UNT Research Enterprise: Organizational Structure, Oversight & Roles

UNT Research Enterprise

This section provides information about the research division and departments therein at UNT.

VPRI and Responsibility

Vice President for Research and Innovation

The VPRI is the University official responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures relating to sponsored projects (extramural and intramural). These policies and procedures are aligned with federal and state laws and guidelines for conducting research. That is, DRI provides the necessary structure and support so that PIs can conduct research aligned with federal guidelines.

The VPRI is responsible for assuring the protection of human subjects in compliance with federal law. For this purpose, the VPRI has established an Institutional Review Board (IRB). UNT requires that, prior to initiation, all research projects involving humans as subjects must be reviewed by the IRB. This policy applies, regardless of the source of funding and location of the study, to all biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects conducted by UNT’s faculty, staff, and students. Information about the IRB is located at the IRB Protocol Submission page.

The VPRI is also the University official responsible for policies and procedures concerning the care, maintenance, and use of all vertebrate animals in research, research training and biological testing activities, and export control, in compliance with the rules of regulatory authorities. Details of the policies and procedures are included on the Research Integrity & Compliance home page.

Technology & Sustainable Processes

The DRI embraces the use of technology, implements sustainable processes, and is aware of use of resources. Thus, PIs and other research personnel can reach all of our staff via Microsoft Teams (message chat or calls). Furthermore, the DRI has implemented paperless processes.

UNT Research Administrative Structure and Collaborative Units

UNT Research Administrations and Units

UNT is comprised of several different research departments and units that contribute to UNT's research enterprise.

DRI Departments

The Vice President Research and Innovation (VPRI) is responsible for the administrative oversight of UNT’s research projects. This administration is made possible by the departments within the DRI: Grants and Contracts Administration (GCA), Research Integrity and Compliance (RIC), Research Commercial Agreements (RCA), Research Development (RD), and Research Communications and Project Management (RCPM) departments.

Collaborating Units

Cross unit collaborations are key to providing top research services. The VPRI and AVPRI work closely with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Advancement, Corporate and Foundations Relations, Risk Management, Deans, Chairs, and Faculty in establishing research policies and procedures. The VPRI is advised by the Faculty Research Council, Faculty Senate, and the Vice President for Finance and Business Administration to provide supporting services to the PIs.

Research Institutes, Centers, and Core Facilities

Additionally, the VPRI oversees the University Research Institutes and Centers and the University Research Core Facilities. Through strong administrative support and collaboration, these resources provide UNT researcher PIs with opportunities and support to grow their research enterprise.

Deans, Department Chairs, Institute Directors, and Center Directors

The department chairs have a general responsibility for promoting the scholarly and research activities of their departments, as well as fostering sound stewardship of funds. They review applications, as applicable, for research projects and transmit those approved through the appropriate dean to GCA, ensuring that faculty assignments and release time, recognition distributions, administrative support, F&A (IDC) allocations, cost share (matching) commitments, and space demands of all such projects are in the best interests of both their department and UNT as a whole.

Deans should review for eligibility of PI and Co-PI, recognition distributions, F&A (IDC) allocations, and availability of cost share (matching) commitments. PIs are required to work with Deans and Department Chairs to when cost sharing (matching) commitments are required by a funding agency.

Associate Deans of Research (ADR) are often collaborators with the DRI and called upon to provide input, guidance, and recommendations to the Division of Research and Innovation. Faculty are advised to work closely with their respective ADR or other academic Associate Deans to develop research programs aligned with college and departmental mission and goals. 

Governing Authorities for Research and Sponsored Projects

Governing Authorities

The Division of Research and Innovation works with UNT units to develop and implement UNT policies. Research policies are within Chapter 13 of the UNT Policy manual.

Externally funded sponsored projects are required to follow sponsor, University, and federal/state guidelines.  Federal guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been issued that supersedes requirements from OMB Circulars.

Research Development Services

Research Development Services

The DRI provides many capacity-building opportunities for researchers so that they increase the success of garnering external funding. The VPRI, AVPRI, Assistant Director of Research Development, and staff members of the DRI all contribute to developing research capacity at UNT. Refer to the DRI Events Calendar to identify scheduled events (e.g., workshops, informational seminars, interdisciplinary meetings). 

Capacity Building and Research Training 

The AVPRI and Assistant Director of Research Development work closely with one another and with faculty success and respective academic units to provide services and resources to PIs. Their objective is to facilitate the building of interdisciplinary teams, increase external funding applications and awards, provide technical editing support on proposals, identify and disseminate information on external funding opportunities, manage the limited submissions process, inform about the opportunities UNT has a Hispanic Serving Institute, and manage internal seed funding.


The Vice President of Research and Innovation provides all UNT researchers with a paid subscription service to Pivot, which is a proprietary funding opportunity database built by the education company Proquest.  Researchers can log into the site through Pivot's homepage. The Pivot database provides users with a personalized portal to search, track, and save funding opportunities keywords entered in the database. Research Development staff within the VPRI provide training and tips on the database upon request.  Grants.gov is a free resource to the public that captures real-time information on Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs). Researchers at UNT may also request to be added to a listerv to receive a monthly curated funding newsletter, vetted for UNT eligibility and provided by the Research Development staff. UNT researchers may contact untresearchdevelopment@unt.edu to be added to the listerv.

Limited Submissions

Defined as opportunities in which the sponsoring agency limits the number of proposals a single institute (e.g., one application from UNT) or units within an institute can submit (i.e., one application per college or department). The limited submission opportunities are listed on the DRI Limited Submission webpage,  provided in a monthly email newsletter sent to Associate Deans and list serve. The VPRI office will work with college Deans to and other stakeholders in cases in which the sponsoring agency requires cost share (e.g. NSR MRI grant applications).

Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI)

UNT is designated by the Department of Education as an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), which is under the umbrella of a Minority Serving Institute. This designation now allows for UNT to apply for Title III and Title V funds. UNT is positioned to apply for both Minority Serving (MS) and Hispanic Serving (HSI) opportunities. A curated list of MS and HSI funding opportunities is provided on the VPRI website that researchers are encouraged to learn about and apply for. Note that some of these opportunities are Limited Submissions.

Grants and Contracts Administration


This section contains the organizational structure of GCA, points of contact for specific services, and the various types of sponsored projects and agencies.

Grants and Contracts Administration (GCA) serves as the coordinating unit for externally sponsored projects. The goal of GCA is to assist faculty and professional staff in their efforts to secure external funding and administer awards received by UNT. Research Commercial Agreements (RCA) negotiates and executes those sub awards and subcontracts related to sponsored projects or contracts. Both GCA and RCA report to the VPRI.

The functions of GCA include the following:

  • Formulating grant and contract administration policies and procedures.
  • Overseeing the submission, award acceptance, and administration of sponsored project grants and contracts throughout UNT from inception through closeout.
  • Assuring timely receipt of and proper fiscal stewardship for sponsor funds.
  • Maintaining liaison with sponsoring agencies concerning University organization, policies, and procedures; representing UNT in negotiations with sponsoring agencies to assure consistent contract and grant provisions and policies; resolving problems and settling disputes.
  • In cooperation with other University offices, assuring compliance with sponsor’s policies, e.g., fiscal, property, intellectual property, human and animal subjects.
  • In cooperation with other University offices, maintain official records concerning sponsored projects including official grant and contract files.
  • Assisting faculty and department/college staff in the preparation of the proposals and other administrative aspects of sponsored projects as needed.
  • Training of PI and research administrative staff.
  • Negotiating University-wide F&A costs.

GCA Staff Role and Responsibilities

GCA Staff Roles and Responsibilities

The GCA has several teams to assist research personnel throughout the proposal process.


The pre-award team coordinates the proposal submission and award acceptance from external funding agencies. This team helps with the grant application process, reviews materials that the PI provides the office, and submits the final proposal to the funding agency.

Early in the pre-award process, PIs should fill out the online form to request a grants and contracts specialist/analyst.

Role of a Grants and Contracts Administration (GCA) Specialist

The GCA Specialist will provide professional, efficient, and effective service to all faculty interested in submitting proposals for funding from external sponsors. Assistance will be provided to PIs prior to the six-day deadline on a “first come, first served” basis as workload allows. In addition, during the six-day review period before the sponsor submission deadline, GCA will check the proposal package for all required elements and for compliance with UNT and sponsor requirements, provided that a complete proposal package was received by the GCA Internal deadline.

The pre-award team will provide:

  • Proposal review: Review the proposal documents for accuracy and compliance with applicable guidelines and regulations (institutional, local, state, federal, etc.) pertinent to the specific submission.

  • Budget review: Review the budget for alignment with funding agency requirements.  Translate the budget items into sponsor budget forms. Require that any variance from the standard indirect cost recovery (F&A) be approved in writing. Review the Cost Share Approval Form for cost share at required level and required approval/s.

    • Note that for cost share approval the PI must work with their department chair, Dean, VPRI office and other necessary administrative units well in advance to discuss cost share approvals from the academic and research units.

  • Proposal submission: Facilitate the final submission of the proposal to the sponsor according to the agency requirements. If the proposal submission is through a sponsor portal (e.g. NSF Fastlane, Research.gov, etc.) the pre-award team will ensure UNT is registered with the sponsor to submit proposals online.

    • Late proposals will not receive priority over proposals complying with the required lead times. Proposals and documents received after the GCA Internal deadline will receive a modified level of review.

GCA does not guarantee the submission of proposals that do not allow for sufficient time to complete the necessary review and navigate an appropriate sponsor submission. UNT reserves the right to review and request changes prior to acceptance of an award or to decline an award if the budget or other commitments contained in the proposal do not conform to UNT specifications or requirements.


The post-award team coordinates the administration of externally sponsored project awards. This includes working with the PI to submit annual updates to the funding agency and to close-out grant awards. The awards are set up in PeopleSoft, and the PI and administrative support team within the academic units can monitor the expenditures, invoices, financial reporting, and award close-out.

Contact Information

To contact the GCA team, visit the GCA homepage or browse the DRI directory.

Research Commercialization Agreements (RCA)


Research Commercial Agreements (RCA), formerly known as the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, is responsible for the negotiation and execution of contract agreements and subawards, intellectual property licensing, and cooperative agreements with companies and other institutions.

RCA is also responsible for the identification, protection, and commercialization of the intellectual property generated by the faculty and staff of UNT. 

Associate Vice President for RCA Role

Acts as UNT’s Patent and Copyright Officer and is responsible for accepting all disclosures of new inventions and other discoveries.

Research Commercial Agreements Staff Role

Evaluate disclosures and work with inventors to develop a strategy to protect the intellectual property and to license the discovery for commercial development. Research Commercial Agreements is responsible for complying with sponsor terms and conditions related to the management of intellectual property.

Role of College/Department Research Administrators

Research Administrators

Departments and colleges that have staff available for assisting in the development of the proposal and/or the preparation of budgets and other forms should continue to provide this help before the six-day deadline for transmittal of complete proposal packages to GCA. Requests for such assistance are to be made at the discretion of the PI, are voluntary assistance on the part of the departments and colleges, and should be carried out prior to the six-day deadline.

The Lead/Contact PI’s Department Chairs and,College Deans, will be included in the electronic review and approval steps to allow for more robust Departmental and College oversight and to ensure the most effective use of Departmental and College resources. It is the college Dean’s and the department Chair’s responsibility to confirm that financial commitments made in a proposal, as well as the personnel and facilities referenced in a proposal, are reasonable and available to carry out the proposed project. UNT’s Grants and Research Administration Management Suite (GRAMS) software system allows PIs to enter proposal-related information into a web-based form and submit it to the appropriate reviewers and approvers for electronic authorizations.

The Dean and Chair are expected to electronically review and approve the proposals from their College or Department in a timely manner. This will ensure sufficient time for the thoughtful consideration and review of the proposal by GCA for sponsor and institutional requirements prior to the proposal submission to federal agencies and other sponsors.