Frequently Asked Questions

WOU Roles and Responsibilities

The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) supports the scholarship, research, teaching, and programmatic missions of the University by providing guidance and oversight to faculty and staff at every stage of the external funding process, including identifying funding opportunities, proposal development and submission, post‐award management, and compliance.
The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director of the sponsored project is responsible for managing the performance of the project as contractually agreed upon in the funded proposal and awarded budget. The PI/Director is responsible for the integrity of the project design, conduct, and reporting, and will comply with funding agency and WOU policies throughout the sponsored project’s life cycle.

The SPO Pre‐award staff work collaboratively with WOU faculty and staff throughout the development, submission, subsequent award or declination of proposals. The Pre‐award staff interpret funding opportunity guidelines and support compliance with WOU processes regarding the review and approval of proposal submissions and applicable funder requirements.

The SPO Post‐award staff provide oversite and guidance to Sponsored Project PIs/Directors to help them manage their grants and contracts. The Post‐award staff ensure policies and procedures are in accordance with the terms and conditions of Uniform Guidance, the funding agency, contractual agreement, and WOU policies.

WOU Faculty/Staff/Students involved in grants and contracts operate under the direction of the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director of the sponsored project. WOU Faculty/Staff/Students may participate in the activities of sponsored projects including research, evaluation, training, education, dissemination, etc.

Administrative Support staff assist the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director of the sponsored project with tasks related to operational support and compliance, financial reports, and grant documentation. Operational, day‐to‐day support for funded sponsored projects is provided by staff located in the academic or administrative unit housing the grant or contract award.


Good coordination, ongoing communication, and a shared understanding of best practices and compliance requirements between the SPO, the PI/Director and administrative support staff are essential for successful sponsored projects submission, award, and performance.

What is the difference between a grant, cooperative agreement, and a contract?

What is the difference between a Principal Investigator and Project Director?

What is a project period?

What is a consultant?

Do I need approvals before I submit a grant?

Why can’t I submit, and sign sponsored agreements if I am the Project Director/Principal Investigator?

What are direct costs?

What are some typical allowable and unallowable costs?

If I get a grant, can I use some of the funds for extra income?

Can I buy a computer with grant funds?

What are facilities and administrative (F&A), indirect, or overhead costs?

What is cost share and are there restrictions?

What is committed effort?

What is effort certification or effort reporting?

I received an award notification, now what?