The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) assists University faculty and staff in obtaining financial support for their research activities and in complying with University, state and federal policies related to research. ORSP provides and facilitates access to information and assists with efforts to obtain external funding. ORSP staff provide help with all the phases of proposal development, from the identification of potential funding sources, to the preparation and submission of the proposal. In addition, the ORSP staff assists investigators with post-award issues, such as compliance with federal regulations related to research, and application procedures for patents or copyrights.
The Responsibilities of ORSP and Development and Alumni Services
It is important to distinguish the division of responsibilities between ORSP and Development and Alumni Services. The Development office is charged with coordinating all solicitations for gifts, donations, and non-contractual grants. Gifts and donations are voluntary and irrevocable transfers of money or property (e.g., equipment, personnel time and skill, etc.) made by a donor without any expectation of or receipt of direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation (i.e., goods or services from the donee that is commensurate with the worth of the donation).
ORSP is charged with coordinating all solicitations for sponsored research projects and contractual grants as well as the administration of all externally sponsored projects. Sponsored projects and contractual grants are distinguished from gifts, donations, and non-contractual grants in that they usually involve a written agreement. This agreement between the University and the funding agency represents the voluntary transfer of money or property by the agency in exchange for the performance of specifically enumerated services by the University. These services include the proprietary rights to and provision of work products derived from this performance, and often include some form of financial and/or technical reporting by the recipient as to the actual use of the money or property provided. The agreement is enforceable by law, and performance is usually to be accomplished under time and fund-use constraints, with the transfer of support revocable for cause.
A gift, which is the responsibility of Development and Alumni Services, is an award made to an individual or the University with few, if any, requirements concerning how the money may be spent. With a gift, the agency does not require the University to provide any specific deliverables.
For example, the need for external funds to buy computer equipment for general office use in a college department would qualify as a gift. External funds to buy a computer to support a research project would qualify as a grant. In the former case, the funding agency will not expect to see concrete results in terms of a specific end product, such as a manuscript or specific research results. In the latter case, the agency will expect a technical report detailing the results of the research, including how the equipment purchased with their funds contributed to the completion of the project. The funding source may also expect the investigator to publish the results of the research in peer-reviewed journals or present the information at professional meetings in the applicant’s specific discipline.