Research & Economic Development

Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities in Proposal and Grant Management Processes

A successful proposal submission involves the cooperation and interaction of several departments and units of the University.  Communication is the key to ensuring all stakeholders, departments and units are involved in the process.  Roles and responsibilities will vary according to the academic function.  It is extremely vital to the process that the Office of Research and Economic Development is notified in writing (Intent to Submit Form) early and frequent contact throughout the process is maintained as soon as the Principal Investigator becomes aware of the opportunity. 

  • Any individual who holds a full-time position such as tenured, tenure track, or non-tenure track research; or director of a state-designated Center or University Center may serve as a Principal Investigator/Project Director for sponsored activities, and be responsible for a contract or grant. In addition, an individual who holds the position of Lecturer, Instructor, Adjunct/Affiliate, Emeritus, or part-time faculty (50% appointment) may serve as a Principal Investigator/Project Director for sponsored activities if he or she receives the approval of his or her chair and dean as shown by their signatures on the PEF Updated 5/11/2018 and a tenured or tenure-track research faculty or director is named as co-investigator on the project. 
  • Fellows and students may serve at the "Principal Investigator" on a fellowship or training grant application, but must have a faculty sponsor/mentor assigned. 

The Principal Investigator has the primary responsibility for the scientific, technical and fiscal leadership of the project. The Principal Investigator has the following pre-award and post-award responsibilities. 

Pre-Award

  • Completes an Intent to Submit form, which notifies Office of Research of intent to submit proposal, indicates which Office of Research services are needed, and provides contact information for project team and any collaborating institutions.
  • Notifies Department Chair and Dean of intent to submit proposal.
  • Reads and familiarizes him/herself and project team with application requirements for submission.
  • Prepares scholarly proposal.
  • Requests on-or-off-campus space needed in addition to that already assigned to the PI.
  • Ensures that all project team members have completed the required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) CITI training.
  • Works with the Office of Research or Center personnel to prepare budget.
  • Provides documentation to Office of Research if reduced indirect cost rate is required.
  • If applicable, provides proposal and budget draft for proofreading and/or review related to solicitation guidelines and evaluation criteria well in advance of internal five-day deadline.
  • Verifies that budget items are in accordance with Uniform Guidance (which also includes cost accounting standards).
  • Requests and obtains budget, scope of work and relevant documents from subcontractors and consultants.
  • Completes application and any other necessary agency forms in compliance with agency guidelines with the assistance of the Office of Research.
  • Ensures the proposal meets format requirements (fonts, page numbers, etc.).
  • Solicits, secures, and provides documentation of all cost share commitments according to University policy.
  • Forwards final, ready-to-submit proposal to Office of Research no later than five business days before proposal deadline.
  • Prepares and signs the Proposal Endorsement Form (PEF) including the disclosure of any potential or real conflict of interest.
  • Identifies and evaluates issues related to program income.
  • Obtains letters of support of collaborators.

Post-Award

  • Reviews the award document for agency requirements and sends notice of award to the Office of Research.
  • Obtains Office of Research signatures on award documents.
  • Manages the project according to the proposal narrative and/or Statement of Work (SOW)
  • Prepares and signs Grant Activation Form (GAF) and reviews for accuracy.
  • Secures approval of the department chair, dean and Office of Research if the SOW is modified.
  • Completes the required Office of Research request for budget or project revision form if the SOW is modified.
  • Expends and manages funds in conformity with the approved budget, including for the subaward(s).
  • Monitors the budget to eliminate account overages and overdrafts alongside the project bookkeeper.
  • Notifies the Office of Research in writing if there is a change in the conflict of interest status of the investigator(s) prior to the time of award or after a contract is issued.
  • Completes timesheets and time and effort certifications generated by Grant Accounting.
  • Contacts the Office of Research regarding any issues related to Intellectual Property and Export Control.
  • Adheres to the Human and Animal Subjects Policies (university, federal and sponsor).
  • Maintains property and equipment according to policies (university, federal and sponsor).
  • Completes award requirements by submitting technical reports and other deliverables as stipulated by agency.
  • Monitors cost share requirements and fiscal documentation.
  • Notifies the department and University Property Office of receipt, return of equipment or property.
  • Reviews text to ensure research is within Tennessee Technological University's mission, is scientifically valid, etc. 
  • Reviews and approves any faculty release time and agrees to make the necessary accommodations required to release the faculty from their course loads.
  • Reviews and approves any cost share commitment.
  • Signs Proposal Endorsement Form (PEF) to indicate approval of proposal for transmission to sponsor.
  • Signs Grant Activation Form (GAF) to indicate approval of activation of awarded funds.
  • Approves that individual in the PI role is qualified and able to serve in that capacity. 
  • Reviews and approves the department and/or college cost sharing commitment.
  • Reviews and approves the space, facility or other resource commitments.
  • Signs Proposal Endorsement Form (PEF) to indicate approval of proposal for transmission to sponsor.
  • Approves the programmatic and fiscal monitoring of sponsored research and award recipients.
  • Approves that individual in the PI role is qualified and able to serve in that capacity. 
  • Reviews and approves requests for F&A rate reductions or waivers.
  • Facilitates the identification of funding opportunities.
  • Trains and assists with proposal and budget development.
  • Monitors project and research to ensure compliance.
  • Negotiates agreements, contracts and grants.
  • Facilitates the execution of agreements, contracts and grants.
  • Acts as institutional authority as to acceptability of sponsor requirements.
  • Coordinates training for compliance of agreements, contracts and grants.
  • Facilitates the protection of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer.
  • Reviews sponsor guidelines and notifies PI regarding identified key issues.
  • Facilitates meetings with Principal Investigator, Business Office, and other appropriate departments and units.
  • Collaborates with university and community stakeholders, as appropriate, during the proposal process.
  • Assists with budget and reviews budget justification.
  • Reviews proposal text for budget-related statements.
  • Reviews cost sharing commitments and prepares necessary cost share forms.
  • Conducts limited final review for all proposals provided five days in advance of proposal deadline. Full list of what is included in limited final review is linked here.
  • Assists with sponsor forms and electronic submission systems.
  • Submits proposal to funding agency.
  • Communicates with Principal Investigators regarding warnings and errors as notified by the electronic system and agency.
  • Ensures appropriate academic signatures are obtained.
  • Assists with sponsor request for re-budgets, etc.
  • Provides University approval for proposal.
  • Responds to Research email account.
  • Maintains database of proposal submissions and awards.
  • Maintains website and digital information.
  • Prepares original graphics in support of proposals.
  • Provides editing/proofreading of proposals and journal manuscripts.
  • Processes and routes applications for review/approval of projects involving human subjects by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects and notifies PIs of approval and expiration of applications.
  • Submits proposals for review for potential copyright infringement issues. 
  • Notifies the PIs of relevant federal, state and university policy and procedure changes via an electronic newsletter and the university‚Äôs media outlets. 
  • Provides assistance in completing any internal Office of Research form, such as the PEF and GAF.
  • Maintains website and digital content
  • Assists the Principal Investigator with budget monitoring to ensure expenditures are authorized.
  • Communicates with the Principal Investigator and university staff to resolve budget management issues.
  • Reviews invoices and expenditures to ensure funds are disbursed for the proposed expenditures to ensure compliance with university policy and agency regulations.
  • Develops and maintains document and record management.
  • Audits and reconciles award, invoices and expenses for budget alignment.
  • Audits records regularly and maintains records as document evidence.
  • Reconciles requisitions and purchases to Banner expenditure reports on a monthly basis.
  • Ensures cost transfers are submitted as soon as possible and within 90 days of discovery of any discrepancy.
  • Assists with travel claims, purchase orders, processing of student timesheets and any other transaction to be housed in the award.
  • Collaborates with the bookkeeper to enforce accounting principles for fiscal management.
  • Reviews invoices to ensure enforcement of university policy and federal regulations.
  • Submits invoices to funding agency for payment within a reasonable time period as articulated in the agreement.
  • Responds to issues relative to billing or invoicing the agency for funds expended on the project.
  • Prepares and submits any required financial reports as articulated in the agreement.
  • Conducts audits on agreements, contracts and grants as requested by the Office of Research and Economic Development.