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Roles and Responsibilities Through the Research Lifecycle

The following grid depicts the roles and responsibilities of the principal investigator, department, Office of Research Affairs, Controller’s Office and other research support offices at Penn State College of Medicine through the grants and contracts lifecycle.

Items marked in bold indicate the group or groups with the primary responsibility for that task.

Identification of Funding Opportunities

Proposal Preparation

Regulatory Requirements

Proposal Review and Approval

Proposal Submission


Award Acceptance

Award Setup

Conducting the Project Financials

Invoicing Financial Reporting

Accounts Receivable Management

Prior Approvals

Subcontracts and Subawards

Technical Data and Reports

Personnel and Effort Certification

Project End (Transfers and Closeout)

Intellectual Property

Agent Definitions

  • Principal investigator (PI): The individual designated by the University, and approved by the Sponsor, who will be responsible for the scientific/technical design, conduct and reporting of a sponsored project.
  • Department: The unit within a particular college at the University that provides administrative support for sponsored projects.
  • Shared services: The unit that serves as the provider of administrative support for sponsored projects. This applies to departments that have opted for shared-service support vs. providing departmental support.
  • Office of Research Affairs (ORA): On behalf of the University, and with the delegation of signature authority on behalf of Penn State College of Medicine, the office that facilities the submission of all sponsored projects proposals; negotiates and executes agreements; provides sponsored projects education and communication; and assists faculty, staff and students in managing projects awarded to the University. Learn more about ORA.
  • Controller’s Office: Liaison to University Park Research Accounting; responsible for College of Medicine financial oversight of sponsored project accounts on behalf of the University, submitting financial reports and assisting faculty and support staff in the financial aspects of sponsored awards; has primary responsibility for effort reporting; serves as the primary point of contact for auditors.
  • Research Development (RD): Responsible for managing internal funding process, limited-submission down-select process and providing funding opportunity information. Learn more about RD.
  • Center for Medical Innovation (CMI): Provides guidance, support and assistance in safeguarding intellectual property and facilitates and promotes technological transfer. Learn more about CMI.
  • Purchasing: Establishes and administers procurement contracts; procures facilities, goods and services for best value; ensures University business is conducted in a fair and open environment, in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Compliance: Handled by a number of offices, including Human Subjects Protection Office (HSPO), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Conflict of Interest Review Committee (COI) and Biosafety and Recombinant DNA Subcommittee. Learn more about Compliance.
  • Associate Dean for Research (ADR): Responsible for handling requests for F&A waivers and other high-level approvals; currently Dr. Sheila L. Vrana.

Glossary of Terms

  • ACE: Account Close or Extension Form
  • AURA: Add University Restricted Account Form
  • BARA: Budget Amendment for Restricted Accounts Form
  • IAF: Internal Approval Form
  • IP: Intellectual Property
  • ISP: Intent to Submit Proposal Form
  • JIT: Just-in-Time
  • LOI: Letter of Intent
  • SAS: Salary Assignment Schedule