Administration of Grants Provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE)

All expenditures forms (payroll, requisitions, eReimbursement reports, direct payments, transfers, etc.) for awards should be sent by the administrating department directly to their own Dean's Office for signature and further processing. Expenditure forms for these awards are not processed in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

While the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will not see individual expenditure forms, this does not lessen our fiduciary responsibility to assure that funds are used in accordance with the sponsor's requirements. The administering department has primary responsibility for the award, which includes appropriateness of each expenditure as well as the responsibility to not allow expenditures to exceed the awarded individual budget category amounts. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will audit activity on these awards to insure that they conform to all terms and conditions set by our Research Committee, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the State, and will follow up with departments as needed. This includes the Research Committee Policies and Procedures as well as any conditions that have been included in individual award letters.

Many VCRGE awards are made with conditions that must be met before the award can be activated for use. The status of the award can be found on the WISPER Project Search page.  All conditions need to be cleared through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. Once conditions have been cleared, the award will appear in WISDM.

Transfer of funds to other institutions: WARF Funds are provided to the University to enhance our research enterprise and sustain our competitive edge.  We cannot transfer funds to other institutions through subawards or other transfer mechanisms.  Funds should be expended for UW-Madison research and scholarship expenses (these costs may include purchase of defined services from other institutions.)

Period of Award: Most research awards are one year awards (fiscal year) that must be used during the one year time limit. The Research Committee rarely approves requests to extend the award period. Department administrators need to always keep in mind the fiscal year end processing deadlines. It is the department's responsibility to make sure all transactions are completed prior to the end of the fiscal year.

Budget Allocations: All expenditures must be made only in the approved budget categories, and must not exceed the amount awarded for that budget category. Refer to the original award letter for approved budget categories and amounts or view the approved budget breakdown in the WISDM Project Summary report. In the event that the budget needs to be modified a formal request should be sent to Katie Austin (2-8387) or Jessica Wipperfurth (5-6931) prior to a change in spending.

Account Coding: The coding to be used for payroll and other expenditure forms can be found in the original award letter. This coding will also show on the Award info page in WISDM. The Activity/Program will be 4 (Research).

Processing Expenditure forms: All expenditures forms (payrolls, requisitions, travel expense reports, etc.) should be processed by your department through your own college/school.

Allowable and Non-allowable Items: Please refer to our Research Committee Policies and Procedures for this information. In general terms, these awards are made with the understanding that they must only be used for research. Instructional expenses and classroom supplies must not be charged to these awards. Items generally viewed as departmental responsibilities (such as phones, phone line charges, office furnishings and supplies, etc.) also should not be charged to these awards.

An award will be viewable in WISDM only if you have obtained the appropriate WISDM Authorization (see Business Services SFS site for information on how to get authorized).

In WISDM you must change the WISDM Account Tree to MSN_GRAD_SCH_WD in order to see the approved individual budget categories. Viewing VCRGE awards with the WISDM Project Grant default Account Tree (MSN_RSP_PJ_GT_DFLT) will not only be confusing, it also will not help you administer the award correctly.

WISDM does not have a Budget Category called Flexible. When an award has only flexible funds, the flexible budget amount will show in WISDM as “[ZLUMP] Lump Sum Budgets-prjbud”. When there are specific amounts budgeted in other categories as well as the flexible fund category, the award budget becomes harder to understand in WISDM. In this case, please refer to the original award letter for details or contact Jessica Wipperfurth (5-6931) or Katie Austin (2-8387) for assistance in understanding what you see in WISDM.

Re-budget requests, award extensions, and changes to conditions of award must all be requested in advance and sent to Katie Austin, 317 Bascom Hall ( or Jessica Wipperfurth, 317 Bascom Hall ( The request should provide details explaining why the change is needed, how the change will enhance the research, the necessary budget changes (including dollar amounts), the timing of these changes and the impact on the research. Please note that when re-budgeting salaries to non-salary items (e.g., supplies, equipment, etc.) the fringe benefit and tuition remission amounts that would have been provided if salary were paid, are not available for the re-budget. The request will be submitted to the Research Committee for their review and a decision.

          Policy Regarding OVCRGE Retention Awards

The retention of outstanding faculty is one of the key elements necessary to preserve UW-Madison’s reputation as a premier world-class research institution. WARF retention funds are an investment in the University’s future. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that WARF retention dollars are expended to retain outstanding faculty who are committed to remaining at UW-Madison to continue to develop their program of research excellence.

  • Those faculty awarded WARF retention funds by the OVCRGE will have an account established for this purpose.  These retention fund accounts are typically set up for a five year period, and such funds are ordinarily expected to be expended during that time.  Expenditure of such funds beyond this five-year period must be approved by the divisional Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.
  • OVCRGE start-up funds are expected to be expended before utilizing retention funds.
  • Should a faculty member decide to leave the University after receiving an OVCRGE retention fund award, the retention fund account will be terminated as of the date that the faculty member accepts, either verbally or in writing, an employment offer from a non-UW-Madison employer.
  • Any equipment or major supplies purchased with OVCRGE retention funds remain the property of the UW-Madison.“

Faculty summer salary can be paid only during the July and August pay periods. Please note: Even though an award may have a July 1 start date it will accept payroll expenses for the days in June that are part of the July Academic pay period.

While the awards are generally made for a given appointment percentage and a specific number of months, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education controls RA and PA salary spending by the total budgeted amount available. The salaries do not have to be spent exactly as it was written in the award letter (e.g., Annual RA - 12 months @ 50% time).

When salary is specifically awarded, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will provide the associated fringe benefit and tuition remission multipliers for that salary amount. Fund 135 accounts will have Fringe Benefit and Tuition Remission budget categories covering these costs. VCRGE Fund 101 accounts that have salary expenditures are NOT charged Fringe Benefit and Tuition Remission multiplier amounts. Please note: When the Fringe and Tuition Remission amounts are budgeted, they should not be considered part of the overall available funds. They are only available on an award when the associated salary payment is made. If an award is re-budgeted from salary, the fringe and tuition remission amounts are not available for other expenditures associated with the project.

At the time the award letters are written, we do not yet know the Research Assistant, Project Assistant, or Faculty salaries for the future fiscal year. These salaries (unless the award was a fixed amount of salary) will be updated when the new rates are available.

Flexible funds may be used for any research expenditures that support the approved project. When flexible funds are used to provide salary support, the associated fringe benefit and tuition remission amounts will also be paid from the flexible fund. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will not provide additional funds to cover these multiplier amounts.

Flexible funds may not be used to provide salary support, or additional salary support, for faculty without prior approval from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. If approved, the faculty salary and related fringe benefit amount will be removed from the Flexible fund budget and become part of the Faculty Salaries and Fringe Benefit budget lines. To obtain approval please see Changes to Awards section above.

Through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, funding for fund 135 awards has been provided by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and utilizes income generated by patents filed through WARF by UW–Madison faculty and staff. Sponsorship of these awards by WARF should be acknowledged in any reports/publications that may arise from use of these funds, with the following language: "Support for this research was provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with funding from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation."