Guidance & SOPs

CMSI is responsible for continuous review and improvement of ECU’s policies, procedures, and related guidance relative to the compliant management of grants, contracts and other sponsored agreements. The Policies and Procedures taxonomy is managed by CMSI and updated on a regular basis to reflect opportunities for improved processes and to address the constantly evolving federal regulatory environment.

See the GAP pages at

The summary below is an excerpt of 101 – GAP Structure, Terminology, & Review.

General Administrative Principles (GAP)

  • GAPs are top-level (relative to Research Administration) documentation of broad core principles of specific research administration and compliance issues.  Examples:  Allowable Costs, Cost Transfers
  • GAPs generally make reference to laws, regulation, and requirements external to REDE and represent REDE’s understanding of and intent to comply with those laws, regulations, and requirements
  • GAPs generally do NOT document specific processes, practices, or procedures, although high level general procedures will be incorporated as much as possible – there will be additional clarification provided in subordinate documents (Resources, Guidance, or Standards of Practice)
  • Reviewed annually: but with very limited expectation of revision

Standards of Practice (SOP)

  • Standards of Practice outline processes or procedures by which the General Administrative Principles are made operational. Example: Processing Cost Transfers, Review Process for Identifying/Correcting Unallowable Costs
  • SOP’s are specific to a particular GAP, reference that GAP, and may be referenced by that GAP
  • SOPs are specific, functional, and instructive – useable for orientation, training, and quality assurance purposes
  • Reviewed quarterly: informed by CMSI Monitoring Reports to identify issues to be addressed with updated guidance


  • Resources are checklists, spreadsheets, web pages, forms, or similar tools which are either necessary or helpful to the implementation of a GAP or SOP.
  • Resources are highly specific and functional – intended for real-time operational use
  • Reviewed quarterly: updated frequently as new technology solutions, system changes, etc. are implemented


  • Guidance is additional discussion of issues implicit within a GAP but perhaps not readily inferred.  Example: Clarification of allowability of charging clerical and administrative staff on sponsored programs
  • Guidance is highly specific – providing additional information, interpretation, or clarification which improves understanding of the GAP.
  • Guidance is NOT a revision to the GAP or the introduction of a new variance or waiver scenario (such a change should be accomplished via a revision to the GAP). Guidance documents are linked to respective GAPs for further clarification.
  • Reviewed quarterly: the need for new guidance documents is informed by Monitoring and Management report data, training feedback, and/or questions from ASDRs/Hubs and Faculty for clarification of certain issues. Example: Charging tuition for Master level students to sponsored programs


  • Alerts are email communications relative to a specific topic used to communicate an immediate need for review and action. Example: Faculty now required to use ORCHID for developing a required federal proposal form
  • Alert topics may be incorporated into exiting SOPs and GAPs, depending on the level of each requirement
  • Alert topics will be provided to the regular Hub meetings and throughout ORA to ensure rapid adoption
  • Alert topics may also be developed into checklists, online training modules, etc.
  • Review schedule is not applicable, as the Alert Topics will fold into the items listed above

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