Research & Sponsored Programs: Functions of Each Team

Page Updated: November 7th, 2017

Our office promotes and facilitates the research, education, and outreach missions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison by supporting and administering extramurally sponsored programs.

What does the RSP staff do for UW? We provide essential services. RSP reviews grant proposals, negotiates contract terms and conditions, oversees all active projects, provides financial reporting, develops policies and practices to comply with federal regulations, and actively monitors all financial activities associated with UW sponsored projects. In addition, RSP takes leadership on campus. We recommend and implement campus systems, both to provide educational and outreach programs and to interpret sponsor policies for the research community. RSP is the foremost instrument to facilitate and administer extramurally sponsored research at UW.

RSP is organized into two main functional units: Pre-Award and Post-Award. The Electronic Research Administration team and Administrative Support team provide invaluable assistance to those primary functions and to the research administration activities performed across campus. The Cost Studies team provides a critical service in development of the campus indirect cost and fringe benefit rates. The Post-Award team includes an audit coordinator, an education coordinator, and a policy analyst who support all of RSP and the UW as a whole. All the RSP teams work closely and collaboratively with UW faculty and staff with the goals of facilitating the work of UW researchers and improving the infrastructure that supports the research enterprise.

RSP Main Office

Telephone Number
608/262-3822

Fax Number
608/262-5111

General Inquiry Email
rspinfo@rsp.wisc.edu

Mailing Address
Research & Sponsored Programs
21 N. Park St., Suite 6401
Madison, WI 53715-1218

The Proposals team works closely to support the review, audit, and submission of research proposals. This team also serves as the liaison between the University (school and college administrators, faculty and professional staff) and our outside customers, such as Federal, State, and Non-Federal agencies and sponsors. In FY2017 approximately 3,800 proposals requesting sponsored funding were submitted.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Assist the campus community with questions regarding application guidelines
  • Send funding opportunities to the College/School Administrators
  • Assist the campus community with questions related to submission of required clearance protocols, including: human subjects, biohazards, vertebrate animals, embryonic stem cells, etc.
  • Provide information related to current fringe benefit and F&A rates
  • Handle special F&A rates and exceptions and questions regarding the methodology of how the F&A is calculated in a proposal budget
  • Review application budgets for usage of correct F&A and fringe rates
  • Verify cost sharing and matching requirements
  • Verify appropriate signatures of principal investigator, department chair, and deans’ offices
  • Review and submit applications by paper and email, and through approximately 70 different electronic submission portals
  • Establish electronic proposal files
  • Negotiate with sponsors regarding revised applications, revised budgets, budget justification, small business plans, representations and certifications, principal investigator (PI) changes, etc.
  • Offer expertise in the use and training of WISPER (Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing), including providing quarterly WISPER 101 trainings and on-going technical assistance
  • Review and manage WISPER records for completeness and accuracy
  • Oversee the use and upgrades of Cayuse (web client created specifically for Grants.gov and the complex federal grant proposal process)
  • Provide the official authorized signature on behalf of the Board of Regents
  • Mediate and serve as liaison between sponsor and faculty until the proposal is funded
  • Manage the pre-award mailbox, a central mailbox for sponsoring agencies and campus
  • Provide notification to the campus community of funded and non-funded applications

The Contracts team reviews and negotiates about 1,500 agreements each year that provide sponsored project funding to UW faculty and staff. The review and negotiation processes ensure that the interests of the PI, the University, and the State are all adequately protected and that the legal obligations of the agreement do not conflict with the University’s research mission or its policies. Typical areas for negotiation include intellectual property rights, indemnification, mitigation of publication restrictions, ownership of data, and terms of payment. These terms may originate in a standard contract from the sponsor or in the University’s Standard Research Agreement. Terms could involve Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR clauses) or may be written from scratch and customized to the sponsoring agency’s interests. The Contracts team also oversees the preparation of outgoing sub-award agreements, Clinical Trial Confidentiality Agreements, Clinical Trial Funding Agreements (CTA’s), and non-monetary agreements. Contracts team members work closely with the Proposals team and Award Acceptance & Set-up team members to ensure that contracts and agreements are processed in an efficient manner, including reviewing pre-proposal terms and facilitating communication of key terms to the Award Acceptance & Set-up team. In addition, team members work with RSP Post-Award teams to provide assurance that implemented financial terms are appropriate for our institution.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Review and negotiate agreements for compliance with UW policies, state and federal regulations, including:
    • Protection of intellectual property
    • Review and mitigation of publication restrictions
    • Indemnification and insurance requirements
    • Ownership of research data
    • Payment and invoicing requirements
    • Use of sensitive or classified data
    • Prohibitions on PI's activities
  • Coordinate with WARF on issues of IP rights, licensing arrangements, etc.
  • Coordinate closely with University Legal Counsel on unusual contract requirements
  • Communicate with PI’s, departmental and college/school administrators on terms
  • Prepare, issue, and negotiate outgoing sub-awards, about 400/year

The Award Acceptance & Set-up team handles a variety of critical functions of research administration at the central office level. The Awards team is primarily responsible for the review and set-up of all awards made to the University. The setup of a research award is a high profile, outward facing, linchpin process in the award lifecycle. There are several key stakeholders, including academic and department leadership, principal investigators (PIs), and local research administrative support. The team assists these stakeholders in navigating the complex award acceptance and set-up process. On a high level, the team is responsible for ensuring the investigator and institution are in compliance with University, State, federal and sponsor regulations/policies prior to set-up. When the appropriate requirements for the work being performed and all necessary compliance approvals are in place, the Award Acceptance & Set-up team establishes the accounting controls in the Shared Financial System. In addition, the team reviews and ensures compliance requirements are met at each subsequent modification to the award. In FY2017, the team processed the set-up of nearly 1,800 new awards and 2,800 award modifications.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Perform compliance review for awarded projects in order to ensure each meets UW policies, state and federal regulations, including the following:
    • IRB (Human), IACUC (Animal), OBS (Biosafety), HESC (Stem Cell)
    • Cost Sharing
    • Effort Commitments, Certification and Training
    • Outside Activities Reporting & Financial Conflict of Interest
    • PI Status
  • Perform fiscal review of awarded projects to ensure cost sharing, fringe benefits, and F&A costs are appropriate
  • Communicate award receipt and basic award requirements (reporting requirements, budgetary terms) to PIs and departmental administrators
  • Manage SFS award data, including sponsor profile management, data management, and updates to individual projects and awards
  • Support general WISPER and campus business processes
  • Develop, maintain, and review procedures supporting use of WISPER for collection of award data
  • Coordinate with researcher, departmental, and divisional staff to review awarded budgets. Assist in determining if proposed amounts differ and if so, by what amount. Gather revised budgets to match the award and ensure that the revised plan meets sponsor, University, and project needs
  • Train campus on WISPER award data collection processes
  • Manage a variety of mailboxes that receive award documents and other correspondence from sponsors
  • Manage cost share and commitment information and systems
  • Analyze and interpret complex issues related to award acceptance and set-up to help resolve problems between granting agencies and the University

The DHHS Post-Award team provides grants management of awards funded directly or indirectly by the federal DHHS agency, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The DHHS team is responsible for contract setup in PeopleSoft for all direct and flow-through awards from DHHS. The team reviews awards to ensure that all expenditures are accurate, allowable, and reasonable. The team creates and monitors invoices for payment and reviews and tracks subrecipient awards.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Establish and maintain procedures and systems for fiscal management of grants and contracts
  • Provide training, instruction, and guidance in extramural support
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of University operations (e.g., Accounting, Purchasing, Property Control, etc.) and the interrelationships between these operations and extramural support operations
  • Maintain an extensive working knowledge of Federal Circulars A-110, A-21, A-133, 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance), Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Attend meetings as departmental or university representative at the university, regional, or national level
  • Analyze and interpret complex issues to help resolve problems between Federal agencies and the University
  • Maintain stewardship function for all federal funds received at Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Process no-cost extensions for all DHHS awards
  • Process all subaward modifications
  • Review awards for appropriate spending and communicating with campus on any items that may be unallowable or need additional justification
  • Correspond with federal agencies and campus staff to facilitate any prior approvals that are required on awards
  • Review and approve all cost transfers
  • Complete Contract setup for all awards from DHHS, including awards that flow down from other prime recipient institutions
  • Complete final financial report or final invoice analysis of all award expenditures and prepare final report or invoice by deadlines
  • Perform award closeouts
  • Draw all funds through electronic Payment Management System for DHHS subaccounts

The Post-Award team for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Justice (DOJ) provides accounting support for extramural research, including providing direction and advice in grant and contract financial report preparation and grant and contract fiscal administration. Team members analyze projects to determine which policies or procedures apply to any particular situation. They monitor those projects to ensure that compliance with accounting standards is maintained throughout the life of the projects.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Establish and maintain procedures and systems for fiscal management of grants and contracts
  • Prepare financial reports, invoices, and statements
  • Provide training, instruction, and guidance in extramural support
  • Administer fiscal operations of grants and contracts including cost transfers, subawards, tuition remission and F&A allocations, cost sharing, and post-audit of allowable expenses
  • Assist in site visits by sponsoring agencies and discussions with auditors concerning university systems and individual projects
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of sponsors’ policies and procedures
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of University operations (e.g., Accounting, Purchasing, Property Control, etc.) and the interrelationships between these operations and extramural support operations
  • Maintain an extensive working knowledge of Federal Circulars A-110, A-21, A-133, 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance), Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Attend meetings as departmental or university representative at the university, regional, or national level
  • Analyze and interpret complex issues to help resolve problems between Federal agencies and the University
  • Maintain stewardship function for all federal funds received at Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Perform effort review of salary cost transfers
  • Review awards for appropriate spending and communicating with campus on any items that may be unallowable or need additional justification
  • Correspond with federal agencies and campus staff to facilitate any prior approvals that are required on awards
  • Review and approve all cost transfers
  • Complete Contract setup for all awards from DOE, NSF and DOJ, including awards that flow down from other prime recipient institutions
  • Perform award closeouts
  • Draw all funds through various sponsor electronic payment systems
  • Prepare quarterly SF-425 cash report

The Miscellaneous Federal Post-Award team provides accounting support for extramural research, including providing direction and advice in grant and contract financial report preparation and fiscal administration. Team members analyze projects to determine which policies or procedures apply to any particular situation. They monitor those projects to ensure that compliance with accounting standards is maintained throughout the life of the projects. The team is responsible for a wide array of sponsors, including the Department of Education, Veteran’s Administration, Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Treasury, NASA, National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, Housing and Urban Development, US AID, US Department of Agriculture, Commerce, EPA, and many more.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Establish and maintain procedures and systems for fiscal management of grants and contracts
  • Prepare grant and contract financial reports, invoices, and statements
  • Provide training, instruction, and guidance in extramural support
  • Administer fiscal operations of grants and contracts
  • Assist in site visits by sponsoring agencies or discussions with auditors concerning system and/or individual project audits
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of sponsoring agencies’ policies and procedures
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of University operations (e.g., Accounting, Purchasing, Property Control, etc.) and the interrelationships between these operations and extramural support operations
  • Maintain an extensive working knowledge of Federal Circulars A-110, A-21, A-133, 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance), Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Attend meetings as departmental and/or university representative at the university, regional, and/or national level
  • Analyze and interpret complex issues to help resolve problems between federal agencies and the University
  • Maintain stewardship function for all federal funds received at RSP

The Nonfederal Post-Award team provides accounting support for extramural research, including providing direction and advice in grant and contract financial report preparation and fiscal administration. Team members analyze projects to determine which policies or procedures apply to any particular situation. They monitor those projects to ensure that compliance with accounting standards is maintained throughout the life of the projects. There are more than 1,000 nonfederal sponsors, each with unique policies and business practices. Though the total nonfederal award dollars are smaller than the amount awarded by federal agencies, the variations in procedures significantly increases the time required to manage these awards.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Establish and maintain procedures and systems for fiscal management of grants and contracts
  • Prepare grant and contract financial reports, invoices, and statements
  • Provide training, instruction, and guidance in extramural support
  • Administer fiscal operations of grants and contracts, including cost transfers, subawards, tuition remission and F&A allocations, cost sharing, and post-audit of allowable expenses
  • Establish and maintain necessary financial and sponsored project information in the Shared Financial System (SFS)
  • Analyze and interpret complex issues to resolve problems between sponsors and the University
  • Maintain stewardship function for all non-federal funds received at Research and Sponsored Programs, including collection of late payments, filing of bankruptcy claims, temporary investment of proceeds and refunds of unexpended balances as required
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of sponsoring agencies’ policies and procedures and their electronic systems for reporting and invoicing
  • Assist in site visits and audits by sponsoring agencies or their auditors concerning University’s systems and individual projects
  • Develop and maintain an extensive working knowledge of University operations (e.g., Accounting, Purchasing, Property Control, etc.) and the interrelationships between these operations and extramural support operations
  • Maintain an extensive working knowledge of Federal Circulars A-110, A-21, A-133, 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) and impact on University and nonfederal sponsors’ policies and procedures
  • Attend meetings as departmental or university representative at the university, regional, national level
  • Close out awards and maintain grant records in accordance with record retention requirements

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, the nonfederal Post-Award team facilitates the following processes for both federal and non-federal sponsored projects:

  • Subaward invoice processing
  • Residual balance processing

The Revenue Management team provides accounts receivable payment processing and collections support for extramural research.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities include the following

  • Process check and electronic payments received for sponsored programs accounts receivable and clinical trials in the Shared Financial System (SFS)
  • Complete electronic payment and new vendor forms
  • Maintain payment documentation files
  • Monitor accounts receivable aging and provide collection efforts on behalf of the UW-Madison research enterprise
  • Perform accounts receivable and payment reporting and analysis
  • Provide training and technical support for sponsor billing, payment and collection issues
  • Process refund of receipt requests and refund expenditure payments for sponsored programs
  • Reconcile the sponsored programs payments clearing account

The Cost Studies team is responsible for development of the facilities and administrative (F&A) and fringe benefit rates for UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Extension.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Administer and update the Facilities and Administrative Rate (F&A) Calculation and Recovery System for UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Extension
  • Calculate all University wide F&A rates (both on and off-campus) for UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Extension in accordance with Federal cost principles under established deadlines
  • Analyze and integrate financial data, fixed assets, space, and equipment inventories into the University's computerized F&A Rate Recovery System
  • Interpret, allocate, and analyze complex financial data as it relates to the various cost pools and MTDC bases
  • Obtain DOA and UW-System allocated costs and determine the proper cost pool distribution
  • Reconcile the University's accounting systems, building, space and equipment inventory files to the UW-System GAAP Financial Statements
  • Prepare and update the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cost Accounting Standards Board Disclosure Statement (form DS-2) detailing the institution’s cost accounting practices
  • Develop the campus extramural fringe benefit rates based on data provided by UW-System, campus budget offices, and the Shared Financial System
  • Provide fiscal and administrative support to campus leadership related to the F&A rate calculation and proposal, fringe benefit rate calculation and proposal, and cost accounting practices as outlined in the disclosure statement
  • Serve as institutional contact point for our cognizant Federal Agency and Auditor on matters related to F&A rate, fringe benefit rates, and the cost accounting disclosure statement

The ERA team serves several critical roles for RSP and the campus by providing support on various electronic systems. SFS, ECRT (Effort Reporting), Cayuse (Grants.gov application submission) are among the most important for continued functions of grants and contracts. In addition, many sponsored project data reporting needs are met within the ERA team. The ERA team also supports and develops web-based tools used by RSP and campus for more effective management of sponsored projects.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Provide oversight of effort reporting system and compliance with effort policies, OMB A-21, and 2 CFR 200
  • Manage the effort reporting process and system for tracking and confirming the certification of effort by University personnel
  • Provide clear direction to faculty and staff for determining effort and verifying effort
  • Provide troubleshooting support to RSP, VCRGE, and CALS on PeopleSoft Grants Suite issues. Additionally, work with UWSA on UWMIL and UWEXT PeopleSoft Grants issues
  • Provide training to RSP staff on PeopleSoft use and business process
  • Execute month-end and year-end close processes in Grants Suite in conjunction with Accounting Services
  • Collaborate with Accounting Services on GL/Grants related issues
  • Provide data to UWSA for Regent Reports, financial statements, and other reporting needs
  • Provide sponsored project data and reporting assistance to RSP staff, VCRGE vice chancellors, and other campus leaders
  • Develop technical tools within RSP for streamlining workload management
  • Oversee Grants.gov system-to-system application submission tool: Cayuse
  • Provide RSP staff with technical support and input on various sponsor electronic application and reporting systems
  • Maintain RSP website
  • Serve on Higher Education User Group Grants Product Advisory Group to influence Oracle on future development of Grants Suite
  • Serve on Federal Demonstration Partnership Electronic Research Administration standing committee

The Administrative Support team of three FTE’s works closely to support the entire office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP). In addition to supporting internal staff, they are the initial face and voice of RSP to all of our outside customers. These customers are school and college administrators, faculty and professional staff and students, as well as contacts from Federal, State, and Non-Federal agencies and sponsors.

Specific Functions and Responsibilities

  • Retrieve, sort, date stamp and distribute all incoming mail, invoices, checks and correspondence
  • Order all supplies for RSP, including phones, office supplies and furniture
  • Interview, hire, train and oversee student hourly positions
  • Serve as members of Building Manager and Shared Space committees – including key distribution and collection, and building access database for building security
  • Schedule all meetings and interviews – room assignments, appointments and teleconferences
  • Process staff registrations for courses, conferences, memberships, etc.
  • Coordinate travel arrangements for the Director
  • Provide oversight of NCURA events for the campus
  • Create requisitions and internal work orders
  • Be responsible for two departmental P-Card holder accounts and serve as site manager
  • Retrieve, audit and finalize all staff timesheets
  • Monitor requirements for new and departing employees
  • Oversee the RSP extensive filing system, maintain fiscal files, and archive all records
  • Assist with correspondence in several of the RSP electronic mailboxes
  • Assist with reviewing and printing sponsor award notifications from the SFS system
  • Prepare and maintain a daily RSP staff calendar and post daily agendas to conference rooms
  • Help problem solve in a wide variety of areas for the entire staff
  • Arrange for telephone repair and coordinate telephone additions, moves, changes. Also review monthly and yearly rental and usage billings and make changes where necessary
  • Coordinate repair and maintenance problems as they occur with Physical Plant
  • Possess knowledge of RSP databases as well as shared databases for searches and routing of information