Award Negotiation and Acceptance
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All sponsored project awards are issued to the Board of Regents, NSHE, on behalf of the University of Nevada, Reno as the legal fiduciary responsible for the conduct and commitments under the award. Note: NSHE stands for the Nevada System of Higher Education.
Award Review and Negotiation
Sponsored Projects reviews all award documents for a variety of terms and conditions that are not acceptable to the University of Nevada, Reno (University) as a public entity of the State of Nevada. It is the combined responsibility of the principal investigator (PI) and Sponsored Projects to ensure that the award document does not contain terms and conditions to which the University cannot comply. When an award is received, a Sponsored Projects grants and contracts officer will review the terms and conditions of the award prior to the signing of the award agreement. If necessary, the grants and contracts officer will negotiate changes to the terms and conditions. If there are terms and conditions regarding confidentiality, publication or other items that may impact individuals working on the project, the PI will be contacted and consulted prior to signing the award agreement. If the project scope of work and budget included in the award appear to be substantially the same as what was proposed by the PI, Sponsored Projects will move forward with signature and send a copy of the fully executed agreement to the PI. If the award significantly changes any proposed budgetary or scope of work provisions, the PI must concur with the new terms prior to signature. Typically, there are fewer post-award administrative and legal difficulties when Sponsored Projects is primarily involved in contractual negotiations instead of receiving an agreement after an individual University employee has attempted to negotiate the agreement on their own.
Authorized Signature Authority
Before an agreement can be enforced against a state entity, it must be signed by a person with specific statutory authority to sign on behalf of the state. Authority must be ACTUAL authority and cannot be delegated unless a state's statute or constitution allows such delegation. Delegation must be made as prescribed in the statute. Sponsored Projects has been delegated certain levels of signature authority on behalf of the University and NSHE. The associate vice president for research administration has signature authority on award agreements up to $3M and no longer than five years duration. Agreements for more than this amount of money or time require countersignature by the NSHE chancellor in order to be binding on the University. Signature authority and particular system-wide concerns are set forth in the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual, Chapter 5, Section 3, Preparation and Approval of Contracts.