Grants and Sponsored Research

Take home message: Any research or other scholarly work you do for an outside person or entity (including industry sponsors and government agencies) that generates income for U-M, or is paid for by that outside party, is likely to be considered “sponsored” work, and must be managed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) in conjunction with the Sponsored Programs (SP).

Note: This page covers the research (non-financial) aspects of sponsored projects. For financial compliance issues associated with research projects (e.g. direct / indirect costs, effort reporting, and human subject fees), see the Grant administration page under our Tax & Financial section.

U-M Policy and helpful links

  • Each principal investigator (PI) and research administrator (RA) working on each project is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulatory and fiscal obligations that arise in conducting research, and managing grants and sponsored awards.
  • All sponsored projects must be processed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP): see this summary of the proposal process. To determine whether your project is a sponsored project, see the OSRP’s guidance: Is it a sponsored project or a gift?
  • There are numerous U-M policies that apply to sponsored research. For information about policies, see the Guide to U-M Research Policies (maintained by the Office of the Vice President for Research) and the ORSP Policies page (which contains extensive resources on a wide range of topics).
  • The OSRP assist faculty and staff members (including PIs and RAs) in all aspects of external research funding – from identifying potential sponsors and preparing proposals, through the administrative problems that can arise during the life of a project (associated with budgets, personnel, space, sub-contracts, sponsor negotiations, patents, reporting and accountability), to the submission of the documents required to close out the project. The ORSP has expert staff that can assist you, for all types of sponsors and funding agencies. You can also find research administration experts in your department, by searching for your school or unit in the OSRP Blue Pages.
  • On the U-M Flint and U-M Dearborn campuses, faculty and staff are further supported by the U-M Flint Office of Research, and U-M Dearborn Office of Research and Sponsored Programs respectively. These offices work with the ORSP to coordinate externally funded research on the Flint and Dearborn campuses.
  • All sponsored research is managed and routed through e-Research, from submitting a funding proposal and initiating research/ethics approvals, through to closing out a project. The e-Research Proposal Management (eRPM) system will guide you through the compliance and fiscal obligations relevant to the grant itself; and the e-Research Regulatory Management system will guide you through all the compliance obligations and research/ethics approvals relevant to your research project, including Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approvals. The key compliance obligations are also summarized in our Research Compliance Overview.
  • There are many financial compliance issues connected with grant administration, such as properly claiming direct (and indirect) costs, effort reporting, and appropriately managing any incentives given to human research subjects. The Sponsored Programs department supports PIs and RAs in complying with all financial obligations connected with sponsored research. See the Grant administration page under our Tax & Financial section for further details, including information about the OMB Circular A-21″Cost Principles for Educational Institutions”, that applies to all federally sponsored research agreements.
  • The Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) provides a range of education and support services to U-M researchers involved in clinical and health research, including regulatory compliance support. They can help you plan your research, and connect you with people to help manage your project, including compliance aspects.
  • Combating Trafficking in Persons: U-M and the U.S. Government prohibit trafficking in persons, procurements of a commercial sex act, or the use of forced labor in the performance of a federal award.(See, e.g., 22 U.S.C. Chapter 78, Executive Order 13627, and FAR 52.222-50). U-M employees, subcontractors, or agents who violate this prohibition may be subject to U-M penalties, including, but not limited to, reduction in benefits or termination of employment. In addition, U-M will inform, when required,an appropriate Federal officer and agency Inspector General immediately of (i) Any credible information it receives from any source that alleges that a U-M employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or agent has engaged in conduct that violates this prohibition; and (ii) Any actions taken against a U-M employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or agent in response to such a violation.

Things to remember

  • There is an extensive network of research administrators across U-M, who are well versed in the requirements surrounding sponsored research and grant administration. Utilize these experts in your local department! Find Research Administrators within your area by searching for your school or unit in the ORSP Blue Pages.
  • What constitutes “sponsored” research extends far beyond projects funded by government grants: any work that you do for an outside person or entity, that is paid for by that outside party OR generates income for U-M, is likely to be “sponsored” work – and all “sponsored” work must be managed through the ORSP in conjunction with Sponsored Programs, to ensure that an appropriate agreement is in place, and compliance obligations are met. See the ORSP’s guidance on what constitutes a sponsored project; and if in doubt, ask the ORSP or your local Research Administrator.
  • The ORSP and Office of Sponsored Programs offer regular training in research administration, covering the processes and compliance obligations surrounding sponsored projects and grant funded research. See the ORSP Research Administration Workshops site for a description of the training offered, or connect to the current Workshops and Training site to enroll. See also the OVPR Compliance Training and Resources overview, for links to research related training offered by other departments.
  • If you are doing clinical or health research, utilize the resources available through the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), especially their consultations to help you plan your research – and to better arm you with contacts and information for managing your projects, including the compliance aspects.

People to talk to

For advice or assistance about any stage of sponsored projects and grant funded research, or research administration training, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) by calling (734) 764-5500, emailing them, or finding specific staff here.

You can also speak to your local Department’s research administrator, who you can find by searching for your school or unit in the ORSP Blue Pages.

For finance questions related to grants and sponsored projects, contact Sponsored Programs: their Contact Sponsored Programs page sets out who to contact for different types of questions. See the Grant administration page under our Tax & Financial section for more information.

On the U-M Flint campus, you can also contact the U-M Flint Office of Research with any of your questions.

On the U-M Dearborn campus, you can also contact the U-M Dearborn Office of Research and Sponsored Programs with any of your questions.

For legal assistance or advice relating to grant administration, contact Maya Kobersy in the Office of the General Counsel.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 6/26/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated