Investigators' ToolKit

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Grant Vs. Gift

Grant (i.e., "sponsored program" or "award") is the transfer of money, specific services, or property from a sponsor to an institution in exchange for a set of specific services or deliverables to an external source during a set period of time. Deliverables may include, but are not limited to, research data and/or analysis, professional development events, financial reports, project reports, publications, etc.

Any funding provided by U.S. Government agencies at the federal, state, or local level in support of Jacksonville University is always treated as a grant. All grants are handled by the ORSP.

A Gift is a voluntary, non-reciprocal​ transfer of money or property from a donor to an institution. The donor may be an individual, a corporation, or a non-profit organization. The donor does not expect anything of value in return other than recognition and does not exert control over expenditure of the funds. A gift may meet the interests of a donor and can be for restricted use or it may be for unrestricted use, where the institution can use the money at its discretion. Only University Advancement may accept gifts on behalf ​Jacksonville University.

Additional Terms & Definitions

Effort is the amount of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the total, which a faculty member or other employee spends on a project.

A Sponsor is an external organization that provides financial support for a defined project with well-defined funding expectations. Sponsors may include the Federal Government, state and Local Governments, public and private foundations, and corporations.

A Sponsored Project is any externally funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work or set of objectives, which provides a basis for sponsor expectations. This could involve research, demonstration, professional development, instruction, training, curriculum development, community and public service, or other scholarly activity involving funds, materials, other forms of compensation, or exchanges of in-kind efforts under awards or agreements.

These organizations fund sponsored projects through a variety of mechanisms such as contracts, grants, letter agreements, purchase orders, cooperative agreements, and a variety of awards that fall under the general rubric of subcontracts.

The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) is the identified lead personnel on a sponsored project. S/he holds a number of responsibilities related to sponsored projects, the core of which is conducting the work for which external funding has been received. The PI/PD also has administrative responsibilities such as assuring that expenditures are made for the intended purpose of the project and in accordance with sponsor requirements and University policy and procedures. Other PI/PD responsibilities include writing proposals for funding and complying with the technical requirements of awards. The latter involves submitting periodic and final narrative reports on the progress of the project. The PI or PD must be full-time faculty/staff members employed by Jacksonville University. Proposals by adjunct professors and part-time staff members must be submitted in conjunction with a full-time faculty and/or staff member.

Sponsored Awards are made to the University on behalf of the PI, who is primarily responsible for carrying out the requirements of the award. The few exceptions are certain awards that may be made to individuals, such as some faculty fellowships. In developing a proposal and administering an award, the PI represents the University and is responsible for upholding the high standards expected of University projects.​

Request for Proposals (RFP) is the funder’s guidelines for submitting a funding request. This may also be called a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) or a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFA). For the purposes of this document, we will use the term RFP throughout. Depending on the source, the RFP could be one page or 100+pages; the instructions in the RFP should be followed explicitly.

External University Contracts (aka contracts for service) are any agreement between the university and an independent third party where money is exchanged between the two parties. It may be a private or a federal, state or local government agency. A contract is different from a grant in that it is a procurement instrument used by a private or government agency to acquire supplies or services for its direct benefit from the university. Contracts must follow the same policies and procedures as grants and are negotiated in coordination with the Chief Financial Officer.

Authorized Signatory: All documents that obligate Jacksonville University personnel, facilities, intellectual property, or other resources require an authorized University signature. The signature assures that appropriate policies, procedures, legal requirements and risks have been addressed. The Chief Financial Officer is the designated signatory for all sponsored agreements, including professional services agreements where the University is the contractor. Under no circumstances is faculty or other university administrative officials authorized to negotiate, sign, or accept externally sponsored awards or agreements that obligate University resources. With authorization from the President, the Director of Research and Sponsored Programs is authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the institution and negotiate award terms and budgets. Faculty may not negotiate, submit, or sign off on their own proposals since grants and contracts enter the college into a binding contract.​

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Additional Resources

Proposal Writing Guides and Articles

Agency-Specific Assistance

U.S. Department of Education (USDE)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation

Other Beneficial Articles

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