(1) Each university is authorized to create, in accordance with guidelines of the Board of Governors, divisions of sponsored research which will serve the function of administration and promotion of the programs of research, including sponsored training programs, of the university at which they are located.
(2) The university shall set such policies to regulate the activities of the divisions of sponsored research as it may consider necessary to administer the research programs in a manner which assures efficiency and effectiveness, producing the maximum benefit for the educational programs and maximum service to the state. To this end, materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, potentially patentable material, actual trade secrets, business transactions, or proprietary information received, generated, ascertained, or discovered during the course of research conducted within the state universities shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), except that a division of sponsored research shall make available upon request the title and description of a research project, the name of the researcher, and the amount and source of funding provided for such project.
(3) The president of the university where a division of sponsored research is created, or his or her designee, is authorized to negotiate, enter into, and execute research contracts; to solicit and accept research grants and donations; and to fix and collect fees, other payments, and donations that may accrue by reason thereof. The president or his or her designee may negotiate, enter into, and execute contracts on a cost-reimbursement basis and may provide temporary financing of such costs prior to reimbursement from moneys on deposit in a sponsored research development fund, except as may be prohibited elsewhere by law.
(4) A division of sponsored research shall be financed from the moneys of a university which are on deposit or received for use in the research or related programs of that particular university. Such moneys shall be deposited by the university in a permanent sponsored research development fund.
(5) Moneys deposited in the permanent sponsored research development fund of a university shall be disbursed in accordance with the terms of the contract, grant, or donation under which they are received. Moneys received for overhead or indirect costs and other moneys not required for the payment of direct costs shall be applied to the cost of operating the division of sponsored research. Any surplus moneys shall be used to support other research or sponsored training programs in any area of the university. Transportation and per diem expense allowances shall be the same as those provided by law in s. 112.061, except that personnel performing travel under a sponsored research subcontract may be reimbursed for travel expenses in accordance with the provisions of the applicable prime contract or grant and the travel allowances established by the subcontractor, subject to the requirements of subsection (7), or except as provided in subsection (11).
(6)(a) Each university shall submit to the Board of Governors a report of the activities of each division of sponsored research together with an estimated budget for the next fiscal year.
(b) Not less than 90 days prior to the convening of each regular session of the Legislature in which an appropriation shall be made, the Board of Governors shall submit to the chair of the appropriations committee of each house of the Legislature a compiled report, together with a compiled estimated budget for the next fiscal year. A copy of such report and estimated budget shall be furnished to the Governor, as the chief budget officer of the state.
(7) All purchases of a division of sponsored research shall be made in accordance with the policies and procedures of the university pursuant to guidelines of the Board of Governors; however, upon certification addressed to the university president that it is necessary for the efficient or expeditious prosecution of a research project, the president may exempt the purchase of material, supplies, equipment, or services for research purposes from the general purchasing requirement of the Florida Statutes.
(8) The university may authorize the construction, alteration, or remodeling of buildings when the funds used are derived entirely from the sponsored research development fund of a university or from that fund in combination with other nonstate sources, provided that such construction, alteration, or remodeling is for use exclusively in the area of research; it also may authorize the acquisition of real property when the cost is entirely from said funds. Title to all real property purchased prior to January 7, 2003, or with funds appropriated by the Legislature shall vest in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and shall only be transferred or conveyed by it.
(9) The sponsored research programs of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the University of Florida Health Science Center, and the engineering and industrial experiment station shall continue to be centered at the University of Florida as heretofore provided by law. Indirect cost reimbursements of all grants deposited in the Division of Sponsored Research shall be distributed directly to the above units in direct proportion to the amounts earned by each unit.
(10) The operation of the divisions of sponsored research and the conduct of the sponsored research program are expressly exempted from the provisions of any other laws or portions of laws in conflict herewith and are, subject to the requirements of subsection (7), exempted from the provisions of chapters 215, 216, and 283.
(11) The divisions of sponsored research may pay, by advancement or reimbursement, or a combination thereof, the costs of per diem of university employees and of other authorized persons, as defined in s. 112.061(2)(e), for foreign travel up to the current rates as stated in the grant and contract terms and may also pay incidental expenses as authorized by s. 112.061(8). This subsection applies to any university employee traveling in foreign countries for sponsored programs of the university, if such travel expenses are approved in the terms of the contract or grant. The provisions of s. 112.061, other than those relating to per diem, apply to the travel described in this subsection. As used in this subsection, “foreign travel” means any travel outside the United States and its territories and possessions and Canada. Persons traveling in foreign countries pursuant to this section shall not be entitled to reimbursements or advancements pursuant to s. 112.061(6)(a)2. for such travel.
(12) Each division of sponsored research is authorized to advance funds to any principal investigator who, under the contract or grant terms, will be performing a portion of his or her research at a site that is remote from the university. Funds shall be advanced only to employees who have executed a proper power of attorney with the university to ensure the proper collection of such advanced funds if it becomes necessary. As used in this subsection, the term “remote” means so far removed from the university as to render normal purchasing and payroll functions ineffective.