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Sponsored Research

Grants Policy

General Statement:
The University encourages faculty and staff to seek grants/contracts and other external funding to enhance programs, research and other activities. LSUS Grants Policy is guided by LSU System requirements as well as internal requirements. The LSUS Office of Sponsored Research (generally referred to as the "Grants Office") assists faculty and staff in identifying funding sources, editing proposals, setting up budgets, and securing appropriate internal authorization. The term "grant" also refers to contracts with external funding agencies.

General goals of our Grants Office are:
1. To enhance funding available for personnel and programs;
2. To enhance the University's community service/outreach activities and image;
3. To serve as the archive for copies of all grants and contracts.

(This is required by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.)

POLICY EXPLANATION
A. Required Approvals/Signatures
A.1. The internal "APPROVAL OF A SPONSORED PROGRAM PROPOSAL" form must be completed for all grant and contract proposals filed in the name of the University or involving the use of University resources. The University is not obligated to any external funding agency unless the Provost has signed an authorization to that effect. When a grant is submitted to the Provost for signature, two copies must be provided, one of which will be kept by the Provost to become the file copy in the Grants Office. The original internal signature form will be kept with the Grants Office copy.    The Chancellor has designated the Provost as the "Authorized Representative" for contracts with external agencies when such authorization is required. The Provost generally signs the original copy of the proposal sent to the external agency, and simultaneously signs the internal signature form which insures that all administrators and the Grants Office are aware of and agree to the terms of the proposal. Faculty who submit proposals directly to agencies without the Provost's signature have not obligated the University and are not entitled to the use of University resources in fulfilling the terms of the grant

A.2. The signature of the "Grants Officer," the Director of Sponsored Research, on the internal signature form indicates that the maximum allowable indirect costs have been claimed in the grant budget.   The Provost will not approve submitting the grant without this signature.

A.3. The signature of the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs on the internal signature form indicates that salaries stated for faculty or staff adhere to system guidelines, and that all fringe benefits pertaining to those salaries are also claimed in the budget as a direct cost.    The Provost will not approve submitting the grant without this signature. 

A.3.1 If fringe benefits are not recovered as a direct cost, the salaries or any other income paid to employees by the grant will be reduced to cover the fringe benefits.    

A.4. The signature of the Dean on the internal signature form indicates that any College resources committed in the grant, (personnel, space, or dedicated expenditures) have the Dean's approval, and he or she will be responsible for delivering those resources at the time that the grant anticipates their use.   The Provost will not approve a grant which has not been endorsed by the Principal Investigator's (PI) Dean. 

A.5. The University is not committed to any negotiated revisions in a proposal budget until the Provost has signed it.   Frequently a granting agency will negotiate some items in the budget with the Principal Investigator before approving a contract with the University. After completing this negotiation the PI should submit the budget revision with a second cover sheet to obtain administrative approval.

B. Activation of Grant Awards
B.1. Award letters, contracts, and/or checks must be presented to the Grants Office along with the matching budget documents and the modified statement of work before the grant award is activated. Accounting Services will not activate a grant account without approval of the Grants Office.   A grant is placed in force after an account is established by Accounting Services. Accounting Services will set up a restricted account and give the Principal Investigator access to it after approved by the Grants Office.

B.2. When a grant is activated, the Grants Office will help the PI initiate a PER1 form if the grant budget calls for released time for a faculty or staff member and forward that form to the appropriate Dean. If the released time is compensated by the grant, the SALARY SAVINGS component of the PER 1 form will be completed. (Salary Savings formula: 75% to the College Dean, 25% to Sponsored Research.) Salary savings returning to the college will be placed in a designated account. The Dean ultimately determines how these funds will be spent. (See PS 2-13.00) Salary savings forms for continuing grants should be refilled each fiscal year.   When these forms reach Accounting Services, a budget change will be executed which reduces a unit's personnel budget and correspondingly increases the College or Division's Salary Savings Account and the Grants Office Salary Savings Account. Accounting Services will distribute copies of the Salary Savings form to the College and the Grants Office to document this budget adjustment. Expenditures charged against the Salary Savings Accounts are subject to the approval of the Provost, but must be completed within the fiscal year. Normally, the Salary Savings Account is charged for the cost of hiring substitute staff, including their fringe benefits. In the event that employees will work for the grant as an overload the Dean will complete a PER 1 (Personnel Allocation Form).

C. Grant Compensation/Expenditure Policies
C.1. University employees are subject to PM3 (COMPENSATION LIMINTATIONS; ACADEMIC & NON-ACADEMIC & NON-CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES) and PM11 (OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT OF UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES) regarding compensation from grants. The grant is subject to the policies of the granting agency. The PI is responsible for justifying any proposed compensation in the budget explanations so that the request complies with all the policies.   Employees are either on academic payroll, 12 month administrative payroll, or biweekly payroll. They may not claim compensation from a grant for the same time that they claim compensation from the University. Work for a grant must therefore either be substituted for normal assignments, in which case documents to declare SALARY SAVINGS will be generated, or must be performed in addition to regular duties. Deans may approve annual leave (non-faculty) or some form of flex-time (faculty) to allow a supplementary pay request for a grant account.

Some granting agencies mandate that an employee's rate of compensation for grant activities be identical to that employee's normal rate of pay. Other agencies will accept explanations for different rates of compensation, (For example, most agencies permit $5 for student labor rather than minimum wage). To use a CONSULTING rate rather than a SALARY rate the budget explanation should document that this is the PREVAILING rate for such services in our market, or is the ESTABLISHED rate for such services rendered by this individual. (Fringe benefit policies will still apply.)

C.2. Accounting Services will not modify a grant budget without authorization from the Grants Office, nor will it permit expenditures for which no budget has been authorized.   Budget changes are sometimes negotiated by the PI during the grant period. The PI is responsible for documenting the change and notifying the Grants Office. If the PI authorizes expenditures which the granting agency deems inappropriate the granting agency may decline to reimburse the University for the disputed expenditures. If an expenditure is disallowed, the PI will be responsible for reimbursing the grant account. The PI is also responsible for making up any cost overruns which the granting agency does not assume.

C.3. Accounting Services will periodically (monthly, quarterly, etc.) apply the expenses accumulated under the grant account against funds received or invoiced to the granting agency. The appropriate percentage of indirect costs (ID) will be assessed, distributed to special ID accounts according to the University's policy (College-40%, Grants Office-40%, Library-10%, Computing Services-5%, and Accounting Services 5%, see PS 2-10.00).   The funds accumulated in the College or Division ID account may be spent at the discretion of the respective Dean. These funds are restricted and may be carried forward to subsequent fiscal years.


C.4. The PI must to obtain the Provost's signature for a continuation budget, even if it is unchanged from the one approved in the previous year.   The process for renewal is therefore identical to that followed for the original submission. The Grants Office will authorize Accounting Services to place the renewal budget in force only upon receiving a copy of the statement of work and budget which has been approved by the Provost.

C.5. Grants requiring an evaluation component may use University employees with appropriate credentials as evaluators. The evaluator's compensation should be correlated to the time devoted to the project. In normal cases the evaluation component will not exceed 5% of the cost of the project. University employees may perform evaluation services either as consultants or, with the approval of their Dean, as an assigned task.   The Grants Office has established compensation guidelines for paying project evaluators to guide PIs and protect the University's reputation for fairness.

C.6. Checks are issued to grant employees by Accounting Services in accordance with existing procedures.   Grant compensation occurs through:

(1) Normal paycheck, when grant work is substituted for a regular assignments. (2) Extra compensation* when a supplementary pay request is submitted by a Dean. (3) According to the terms of a personal services contract which has been approved by the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. (4) In response to an invoice from an external organization, when accompanied by a requisition from the PI. (5) Hourly workers are required to complete time sheets to document services rendered to the grant, and will receive checks based on the biweekly payroll schedule.

*Extra Compensation Guidelines:

(as allowed by LSU System Policy, PM 3)

A. 12 Month Appointees: extra compensation of up to 30% of regular annual pay is allowed (for work performed outside of regular hours/duties).
FOR EXAMPLE: a staff member or administrator earning $30,000 could earn an additional $9,000 through grant activities conducted outside of normal working hours.

B. Academic Year Appointees: Extra compensation of up to 30% of academic salary plus two-months summer salary is allowed.

FOR EXAMPLE: a 9-month appointee earning $30,000 could receive an additional $11,000 through grant activities conducted in addition to regular duties.

These examples refer to any income received through checks issued by LSUS.

D. Private Consulting

D.1. Private consulting is considered outside employment and should be conducted in accordance with PM 11 (OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT OF UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES).   Faculty who want to use University resources in conducting private consulting must reimburse the University for that use at the rates established by the faculty member's Dean, assuming the use does not conflict with the programs of the College. Use of University-wide support services (such as Accounting Services) should be negotiated with the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs.

D.2. Grants not authorized by the Provost will be considered private consulting.