Office of Research

Policy Introduction

About this Guide

The Grants and Contracts Administration Policy Guide, revised September 21, 2004, has been developed to assist and support those involved with the administration of sponsored programs at Clemson University. This guide supersedes the previous issue of the Sponsored Programs Policies and Procedures Manual, dated March 25, 2003. People who can benefit from this guide include principal investigators, grants coordinators and monitors, department chairs, deans and campus business officers although others involved with sponsored programs can also benefit. The guide will help those responsible for any aspect of a sponsored program to correctly plan and document all related activities and purchases. Hard copy updates will not be issued; however, periodic updates will be provided here on our website.

What is the Department of Grants and Contracts Administration?

The Department of Grants and Contracts Administration (Grants and Contracts Administration) is part of the Clemson University Office of Research and reports to the comptroller. Grants and Contracts Administration oversees the post-award administration of restricted sponsored projects funded from external sources, including the administration of projects awarded to the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF).

What is a sponsored program?

A sponsored program is a project, normally in the form of a grant or contract or cooperative agreement, that is funded from external sources including federal, state and local governments or private corporations or foundations. The award of a contract or grant creates a legal relationship to achieve a purpose or objective under specified conditions. The purpose of the award, the nature of the relationship established and the control exercised by the awarding agency often make a grant indistinguishable from a contract. However grants, unlike contracts, do not allow for profit or a fee in excess of actual costs. A chart in the appendix explains the differences between a grant, a contract and a cooperative agreement. Sponsoring organizations may grant awards directly to Clemson University, or to the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF), which subcontracts to Clemson University. The projects are designated as restricted current funds because separate accounts are mandated for each project. These separate accounts document the receipt and expenditure of such funds for the "restricted" purpose or project for which the sponsor intends.

Who is involved in the administration of a sponsored program?

Principal investigators, grants coordinators and monitors, department chairs, deans and campus business officers work together with Grants and Contracts Administration to meet all contractual obligations and to follow regulations throughout the administration of each sponsored program. Since sponsored programs bring significant financial support to Clemson University, proper administration of such programs increases the University’s opportunities for new and renewed grants and contracts.

The principal investigator (PI) is principally responsible for the sponsored program. S/he is obliged to comply with the award conditions. Grants and Contracts Administration will assist the PI or other departmental personnel by explaining any financial matters that the PI may not understand. Recipients of federal grants and contracts must comply fully with applicable federal requirements, detailed in the following Office of Management and Budget circulars, available online by clicking the titles:

Circular Name Full Title
A-110 Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations
A-133 Audits of States, Local Governments and Nonprofit Organizations
A-21 Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
How can Grants and Contracts Administration help me?

Grants and Contracts Administration serves as a liaison between each project’s principal investigator and the sponsoring agency to ensure that the University complies with all financial and nonfinancial/technical provisions in the terms and conditions of the agreement. As a liaison, Grants and Contracts Administration advises appropriate University officials on matters relating to federal, state and University regulations and ensures that the University complies with all provisions pertaining to contracts, grants, cooperative agreements and other types of sponsored program agreements.

Most sponsored programs at Clemson University are audited externally and/or internally. Grants and Contracts Administration keeps auditable records and helps the college/department maintain auditable records in support of all direct and facilities and administrative charges to sponsored projects. Because Grants and Contracts Administration is the fiscal authority for sponsored projects, this department prepares, records and submits claims for reimbursement, financial reports, statements and other nontechnical documents required for sponsored projects.