Legally, sponsored programs are liabilities of the university. They represent the consequence of a bona fide offer (the proposal) extended to and accepted by an outside entity (the sponsor). Sponsored program awards come in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.
- Grant - is a funding instrument through which the sponsor is a patron of the project.
- Cooperative Agreement - implies substantive mutual interaction between the sponsor and the award recipient.
- Contract - is the vehicle for procurement of property or services (e.g., drug development, research and development services, evaluation, training, etc.).
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) accepts sponsor funds on behalf of the university and the researcher. Until OSP completes the necessary administrative tasks (negotiating award terms, establishing the project account, and returning signed agreement to the sponsor if necessary), the award is not legally accepted, and costs may not be incurred. If a principal investigator is notified by a sponsor of an award, the agreements and any other documentation should be sent to the sponsored program officer.
While the principal investigator is the initiator of all actions related to the sponsored project, the Office of Sponsored Programs, academic unit, and other university staff are available to provide assistance. If any administrative problems arise during the life of a sponsored research agreement, the principal investigator should contact the sponsored program officer as early as possible.
The Ohio State University Office of Sponsored Programs is authorized to accept awards and agreements for sponsored programs resulting from proposals submitted through OSP on behalf of Ohio State and Ohio State researchers. Any document requiring an official signature must be signed by an authorized representative of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Principal investigators are not authorized to sign agreements on behalf of the university.
Preliminary Grant Numbers
After a sponsored agreement has been accepted, the Office of Sponsored Programs assigns a grant number. Under certain circumstances, a preliminary grant number can be assigned before all of the award paperwork is completed (e.g., so that critical equipment or supplies can be ordered or to start the process of staffing the project). For this to happen, the principal investigator’s department must agree to accept responsibility for any costs incurred if, for some reason, the award is not made, or pre-award costs are disallowed. Authorization for Expenditures/Commitments in Excess of Funds Available form (OGC-005), is used for this purpose. Departments typically set a limit on the pre-award costs they will authorize.