Proposal Submission and the Research Contracting Process
It is common for a University Principal Investigator (PI) and an industry collaborator to informally discuss a research proposal and perhaps reach mutual agreement as to the technical content, including the total budget. However, this tacit agreement between PI and industry collaborator is not on its way to being “official” until the PI submits the proposal to OIE via the University’s Research Management System (RMS) for review and approval.
OIE’s official project review begins when OIE receives the PI’s proposal as submitted electronically via RMS. At a minimum, a proposal must include a statement of work (SOW), project budget, and budget justification. Additional information and documents may be requested during the review process. After the proposal has been approved by OIE and subsequently accepted by the sponsor, a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) can be prepared and executed by the parties. The proposal/SOW becomes a part of every SRA.
It is often necessary for negotiation of terms and conditions to occur before an SRA is finalized. Following the execution of an SRA, accounts are established for receipt of funds from the sponsor. PIs and/or the department contact will be notified by the University’s Sponsored Projects Award Administration (SPAA) once the project account is set-up and funds have been received.
24-Hour Contracting Option
OIE has made great strides in streamlining the contractual process and has dramatically reduced the time to execution. If used in their entirety, OIE’s reasonable template agreements require only the addition of business terms such as the period of performance, budget, background IP disclosures, and SOW. If the industry sponsor elects to accept the terms and conditions in the SRA template, no further legal reviews are necessary, and UT is often able to prepare and sign the final agreement within 24 business hours of receiving full input from the PI.
A PI and industry sponsor may expedite the contractual process or modification of an existing contract by the following actions:
- PI submits SOW, budget, and completed Background IP Form to OIE (email@example.com) concurrent with his/her online proposal submission.
- OIE contacts PI to confirm receipt and/or proposal information.
- OIE prepares and signs standard SRA (or SRA modification), including initial invoice, and submits to industry sponsor for counter-signature.
- OIE works with PI to finalize/approve formal proposal submission (see above).
- Upon receipt of fully-executed SRA from industry sponsor, OIE expedites award process.
- SPAA, with request for expedited treatment, sets up account number and notifies PI/department.