Before expenses may be incurred on any grant or contract sponsored by external funds, the Office of Research Administration must have an award document which commits the sponsor to a specific dollar amount of funding and states the specific start date of the project and its duration. Without the award document, it is not possible to obtain an account number from the Controller's Office.
Exception: Some federal agencies allow funds to be expended up to ninety days prior to the start date of a project. For this to occur, the ORA must have 1) some assurance that an award is imminent and 2) a commitment on the part of the Department Chair, Dean or Vice President stating that expenditures incurred during the ninety day preaward period will be covered by a departmental or college account in the unlikely event that funding does not occur. Upon receipt of this information the ORA will request the Controller to issue an account number and thus commence expending funds.
In all other cases, unless expressly stated in the award document or in preaward communications from the sponsoring agency, any expenditures incurred before the start date of a project will be the sole responsibility of the Principal Investigator.
The Principal Investigator has the primary responsibility for knowing what purchases are allowable under the terms and conditions of his/her award.
The Office of Research Administration extends primary signatory authority to the PI for the purchase of items connected with the grant and allows the Principal Investigator to work directly with the Purchasing Department. ORA will retain secondary signatory authority.
Check with your departmental secretary to ascertain who has responsibility for input of purchase orders into the banner (electronic) system in your department. The electronic purchasing system will automatically send the purchase order to ORA for sign off. Electronically marking receipt of purchases should also be done at the departmental level.
If any questions arise from either the PI or the Purchasing Department concerning items to be purchased or already purchased, each should communicate with the other and not the Office of Research. ORA will become involved in the purchasing process only when problems arise and will serve to assure that sponsor rules and regulations are being followed.
The Villanova University financial and accounting systems provide an on-line charge mechanism to make appropriate and lawful purchases that will be assigned to a sponsored project index. On an occasional, urgent basis departmental charge cards may be used for special grant purchases, with the concurrence of the department Chairperson. Occasionally departmental charge cards may be used for grant purchases, with the concurrence of the department Chairperson. Since this practice actually makes the charge against a University (2XXXXX) account, these purchases must be expeditiously reconciled to the appropriate sponsored projects (5XXXXX) index . In certain instances a project director may be qualified for a University charge card assigned to a sponsored projects account. It must be understood that convenience is an insufficient reason for acquiring this type of charge card. There must be a demonstrable and critical need to access sponsored account resources via a charge card.
To apply for a University charge card associated with a "sponsored account" you must:
Financial Accountability Requirements:
Once the request is made the investigator will be informed of the approval/disapproval of the University card issuance within three (3) business days of the request.
The Request for Payment form is used for out of pocket expenses such as subscriptions, dues and memberships and small supply item purchases. If there is any question whether to go though the Purchasing Department or to use the Request for Payment form, please contact the Procurement Department.
The PI should prepare the Request for Payment form, indicating the index number to be charged and forward it to ORA along with all appropriate original receipts. As soon as the Request for Payment is received it will be checked for content and receipt documentation to assure accuracy. It will then be authorized by signature and forwarded to Accounts Payable. If there are no problems with the Request for Payment, it will be forwarded to Accounts Payable for processing.
Please visit the Procurement Department's website for reimbursement forms for outside vendors.
Should the need arise to revise a project, such as a no-cost extension or the transfer of funds from one budget category to another, the Principal Investigator should detail the changes requested and the reason(s) for such changes either by e-mail or in a written memorandum and forward the request to the Office of Research Administration. The budget revision and/or other changes will be reviewed and implemented by ORA if approved, based upon sponsor terms and conditions.
The Office of Research Administration uses as a tool, a list of projects terminating in thirty, sixty, or ninety days. ORA will remind PI's of major purchases which should have been committed, no-cost extension requests to be made, completion dates of subcontracts, and any outstanding obligations to address.
Effective June 1, 1990, Villanova University instituted a policy which enables Principal Investigators and Department Chairs, etc. to acquire funds based on the generation of indirect cost dollars. Under this policy, 25% of all indirect costs (aka Facilities and Administration costs or overhead) go to the University. The distribution of the remaining overhead is determined by the Dean of the College in collaboration with the VPAA, with the understanding that the fundamental purpose of such funds is to support faculty research.
Principal Investigators and Department Chairs/Deans will not see any activity until indirect costs are actually generated from a project account. As soon as indirect cost monies are expended, the PI's, etc. will begin to see funds deposited in their designated account.
The intent of this policy is for funds to be utilized by the PI and the Department Chairs/Deans for research at their respective levels. Funds may be used for any activity related to research support. Funds may not be used to increase salaries.
To be eligible, the project generating the indirect cost monies must be administered by the Office of Research Administration and must have indirect cost built into the original grant or contract budget. Projects having only fringe benefits and no indirect cost are not eligible.
Accounts have been set up for current Principal Investigators by the Controller's Office. ORA will notify new PIs when their new accounts are created and of the account number.
For Principal Investigators: All expenditures from these accounts must be approved by the ORA. Funds will be placed in ledger 4 accounts, i.e., the account number will begin with the number 4, and monies will automatically carry over from one year to the next.
The language governing the intellectual property and patent rights in sponsored agreements has many variations. The Principal Investigator must be familiar with the patent policies both of the University and of the sponsor. The PI is not authorized to negotiate patent matters with potential sponsors. If the PI feels that an invention may result from the work of any faculty member, staff or student involved in the project, the Office of Research Administration should be contacted before any action is taken (including publications or presentations at professional meetings or any other disclosure) with respect to the possible invention. It is crucial that adequate records be kept by all project participants, preferably in bound notebooks, with entries dated and signed by a witness.
Please carefully review Villanova University's Intellectual Property Policy. Any questions or need for clarification should be directed to ORA.