Contract and Subaward Process Changes

The Division of Sponsored Programs would like to inform you of some impending process changes that could impact you – ultimately in a positive way. The changes stem from a concerted effort to review and improve our contract-related services, by way of a “Lean” process improvement event involving about 20 participants, including UI principal investigators and departmental administrators. We are pleased to offer the following summary of the impending changes. 

New Contract Routing Requirements

Starting May 21, 2007, all contract-related proposals and agreements sent to DSP must be accompanied by a UI sponsored projects routing form*. With this change the current routing requirement will extend to contract-related amendments that add funding to existing projects, and to non-monetary agreements, including incoming Material Transfer, Confidential Disclosure, Data Use, and Equipment Loan Agreements. To simplify the process, Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) and other non-monetary agreements will not use the standard routing form, but will adopt a new, abbreviated form developed for this purpose.

MTA & Non-Monetary Agreements Routing Form* 

A new web-based routing form has been developed specifically for use with incoming MTAs and other non-monetary agreements processed through DSP. The new form merges, in an abbreviated format, elements of the existing UI routing form with elements of the previously required MTA routing form. For all non-monetary agreements a fully signed routing form will be required prior to institutional signature on the agreement.

Routing Exception: No-Cost Extensions

The new routing requirement allows a single exception, applicable only to incoming-contract no-cost extension (NCE) requests. In the case of NCE requests, routing may be recommended, but will not be required:

If the NCE does not require a UI signature (i.e., is a unilateral extension), no routing form is necessary. The amendment may simply be forwarded to DSP for processing.

If the NCE requires a UI signature, routing is recommended, but not required. Each department or unit may determine whether to route the no-cost extension.**

If a contract NCE request is forwarded to DSP without a routing form, please include a note verifying the PI’s approval, the name of the person sending the request, and the date sent.

New Contract Log, Subaward Log

The DSP is planning a 2007 launch of two new web-based logs: a Contract Log of routed agreements/amendments, and a Subaward Log of requested and issued subawards/amendments. Upon completion of a routing form or PReq, the corresponding agreement/amendment will be incorporated into the log, enabling PIs and departments to track its status through the negotiation and award processes and to view the draft and final agreements as the Document progresses.

Subaward-Specific Changes

The DSP has been working with the Grant Accounting Office and the Purchasing Department to streamline the outgoing subaward process. The following components are in place or in progress:

  • Electronic Distribution of Documents – The UI has implemented a new system to allow electronic, on-campus distribution of agreements. The system is currently in use, distributing agreements by way of automatic e-mail generated through the University of Iowa Research Information System (UIRIS).
  • Sole-Source Justification Form – A new form is in development to streamline the sole-source justification process in relation to collaborative subawards, replacing the narrative currently required. Tentative availability: Summer 2007.

The changes summarized herein are intended to improve the contracting process by rendering DSP procedures more efficient and contract information more accessible. The newly required routing forms, for instance, will enable DSP to receive key information upfront, in a consistent format, permitting agreements to be processed and negotiated in a timelier manner; this improvement will become increasingly evident as DSP staff vacancies are filled. The new contract and subcontract logs will enable investigators and departments to track the status of routed agreements directly and independently, without DSP as intermediary.

We are excited to implement these new components to the contracting and subaward processes, and will continue to provide updates regarding our progress. If you have questions or concerns at any time, please contact Wendy Beaver (335-2122) wendy-beaver@uiowa.edu.