Who is Eligible to Apply for a Sponsored Project?

Before developing your proposal, understand who may and may not apply for sponsored project funding through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

To achieve its aims of providing higher education, providing patient care, advancing knowledge, and contributing to the welfare of the State, UTMB accepts external funding in support of research and sponsored activities when the project:

  • provides the faculty member with the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge of value to his/her teaching and/or research activities
  • is a suitable sponsored activity through which the faculty member may make worthy contributions to knowledge
  • provides appropriate public service to the community
  • or provides an opportunity to enhance a student educational objective(s).

To be eligible to submit a proposal to an external funding agency, the proposed principal investigator must:

  • be a full-time employee.
  • have an academic title and
  • have an appointment in an academic school or department.

The following title groups are eligible to initiate proposals for research or training contracts or grants:

  • Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor
  • Professor of (dept. name), Associate professor (dept. name), Assistant Professor of (dept. name), Instructor of/in (dept. name)
  • Faculty Associate, Lecturer, Teaching Associate or
  • Visiting Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Visiting Assistant Professor,
  • Visiting Instructor, or Assistant Instructor (when their term of appointment will allow them to complete the sponsored activity proposed in the application).

Postdoctoral Fellows and Residents

To be eligible to submit a proposal to an external funding agency, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • The postdoctoral fellow or resident must be a full-time employee of the institution.
  • The program to which the individual is applying is designed to support postdoctoral fellowships and/or residents, and
  • A sponsor with a faculty appointment has agreed to supervise the sponsored activity.

Waiver to Submit

In extraordinary circumstances when it is in the best interests of UTMB, the Chief Research Officer may grant special approval for other individuals without academic appointments to apply for grants and contracts. The procedure for requesting a waiver is:

The proposed principal investigator or project director prepares a letter addressed to Dr. Randall Urban, Chief Research Officer, requesting a waiver to the UTMB policy on Eligibility to Apply for External Support.

The letter of request should be approved by the appropriate institutional departmental head listed below and submitted to the principal investigator's OSP preaward analyst:

The OSP preaward analyst will route the waiver to the Chief Research Officer for review. When appropriate, an ad hoc review committee will be appointed to review the proposal for scientific merit.

The Chief Research Office will approve or reject the waiver, and the preaward analyst will communicate the outcome.

Students (undergraduate and graduate)

To be eligible to submit a proposal to an external funding agency, all of the following requirements must be met:

The student must be enrolled in one of the following schools:

  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • School of Allied Health Sciences
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing
  • The program to which the student is applying is designed to support students in training, and
  • A sponsor with a faculty appointment has agreed to supervise the sponsored activity.

Individual Roles and Responsibilities

Principal Investigator

It is the principal investigator's (PI) responsibility to conduct and complete the scientific and scholarly work, submit a satisfactory final report, meet the sponsor's application guidelines, certify that terms and conditions of the award are fully met and adhere to UTMB and the State of Texas regulations. An investigator or program director should have a clear understanding with his department chairman (and, if necessary, the dean) about any commitments of space, renovations, expansion of staff, matching funds, or other University commitments before writing a proposal. The proposal itself must be consistent with these understandings, but can rarely serve as a "treaty" specifying UTMB's commitment. Less-than-full funding, shorter-than-expected grant periods, or other contingencies may make it impossible to follow such commitments literally. The PI is responsible for all financial aspects of the award including the resolution of unallowable expenditures or over expenditures.

Department Chair

In his/her capacity as an academic administrator, the department chair is responsible for the activities in that chair's unit. As related to sponsored projects, the chair is responsible to ensure that the PI is eligible to apply for funds, that the activity is appropriate and fits within the academic mission of the unit, and that the business aspects of the sponsored projects are fully met by the PI. In consultation with the dean and other administrators he/she must balance commitments of budget, space, personnel, facilities, and related matters. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) frequently can be of help in the preliminary planning. When policies and past experience fail to provide adequate guidance, the appropriate standing committee on research policy can be called upon for help and service.


The Dean is ultimately responsible for the scholarly and business operations of all activities of his/her school.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

OSP will negotiate grants and contracts and will ultimately obtain necessary signatures for submission to outside funding sources.