Externally Funded Grants and Contracts Policy


Eastern Mennonite University encourages faculty and staff to seek external grants that support the mission of the university. External grants can be attractive because they support faculty scholarship and increase departmental resources. Individual needs, however, must be balanced with needs of the university as a whole. This policy ensures that acquisition and administration of external grants support the mission of the university and that there is coordination of the various interests and activities of the university. 

The term “grants and contracts” may describe a variety of arrangements that can have differing accounting treatment and requirements, depending on all the facts and circumstances. In this policy document, “grant” will refer to the full range of external grant and contract arrangements in support of scholarship and practice. This policy does not apply to resources provided to the University in response to a mass appeal, where there is no ongoing reporting responsibility, or where the resource provider has no expectation of a specific “deliverable”. The policy generally does apply to situations where the resource provider has the expectation of receiving ongoing reporting on the use of the funds, and where there is an obligation to create or continue programs producing “deliverables” in exchange for resources provided. A grant subject to this policy will generally require a written grant application and/or acceptance agreement as documentation, and generally requires a budget projecting anticipated use of the funds granted. Grants will generally be reported in the University financial statements as “nongovernmental grants and contracts, or as “governmental grants and contracts” and not as gifts or contributions.


The following policies will be applied in relation to external grants:

  1. Grant funding may provide compensation equal to a person’s full-time salary. Any exceptions will be negotiated with the appropriate vice president/dean in consultation with the president. In the case of faculty, summer earnings should be negotiated with the vice president/dean and are not subject to the limitation outlined in the University Faculty Handbook (section 2).
  2. The freedom of the researcher to report results will be preserved even in cases where the research may be supported by an agency for which the results may be negative in some way.
  3. A department should not be so dependent on grant funds for its existence that grant termination would necessitate closure of the department.


All grant proposals must be approved by the vice president/dean of the division that includes the department seeking funding, the Advancement Division, the VP for Finance, Business Office, and final approval from the Provost. Approval by these persons ensures that the grant is appropriate to the university mission and current strategic goals; that financial matters have been addressed appropriately; and that various institutional fund-seeking efforts are coordinated. All grant proposals are to be routed for approval via the “External Grants and Contract” routing sheet before grant application.

The routing process ensures that all grant proposals meet standards for grants as established by the university, as well as regulations promulgated by outside agencies. As needed, EMU personnel experienced in grant writing and budgets may provide assistance or coordination in preparing proposals. If new requirements or responsibilities are added by the resource provider after the application is submitted, re-approval by the President or Provost is required. The Advancement division is responsible for announcing grant awards and maintains files on all proposals and grants awarded. 

The appropriate vice president/dean seeking the funding is responsible to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between grant activities and other activities of the division. When the external grant supports a faculty or staff member’s activities, the vice president/dean will work with the person to determine agreements related to workload and compensation. These agreements will include understandings about the division of responsibilities between those related to the grant and those related to the person’s regular activities.

Grant budgets should generally include an indirect cost allowance. EMU has a federally negotiated indirect rate agreement (NICRA) of 43% on campus and 25% off campus. Some grant funders will not allow for indirect costs to be included in the budget. In those cases, it may be possible to identify additional costs for indirect functions that are permitted under the grant when identified and specifically assigned to the grant activity. Indirect cost allowances will be shared among the PI’s department and the University according to an arrangement managed by the Provost and VP for Finance.

Grant writers must be aware of the need to provide adequate time for review by various offices involved in the application preparation process. A specific timeline is not included here because timelines vary depending on the complexity of the grant and other circumstances. Each grant application file should include a grant routing sheet (see below) that indicates the various approvals needed and obtained before submission of the application.

Tasks to be accomplished prior to submission of application:

  1. Discuss grant opportunities with department VP and Development Department Grants Coordinator
  2. Identify principle investigator (PI)
  3. Prepare the grant application
  4. Review grant budget with Director of Finance/Controller
  5. Review and approve application along with grant terms and conditions by department VP, VP for Finance, VP for Advancement, and Provost Submit application

Tasks to be accomplished when grant is awarded:

  1. Approval by Provost/President if any new or changed terms or conditions
  2. Provide Business Office with copy of grant budget and financial reporting requirements
  3. Grants Coordinator initiates appropriate publicity
  4. Business Office assigns accounting cost center and project code
  5. Grant funds are received
  6. Costs incurred and approved by PI

The PI must contact the Controller/Director of Finance to set up online access to grant accounting information, and to arrange for required financial tracking and reporting.

Responsible Party

The VP for Finance is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review:

This policy will be reviewed as necessary, and at least every five years.


Employee Handbook

Approved by President’s Cabinet December 22, 2009
Revised and approved by Provost's Council, June 18, 2020