COVID-19: Essential Information

C.13. Grants & Contracts

Please note: In light of ongoing changes in federal regulations and administrative structure, this section may be revised periodically. 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 affairs (VPAA), and the dean for faculty development and research (DFDR), have overall responsibility 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 and the administration of funded grants and contracts. 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 following sponsor and Middlebury policies, and, in cases for which matching funds or other commitments are required, the necessary administrative approvals must be obtained.

Awards made as a result of grant or contract proposals submitted by Middlebury faculty are typically legally-binding agreements between the sponsor and Middlebury.  The faculty principal investigator or project director (PI/PD) has responsibility for carrying out the approved project on behalf of Middlebury.

2. Each research or other project proposal (or preliminary proposal that include an estimated budget or commitment of academic year time or institutional resources) to an outside agency requires a Proposal Endorsement and Tracking (PET) form submitted via the online InfoEd system.  The proposal and PET form must first be approved by 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 Middlebury 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 preliminary proposal) must then be approved by the dean for faculty development and research. An endorsement from the provost, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty, dean of curriculum, director of the sciences, director of the arts, director of the humanities, or the vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the Schools 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 and dean of curriculum early in the grant conceptualization and writing process so the dean may assess the impact of a reduced teaching load  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 if a replacement is authorized and/or the impact of losing a course in the department/college curriculum. The following guidelines apply:

a. Winter term course releases are often the easiest for a department to absorb and replace, and should therefore be given primary consideration.

b. Having a grant-funded teaching reduction 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 for a given faculty member.

d. It is expected that faculty with grant-funded released time will mentor more research students. Wherever possible, funds to pay for student research assistants should be built into grant budgets.

e. Faculty compensation for the purpose of the proposal is computed at 18% of the faculty member’s annual salary per course release, plus benefits.

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

a. Project 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 DFDR.

b. The budget incorporated in the project application must include applicable indirect (F&A) costs at Middlebury’s federally-approved indirect cost rate unless the sponsor or solicitation otherwise limits them.  Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the VPAA/DOF.

c. 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 of stated salary for a semester leave and 55 percent of stated salary for a year's leave.

d. The adequacy of provisions in the proposed budget for equipment, building alterations, power consumption, etc., must be reviewed by the Office of Grants & Sponsored Programs  in consultation with the director of budget and financial planning, the director of Facilities Services, and/or other appropriate officials as applicable. and the chair of the department originating the proposal; Provisions for salaries must be made in consultation with the office of the vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty, and/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.

e. If the application calls for a cost share to be provided by the institution, the Proposal Endorsement and Tracking (PET) form must include the Middlebury budget from which these funds will come and an authorizing approval.

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

g. All grant proposals must disclose any family relationship between any individuals named in the proposal using the Family Relationship Disclosure Form. No family members may be paid with grant funds unless that relationship was disclosed in the proposal or disclosed to the controller or designee after receipt of a grant award.

h. Any “Significant Financial Interest” (as defined by Federal and Middlebury policy) must be disclosed to the controller at the time of submission. After a grant is funded, significant financial interests must be disclosed at least annually and at any time such a new 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 website.

i. When applicable, the application and/or cover letter 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), 

6.  Designated members of the Office of Grants and  Sponsored Programs staff are authorized to sign all grant applications on behalf of Middlebury  when they are  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.

Contract or Grant Agreements resulting from submitted applications must be reviewed and negotiated by the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs and executed in accordance with the Policy on Contracting for Middlebury.

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 Middlebury funds from the regular Middlebury budget will apply. Middlebury must be at least as scrupulous in handling external funds as in handling its own funds, and in some instances will be called upon to observe even more meticulous requirements.   The project director/principal investigator (PD/PI)  will be the budget administrator for the grant and contract, responsible for adhering to the grant budget and these Middlebury policies and procedures.  

Commitments to pay for additional personnel must be cleared with Human Resources before such commitments are made. All purchases must comply with Middlebury purchasing and payment policies and procedures 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 Controller or his/her designate, who may require the prior approval of the sponsoring organization.

8. Middlebury 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 an investigator-initiated research grant, Middlebury will consider release of equipment to the other institution concerned on an individual basis and if:

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 Middlebury his or her need for that equipment for the continuation of his or her personal research.

rev. 8/16/19