Responsible Officer: Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Responsible Unit: Office of Sponsored Research
Effective date: July 1, 2008
Last revised on: December 19, 2017

Policy Statement

Within the University of North Carolina system, delegations for university signatory authority are assigned by the chancellors of each constituent university and approved by the President.

The Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) is the primary signatory authority designated by the Chancellor to enter into legal commitments involving sponsored projects on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to, grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. Throughout the University there are several offices specifically granted official signatory authority. The Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) has been granted signature authority for all sponsored projects agreements.

Unless they are so named, principal investigators (PIs), department heads, deans, and directors do not have this institutional signature authority, and therefore, are not recognized as designated representatives of the University regarding the verbal or written acceptance of sponsored program agreements of any kind.

Reason for Policy

This policy establishes OSR as the institutional authorized signatory to enter into legal commitments regarding sponsored research support on behalf of the University.


Based on the criteria presented in the University Grants Processing Policy and the University of North Carolina Policy Manual, commitments that do not involve external sponsors or an exchange of financial or equivalent considerations may not require signatory authority by the VCR or his/her designees. Consult the appropriate dean, director, or department head, and OSR with specific questions.

The Sponsored Program Office (SPO) is the signatory authority for sponsored agreement proposals from the School of Medicine (SOM). In this regard, OSR and SPO each have shared responsibilities in the proposal review process.

The Office of Clinical Trials (OCT) is responsible for executing clinical trial agreements and other research efforts associated with clinical research.

Procedures and Related Policies

Office of Sponsored Research: Policy 300.1 – Shared Responsibility for Proposal Review and Institutional Approval


For questions regarding this policy and its related procedure, please contact For questions regarding Pre-Award management or Post-Award administration, please contact the assigned Sponsored Programs Specialist. For invoicing, reporting and other financial matters, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Accountant. OSR Staff assignments may be found in RAMSeS or on the OSR website.


Research Administration Glossary at Carolina

  1. UNC Sponsored Programs and Research Council (SPARC), Approved Delegations of Authority to Sign Grants & Contracts and Cooperative Agreements for Chancellor and the President, Revised, October 17, 2007.
  2. University of North Carolina Policy Manual, 500.3.
  3. University Grants Processing Policy
  4. The Code of the Board of Governors, The University of North Carolina, Chapter VOfficers of the University, and Chapter 501C(7), Relation of the President to the University.

Revision History

The policies in the Office of Sponsored Research Policies & Procedures Manual supersede any OSR policies, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC Chapel Hill’s Finance Division.