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Preparation Guidance

Guidance for Faculty/Staff Seeking External Support

In compliance with the policy of the Commonwealth, the University requires that all faculty and/or administrative staff-generated applications for external support must be coordinated through a central clearing process. The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration serves as the first point of contact for all faculty and/or administrative staff-initiated proposals including all applications to government agencies, corporations, foundations, and independent nonprofit organizations. The office works closely with University Advancement to maximize the potential for funding and to ensure that University interests in certain sponsor relationships are not compromised.

Applications for external support that are considered to be "sponsored programs" are facilitated and coordinated by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration. Gifts and donations are coordinated through University Advancement. "Sponsored Programs" are defined by the University as those projects or programs which are: (1) Conducted by members of the faculty and/or administrative staff; and (2) Supported fully or in part by external restricted funding awarded to the University. Sponsored programs may be research, instructional or service in nature.

In all sponsored programs, the University has specific obligations to the funding source in accordance with the terms of a proposal or agreement. These obligations are based upon the project description developed by the faculty and/or administrative staff member(s) as in the case of a proposal or jointly by the sponsor and the faculty and/or administrative staff member(s) as in the case of a contract or a cooperative agreement.

Grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements are the devices for authorizing sponsored programs, which are awarded to the University as an institution rather than to the individual responsible for the actual conduct of the sponsored program. Grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts are agreements representing the transfer of money, property, or services by a sponsor in exchange for specified services or activities. The agreement is enforceable by law, and performance is usually to be accomplished under time constraints with payment subject to being revoked for cause. A sponsored program generally requires that JMU do some or all of the following:

  1. Approve investigator-initiated project-specific proposals for research, training, instruction, or public service activities;
  2. Abide by the University's policies regarding indirect cost recovery, although the absence or prohibition of indirect costs by the sponsor does not automatically preclude the award from being a grant or a contract;
  3. Provide accountability to a sponsor in the form of fiscal and/or technical reports which may require signature by an authorized officer of the University, indicating formal responsibility for the project;
  4. Return funds/goods not consumed;
  5. Perform a defined scope of work;
  6. Maintain confidentiality of information;
  7. Submit a technical report of performance;
  8. Deliver specific goods or services - something of value to the sponsor.
  9. Comply with terms/conditions set by the sponsor; and
  10. Handle provisions regarding ownership of intellectual properties, i.e. patents and copyrights.

These entities differ from a gift, which is a voluntary and irrevocable transfer of money or real property, made by a donor without any expectation or receipt of direct economic benefit or provision of goods or services from the recipient. The University has full discretionary control over a gift, although the purpose for which it is used may be specified broadly by the donor. The Division of University Advancement seeks gifts and donations on behalf of James Madison University from private sector donors. The JMU Foundation accepts and administers charitable gifts on behalf of the University.

All sponsored activities are processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration and awarded funds are placed in restricted accounts in the Finance Division for post-award fiscal administration and monitoring. The faculty or administrative staff member directing the project serves as the primary budget administrator. Disallowed costs from sponsored programs funding will be charged back to the originating department. The Finance Division will assist in monitoring all sponsor-related expenditures to ensure appropriate oversight and compliance but will not be responsible for disallowance. This policy concerning sponsored program funding applies to all individual sponsored program activity, as well as to departmental and institutional proposals and auxiliary enterprises.

All research contracts are subject to this policy and preliminary "scope of work" proposals to external sponsors must first be approved by the University before submission to the sponsor. All research contracting is monitored by Sponsored Programs in concert with the Finance Division. Contracts must be reviewed and approved before research is begun.

Individual Applications for Support

Faculty pursuing independent funding for sabbatical support, Fulbrights, fellowships or similar funding can find assistance from Sponsored Programs Administration in the form of funding information, guidelines, sample proposals, and writing assistance. Although not reported as income by the University, funding of this nature is recorded by the office so that appropriate acknowledgment and recognition of faculty successes can be made. Faculty applying for this type of external support should provide the office with a copy of the application prior to submission.

Collaborations and Cooperative Applications with Other Organizations and Institutions

James Madison University encourages faculty to collaborate with faculty at other institutions and organizations. The same requirements which apply to internal review of proposals submitted by the University also apply to collaborative activities. The proposed project activities, a budget reflecting the portion of work to be performed, and documentation of the University's obligations (if any) to the project must be approved through the internal review process prior to submission to the collaborating entity for inclusion in their funding application.

The University reserves the right to withdraw from any collaboration of activities, scope of work, budget or intellectual property arrangements that have not been approved by the University prior to inclusion in the lead institution's funding proposal. For collaborations involving proposed subawards from JMU to another organization, please reference the Collaboration Guidelines and Checklist.



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Last Modified October 23, 2012
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