Who is your authorized official?

Steve Simon


Writing your own grant is an exercise in crisis management. I had a last minute crisis this afternoon, because I had to fill out a form on very short notice. One piece of information I needed for the form was the name of the “authorized official” at Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC). I didn’t even know what an authorized official does. It took a quick google search, but here is the information, in case I need to write another grant.

Anytime you are involved with a grant, there is a lot of paperwork needed in addition to the grant itself. The paperwork varies depending on the agency that is doing the funding, but let’s focus on the grants funded by the U.S. National Institutes for Health.

If you are key personnel, you need to fill out a biographical sketch. You are also required to fill out´┐Ż a financial conflict of interest disclosure form to document that you have taken and passed appropriate training on the ethical conduct of research. These last two requirements vary from organization to organization.

But the Principal Investigator has to fill out even more paperwork. In this particular example, I was a Principal Investigator (PI) along with a colleague at KUMC. With two PIs, you have a choice, and we chose to make KUMC the lead institution and they would subcontract with the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) for my work and the work of a programmer also at UMKC. The paperwork for designating UMKC as a subcontractor required us to know the name of the authorized official at KUMC.

An authorized official is a person who has the authority to legally bind the organization to the contractual requirements associated with a research grant. NIH refers to this person as an authorized organization representative and notes that this person is often the same as the institutional business official and the signing official. This person is typically in the department associated with research support and is often the head of that department.

For KUMC, that person is Paul Terranova, and you can find this out by going to the PDF file titled “Information Often Requested on Extramural Funding Applications.” By the way, the person with the same job at UMKC is Lawrence Dreyfus and you can find that out by going to the institutional information page of the Office of Research Support.

Now I know that this is rather boring, but I write this stuff down for my own future reference, as I will not remember any of this the next time I write a grant.

You can find an earlier version of this page on my blog.