Intergovernmental Personnel Agreements (IPAs) and Contracts
Boston University is an academic affiliate of VA Boston Health Care System (VABHS), located at 150 South Huntington Ave, Boston, and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA), located at 200 Springs Rd, Bedford, MA.
Mechanisms used to establish funding with federal entities, as for example, a Department of Veterans Affairs facility, include Intergovernmental Personnel Agreements (IPAs) and contracts.
IPAsInstitutional Prior Approval System are established between the federal government entity (usually, VA) and Boston University, while contracts may be established between BU and VA, and between BU and the VA non-profit research foundations that operate on VA premises. At VA Boston Health Care System, Boston VA Research Institute (BVARI) is the non-profit entity. At Beford VA, the Bedford VA Research Corporation (BRCI) is the entity.
Intergovernmental Personnel Agreements (IPAs)
- BU employee
- Date of hire greater than 90 days from start of IPA
- Employed in permanent ‘career’ position (can be part-time). IPAs monitored by Sponsored Programs are research agreements and effort is research-related, that is, non-administrative, non-clinical, non-support. (IPAs may be established for clinical effort but would not be administered by Sponsored Programs.)
- Not a student, trainee, teaching assistant, or postdoctoral fellow
Who initiates an IPA?
Which forms and where to send them?
Required forms to submit to Boston VA* when initiating an IPA:
*Bedford VA and other entities may require different materials. Please contact OSP to inquire.
- BU IPA Transmittal Form
- OF69 (Optional Form 69) , a US Office of Personnel Management form, the Federal form for IPA assignment agreements.
- I-9 documentation or signed I-9 certification letter from BU HR in lieu of documentation
- 306 Federal Declaration
- Copy of Passport/ Driver’s license
What’s the term limit?
An agreement is valid for up to 12 months and may be extended for three more years provided that there continues to be justification. The length of assignment is limited to 48 consecutive months without a break. Upon completion of 48 months of un-interrupted service, a 12-month break is required when the employee returns to employment at home institution. A break in service of 60 calendar days before the 48-month limit is reached is enough to re-start service for another period of up to 48 months. (For Federal employees, assignments usually are subject to a 6-year lifetime cap; non-federal employees’ assignments to federal units are not subject to the cap.)
How to Complete an IPA
Guidance for the OF69 (Optional Form 69) .
Item 1: New agreement: self-explanatory. If a prior assignment has lapsed with a period of discontinuity, check ‘New’. If during the period of an existing IPA, there is any change in assignment, duties, salary (greater than 3%), early termination, or other significant change, select “Modification’. Select ‘Extension’ to start a new assignment at conclusion of period of a previous one.
Item 3: Enter BU ID number. Do not use social security number.
Item 5: Employee and department administrator need to monitor assignments and keep track of dates. Answer ‘Yes’ if employee has ever been on an IPA at any other federal facility and provide dates.
Item 7: specific BU unit/department/school employer
Item 8: always answer ‘No’
Item 9: Sponsored Programs, BUMCBoston University Medical Campus, 85 East Newton St M-921, Boston MA 02118
Item 12: name the person accountable for employee (unit head, chair, etc)
Item 14: use BU institutional base salaryInstitutional Base Salary, or “IBS,” is annual compensat... More and BU hire date
Items 15-18; for Federal entity to complete. Position title of IPA assignment should correspond to employee’s BU position title with regard to job duties.
Item 19: check box ‘On detail to Federal agency’ and (usually) indicate ‘full-time’
Item 20: enter the dates of period of funding. An IPA may be from 1 month to 24 months.
Item 21: justification should indicate why Federal entity needs BU employee for the work and be congruent with the major duties (listed next in item 22). Should be specific, detailed (longer than one line of text) and should cite location where work to be performed. Conclude with following text: ‘Employee will return to his/her previous employment following completion of the mobility assignment.’
Item 22: provide scope of work for the assignment. Describe major duties in a way that could be used as evaluation tool for performance review. Include hours of duty and the statement: ‘Employee is responsible for the hours of duty and for notification to supervisor of any inability to be present for work.’
Item 23: similar to #14, or pro-rated based on base salary and assignment effort
Item 24: usually not applicable
Item 25: Enter, “Regular leave policies apply, with respect to annual vacation, institutional holidays, Intercession, and authorized absences from work, and are the responsibility of the employer, Boston University.”
Item 26: BU departmental administrator to ensure that proper institutional base salary and FB rate have been used to calculate the obligation. List salary and fringe benefit on separate lines as indicated, on annual or monthly basis, concluding with total for the period of assignment. If IPA assignment takes place over two fiscal years, break out calculation using FB rate for first part and FB rate for second part. For an IPA, do not include any F&A cost; for a VA contract, include F&A.
Item 27: Office of Research Accounting, c/o Sponsored Programs-MED, 85 East Newton St. M-921, Boston MA 02118 will send invoice to:
Budget analyst (or counterpart of appropriate Federal entity), Research Administration (151B), VA Boston Health Care System, 150 So. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130
Items 28-29 should be marked with ‘X’
Items 30 A,B,C: mark the box N/A with ‘X’
Item 31: “Regular Boston University employee benefits are the responsibility of Boston University.”
Item 32: same as item 31
Item 33: usually not applicable. VABHS does not pay non-employee travel although other federal agencies may do so.
Item 34: all boxes except E should be marked with ‘X’
Item 35: name and address of institution where work will be performed
Item 36: should match item #20
Item 39: signature of BU signatory
Item 43: Director, Sponsored Programs, BUMC
VA Contracts and VA Foundation Contracts
BU investigators and research staff may be contracted to work on government research. Often, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility wishes to engage BU expertise and may draft a contract covering salary and fringe benefits of BU research personnel engaged in the VA research. The contract is negotiated between VA and BU’s Sponsored Programs.
- F&A on VA contracts is an allowable cost.
- Contracts are initiated by the VA entity desiring to hire BU expertise for one or more short-term projects with a specific scope of work.
- BU employees’ work on VA projects may require BU IRB and/or BU IACUCInstitutional Animal Care and Use Committee IACUC oversee... review. Before beginning work on the project(s), investigators are advised to contact the relevant BU compliance offices to see whether approval of the off-campus work is required.
- Depending upon wording of the contract, VA data security requirements may oblige BU to ensure that its employees comply with VA data security policy.
- Application package consists of similar internal documents as those listed on BU’s standard (non-industry) application checklist including BU’s proposal summary form; a contract document (called ‘solicitation’ initiated by VA); and, if relevant, the data security form.
VA Foundation Contracts
As part of their BU responsibilities, BU investigators often work on VA research that is funded through the VA non-profit foundations operating on VA premises. They are: BVARI (Boston VA Research Institute), which operates at VA Boston Health Care System, and BRCI (Bedford VA Research Corporation), which operates at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Hospital (Bedford VA). Contracts with BVARI and BRCI cover salary, fringe benefits, and F&A for BU research personnel engaged in the research.
- F&A on VA foundation contracts is an allowable cost.
- Contracts are initiated by the VA non-profit desiring to hire BU experts for short-term projects with a specific scope of work.
- Employees’ work on these projects may be subject to BU IRB and/or BU IACUC review; investigators are advised to contact the relevant office to satisfy compliance with regulations.
- Project work may be funded from industry prime awards to the non-profit foundation. With respect to its employees who are employed on the off-campus research, BU must ensure that the prime award’s terms and conditions, especially with respect to publication rights, intellectual property, and ownership of data, are able to be complied with.
- Application package consists of similar internal documents as those listed on BU’s standard (non-industry) application checklist, including the proposal summary form; and the relevant contract document. For BVARI contracts, contact BVARI for their template.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
MOUs for BU/VA Investigators
Investigators with joint appointments at BU and VA are required to have a current Memorandum of Understanding on file at SP-MED at all times. MOUs provide a way to understand and certify committed effort at each institution, whether compensated or not.