Contracts and Grants Policy

Please note: In light of ongoing changes in federal regulations and administrative structure, this section must be revised annually. Please check with the dean for faculty development and research, or the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs if you have questions regarding administrative policies or procedures.

1. The vice president for academic development (VPAD), the dean for faculty development and research (DFDR), and the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs all provide assistance and administrative coordination for applications requesting funds from government agencies, foundations, corporations, and other sources. Day-to-day responsibilities are delegated to the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs, which will work with faculty to assist with grant applications. When notification of an available program comes directly to a department and the department wishes to make application for a grant, the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs should be notified of this intent as soon as possible (not later than one month in advance of the closing date for the application). Scheduling should be coordinated with the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs to allow two weeks for the review of draft proposals in appropriate administrative offices. Direct and indirect costs must be computed, and, in cases for which College matching funds are required, the necessary administrative approval must be obtained.

2. Each research or other project proposal (or formal preliminary proposal that includes an estimated budget or commitment of academic year term) to an outside agency requires the approval of the chair of the department in which it originates. In this approval the department chair certifies that the proposed project is consistent with departmental and College research objectives and policy, that space and facilities for effective performance are available, and that the individual initiating the proposal and such other personnel as may be required will be available without interference with their academic duties and will be able to perform the research or other project effectively.

3. Following approval by the department chair, the research or other project proposal (or formal preliminary proposal) must be approved by the dean for faculty development and research. An endorsement from the vice president for Academic Affairs, vice president for academic development, dean of curriculum, director of the sciences, director of the arts, or the vice president for Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs may also be required. Modifications of the proposal as they may deem necessary or desirable will be made at this time.

4. Under some circumstances, it may be possible to include budget lines to pay for released time in a grant application. Faculty who wish to do so must consult with the department chair as well as the dean for faculty development and research and dean of curriculum early in the grant conceptualization and writing process so the deans may assess the impact of a course release on department and college curriculum. The primary factors in deciding whether or not to allow inclusion of requests for released time in grant applications are the ability of the department to find a replacement and/or the impact of losing a course in the department/college curriculum. The following guidelines apply:

a. The primary mechanism for course releases should be winter term course releases.

b. Having a course release does not reduce obligations in advising, committee service, or chairing departments and programs.

c. In order to ensure continuity in the curriculum and equity in course loads, no more than three years out of a five-year period may include grant-funded released time.

d. It is expected that faculty with course releases will mentor more research students. Wherever possible, funds to pay for student research assistants should be built into the grant budget.

e. Compensation to the College is computed at 18% of the faculty member’s annual salary per course, plus benefits.

5. Applications approved by the aforementioned officers must be reviewed by the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs to ensure compliance with College and Federal Government (or other sponsor) requirements. The following guidelines apply:

a. If academic policy permits instructional personnel to devote time during the academic year to research contracts or grants, the approval as appropriate of the department chair and the DFDR will indicate the proportion of time allotted to research in determining the proper allocation of the academic year salary between research and instructional work.

b. Applications incorporating provisions for extra pay for research or other project work normally will be approved to provide for up to two months of extra work during the summer. One month's summer salary is equal to 1/9th of the annual contract salary for the prior academic year.  Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the VPAA/DOF, upon recommendation of the director of the sciences or DFDR.

c. The budget incorporated in the project application should make the maximum allowable provision for indirect cost reimbursement.

d. All direct costs comprehensively defined will be reflected in the budget incorporated in the project application. When faculty apply for outside funding to support academic leaves, the level of support from the College is understood to be 75 percent for a semester leave and 55 percent for a year's leave.

e. The adequacy of provisions in the proposed budget for equipment, building alterations, power consumption, etc., must be verified by the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration in consultation with the budget director, the director of Facilities Management, and other appropriate officials and the chair of the department originating the proposal; provisions for salaries must be made in consultation with the vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty or director of Human Resources, as appropriate. All applications in which support is requested for the purchase of computers or software or central technology needs must be approved by the associate vice president for Information Technology or designate.

f. If the application calls for matching funds to be provided by the College, the Grant Proposal Endorsement Form must include the College budget number from which these matching funds will come and an authorizing signature.

g. If the application calls for purchase of equipment requiring maintenance after a warranty period, there must be a budget number to be charged for maintenance.

h. All grant proposals must disclose any family relationship between the project director and anyone named in the proposal. No family members may be paid with grant funds unless that relationship was disclosed in the proposal or disclosed to the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration after receipt of a grant award.

i. Any “Significant Financial Interest” (as defined by Federal and College policy) must be disclosed to the controller at the time of submission, or after a grant is funded, at the time such a potential conflict of interest arises.   In lieu of the aforementioned requirement, proposals to and grants awarded by any public health service entity including the National Institutes of Health are governed by the PHS/NIH Financial Conflict of Interest Policy posted on the Middlebury College website in August 2012.

j. The application and/or letter transmitting it to the sponsor must state that payment of the contract or grant be directed to the controller and disbursements from it made under his or her direction. All accounting and financial reports will be handled by the Office of the Controller (or designate) or Office of Grants and Contracts Administration.

6. The director of Grants and Contracts Administration is authorized to sign all grant applications on behalf of the College when he or she is satisfied that all the above conditions have been met. A copy of the complete proposal must be provided to the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs.

7. Upon receipt of contract or grant funds in response to an application approved and executed as set forth above, all procedures then in effect for disbursement of College funds from the regular College budget will apply. The College cannot be less scrupulous in handling such external funds than in handling its own funds, and in some instances will be called upon to observe even more meticulous requirements.

Commitments to pay for additional personnel must be cleared with Human Resources before such commitments are made. All purchases must be covered by purchase requisition identified with the budget number and cleared through the purchasing agent in advance of making the purchase commitments. Determination of whether or not proposed purchases or other charges are allowable under the terms of a grant or contract will be made by the director of Grants and Contracts Administration, who may require in cases of reasonable doubt require the prior approval of the sponsoring organization.

8. Middlebury College has a primary responsibility for the scholarly needs of its faculty. Middlebury also recognizes its concern for the continued scholarly productivity of faculty departing for other institutions.

When a departing faculty member requests release of certain research equipment brought to Middlebury through a personal research grant, the College will consider release of equipment to the other institution concerned on an individual basis and in accord with the following guidelines:

a. The equipment is critical to the investigator's research, and

b. It will not or cannot be supplied by the institution to which he or she is going, and

c. It is not critical to faculty research at Middlebury, and

d. The conditions under which the equipment or funds used to purchase it were secured do not preclude disposition. "Critical" equipment is defined as equipment essential to research personally conducted or directed by the faculty member. The individual requesting the equipment has the responsibility for demonstrating to the College his or her need for that equipment for the continuation of his or her personal research.