Roles and Responsibilities in Developing and Managing Extramural and Selected Intramural Sponsored Projects

Research administration, which encompasses application submission, award management, compliance, and project administration of sponsored projects, involves many UWM units and employees across the institution.

Lifecycle of a Project

To help UWM researchers and their units understand the specific roles and responsibilities across the lifecycle of a sponsored project, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has developed the following matrices for each phase of a sponsored project. Each matrix identifies the specific tasks to be conducted and the primary persons and/or units responsible for each task. These matrices differentiate between tasks for which OSP is responsible and tasks for which the PI/Division/Department are responsible, as well as highlight the role of other supporting units as applicable.



  • Narrative Development
  • Budget Development
  • Compliance
  • Full Application Development, Review, and Submission


  • Post-Submission, Pre-Award Response/Revisions
  • Award Negotiation
  • Compliance Review
  • Award Acceptance and Project/Account Setup


  • Regulatory Committees (e.g., COI, IRB, IACUC, Risk Management)
  • Personnel Actions
  • Data Management
  • Non-financial Reporting


  • Subawards/Subcontracts
  • Effort Reporting
  • Interim Financial Reporting
  • Invoicing


  • Posting Final Expenses
  • Final Financial and Non-financial Reporting
  • Contract/Project/Award Records Closeout

The tasks listed in each matrix are based on current best practices in research administration. Each school, college, division, or unit needs to determine the processes, roles, and responsibilities to best meet its needs, and OSP can assist in this process. This can form the basis for process documents, checklists, and other tools to manage sponsored funds. Questions? Contact Kate Mollen, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs at mollen@uwm.edu.

Definitions of Investigator and Institutional Responsibilities on Sponsored Projects

Designated Legal Authority

The legal applicant for extramural proposals and awards is the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System (Regent Policy Document 13-1). Applications are submitted by the Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), with specific individuals having delegated signature authority. All applications and awards (grants and contracts) from external sponsors must be signed, accepted, or submitted by an authorized institutional representative of the institution. Deans, department chairs, and/or Principal Investigators are not authorized to bind the institution to grants and contracts.

Many of the roles and responsibilities for extramural sponsored projects also apply to intramural projects supported with UWM funds and thus must comply with many of the same University of Wisconsin System (UWS) and UWM policies and regulations.

Overview of Roles and Responsibilities

1. Office of Research (OR)

  • The Office of Research facilitates the creation of new knowledge and the development of innovative solutions by supporting research across the sciences, arts, and humanities that enhances the mission of the UWM and spurs economic growth.
  • The Office of Research is responsible for the administration of research activity, oversight of research policy, and compliance with federal and state mandates at UWM.
  • The Office of Research provides pre- and post-award administrative support for sponsored projects, encourages the transfer of technology to the marketplace, and develops policies that protect investigators, subjects, and the institution.

2. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

  • OSP is a unit of the Office of Research. The functional units of OSP are Research Development Services, Pre‑Award Administration, Post-Award Administration, Compliance, and Contracting.
  • The UWM Chancellor has granted the OSP signature authority to submit proposals and contracts for extramural funding, sign certification statements, and to accept awards and agreements on behalf of Principal Investigators at UWM. This authority is delegated from the Board of Regents through the UWS to the UWM Chancellor.
  • All requests to submit applications for sponsored projects must be approved by OSP and the designated School/College/Division representative prior to submission and routed through WISPER when applicable.
  • Any proposal, award, or contract document requiring an official signature must be signed by an authorized representative in OSP.
  • OSP oversees institutional policies and procedures governing the submission of funding applications, award acceptance, and financial management of awards.
  • OSP maintains institutional accounts with sponsor electronic proposal submission systems (e.g., Grants.gov, Research.gov/FastLane).
  • OSP maintains the effort certification database and reporting system.

3. Division/Department (Dept.)

  • The Division/Department includes administrative positions, activities, and/or functions in individual Schools/Colleges, including the Associate Dean of Research. Staff support includes effort coordinators and other research administrators, information technology, financial management, and others involved in the review and approval of proposals, awards, non-financial agreements, and other research-related documents on behalf of the Division and/or Department. (Integrated Support Services may assume some Division/Department functions as these hubs are implemented, particularly the post-award components.)
  • School/College/Division deans, department chairs, administrative staff, and Principal Investigators do not have signature authority to bind UWM to grants and contracts for sponsored projects.

4. Principal Investigator (PI)

  • The Principal Investigator is the intellectual and administrative leader of a project, accepting overall responsibility for research/program direction and implementation, financial oversight of award funds, and compliance with relevant UWS and UWM policies, federal regulations, and sponsor terms and conditions of an award. Award types include research grants, cooperative agreements, and cost-reimbursed or fixed-term contracts.
  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators on sponsored projects by virtue of their position.
  • Only faculty and those academic staff with probationary or indefinite status may serve as a Principal Investigator (PI or Co-PI) on a sponsored project. Others may serve as a PI or Co-PI only with permission from both the dean/division head and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. The request should include a Request For Limited Principal Investigator (PI) Status (.doc) and a current curriculum vitae or résumé.
  • Principal Investigators do not have signature authority and thus cannot legally bind UWM to grants and contracts.
  • If there is a Multiple Principal Investigator model (MPI), a contact PI must be identified and a leadership plan in place that differentiates roles for each PI.

5. Other Units

Other units at UWM that may have specific roles and responsibilities for sponsored awards include but are not limited to:

  • Business and Financial Services: Grant-related services include Accounting, Accounts Payable for Travel Cards, Purchasing Cards, payments to research subjects; Purchasing, Pre-audit; Travel, and Payment Card Compliance. Some of these services may be assigned to the Integrated Support Services (ISS) hubs.
  • Center for International Education for international students or travel-related issues.
  • Human Resources and Integrated Support Services for new project personnel and student employment.
  • Graduate School for policies and procedures regarding graduate research assistants and graduate students paid hourly on grants.
  • Legal Affairs for contracts and agreements, such as confidentiality, data use, and intellectual property.
  • Office of Research for internal grant programs, selection of limited submission applicants, and general oversight for open research.
  • University Information Technology Services for data security and storage, access to high-performance computing, electronic survey tools, purchase of hardware and software, web page development, and email access.
  • University Safety and Assurances (US&A) is responsible for providing essential environmental health, safety, human subjects protection, animal care and risk management services to UWM faculty, students, and staff. US&A comprises the following programs at UWM:
    • The Human Research Protection Program is responsible for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects. The IRB ensures the adequacy of proposed research plans to minimize risks and to maximize the potential for benefit for human subjects who participate in research.
    • The Animal Care Program is responsible for the care, health and well-being of animals used for research and education at UWM and to observe all legal and ethical standards pertaining to the use of animals for research and education. This includes oversight of the UWM Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
    • The Environmental Protection Program manages institutional chemical recycling and waste management, hazardous materials management, underground storage tank monitoring, and local chemical emergency planning and response at UWM.
    • Safety and Health Programs promotes safety, compliance, and environmental health in order to facilitate education and research at UWM. Includes Art Studio and Shop Safety; Biological Safety; Chemical Safety; Emergency Preparedness; General Safety; Laboratory Safety; Occupational Safety and Radiation Safety.
  • UWM Campus Space Management and Planning for the allocation of space, including leasing.
  • UWM Foundation for the development and management of philanthropic gifts to the University.
  • UWM Real Estate Foundation for the management of buildings at Innovation Campus, including the Accelerator.
  • UWM Research Foundation for technology transfer (e.g., patents and licensing).
  • UWM Libraries Data Services for training and consultation for data management and data management plans.