Sponsors typically request both periodic financial and progress reports. The schedule for completing and format requested should be outlined in the sponsor's notice of award. The Office of Research is responsible for completing financial reports, while the Principal Investigator is responsible for the progress reports.
The Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting interim/final progress reports to the sponsor within the specified time frame and format indicated by the sponsor in the award document. The format of progress reports is usually determined by the sponsor. If a sponsor does not indicate a format, the Principal Investigator is advised to use a standard format that addresses the following project management concerns:
- A review of the accomplishments to-date as compared with schedule and objectives as outlined in the original proposal
- A review of the challenges faced by the award in attempting to meet the schedule and objectives as outlined in the original proposal
- Supporting statistical data or documentation
- Management activities, such as documentation or training materials produced, staffing issues, etc.
The budget review should include analysis of actual expenses against the projected expenses. Expected shortfalls, reasons for them occurring, and what steps the Principal Investigator has taken to remedy or forestall a shortfall should be included in the budget review. Likewise, if a project is under-spending, this should also be discussed.
An interim progress report does not have to be long, but should thoroughly describe accomplishments and problems. In describing problems it is important to accurately represent the extent of the problem, what is being done to address it, and what effect the problem may have on the long-term success of the project. The Principal Investigator should remember the interim progress report can set the stage for initiating new projects, or requesting additional time or supplemental funding to complete the present project.
Federal sponsors require that the University discloses inventions stemming from their research projects in a timely manner. Principal Investigators need to complete an Invention Disclosure Form and submit this form to the Office of Technology Commercialization. Each Invention Disclosure is analyzed in two ways: a) Patentability and b) Commercial potential.
For more information on this process, please visit the Office of Technology Commercialization website.