OSP provides a comprehensive array of support services for faculty and staff as they pursue and manage external funding projects. The office also functions as the steward of Virginia Tech’s research portfolio and its staff is responsible for ensuring that all research proposals and projects comply with university, federal, and sponsor regulations, policies, and procedures. Virginia Tech continues to rise in national university research rankings and remains the top university in Virginia for funds expended in pursuit of engineering, science, and other scholarly outreach and activities.

The office is comprised of four service teams to provide researchers with expertise in the following areas: pre-award services, post-award monitoring, contract negotiation, and awards set-up.

Commonly Used Acronyms in Research Administration


Pre award administrators strive to provide customer-friendly support services to faculty and staff preparing and submitting research proposals to a wide array of external sponsors. Their duties and responsibilities include RFP review, budget development and review, proposal package checks and edits, and cost share review and authorization. Pre-award administrators can guide faculty and staff through the often complex process of submitting proposals compliant with sponsor guidelines and online submission systems such as Cayuse and Grants.gov.


Post-award administrators play an integral role in successfully performing funded research projects by offering expertise in financial accounting and contract administration and serving as liaisons with academic departments and sponsors, the pre-award office, the Controller’s Office, and the Purchasing Department. Their various duties include sponsor billing, post-award budget revisions, administering no-cost time extensions and cost transfers, subcontract processing, cost share monitoring, and award and contract close-out.

Contract Negotiation

Contracts associates review and negotiate more complex contracts and awards from commercial, foundation, and federal sponsors such as the DoD and NASA. Their role as stewards of VT’s research portfolio includes preserving the IP and publishing rights of faculty innovators, protecting against and negotiating and disclosure of proprietary information, negotiating material transfer agreements, and ensuring that all awards and contracts provide for export controls on sensitive or classified information.

Awards Set-up

The Awards Team expedites the set-up of new grants, cooperative agreements and contracts which have standard terms and conditions that do not require negotiation with the sponsor before acceptance.  This gives faculty more timely access to the research funds. This team coordinates documentation of certain compliance requirements needed before the Banner fund can be set up, such as conflict of interest (COI) certification, IRB approval for human subjects and IACUC approval for animal subjects, and documentation for cost-sharing, cost accounting exceptions or special overhead distribution.

The Contracts Team and the Awards Set-up Team both work through OSP's Awards Tracking System which provides PIs with transparent access to the process and current status of an award set-up.


The Compliance Team provides quality assurance through continuous monitoring of financial transactions charged to sponsored projects, to ensure that the expenditures are in compliance with sponsor’s and university’s regulations, policies and guidelines.  It identifies and monitors emerging compliance issues in financial research administration.  Currently the team reviews and monitors the costing practices, cost transfers and labor redistributions, effort reporting, and cost sharing.  It also provides outreach and training to the university community on compliance issues within research administration.