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Externally Sponsored Research


General Considerations
Process for Establishing a Sponsored Research Project
Project Administration
Cost Sharing Policy
Sample Contract
Guidance on How to Submit an External Grant

I. General Considerations

A. Definition:
The term, sponsored research, in this policy statement refers to research conducted in whole or in part under a contractual agreement with one or several industry sponsors. It does not refer to research conducted under a contractual agreement with one or several sponsors that are governmental entities or that are subdivisions of governmental entities, or not for profit organizations.

B. Best Efforts:
Sponsored projects at SIUE shall be conducted on a best effort basis. The University, however, remains sensitive to the time constraints and the need for responsible efforts.

C. Publications:
As a public, educational institution, SIUE must serve public purposes. Thus, research results must be freely available to the scientific community and the wider public. The standard contract, therefore, states that SIUE will be free to publish the results of research after providing a copy to the sponsor.

While insisting that research findings must be publishable, the University recognizes the legitimate proprietary interests of private sponsors. Where appropriate, publication will be delayed for a specified period in order to protect patent rights. The University also will provide the sponsor with advance copies of intended publications and provide an opportunity for comment with respect to patent matters and for the identification of any inadvertent disclosure of proprietary data. However, title to and the right to determine disposition of any material first produced or composed in the performance of sponsored research shall remain with the University. The sponsor shall receive a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to reproduce, translate, and use copyrighted material for its own purposes.

D. Confidentiality:
The University does not retain proprietary information or maintain the confidentiality of research results. Publications normally acknowledge the sponsor's support. While such acknowledgment can be omitted from publications at the sponsor's request, the identity of the sponsor, the identity of the University investigators, the nature of the research, and the value of the agreement must be reflected in University records and be available to the public.

Although the University does not generate proprietary research results, there are situations in which meaningful research requires access to the sponsor's own proprietary data. In such cases, the contract(s) shall define the conditions under which such data shall be accepted and note that the University shall use reasonable efforts to protect such data, but shall not accept liability for inadvertent disclosure. Such data must be clearly designated as proprietary when they are transmitted to the University. The University retains the right to refuse to accept any such data that it does not consider essential to the research or that it believes to be improperly designated.

E. Patents, Copyrights, Proprietary Rights, and Title Rights:
Patents, copyrights, or other proprietary rights deriving from sponsored research must be shared by the University in accordance with arrangements set forth in the research contract and pursuant to the terms of the University's Policy Governing Research Involving Patents and Copyrights. The University's patent and copyright policy seeks to ensure that discoveries or inventions are used in ways that benefit the public while also providing adequate recognition and appropriate royalties to the responsible parties.

The University retains title to inventions resulting from sponsored research and licenses them in the public interest under patent management arrangements that also reflect the needs of sponsors. The normal mechanism is to provide the sponsor with a non-exclusive, royalty-free license. Where required for the effective commercial development of new technology, exclusive licenses for a limited term may be negotiated. (Examples of applicable licensing clauses are available in the Office of Research and Projects.)

The University retains title to any equipment acquired and to buildings constructed as a result of any performance of research unless agreed upon differently in the applicable contract.

F. Cost-reimbursement:
Sponsored research at the University is conducted on the basis of cost-reimbursement. For industry sponsored projects, such costs normally must be paid in advance, since the University cannot provide working capital for research nor pay interest on funds that might be borrowed for research. The University's research projects involve both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include the salaries, wage and employment benefits of project personnel; equipment; materials and services; and any other direct expenses necessary for performance of the project. A project's indirect costs include an allocable share of the University's costs to cover maintenance of the physical plant and facilities, the libraries, the general and administrative services, and other University support services.

G. Liability and Risk:
The University receives no funds to cover business risks. In keeping with the best efforts principle, the University cannot accept contract provisions that set strict deadlines, impose penalties for failure to make progress, or provide for withholding of payment if the sponsor is not satisfied with results.

H. Use of University Property:
Illinois state law requires that public property be applied only to public purposes such as education, research, and service. Such property, which includes assets other than buildings or grounds, may be used by outside persons or agencies only in accordance with approved contracts that further the public purposes of the University.

I. Compensation:

1. Compensation must be mutually agreed upon by the University staff member, industry representative, and appropriate University administrators.

2. In the event of a change in compensation, such proposed change shall be approved by the process through which all contractual agreements between outside agencies and the University are reviewed and approved. Such changes in compensation shall then be reported to the Office of Human Resources by means of a Change of Assignment form bearing the pertinent information.

3. University staff research time can be negotiated either as assigned time in place of regularly assigned duties and responsibilities, or as overload compensation in addition to regular duties, or in some cases as both. A staff member may also negotiate a higher rate of compensation from industry than that staff member's regular University salary.

4. In accordance with current overload policy, an individual receiving full-time compensation (12 months) for University service shall not receive overload payment for industry sponsored research equal to more than two months' salary in a single fiscal year.

Change of Assignment forms requesting overload compensation must include the statement that "This service is in addition to services required by the employee's current employment contract dated_______."

5. Personal consulting by University staff members normally does not involve a formal agreement for SIUE. Given reasonable limits and proper approvals, as specified in Policy on Outside Employment for Faculty, such consulting can be beneficial for the University as well as for faculty members and clients. Approvals for consulting will generally be given whenever these consulting activities do not interfere with regular duties. The University may, however, require more extensive involvement in the review of proposed consulting work, or in the monitoring of approved consulting work in certain cases, for example, in a situation in which an employee(s) desires to perform consulting services for an entity that is a sponsor of a cooperative University-industry research project.

II. Process for Establishing a Sponsored Research Project

A. Preliminary Discussions:
Sponsored research is most frequently initiated (1) when a sponsor wishes to support research that a member of the SIUE staff wishes to pursue and (2) when the proposed research project is approved by the University as consistent with the University's research policies.

University policies and guidelines concerning research are administered by the Graduate School. Under these policies and guidelines the University may engage in collaborative or joint programs with external sponsors, and the sponsor may work closely with the University to ensure that the research maintains its stated interest, but the University is ultimately responsible for the direction and supervision of the research. The principal investigator is responsible for directing the research in accordance with University policies and the research agreement. The sponsor is entitled to periodic reports on the progress and direction of the research.

B. Proposal Review and Submission:
Formal review begins when a staff member submits a proposal describing the research to be done, identifying the individuals who will perform it, and delineating a proposed budget. The staff member's supervisor must be satisfied that the project is appropriate as part of the unit's educational and research program, that adequate space and facilities are available, and that the budget covers all applicable direct and indirect costs. The proposal is then submitted for review and approval by the dean or director of the unit.

Next, the proposal is reviewed by the Office of Research and Projects, and by the Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management. Finally, the Associate Dean for Research and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research endorse the proposed project as being relevant to the mission and scope of the University and not in conflict with the public interest or University policy. If they believe that the project is potentially harmful to the public interest or contrary to the mission of the University, they shall refer the proposal to the Research and Development Committee for determination. The Graduate School's Office of Research and Projects submits the endorsed proposals to the sponsor.

C. Grant/Contract Negotiations:
All contracts and grants are negotiated by the Graduate School. Contract discussions between the sponsor's representatives and other University staff are preliminary only, and the Graduate School must review any proposed research commitment on behalf of the University and either endorse or negotiate necessary modifications. After negotiations are completed, the final contract must be forwarded by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research through the Provost and the University's legal counsel to the Chancellor. The Chancellor, or designee, is the final signatory on all grant and contract documents.

III. Project Administration:


A. When negotiations are completed and the grant or contract is signed, the Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management establishes a project account, notifies the project supervisor and unit, and takes whatever other steps are necessary so that research can begin. The principal investigator and unit in which the research is performed are responsible for the conduct of the work and for the proper billing of project costs. Appropriate fiscal and technical reports are submitted to the sponsor.

B. The Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management reviews the expenditures on an ongoing basis to assure compliance with the terms of the research agreement and University policy. Any proposed modifications in the terms or conditions of a contract or grant, including changes in the scope of work or an increase or decrease in the estimated costs, must be forwarded via the Office of Research and Projects. Major renewals or extensions involving additional costs must be reviewed through normal procedures, the same as new proposals.

C. A final financial accounting of all costs incurred and all funds received by the University together with a check for the amount of the unexpended balance, if any, shall be submitted to the sponsor within ninety days after completion of the project. If the sponsor wishes, monthly reports or other periodic reports also can be submitted in the same format. If necessary, the University's accounting office can provide sponsors with copies of original receipts, vouchers, and other source documents relating to the costs. Financial records are maintained in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices and are available at the accounting office for inspection and audit by the sponsor for one year following completion of the project.

D. Termination:

1. If a sponsor is dissatisfied with the progress of a project, or for any other reason wishes to discontinue it, the research may be terminated at the sponsor's convenience with sixty days prior written notice as set forth in the standard agreement. The University shall terminate any outstanding commitments and phase down the work in an orderly manner, and all costs associated with termination and with prior commitments shall be reimbursable.

2. The University also reserves the right to terminate a project if conditions beyond its control preclude continuation or if it determines that the project's activities are no longer in the public interest, as stated in the original proposal. In this event, the University shall provide the sponsor with a final fiscal report accompanied by a final check for excess funds or invoice for funds due, within ninety days after termination. The University shall also provide a report summarizing research results to the date of termination.

Guidance on How to Submit an External Grant-- download