Externally Funded Sponsored Projects (Non-Grant)

Faculty members are able to pursue different types of externally funded (i.e. sponsored) projects.  The most common of these are grant-funded projects in which the external sponsor is not involved in the design and performance of the sponsored activity, and in which the distribution of grant funds are not tied to the delivery of a specific outcome.  However, other types of sponsored projects also exist in which the sponsoring entity does play a significant role in the design and performance of the sponsored activity, and/or in which the delivery of a particular product or service is an expected outcome of the funds received.  These types of projects require the signing of an appropriate agreement between the external sponsor and BGSU, as described below.

Faculty members interested in pursuing non-grant related sponsored projects should read the following and contact Mark Fox, Director of Technology Transfer & Services in 140 McFall Center, or email him at foxmw@bgsu.edu for assistance in developing these agreements.

1. Discuss potential project with Chair/Director & Dean

The faculty member must first obtain the approval of the Chair/Director & Dean.

2. Develop a detailed Scope of Work (SOW)

Meet with OTTS to discuss project details, timeline, and type of Sponsored Project

3. Develop Detailed budget

Develop a detailed budget for the project with the help of OSPR

4. Project Approval Routing

Coordinate with OSPR to Complete Routing & Endorsement Process

5. Execute Sponsored Project Agreement

OTTS and/or OGC will be responsible for negotiating contract terms with the sponsor

6. Project Execution

Once the project agreement is fully executed, OTTS will notify the parties and the project may commence

7. Final Report

Upon completion of the project, submit a final report to the external partner and notify OSPR and OTTS of completion

Non-Grant Funded Sponsored Projects

A sponsored project is a research, service, or teaching activity that is externally funded, and which includes a formal contract between the university and the external sponsor. A sponsored project involves a transaction that includes a specified statement of work and a reciprocal transfer of something of value.

Non-grant funded sponsored projects at BGSU are generally classified under several different categories. Classification of a sponsored project and the type of sponsor affects the calculation of BGSU’s Administrative Fees.

Types of Non-Grant Agreements with External Sponsors:

Research activities are properly classified as sponsored research if the research activity is sponsored (funded) by an external company, organization, or agency.  Sponsored research includes inquiry, experimentation, or investigation to create new, generalizable knowledge drawn from the analysis and comparison of data and information obtained from experiments or other sources.

Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs) are used for externally sponsored research, teaching, workshop, or public service projects in which the sponsor collaborates with BGSU faculty/staff on the design and/or performance of the sponsored activity. This process occurs through the development of a detailed scope of work (SOW) which typically includes the delivery of a specific product or service to the sponsor.  Financial support may, or may not, be associated with these types of agreements.

The following must be considered when developing and executing a Sponsored Research Agreement:

  • A detailed SOW must be developed in collaboration between the sponsor and BGSU with the assistance and approval of the Office of Technology Transfer & Services (OTTS);
  • In cases where external financial support is involved, a detailed budget must be developed with the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research (OSPR);
  • The budget must incorporate the university’s full indirect cost (F&A) rate;
  • The budget may be constructed on the basis of cost-reimbursement or as a fixed-price agreement;
  • The budget must be loaded, monitored, and reported upon by Grants Accounting;
  • In all cases, a contract between BGSU and the sponsor must be developed by OSPR, OTTS and/or the Office of General Counsel (OGC) which will be solely responsible for negotiating terms with the sponsor;
  • The contract must be signed by the external partner and the Vice President for Research & Economic Engagement.

Please read the Sponsored Research Agreement Template

A technical services/testing project is a type of sponsored project which involves the performance of routine services, measurements, and/or tests to produce information specific to the service being performed or the item being studied.

It is not the goal of a technical service or testing project to produce generalizable knowledge and such projects do not typically involve the extensive development of new methods or protocols to perform the work.

Technical Services/Testing Agreements are used for externally sponsored technical services and testing projects in cases in which BGSU is providing a service to the sponsor. In such cases, the sponsor determines the work to be performed with little or no input from BGSU, except in cases where simple modification of existing methodologies is involved. Such activities are typically routine in nature and have no potential for the development of intellectual property. Financial support may, or may not, be associated with these types of agreements.

The funds received by the Department for performance of Technical Services/Testing can be distributed by the Chair/Director, as appropriate, to support students, conference attendance, membership fees, PD funds for faculty, replenishing research supplies/equipment, supplemental compensation, etc.

Supplemental compensation must be pre-approved and is only available for faculty when they are performing additional services beyond their assigned duties/responsibilities for non-grant related work. Individuals can be rewarded through the submission and approval of the Form for Supplemental Payment.

The following must be considered when developing and executing a Technical Services/Testing Agreement:

  • Services are defined as small, specifically designed projects as described above and having a value less than $25,000*; 
  • In cases where financial support is involved, the sponsor should be charged a fixed-price fee using a Technical Services/Testing Rate that has been developed in collaboration with OSPR and pre-approved by the Controller’s Office;
  • The fixed-price fee should recoup all expenses associated with completing the project;
  • F&A will not be collected but a 20% administration fee for invoicing, tracking, and reporting will be charged by (8% for government/non-profit sponsors). This should be considered a cost of completing the project and included in the fixed-price fee;
  • The department must provide all upfront costs required to perform the project;
  • No financial monitoring/cost reporting by Grants Accounting will be performed;
  • Upon completion of the project, funds received will be transferred to the department’s account for distribution as appropriate;
  • In all cases, a contract between BGSU and the sponsor must be developed by OSPR, OTTS and/or the Office of General Counsel (OGC) which will be solely responsible for negotiating terms with the sponsor;
  • The contract must be signed by the external partner and the Vice President for Research & Economic Engagement.

*While larger projects may be considered, a rationale should be provided and approved by OTTS/VPREE. Most projects exceeding $25,000 will require a Sponsored Research Agreement.

A sponsored teaching project is a type of sponsored project which has a pedagogical, training, or public service goal typically benefitting the sponsor.

Sponsored teaching includes projects in which BGSU is providing curriculum development, teaching/training activities, and/or workshop services whether offered for credit toward a certificate, on a non-credit basis, or through regular academic departments or by separate divisions.

Curriculum development projects, including projects which involve evaluation of curriculum or teaching methods, may be considered "sponsored research" when the preponderance of activity is data collection, evaluation, and reporting.

Technical Services Agreements are used for externally sponsored teaching projects in cases in which BGSU is providing a service to the sponsor. In such cases, the sponsor determines the work to be performed with little or no input from BGSU, except in cases where simple modification of existing methodologies is involved. Such activities are typically routine in nature and have no potential for the development of intellectual property. Financial support may, or may not, be associated with these types of agreements.

The funds received by the Department for performance of Technical Services can be distributed by the Chair/Director, as appropriate, to support students, conference attendance, membership fees, PD funds for faculty, replenishing research supplies/equipment, supplemental compensation, etc.

Supplemental compensation must be pre-approved and is only available for faculty when they are performing additional services beyond their assigned duties/responsibilities for non-grant related work. Individuals can be rewarded through the submission and approval of the Form for Supplemental Payment.

The following must be considered when developing and executing a Technical Services Agreement:

  • Services are defined as small, specifically designed projects as described above and having a value less than $25,000*; 
  • In cases where financial support is involved, the sponsor should be charged a fixed-price fee using a Technical Services Rate that has been developed in collaboration with OSPR and pre-approved by the Controller’s Office;
  • The fixed-price fee should recoup all expenses associated with completing the project;
  • F&A will not be collected but a 20% administration fee for invoicing, tracking, and reporting will be charged (8% for government/non-profit sponsors). This should be considered a cost of completing the project and included in the fixed-price fee;
  • The department must provide all upfront costs required to perform the project;
  • No financial monitoring/cost reporting by Grants Accounting will be performed;
  • Upon completion of the project, funds received will be transferred to the department’s account for distribution as appropriate;
  • In all cases, a contract between BGSU and the sponsor must be developed by OSPR, OTTS and/or the Office of General Counsel (OGC) which will be solely responsible for negotiating terms with the sponsor;
  • The contract must be signed by the external partner and the Vice President for Research & Economic Engagement.

*While larger projects may be considered, a rationale should be provided and approved by OTTS/VPREE. Most projects exceeding $25,000 will require a Sponsored Research Agreement.

Equipment Usage Agreements are used when an external entity wishes to have access to a piece of BGSU owned equipment (i.e. BGSU must hold clear title the equipment and no grant obligations remain).   The equipment must be operated by trained BGSU personnel and the user would reimburse the costs of doing so.

The following must be considered when developing and executing an Equipment Usage Agreement:

  • No confidential or proprietary information will be shared with BGSU; 
  • A published, standardized fee schedule must be used which has been pre-approved by the Controller’s Office;
  • The fee schedule must be calculated to cover all associated costs of running and maintaining the equipment including the costs of supplies, personnel wages etc.;
  • The home department of the equipment is responsible for financial accounting;
  • Equipment usage fees can be included in the budgets of external grants, as appropriate.  

Student Project Agreements are used when a BGSU faculty member engages students in a class project (individually or as teams) with an external entity under the faculty member’s guidance.  Financial support may, or may not, be associated with these types of agreements.

The following must be considered when developing and executing a Student Project Agreement:

  • No confidential or proprietary information or solutions will be shared with BGSU; 
  • The Student Project Agreement must fully describe the project and its associated expectations.  A standard template agreement developed by OTTS may be used or, if needed, OTTS will develop a new one particular to the project in question;
  • The agreement must be approved by OSPR, OTTS (and OGC, as appropriate) before submission to External Partner;
  • The signed agreement must be filed with OTTS.
Definitions

A formalized agreement between an external entity and the university in the performance of a defined scope of work to the mutual benefit of the parties involved but which does not involve financial payment from the external entity.

A type of financial assistance awarded to the university for the conduct of research or another program which includes language legally binding the university to a funder for the performance of specific deliverables in exchange for the awarded funds. The amount owed by the sponsor should be calculated according to a pre-determined rate of payment based on the costs of performing the project. This rate must be approved by the Controller in advance of executing the contract. Contracts may include additional restrictions involving confidentiality, intellectual property, publication rights, termination, work schedules, liability/indemnification, payment schedules and changes to the scope of work. 

A type of technical services project in which external entities are given access to a piece of BGSU owned equipment, either directly or through the services of a BGSU technician. 

These are indirect costs of a project that are incurred for common or joint objectives which cannot be readily and specifically associated with any individual sponsored project. Relevant examples include costs associated with the use of general research facilities, utilities, administrative support, and general office supplies.

A fixed price contract involves payments of predetermined lump-sum or periodic amounts by a funder to support a sponsored project, sometimes, but not exclusively tied to, completion of specific project deliverables. The amount owed by the sponsor should be calculated according to a pre-determined rate based on the costs of performing the project. This rate must be approved by the Controller in advance of executing the contract.

A type of financial assistance awarded to the university for the conduct of research or another program as specified in the approved proposal. A grant is typically used when the sponsor anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the activities.

A group created for purposes other than the generation of profit.

A sponsored project is a research, service, or teaching activity that is externally funded and which includes a formal funding instrument such as a grant or contract between the university and the sponsor. A sponsored project involves a transaction that includes a specified statement of work and a reciprocal transfer of something of value.

A sponsored research project is a type of sponsored project which seeks to create new, generalizable knowledge drawn from the analysis and comparison of data and information obtained from experiments or other sources.

A sponsored teaching project is a type of sponsored project which has a pedagogical, training, or public service goal typically benefitting the sponsor.

A technical services and testing project is a type of sponsored project which involves the performance of routine services, measurements, and/or tests to produce information specific to the service being performed or the item being studied. It is not the goal of a technical service or testing project to produce generalizable knowledge and such projects do not typically involve the extensive development of new methods or protocols to perform the work.

Example scenarios for better understanding on mechanism to engage with external partners:

Faculty member has colleague in the private sector at ABC Corp. They discuss a potential collaborative project that requires university personnel/effort, use of university equipment, to modify ABC’s proprietary material and identify new uses and applications. BGSU faculty is tasked with designing experiments, based on expertise in the field. Project requires use of several pieces of BGSU-owned equipment, to be operated by PhD students and postdocs. Project will involve research animals and hazardous material. All activities will take place on BGSU property. BGSU faculty and students will publish results. 

Mechanism: Sponsored Research Agreement

  • University, not the individual, assumes responsibility.
  • Enjoys benefits of infrastructure—Compliance Office, OSPR, Grants Accounting, Payroll, General Counsel, etc.
  • Funds are available upon execution of contract.  

Acme Industries contacts BGSU to compile and analyze corporate data. A faculty member has the ability and capability to provide such technical services on a price-per-job basis, and has an established service rate.  The project does not require the use of BGSU-owned equipment, but students may be compiling the data.  

Mechanism: Fee for Service Agreement—Fixed Price

  • Payment is set and cannot be adjusted because of how much it costs to meet the terms of the agreement, whether more or less than the contracted amount. 

Acme Industries contacts BGSU to film and produce a safety training video which meets OSHA regulatory standards.  The script has already been developed, and the BGSU faculty member and her students will be filming Acme employees at the company in various settings.  The BGSU team will be using some university equipment to film, edit, and produce the training video, but additional equipment will need to be rented. The BGSU team has an established service rate. There are hourly costs associated with renting the equipment.  It is unknown how long it will take to complete the project, and thus actual costs will need to be calculated at the end of the project.         

Mechanism: Fee for Service Agreement—Cost-Reimbursement

  • The Sponsor will reimburse the University for any actual, approved costs.

Acme Environmental needs to determine individual clay minerals in order to consider using the material for medical use. BGSU Geology Department has an x-ray refractometer. Faculty have developed and published a standardized fee schedule per sample.

Mechanism: Equipment Use Agreement—Fixed Priced