Corporate Funded Agreements (CRAs)


Funded agreements with a corporate entity include agreements such as Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs), Corporate Research Agreements (CRAs), and Clinical Trial Agreements (CTAs). The scope of research activities conducted under these kinds of agreements ranges from basic benchwork to pre-clinical animal work to interventional human subject clinical trials.
Sponsored research is generally considered "cost reimbursable" and should include detailed budgets, including such conditions as:
  • a budget related to the project plan.  The terms of the agreement may specify allowable or unallowable costs, requirements for prior approvals for particular expenditures, etc.
  • a specific period of performance, typically defined with "start" and "stop" dates
  • a requirement to return any unexpended funds at the end of the period of performance
  • regular financial reporting and audit obligations
Budget negotiation is conducted by the PI/PI's department.  The budget should include the University's Facility and Administrative rate (also known as indirect cost rate) for Industrial and Commercial Grants and Contracts applied on a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) basis, unless a waiver of those costs has been approved by the applicable Senior Vice Chancellor’s office or the sponsor has a written published policy dictating limitations, which should be forwarded to your Clinical and Corporate Contract officer.

Important Tips

  1. Consistent with federal regulations, all faculty members listed as the principal investigator on a sponsored project must contribute some level of effort to that project to provide necessary supervision/administration.  For additional information on Effort Reporting refer to
  2. Budget negotiators should always begin their negotiation by seeking the F&A rate for Industrial and Commercial Grants and Contracts.  Some sponsors will have a policy limiting the F&A rate to a certain maximum percentage, which may be less than the F&A rate for Industrial and Commercial Grants and Contracts.  If this is the case, provide such documentation during this step. Documentation may be in the form of a published company policy, company bylaws, or a universally applied cap dictated by the Request for Proposal (RFP). Emails and letters from the company are not acceptable forms of documentation and an IDC waiver should be sought in such circumstances.
  3. IDC waivers-needed if Industrial and Commercial Grants and Contracts F&A rate is not contained in the budget and if sponsor has no published policy for limiting the indirect costs- in other words, PI/PI's department has elected to accept an F&A rate that is less than the Industrial and Commercial Grants and Contracts F&A rate.  In this case, an F&A waiver must be completed. 
  4. If the budget contains both cost-reimbursable payments (invoiced by Sponsored Projects Accounting) and milestone payments (invoiced by the department), the cost-reimbursable payments and milestone payments should be set-up as separate accounts.  The preferred approach is for the larger amount to be set-up as the master account and for the smaller amount to be set-up as a subaccount under the master account.  Please request any subaccounts when a specialist has created the award record.
  5. The proposed begin date cannot precede the effective date of the contract. 
  6. The Clinical and Corporate Contracts Team cannot process Early Account Requests (EARs) in connection with its corporate funded agreements.
  7. Helpful PERIS Quick Guides and other resources can be found at . 

Procedure to OSP Review

  1. Current Conflict of Interest (COI) annual filings must be completed for all Investigator(s) and Key Personnel identified by the University of Pittsburgh and sponsor policies and procedures.
  2. PI and department must create a MyFunding Proposal for all Corporate Funded Agreement requests:
    1. Click “Create Funding Proposal” on the main page after log-in;
    2. Accurately complete all required fields of the smart form;
    3. On General Proposal Information page, select “Other (Submitted by Office of Sponsored Programs)” when asked how the forms will be submitted to the Sponsor;
    4. Once Funding Proposal form is complete, click “Finish” to return to the record’s main page.
  3. Complete a CRA Submission Form by clicking the “Submit CRA Form” action.
  4. Submission documents (as outlined below) should be uploaded as Attachments to the MyFunding Proposal via the “Add Attachments” action.
    1. Please note that attachments uploaded to the forms are NOT automatically added to the Attachments tab.
  5. Completed Funding Proposal (with CRA Form submitted and all required Attachments uploaded) should be routed to PI for PI Certification, then submitted for Department/School Review.
  6. Upon receipt, the Office of Sponsored Programs will create a MyRA SRA record for negotiation tracking and a MyFunding Award to process the award upon completed negotiation of the CRA.  The Office of Sponsored Programs will contact the PI and the administrative contact listed in the MyFunding Proposal if any of the essential documentation is missing or incomplete. When all of the essential documentation has been received, the CRA will be given to the assigned contracts officer for review and negotiation. 

Documents Required for Submission*

Bolded items represent the essential documentation necessary for OSP to initiate review-PI/PI's department is responsible for the submission of additional documentation when available

  1. Draft scope of work/research plan
  2. Draft sponsor agreement (as an editable Word document) or a request for OSP to use Pitt's form of template agreement
  3. Draft budget
  4. Any of the following, if applicable to the project and available at this time
    • RBL approval letter
    • IBC approval letter
    • IACUC approval letter
    • UPMC Fiscal approval letter
    • IRB approval letter

*Subject to sponsor's requirements and/or OSP procedure changes. Bolded items represent the essential documents necessary for OSP to initiate review. Items not in bold are helpful at submission stage, but are not required for submission. These approvals will be required at activation stage, if not available at submission stage.

Template Agreements