Assistance with contracts

What is a contract? 

Contracts, for the purposes of this webpage, are agreements negotiated with governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals to provide a specific product or service. This might include research, testing, or other services provided to an outside entity, or research materials received from or provided to an outside entity. 

When do I need to seek approval?

You must seek approval from the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and Business Services when entering into a contract, which may or may not involve monetary compensation, if one or more of the following conditions are met:

  • the work will take place on campus
  • university or other state resources will be used to complete the work
  • the funds for the work will flow through UWL (Business Services will be administering the funds)
  • research materials will be received from or provided to an outside entity (e.g., via MTA)

Who should I contact if I'm not sure whether I need approval or if it's even considered a contract?

Both the Contract Administrator and ORSP can assist you in making those determinations.

What if I want to hire someone to perform a service on campus?

That would be beyond the scope of the services that ORSP provides. Contact the Contract Administrator for assistance. You can also find additional information on the Contracting for Personal Services page.

What are the recommended processes for contract routing and approval?

What else should I consider when preparing my contract? 

 
New Contracts expanding section
  1. Gather the needed documents in a packet:
  2. Route documents for review and signatures.
  3. ORSP completes review of budget.
  4. After budget approval, ORSP will send your contract to the Contract Administrator for contract review.
  5. After the Contract Administrator's approval, it is signed by the Controller OR the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.
  6. The contract will be returned to you to send to the outside entity; you may want to keep a copy for your own records.
  7. Upon receipt of the duly signed contract, make a copy/scan for yourself, and send the original back to Business Services.
 
Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) expanding section

MTAs often do not have associated budgetary components, and so ORSP contract budget review typically is not required. However, MTAs must be reviewed for adherence to all research compliance requirements (e.g., chemical & physical safety, export controls, IBC, IP, IRB, IACUC, subrecipient risk assessment & monitoring). All protocols and other compliance requirements must be finalized before an MTA can be approved.

Below is the MTA review and approval process:

  1. Gather the needed documents in a packet:
    1. Completed MTA Screening Form 
    2. Contract routing slip initialed by principal investigator/project director
    3. MTA
  2. Route documents for review and signatures.
  3. ORSP completes initial review and signature of the MTA screening form. Depending on the research compliance screening, you may receive a request for additional project information.
  4. After review, ORSP will send the MTA materials to the Contract Administrator for further review.
  5. After the Contract Administrator’s approval, it is signed by the Controller OR the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.
  6. The contract will be returned to you to send to the outside entity; you may want to keep a copy for your own records.
  7. Upon receipt of the duly signed contract, make a copy/scan for yourself, and send the original back to Business Services.
Contracts Resulting From an Awarded Grant expanding section
  1. Gather the needed documents in a packet:
  2. Send to ORSP. There is no need to route for signatures unless the budget has been revised, in which case the materials should be routed with the post award modifications form.
  3. ORSP completes review of budget.
  4. After budget approval, ORSP will send your contract to the Contract Administrator for contract review.
  5. After the Contract Administrator's approval, it is signed by the Controller OR the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.
  6. The contract will be returned to you to send to the outside entity; you may want to keep a copy for your own records.
  7. Upon receipt of the duly signed contract, make a copy/scan for yourself, and send the original back to Business Services.
Modifications to Existing Contracts expanding section
  1. Gather the needed documents in a packet:
    • post award modifications form
    • explanation of the requested/negotiated changes and any supporting documentation that can clarify the modifications for those reviewing the changes:
      • revised internal budget - indicate and explain the changes
      • revised budget narrative
      • revised project description or scope
    • revised contract or contract addendum
  2. Route for signatures.
  3. ORSP completes review of budget.
  4. After budget approval, ORSP will send your contract to the Contract Administrator for contract review.
  5. After the Contract Administrator's approval, it is signed by the Controller OR the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.
  6. The contract will be returned to you to send to the outside entity; you may want to keep a copy for your own records.
  7. Upon receipt of the duly signed contract, make a copy/scan for yourself, and send the original back to Business Services.
Budgeting Basics expanding section
  • Have a clear internal budget. Use your own template or the UWL budget template.
  • Include a note to explain anything not clearly covered in the contract. If the contract lists only total funding with few budgetary details, a budget justification can provide needed clarity.
  • Fringe benefits are REQUIRED to be included in your budget. If the other party is asking for waived or reduced fringe benefits, contact ORSP for assistance.
  • Indirect costs are REQUIRED to be included in your budget. If the other party is asking for waived or reduced indirect costs, contact ORSP for assistance. Documentation of the other party's established, uniformly-applied indirect policy will be required before waivers or reductions will be considered. NOTE: MVAC and Student Health Center personnel should use their Business Services/ORSP approved rates.
Compliance Considerations expanding section

Just as with work you would be engaged in related to a grant or any other project, you are responsible for ensuring that you and any others working on the contract are compliant with federal statutes related to IRBIACUCIBC, FCOIRCR, etc. Please see the main compliance page for a full listing and links to additional information. Listed below are special notes related to federal and NSF related contracts as well as Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs):

  • ALL federal contracts are subject to Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) compliance regulations.
  • NSF and USDA contracts are subject to Responsible Conduct of Research compliance regulations if students will be working on the project.
  • MTAs must be reviewed for adherence to all research compliance requirements (e.g., chemical & physical safety, export controls, IBC, IP, IRB, IACUC, subrecipient risk assessment & monitoring). All protocols and other compliance requirements, including congruence checks, must be finalized before an MTA can be approved. The compliance review process is administered via the MTA Screening Form.
If you have any questions, please contact ORSP for assistance.
Signature Block expanding section
  • All contracts must contain specific language in the signature block, or they cannot be signed. It is mandatory for the contract to be legal and binding.
  • Sample language is available on the contract signature block information sheet
Note: Inter-institutional agreements (UW System IIAs) and GLNF-CESU task agreements are contracts; however, they have pre-approved standardized signature language that UW-La Crosse is permitted to accept. These documents still should be routed for signature per the regular contract approval process.