Federal Contract Negotiations


Before an award can be accepted by the University of Pittsburgh, the Office of Research (OR) completes a comprehensive review of the award, which includes the terms and conditions of the award (including terms and conditions incorporated by reference of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, FAR clauses, which can be quite labor intensive due to government shorthand).  The Office of Research is responsible for conducting all negotiations with sponsors to obtain mutually acceptable terms and conditions that will allow the University to accept the award.

Every negotiation is handled by a Federal Contracts Officer, and depending upon the nature of the terms and conditions to be negotiated, may require input and assistance from other central administrative offices such as the Innovation Institute, the Office of University Counsel, and/or various compliance offices such as the IRB or IACUC, etc.   While the Office of Research works diligently to resolve all negotiations in a timely manner, we cannot guarantee a timeframe for completion of a negotiation.  (NOTE: When the University of Pittsburgh is a Subcontractor, the review requires the review of the Prime Federal Contract as well as the subcontract being issued to the University.)

During the course of the negotiation the Federal Contracts Officer will update the InfoEd Agreements Tab with information related to the negotiation.  We encourage the use of this feature in our InfoEd system to obtain project specific information.

Examples of the most common terms and conditions that require negotiation include, but are not limited to:

  • Provisions that prohibit publication of the results of the project

  • Provisions that require us to assign copyright ownership

  • Provisions that do not allow the University to own the data from the project

  • Provisions that deal with indemnity for the project

  • Provisions that deal with confidentiality

  • Provisions that are not consistent with University policies or procedures, such as a requirement for the use of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) vs. good laboratory practices

  • Provisions that are inconsistent with government regulations

  • Awards that include non-standard patent and/or licensing terms

  • Awards that fail to include all previously agreed upon elements

  • Provisions that impose Export Controls

  • Provisions that impose the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Information Security (IT Security), or Privacy Act

  • Provisions that require certification of Organizational Conflict of Interest

Procedure to Initiate OR Review:

If a proposal for the award scheduled for negotiations was not submitted through OR in accordance with approved University procedures, all necessary internal documents that were required at proposal stage must be submitted prior to the commencement of negotiations by OR.

Items needed for OR processing of award:

  1. Departmental Approval Memo (i.e., memo signed by PI, Chair, and Dean symbolizing agreement with the award terms and conditions)
  2. 0136 Form, if not previously submitted to OR
  • If the award is received by department first instead of OR, then please forward all of the above as well as the following to OR:
    1. Email or letter from sponsor
    2. Electronic copy of award
  • If award is received by OR, then OR will forward a copy of the award to the department.

Once a Departmental Approval Memo is received in OR, negotiations will officially start, if necessary.  Department Administrators will be copied on all applicable correspondence and the Agreements Tab within InfoEd system will be updated.