Sponsored Research

The Office of Research Administration (“ORA”) is the pre-award and non-financial post-award administration office for UM. ORA works with faculty researchers and business officers to submit proposals for research funding, negotiate sponsored research and related agreements, and administer those agreements.


The Office of Research Administration provides the following agreement templates on its Model Agreements website:

  1. Sponsored Research Agreement (also called an Industry Research Agreement);
  2. Non-disclosure Agreement (also called a Confidentiality Agreement);
  3. Material Transfer Agreement;
  4. Memorandum of Understanding;
  5. Equipment Loan Agreement;
  6. Teaming Agreement; and
  7. Data Use Agreement.

If you require an agreement, please contact your ORA Contract Administrator (see below for ORA Staff Directory). If you receive a research or research-related agreement, please route it to ORA using their Routing Form. ORA will work with the Office of General Counsel to negotiate the agreement. Only ORA personnel have the authority to sign or modify research and research-related agreements on behalf of UM.

Agreement/Contract Routing Process

Occasionally it can be difficult to determine whether to route a research-related agreement to ORA or to the Provost’s Office. Agreements should be routed to ORA, using the ORA routing form, if any of the following apply:  

  1. Agreement is clearly for sponsored research, not an academic research requirement;
  2. Agreement is a research fellowship (including academic research) issued as a grant or contract;
  3. Use of University research facilities is required; 
  4. Sponsor requires the grad student or faculty member to submit a Statement of Work; 
  5. Sponsor requires grad student or faculty member to submit a final report; 
  6. Results of the collaboration may be suitable for publication in a journal; and/or
  7. There are regulatory compliance requirements, including but not limited to export control. 

Agreements that do not fall into the above categories are routed to the Provost using the Provost’s Office cooperative academic agreement routing form. In addition to cooperative academic agreements, these are sometimes called institutional-level agreements, memoranda of understanding, collaborative agreement, academic agreement, exchange agreement, etc. The routing process is as follows: 

  1. Originating faculty member;
  2. Chair;
  3. Dean;
  4. International Affairs (not applicable for domestic agreements);
  5. VP for Research (as applicable, i.e., for research that doesn't fall neatly into the "academic requirement" category); 
  6. Dean of the Graduate School (if grad students are completing an academic research requirement) or Dean of the applicable school/college (if undergrads are completing an academic research requirement);
  7. Associate Provost for Academic Planning & Programs (Betsy); 
  8. Office of General Counsel; and
  9. Provost.  If the President will sign the agreement, then the Provost must sign the routing form. If the Provost signs the agreement, she does not need to sign the routing form.

HIPAA & Research

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs the use of Protected Health Information (PHI) when PHI is used to provide healthcare treatment, payment, and operations services to non-students and when the individual or entity using the PHI is also engaging in certain electronic transactions specified by HIPAA. Researchers who use PHI for research other than clinical trials are usually not subject to HIPAA and instead protect PHI through Data Use Agreements and Institutional Review Board authorizations. The Office of General Counsel created a HIPAA decision flowchart to help you determine whether HIPAA applies to your work. OGC works with the Office of Research Administration to educate partner organizations and research sponsors about the applicability of HIPAA to research. If you receive a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement in relation to a research project, please contact your ORA Contract Administrator for assistance.

If you believe your project must be HIPAA compliant, please contact your ORA Contract Administrator, who will work with OGC to assist you. Keep in mind that HIPAA compliance is expensive, time-consuming, and creates on-going obligations. Your department chair and dean must be involved in any decisions regarding HIPAA compliance.

Research Compliance

UM’s Research Compliance Office can assist you with issues related to conflicts of interest, animal care and use, export compliance, dive safety, research safety, responsible conduct of research, and human subjects research. An OGC attorney sits on each research compliance and research safety committee to provide legal advice.

UM Research Facilities

UM researchers, including students, have access to a wide array of research facilities. Occasionally a faculty start-up or another non-UM individual or entity requires short-term use of UM’s research facilities in order to support UM’s research and educational efforts. UM’s Policy on Use of University Facilities by Non-University Users for Research-Related Activities provides guidance on how external individuals and entities can request access to UM research facilities. Please note that a Facility Use License is required to access these facilities unless the non-UM user has a Visiting Researcher appointment.

Visiting Researchers

UM faculty members, with permission from their departments, may wish to invite colleagues from other universities or governmental entities to engage in collaborative research during a short-term stay at UM. The Office of Faculty Affairs handles domestic and foreign visiting researchers as non-paid appointments. Please see the Faculty Appointment Agreements page for more information and for a copy of the domestic Visiting Researcher Agreement.

Website Disclaimer

This website is provided as a resource for learning basic legal competencies on a variety of topics that affect the university.

Disclaimer Notice: These materials are presented here for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on a particular matter. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and circumstances relating to an issue. For legal advice on a particular university matter within your official responsibilities, please consult with a member of the Office of General Counsel.