By the Book

The Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Office of Research Administration (ORA) has developed a number of policies and procedures to ensure that sponsored research is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner. These policies and procedures cover a wide range of topics, including financial management, conflict of interest, human subjects research, and animal research.

The ORA is committed to providing clear and concise guidance to faculty and staff on all aspects of sponsored research. The policies and procedures on this page are a valuable resource for anyone involved in sponsored research at the Keck School of Medicine.

  • The Keck School of Medicine of USC recognizes that sponsored grants and contracts are essential to the school. They also recognize that supporting faculty in the grant and contract proposal process is essential to ensure timely and successful submissions. The Keck School Policy on Proposal Review and Approval is designed to communicate and clarify the roles and responsibilities of the principal investigators (PIs) and their departments as well as the roles and responsibilities of Keck School Research Administration and USC Department of Contracts and Grants.

  • There is a USC Policy on Who Can Be A PI on Sponsored Research Projects and KSOM Procedures for Requesting Exceptions. Below is the policy and the process along with a form available.

    Who May Be A PI Policy and Procedures

    Keck School of Medicine PI Exception Form

  • The RPPR is used by grantees to submit progress reports to NIH on their grant awards. This page provides an overview of the annual RPPR, the final RPPR and the interim RPPR and provides resources to help you understand how to submit a progress report.

    Research Performance Progress Report(PDF) (updated 8/15/23)

  • Professional Services Agreements that do not require a submission via Grants.Gov should be submitted for USC Office of General Counsel review and approval via KSOM Research Administration using the Routing and Approval Form. A KSOM flow chart illustrating the routing, review, and approval process is also available for reference here.

  • If you’re submitting a grant proposal that requires you to contribute some of the funds, it’s important to keep track of those contributions. You can find a document from the Keck School that explains the different types of contributionsand how to document them. If you need to make a special request for additional contributions from the Dean’s Office, please use the provided Cost-Share Request Format.

  • The University and the Keck School understand that sometimes the principal investigator (PI) of an approved grant or contract may want to start their project before receiving an official award notice from the sponsor. In such cases, the Keck School tries to accommodate this by allowing advance funding, but with certain terms and conditions.

  • When a fixed price contract for a research project ends up costing less than the amount received from the sponsor, there is an unexpended balance. After earning a minimum indirect cost, the remaining direct costs can be transferred to a gift or unrestricted account. This transferred amount can then be used for future research expenses within the Keck School.

  • Do you need funding for your proposal from a grant or a gift? To determine which avenue to pursue, you can refer to helpful guidelines that differentiate between Contracts and Grants and Development as sources of funding.

  • These guidelines explain how to request an exception if you want to charge a different rate for externally sponsored grants, contracts, and subcontracts. Normally, the full federally negotiated IDC rate is applied to these funding sources. However, you can request an exception if either the sponsor has officially stated a different rate that can be verified independently or if the Principal Investigator (PI) submits a written request and it is approved by the KSOM Research Dean.

  • The Keck School will now allow satellite accounts across Schools to encourage faculty to participate in interdisciplinary research and team science. This will allow us to fairly attribute the costs associated with such research activity.

    The lead unit of a research project (prime unit) will work with collaborating units to apportion the research activity, including both direct and indirect costs. This applies to all sponsored research projects, not just multi-PI projects.

    A non-lead unit may waive its option for a satellite account by writing to the lead unit and copying the Keck Office of Research Administration.

  • The PI Separation Checklist is a tool designed to help faculty members and Department Administrators when research-engaged faculty members leave the University. It outlines the necessary steps to properly conclude research activities, including the closure of research spaces. The checklist provides guidance on specific actions to be taken and identifies the appropriate contacts for faculty members and Department Administrators as they wind down their activities.