Research administration process

Roles and responsibilities

The Office of Research Support and Operations teams with other University entities to administer sponsored proposals and awards and to ensure regulatory compliance.

Charts below identify the individual(s) or unit(s) responsible at each stage in the research administration process. Please note that some colleges offer similar services; check with your unit and area for other resources that may be available.

Individuals & units involved in research administration 

  • Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Academic department and chair
  • Dean, chancellor, or vice president
  • Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO)
  • Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships (ORAP)
  • Sponsored Programs Services (SPS)
  • Office of Research Assurances (ORA)

Administration process

Identification of funding opportunities

Gathers and reviews information on funding programs--private and governmental--that award grants and contracts to support scholarly, instructional, and community service activities; keeps abreast of agency interests and funding patterns. (SEE NOTE 1)XX
Disseminates information on funding programs and sponsors to appropriate university personnel, by means of an email notification system and its newsletter, the Informer OnLine. (SEE NOTE 1)X
Performs database searches for funding opportunities and fellowships on behalf of faculty, graduate students, and staff.X
Subscribes to web-based services, providing grants databases, grants newsletters, and the Community of Science/Scholars to the university community on the ORAP web site.X
Supplies application forms, guidelines, grant program announcements, requests for proposals, and program interests to faculty, students and staff.X
Provide expert guidance on funding opportunitiesX

Proposal preparation

Furnishes proposal development services such as workshops on proposal writing and grant administration, meetings with visiting agency personnel, and feedback on proposals.X
Ensure commitment of each investigator(s) time does not exceed a total combined effort above 12 person months or 100% FTE for all sponsored project activityXXX
Ensures all proposal development activities are funded on appropriate allowable funding sources (100% soft funded issue).XXX
Develop and revise technical narrativeXX
Develop and revise budget (SEE NOTE 2)XXX
Provide guidance to PI on proposal preparation (SEE NOTE 2)XXXX
Provide guidance to departments on proposal preparation (SEE NOTE 2)XX
Also see WSU BPPM 40.02: Proposal Processing and Development
Also see WSU BPPM 40.05: University DUNS Number
Also see WSU BPPM 40.09: Cost Determination Guideline
Also see WSU BPPM 40.25: Facilities and Administrative Indirect Costs
Also see WSU BPPM 40.37: Effort Certification
Also see WSU BPPM 45.53: Incentive Payments to Research Participants

Proposal review and approval

Review and approve before sending proposal to ORSOXXX
Proposed project fits within academic framework and resourcesXX
Requirements for new or renovated facilities/space have been discussed with the appropriate peopleXX
Conflict of Interest Requirements have been met and addressedXXXX
All regulatory compliance activities, if any, are understood and will be managed appropriately (SEE NOTE 14)XXX
Provide institutional review of proposalX
Identify cost sharing (Also see WSU BPPM 40.33: Cost Share and Match)XX
Review proposed cost sharing for compliance with terms and conditions and approve proposed cost sharingXX
Determine the appropriateness of the granteeXXX
Make revisions and corrections to proposal after institutional review (SEE NOTE 3)XX
Provide institutional approval of proposalX
Record proposal information for trackingX

Proposal submission

Mail/submit proposals to sponsors (SEE NOTE 11)XXX

Award acceptance

Receive notification of grant or contract awardXXXXX
Send notification to department and other administrative departmentsX
Negotiate terms and conditions with sponsor (SEE NOTE 4)X
Review and approve terms and conditions (SEE NOTE 4)X
Prepares and executes standard agreements, subcontracts, and other agreements related to extramural funding.X

Award set-up

Record award information for trackingXX
Prepare award summary documentsX
Establish accounts in central data base and code accounts for budget allocations, funding mechanisms facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, and other fiscal-related codesX
Activate account numberX
Upload budget to budgetary ledgerX
Also see WSU BPPM 40.07: Research or Conference Account Request

Subcontracts/subrecipient monitoring

Obtain proposal documents (SOW, budget, Letter of Support, etc.), from subrecipient and review for applicability at proposal stageXX
Prepare and submit subaward initiation sheet and proposal documents to ORSO once prime award is fundedXX
Review and verify subaward initiation sheet and proposal documentsX
Run Visual Compliance check and initial financial risk assessment on subrecipient organization and PIXX
Draft and negotiate subcontract agreement, including incorporation of applicable AttachmentsX
Review completed subcontract and translate into WSU post-award systemsX
Annually review the subcontractor’s most current audit document, monitor for risk and follow up on any findingsX
Process and approve subcontract invoices for payment, including review for allowabilityXXX
Review technical/progress reports to ensure progress is sufficientX
Submit copy of property, invention and cost-share reports to SPSX
Assist with desk reviews and/or site visitsXXXX

Award management and maintenance

Develops an overall plan for the commitment of grant and contract funds, working with the authorized person(s) in the department, college, or newer campus, and consults other University officers as appropriate.X
Establishes systematic procedures in the department, college, or newer campus for supervision of grant and/or contract accountsXX
Provides administrative support for the management of grant or contract accounts. Often, this responsibility is delegated to the departmental manager, fiscal officer, administrative assistant, or other administrative official.XX
Fiscal administration for grants and/or contracts, cooperative agreements, sub-contracts, and financial assistance agreements negotiated with federal, state, and private sponsors at the central level.X
Track carryforward and any sponsor requirements to utilize in future budget periodsXXX
Maintain central internal systems for monitoring status of all sponsored projects, for receivables, overdrafts, revenue, effort certification, cost sharing, letters of credit, electronic funding, and financial reportingX
Approves all expenditures requests to be charged against the grant or contract account.X
Review and approve expenditures for allowability and allocability (SEE NOTE 13)X
Oversee expenditures for allowability and allocability (SEE NOTE 13)X
Review and manage all sponsor Salary Cap requirements (Also see WSU BPPM 40.40: Institutional Base and Salary Cap)XXX
Retain documentation to support allocation of expendituresX
Spot check the allowability and allocability of expenditures (Also see WSU BPPM 40.03: Expenditure Deadlines for Sponsored Projects)XX
Reviews, on a regular basis, the grant or contract account expenditures with appropriate departmental, college, or newer campus administrator(s).X
Coordinate issue resolution with sponsors (SEE NOTE 5)XX
Initiate internal award change requests to SPS (SEE NOTE 12)XX
Approve internal award change requests (SEE NOTE 12)X
Initiate award change requests that require sponsor approval (SEE NOTE 12)XX
Submit award change request to sponsor for approval (SEE NOTE 12)X
Process award changesXX
Certifies cost sharingX
Track cost sharingXXXX
Manage data in accordance with WSU EP8, EP37, and BPPM 87.01XX
Prepare trainee appointment documents (such as NRSA appointment documents)X
Review and submit agency appointment documentsX
Reconcile accounts on a monthly basisX
Periodically notify departments of overdraft accountsX
Produce exceptions report and contacts departmentX
Resolve issues on the exception reportXX
Oversee the resolution of items on the exception reportX
Also see WSU BPPM 40.01: Fiscal Responsibilities for Sponsored Projects
Also see WSU BPPM 40.12: Acquiring Equipment Under Federal Agreements
Also see WSU BPPM 40.13: Management of Equipment Acquired Under Federal Agreements
Also see WSU BPPM 40.16: Transferring Research Equipment to Other Institutions
Also see WSU BPPM 40.27: Fixed Price Agreements
Also see WSU BPPM 45.35: Managing Research Records

Program income

Identify program incomeXX
Notify SPS of any program income (such as revenue
from sales and services of goods developed in conjunction with a sponsored project).
Post program income to appropriate account codeXX
Report program income on financial status reportX

Invoicing and billing for all sponsors

Identify the need to billXXX
Create and submit the invoiceX
Provide institutional approvalX
Track submission of invoicesX
Department approval and signoff on final invoiceXX

Accounts receivable and cash management

Manage cash (handling of checks, etc.)X
Produce and record a letter of credit draw request based on the disbursement of cash for expenses of awards for a specific period of time for a specific funding agency
Monitor and pursue the collections of overdue payments from sponsors (SEE NOTE 6)
Also see WSU BPPM 40.21: Cash Advances

Preparation and submission of financial status reports

Identify the need for submission of a financial status report
Prepare financial status reports
Obtain agreement from PI or department on final figure

Submit financial status reports to sponsors

Preparation and submission of all technical reports

Identify the need for submission of a technical report
Prepare and approve technical reports
Submit technical reports to sponsor
Maintain and track the submission dates of the official copy of the technical report


Certification of time and effort

Prepare and distribute effort certification reportsXX
Obtain necessary supervisory reviews and approvals and complete the document
Certifies, or has someone with first-hand knowledge of her/his effort, certify her/his effort and the effort of other employees working on her/his project via the University's Effort Certification System.
Review effort certification reports completed by PI's or designee

Resolve problems or follow up on certifications not submitted
Complete necessary adjustments to award charges and/or payroll distribution
Retain/store the documentation supporting the certification process
Also see WSU BPPM 40.37: Effort Certification

Closing of accounts

Identify close-out situations (SEE NOTE 7)X
Determine whether there are unresolved items that need to be resolved before closing account and communicate to impacted parties
Ensure expenditures/cost transfers have been posted to accounts (SEE NOTE 8)
Resolve issues related to unreconciled accounts (SEE NOTE 8)
Oversee the resolution of unreconciled accounts and make necessary entries for accounts that are past closeout period
Prepare and submit financial reports, invoices, property reports, and patent reports in accordance with award terms and conditions
Ensure that all technical reports have been submitted to sponsor
Ensure that all final invention reports have been submitted to sponsor
Ensure that the Office of Commercialization (WSU OC) has submitted all patent reports to sponsor
Inactivate award account(s) in financial accounting system
Maintain official award documents for sponsored projects
Assumes accountability for overdrafts, deficits, uncollectibles, and/or disallowances that occur under a grant or contract account.
Consults with principal investigator concerning the resolution of an overdraft, deficit, uncollectible, and/or disallowance incurred under a grant or contract account and is responsible for settling the problem. In the case of uncollectibles and/or disallowances it may be necessary to communicate with SPS for assistance in obtaining an appropriate resolution.
Also see WSU BPPM 40.04: Establishing and Terminating Sponsored Accounts

Single audit and agency reviews

Comply with circulars and sponsor conditions for compliance at the transaction level
Coordinate the Single Audit and agency reviews for the entire University.

Retrieval of federal, sponsor, and university policy/regulations

Store all relevant policies/regulations either in hard copy or electronic format (SEE NOTE 9)XX
Monitor and update documents for changes (SEE NOTE 9)
Communicate changes to WSU personnel (SEE NOTE 9)XX
Retrieve policies/regulations as needed (SEE NOTE 9)XX
Interpret regulations, policies, and procedures (SEE NOTE 9)
Develop WSU policies and procedures (SEE NOTE 9)XX

Ongoing training

Provide training to the research community regarding changes to policies and regulations (SEE NOTE 9)

Regulatory compliance

Compliance administration

Management and oversight of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Management and oversight of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
Management and oversight of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
Management and oversight of Radioactive Materials and Radiation Producing Machines.X
Management and oversight of the Conflict of Interest Committee.

Technology transfer

Agree to disclose inventions to the WSU OC under the University's policy on Intellectual Property (IP).
Ensure compliance with University IP Policy and Federal patent regulations by project personnel.
Initiate invention disclosure process, obtains appropriate signatures & files Invention Disclosure Form with WSU OC. Important to make a comprehensive disclosure, includes: Funding sources, prior obligations, prior art knowledge, etc.
Maintain confidentiality.
Assist in invention evaluation & marketing invention to industry.
Preserve & maintains primary data related to inventions.
Secure a Material Transfer Agreement, approved by WSU OC and ORSO, prior to transfer of research-related materials.
Disclose activities in annual review.
Complete invention portion of Continuing Grant Applications and Final Invention Report.
Management and oversight.

Financial Conflict of Interest

Know and comply with WSU Conflict of Interest policies.
Disclose conflicts of interest and time commitment as required by institutional officials and federal agencies.
Comply with any special conditions placed on investigator's role in a project in order to manage, reduce or eliminate a conflict of interest.
Report, on an ad hoc basis, any changes to financial relationships affecting research.
Management and oversight.
Also see WSU EP27: University Research Personnel Conflict of Interest, Technology Transfer, and State Ethics Requirements

Institutional Biosafety Committee

Adhere to federal regulations (i.e. NIH guidelines, BMBL), state and local laws, institutional policies, and WSU procedures regarding the safety and protection of using potentially biohazardous materials.XX
Obtain approval from Institutional Biosafety Committee prior to conducting research using recombinant DNA or infectious disease.
Issues also related to proper use of techniques, facility approvals, communication, reporting, training, complying with policy, etc.
Ensure that incoming MTA's involving recombinant DNA or infectious agents receive approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee.
Management and oversight.

Human Subjects protection

Adhere to federal regulations, state and local laws, institutional policies, and WSU procedures regarding the safety and protection of human subjects.
Includes IRB approval, communication, reporting, recruitment, consent, document management, supervising, training, etc.
Prepares and submits human subjects research applications (HSRA) or changes in accordance with federal regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures. Ensures no research involving human participants begins prior to IRB approval.XX
Submits proposed changes to the HSRA for approval as required and assures that changes are not implemented prior to approval.XX
Reviews protocol at inception and as required thereafter for completeness, accuracy, and improvement opportunities.XX
Ensures the approved HSRA(s) are congruent with the human participant related research described in their grants.XX
Verifies that protocol complies with the terms and conditions of the award and that Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol approval is in place prior to the start of research.XX
Reports deviations, adverse events, potential non-compliance or unanticipated problems (UPIRSO's) associated with an approved protocol to the IRB. XX
Conducts research in accordance with current, approved human subjects research protocol for the duration of the sponsored project.XX
Management and oversight.
Also see WSU BPPM 45.50: Research Involving Human Subjects

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Adhere to all federal regulations, PHS policy, state and/or local laws, institutional policies and IACUC procedures regarding humane care and use of animals.
Includes IACUC approval, communication, reporting, document management, required training, etc.
Bottom line = Responsible use of animals in research
Prepares and submits animal subjects approval forms (ASAFs) or changes in accordance with federal regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures. Ensures no animal related research begins prior to IACUC approval.X
Submits proposed changes to the ASAF for approval as required and assures that changes are not implemented prior to approval.X
Reviews protocol at inception and as required thereafter for completeness, accuracy, and improvement opportunities.X
Ensures the approved ASAF(s) are congruent with the animal related research described in their grants. X
Verifies that protocol complies with the terms and conditions of the award and that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol approval is in place prior to acceptance of award and the start of research.X
Reports serious violations of approved protocol or any unanticipated adverse outcomes to the IACUC. X
Conducts research in accordance with current, approved animal studies protocol for the duration of the sponsored project.X
Management and oversight.
Also see WSU BPPM 45.42: Authority of the Attending Veterinarian

Environmental health and safety

Has knowledge of institutional, local, state, and federal environmental health and safety policies applicable to research.
Includes maintaining inventory of materials, safety, standard operating procedures, manages equipment, internal and external inspections, supervising, required training, reporting, and communication.
Management and oversight.

Radiation safety

Adhere to federal regulations, state (i.e. broadscope license) and local laws, institutional policies, and WSU procedures regarding the safety and protection of using potentially biohazardous materials.XX
Disclose use of radioactive materials on the eREX form.
Follow the safety procedures outlined for materials that contain radioactivity (Radiation Safety website:
Management and oversight.

Human resources and equal opportunity

Has knowledge of and complies with any and all federal, state, and University laws, regulations, policies and practices pertaining to HRS and EO (SEE NOTE 16)
Management and oversight, including all NIH, NSF, and other sponsor harassment policies.


General: ORSO Associate Dean/Vice Chancellor for Research Onboarding guidance can be found here:

Note 1: The Principal Investigator (PI) is ultimately responsible for identifying funding opportunities but ORAP assists in this process by periodically sending lists of opportunities to the PIs and providing custom searches by the ORAP Faculty Support Coordinator.

Note 2: A PI who needs assistance with the preparation of a proposal should normally seek advice from the department or financial administrator for the PI’s department. However, the PI may also contact ORSO with questions regarding the preparation of a proposal. In addition, the proposal budget approval is provided either by an ORSO certified departmental administrator or directly from an ORSO Grant/Contract Coordinator if a departmental administrator is unavailable. The SPS office is another resource that can provide guidance on budget item allowability.

Note 3: The PI and the department administrator(s) work together to make any necessary fundamental changes to the proposal. ORSO may make minor changes to the proposal with verbal approval from the PI.

Note 4: When negotiating the terms and conditions of an award, the ORSO representative should be in frequent discussion with the PI to ensure that the PI is aware of the changes being made. The ORSO representative will ensure that the PI is in agreement with necessary changes.

Note 5: ORSO and SPS are responsible for coordinating issue resolution with the sponsors. To determine which unit has responsibility, identify the topic and look for who has responsibility for that topic in the roles and responsibilities matrix.

Note 6: SPS is responsible for monitoring the collections of overdue payments for sponsored projects. When SPS determines that WSU is unable to collect the payment, SPS coordinates with other units to resolve any issues related to the inability to collect the payment. These units may include, but are not limited to, the AG’s office, ORSO, and the departments.

Note 7: While many units track the end dates of awards to determine when awards need to be closed out, SPS has the ultimate responsibility for identifying close out situations and working through the tasks that need to be completed to close an award.

Note 8: The department must ensure that all expenditures/cost transfers have been posted and that the accounts are reconciled, but SPS will assist them in completing these tasks when department initiates need for assistance or upon SPS discovery of need for cost transfer and post audit review.

Note 9: ORSO and SPS share responsibility for these tasks. Depending on the topic of the regulation, policy, procedure or training, one of the units will have primary responsibility. For example, ORSO would be responsible for regulations on proposal submission, SPS would be responsible for regulations on financial status reports as well as being responsible for regulations on effort reporting. To determine which unit has responsibility, identify the topic and look for who has responsibility for that topic in the roles and responsibilities matrix. In some circumstances, responsibility for training or policy development may not follow the matrix. However, the matrix should be used as a starting point for which office to contact with questions.

Note 10: ORSO , SPS, the Department and the PI all share the primary responsibility for the monitoring of subrecipients. The Department assists the PI with this task hands-on, and ORSO and SPS ensure that the University’s subrecipient monitoring procedures are compliant.

Note 11: While ORSO has the ultimate responsibility for mailing the proposal to the sponsor, the PI may request that they or the department mail the proposal. ORSO can facilitate the request if the original proposal and final research plan is delivered to ORSO with all necessary corrections and hard copies by 5pm the day before delivery is to be made.

Note 12: ORSO reviews & submits all requests that require sponsor approval, with input from SPS as necessary. SPS typically manages all the grantee approved changes, but some actions may require ORSO involvement, e.g., scope changes, required budget revisions, etc.

Note 13: This responsibility includes the following:

  • That funds are used only for purposes directly related to the activity supported and that these funds are reasonable, allowable, and allocable as defined in 2 CFR 200.
  • That expenditures are consistent with all special terms, conditions, or limitations applicable under the particular grant or contract.
  • That expenditures do not exceed the total funds authorized for a given period under the grant or contract. In many cases, the grant or contract may also specify expenditure limits by budget category or line item.

Note 14: Responsibility for the following compliance activities, including but not limited to, technology transfer, financial conflict of interest, biosafety, human subjects, animal care and use, environmental health and safety, radiation safety, personnel issues, equal opportunity, information security, data management, etc.

Note 15: Primary responsibility of financial management and oversight is provided by PI. ORSO provides FCOI compliance checks for applicable proposals and awards as appropriate.

Note 16: Although the primary responsibility complying with HRS regulations resides with the PI, all units should be aware and comply with HRS regulations throughout the University.

Note 17: WSU Investigator (PI and CO-I) eREX Form Certifications can be found at WSU Chair/Director and Dean/VP/Chancellor eREX Form Certifications can be found at

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