Chapter 4: Sources of Project Support

Sources of Project Support

The OSP maintains a collection of print and electronic resources to assist in identifying potential sponsors. In addition, BU subscribes to the Community of Science, a searchable database containing information about funding opportunities for thousands of sponsors.
For Additional Information see: OSP

4.1 University Support

4.1.1 Limited Submissions and Internal Competitions

Some sponsors limit the number of nominations or proposals that BU may submit to a particular program. Procedures have been developed for selecting candidates for such awards, and announcements soliciting internal proposals are distributed by OSP. Generally, there is a deadline 30 days in advance of the sponsor’s deadline to submit an abstract and estimated budget for consideration. Decisions are made on the CRC campus by the Vice President for Research and by the Associate Provost on the MED campus. Joint decisions are made when needed.
Most competitions are open to applicants from departments throughout Boston University. A few competitions are limited by the sponsors in the number of applicants or specialties that may be represented.
For Additional Information see: OSP

4.1.2 Federal

Grants.gov has been established as a governmental funding resource as part of the government’s Fiscal Year Management Agenda to improve services to the public. Grants.gov allows applicants for federal grants from NIH and certain other federal agencies to search and apply for funding through a common website. The Find Grant Opportunities feature enables applicants to search for federal government-wide grant opportunities and to receive notification of future grant opportunities. The Apply for Grants feature allows organizations to apply for federal grants online.
Some agencies such as NSF or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as well as other agencies have a similar mechanism for finding and applying for grants.
For Additional Information see: Grants

4.1.3 Not-For-Profit Sponsors

A wide variety of private organizations including foundations and associations provide funding for research and training activities that are of interest to University faculty. Most organizations that support research have their own websites, a number of which are listed and linked through commercial databases. BU subscribes to the Community of Science database—which is the most extensive—for faculty on both campuses. At times, both OSP and the Development and Alumni Relations offices are involved in proposal development and processing. Even if they are handled by the Development Office, sponsored programs proposals are required to be routed through OSP and must adhere to OSP policy, timelines, and other requirements. OSP and the Development Office will coordinate their activities for timely decision-making and submittal.
For Additional Information see: Funding

4.1.4 Commercial Sponsors

The University encourages interaction between faculty researchers and their counterparts in industry. However, there are inherent conflicts built into these relationships that require attention. BU strives to ensure the freedom of dissemination of the results of its community’s research, ownership of intellectual property including patents, management or elimination of conflicts of interest, freedom of choice in the selection of research topics and in the conduct of the research, and relevance to the educational mission of the University.

Commercial research relationships require a formal proposal including a budget that has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate department chair, dean, and OSP. Proposals must comply with applicable policies for the protection of human subjects, animal welfare, and compliance with radiation safety standards and conflict of interest disclaimers. Proposals for corporate support should provide for full recovery of costs including F&A costs (formerly indirect costs) at the full federally approved research rate unless conducted as a clinical trial. Terms and conditions of industry Sponsored Research Agreements (SRA) without licensing of existing intellectual property are negotiated by OSP.

OSP has developed preferred contracting language for research agreements between BU and industrial sponsors. While PI/PDs should be familiar with the policies of the University, OSP is responsible for negotiating terms and conditions. The University conducts research programs consistent with good scientific practices. Research results are not guaranteed.

PI/PDs must be free to publish the results of their research without prior approval of a sponsor or third party. Sponsors will be permitted a short period to review publications prior to submission in order to identify and request the removal of sponsor confidential information or to identify intellectual property requiring protection. A short publication delay, generally no longer than 90 days in total, will be permitted to allow for such protection. Delays in publication of greater than 90 days will be permitted only in instances when it is necessary to protect public health and safety, such as in the case of multi-center clinical trials.

4.1.5 Industry-supported Clinical Trials

Industry-supported clinical trials are agreements between the University and various institutions in which the University agrees to test or monitor drugs, procedures, techniques, or devices that might be used for the treatment or diagnosis of patients. Considerations listed in the general outline of industrial agreements should be followed.

The University and sponsor liability/indemnification clauses should be part of a clinical trial agreement in order to address who bears the costs in the event of legal action by a third party. In addition to indemnification, the sponsor is normally expected to pay for any injuries to subjects that are the direct result of the study.

It is the policy of the University to maintain the confidentiality of patient medical records. The terms of a clinical trial agreement typically address confidentiality of research records, study records, and patient records, the latter being strictly confidential.

Inventions or discoveries made in the course of clinical trials that are directly related to the sponsor’s study drug or device will normally belong to the sponsor.

4.1.6 Start-Up Sponsored Agreements

In some cases, BU faculty may have a financial interest or a board seat in a company, or the company may be based on technology licensed to it by BU. Such companies may wish to fund research at BU via subawards under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award to the company or other agreements in direct support of research at BU. The same policies that apply to other commercial sponsors apply in these cases as well (see Section 4.1.4). However, important special considerations include whether any and all actual or potential conflicts have been appropriately managed; whether any students will be engaged in performing the research; and whether it is clear that BU space and resources are being used for the BU purposes only. Appropriate disclosure to and review by the Conflict of Interest Committee is required.