OSP Processing Times

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is always looking to improve the quality of its service. We strive to be best in class in promoting transparency and accountability. This is why we released the myResearch Portal in 2011—to ensure all Penn State PIs can review their active contract negotiations at all times.

One of our key service metrics in OSP is our turnaround time. The numbers below represent median processing time in days, starting with the day the agreement is sent to OSP and ending with the day the agreement is signed by both parties.

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While we make every effort to improve our metrics across the board, we are especially focused on improving our turnaround time in processing Industry Procurements (non-ARSO), Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Federal Financial Assistance Awards, and Federal Procurements.

The chart below summarizes the total number of documents processed by OSP (7/1/2020 - 12/23/2023):

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*Includes Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs), contracts, purchase orders, clinical trial agreements, and other procurements

**Includes gifts, grants, field trial grants, membership agreements, allocation of rights agreements, data use agreements, and other miscellaneous agreement types

***Includes states (other than PA), local governments, foreign governments, hospitals, other universities, quasi-governmental agencies, and miscellaneous sponsors      

 

Why do some agreements take longer to process than others?

Agreements can sometimes be delayed for mundane reasons (e.g., minor disagreements about payment schedules or reporting requirements). In rare circumstances, a sponsor may take an aggressive stance toward our preferred contractual terms. For example, some sponsors seek a warranty that we will give them all their money back if they aren't satisfied with our research results. Others seek to control all publications, so they can squelch any results that make them look bad. Most of our sponsors understand Penn State’s fundamental principles, but a few will go to extraordinary lengths to try to secure more advantageous terms. Such situations can be quite difficult for everyone involved.

Fortunately, most sponsors are very eager to implement fair terms in a timely manner. While there will always be outliers, OSP will continue to do its best to keep its median processing times as low as possible.

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Credit: Penn State. Image available under Creative Commons.