Research and Sponsored Programs

Sponsored Project Contracts

Developing and negotiating a sponsored research contract involves many steps.  The following information provides an overview of recommended strategies and practices and make you aware of the requirements of developing a contract with an external sponsor.

While the information is presented in a series of consecutive steps, depending on your timeframe, it may be necessary to execute some of steps concurrently. 

The earlier you engage the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the more help we can provide throughout the process.

Partnership and Sponsored Research Agreement Timeline

Roles and Responsibilities of Sponsored Research Contract

Step 1 - A collaboration opportunity is identified

Generally, a collaboration is initiated when a St. Cloud State University PI and external colleague identify a project of mutual interest.  However, in some cases a potential sponsor will reach out the University looking for expertise in a specific discipline so connections can occur through various ways.

Step 2 - Define the project and submit the Sponsored Research Worksheet

Once a project is identified and a collaboration is established between the sponsor and University’s project lead, the PI will complete the Sponsored Research Worksheet to define the project stakeholders, scope of work, budget and related information.

Step 1. Discuss feasibility of the potential collaborative project with your department and dean/supervisor.

Step 2. Download the budget template Excel document to estimate project-related expenses for the potential project.  Budget TEMPLATE

Step 3. Complete and submit the Sponsored Research Worksheet web form and attach the budet estimate Excel document. You must complete the form in its entirety, as the form will NOT save, since no login is required to submit the form.  SPONSORED RESEARCH WORKSHEET

Information needed for the Sponsored Research Worksheet web form:

  • Sponsor contact information,
  • Overview of the project including estimated project dates, scope of work, location of work, benefit to St. Cloud State, student information (if applicable), and intellectual property considerations.
  • Budgetary needs of the project (see Step 2 above)

Step 3 - Schedule a meeting with your contact in Research and Sponsored Programs


After submitting the Sponsored Research Worksheet, please schedule a meeting with your pre-award support contact to discuss the following:

  • type of contract/agreement is appropriate (if any),
  • facilitating the internal approval process (see Step 4 below), and
  • outlining plan for negotiating the agreement

Step 4 - Discuss project with your Dean/VP/Supervisor and Secure Internal Approvals

To ensure a potential sponsored project is mutually-beneficial to the university and potential sponsor, it is vital to discuss the potential collaboration with your Dean/VP/Supervisor. To initiate the review/approval process, please complete the following Steps as early as possible because a sponsored research program cannot begin prior to securing institutional approvals:


Step 1.
Discuss with your potential sponsored project with your department chair/director and dean/supervisor because your Proposal Approval Form will automatically be routed to them for review and approval. All approvals (signatures) are facilitated electronically in Wizehive and Sponsored Research agreements/contracts/MOUs cannot be developed without all required approvals.

Step 2. Click on "Proposal Approval Form" button to login to Wizehive using your StarID credentials.

  • For assistance using Wizehive, please click on the “How to Apply Tutorial”
  • Wizehive allows you to save your progress as you work on your proposal approval form.
  • Do not click “Submit” until your application is complete, which includes:
    • Completed Proposal Approval Form application with proposal working draft and proposal budget attached.
    • If applicable, Proposal Approval Form Co-PI(s) Step, ensuring all Co-PI(s) have responded.

Step 2b. If you have one or more St. Cloud State Co-PI's, complete the Proposal Approval Form Co-PI(s) Step  to add Co-PI(s). 

  • This process will trigger a notification to your Co-PIs requiring them to acknowledged participation in the proposal.
  • You can confirm Co-PI(s) have completed in Wizehive by the green box by each person’s name within the Co-PI Step section of your application.

Step 3. If applicable, confirm your Co-PI(s) have complete their Co-PI request forms. Then “Submit” your complete Proposal Approval Form. 

  • The proposal approval form will be automatically routed to obtain the necessary approvals (signatures) from your department chair/director and dean/supervisor.
  • To ensure timely reviews, it is the PI(s) responsibility to ensure department chairs/directors and deans/supervisors know their Proposal Approval Form is coming. See step 1 above.

Step 4. Once your sponsored research project is approved, Research and Sponsored Programs will be in contact to coordinate next steps to finalize the agreement/contract/MOU.

Per State of Minnesota law, sponsored research projects cannot begin without a fully signed agreement.

Step 5 - Await negotiation process

The length of the negotiation process depends on how quickly the sponsor and SCSU can agree on the contract terms.  The more experience the sponsor has with academic partners, the more likely we will come to agreement quickly. RSP will lead the negotiation process and consult legal counsel as needed.

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