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Office of Sponsored Programs Responsibilities

  • Responsible Office: Research Administration and Compliance, Research and Innovation
  • Current Approved Version: 05/31/2017
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy describes the general responsibilities of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

OSP is the university central administrative office responsible for communicating sponsor requirements to the university community and establishing the controls necessary to assure the requirements are met.

OSP is responsible for the solicitation of grants, contracts, and other agreements. In performing its charge, OSP is involved in the following activities:

Provide consultative services to faculty and research administrators in the preparation of proposal packages.

Review all proposals to assure that:

  • Proper approvals have been obtained.
  • Any commitments (including but not limited to cost-sharing, effort, space, and equipment) included are properly documented and consistent with university policy.
  • The proposal has been prepared in conformity with sponsor requirements and university policy.
  • The budget has been prepared in conformity with sponsor requirements and university policy.
  • Documents have approvals and signatures on behalf of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Award Administration

  • Review and approve change requests to existing grants, contracts, and other agreements.
  • Function as liaison between the university and sponsors in grant, contract, and other negotiations.
  • Notify principal investigator (PI), Faculty, Department, Grants & Contracts Accounting and individuals on the proposal distribution list of all grant, contract and other actions.

Statistical Reports and Electronic Research Administration

  • Provide statistical data on sponsored program activities to the research community.
  • Lead and coordinate the University‚Äôs efforts in the field of electronic research administration.


  • Lead and foster a university-wide research administration training program for research administrators.
  • Lead and foster a research administration training program for investigators.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU does not tolerate any form of retaliation against an employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation.

Who Should Know This Policy

All individuals involved in sponsored programs are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.



A mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both the sponsor and recipient. Each contract document contains a statement of work or services to be performed (scope of work) and represents a legal obligation by the contractor. Since a contract is a purchase or procurement, there will always be a deliverable. Contracts received by the institution are more detailed than grants or cooperative agreements in the technical requirements and sometimes in the accountability for the use of funds. Contracts issued for procurement under a sponsored program need careful review for adequacy of the scope of work and objectivity of the statement of deliverables.

Cooperative Agreement

 A federal award similar to a grant and subject to grant regulations , 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.

Electronic Research Administration (ERA)

Conducting research administration by utilizing electronic resources such as the Internet, the world wide web, form templates, databases, and other electronic tools.


A type of financial assistance awarded to an organization for the conduct of research or other program as specified in an approved proposal. A federal grant, as opposed to a federal cooperative agreement, is used whenever the awarding office anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities. The PI of a research grant has significantly greater flexibility in making changes to the research plan than the PI of a research contract. As with any agreement, a grant has terms and conditions which must be followed.

Sponsored Program

A grant, contract or other agreement awarded to accomplish a specific goal or project.


The Office of Sponsored Programs officially interprets this policy. The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

There are no procedures associated with this policy.


There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.

Related Documents

1. Definition of Sponsored Agreement and Gifts

2. VCU Policy: Sponsored Program Proposals: Definitions, Solicitation, Review, Approval and Submission

3. VCU Policy: Limited Submission Opportunities

4. Minimum Effort on Sponsored Programs

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Revision History
Approved/Revision DateTitle
10/22/2012 Office of Sponsored Programs Responsibilities


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.