Contracts Office & Team
Responsibilities of Contracts Team
Research Management’s Contracts team is responsible for reviewing and negotiating incoming agreements from foundations and non-profit institutions and contracts from federal and state agencies as well as all modifications related to these awards. The Contracts team also issues outgoing subcontracts and modifications under awards from foundations, non-profit institutions and federal and state agencies.
The Contracts Team consists of Specialists, Administrators and Coordinators:
- Contracts Specialists are the primary point of contact for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Department Administrators (DAs) at BWH and MGH who have incoming and outgoing agreements. They are primarily responsible for negotiating terms and conditions within an agreement to ensure that the rights of the hospital and PI are protected.
- Contracts Administrators provide support to the Contracts Specialists, which may include issuing outgoing subcontracts and modifications and reviewing standard incoming agreements.
- Contracts Coordinators support the Contracts team by monitoring the team’s email boxes and processing all incoming agreements, modifications and outgoing subcontracts.
Contracts employees work closely with their colleagues on Research Management’s Pre-Award, Post-Award and Research Finance teams to support research projects funded by non-profit institutions, foundations and federal and state agencies. The primary responsibilities of these teams are summarized below:
- Grants Office/
- Grants Office/
- Research Finance
Grants Office/Pre-Award Team Responsibilities
- Serves as the liaison between PIs and sponsors for pre-award activities, including:
- Proposal review and submission
- Just-in-Time (JIT) information requests
- To ensure compliance with sponsor, federal and Partners policies, reviews:
- Application guidelines/submission requirements
- Grant proposals
- Contract applications
- Reviews Conflict of Interest (COI) and cost share forms
- Serves as institutional authority approving proposals and related documentation sent to sponsors on behalf of Partners research hospitals
- Submits proposals for grants, subagreements and contracts through federal and foundation electronic systems
- Maintains membership in sponsor-supported electronic grant submission systems and enrolls PIs and DAs in appropriate systems as needed
- Verifies progress reports for compliance documentation, submits electronic reports and provides institutional approval for hardcopy reports
- Works with PIs who are joining Partners to transfer their current awards to Partners
Grants Office/Post-Award Team Responsibilities
- Serves as liaison between Principal Investigators (PIs) and sponsors once awards have been issued
- Performs new award set up, including reviewing terms and conditions and entering essential data into InfoEd and PeopleSoft:
- Standard Grants (NIH R, and K mechanisms)
- Multi-Fund Grants, including program projects and cooperative agreements
- Incoming subcontracts and foundation awards
- Training grants (T) and Fellowships (F)
- Industry/corporate-sponsored research agreements (non clinical trials)
- Sundry funds
- Initiates outgoing subcontracts through the Contracts team
- Activates renewal years and updates budgets
- Monitors funds and expenditures
- Establishes billing agreements, when appropriate
- Reviews and approves expense allocations, such as:
- Salary Allocations/Employee Data Changes (EDCs)
- eBuy equipment requisitions greater than $15,000
- Processes sponsor prior approval requests, such as:
- Effort changes exceeding 25% or more
- Carryforward, if required by sponsor
- Change in scope and key personnel
- No-Cost Extensions (NCE)
- Rebudgeting in excess of 25% of total approved budget, if required by sponsor
- Performs administrative aspects of closing out funds
- Assists with PI (research) transfer out of a Partners entity
Contracts Office/Contracts Team Responsibilities
- Reviews and negotiates the terms and conditions of all research agreements, (consistent with institutional positions and protecting the rights of the investigators and the institution) received from:
- Non-profit institutions
- Federal and state agencies
- Consults with and collaborates with other Partners offices such as RM’s Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO), Research Ventures and Licensing (RVL), Materials Management and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) on terms and conditions, as needed
- Collaborates with PIs, DAs and the Pre-award and Post-Award teams during negotiations
- Drafts and negotiates all outgoing subcontracts and research services agreements issued under research awards received from non-profit institutions, foundations and federal and state agencies
- Serves as the Authorized Official and signs incoming contracts/agreements and outgoing subcontracts
- Attaches all fully executed agreements into InfoEd and maintains deliverable comments tracking the progress of each agreement in InfoEd
- Prepares subsequent amendments and modifications of incoming agreements and outgoing subcontracts
- Obtains A-133 audit reports from each entity engaged as a subcontractor under a Partners Prime award
- Reviews each A-133 audit report for findings that would impose risk on Partners to engage as a subcontractor, works with PI to develop terms and conditions to mitigate risk of liability/exposure
* Agreements for basic research funded by industry or for-profit sponsors are negotiated by Partners Research Ventures and Licensing (RVL). Agreements for clinical research/trials funded by industry or for-profit sponsors are negotiated by Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO).
Research Finance Office/Research Finance Teams Responsibilities
Billing and Revenue Team/Cash Management Group
- Manages billing and collections for:
- Federal and state contracts
- Federal subcontracts
- Fixed price contracts (excluding industry sponsored projects)
- IRB and MCA fees associated with industry-sponsored clinical trials*
- Sets up required elements in PeopleSoft to generate invoices
- Manages and monitors accounts receivable
- Performs daily posting and reconciliation of research cash, which includes checks and wire payments
- Closes out subcontract projects in InfoEd and PeopleSoft
Financial Reporting and Accounting Team/Letter of Credit Group
- Prepares Financial Status Reports (FSRs) for federal, fed-other and non-federal awards
- Reviews and processes Journal Entries
- Reviews and approves late cost transfers ensuring adequacy of audit trail data for each in accordance with policy
- Reviews and verifies incoming subcontract invoices
- Assists with processing international payments for subcontractors
- Issues outgoing electronic transfers
- Performs salary adjustments for terminated employees only
- Closes funds – financial aspects
- Uses Letter of Credit (LOC) process to bill for and receive funds from NIH and other federal sponsors
- Performs residual balance transfers
*Industry-sponsored clinical trials are billed by the Principal Investigator (PI) and/or the study coordinator.
Members of the Contracts team are assigned to support Principal Investigators (PIs) and Departments Administrators (DAs) within specific departments/chief codes at BWH and MGH.
Contracts Team Has Signing Authority
Due to the potential risks to the hospital and the complexity of many agreements, it is critically important that sponsored research agreements are negotiated by the Contracts team. PIs are cautioned not to sign incoming agreements for sponsored research and outgoing subcontracts to other institutions. These agreements bind the hospital to certain obligations and may contain terms that put the hospital and the PI at risk. In addition, PIs are not authorized by Partners or the entities to sign agreements.
To help PIs and DAs become familiar with the terms that need to be reviewed and negotiated, the Contracts team has created a Customary Contract Terms Guidance Document. PIs and DAs are encouraged to use this document as a reference when reviewing application guidelines. Being aware of Partners’ institutional stance on certain terms and conditions could help users make more informed decisions before applying for an award.
If PIs or DAs receive new incoming agreements or modifications, they should forward these documents to the appropriate email box:
Contracts Coordinators check these email boxes several times a day, process agreements and requests as soon as possible, and forward them to the appropriate Contracts team member for action.
PIs or DAs who are contacted by a sponsor regarding an award under negotiation should immediately refer the sponsor to their department’s Contracts Specialist.
Transparency and Collaboration
The Contracts team is committed to transparency. Every action taken by the Contracts team related to an incoming agreement or outgoing subcontract will be noted in the Deliverables comments in the InfoEd record for that specific project. These notes, as well as the status of incoming agreements and outgoing subcontracts, can be found in the InfoEd record or the Insight Deliverables Report. Instructions on how to generate an Insight Deliverables Report and track the status of contracts/subcontracts can be found in a short online tutorial. To request access to InfoEd or Insight, send an email to the Insight Help Desk.
The Contracts team will collaborate with PIs and DAs to ensure that the agreement terms accurately reflect the research project and are acceptable to the PIs. Close collaboration and timely communication between the PIs, DAs and Contracts team can help expedite the negotiation process.
Industry Sponsors and Vendors
Agreements with direct funding from an industry/corporate sponsor as well as agreements for supplies or vendor services are handled by other Partners offices, such as:
- Research Ventures & Licensing (RVL), which provides commercialization services and negotiates industry-sponsored agreements for basic research
- Partners Clinical Research Office (PCRO), which is responsible for developing, negotiating and executing agreements and budgets for industry-sponsored clinical research as well as handling Medicare coverage analysis (MCA) for all clinical trials.
- PHS Materials Management, which contracts with vendors and suppliers to procure items and/or services, including consultants, data management or lab tests, for sponsored research projects.
More information about these offices' responsibilities can be found in the Contracting Guidelines and Subrecipient Monitoring Roles and Responsibilities Grid.
Please Note: If an agreement appears to fall within the scope of responsibilities of multiple Partners offices, one office will take the lead and may be assisted by the other offices. PIs and DAs who have questions about which office will be taking the lead on a particular agreement should contact their department’s assigned Contracts Specialist.