Federal Contracts

A contract is a written, legal agreement between an institution and an awarding agency normally involving the expectation of an economic benefit on the part of the contractor and the generation of a tangible product, service, or other consideration in return for sponsored support.

Contracts are procurement, and are agency/sponsor initiated research. The University enters into contracts for the support of research and other sponsored activities to obtain and disseminate new knowledge for the benefit of mankind. 

A request for proposal (referred to as RFP) is an early stage in a procurement process, issuing an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront. This is usually the procedure federal agencies utilize to solicit research related contract requests. The RFP announcement provides the application guidelines, requirements, and terms and conditions.

RFPs have receipt dates and thus must be received by the Federal Agency on or before the published due date.

Federal Contract Proposal Development Steps: To ensure a timely and appropriate response to the RFP solicitation, it is suggested a coordination/kick-off meeting with the PI, Departmental Administrator(s), URA Manger and any other appropriate staff is held as early as feasible prior to the preparation of the Proposal. The agenda for this meeting should include timelines, assignments, and discussion of any specific concerns regarding the solicitation.

General Responsibilities

Department Administrator

  • Contacts their URA Manager when a Principal Investigator is responding to a RFP.
  • Provides the web link to the RFP and any supporting documentation
  • Attends a preparation/kick-off meeting
  • Prepares the Business Proposal, budgets, Small Business Subcontracting Plan, and assists with the Technical Proposal.

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Attends a preparation/kick-off meeting
  • Prepares the Technical Proposal, reviews and approves budgets and any subcontract arrangements, and assists with the Business Proposal.

URA Manager

  • Reviews and highlights key components of the RFP document, in particular the Representation and Certifications sections for problematic FAR clauses and other contract restriction or conditions.
  • Provides data needed for the Business Proposal. This should be discussed at the kick-off meeting.
  • Provides institutional review of the Proposal and prepares any written comments for areas to be corrected or updated, or missing.
  • Prepares the RFP forms for institutional endorsements including preparing the institutional signature, cover letters, and other documents requiring institutional endorsements.