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Sponsored Projects

Record Management for Sponsored Projects


Retain and dispose of records in accordance with sponsor requirements.


Principal Investigators (PIs) and department administrators managing sponsored projects.

The majority of sponsored projects have legal requirements as to how long project records, particularly financial records, must be retained. These guidelines recognize these legal requirements as well as the substantial physical and fiscal resources required to retain technical, clinical, financial or other project records.

"Records" includes any documentary material made or received in connection with the application for, or conduct of, a sponsored activity. "Records" includes paper, electronic records, and records, reports or data in other media.


  1. Original records
    1. Most sponsored project records are in electronic format since the University uses PeopleSoft, eProposal and other tools. If original records are electronic and cannot be altered, there is no need to create and retain paper copies.
    2. If original records are paper, electronic versions may be substituted provided that they are subject to periodic quality control reviews, cannot be altered, and remain readable.
    3. University central offices maintain official records (including proposals, awards, financial transactions, invention disclosures, and others). However, program records are maintained by PIs, and departments hold some source records and details related to the official records.
    4. Be aware of confidentiality and inclusion of personal or proprietary information in the records. Use limited-access storage for documents containing personal, proprietary or confidential information.
  2. Access to records
    1. Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) requests are handled through the University's General Counsel's office. Never respond directly to a GRAMA or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request or provide any documentation.
    2. If an auditor calls, contact Ken Erickson in the Office of Research Management and Compliance and Grants and Contracts Accounting (GCA).
  3. Technical (program) records are retained by the PI.
    1. Retain progress reports and final technical reports for at least 3 years after submission to the sponsor.
    2. Retain the original data and all project records for at least 3 years after submission of the final report or award termination. After the required retention period, the principal investigator/project leader may make the decision to retain the records or to discard them when the records are determined to be no longer useful for research or educational purposes.
    3. Retain clinical study data in accordance with the clinical study agreement.
      1. Review the clinical study agreement for a provision specifying the required period of retention for source documents. The requirement may differ based on the type of study and other factors.
      2. For clinical studies involving children, records are to be retained indefinitely.
      3. In the event of faculty transfer, clinical study data must remain and the University of Utah.
    4. When an invention has resulted from the project, contact Technology Venture and Commercialization (TVC) for advice on retention of relevant records.
  4. Fiscal records are retained by University central offices but departments may have source records that support the transaction records.
    1. Federal awards: The Uniform Guidance, specifically 2 CFR 200.333, governs record retention under federal grants. The Federal Acquisition Regulation, specifically FAR 52.215-2, governs record retention under federal contracts. To summarize, retain records for 3 years after submission of the fiscal status report (annual or, if annual is not required, competitive segment) or after final payment under a federal contract. If any litigation, claim, or audit is started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until all litigation, claims or audit findings involving the records have been resolved and final action taken.
    2. Local government awards: Review award terms and conditions. It is recommended that all records for projects funded under State and City awards (MOU's, grants, agreements) be retained for 6 years.
    3. Other awards: Review award terms and conditions and sponsor policies. If the sponsor or award document does not specify a specific time period to retain project records, follow the Federal requirement and retain records for 3 years after final payment under the award.
  5. Guidelines for discarding and destroying records
    1. Shred paper documents containing personal, proprietary or confidential information, using  a cross-cut shredding device.
    2. Electronic data must be securely removed from any disk, tape, USB drive, hard drive, photocopier, facsimile machine, or other device with electronic storage before the device is transferred or discarded. Deletion of an electronic record may not eliminate all remnants of the record. Contact your IT expert for advice.

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Last Updated: 12/1/22