Washington State University

Revised 1-16
Office of Research Operations and Support
Sponsored Programs Services

Fiscal Responsibilities for Grants and Contracts

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Grants and contracts are awarded to the University, not to individual investigators, departments, colleges, regional campuses, or other administrative units. Acceptance of a grant or contract by the Office of Research Operations and Support (OROS) on behalf of Washington State University signifies the University's willingness to assume responsibility for the administration of the funds in accordance with the terms specified by the awarding agency.


The principal investigator, his or her chairperson, director, dean, regional campus chancellor, and other unit administrators share fiscal responsibility for the grant or contract. These individuals help ensure that the terms of the award are observed and the expenditures incurred during a given period are not in excess of the funds awarded.

Related Policy

See Executive Policy Manual, EP1: Policy on Budget Responsibility.


The complementary roles of the responsible individuals are as follows:

Principal Investigator

The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for:

The PI works with the authorized person(s) in the department, college, or regional campus, and consults other University officers as appropriate to develop the plan.

Unit Administrator

The chair, director, dean, regional campus chancellor, or other unit administrator is responsible for:

The unit administrator may delegate this responsibility to the departmental manager, fiscal officer, administrative assistant, or other administrative official.

In the case of an uncollectible or disallowance, the unit administrator may find it necessary to contact SPS for assistance in obtaining an appropriate resolution.


The Office of Research Operations and Support (OROS) has the institutional responsibility for assisting the University's faculty, students, and staff with securing extramural support for scholarly work, research, teaching, and service activities.

Core Responsibilities

The core responsibilities of OROS are:


OROS provides the following services related to grant and contract fiscal responsibility:

The Board of Regents, through the President of the University, grants this signature authority to the Director of the Office of Research Operations and Support. Others who are not so authorized do not have the authority to negotiate for or to bind the University.

NOTE: If OROS determines that a sponsor exhibits poor financial status, the department must provide written approval for OROS to execute the agreement.


Sponsored Program Services (SPS) has the institutional responsibility for assuring the Regents, the public, and the sponsoring organization that the University has adequate systems for fiscal accountability and internal controls in place for managing funds awarded to WSU.

To fulfill this responsibility, SPS:

This financial data assists PIs and/or departmental administrators in making intelligent fiscal and programmatic decisions during the course of a sponsored project.

NOTE: To ensure that PIs and departmental administrators know how to access financial data, SPS and Business Services provide training through Human Resource Services (HRS) in the use of the BALANCES, FACTS, and Datawarehouse systems. Contact SPS or the HRS Employee Development unit for more information.

SPS, the departments, and the PIs share responsibility for the timely submission of final financial reports. See above.


Direct questions relating to accounting matters or requests for assistance with establishing recordkeeping systems for monitoring grant and contract expenditures to SPS; telephone 509-335-2058.