Institutional Activity and Proposal Preparation by Research Faculty Supported 100% by Sponsored Funds

Procedure Date: January 2016     Revision: 3     Last Review: January 2017

The University is committed to supporting faculty research endeavors. A significant aspect of that support is to ensure the University is compliant with sponsor requirements. The University is required to make certain that sponsors are appropriately charged for work benefitting the scope of work funded by the sponsor. Since salary and the associated fringe costs generally make up the bulk of a project budget, sponsors are increasingly concerned about the allocability of those charges. Due to its payroll structure, faculty, staff and graduate assistants at the University are required to confirm that the payroll transactions associated with their paychecks are appropriate in relation to the effort expended on the accounts charged at the end of a specific time period. Employees confirm that the payroll distribution (as dictated on the Payroll Action Form) reflects a reasonable estimate of their effort on all institutional activities in the Effort Reporting System.

It has been noted that research faculty whose salaries are paid 100% from sponsored projects (extramural funding) may need institutional support depending upon the effort they expend on activities that would not be allocable to existing sponsored projects. This faculty group typically does not participate in a significant percentage of non-sponsored effort. However, if an employee in this group expends non-sponsored effort, then all of the non-sponsored activity must be moved off the sponsored account(s) via a cost transfer to another source of non-sponsored funds such as state, foundation or indirect cost recovery (F&A) funds intended to finance other institutional activities.

Institutional Activities Not Directly Related to Sponsored Projects

When determining if an institutional activity benefits a sponsored project, a researcher must first consult the scope of work and budget justification for the applicable projects to determine if the activities are allocable to the project.

Example: Human resources requires supervisor training, and the budget justification indicates that the principal investigator (PI) will be supervising employees. If the PI supervises employees solely because they work on the sponsored project, the training for the PI would be allocable to the sponsored project account.

Typical Activities Not Allocable to an Existing Sponsored Project

The following activities are more typical of those that would NOT be allocable to an existing sponsored project account:

  • Serving on committees within the University.
  • Offering guest lectures or other instructional activities within the University that are not expected as a deliverable on a sponsored award.
  • Serving on graduate student committees for students not working on projects supported by the external funding of the faculty member.
  • Participating in University outreach activities that are not expected as a deliverable on a sponsored award.
  • Engaging in other University activities that cannot be directly charged to a sponsored project.