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Sponsored Research[1] Guidelines

Old Dominion University recognizes the importance of sponsored research in the academic development of the faculty and in the training of graduate students. Although research benefiting the region is given particular emphasis, the university supports the right of, and encourages, faculty members to engage in any sponsored research, so long as that research does not compromise the educational objectives established by the departments, colleges, and institution.

           The university's principal research officer is the vice president for research. This person has been designated by the president of the university as the official signatory for the university for all research and sponsored programs. The executive director of the Old Dominion University Research Foundation has the responsibility for submitting and accepting grants and contracts, and establishing and enforcing administrative procedures necessary to assure compliance with regulations of funding agencies for operation of sponsored projects. The executive director is responsible, subject to the Board of Trustees of the Research Foundation, for the direct administration of, and immediate executive authority with respect to, the conduct of the business and affairs of the foundation.

           The Old Dominion University Research Foundation is the grantee for projects under its purview, but responsibility for technical direction of the project is vested solely in the principal investigator.

           Since the guidelines are intended to facilitate the research endeavors of the faculty while protecting the interests of both the faculty and the institution, exceptions to the procedures should be rare and must be with the written approval of the vice president for research.


University policies relating to sponsored research are based on the following guidelines:

  1. Sponsored research to be undertaken must support the instructional and research objectives established by the department(s) and college(s) in which the research is to be conducted. Each proposal is reviewed, weighing cost against benefit, to determine its appropriateness by the chair(s), the dean(s), and the vice president for research.

  2. Sponsored research normally is not accepted when the terms and conditions contain restrictions that prevent disclosure of the sponsor or the existence of the contract or adequate review of suitability to the academic program of the university.

  3. In cooperation with the principal investigator and his/her department and college, the university exerts every effort to minimize publication restrictions imposed by accepted research contracts.

  4. Except under special circumstances, all research grants and contracts are submitted through, and administered by, the Old Dominion University Research Foundation.

  5. Sponsored programs that require matching funds by the university (i.e., equipment) or projects that involve the transfer of Commonwealth funds from a state agency to the university will normally be submitted by the university and fiscally administered by the Office of Finance.

  6. If tenure-accruing faculty positions are to be funded from grant or contract funds, this practice is an exception to usual policy of the university and requires the review and approval of the provost and vice president for academic affairs with a written understanding of how the position would be backed up should the external funding be disrupted.


Preliminary discussions between faculty members and potential sponsors are encouraged and often precede the preparation of a formal proposal. The vice president for research and his or her staff are available for discussion at any stage in the preparation of proposals. Formal procedures are based on the following guidelines:

  1. A faculty member interested in submitting a proposal should consult with the department chair and dean to determine whether or not the proposed project is desirable with respect to the goals of the department and college. In addition, the faculty member should consult with the vice president for research and his or her staff on application and proposal development guidelines. The Research Foundation should also be contacted for information and assistance in proposal budget preparation.

  2. The faculty member then submits a proposal to the vice president for research for administrative review and any necessary modifications in light of specific requirements of the university and the proposed sponsor. The proposal is then typed and prepared for submission by the Research Foundation; the proposed project director is responsible for obtaining signatures of the department chair and the dean on the final copy. Proposals must be submitted to the Research Foundation for production not less than five working days preceding the project deadline, and be accompanied by a signed proposal.

  3. In the event that a proposal is disapproved for submission, the proposing faculty member may appeal the decision to the provost and vice president for academic affairs for reconsideration and decision. The decision of the provost and vice president for academic affairs is final.

  4. If the proposed project involves special requirements (i.e., human subjects, radioactive materials, biohazardous materials, or animals), the principal investigator is responsible for notifying the appropriate review board and providing all required justification for university and sponsor approval.

  5. All financial reports and statements, property and equipment reports, inventions reports, interim and final technical reports, and closeout reports are submitted through the Research Foundation, where copies are retained on file in accordance with grant or contract requirements.

-Approved by the president
October 1, 2003


[1] Research performed by faculty members that is supported by nonCommonwealth funds

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