Responsible Officer: Associate Vice Chancellor for Research

Responsible Unit: Office of Sponsored Research

Effective date: July 1, 2008

Last revised on: July 21, 2011

Policy Statement

Principal Investigators (PIs) and lead administrators (deans, directors and department chairs, etc.) share responsibility in the proposal and award process.

I. Proposal Certification in RAMSeS

  • Lead administrators of the administering unit are responsible for reviewing the application for appropriateness of the research, certifying the department’s, center’s or institute’s commitment of resources to the project, and ensuring the PI is qualified to perform the project. When research involves co-PIs from more than one department or unit, one department is selected to administer the award.
  • If the research involves personnel, space, equipment or other resources from outside the lead unit, the lead administrators of those departments must certify the application and agree to commit the requested resources.
  • Deans, department heads, directors and other lead administrators do not have the authority to enter into legal agreements involving grants, contracts and/or cooperative agreements, on behalf of the University. These must be signed by a university representative who has been officially designated an institutional signature authority.

If the lead administrator has delegated signature authority to another person, the department should maintain a copy of that delegation.

II. Award Approvals

The lead administrator must:

  • Approve any pre-award spending or cost sharing agreements and commit to paying for the project from non-sponsored funding sources, if the award is not granted.
  • Monitor sponsored program activities for compliance with OMB Circular A-21, OMB Circular A-110 and University policies.

Reason for Policy

This policy recognizes the roles of lead administrators at the onset of a proposed sponsored research project and balances the responsibilities of the PI, deans, directors, and department heads.



Procedures and Related Policies

The procedure that must be followed here is the routing of the proposal for signature. Most often, this process takes place in RAMSeS.

Related Policies include:

OSR Research Tool Kits

Proposal Development and Submission Review Process


Questions and concerns can be submitted online at Ask OSR or by using the OSR staff directory. Within RAMSeS, the “Speak to Someone” option assists in locating the staff member best suited to address project-specific issues.


Research Administration Glossary at Carolina

1. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions.

2. OMB Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, Subpart C-25, Post-Award Requirements.

3. OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.

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 Division of Finance.