Many agencies require that the University sign an award document before the award can be effective. The Office of Contracts and Grants is responsible for conducting the entire negotiation process. The key participants in the negotiation process are the research contracts officer, the project director, the research administrator, the sponsor’s technical or program officer, and the sponsor’s contracting specialist or officer. Appropriate communications during the award negotiation should adhere to the following protocol:
The negotiation process includes a comprehensive evaluation of the requirements of the agreement to ensure that the agreement is legally acceptable, fits the mission and objectives of the institution, and that the agreement is manageable and fits into the existing administrative infrastructure. The goal of the negotiation process is to arrive at an agreement mutually acceptable to both UH and the sponsor.
The Executive Director of the Office of Contracts and Grants, as the University's designated authorized organizational representative, is responsible for signing these documents and thereby legally binding the University to the agreement. Principal Investigators, Department Chairpersons, and Deans are not authorized to negotiate or sign on behalf of the University.
In consultation with the Principal Investigator, the Office of Contracts and Grants reviews the budget, terms, and conditions of the award before signing and returns the document for the agency's signature, if necessary. When the Office of Contracts and Grants, in turn, receives a copy signed by the agency, the OCG Research Administrator assigns a cost center and ensures that the award is established in the University's financial accounting system.