The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 11/17/00

Amended 11/14/17

Technical Corrections 01/30/20


Regulation on Administering Sponsored Programs

I.             Purpose.  This regulation establishes the general requirements, responsibilities, and relationships, with respect to sponsored programs, of the University of North Carolina System and the 17 constituent institutions (together referred to as the UNC System), and its faculty, staff, and students.  "Sponsored programs" refers to scholarly, professional, and creative activities that University System personnel conduct with support from external funding instruments such as grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, or other agreements deemed appropriate by the chancellors of constituent institutions, or the president for agreements issued to the University of North Carolina System Office (UNC System Office).  Sponsored programs, therefore, are key instruments through which the University System fulfills its diverse mission.  The efficient and effective administration of sponsored programs is imperative.

II.           Delegation of Authority.  The Board of Governors retains overall policy-making authority with respect to sponsored programs.  The Board of Governors has delegated contracting authority with regard to sponsored programs to the president pursuant to Section 500.3 of the UNC Policy Manual.  The president may further delegate authority to the chancellors for the conduct of sponsored programs of their respective constituent institutions.  The authority not delegated, nor prohibited herein, is reserved to the institutions. 

III.          Guidelines.  Generally, two basic features define sponsored programs: (1) they are separately supported in whole or in part by external sponsors, and (2) they are executed under the terms of agreement between the University and sponsors.  While the specific instruments (e.g., grants, contracts, cooperative agreements) authorizing sponsored programs typically are associated with specific individuals or groups, those instruments legally are awarded to the constituent institution or the UNC System.  General criteria that must be considered in the development of sponsored programs include:

A.           Adequate budgetary support, both direct and indirect, is to be provided by the sponsor or other appropriate sources.  No obligations are to be assumed without University System authorization.

B.           Sponsored programs must be compatible with the overall mission of the University System.

C.           Sponsored programs must be consistent with federal and state laws and University System policies.


IV.          The UNC System Office Requirements and Responsibilities.  The UNC System Office will:

A.           Collect and review sponsored programs data from the constituent institutions and disseminate reports.

B.           Advocate for sponsored programs support and communicate the role of research.

C.           Provide leadership in the professional development of research administration staff concerning sponsored programs through support of networking, sharing best practices, and technical assistance.

D.           Maintain and disseminate guidelines and procedures related to sponsored programs.

E.            Interface with federal and state governmental entities on behalf of the constituent institutions on broad topics and themes that impact research administration.

F.            Facilitate interinstitutional collaboration on sponsored program activities.


V.           Constituent Institution Requirements and Responsibilities.  Each constituent institution will:

               A.           Report sponsored programs data to the UNC System Office consistent with established data definitions and procedures for submission.


B.           Ensure that sponsored programs are conducted and funds are used in a manner consistent with federal and state laws and University System policies.


C.           Ensure that sponsored programs funds reside in a designated University System account. 


D.           Ensure that a statement of work and budget exists explaining the purpose and use of each sponsored program's funds.


E.            Ensure that only those with delegated authority enter into agreements that commit the University System to provide for the delivery of goods or services. 


F.            Ensure the constituent institution has granted prior approval for the following:


1.                Commitment to continue an activity, retain personnel, provide cash matching/cost sharing funds, or provide capital improvements or equipment beyond the expiration of sponsored support or in excess of institutional resource levels.


2.            Creation of a new organizational unit within the institution or the University System.


3.            Creation of a new degree program.


VI.          Faculty and Staff Requirements and Responsibilities.  Each faculty or staff member involved with sponsored programs will:


A.               Submit all requests for support of sponsored programs through the appropriate institutional office for review and approval prior to submission to the sponsor.


B.           Adhere to all federal and state laws and University System policies.


C.           Disclose all financial interests consistent with federal, state, University System, and constituent institutions policies and procedures.


D.           Conduct sponsored program activities in accordance with the highest ethical standards.


VII.         Other Matters


A.               Effective Date.  The requirements of this regulation shall be effective on the date of adoption of this regulation by the president.


B.               Relation to Federal and State Laws and Policies.  The foregoing regulation as adopted by the president is meant to supplement, and does not purport to supplant or modify, those statutory enactments, regulations, and policies which may govern or relate to the subject matter of this regulation.