Roles and Responsibilities

The University's principal investigators bear the primary responsibility for the success of their sponsored projects. In addition to their academic and scholarly duties, principal investigators must exercise a substantial degree of administrative acumen to enable the research enterprise, of which they are a crucial part, to function successfully.  The successful administrative management of a sponsored project is a partnership shared by principal investigators and departmental/school/central administrators.  Ultimately, however, the PI is responsible to ensure that the costs charged to their sponsored project are allowable and directly benefit the project.

The responsibilities handled locally at the departmental level and those handled at the school level vary by School/College within Emory.  The individual business offices are responsible for ensuring that the required support and administrative oversight (other than that designated to the central office) is in place.  An administrator should be assigned to work with the PI on the direct administration of the project.  Alternatively, several administrators may be made available to assist the PI in different administrative aspects of their project(s). Collectively, these administrators are responsible for oversight and management of the administration of any sponsored projects. While the University places the prime responsibility for the conduct of the sponsored projects in all its aspects on the Principal Investigator (PI), it is the departmental (or designated school) administrator who will be the most involved in the day-to-day operations of the project. Therefore, it is imperative that the PI and the assigned administrator(s) interact closely and frequently, at least on a monthly basis, to review and discuss financial and administrative matters.

Managing a sponsored project efficiently and appropriately requires close coordination between the administrator and PI. The assigned administrator(s) must ensure the following:

  • A copy of the award notice is provided to the PI;
  • Budgets are provided to OSP in a timely manner to allow proper setup of award;s
  • The sponsor’s restrictions on costs are understood and are discussed with the PI;
  • Awards and their budgets are accurately reflected in the University’s financial systems in accordance with the approved award;
  • Awards are monitored on a monthly basis;
  • Charges to awards are appropriate;
  • F&A rates are being accurately charged against the direct cost budget;
  • The PI is aware of reporting obligations and schedule;
  • Subawards and sub-accounts are managed. This involves working with OSP on issuing the subaward and establishing the Purchase Order, and along with the PI, monitoring subrecipient expenditures and work;
  • Cost sharing is planned, documented, and accounted for;
  • Any special conditions of an award are discussed with the PI.   For example, the award may have been made on a fixed-price basis or may specify special deliverables;
  • Payments from sponsors are monitored and any concerns regarding collection are brought to the attention of OGCA;
  • The project close is coordinated and planned several months before termination. No-cost extensions must be requested before the end date; and
  • That the PI confirms the accuracy of Effort Reports.
The Office of Sponsored Programs reports to the Vice President for Research Administration. The Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting reports to the Vice President for Finance.  OSP and OGCA exist to implement the research policies of the University and to support and provide services to the researchers and their schools and departments in administering sponsored projects while protecting the University and researchers. The Associate Vice President for Research Administration is responsible for the oversight of both offices and works closely with a team of Directors who oversee the following areas:  Training and Communication, Data Management, PreAward Grants Administration, PreAward Contracts Administration, Post Award Financial Administration, and Reporting, Financial Compliance and Cost Studies.  The responsibilities of these offices include:
  • Formulating grant and contract administration policies and procedures for approval 
  • Assisting faculty and department/school staff in the preparation of proposals and other administrative aspects of sponsored projects as needed
  • Overseeing the negotiation, execution and administration, of sponsored project grants and contracts throughout the University from inception through closeout
  • Assuring timely receipt of and proper fiscal stewardship for sponsor fund
  • Negotiating University-wide F&A costs and employee benefit rates
  • Assuring University compliance with federal requirements such as effort reporting, cost sharing and service centers
  • Maintaining liaison with sponsoring agencies concerning University organization, policies and procedures; representing the University in negotiations with sponsoring agencies to assure consistent contract and grant provisions and policies; resolving problems and settling disputes
  • In cooperation with other University offices, assuring compliance with sponsor's policies, e.g., fiscal, property, intellectual property, human and animal subjects
  • In cooperation with other University offices maintaining official records concerning sponsored projects including official grant and contract files
  • Training of administrative staff in the policies, procedures and practices of the University and sponsors.

The Associate Vice President for Research Administration as well as the Directors, Associate Directors, and Assistant Directors of OSP have been granted signature authority to sign contracts, grants and other documents related to sponsored projects. Only these individuals are permitted to commit the University to accept a sponsored project agreement.