External Grants and Contracts
As stated in From Vision to Action: The Five-year Plan, "Longwood recognizes that scholarship advances theoretical and practical knowledge in disciplines, as well as providing substance for teaching excellence. To that end, the University will undertake appropriate support activities." Appropriate support activities include encouraging faculty to seek outside funding from sponsors for research activities. Research projects and programs enhance student-centered learning and the instructional experience by introducing students to the process and excitement of inquiry and discovery. They also further Longwood's mission to develop "citizen leaders who are prepared to make positive contributions to the common good of society" and to serve "as a catalyst for regional prosperity and advancement" in south-central Virginia (see the University's Mission Statement).
This policy establishes guidelines for faculty and administrators who are involved in applying for, receiving, and administering external grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.
- All activity funded by external sponsors must be consistent with Longwood's mission and strategic plan. Grants and contracts must be awarded for specific periods of time.
- In accepting funds from external sponsors, Longwood University assumes institutional and financial responsibility, in accordance with state and federal guidelines, for sponsored programs activity conducted by faculty and staff members.
- To that end, the acquisition of external sponsored programs cannot jeopardize or compromise the continuity of support for the instructional program of the University. Moreover, the University cannot become dependent on external funding for paying faculty salaries and/or graduate student stipends or on indirect costs to support its regular operating budget.
- Grants Office Review: All proposals for external grants and/or contracts must be reviewed and approved by the Grants Office before being submitted to the sponsor. The Grants Office will review the proposal to ensure that all costs have been budgeted, that budget amounts are sufficient to cover the cost of the proposal, that current rates have been used and calculated correctly for salaries, indirect costs, and in-kind expenses.
- Faculty Responsibility
The primary obligation of faculty is to fulfill their duties to their students and to the University. given that the basic character of academic work (teaching, research, and service) is interrelated, multifaceted, and often does not conform to any simple definition of a standard workweek, the professionalism of faculty ensures that work on sponsored programs is not excessive and does not unduly impact the instructional mission of the University. Work on sponsored programs must be consistent with and will be evaluated in accordance with the recognized division of faculty workload as defined by the University and individual departments in the General Provisions of the Academic Personnel Policies (Section III.A.) and in Appendices F and H of the "Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual". Moreover, faculty will have to certify the time and effort they devote to work on sponsored programs (see III.C.6below).
- Academic Freedom
The University ensures that researchers possess the freedom to investigate and report their findings, as guaranteed by the "Statement on Academic Freedom" in the "Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual".
- Conflict of Interest
Conflicts of interest occur when an officer or employee or member of his or her immediate family has a personal interest in, or benefits or suffers from, his or her participation in a contract or transaction considered by the University. No office or employee of any governmental agency shall have a personal interest in a contract with the government agency of which he/she is an officer or employee, other than his/her own contract of employment.
- Publication of Research
Activity funded by an external sponsor falls under the provisions of the University's "Copyright and Patent Policy" as stated in the "Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual".
- Sponsor: An organization or individual, outside of the University, that provides funding for projects or programs at the University.
- Sponsored Program: A Sponsored Program, usually a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, is an award from an outside source (a "sponsor") for a specific purpose that warrants University custodial responsibility and administrative accountability. It usually requires the University to do some or all of the following: perform a defined scope of work; provide a fiscal report subject to audit, implying formal liability for the University; return funds or goods not consumed; provide something of value to the sponsor; comply with terms/conditions set by the sponsor. This differs from a gift, which is irrevocable. Longwood University does not accept gifts; rather, the Longwood University Foundation has full discretion and control over the use of a gift, although the donor may broadly specify its purpose.
- Project Director (PD): (Also known as Principal Investigator) The faculty member or person responsible for overseeing the programmatic and financial aspects of a sponsored program. The term Project Director (or PD) will be used throughout this document, although it means the same as Principal Investigator.
- Grants Office: This individual within the Accounting and Financial Reporting Department consults with the faculty member about the proposal budget. The Grants Office supervises the post-award accounting, receipting, and dispersing of sponsored program funds.
- Indirect Costs: (Also known as Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs) Real costs related to sponsored programs that are not specific to the program itself. These costs include maintenance costs, heating and cooling costs, lighting, space, secretarial or administrative support, the library, and the cost of compliance with government regulations.
Cost Sharing and /or University Contribution
- Cost sharing is the portion of the total project costs of any sponsored agreement that is not provided by the sponsor. Cost sharing should be engaged in when:
- mandated by the sponsor;
- needed to reflect accurately the level of effort required to conduct the project; or
- necessary due to the competitive nature of the award.
- All cost sharing must be documented and identified in the University's accounting system. As a condition of the award, if the sponsor accepts cost sharing, accurate account records must be maintained to verify that these funds have been provided. Cost sharing, whether voluntary or mandatory, must in all cases be justifiable by audit.
- To qualify for cost sharing, costs must be all of the following:
- verifiable through effort reports or other appropriate documentation;
- necessary and directly related to the project objectives;
- not included as contributions for any other federally assisted project or program either in the current or in a prior period; and
- provided for in the approved project budget.
- Further information on cost sharing and institution contributions for federally sponsored programs may be found in OMB Circular A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," and OMB Circular A-110,"Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, Nonprofits.
Consultants & Sub-agreements
- When preparing proposals for external funding that include a transfer of a portion of the research or substantive effort of the prime award to another institution or organization, or in seeking professional advice or services from external sources, a determination must be made during the proposal development state as to the appropriate mechanism for this transfer of effort, or outside consultation. The two (2) mechanisms commonly used are the issuances of a sub-agreement or a consultant agreement.
- A sub-agreement is a document written under the authority of, and consistent with the terms and conditions of, a prime award (a grant, contract or cooperative agreement) that transfers a portion of the research or substantive effort of the prime award to another institution or organization.
- A consultant is an individual hired to give professional advice or service for a fee but is not an employee of the hiring party. The term "consultant" also includes a firm that provides paid professional advice or service. Recipients of federal funds are expected to have policies governing their use of consultants and to apply these policies consistently regardless of the source of support, and they are expected to justify the use of consultants instead of salaried employees.
- An employee of the University who performs work on a grant or contract project is not considered to be a consultant insofar as they are salaried or hourly employees of the University; they may be compensated at their academic salary rate for work they perform on a grant or contract. According to Section J.8 of OMB A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," employees working under federally sponsored grants/contracts may not consult for their own institution unless that consultation is cross-disciplinary.
Procedures may be found in the "Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual". A hard copy of the "Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual" may be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs or by visiting the Academic Affairs website.
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, June 12, 2003.
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, March 25, 2006.