A grant is a funding instrument between a funding source and a second party and in response to the submission of a proposal. A grant generally supports basic research. Grants typically allow the PI more flexibility in conducting a research project and in utilizing the funding provided. Grants, however, are becoming less flexible with more rigid performance and reporting requirements. Generally grants do not require a signature of acceptance by the second party.
A contract is a written agreement between two parties by which the sponsor agrees to pay costs incurred for specific services, deliverables, or research goals. Contracts generally support applied research. Contracts are more rigid, allowing less flexibility in the conduct of the research and utilization of the funds. Contracts contain specific terms and conditions that must be followed to remain in compliance with the contract terms. Changes or modifications to any aspect of the contract can be done only through a written and signed modification or amendment to the contract.
A cooperative agreement is a funding mechanism in which both parties to the agreement have substantial programmatic responsibilities.
Cost Reimbursable Awards
Funding may be provided by a sponsor on a cost reimbursement basis. This means that the University first incurs costs and then submits an invoice to the sponsor for payment. The award is issued on the basis of an estimate of the costs of performing research and is often arrived at by negotiation between the funding agency and the University. Work should stop when all of the funds are exhausted.
Firm Fixed Price Agreements
A firm fixed price agreement provides an agreed upon amount of funding for a specific deliverable or product. A reconciliation of costs incurred and funding received is not required by the sponsor. Deliverables must be provided to the sponsor even if the costs exceed the award amount.
- Designated Office of Research personnel are UCF's official contacts with sponsors/agencies. They are authorized to communicate with sponsors on all administrative matters (e.g., compliance with proposal guidelines, policy issues, all aspects of contract and grant agreements, amendments, modifications, no-cost extensions, and budget transfer requests).
- The Principal Investigator (PI) is authorized to communicate with the sponsor on technical/scientific aspects of the project only.
- The Office of Research is the only entity authorized by UCF to receive, issue, negotiate and sign research agreements (i.e. contracts, grants, amendments, modifications) with a sponsor.
- The Office of Research will negotiate all terms and conditions of agreements in accordance with UCF policies and guidelines.
Awarded Funding Report
When the Office of Research receives a notice of grant award or completes negotiations on a contract and the award is fully executed, this fully signed award document becomes the basis for issuing an Awarded Funding Report (formerly Report of Grant/Contract Award-Form 650). If the PI has not received an awarded funding report but has had agency contact indicating that a project has been funded, the PI should contact the Office of Research.
Once an Awarded Funding Report is generated, the PI will receive an e-mail from the Office of Research. This e-mail will contain general information about the award such as the agency, project title, account number, etc.
A web address will be provided in the e-mail for access to Office of Research's server. From here the award and other documents can be viewed and printed as necessary. The PI will also receive any agency specific guidelines necessary to administer the project. All materials should be carefully reviewed to ensure compliance with all award requirements.
Official award documents include:
- Official award notices
- Letters of intent
- Final Budget
- Export Control documentation
- Official correspondence concerning award issues
- Amendments and/or change orders
Office of Research retains all original, signed legal documents. Should the PI receive originals of such legal documents, they should be forward immediately to ORC.
Modifications/amendments to awards are processed in the same manner as new awards, as outlined above.
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for all aspects of his/her project, including financial activities. The PI should monitor all expenditures and personally approve all major expenditures. The PI must ensure that inappropriate charges are not placed on project accounts. The PI should only delegate authority to sign on his/her account to appropriate personnel and should approve all changes to the Departmental Authorization List (DAL).
Project account numbers will be established using one of the following budget levels. Budget levels are determined by the requirements of the award and the level of detail in which UCF is required to track expenditures.
|Level 1||(least restrictive) Direct & Indirect categories only|
|Level 2||Labor, Equipment, Remaining Direct and Indirect categories|
|Level 3||Salary, Other Personnel Services (OPS), Expenses, Equipment/Other Capital Outlay (OCO), and Indirect Categories|
|Level 4||(most restrictive) Salary, OPS, Subcontracts, Consultants, Travel, Stipends, Tuition, OCO, Other Direct Costs and Indirect Categories|
The PI is responsible for developing an overall plan for the commitment of the awarded funds and supervising the legitimate spending of funds for project activities. Also the PI should assure compliance with sponsor cost principles and UCF policies/procedures.
All expenses must be:
- directly related to the project
- made during the project period
Plan expenditures so that materials are purchased and consumed during the project period. Equipment should be ordered in sufficient time so that it can reasonably benefit the project and should not be purchased within the last three (3) months of a project.
Sponsors require special permission to spend funds not committed prior to the expiration date even though the necessity to do so may appear obvious. The cost of publishing research results after the project is completed is an example of such an expenditure. Funds must be encumbered with a purchase order prior to the project's end date. A no-cost extension to the award may also be required.
The policies and procedures for personnel on project funds (C&G) are the same as those UCF applies to departmental funding (E&G): http://www.hr.ucf.edu
Certain projects may have export control requirements that restrict foreign national access, dissemination, and participation.
- In order to provide adequate monitoring of awards, the Office of Research is required to review certain categories of travel expenditures to ensure that the trip is approved or appropriate on a specific C&G account. The categories of C&G travel which require prior approval are:
- Domestic (Continental U.S.) exceeding $2,000/trip/person
- International - all trips
- Create travel requisition in PeopleSoft using ePro.
- Requisition is routed to ORC for approval.
- If sponsor approval is required, the Office of Research will discuss with PI before contacting the sponsor. Sufficient travel detail in the proposal budget helps in these situations. Travel will be approved by Office of Research (a) if travel can be approved based upon your award or (b) once agency approval is received.
- Travel expenditures that have not been pre-approved and that cannot be charged to a C&G account due to agency restrictions will be charged against the C&G balance or indirect cost account of the principal investigator, department, college or institute, as necessary.
- Review by Office of Research is solely to ensure the allowability of the expense in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. F&A and the PI's department will continue to assume the responsibility for ensuring that C&G accounts and their budget categories are not over-expended.
- The Fly America Act (41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143) requires that all federally funded travel be on a US flag carrier or US flag carrier service provided under a code-share agreement, except under specific situations. Under certain circumstances, principal fnvestigators traveling internationally on federally funded projects MAY be eligible for exemptions to the Fly America Act but prior authorization is required from [whom]. The explanation of eligibility and instructions for requesting prior authorization can be found at thttp://www.research.ucf.edu/documents/PDF/cg_FlyAmericaActExceptionForm.pdf
- International travel to sanctioned or embargoed countries (Export Control and International Travel) may have certain restrictions including limitations on the export of computers or other scientific devices.
All equipment purchases are subject to the bid and quote limits and procedures outlined in the Purchasing Manual.
Pre-Expenditure Review - Equipment
- Federal Property Control System Analysis regulations require that the Office of Research review purchases of equipment to ensure that the item is allowable for purchase on a Contract and Grant (C&G) account.
Prior to C&G equipment purchases, either through Purchasing, the Computer Store, Purchasing Card, or Credit Card, the PI or his/her designee is requested to either:
(1) send an e-mail to the Office of Research staff member assigned to the PI's college, providing the following information:
- C&G account # to be charged
- Principal Investigator name
- Item to be purchased (brief description)
If agency approval is required, the Office of Research will contact the PI to determine if agency contact is desired. If the equipment can be approved based on the award or, once agency approval is received,the Office of Research will send an approval e-mail including the appropriate decal information (see below) which should be uploaded when the requisition is prepared in PeopleSoft using ePro.
- This process may also be accomplished by creating a requisition in PeopleSoft using ePro. Once the requisition is submitted, it will be routed to the Office of Research for approval.
Office of Research's approval to purchase will also provide proper decal instructions for vesting information:
- FS (Florida Solar)
- CG (Contract and Grant)
- CF (Central Florida
- BV (Brevard Campus
- DB (Daytona Beach Campus)
- SO (South Orlando campus)
- US decals
- This decal information should become part of the ePro record so Property and Inventory Control will know which type of decal to use for the item of property the PI is purchasing on the C&G account.
- Any requisition without this information will be returned to the PI for correction or forwarded to Office of Research for the required approval or information.
- Office of Research will make every effort to respond within ˝ day of receipt of the PI's request.
- Purchases made within ninety (90) days of the project end date will need an additional justification regarding the need to make an equipment purchase at the end of the project.
Processes for Property and Inventory control.
Subcontracting is the acquisition of scientific, technical or programmatic assistance from a third party under an award made to the University of Central Florida. The subcontractor (also called a subrecipient or subawardee) will be responsible for managing the technical and administrative aspects of its part of the project.
Participation of a subcontractor should be fully budgeted for and described in UCF's proposal to the sponsor. If it is not, written approval from the sponsor must be received before entering into a subcontract arrangement with the other party.
The actual subcontract is the awarding instrument that funds the subcontractor and sets forth the terms and conditions under which the parties agree to operate. Any specific award terms in the prime award to UCF must also be incorporated into the subcontract.
The Office of Research prepares the subcontract document and follows it through to full execution.
The Office of Research informs F&A of a pending subcontract and F&A processes the encumbrance and assigns it a number. When the Office of Research receives this number, it is included in the subcontract which is then sent to the subcontractor for execution. Encumbered funds are dedicated to the subcontractor and cannot be spent on other project needs (unless unencumbered by first amending or modifying the subcontract).
Subcontracts must contain the rationale for subcontractor selection and should include a clear description of the work to be performed.
A subcontract will not be issued, nor payments to a subcontractor authorized, prior to UCF's receipt and acceptance of a funding commitment from the sponsor. The subcontractor should not begin working without a fully executed subcontract agreement in place. Proposed subcontractors who commence work without a fully executed subcontract agreement from the Office of Research do so at their own risk and have no assurance of payment from UCF.
Requirements at the Proposal Stage
Items required to be included with your proposal:
- Subcontractor scope of work
- Subcontractor budget
- Subcontractor budget justification
- Letter from subcontractor's research office confirming subcontractor's participation in the project
The role and unique qualifications of a proposed subcontractor(s) should be described in the proposal if the desired subcontractor has been identified at the time of proposal submittal and the subcontractor's budget should be included in the proposal. Competitive process must be used when subcontractor services are available from more than one source, unless an Exempted Purchase or Sole Source Certification is approved.
Subcontract Monitoring and Review of Invoices
The Office of Research is responsible for monitoring subcontract agreements with support of Principal Investigators and other UCF personnel. Office of Research sends Audit Certification Forms to Subcontractors, collects completed forms and requested documentation, reviews the documents, and maintains the official files of Subcontractor audit forms and documentation.
The PI must review and sign all invoices from subcontractors before they can be paid by UCF. The PI needs to verify that the subcontractor is conducting the scope of work required under the project and that the costs incurred by the subcontractor are reasonable for the work accomplished. Invoices should not be paid if there are outstanding deliverables from the subcontractor.
Duties and Responsibilities
|Principal Investigator (PI)||Monitor subcontractors to ensure compliance with federal regulations and both prime and subcontractor award terms and conditions and review invoices to approve expenditures and progress on the statement of work.|
|Department Administrator||Assist Principal Investigators with monitoring responsibilities for reviewing invoices from subcontractors and investigating expenditures and maintaining support documentation of monitoring activities.|
|Department Administrator||Ensure that the University's subcontract monitoring procedures are compliant with federal and other applicable regulations and are consistent with sound business practices. The Office of Research will provide training, monitoring, and guidance for interpreting applicable regulations and subcontractor award terms and conditions.|
|Department Chair||Establish effective processes and controls that will ensure compliance with this guidance and directive. Assign an individual to oversee the certification of effort for the department and to function as a point of contact between the department and the Office of Research.|
|Dean||Provide general oversight and problem resolution.|
|Vice President for Research||Oversee the formulation of UCF's Subcontract Monitoring Policy.|
Differentiating Between a Subcontract and a Vendor:
Sometimes it may be difficult to tell the difference between the need for a subcontractor and a vendor. An evaluation of the statement of work and the associated costs will usually provide enough information to make the determination. Never hesitate to contact the Office of Research to help. It is important to make this determination correctly at the proposal stage as indirect costs are calculated differently on subcontracts than they are on vendor agreements and a change between the two budget categories may have an adverse impact on your budget.
|Subcontractor services are uniquely designed in response to each project, and not provided commercially.||Vendor provides the goods or services within normal business operations|
|Subcontractor technical lead is usually a scientific collaborator, or even a co-PI on the UCF project.||Vendor provides similar goods and services to many different purchasers and in a competitive environment|
|Subcontractor retains rights to intellectual property.||Vendor retains no rights to intellectual property.|
|Subcontractor participates in development and execution of statement of work.||Vendor provides the goods or services ancillary to the operation of the federal program.|
|Vendor provides the goods or services ancillary to the operation of the federal program.||Vendor is not subject to compliance requirements of the federal program|
Determining Which Rules and Restrictions Apply
|Requires prior approval of the sponsor, if not originally included in proposal.||Generally does not require prior approval of the sponsor, subject to rebudgeting restrictions imposed on the particular category of cost.|
|Indirect costs are assessed only on the first $25,000 of each approved funding cycle.||Indirect costs are assessed on entire amount.|
|Is exempt from sole-source justification or open-bid requirements (unless issued under a federal contract).||Is subject to sole-source documentation or open-bid requirements.|
|Is subject to federal Subcontractor monitoring requirements.||Is not subject to federal Subcontractor monitoring requirements.|
A Budget Transfer (BT) Request must be completed by the Principal Investigator (PI) and submitted to the Office of Research for approval on all Contract and Grant (C&G) budget adjustments.
Follow the steps below to ensure the request is processed in a timely manner:
Submit by e-mail or using the BT Form to ORC
Provide a clear justification explaining the necessity, specific purpose, and effect on the project
For example, the following is insufficient information to approve the transfer, "To cover anticipated expenditures" or "To cover budget deficits incurred."
An acceptable description is, "The actual cost of the gas chromatograph is $3,300 which is $300 above the original proposed cost. To cover this increase, one less person will be traveling to the agency meeting in Golden, Colorado."
Adjustments will also be required to F&A (indirect) costs when transferring budget amounts from equipment (OCO), tuition waivers, and stipends into F&A-bearing cost categories.
The Office of Research will review, approve, and process the budget transfer if the request falls within applicable guidelines. If agency approval is required, the Office of Research will contact the PI to determine if agency contact is desired. If so, the Office of Research will submit the budget transfer request to the agency. Once agency approval is received, the transfer will be processed and the Awarded Funding Report (formerly the Form 650) will be modified to reflect the budget change.
The PI will receive an e-mail from the Office of Research with a website link to view/print all documents pertaining to the Budget Transfer.
|Administrative Reports|| UCF may be required to submit administrative reports to the funding agency. The Office of Research can assist the PI in preparing/submitting these reports. Administrative reports can include but are not limited to:
|Fiscal Reports||Fiscal reporting requirements include the submission of all vouchers, invoices, and/or financial status reports as required in the award. These reports are prepared and submitted by the Contracts and Grants section of the Division of Finance and Accounting.|
Traditional scientific research usually requires project progress be documented in a record log, journal, diary, or progress notebook. These records keep track of project dates, events, and travel. These records also outline research directions, detours, and dead ends of the project, as well as aid the PI in writing the required reports specified in the award. The Office of Research recommends that all UCF researchers maintain such documentation of their work.
It is advisable to keep record logs in a pre-bound notebook. Be sure to date each entry and have a witness read and sign important observances, events, or notations. These records should be kept current and in a secure location. Duplicate records, such as a photocopy of the records, should also be kept in a separate, secure location.
- When a Principal Investigator (PI) needs additional time to complete a project at no additional cost to the sponsor, he/she must submit a completed No-Cost Extension Request form. The form will include a detailed justification (e.g., late receipt of required materials or government authorization to proceed; task #1 took longer than originally anticipated due to…, etc.).
- The Office of Research will submit the official request to the funding agency with a copy to the PI.
- Once the agency response is received, the Office of Research will forward a copy to the PI. If approved, university system records will be updated with new end dates.
Note: Some Federal Demonstration Projects (FDP) allow the institution to grant itself a one-time, one-year, no-cost extension. If this is an option, the Office of Research will return to the PI the appropriate paperwork to document the extension. The PI's signature and that of his immediate supervisor are required.
The following is the Office of Research standard contract language regarding Intellectual Property:
Intellectual Property made solely by [Company] faculty and staff under this Agreement will be solely owned by the [Company]. Intellectual Property made jointly by faculty and staff of both [Company] and UCF will be owned jointly by [Company] and UCF, who agree to jointly determine patent filing and licensing. Intellectual Property made solely by UCF faculty and staff will be solely owned by UCF. All persons who perform any part of the work under this Agreement and who may be reasonably expected to make inventions, including screening compounds or materials synthesized, must be covered by this Agreement.
The parties agree that any existing background intellectual property and/or inventions and technologies of a Company, UCF and Investigator existing prior to the execution of this Agreement are their separate property, respectively, and are not affected by this Agreement. Neither party shall acquire any claims to or rights in any background intellectual property and/or technologies in existence prior to the execution date of this Agreement.
"Background Intellectual Property" means individually and collectively all inventions, improvements and/or discoveries, patentable or unpatentable, copyrightable or uncopyrightable, including but not limited to mask works, computer software, both object and source code, data bases and works of Authorship, which were in existence, prior to the effective date of this Agreement. For the purposes of this Section, the "Making" of inventions shall be governed in accordance with 35 USC Section 101 et seq.
Each UCF employee is bound by the Collective Bargaining agreement to complete and submit a UCF Invention Disclosure form to the Office of Technology Transfer, the respective deans, and chairpersons for:
- All inventions made in the general field or discipline of the employee, including any invention conceived on University time using UCF funds, facilities, proprietary information, or technical expertise.
- All inventions made during the course of funded research
- All inventions made outside the field or discipline in which the employee is employed by UCF and for which no university support has been used. Generally, this last type of invention is the property of the employee. However, the VP for Research or his/her representative may determine that the patent for such an invention be pursued by the University and proceeds shared.
- All Agreements concerning disposition of IP will be submitted to the General Counsel's Office for legal approval.
Cost share and matching are commitments from sources other than the funding agency to cover certain costs of a project or to provide in-kind services such as use of space or equipment.
If a project requires cost share, a separate account(s) will be established to document all cost share expenditures. The Office of Research will send the PI a separate Cost Share Memo detailing how to utilize the account(s). Read and follow the directions included in the Cost Share Memo.
It is essential that the cost share account(s) be used to document the fulfillment of your cost share commitments. Failure to properly document cost share may result in an audit finding, the requirement to return agency funds, and could negatively impact future sponsorships.
Cost share/matching sources can originate from:
- Office of Research Match Commitment Policy for Proposals to Federal Agencies.
- A University department
- A University College
- Other sources from within or outside the University.
- A match (cost sharing) account will be established for each sponsored project incorporating cost sharing/matching provisions. This includes projects covered by agency standing policy (NSF), and by other required cost sharing arrangements.
- The source of funds may be any education and general (E&G) fund account of the University, and in some instances other non-federal contract and grant (C&G) funded accounts (funding from a foundation could serve as cost share to a federally funded project). It could also be a facilities and administrative (F&A) return account (indirect/overhead).
- All costs shared, including those that exceed the contractual requirement, must be budgeted and recorded in the match account except for facilities and administrative (indirect) costs allocable to the match account. Finance & Accounting will recognize both costs in their financial reporting.
- Upon receipt of an award, the Office of Research will establish a sponsored (C&G) account and assign an account number; budget the sponsored account as awarded; determine the required cost sharing/matching from the proposal and/or award; establish a match account and assign an account number. This information will be provided to the department responsible for administering the account.
- For E&G accounts, the Principal Investigator (PI) will coordinate with department/college personnel in the preparation and submission of a budget transfer form to fund the match account.
- Charges will be recorded against the two accounts as directed by the PI on payroll vouchers, purchase and check requests, etc.
- Cost share should be limited to the amount specifically required by the funding agency. All committed cost share must either be specifically identified in the proposal or by a separate form accompanying the proposal during internal routing and approvals, documented on the Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF) and signed by the responsible party for the cost share commitment (e.g., chair, dean, etc.). Subsequent funding of the proposal requires that all proposed cost sharing be budgeted, recorded and documented in accordance with this policy.
- Responsibility for substantiating cost sharing/matching is the PI's and the Department Head's.
The Office of Research is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal export control laws, regulations, and sanctions. Research projects that involve certain types of technologies or an entity under sanctions may require compliance measures. International shipments, the sharing of restricted information with foreign nationals, or allowing foreign nationals or collaborators to participate in restricted research may be subject to export controls.
PIs have the following responsibilities:
- Prior to commencing any research, to review and cooperate with the Office of Research to determine whether any technical information or technology involved in their research is subject to the export control law or regulations and if so, whether any exclusion is available under the export control regulations;
- To re-evaluate that determination before changing the scope or adding new staff to the project to determine if such changes alter the initial determination;
- To make export determinations far enough in advance to obtain an export license from the appropriate agency, if required and available; and,
- To ensure that foreign nationals are excluded from access to restricted data or technology until the availability of an exclusion has been determined, or an export license has been obtained.
The Office of Export Compliance will assist PIs in assessing the application of such regulations, but primary compliance responsibility must rest with the Principal Investigator of the research.
- Types of Awards
- Negotiation/Signature Authority
- New Awards & Account Set-Up
- Account Responsibility
- Account Expenditure Guidance
- Subcontracts & Subcontract Admin
- Budget Transfers
- Cost Transfers
- Technical Reports/Deliverables
- Laboratory Project Records
- No Cost Extensions
- Intellectual Property
- Cost Share/Matching Requirements
- Export Controls
The Office of Research serves UCF scholars as the official liaison between UCF and funding sources and by helping faculty work through the proposal and contract management process.
This site includes information to assist university scholars through the announcement, application and post-award stages and to familiarize prospective partners with the breadth of funded research conducted at the university.
UCF is committed to the pursuit of excellence and intellectual growth and seeks to excel at moving ideas to innovation and realization. The Carnegie Foundation rates UCF as a "very high research activity" university. We’ve been on an upward trajectory for years and in 2021 UCF surpassed the $212.9 million dollar mark in external funding. UCF's pioneering efforts to commercialize technology continue to stimulate local economies throughout the state. The number of patents at UCF also continue to climb with 64 U.S. issued patents produced in 2021.