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Sponsored project awards are legally and mutually binding agreements between the funding agency and USI. The university must comply with guidelines set by federal, state, local government, and private agencies. Failure to meet any of the guidelines or regulations these agencies establish may jeopardize USI’s ability to qualify for current and/or future funding.

The authority to negotiate an award on behalf of the University has been delegated to OSPR, thus OSPR will coordinate the internal review and signing of award documents as well as their timely return to the issuing agency.

Some award issues that typically involve negotiation are: publication delays imposed by the sponsor; ownership of research data; intellectual property concerns; risks involved in the project and USI's liability under the award; restrictions on foreign nationals; and non-disclosure of proprietary materials or information being furnished by the sponsor. The contractual terms governing these issues can be very complex and can require extended negotiations before an acceptable agreement can be reached.

Once an agreement has been reviewed by OSPR and the PI, it can be accepted and executed on behalf of the University by OSPR.