.6.1 All Sponsored Programs are awarded to UHD and are accepted for the University
by ORSP on behalf of the Principal Investigator (PI).
3.6.2 Review of award documents prior to acceptance by the University is the
responsibility of the ORSP. Any unusual clauses or requirements are discussed
with UHS General Counsel.
3.6.3 UHD administers all sponsored research and contracts in accordance with
applicable federal, State, University of Houston System, and UHD regulations
3.6.4 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance (UG), 2 CFR , Part
200 - UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST
PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS are used in determining allowability of costs and general administration procedures
for sponsored programs at UHD.
3.6.5 The PI is responsible for the submission of all required technical and other nonfinancial reports to the sponsor as set forth in the sponsor agreement. In addition,
the PI is responsible for initiating and approving all expenditures to the program
cost center (see 4.3).
3.6.6 All financial reports are submitted by ORSP Post-Award Administration.
4.1 Procedures for the Administration of Sponsored Program
General procedures for the administration of sponsored programs are located in the
Sponsored Program Guide found on the ORSP website. It is the responsibility of the ORSP
to keep this guide up to date at all times.
4.2 Establishment of a Sponsored Research Cost Center
An official notice of award, a signed contract, or other documentation showing a
commitment on the part of the sponsoring agency is required before a cost center is
assigned. A separate restricted cost center is established for each sponsored program, and
expended program funds are recorded in that cost center as they occur. Upon notification
of an award, ORSP notifies General Accounting to establish a cost center for the awarded
sponsored program. Monthly verification must be performed on each sponsored program
cost center by the responsible department.
4.3 Expenditure of Funds
4.3.1 A faculty or staff member who receives funds for a sponsored program must
comply with the rules, regulations, restrictions, and requirements imposed by
federal law, the granting agency, the State of Texas, the University of Houston
System, and UHD policies and procedures.
4.3.2 The PI of sponsored research funds must initiate and approve in writing all
expenditures on a sponsored program and assume the following responsibilities:
18.104.22.168 Ensure expenditure of funds are allocable to the program cost center and
that goods and services will be used or received during a program
22.214.171.124 Adhere both to the budget for the program period and to any limitations on expenditures in a given category.
4.3.3 Compensation for services of University personnel on sponsored programs will
be based on established University employment and payroll policies and
procedures. All University employment policies are applicable to sponsored
programs. Compensation of personnel on sponsored programs is administered
through the University of Houston System payroll system. Base salary is defined
as authorized salary or academic rate.
126.96.36.199 Use of research funds for summer salary may be used, when requested
and approved by UHD and the sponsor. Payment must comply with
University policies, sponsor guidelines and OMB Uniform Guidance
(UG), 2 CFR, Part 200.430. Charges for work performed on
sponsored agreements during all or any portion of such period are
allowable at the base salary rate in accordance with OMB UG Part
200.430 Compensation – personal services. At UHD, faculty summer
salary is calculated using the base pay divided by 9 which will equal the
amount allowed for one summer month.
188.8.131.52 Use of research funds for additional compensation for staff must comply
with PS 02.A.05.
4.4 Expenditure of Participant Support and Equipment Funds
4.4.1 Funds awarded for participant costs or equipment may not be reallocated into
another category unless permission is granted and received from the sponsoring
agency. The ORSP can provide guidance and the program budget must be
modified accordingly, if approval is granted. Expenditure of project funds for
participant support costs must have prior approval of the awarding agency or
4.4.2 Equipment may not be purchased in the last ninety days of the program award
unless approved by the sponsor. Expenditure of project funds for equipment
must have prior approval of the awarding agency or sponsor.
4.5 Effort Reporting on Sponsored Programs
4.5.1 The PI of the sponsored program is responsible for documenting effort spent on
the program for all employees who received compensation from a sponsored
program cost center.
4.5.2 Sponsored program activities are those activities for which effort is directly
charged to an externally funded program cost center and which are budgeted and accounted for separately. This includes sponsored research, research training,
public service, and educational service.
4.5.3 Cost sharing activities are effort contributed, but not directly charged, to
externally funded projects, while the employee is paid from institutional funds.
4.5.4 Effort reports must be signed by the Principal Investigator or Principal
Investigator’s designee for employees paid from sponsored program cost centers,
including any cost sharing cost centers. The designee must be an individual with
knowledge of 100 percent of the employee’s activities.
4.5.5 Most employees will make a single entry to the effort report. Employees who
devote effort to many institutional functions (i.e., teaching and working on
sponsored programs) may be required to complete more complicated entries.
Employee Effort Reporting, for more detailed information on effort reporting on
4.6 Indirect Costs
The University negotiates a Facilities and Administration (F&A) rate also known as, an
indirect cost (IDC) rate, with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
This rate is used on all sponsored programs, unless not allowed by the sponsor. Sponsor
guidelines on F&A recovery restrictions are to be provided to ORSP during proposal
submission for documentation. F&A costs are provided in externally sponsored
agreements to reimburse the university for general support costs not readily identifiable
in amount and, therefore, not recoverable as direct charges. Recovery and distribution of
F&A around the University is negotiated between the Vice President of Administration
and Finance and the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and
Provost. The recovery of F&A costs begins as soon as the program period begins.
Responsible Party (Reviewer): Associate Vice President for Faculty, Research and Sponsored
Programs and Provost
Review: Every three years on or before May 1
Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations.
Issue #1: Original issue date unavailable.
Issue #2: 06/17/86
Issue #3: 05/02/01
Issue #4: 06/30/09
Issue #5: 08/17/15
Notice of Intent
Proposal Transmittal Form
Sponsored Programs Guide
Time & Effort Reporting