Ch. 4 - Sources of Project Support
4.1 Gifts to the Institute
4.2 Grants and Cooperative Agreements to the Institute
4.3 Research Contracts Awarded to the Institute
4.4 Subawards Issued to the Institute
Support for project activities of Caltech faculty comes from a variety of public and private organizations, as well as individual donors. Funds that are provided for a particular purpose with no deliverables or intellectual property rights expected by the donor are considered unrestricted funds and are accepted as gifts to the Institute.
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Caltech gladly accepts gifts to benefit the Institute and to support faculty projects.
Faculty who wish to solicit funds for their projects from prospective donors are expected to inform the Development Office in advance of any contact. Requests for restricted and unrestricted gifts to the Institute (for divisional or institutional research) are reviewed by the Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and the Provost before approval by the President.
Support for project activities of Caltech faculty comes from a variety of public and private organizations. These sources require Caltech and its investigators to abide by certain terms and conditions. Federal, state and local government agencies, for-profit entities, and private not-for-profit organizations distribute funding through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements, each associated with terms and conditions.
A Sponsored Research Agreement is an agreement between the Sponsor (agency) and the Institute on behalf of the Researcher (PI) that has a clear statement of work and set of deliverables in exchange for which the PI receives an agreed upon level of support for a specified period of time.
Grants and cooperative agreements, two types of sponsored research awards, provide financial assistance for investigator-designed projects. These awards usually incorporate terms related to the expenditure of funds, deliverables to the sponsor, and applicable compliance regulations. Most Grants are issued by federal agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Cooperative Agreements are issued by federal agencies and reflect substantial direct involvement of federal agency personnel in the conduct of the project.
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Caltech accepts funding on behalf of PIs for faculty projects or for funding providing infrastructure support. Agreement terms must comply with Institute policies identified throughout this Guide.
The Office of Sponsored Research is the official Institute contact point for sponsored activities when a formal grant or cooperative agreement with the Institute is contemplated.
Government agencies and for-profit, commercial entities may use a procurement mechanism, such as a contract or purchase order, to fund research or other programs of importance to the sponsoring organization. A variety of terms and conditions can be included in each contract. Close review and negotiation of the contract is required to ensure that the terms are clearly understood and that the PI and Institute are able to meet agency expectations.
For research at Caltech, most contracts are Cost-Reimbursement Contracts. Cost-reimbursement contracts provide for payment of allowable incurred costs up to a maximum prescribed in the contract, at which time work should stop unless additional funding is authorized by the agency through a contract modification.
Less frequently, a Firm-Fixed-Price Contract is used, which provides for a price that is not subject to any adjustment on the basis of the contractor's experience in performing the scope of work. Under the Fixed-Price Contract, the Institute and PI assume maximum risk and full responsibility for all costs and resulting profit or loss. Because research costs cannot be accurately predicted, most research universities use this type of agreement in very limited circumstances.
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Caltech accepts funding on behalf of PIs for faculty projects or for funding providing infrastructure support. Agreement terms must comply with Institute policies.
The Office of Sponsored Research is the official Institute contact point for sponsored activities when a formal agreement or contract with the Institute is contemplated.
In addition to the support mechanisms described earlier in this chapter, other research institutions may apply for funding with Caltech collaborators performing a portion of the work. When funded by a grant or cooperative agreement, the applying institution (Prime Recipient) will issue a Subaward to Caltech (Subawardee) providing funding from the prime award. If the prime award is a contract, the award to Caltech will be a Subcontract. Applicable terms and conditions of the prime award will flow to Caltech.
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Subawards to Caltech from other institutions are treated in exactly the same way as all other sponsored projects that are awarded as grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.
The Award Summary issued by the Office of Sponsored Research contains information on any terms and conditions from the prime award that flow down to Caltech.