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Research, Development & Technology Transfer (RD&T2)
Manual of Procedures

Chapter 5 - Project Management

5.2 – PROJECT CONTRACTING

Every ODOT research project has a contract that details the legal requirements for the project. While all projects are required to follow the guidelines set forth in this Manual, the fully executed contract supersedes any instances of contradiction between the contract and the Manual. All contracts issued by IRIS are cost reimbursement agreements for specified services; they are not grants.

5.2.1 STANDARD AGREEMENTS (CONTRACTS)

Two types of contracts are used for research studies: cost reimbursement (for educational institutions) and cost plus fixed fee (for commercial organizations). Five standard agreements are used, as follows:

  • Commercial Organizations with Federal Participation
  • Commercial Organizations without Federal Participation
  • Educational Organizations with Federal Participation
  • Educational Organizations without Federal Participation
  • Personal Services Contract

Copies of the standard contracts are included in Appendix B. IRIS will prepare and forward two copies of an agreement to the research agency. Both copies are to be signed and returned to IRIS.

For projects expected to take several years to complete, the term of the contract period expires at the end of the current biennium. Contracts can be automatically renewed provided that the contract expires at the end of each succeeding biennium and is reviewed in accordance with the requirements defined in the contract. The obligations of ODOT for renewal are expressly conditioned upon the availability of lawful appropriations by the Ohio General Assembly and compliance with the statutory provisions under the Ohio Revised Code including, but not limited to, Section 126.07. Notwithstanding termination rights defined in the contract, in the event that General Assembly fails to appropriate sufficient funds or funds are not made available under Ohio Revised Code Section 126.07, ODOT’s obligations are extinguished and the contract shall be terminated without further obligation or liability to ODOT.

Each research agency and Principal Investigator should read and be familiar with the standard contract terms and conditions.

5.2.2 PROJECT MODIFICATIONS REQUIRING CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS

It is ODOT’s desire that all research projects be completed on time and within budget. This requires that both ODOT and each researcher identify and attempt to resolve problems quickly and effectively. Open lines of communication, meetings, and reports all help to accomplish this. As research progresses, it may become necessary to make changes to the project to facilitate the study. To accommodate some changes, an addendum to the contract must be issued. The items that require modifications to the contract are as follows:

  • a modification to time such as an extension to the completion date;
  • a modification to the budget such as an increase, decrease, or change in encumbrance amounts; and
  • a modification to the scope of work.

In each of the above instances, a written request must be sent to the IRIS Manager prior to making any adjustments to the budget, scope, or schedule. Contacts with Subject Matter Experts and IRIS staff by telephone calls are informative, but a request cannot be formally considered until it is submitted in writing to IRIS. Any deviation from the contract without prior approval from IRIS is done at the researchers’ own risk. ODOT is under no obligation to reimburse costs for unapproved tasks or expenditures conducted by the researcher.

Requests for contract modifications must be received by IRIS shortly after the event which created the need for the modification is known, and no later than two (2) months before the current contractual completion date. Requests made after that date will not be considered. The IRIS Manager, at her discretion, may consider requests submitted closer to the contract completion date; however, extraordinary circumstances must be evident and documented in the request. Subject Matter Experts cannot approve contract modifications. Only the IRIS Manager, with approval from the Director, can authorize contract modifications which are documented in an addendum. The Principal Investigator should not proceed with any work that exceeds the contract scope, time, or budget before receiving written authorization from IRIS.

Any contract that requires approval from the State of Ohio Controlling Board to initiate also requires approval from the Controlling Board to modify (see Section 5.1.1). This approval must be obtained before any modifications to the schedule, budget, and/or scope can occur. The process to obtain approval from the Controlling Board will extend the overall processing time for requests. Private organizations and federal agencies should be aware of this additional processing time as they monitor the progress of their projects and submit requests accordingly. IRIS will not take a retroactive request to the Controlling Board for consideration, except for extraordinary circumstances. Delay on the part of the Principal Investigator to submit a request does not constitute extraordinary circumstances. In the event that the Controlling Board decides not to approve a request, the contract cannot be modified; work may continue as previously authorized.

5.2.2.1 TIME MODIFICATIONS

When it becomes apparent that additional time is needed on a study, the Principal Investigator must notify the IRIS Manager, in writing, immediately. Requests for additional time must include the following items:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • current contractual completion date;
  • amount of additional time requested (in months);
  • requested new completion date;
  • an explanation of the delay;
  • revised project schedule; and
  • clarification as to whether remaining project funds are adequate to complete the work or if additional funds are being requested (see Section 5.2.2.5 for information on requesting multiple modifications).

The explanation of the delay should be detailed; include references to specific dates and events that contributed to the delay as much as possible.

Upon receipt of the request for additional time, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Time extensions will be considered, if adequately supported, to allow satisfactory completion of the research project. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided and the Principal Investigator’s past performance in keeping ODOT updated on the progress of the project (e.g.: documentation provided in quarterly reports (see Section 5.3.1.1) and other documented meetings and/or contacts with the department). IRIS may request additional information from the researcher as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one time extension will be heavily scrutinized.

Retroactive requests for time extensions will not be considered. All requests must be submitted to IRIS no later than two (2) months prior to the current contract completion date. Requests submitted less than sixty (60) days before the completion date will not be considered.

If a request for an extension is not approved, there are three basic options: (1) complete the project within the time and budget available; (2) complete the project as soon as possible, but without reimbursement for all work performed or purchases made after the contract completion date; or (3) cancel the project. If the latter is the case, the appropriate Deputy Director must concur. IRIS will also notify FHWA when such action is taken. For additional information on contract termination refer to Section 5.5.

5.2.2.2 – FUNDING MODIFICATIONS

When it becomes apparent that additional funds are needed on a study, the Principal Investigator must notify the IRIS Manager, in writing, prior to incurring any costs. Requests for additional funding must include the following items:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • amount of additional funds being requested;
  • purpose these funds will be used for (e.g.: salary and wages, supplies, travel, equipment, etc.); and
  • justification for the additional funds.

Appropriate supporting documentation (e.g.: quotes for equipment, budget for subcontractor, etc.) and breakdown of expenses (e.g.: details for travel costs, supplies, etc.) must also be provided. If multiple budget categories will be impacted, a budget form should be completed and submitted with the request. The budget form should include only the additional funds being requested; do not include remaining balances of approved project funds on the budget form. The request should clearly indicate whether or not additional time or a modification to the scope of work is also needed (see Section 5.2.2.5 for information on requesting multiple modifications).

Upon receipt of the request for additional funding, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the SME and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Funding increases will be considered, if adequately supported, to allow the research project to be satisfactorily completed. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one funding increase will be heavily scrutinized.

Retroactive requests for funding modifications will not be considered. All requests must be submitted and approved prior to incurring any costs. Reimbursement will not be made for any expenses incurred prior to approval for additional funding.

If a request for additional funds is not approved, there are two options: (1) complete the project within the time and budget available, or (2) cancel the project. If the latter is the case, the appropriate Deputy Director must concur. IRIS will also notify FHWA when such action is taken. For additional information on contract termination refer to Section 5.5.

5.2.2.3 – ENCUMBRANCE AMOUNT MODIFICATIONS

Funds for projects that span multiple fiscal years will be encumbered as noted in Section I of the contract (see Appendix B). This encumbrance is determined by IRIS and is based on the approved proposal with consideration given to the budget and accompanying work time cost schedule. IRIS can provide an explanation of the encumbrance amounts for any project upon request.

In special circumstances, it may become necessary to modify the encumbrance amounts after the contract has been fully executed. When this occurs, the Principal Investigator must notify the IRIS Manager, in writing, that a change is needed. Requests for modifications to the encumbrance amounts must include the following items:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • requested revised encumbrance amounts for all fiscal years of the project; and
  • an explanation for the need to modify the encumbrances.

The request should clearly indicate whether or not this modification to the encumbrance amounts is due to a change in the scope of work and/or project time line. It should also clarify whether or not additional funds are being requested (see Section 5.2.2.5 for information on requesting multiple modifications).

Upon receipt of the request for a modification to the encumbrance amount, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator as necessary. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one encumbrance amount modification will be heavily scrutinized.

5.2.2.4 – SCOPE MODIFICATIONS

As a project progresses, it may become necessary to add, delete, or otherwise modify tasks. The need for changes in the scope of work may be discovered by either the Principal Investigator or the Subject Matter Expert. IRIS encourages Principal Investigators and Subject Matter Experts to discuss these instances as soon as they are identified to determine whether or not the original scope of work needs modified in order to accomplish the objectives of the study. When it becomes apparent that a modification to the scope of work is needed on a study, the Principal Investigator must notify the IRIS Manager, in writing, prior to conducting any activities outside the current scope of work. Requests for modifications to the scope of work must include the following items:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • detailed description of the change(s) in scope including references to tasks noted in the current scope of work;
  • an explanation for the need to change the scope; and
  • a revised project schedule.

The request should clearly indicate whether or not additional time and or funding is also needed (see Section 5.2.2.5 for information on requesting multiple modifications).

Upon receipt of the request for a modification to the scope of work, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Modifications will be considered, if adequately supported, to allow the research project to be satisfactorily completed. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one scope modification will be heavily scrutinized.

If a request for a scope modification is not approved, there are two options: (1) complete the project as previously scoped within the time and budget available, or (2) finalize the work completed to date and cancel the remainder of the project. If the latter is the case, the appropriate Deputy Director must concur. IRIS will also notify FHWA when such action is taken. For additional information on contract termination refer to Section 5.5.

5.2.2.5 – MULTIPLE MODIFICATIONS

Some contract modifications impact more than one facet of the study. Examples of these include:

  • Time and funding modifications
  • Time and scope modifications
  • Funding and scope modifications
  • Time and funding and scope modifications

When multiple aspects of the project need to be modified at once, it is easy for request to become convoluted. In order to avoid processing delays, the Principal Investigator should be sure to include all items noted in the appropriate section(s) above in the request.

5.2.2.6 FHWA APPROVAL

FHWA has decided to focus more of its efforts and involvement in the development of the Strategic Research Plan and annual work program, and less on the activities that occur at the project level. Accordingly, FHWA's prior approval for project level actions is only required as follows:

  1. All changes to 100% federally funded projects must have approval from FHWA.
  2. All other projects with federal funds are subject to the following conditions:
    • Requests for additional funding of 50% or more of the total project cost require FHWA approval.
    • Significant changes in a project's scope of work that modifies the original purpose defined for the study or the expected outputs and deliverables require FHWA approval.
    • Requests for additional equipment that cost more than $5,000 require FHWA approval.
    • It is not necessary to obtain FHWA approval to extend completion dates.
    • It is not necessary to obtain FHWA approval for the addition, removal, or substitution of subcontractors, consultants, Principal Investigators, Co Principal Investigators, or other project personnel that do not affect the project's budget as listed above.
  3. FHWA approval does not need to be obtained to make any modifications to projects funded by 100% state funds.
  4. FHWA approval must be obtained to makes changes to the annual work program, such as the addition of new projects or pooled fund studies that require the authorization of funds (see Section 4.4).
  5. FHWA has waived its approval to print final reports (see Sections 5.3.1.3 and 5.3.1.4).

It is understood that project modifications requiring additional federal funding are subject to the availability of such funds. Federal funds for each research project will be authorized in the Fiscal Management System (FMIS) separately. Therefore, project modifications requiring additional funding will also require an additional authorization of funds in FMIS.

5.2.3 PROJECT MODIFICATIONS REQUIRING APPROVAL FROM IRIS

In addition to project modifications that require an addendum to the contract, some items require approval from IRIS, but will not result in an addendum being issued. Included among these items are:

  • a change in project personnel,
  • a line item change to the budget (i.e.: reallocation of funds) that does not result in an increase or decrease of funds,
  • disseminating preliminary research results, and
  • travel - excluding visits to test sites and ODOT meetings not included in the proposal.

For each of the above items, a written request must be submitted to the IRIS Manager prior to making any adjustments. Consideration will be given based on the information supplied by the Principal Investigator and comments supplied by the Subject Matter Expert. Only the IRIS Manager can approve project modifications; Subject Matter Experts cannot.

5.2.3.1 – CHANGE IN PROJECT PERSONNEL

Approval must be obtained from IRIS to make modifications to the research team. This includes, but is not limited to: adding additional technicians, students, and Co-Principal Investigators; replacing personnel due to departure from the organization or changes in position/duties with the contracting agency; and transferring the duties of the Principal Investigator to another team member. Cases in which such changes can occur without the need for additional funding, the Principal Investigator should submit a request, in writing, to the IRIS Manager. The request should include the following:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • names and titles of all pertinent personnel;
  • explanation for the requested change; and
  • copies of 2-page resumes for all personnel not previously provided with the proposal.

In cases when personnel changes results in a need for increased funding, the Principal Investigator should also simultaneously submit a request for a funding modification (see Section 5.2.2.2).

Upon receipt of the request for a modification to project personnel, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Modifications will be considered, if adequately supported, to allow the research project to be satisfactorily completed by competent personnel. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one personnel modification will be heavily scrutinized.

5.2.3.2 – BUDGET LINE ITEM CHANGE/REALLOCATION OF FUNDS

Budgets for research projects are determined by the Principal Investigator and contained within the contractually approved proposal. As the work ensues, it may become necessary to move funds between categories in order to conduct the research. When it becomes apparent that a reallocation of funds is needed, the Principal Investigator must submit a request, in writing, to the IRIS Manager prior to making any modifications to the budget. The request should include the following:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • total amount of funds to be reallocated,
  • the line items (budget categories) and amounts to be reallocated (e.g.: reallocate $2,000 from salaries and wages to supplies); and
  • an explanation for the need to reallocate funds.

The request should clearly state that additional funds are neither needed nor requested. In cases where additional funds are needed, a request for a funding modification should be submitted simultaneously (see Section 5.2.2.2).

It is not necessary to request approval to reallocate funds within a given budget category. For example, a request to shift funds in the salary and wages category between the Principal Investigator and the Co-Principal Investigator is not necessary. Approval is only required when funding will cross budgetary line items.

Upon receipt of the request for a reallocation of funds, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator as appropriate. Modifications will be considered, if adequately supported, to allow the research project to be satisfactorily completed. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests. Requests for more than one reallocation of funds will be heavily scrutinized.

5.2.3.3 – DISSEMINATING PRELIMINARY RESEARCH RESULTS

Approval must be obtained from IRIS prior to publishing or otherwise disclosing results or pertinent details of a research project while the project is in “active” status. This includes, but is not limited to: abstracts and papers submitted for consideration to conferences, journals, and other publications. The Principal Investigator must submit a request, in writing, to the IRIS Manager that contains the following items:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • name of the journal/publication/conference the desired publication will be submitted to;
  • intent/purpose of submitting the desired publication to the requested entity;
  • benefits to the Department; and
  • a copy of the desired publication.

Upon receipt of the request to disseminate preliminary research results, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests.

The researcher should not submit documentation of any kind to any organization for consideration until after approval from IRIS has been received. Inclusion of potential trips to TRB, OTEC, and other similar events in the proposal does not constitute approval to submit and/or publish project related results. These documents must be reviewed by IRIS prior to submittal in accordance with the process noted above.

In all project related publications, a credit reference must be given to the Subject Matter Experts for their assistance in the project.

5.2.3.4 - TRAVEL

Travel to locations other than test sites and ODOT for meetings that is not included in the project’s budget requires prior written approval from IRIS. This includes, but is not limited to: conferences, seminars, and project required training sessions. A letter requesting permission to use travel funds must be submitted to the IRIs Manager at least one month before the event. This letter must include the following:

  • name of project;
  • state job number;
  • date(s) of the event;
  • purpose of attending;
  • the benefit to ODOT from participation in the event;
  • a budget of expenses anticipated to incur; and
  • clarification as to whether existing travel funds will be used or additional funds are being requested (see Section 5.2.2.2).

Participation in these types of events will only be approved when a direct correlation exists between the event and the referenced research project. The audience at the proposed event must be composed primarily of individuals involved in the transportation field such as employees of State DOTs and FHWA. Attendance at such events for professional development purposes will not be considered. For more information on travel refer to Section 5.3.2.7.

Upon receipt of the request for travel authorization, IRIS will evaluate the request with input from the Subject Matter Expert and the sponsoring program Office Administrator. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval of these requests will be based on the justification provided. IRIS may request additional information from the Principal Investigator as necessary to process requests.

5.2.4 - NONCOMPLIANCE

In the event that a contracting agency, or its subcontractor(s), fails to abide by the terms of the contract or the processes defined in this Manual, the contracting agency will be considered in noncompliance with the contract. Examples of noncompliance include, but are not limited to: failure to provide required reports or other project deliverables, consistent failure to submit requests in accordance with this Manual, and refusal to participate in required project meetings or conduct tasks define in the approved work plan.

IRIS will make reasonable attempts with the agency to reestablish compliance. In the event that obligations are still not satisfactorily met, IRIS may seek remedies for noncompliance. As stated in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 18.43, Subpart C:

“(a)… If a grantee or subgrantee materially fails to comply with any term of an award, whether stated in a Federal statute or regulation, an assurance, in a State plan or application, a notice of award, or elsewhere, the awarding agency may take one or more of the following actions, as appropriate in the circumstances:
  1. Temporarily withhold cash payments pending correction of the deficiency by the grantee or subgrantee or more severe enforcement action by the awarding agency,
  2. Disallow (that is, deny both use of funds and matching credit for) all or part of the cost of the activity or action not in compliance,
  3. Wholly or partly suspend or terminate the current award for the grantee's or subgrantee's program,
  4. Withhold further awards for the program, or
  5. Take other remedies that may be legally available.”

As remedy, IRIS may opt to terminate the contract (see Section 5.5), withhold reimbursement, and/or reclaim funds previously reimbursed to the contracting agency for failure to comply. Noncompliance will impact ODOT’s consideration of awarding future projects to a specific Research Agency and/or Principal Investigator.

Chapter 5
5.0 General
5.1 Project Initiation
  5.1.1 Controlling Board Approval
  5.1.2 Project Startup Meeting
5.2 Project Contracting
  5.2.1 Standard Agreements
 

5.2.2 Project Modifications Requiring Conract Modifications

5.2.2.1 Time Modifications
5.2.2.2 Funding Modifications
5.2.2.3 Encumbrance Amount Modifications
5.2.2.4 Scope Modifications
5.2.2.5 Multiple Modifications
5.2.2.6 FHWA Approval

  5.2.3. Project Modifications Requiring Approval from IRIS
  5.2.3.1 Change in Project Personnel
5.2.3.2 Budget Line Item Change/Reallocation of Funds
5.2.3.3 Disseminating Preliminary Research Results
5.2.3.4 Travel
5.2.4 Noncompliance
5.3 Project Execution
5.3.1 Reporting
5.3.1.1 Quarterly Progress Reports
5.3.1.2 Interim Reports
5.3.1.3 Draft Executive Summary
5.3.1.4 Draft Final Reports
5.3.1.5 Article for IRIS Newsletter
5.3.2 Invoicing
5.3.2.1 Payments
5.3.2.2 Format and Backup Documentation
5.3.2.3 Salaries and Wages
5.3.2.4 Subcontractors
5.3.2.5 Consultants
5.3.2.6 Tuition and Fees
5.3.2.7 Travel
5.3.2.8 Overhead and Fees
5.3.2.9 Processing
5.3.3. Equipment
  5.3.3.1 Computer Purchases
5.3.3.2 Purchases of Equipment not included in the Proposal
5.3.3.3 Software
5.3.3.4. Inventory
5.3.3.5 Transfer of Inventory Items
5.3.4 Project Review Sessions
5.4 Project Closeout
  5.4.1 Project Deliverables
  5.4.2 Final Report
  5.4.3 Final Invoice
  5.4.4 Audit
  5.4.5 Disposition of Equipment
  5.4.6 Research Results Presentations
  5.4.7 Project Closeout Meeting
5.5 Termination of a Project
  5.5.1 Termination of ODOT
  5.5.2 Termination by the Contractor