Federally funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs encourage small businesses to engage in research and development projects with commercialization potential. SBIRs and STTRs are awarded directly to small businesses that may issue a subcontract to MU. In addition, MU faculty may hold an equity position in the small business.
Contracting with faculty-owned startup companies poses challenges to the management of conflicts of interest (COI). There’s also an increased financial risk when MU contracts with a small business. Therefore, additional controls are in place to decrease risk for both the university and its faculty.
You, research staff in your department and staff in the office of Sponsored Research Administration (OSPA) are responsible for identifying unusual or problematic situations encountered during the administration of sponsored project agreements. Consult with the OSPA associate director or director if you have concerns.
Oversight management plans
All sponsors connected with a COI Oversight Management Plan in Peoplesoft (the university’s technology platform for financial transactions) are identified with a “COI Review” attribute. We work with the COI office to maintain a current list of companies with oversight plans.
Our pre-award staff seek approval from the OSPA associate director or director before they execute a contract or process a proposal or letter of intent from sponsors with a “COI Review” attribute.
- The associate director ensures that no outstanding receivables exist for sponsored agreements or licensing agreements.
- The director confirms that there are no outstanding conflicts that need to be managed.
Agreement payment terms
We participate in COI oversight management meetings and review payment terms in agreements with MU’s principal investigators.
- Payment terms on sponsored agreements are on a fixed-payment schedule and require that a substantial amount of the contract is funded when it is executed. Payment terms will specify that payment is due within 30 days.
- The associate director will monitor reports identifying outstanding invoices for sponsors identified with the “COI Review” attribute. If a receivable is outstanding at 30 days, a notification is sent to the sponsor, principal investigator, department chair, dean and relevant fiscal officer.
- If a receivable is outstanding for 45 days, OSPA and the assigned fiscal officer will close the project and deactivate the MoCode until payment is received.