300.00 Overview of Sponsored Programs Administration

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) manages all functions related to sponsored programs at Montana State University, defined as any activity, research or otherwise, that is funded by an external source such as Federal, state, or private organization. All requests for externally funded projects require the review and approval of OSP. Once a project is approved, the University and the Principal Investigator (PI) have a shared responsibility to the funding agency or sponsor to ensure that a project is performed as proposed, that funding is used in accordance with the specified terms and conditions, and that all required reports are provided according to the schedule established by the funder.

310.00  The Office of Sponsored Programs

The Office of Sponsored Programs is located on the third floor of Montana Hall and assumes responsibility for the following functions:

  • Review and authorization of proposals for submission;
  • Negotiation of award terms and conditions;
  • Acceptance of awards on behalf of the University;
  • Drafting and issuance of subcontracts and sub-awards;
  • Coordination with the Principal Investigators and departments to assure compliance with all applicable sponsor regulations and University policies and procedures;
  • Notifying the University community of funding opportunities as well updates to application guidelines;
  • Informing the University community of sponsor regulations and policies;
  • Supporting the efforts of the Principal Investigators and administrators in managing funds awarded as grants and contracts as detailed below in Section 600.00, 700.00, and 800.00;

The Office of Sponsored Programs and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) are a part of the Office of Research and Economic Development. 

320.00  The Principal Investigator

The PI assumes the primary responsibility for the conduct of any sponsored project. To insure that the research is conducted by those who have the requisite skills and training, only employees authorized in the Principal Investigator Policy may serve as PIs (or Co-PIs) on grants and contracts managed by the MSU Office of Sponsored Programs. Generally, the Policy provides that only tenured, tenurable, or research faculty and research scientists may serve as PIs. The Policy provides for certain exceptions to this general rule and should be reviewed if any other persons are being considered for designation as PIs on particular proposals.  

OSP-sponsored PI Training is required before taking on PI responsibilities. The training is also encouraged for all other investigators and research personnel.

330.00  Overview of Principal Investigator Responsibilities  

Sponsored programs administration is a joint effort between the PI and the University. The PI is accountable for the proper fiscal management and for the scientific and intellectual direction of the project. The University is legally and financially responsible and accountable to the sponsor for the performance of the activity funded and the proper use of funds, but without the full cooperation and oversight of the PI, MSU would be unable to fulfill its stewardship role. The PI is responsible to the University and to the sponsor for the following:

  • Enrollment in OSP-sponsored PI training before taking on PI responsibilities (the training is also encouraged for all other investigators and research personnel);
  • Assurance that the scope of work for which the award was made is completed;
  • Adherence to MSU policies and procedures;
  • Expenditure of funds in accordance with the awarded budget and sponsor terms and conditions;

While the PI may delegate some responsibility for day-to-day management of finances or other tasks to departmental business staff, the PI remains accountable for compliance with University policy and sponsor requirements. A more detailed description of the PI’s responsibilities can be found below in Section 840.00 and Appendix C.