Sponsored Programs

Alfred University’s Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) assists faculty, staff, and students in obtaining and managing external grant and contract funding in support of the university’s mission of innovative research, excellent teaching, and public service. OSP also assists faculty, staff, and students in maintaining compliance with university, state, federal, and sponsor-specific policies and regulations.

OSP is charged with coordinating all solicitations for sponsored grants and contracts as well as the administration of those externally funded projects. While in many cases these funded projects involve some type of organized research, we also help administer external funding for other types of projects and activities, including but not limited to community outreach grants, curriculum development grants, and industry-funded scientific service contracts.

Sponsored grants and contracts are distinguished from gifts and donations. Sponsored grants and contracts always involve a written agreement between the university and the funding agency. This agreement 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 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 or donation, which is the responsibility of University Advancement, is an award made to an individual or the university with few, if any, requirements concerning how the money may be spent. Gifts and donations are voluntary and irrevocable transfers of money or property made by a donor without any expectation of or receipt of direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation commensurate with the worth of the award.

Pre-Award Phase

OSP staff can assist with the submission of a grant proposal or in contract negotiations with funding agencies before an award is made by:

  • Facilitating communication between the individual and the funding agency
  • Providing information required to develop proposal budgets that conform to requirements set by the university and by the sponsoring agency
  • Reviewing the proposal or contract to ensure compliance with both university and funding agency requirements
  • Navigating electronic proposal submission sites and in required circumstances, transmitting the proposal to the sponsor

Post-Award Phase

Once the University receives a fully executed contract or grant agreement, OSP is the main point of contact for the project director’s and staff’s sponsored project questions and concerns. Post-award responsibilities include:

  • Assigning project fund numbers and setting up the fund in the Banner Financial system
  • Assisting in the determination of allowable costs on sponsored projects
  • Reviewing all financial transactions and project budget revisions
  • Preparing financial reports for project directors, sponsoring agencies, and the university
  • Preparing invoices and requesting drawdowns from sponsors to reimburse the university for project expenditures
  • Liaising with sponsors and project directors
  • Interpreting federal, state, and local guidelines with regard to fiscal and administrative compliance matters
  • Providing financial documentation and answering questions during internal or external audits
  • Requesting project no cost extensions
  • Distributing F&A reimbursements
  • Performing grant closeout procedures & ensuring closeout requirements are met
  • Providing other post award related assistance as needed to the project director and staff throughout the life of the project

Use the online resources below to locate funding for the following:

  • Research
  • Fellowships
  • Education
  • Training
  • Program or curriculum development
  • Equipment acquisition


The grants.gov website can be searched to locate all federal funding offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies.

National Science Foundation – Funding Opportunities

All NSF grant funding opportunities can be found on this site. The NSF also provides free- email notifications of recent program announcements. You can select to receive email notifications for funding opportunities, deadlines, newsletter, reports, etc.

U.S. Department of Energy – Funding Opportunities

All DoE grant funding opportunities can be found on this site.

National Institutes of Health – Funding Opportunities

All NIH medical and behavioral research grant funding opportunities can be found on this site.

National Endowment for the Humanities – Funding Opportunities

All NEH grant funding opportunities can be found on this site.

National Endowment for the Arts – Funding Opportunities

All NEA grant funding opportunities can be found on this site.

Empire State Development – Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR)

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – (NYSERDA)

New York State Council on the Arts – (NYSCA)

Foundation Center – GrantSpace

GrantSpace is a new resource site for grant seekers launched by the Foundation Center. The Subjects tab on the GrantSpace site provides funding opportunity announcements, news, questions and answers, facts and figures, and sample proposal documents for subjects in Arts and Culture, Education, Environment, Health Care, Human Services, and more. Other Foundation Center resources are accessible throughout the site, including training events, publications, and the Foundation Directory Online. The Tools tab links to five search engines, including a library of sample documents such as successful proposals, letters of intent, and budgets for foundation grants.

This page is designed to establish a basic framework in which to view the different types of sponsored projects commonly encountered at Alfred University, and give a broad overview of the lifecycle of those projects and what to expect when applying for and receiving external funding.

The majority of externally funded projects and activities at Alfred University can be broadly separated into two different categories with slightly different approaches in pre- and post-award management for each:

Not-for-Profit Sponsors - Federal, State, Foundation, and Other Entities

Awards from federal and state sponsors, as well as private research foundations and other entities can take many forms – from a small grant to support a new library acquisition, to funding for large multi-year organized research projects. They will all usually involve some type of competitive review of proposals before an award is made. OSP works with faculty, staff, and students to help prepare and submit a proposal or application for funding, which usually is due to the sponsor by a pre-determined deadline. Once the sponsor reviews all of the proposals it has received, one or more awards may be made to those who submitted.

Step 1 – Proposal Development & Submission

All submissions for external funding for projects that will require university facilities and resources, and/or other types of awards made explicitly to Alfred University, must be reviewed and approved by OSP before submission to the sponsor.

University faculty, staff, and students should notify OSP as soon as possible after locating a funding source and deciding they wish to submit a proposal. OSP staff will assist during this time in developing the budget and formatting it both for internal purposes and sponsor purposes, as well as reviewing the proposal to ensure compliance with sponsor and university guidelines.

While OSP does not currently impose a deadline by which we ask to receive completed proposals for review before submission to the sponsor, it is highly encouraged that everything for the submission be complete at least three (3) working days before the sponsor’s deadline. If compliance issues or technical difficulties are encountered during a submission taking place the day a proposal is due, there may not be enough time to reformat and resubmit before the deadline has passed.

Step 2 – Award Management

Once a notice of award document is received by our office, OSP will obtain required university signatures for full execution of the agreement document, and set up the new award with a fund in the University’s Banner Finance system. OSP will be the primary point of contact for all financial and administrative processes on the project, including reviewing and approving all transactions and preparing financial reports, while the principal investigator or project director (PI/PD) will primarily be responsible for the programmatic implementation of the award. OSP will assist the PI/PD in understanding the fiscal status of the award throughout its period of performance by providing regular reports of spending and available balances, as well as facilitating communication between the PI/PD and the sponsor when necessary. OSP also assists the PI/PD in interpreting federal, state, sponsor, and university policies to ensure fiscal and administrative compliance during the life of the award.

Step 3 – Award Close-Out

Once all applicable charges have been placed on the fund and the period of performance for the project has expired, OSP will work with the PI/PD to complete and submit any sponsor-required financial reports necessary to close-out the award. If a no-cost extension is desired, OSP will liaise between the PI/PD and the sponsor to obtain the NCE. At the completion of the period of performance any residual balances will be returned to the sponsor and/or deficits will be moved to the appropriate non-restricted account on close-out of the Banner fund. Financial records for the project will be maintained by OSP, and programmatic records of the project will be maintained by the PI/PD, per specific record retention policies.

Private Companies and Other Industry Sponsors

The award lifecycle for industry sponsored activities is similar to what is described above, although there may be a less formal pre-award process not involving the competitive review of research proposals. Individual faculty members with expertise in a specific area are often approached by industry sponsors in order to discuss potential research collaborations and other service projects. In some circumstances, these collaborations may be set up outside the University as private consulting agreements. In all cases where the facilities and resources of the University are to be used in the activity, it will be set up as a sponsored project with the University.

Budget Resources

All sponsored project proposals from AU need to have a budget on file utilizing this template. OSP can assist in transferring the figures to sponsor-specific templates (e.g. Fastlane, SF424, etc.) when required, as well as provide individualized budget development assistance.

Many sponsors also require a budget justification in narrative format. The budget justification provides the sponsor agency and reviewers of the application with information such as why costs are programmatically necessary and how they are calculated. Reviewers will analyze the financial data to determine if the proposed costs are allocable to the program, allowable under federal cost principles or non-federal sponsor guidelines (whichever is applicable), reasonable, and treated consistently by the institution and similar organizations.

OSP can assist in drafting some of the written budget justification (specifically info related to salaries, fringe benefits, F&A), however, details related to cost estimates for supplies and equipment and their programmatic/scientific connection to the scope of work, travel destinations/purposes, and descriptions of what personnel will be doing on the project, will necessarily originate with the Principal Investigator/Project Director. Typically OSP will start the written budget justification and then pass it to the PI/PD for final completion of these details.

Please see below for a sample budget justification with extra information and guidance. This format will be acceptable for the vast majority of sponsor requirements, however, please always review the specific solicitation you are applying to, which may call for special formatting or additional information.

Example with Guidance

National Science Foundation (NSF) Application Resources

  • NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide contains the current guidelines for preparing proposals to be submitted to the National Science Foundation
  • NSF Biographical Sketch Template *
  • NSF Collaborators & Other Affiliations Template *
  • NSF Current and Pending Support Template *
  • Data Management Plan Guidance and Examples * from Yale University

* Please note that while these templates are specific to NSF, they may also serve as useful templates for submissions to other sponsors who do not have a specific formatting requirement of their own.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Application Resources

Resources for Developing Proposals in the Arts and Humanities

Alfred University and industry sponsors have a long record of cooperation on joint educational and research programs. Industry funded projects at AU run along a continuum from short-term specialized testing and service contracts through multi-year organized research projects. A detailed scope of work created during the pre-award stage is the primary tool used to make a determination on what the most appropriate agreement mechanism and administrative format the project will use.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

NDAs, also known as confidentiality agreements, proprietary information agreements, etc., are commonly requested when University personnel and company representatives wish to enter into initial discussions about specific processes, methods, or technology for the purpose of determining the potential for a future research or service collaboration. If it is determined that an NDA is necessary, the faculty investigator or sponsor should initiate the process by contacting OSP.

Alfred University prefers to use its own standard NDA which can be found below in the agreement template section of this page. These terms and conditions have been vetted by AU’s legal counsel and have been proven effective at protecting the needs and interests of both parties. If a company is willing to accept AU’s standard NDA with minimal or no changes, the process is expedited and signatures can usually be obtained within a few days. However, if a company requires the use of its own terms and conditions, a longer review and negotiation period is likely before execution of the agreement.

Alfred University views the NDA as a tool to allow initial interactions to take place, such as discussions about AU’s capabilities and research interests or potential future collaborations. No work should be performed under the scope of an NDA; this is better handled under a research or specialized services agreement in which a clear scope of work, deliverables, period of performance, etc., is defined.

If a formal research or specialized service project is initiated and a separate NDA was not previously signed, the project agreement will contain confidentiality provisions covering the period of performance. If a separate NDA is already in place, it may be extended to cover the project period of performance, and the confidentiality provision normally present in the project contract will be removed to avoid duplication.

This guidance does not apply to information exchanged by a University researcher in connection with an independent consulting agreement. In such cases the researcher is acting as an individual and signs the NDA on his/her own behalf. The University does not review or provide guidance related to consulting agreements. A University researcher acting as an independent consultant may want to seek counsel from a legal advisor when considering a NDA with a third party.

Students are not employees of the University and thus the University does not sign NDAs for information submitted to students in connection with class projects.

Frameworks for Industry-Sponsored Projects

A detailed scope of work will assist faculty and OSP in determining the most appropriate administrative and financial framework for a proposed project to fall under.

Organized Research: Organized Research involves an original investigation and significant intellectual investment by faculty, staff, or students, seeking to result in the development of new knowledge and intellectual properties in a given field. Industry sponsored research can run along a continuum from basic research through highly applied development projects.

Budgets may be fixed-price or cost-reimbursable, although in many cases a cost-reimbursable format will be most appropriate for a formal research project. OSP will work with faculty in developing the internal budget using the OSP budget template, and will also help re-format the figures into any specific format requested by the sponsor.

Specialized Service Contracts: Specialized Service Contracts normally involve little high-level intellectual investment from faculty, staff, and students and are not generally expected to produce new intellectual properties. The service typically requested is directly related to unique technology or equipment available to the university and involves the processing of materials or samples in order to generate test results or data to be owned by the sponsor.

Costs for specialized services are often budgeted differently from research projects. Faculty members will work with personnel from Alfred University’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) to price out a service on a per-sample or per-hour basis, and send quotes for service directly to the company.

Please see Alfred University's Guidelines for Specialized Service Agreement Activities for more information.

Contractual Requirements for Industry-Sponsored Projects

Alfred University offers several ready-to-sign standard research and specialized service agreements which can be found in the below agreement template section of this page. If a company is willing to accept AU’s standard agreement template with minimal or no changes, the process is expedited and signatures can usually be obtained within a few days. However, if a company requires the use of its own agreement mechanism, a longer review and negotiation period may occur before execution of the agreement.*

*Unique provisions will apply to specialized service projects priced under $5,000. Alfred University recognizes the importance of being able to respond quickly to requests for small-scale testing services and will not require execution of a countersigned document in these cases. Typically, company signature and date on a University-prepared quote for services is sufficient for work to begin on these types of projects.

If a project has been determined to require a countersigned agreement (all research projects & specialized service projects > $5,000), that agreement must contain a finalized scope of work, budget, and period of performance, and must be reviewed and signed by the appropriate university official before work may begin on the project.

Please view Alfred University’s Signatory Authority Policy for more information.

Intellectual Property and other Contract Positions for Industry Sponsored Projects

University personnel who conduct research leading to patentable inventions or copyrighted work usually do so in campus facilities built and supported with funds from the State of New York. In such cases, it is necessary for the university to retain title ownership of the intellectual property created by its personnel in order to remain in compliance with tax and bond regulations specific to not-for-profit university activities.

Alfred University also recognizes a company’s need to access project intellectual property that results from work it funds and has created options that enable companies to easily obtain access to the project intellectual property on fair and reasonable terms with minimal negotiations.

Faculty, staff, and industry representatives can familiarize themselves with AU’s standard contract policies and positions in the Key Contract Positions document prepared by University legal counsel and OSP.

Please also review AU’s full Intellectual Property Policy.

Pre-Award Process for Industry Funded Projects

University faculty who are approached by private companies for research and/or service related projects can familiarize themselves with the University’s “pre-award” process for such activities by viewing the Sponsored Projects Industry Funded Pre-Award Process document prepared by OSP.

Agreement Templates

The majority of industry-related activities at Alfred University will fall within one of the below agreement templates. OSP will work with the sponsor, faculty member, and university general council to develop custom agreements in any outlier engagements.

Sponsored Research Agreement: A written agreement for sponsored research activities performed by Alfred University faculty, staff, and students.

Specialized Service Agreement: For use with projects priced greater than $5,000. A written agreement for the performance of technical testing services performed by Alfred University faculty and staff on a sponsor’s existing intellectual property.

SBIR or STTR Agreement Template: A sponsored research agreement template tailored for SBIR or STTR projects.

Modification of Agreement: A written agreement through which the terms of an existing agreement can be altered and agreed to by the University and Sponsor.

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A written agreement that governs the time frame in which confidential information disclosed between Alfred University and a potential research sponsor can be restricted, so as not to be shared with any third party.

The Roles and Responsibilities Matrix seeks to identify commonly encountered activities in sponsored project administration and to provide guidance regarding the responsible and supporting parties for each activity over the lifecycle of the award.

CITI Training

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is an on-line educational training platform that provides relevant, up-to-date training information in the format of online instructional modules. Alfred University maintains a subscription to the CITI platform in order to provide training to university personnel in the areas of financial conflict of interest, responsible conduct of research, and human subject research, as necessary.

Certain university personnel will be required to complete CITI training courses depending on their status on sponsored projects. Please see the “Responsible Conduct of Research Training” and “Institutional Review Board” links below on this page for more information. If and when you are required to complete CITI training as a result of receiving external research funding, you will receive an email from OSP indicating the required module(s) that you must take.

Please complete the following steps to get started:

  1. Go directly to the CITI web-portal.
  2. Click on “register here”.
  3. Choose “Alfred University” from the drop down list of Participating Institutions, and register a username and password. Complete other required registration information as indicated.
  4. Enroll and complete the required course(s).

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

The university is required by various federal agencies to have a policy in place addressing the training of university research personnel in the responsible conduct of research. Alfred University utilizes the CITI web-based courses for delivering RCR training to satisfy the requirements for personnel involved in research. All new faculty, students, and post-docs must complete RCR training by the end of the first semester in which they start work on an externally-funded sponsored research project.

View the full RCR Policy for more information.

Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated body responsible for the protection of human subjects involved in research. The IRB reviews, approves, and monitors research conducted under the auspices of Alfred University by its faculty, students, and staff. The IRB committee assists investigators in insuring that the rights and welfare of human subjects are adequately protected in compliance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All studies involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to involving subjects in research.

All individuals engaged in research involving human participants must also complete an educational program related to the responsible conduct of research prior to initiation of a research project. Alfred University utilizes the CITI web-based courses for delivering IRB training to satisfy requirements for researchers conducting studies using human subjects.

Alfred University operates under Federal Wide Assurance #IRB00007472.

For more information, please view Alfred University’s current Human Subject’s Research Policy. If you have questions regarding the IRB or its process, please contact Steve Byrne.

Financial Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is a situation in which an investigator’s outside financial interest(s) or obligation(s) (real or perceived) have the potential to bias a research project or cause harm to human subjects participating in a research project.

Investigators at Alfred University are subject to university-wide policies, as well as specific State of New York law and federal regulations regarding the disclosure of financial conflicts of interest.

View more information on the University’s COI policy per the employee handbook.

Please review the University's full COI Policy document.

Faculty Outside Consulting

Generally speaking, if a faculty member is performing fee-for-service activities for an outside entity and is not using the facilities and resources of the university beyond incidental use, that faculty member will be engaging in private consulting. If the project proposed by the outside entity will require the use of university facilities, personnel, students, etc., that activity will normally be set up through a sponsored agreement with the University.

View more information on the University’s faculty consulting policy per the employee handbook.

Time and Effort Reporting

Federal Uniform Guidance and OMB Circular A-21 (Section J10) require recipients of federal funding to periodically confirm that direct salary charges to sponsored projects are reasonable and reflect actual work performed. Alfred University has adopted an “after-the-fact” effort reporting system to document time and effort. While effort reporting is not based on a 40 hour work week, the number of hours implicit in an individual’s 100% effort certification must be reasonable and supportable to the department, university, and external reviewers.

Effort reporting is a federal requirement and a current focus of federal auditing. Any employee who accepts federal or state funding is also accepting this obligation as a condition of taking the funds.

View the full Salary Administration and Time and Effort Reporting Policy. This document contains important information specific to effort reporting requirements as well as general policies related to effort and salary administration on sponsored funds. Faculty involved in sponsored projects should be familiar with this information and may contact OSP with any questions.

Download a sample template of the Time and Effort Reporting.

Cost Sharing on Sponsored Projects

Alfred University receives substantial funding from the federal government and other sources in the support of sponsored projects. These funding sources may require cost sharing or matching by the University. Cost sharing is a financial commitment by the University toward the total cost of a project from a source other than the granting organization. Cost sharing of expenses must be treated in a consistent and uniform manner when preparing proposals, requesting University approval, negotiating awards, transferring cost share funds, and financial reporting to Sponsors.

View the full Cost Sharing Policy.

Direct Costs, Purchasing, and Travel on Sponsored Projects

A direct cost is a cost that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

University Faculty, staff, and students can view more information on direct cost charging practices, as well as guidelines for purchasing and travel in the Direct Cost Charging Policy.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

Facilities and Administrative costs, also sometimes known as overhead or indirect costs, are costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project.

For more information, please view a copy of Alfred University’s current negotiated F&A rate and Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost Charging Policy.

Hiring Consultants and Issuing Subawards

When procuring goods or services for a sponsored project, it is not always clear when Alfred University should issue a subaward to a "subrecipient" or a procurement contract to a "contractor" (including independent consultants). OSP has created a guidance document to assist faculty investigators in making these determinations.

Consultants - Faculty may familiarize themselves with Alfred University’s Consulting Agreement Policy. After classification of consultant has been made, faculty will complete the Consulting Agreement Request Form and submit to OSP. OSP will then prepare the Consulting Agreement Template and liaise directly with the consultant to fully-execute the contract.

Subawards - Faculty may familiarize themselves with Alfred University's Subaward Policy. It is important that faculty are familiar with their responsibilities regarding subaward monitoring during the life of an award. OSP will meet one-on-one with faculty prior to the setup of a new project containing subrecipients to review this material and other required compliance measures. Other documents pertinent to issuing Subawards are detailed within the Subaward Policy, and may be accessed here:

Individuals wishing to conduct research at Alfred University involving human subjects must conform to applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. To oversee and regulate research involving human subjects most effectively, we maintain a standing committee known as the Human Subjects Research Committee (HSRC). Learn more about the committee and its responsibilities.