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Procedural Manual

​Research programs or projects receive support through contracts, grants, and other arrangements with individuals, foundations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as private companies including industrial, pharmaceutical, and agricultural entities.

This section features information on the roles and responsibilities of the University and faculty members in relation to research conducted at the university, the criteria for evaluating research proposals, the procedures for proposal submission, and guidelines for sponsored project administration.

1. General Research Considerations
2. Financial and Business Administration
3. Roles and Responsibilities of the University and Its Faculty (role of university, OGC, and faculty members)
4. Criteria for Evaluating Research Proposals
5. Procedures for Proposal Submission and Establishing Grants and/or Contracts
6. Proposal Requirements for Use of Consultants
7. Guidelines for Sponsored Programs and Projects Administration
8. Sub-Recipient Monitoring

General Research Considerations at AUB

The following are general considerations for research at AUB:

    1. AUB has an advantageous environment for research, due to such factors as independence and relative simplicity in management, employment, subcontracting, and methods of accounting, and possession of key staff and facilities. AUB cannot accept in research agreements any restrictive clauses that would jeopardize the very environment AUB considers essential to the effective conduct of research.

    2. In research, the sponsor and AUB have a joint and continuing obligation to provide not only the contractual and administrative environment but also the financial basis for a sound program of investigation. In general, AUB's resources are such that it cannot provide this environment except on a full cost-reimbursement basis, including direct and indirect costs.

    3. No person is permitted to use the facilities for sponsored research unless arrangements have been made through proper administrative channels.

Financial and Business Administration

The Office of Grants and Contracts is solely responsible for business policies and procedures for sponsored research, including those designed to meet the requirements of grants and contracts. The Director of OGC is the contracting officer of the University and is directly responsible for the negotiation and interpretation of funded research contracts and grants, including basic agreements, and for negotiating the reimbursement of indirect costs and employee benefits.

Roles and Responsibilities of the University and Its Faculty

1. The University - The University imposes no limitation on the freedom of the faculty in the choice of fields of inquiry or upon the media of public dissemination of the results obtained. It is the obligation of the faculty members to make freely available to their colleagues and to the public the significant results achieved in the course of their inquiries.
By providing financial support, physical facilities, and especially an intellectual environment conducive to research, the University creates scholarly inquiry by its faculty. In doing so the University recognizes its responsibility to the faculty to maintain a research environment in which unrestricted scholarship and freedom of inquiry may continue to thrive.

2. The Office of Grants and Contracts (OGC)
- The Office of Grants and Contracts serves the AUB community in seeking, developing, submitting and managing sponsored projects in accordance with the established policies of the University. The Office assists in soliciting research funding from external sources such as from foundations, governmental and non-governmental agencies, institutes, and private companies, on the local and international level.
The Office of Grants and Contracts is responsible for business policies and procedures for sponsored research, including those designed to meet the requirements of grants and contracts. The Director of OGC is the contracting officer of the University and is directly responsible for the negotiation and interpretation of funded research contracts and grants, including basic agreements, and for negotiating the reimbursement of indirect costs and employee benefits. See also Responsibilities of the Office of Grants and Contracts.

3. Faculty Members - A faculty members shall have a primary responsibility of devoting their time, thought, and energy to service of the University. Of no less importance is a faculty member's responsibility to further his or her own professional development and the goals of his or her professional discipline. Normally a faculty member's participation in activities of governmental, industrial, and professional institutions is consistent with academic interests of the University and the faculty member.

Faculty members are responsible for the writing of their proposals and submitting them through AUB's internal process, please refer to the section on University Review of Proposals, and once an award is granted, members are responsible for performing the scientific, technical and administrative duties normally associated with the project including the provision of technical reports and will administer the grant award in accordance with the grant conditions (specified in the signed agreement) and the University. See also Responsibilities of Faculty Members.

Criteria for Evaluating Research Proposals

The criteria to be used in evaluating the acceptability of a proposed research program include the following:

    1. A department must be willing to accept responsibility for the program and must have faculty or staff members who are available and willing to supervise the program. The technical supervision of all research projects is the responsibility of the individuals directing them, who in turn are responsible to their Department Heads (unless this responsibility has been explicitly vested elsewhere).

    2. It must be possible to conduct the project without overloading the academic staff and without detriment to the educational program.

    3. The project must not encroach on space and facilities required by the educational program. Availability of space and equipment must be assured in advance by the Department Head and the Dean of the Faculty concerned, and by the Provost if any renovation or building changes are contemplated or if space outside the jurisdiction of the Department Head will be involved.

    4. The project must come within the volume of research (measured in dollars, space, personnel, and required amount of administrative attention) that AUB can appropriately undertake. It must also fit into a balanced, overall program.

Procedures for Proposal Submission and Establishing Grants and/or Contracts

The following procedures should be observed for a research program whether it is to be covered by a contract or grant agreement and regardless of the potential sponsor:

    1. Preliminary negotiations may be carried out between a faculty member and a sponsor, but no proposal or commitments should be made. The Office of Grants and Contracts is the sole entity responsible for final negotiations and commitments, and it should be informed about these negotiations. See section on Submission of Proposals.

    2. Approval of proposals for grants, contracts and other cooperative agreements by the appropriate Department Chair and Dean is an indication that a favorable evaluation for academic merit has been made. A faculty or staff member proposing a sponsored research project must first submit his/her proposal and budget along with a " Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form" to the Head of the Department concerned for his/her initial approval. Please refer to the section on University Review of Proposals. The Head of the Department must be satisfied that:

  • the project is appropriate for the department to undertake as a part of its educational and research program
  • senior staff are available and willing to supervise the research, and
  • adequate space and facilities are available. In case space is to be allocated or renovations are needed, FPDU must be consulted for availability and/or feasibility.
  • 3. After departmental approval, proposal requesting external funding should be submitted to the Dean for approval. Proposals requesting AUB support (See section on URB Guidelines and Procedures​) or the support from the National Council for Scientific Research (See section on CNRS Conditions, Guidelines and Deadlines) should be first submitted to the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) for evaluation of the project's suitability in relation to the entire Faculty and then to the appropriate Dean for approval.

    Where research programs lie outside the normal Departmental or Faculty structure, the Provost, or a designated member of the provost's staff, has a special responsibility to assure that an appropriate academic review has been made.

    4. After review and approval, the proposal is sent to the OGC for review and for securing the approval of the Provost or the President of the University. OGC is responsible for the formal submission of proposals on behalf of the University. PIs must secure OGC's approval prior to the electronic submission of their research applications/proposals. Proposals are reviewed in accordance with AUB and funding agencies guidelines; Including the vetting of collaborators, institutions, sub-awardees etc...(If applicable) and funding agency.

    https://www.sam.gov

    https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/consolidated.aspx

    https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/un-sc-consolidated-list

    https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm

    a copy of the results is saved in the project files.

    5. Proposals must include a budget. For information about budget preparation refer to the section on Budget Preparation. Assistance can be obtained from the Office of Grants and Contracts. Budgets for all grants and contracts should cover both direct and facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs) at current rates: 30% on total grant budget; 62.6% on salaries not including fringe benefits on all federal grants and will be 65.7% effective July 1, 2018. Please refer to the Policy on Consulting, Professional Activities and Research Support from Outside Activities.

    6. If allowable, PIs must  include a salary compensation (to replace, not  supplement part of PI salary) equivalent to the percentage effort indicated in the proposal.

    7. Renewals, cost - extensions involving additional funds, and transfer of projects from another institution into AUB must be approved by the same procedure outlined above.

    8. The OGC will not process applications, sign on agreements or establish accounts for projects that do not have approvals (through the signing of a Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form)

    9. All contracts and grants are reviewed, negotiated by the OGC and signed by the Director of OGC unless required otherwise as per the Authority to Sign policy. Contact with funding agency is initiated once funding is approved for agreement’s negotiation of terms. When negotiations have been completed, and the research contract or agreement has been signed by both parties (AUB and funding Agency), OGC will Tax stamp all agreements (as per Lebanese law) before sending them back to funding agencies. OGC Award Manager will update the internal database and provide the Comptroller's Office with a copy of the agreement and the breakdown of the budget, and establish a project account number, notify the Dean, department Head, Principal Investigator and appropriate administrative offices of the specific grant conditions including reporting requirements, and take the necessary steps needed for the project director or PI to begin the research and make appropriate charges to project funds.

    10. During the course of the project period, OGC will act as the liaison between the project director and the funding agency in dealing with the project administrative matters. Any correspondence proposing modification of the terms or conditions of a contract or grant, including changes in the scope of the work or the period of performance, or an increase or decrease in the total estimated costs, should be forwarded to the funding agency through OGC.

    11. Upon completion of the project, and in coordination with the PI, the Office of Grants and Contracts will close the file and instruct the Comptroller's office to close the account. Unless otherwise instructed, any remaining funds in the project should be returned to the funding agency, or transferred to the dean's office discretionary fund under the PI's name (Research and Development Account) to be used to support research activities, the transferred amount will be subject to AUB's overhead current rate 30%.

    (note: This account cannot be used for Faculty and PI's salaries).

Proposal Requirements for Use of Consultants

1. Principal Investigators (PIs) are expected to anticipate and indicate the need for consultants in grant applications or contract proposals. The proposal should therefore include the following:

  • Consultant name
  • Description of services to be provided
  • Number of days of anticipated consultation
  • Expected rate of compensation, travel, per diem, etc.
  • Curriculum vita for the consultant
     

In addition, many sponsors, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), require a letter from the consultant confirming his or her role in the project.


2. It is incumbent upon PIs to ensure the following conditions are met:

 The services the consultant will provide are essential and cannot be provided by persons receiving salary support under the grant or contract or who are otherwise compensated for their services.

A selection process has been employed to secure the best-qualified person available to perform the required tasks. The fee is commensurate with the qualifications of the consultant and the nature of the services rendered. 3. For a University employee, generally the grant should be charged with the portion of the employee's salary that corresponds to the percentage of effort that employee contributed to the project. Charges representing extra compensation (i.e., compensation above the salary base paid to a salaried University employee) for consulting or lecture work are allowable only in unusual cases and only when all of the following conditions exist:

The consultation is specifically provided for in the award document or approved in writing by the sponsor.

The consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote location.

The work performed is beyond the scope of the individual's regular departmental workload.

If a University employee is proposed as a consultant, the individual should be included in the salary and wages (University personnel) section of the budget, and the salary should be included in the base for calculation of fringe benefits. It is incumbent upon the PI and consultant to ensure that any proposed consulting by a University employee conforms to the preceding requirements and the University policy on internal consulting.
In addition the PI must certify that there is no conflict of interest between him/her and the consultant/sub-awardee/service provider etc…

 

3. OGC will Ensure that all consultants or employees on projects have been vetted, where a copy of the results is saved in the project files; same for sub-awardees/subcontractors etc…

For appointments, consultancies, and sub-contracts/sub-awardees, the name is checked using the following sites prior to appointment:

https://www.sam.gov

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/consolidated.aspx

https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/un-sc-consolidated-list

https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm

Payment of University Employees who provide additional services beyond the scope of their normal employment.

    1. Extra compensation paid to University employees must be paid through the University's payroll system.
    2. In order for a University non-faculty employee to be eligible for extra compensation for services provided, the services must be beyond the scope of responsibilities reasonably expected to encompass the individual's duties.
    3. Requests for payment must be accompanied by a written explanation of the services provided which must include the following:
    a. A description of the service including when it was provided as well as the frequency that it will be provided in the future; and,
    b. The total amount of compensation to be provided.
    4. Requests for payments for consultancy fees must be approved by the Dean, Director, and if needed the Vice President for Human Resources prior to submission to OGC. OGC will ensure that the faculty members did not exceed the allowable consultancy days according to AUB's policy, approve the request and forward it to the comptroller's office for processing of payments.
    5. Consultancy fees are in accordance with AUB's approved rates with 20-35% of the fee deducted as salary recovery.

Extra compensation through the University should not be paid for undertaking research during the academic year. Similarly, extra compensation should not be provided for undertaking unusually heavy teaching responsibilities in the regular academic programs of the University. Such unusual overload should be offset by corresponding lighter loads in a future semester. For more information on overload, please check the policy on Faculty Teaching Overload and Research Compensation.

 

Rank

0-3 years

3-7 years

7-14 years

14+ years

Professor

500

550

600

650

Associate Professor

425

475

475

475

Assistant Professor

350

400

400

400

Lecturer

275

300

325

350

Instructor

225

250

275

275

Senior Lecturer

350

350

350

350

 

 

Remuneration for Non-academic Consultants*

Rank/Grade Global (US$) Final Consultancy Fees (US$) paid to Staff Members (after salary recovery deducted)
11 250 150
12 308 200
13 345 240
14 377 275
15 400 300
16 454 350
17 500 400

 

             *The above rates do not include University Administrative Overhead Charges.

Extra compensation may be provided when a faculty member:

    1. has been appointed to an administrative post in addition to his or her faculty appointment and for which additional salary has been authorized by the Dean, Provost and/or President.

    2. holds a nine-month appointment and teaches in summer programs of the University;

    3. holds a nine-month appointment and receives a summer salary from the University for other than teaching purposes, in which case the faculty member may receive up to one-ninth of his or her academic base salary times the number of months spent in full-time service on the project during the months of July, and August. The normal pattern is two-ninths additional salary for two months' work.

In addition, Department Chairs or other appropriate immediate superiors should be made aware of all activities undertaken by faculty members for extra compensation, with a view preventing conflicts of interest and avoiding  excessive overall commitments.

Guidelines for Sponsored Programs and Projects Administration

The following conditions must govern any research agreement entered into by the University and a sponsor in order for a favorable evaluation to be made.

    1. Open identifications of sponsors and the actual sources of funding must be present in the agreement.

    2. Unrestricted dissemination of all findings and conclusions derived from the project must be an integral part of the agreement, except where the privacy of an individual is concerned. The University regards any infringement on complete access to research findings as detrimental to free inquiry. Exception may be granted by the Provost for privileged information but only in the form of a delay in the release of such information. The delay will only on rare occasions exceed three months.

    3. The resources or data sources on which research is wholly dependent must be free of control by the sponsor. The University views such control as incompatible with free inquiry and encourages acceptance of this condition only when no alternative source exists.

    4. No conditions may be attached to the gift, grant or contract that would in any way jeopardize the University's commitment to the principle of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national or ethnic origin or handicap.

    5. Academic appointments made with the support of gifts, grants, or contracts shall be made only in accord with established University procedures. A sponsor shall not ordinarily participate in the selection of persons to work on a project, and individuals employed by the University shall not be excluded by a sponsor from participation in a project for any reason other than when necessary because of insufficient competence or when required to protect privileged information.

    6. No financial obligations by the University in the present or any time in the future can be implied other than those stated in the contract. When uncertainty exists, the Provost or a designated member of the provost's staff shall consult with appropriate officers of the University to assure that this condition is met prior to the final approval of the agreement.

    7. The University relies primarily on the discretion of its faculty to limit the commercial aspects of research sponsorship, such as advertising and publicity. Contracts must not allow the use of the University's name for commercial purposes unless such use has been specifically approved by the President of the University. Agreements must not permit the names of University investigators to be exploited for advertising purposes or permit reprint distribution to be made part of a publicity campaign.

    8. Income Generating Grants:

    a. For those projects in which income is expected to be generated, a financial monitor will be appointed to the project by the University for the duration of the project and will report directly to the principal investigator or the dean of the faculty responsible for the project. The financial monitor will handle all petty cash payments, be responsible for financial reporting and will keep records of all generated income including the names of all clients served using pre-numbered receipt books. All moneys collected as income will be remitted to the University Comptroller on at lease a bi-weekly basis. All income collections must be supported by receipts for every client served through the project.

    b. Official University receipts will be issued, and both originals and counterfoils of voided receipts will be retained for audit purposes.

    c. In those instances where University equipment is used for project purposes such as for generation of income, the financial monitor will maintain and update a logbook for every piece of equipment used, including the nature of service for which it was used.

Sub-Recipient Monitoring 

The PI, OGC and the Comptroller's Office are responsible for determining scope and frequency of the sub-recipient monitoring based on different sets of duties and activities. Including vetting requirements, under the following sites:

https://www.sam.gov

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/consolidated.aspx

https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/un-sc-consolidated-list

https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm

Where a copy of the results is saved in the project files.

PI:

1.Defines scope of work and Budget.
2.Identifies partner Institution/ Collaborator
3.Reviews and monitors technical progress/ deliverables.
4.Verifies expenses in relation to the technical progress

OGC:

1. Determines the nature of the agreement (Sub-award/ Subcontract)
2. Assists PI with the budget towards achieving the scope.
3. Collects IRB or IACUC and other regulatory documents.
4. Prepares the sub-award, to address:

    • Clauses identified in 200.331 Requirements for pass-through entities are included.
    • Flow down applicable terms & conditions from prime award.
    • Type of agreement (cost reimbursement, fixed price, etc)
    • Payment schedule (as applicable)
    • Timeline for deliverables as coordinated with the PI (as applicable)
    • Risk clauses (as applicable)
    • Documentation needs (Financial/Technical)

5.Negotiates and signs agreement on behalf of the AUB.
6.Prepare and signs extension(s)/modification(s)
7.Compiles a list of Sub-awards and provide them to the monitoring team.
8.Updates Federal financial assistance subject to the Transparency Act requirements (as applicable)

     

Comptroller’s Office:

1.Collects and reviews the F&A Rate agreement.
2. Receives the Audit and other forms as needed.
3. Assembles required documents for review (Questionnaire, Debarment etc…)
4. Determines risk classification (identifies potential risks)
5. Prepares monitoring plan
6. Performs risk assessment and provides it to OGC
7. Monitors the Sub-awardee (Financial reports, Expenses, Invoices…)
8. Conducts annual risk assessment (for Sub-award renewals)

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