RSP Policy Detail

Sponsored Programs Guidelines & Procedures

Research and Sponsored Programs

The primary mission of Research and Sponsored Programs is to provide support for externally funded faculty research and sponsored programs including grants, contracts, and cooperative arrangements. Research and Sponsored Programs is responsible for Academic Affairs grants and contracts (initiated by or to be managed by faculty, academic departments, colleges and department or college institutes). Responsibilities also include pre-award and post-award activities assisting faculty in developing program ideas, identifying sources of funding, and following guidelines for policies related to submission and implementation. In addition, Research and Sponsored Programs is responsible for submitting proposals (including online submissions). This includes reviewing, editing and clearing all aspects of proposals before submission.

Any faculty member, chair or dean should contact Research and Sponsored Programs to initiate discussions for external funding at 570-961-4778. Requests for assistance are addressed promptly.

Sponsored Projects

The term "sponsored project" refers to a financial award (grant, contract, or cooperative agreement) from a sponsor to conduct specified research, training, or service projects. Sponsors can be state or federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit groups, or private enterprises such as business and industry. Sponsored projects may have any one of the following characteristics:

  • Any of the following terms are mentioned: contract, cost sharing, line item budget restrictions, overhead negotiations, prior approval required on spending, return of unused funds to sponsor, intellectual property, or period of performance.
  • The sponsor is entitled to receive some consideration, such as detailed technical reports, test results, or merchandise.
  • Limitations exist on the use of project data, or details relating to patents, or copyrights are involved.
  • There is a binding agreement between the University and another entity to provide economic benefit for compensation paid.



The following guidelines refer to faculty initiated grants and contracts including cooperative agreements and collaborative agreements with other entities developed within Academic Affairs which use University facilities, equipment or require the support of University staff.

Faculty members are responsible and accountable to University officials for the proper conduct of the project, compliance with policies, and the use of funds in accordance with University and sponsor agency guidelines.


Principal Investigators are obligated to inform their department chair and Dean of their intent to pursue a research grant or contract. The preparation of proposals is the responsibility of the principal investigator/project director. However, Research and Sponsored Programs will provide proposal preparation assistance and guidance through the contract/research grant clearance procedure.

Clearance and Approvals

All proposals for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements must have University clearance.

After the first meeting takes place regarding a potential funding opportunity, a Preliminary Clearance Form is completed and sent to the department Chair and Dean indicating personnel involved, release time, space required and a cost estimate. Once the Chair and Dean have signed off (electronically), work can begin. This ensures the concept has administrative approval at the college level. 

Once the preliminary clearance has been obtained, all proposal concepts are presented for approval by the Proposal Clearing Council (PCC), which meets monthly, and is composed of the President,  Provost, Vice President for University Advancement, Director of Development, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs, and Assistant to the Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs

The purpose of the PCC is to ensure at the outset that all proposals fit within the mission and vision of Marywood, and do not conflict with any other projects currently being undertaken. If a project, due to deadline constraints, should need approval prior to a scheduled meeting the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will electronically submit the information gathered at the first meeting for online approval by the PCC. 

Once the project receives a preliminary approval and the proposal is underway, Research and Sponsored Programs or Office of Corporate/Foundation Relations will generate a final electronic clearance form for the project and transmit it to the following persons: Project Director/Principal Investigator, Chair/supervisor, Dean (if appropriate), the Assistant to the Vice President for Technology (if appropriate), Fiscal Affairs Office, the Assistant to the Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs (if appropriate), and the appropriate Vice President. This additional step ensures that all interested parties are aware of, and in agreement with the project, as well as its finalized budget.

Special Reviews

When preparing a proposal or contemplating a contractual agreement, it is important to ensure compliance with University and sponsor requirements. The University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Instructional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must review activities calling for the use of human or animal subjects. Approvals must be obtained before the proposal is submitted for some sponsor agencies. Please read the guidelines carefully. In all cases, the University will not accept any contract agreement or award without IRB or IACUC approval where required.


Any intent to subcontract should be clearly identified in the original proposal. The proposal should include documents indicating the organization's willingness to participate in the project.

Budget Preparation

A faculty member who is the principal investigator or project director on a grant or contract is responsible for justifying the appropriateness of the direct and indirect costs budgeted. Budgets should be prepared in accordance with appropriate government regulations, sponsoring/contracting agency guidelines and Marywood University research and fiscal policies. Research and Sponsored Programs will assist in developing the budget.


Cost Sharing/In-kind

The principal investigator should request all costs from the sponsoring agency. However, some sponsor programs will require cost sharing or cash match, and will require a financial accounting of the contribution. When applicable, equipment, space, materials and release time can be used for an in-kind contribution.

Cash match is the requirement of actual funds from the University for the project. If a cash match is required, prior arrangements and approval are mandated. Contact Research and Sponsored Programs before beginning the proposal.

Facilities and Administrative Rates (Indirect Cost Rates)

Indirect costs are those that cannot be easily identified with a specific project, but are expended to meet the requirements of the project. Indirect cost rates are expressed as a percentage of either total direct costs or salaries and wages as outlined below.

The federal rate is negotiated between the University and the federal government. The current rate is available from Research and Sponsored Programs. It is based on salary and wages.  Many Pennsylvania state and some Federal agencies have different rates for indirect costs. For example, the Department of Education usually allows 8% of total direct costs. Please follow the sponsor guidelines.  For grants and contracts with other entities without guidelines, 20% of total direct costs will be used.  Some sponsors will not pay indirect costs but may allow the University to use the negotiated rate as a cost-sharing component, if required. Please review the applicable guidelines.  If you are negotiating a fixed-price contract, include the 20% indirect cost rate in your calculations.

Direct Costs


To determine salaries requested, indicate the percentage of effort and apply that effort to the annual salary. If effort is more than 20% during the academic year, replacement faculty costs must be included in the budget. The Chair and Dean must approve release time prior to the submission of the proposal. Individuals with a nine-month contract can work on the project during the summer months. Federal guidelines will have specific formulas for faculty compensation. Please review them carefully.

Fringe Benefits

Multiply the salary by the appropriate fringe benefit rate. The rate is available through Research and Sponsored Programs.



Contract Agreement Form

As a general rule, agencies require the original of each contract to be signed by an authorized university official. For faculty-contracted projects, this individual is the Assistant to the Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs. Principal investigators are not authorized to sign contracts on the behalf of the University.

Collaborative Projects

Collaborative/cooperative efforts with other institutions should be clearly delineated in the proposal/contract. A signed Memorandum of Understanding should be attached to the clearance form. This document should identify the responsibilities of each institution. Research and Sponsored Programs will assist in writing this memo.


When a proposal/contract has been approved for support, RSP should be notified. Research and Sponsored Programs cannot administratively initiate the project without formal notification. It is the responsibility of RSP to review the terms and conditions with the principal investigator/project director, and if acceptable, forward all documentation to Fiscal Affairs.

It is the primary responsibility of the RSP to serve as the intermediary between the sponsor and the principal investigator for the purpose of negotiating changes in the project budget, modifications (reallocations, increase or decrease of funds), date extensions and other administrative activities.

The principal investigator is responsible for the technical aspect of the project, and is responsible for performing the project within the constraints of the proposal/contact. In addition, the principal investigator/project director is responsible for the budget and authorizes any expenditure of funds.

Immediately after the award/contract is accepted, the principal investigator and Post Award Grant Specialist will meet with the fiscal and human resources officers responsible for this project to review budgetary and reporting procedures.

The principal investigators responsible for the timely submission of all required reports.  RSP will provide assistance as needed. 

The University, through Fiscal Affairs is responsible for making required fiscal reports and obtaining payment for sponsored projects. Fiscal Affairs and RSP are responsible for ensuring compliance with sponsor regulations/guidelines.