14.3 University Commitments Pertaining to Sponsored Project Proposals


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Brewer, G. Russell

Associate Vice President of Sponsored Research

Office of Sponsored Research

(650) 725-9060

1. Committed Level of Effort

The level of effort, expressed as a percentage of the total professional effort, that a faculty member commits to spend on any sponsored project must be consistent with other academic duties. The total percentage of effort committed (1) in the budgets of active sponsored projects, (2) for cost-sharing and other contributed effort, (3) teaching, and (4) administrative efforts must not exceed 100% of the individual's total University appointment. 
Stanford University requires a commitment of effort on the part of the PI during the period in which work is being performed. This effort may be expended during the academic year, summer quarter only, or both. Committed effort shall be direct charged or cost shared. 
This requirement does NOT extend to:

  • equipment grants
  • seed grants for students/postdocs where the faculty mentor is named as PI, dissertation support, training grants or other awards intended as "student augmentation"
  • limited-purpose awards characterized by Stanford as Other Sponsored Activities, including travel grants, conference support, etc. (see RPH: Categories of Sponsored Projects, for definition and further examples of Other Sponsored Activities.)

Back to top

2. Space

If the project cannot be housed within pre-identified existing available department or laboratory space, commitments for the additional space required need the approval of the Department Chair, Dean, and other offices as appropriate unless they are of a minor remodeling nature for which funds have already been approved. The University cannot commit itself to finding incremental space for a project whose needs have not been reviewed and approved in advance.

Back to top

3. Cost Sharing

Whenever Stanford University agrees to pay a portion of the allowable costs of a sponsored project, i.e., those costs which would otherwise be paid by the sponsor, the University has made a cost sharing commitment. Any proposal including such a commitment must be so identified on the Proposal Development & Routing Form. Note that any promise to provide effort or other services as part of a proposed project at no direct cost to the sponsor constitutes a cost sharing commitment. Voluntary effort above and beyond what was committed does not have to be treated as cost sharing.

Back to top

4. Subawards

Proposals that include large or complex subawards for specialized equipment or services should be reviewed with the OSR Contract Officer before preparing the final proposal. Subcontracts for research or development must comply with the applicable clauses of the prime contract. See also RPH: Subawards

Public Law 95-507 requires each Government Prime Contract over $500,000 to have an approved subcontracting plan. The Procurement Department provides coordination and assistance in this regard.

Back to top

5. Use of Consultants

When retention of consultants is proposed, advance consultation with the Procurement Department (for SLAC, the resident Staff Counsel) is encouraged. See also RPH: Retention of Consultants, or refer to the definition of "employer/employee relationship" in section 1 of Administrative Guide Memo 35.

Back to top

6. Hospital Services

Proposals for biomedical research, including clinical trials, may require pricing information for hospital services. Contact the Research Management Group in the School of Medicine for this information.

Back to top

7. Use of SLAC Facilities

Main campus research proposals contemplating use of the SLAC laboratory facilities require prior coordination and approval by the SLAC Associate Director for Business Services.

Back to top

8. Facilities and Administration/Indirect Costs

Stanford's policy is to apply the University's full relevant F&A cost rate to all externally-sponsored research projects. Proposals including provision for indirect cost recovery at rates or bases less than those established by the University's negotiated agreement with the Federal Government require written approval from the appropriate School Dean and, in some cases, by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research before submission to OSR. Such approval will be granted only for compelling reasons. 
Some non-profit sponsors, who have established their own policies on the levels of Facilities and Administrative costs which they will fund, may be pre-approved for a waiver of Stanford's negotiated F&A cost rate. OSR and the Office of the Dean of Research maintain the list of these sponsors.
 See also RPH: Indirect Cost Waivers.

Back to top

9. Tuition

Projects proposing to fund tuition charges as direct costs, particularly for future years, should be checked with the office of the School Dean to be sure the rates quoted are consistent with University estimates. See RPH: Tuition Allowance for Research Assistants.

Back to top

10. Advice and Assistance

The Office of Sponsored Research and the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research are available to assist with unusual or special questions in connection with sponsored project proposals. In the School of Medicine, questions may also be referred to the School Research Management Group RMG.

Back to top

Go to RPH Chapter: