The Catholic University of America

Definition of Sponsored Programs

Sponsored programs are those projects and/or activities which are originated and conducted by members of the faculty or, in some instances, by staff members. Such programs are supported wholly or in part by external restricted funds awarded to the University.

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Services is a support structure, and seeks to assist faculty members in a variety of ways--funding source identification, proposal development assistance, budget development, proposal processing and review.  In addition, the Office is an advocate for a campus climate that is conducive to the research enterprise, advising the administration on matters of regulatory compliance, internal sponsorship of scholarly activities and other similar issues.

Sponsored Programs differ from gifts and donations in two ways:  Gifts are donative in nature, bestowed voluntarily and without expectation of any tangible compensation, product or outcome.  While certain private grants may be considered gifts, these differ from sponsored programs in that the level of accountability imposed by the donor in the use of the gift is limited and usually does not require extensive technical or fiscal reporting.

Where potential questions or ambiguities arise, the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Institutional Advancement will coordinate activities closely in order to avoid multiple/competing solicitations from the same private sources.

The Office is the primary mechanism for providing direct assistance to faculty and staff in identifying appropriate sources for external funds of projects and programs of all types.  Sponsored programs usually include a line item budget which states monetary needs of the project.  This budget may or may not include indirect costs.  The absence of indirect costs in a line item budget does not preclude the project from being designated as a sponsored program.

The Office is responsible for processing proposals, which includes pre-and post-award administration of a grant or contract.  Following is a partial list of the types of proposals handled by the office.

Research projects Equipment for designated research
Research contracts General curriculum development
Training Graduate fellowships and traineeships

In general, sponsored activities should be directly related to the three-fold mission of the institution: research, teaching and service.  Other support such as competitive or formula funds awarded to some other areas, but restrictive in nature, are also included under the Office.  External monies for sponsored activities are awarded to the University, although one or more faculty members may be identified as the program director or principal investigator.  All solicitation of grants and contracts for sponsored activities must be processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs to ensure that the proper university approvals have been obtained prior to submission of the proposal to a sponsoring agency.