Sponsored Contracts & Agreements

Introduction

The Sponsored Contracts & Agreements team (GEOFIN) coordinates business functions for sponsored contracts and agreements that are administered through both Sponsored Research

Services (SRS) and Texas A&M Contract Administration. Whether a proposal or sponsored contract is routed or administered through SRS or Contract Administration depends on the unit

and the type of contract. Email GEOFIN at GeoFIN@geos.tamu.edu with any questions. Sponsored contracts and agreements are agreements in which Texas A&M agrees to provide

goods or services and will receive payment.

Contracts for which a department is purchasing goods or services are processed by each department. Review the processes in the GEOAP section for contracts of this sort. However, the

basic components for all types of contracts include the same elements. To view the elements of a contract, please view the Contract Administration document created by the A&M System legal office: The Top Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Sign a Contract for The Texas A&M University System.

Pre-award (Proposal Development and Submission)

SRS can assist in the budget calculations of the proposal, including assisting with cost sharing requirements and personnel expenses. The proposal administrator for CLGE, GERG, SEAG, IODP, GEOL, OCNG is Andrea Calland (845.8731, acalland@tamu.edu). The proposal administrator for GEOG is Elizabeth Vasquez (458.8074, evasquez@tamu.edu). The proposal administrator for ATMO is Sue Hibbs (845.8630, shibbs@tamu.edu).

To assist our units, we have developed a basic proposal submission checklist for SRS and Contract Administration:

  • Proposal Checklist for Contract Administration

  • Proposal Checklist for Sponsored Research Services

  • Proposal Submission Guidelines

Once the proposal is complete, inform GEOFIN on the routing during the signature phase to ensure that we are aware of the proposed program or grant submission, as well as to assist and follow up if necessary.

Post-Award (Award Received)

When you receive a letter of intent or notice of award from the sponsor, send a copy to your DBA.

Contract Negotiation

DBA’s Role

Your DBA can assist as needed with interim bridge funding and interim payroll-related issues and expenses.

When your DBA receives the letter of intent or notice of award, they will request a copy of the proposal and draft contract so that they are prepared to get cost share accounts and any necessary internal codes established to track the contract and cost share expenses.

If necessary, the DBA will work with the principal investigator (PI) to establish interim bridge funding and an account to facilitate having expenses posted to the appropriate account from the beginning of the contract period and minimize corrections.

The Role of SRS and Contract Administration

Contract negotiation will be handled either by SRS or by Contract Administration. Agreements require careful review to protect the interests of the researcher, A&M System member, and A&M System office. SRS or Contract Administration will review the terms and conditions of agreements fornon-standardconditionsandnegotiateanynecessarychanges. Allsponsoredcontracts, even ones that did not require a proposal to be submitted to the sponsor, should be routed through SRS or Contract Administration.

To confirm agreements are acceptable, SRS and Contract Administration may also consult, as needed, with the A&M System’s Office of General Counsel and Office of Technology Commercialization, and the appropriate A&M System member’s administration.

PIs should not sign the agreements on behalf of the university. There is a delegation for signature authority for all agreements and contracts. Individuals not specifically delegated to sign specific types of contracts are not authorized to sign on behalf any A&M System member.

Projects Involving Animals, Biohazards, or Human Subjects

If the sponsored project involves animals, biohazards or human subjects, the PI should obtain applicable approval from the appropriate oversight entity. The Office of Research Compliance and Biosafety website has a complete listing.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is typically the most common for involvement of human subjects. The IRB website has more information.

The PI and other possible staff working on the project may be required to obtain CITI training.

Negotiation for SRS

If you do not already know your SRS contract negotiator, use the SRS My Contact Feature.

Most funding agreements will come directly to SRS in response to a proposal prepared and submitted by SRS on behalf of PIs. If not, funding agreements should be forwarded to awards@tamus.edu in order for them to be logged into Maestro for review, routing and approval.

Negotiation for Contract Administration

The following is the process if the contract negotiation goes through Contract Administration:

  1. The PI in the department typically receives the notice of award.

  2. If the notice does not come with a contract from the sponsor, the PI should request a draft or sample contract.

  3. Upon receipt of the contract, the department should complete the Contract/Agreement Approval Transmittal Form. Contact your DBA if you would like assistance in completing the transmittal form.

  4. If the sponsor requires a cost share or waiver of all or part of the indirect cost, forms on the Vice President for Research (VPR) Website should have been completed during the proposal stage. But if not, the department must fill out the forms at this time for approval prior to the final contract being signed:

    • It is preferred that these forms be sent with the packet, but they may be sent separately so that Contract Administration can start the review process before they are complete.

    • For most of the units GEOBUSINESS serves, the packet should be routed from the contract originator (PI) through the department head to the Provost Office (through the appropriate associate provost or associate vice president for the unit) for approval prior to routing to Contract Administration.

  5. The department gathers appropriate documentation to attach to the transmittal form, including the basic/sample contract, sponsor contact information, proposal and notice of award. If the sponsor indicates a preference to use a basic Texas A&M template, that information should be included in the packet.

  6. The department sends the packet to the Department of Contract Administration by fax, email or campus mail, and a copy to GEOFIN. GEOBUSINESS’s preference is to email

    the packet to Contract Administration at contracts@tamu.edu and to GEOFIN at GeoFIN@geos.tamu.edu.

  7. The department can check the status of a contract through the Contract Listing Page. The department can also call Contract Administration at 979.845.0099.

  8. After the negotiation process is complete and a final version of the contract is acceptable to both sides, Contract Administration sends the contract to the sponsor for signature.

  9. When the final signed contract is returned, it must again be routed using the transmittal form. Again, it will start with the contract originator (PI) and go to the department head, Provost Office and Contract Administration. Contract Administration will ensure appropriate routing after they have signed.

  10. A copy of the fully executed contract is sent to the PI.

Contract Account Setup

The setup of the sponsored contract accounts will be handled differently depending on whether or not the contract will be administered by SRS or Sponsored Contracts Accounting and Reporting in FMO. (Contracts negotiated through Contract Administration will be administered by FMO.)

Awards will be linked to a proposal to maintain a consistent record of the statement of work and the researchers involved.

Setup for SRS Contracts

The following is the process if SRS sets up the contract:

  1. Once SRS has accepted a document on behalf of an agency, the award processing team sets up an account in the FAMIS accounting system and creates a record in Maestro.

  2. The project administrator completes the account setup by entering the budget and any spending restrictions.

  3. The project administrator scans the completed package into Maestro, where it will be accessible to the PIs, the department/unit, and SRS personnel. The project administrator typically sends an email to the PI to notify him or her that setup is complete.

  4. The project administrator emails a copy of the contract and setup documents to your DBA upon request.

  5. Upon receiving the award, your DBA coordinates the appropriate changes to payroll and related expenses within the guidelines of the budget in coordination and direction with the PIs estimated effort on the contract or project.

Setup for Contract Administration Contracts

The following is the process if Contract Administration negotiates the contract:

  1. The PI emails a copy of the final signed contract to your DBA.

  2. Your DBA coordinates with VPR and FMO to get the necessary contract and cost share accounts established if the interim funding process was not performed.

Processing Expenses

Upon receiving the award, your DBA coordinates the appropriate changes to payroll and related expenses within the guidelines of the budget in coordination and direction with the PIs estimated effort on the contract or project.

Except for the expenses on accounts held at the Research Foundation, the other teams within GEOBUSINESS will process payroll (GEOPR), purchasing and payables (GEOAP), and other non-

travel expenses. Travel expense processing differs depending on where the contract is administered or held (e.g., Texas A&M versus Research Foundation).

In most cases, your DBA will review the expenses before final approval. The department should notify GEOFIN in certain cases.

If the PI...

then the department should...

has a budget that includes student workers or positions not named to an individual,

notify your DBA of the individuals working on the contract for those positions. If time was spent in support of the project prior to the account being established, notify your DBA of the hours spent on the project per individual per pay period.

identifies any type of expense that does not appear to be on the contract or should not be on the contract,

contact your DBA to review the expense and initiate corrective action.

does not believe the total amounts in the budget categories appear correct when it receives reports from

GEOFIN at month end

contact your DBA to review the expense category and help determine if a correction is needed. If it is, your DBA will initiate the corrective action.

Processing Deposits on Sponsored Contract Accounts

All deposits of revenue for sponsored contract/project accounts should be handled by either SRS or FMO. If the unit receives any revenue funds for a sponsored contract account, the check should be forwarded to your DBA to be reviewed and sent to the appropriate project administrator in SRS or FMO.

If an expense will be reimbursed separate from the contract, then the expense should not be posted to the contract account. The expense should be posted to one of the unit’s regular operating accounts so that the deposit of the reimbursement may be processed as a reduction to expense. Please reference the Reduction to Expense procedures in the GEOAP section.

Contract Amendments

For any changes to an existing sponsored contract requiring an amended contract:

  • For SRS, contact your project administrator for assistance in amending the contract. Notify your DBA when the request is made and when the contract has been amended.

  • For Contract Administration, route the request for a change to the contract using the same transmittal form as the original contract. Reference the contract number (see the Contract Listing Page to find your contract number). You may attach the original contract and the document that describes the changes.

    For budget increases or major changes to the budget, your SRS project administrator will assist in calculating the revised budget.

    For no-cost extensions, without a change to the budget amount or split of budget categories:

    • Notify your project administrator.

    • Create the text and justification of the change and send them to SRS or Contract Administration for change to the contract. When renewing a contract or grant with a sponsor.

  • Notify your DBA as early as possible about your intent to renew (your DBA will assist with the budget planning and the personnel cost for the upcoming contract period).

  • Keep your DBA informed throughout the renewal process.

After any change, email a copy of the completed contract amendment to your DBA. For contracts through Contract Administration, your DBA will work with VPR and FMO to update the account information in FAMIS.

Interim (Bridge) Funding

Interim funding is financing provided by a PI’s A&M System member and/or department for expenses incurred before the fully executed award document is received from the sponsor.

Interim funding may also be required, when necessary, to bridge time between the contract start date and the date the contract is fully executed, or before the next phase of the budget is negotiated and completed or the funding is received.

This process can be started by the PI, contract negotiator, project administrator, or your DBA with PI approval. Your DBA offers the following assistance:

  • Assist customers in completing and routing for approval the interim funding request form.

  • Work with the department to obtain the appropriate information needed to calculate the budget to cover expenses that are able to count toward the sponsored contract.

  • Assist the department in determining the backup accounts that the department will use to cover any expenses if for some reason the contract is never executed or is executed with a later starting date or lower budget.

Interim Funding

The following is the process for interim funding for SRS:

  1. Your DBA completes the SRS Interim Funding Request Form in coordination with the PI and routes it for signature.

If the interim funding amount is $30,000 or less, a backup account is not necessary.