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Award Acceptance and Establishment

Award Notification

Once a sponsor has approved a proposal for support, the Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) will usually receive notice that an award has been made or a contract is being prepared. If the Principal Investigator (PI) receives such a notice, s/he must contact SPS immediately to ensure that SPS has also received the notice. The University of Oregon (UO) cannot administratively initiate the project without formal sponsor notification. Many award instruments require both sponsor and UO signatures (bilateral agreement) before they become effective. Principal Investigators are not authorized to sign award documents on behalf of the UO.

When an award document is received which requires UO signature in order to be effective, it is the responsibility of SPS to return signed copies to the sponsor. Upon receipt of the fully executed documents, SPS will process the award and forward a copy of the award to the PI, any Co-PIs and Department Grant Administrator (DGA).

On occasion, a sponsor may award support for an investigator without a formal proposal being submitted through the UO. In such cases, formal approval of the project, through EPCS as described in the Planning for Proposal Preparation section of this manual, must be completed prior to SPS's acceptance of the award. Additional compliance requirements, such as IRB approvals for human subjects or IACUC approvals for vertebrate animal use and management of any Conflict of Interest issues must also be completed prior to award establishment by SPS.

What to Look for in a Notice of Award

Most notice of award documents address these points:
  • Period of Performance. These dates may not coincide with the dates of the total project period.

  • Name of the Principal Investigator. This individual is responsible for conducting the project in accordance with UO policies and sponsor requirements.

  • Dollars Committed and/or Obligated. Not all project funds may be released at the beginning of the project, but may be obligated incrementally. The sponsor is under no legal obligation to pay dollars not yet obligated.

  • Future Year Commitments. These funds are contingent on their availability and on satisfactory progress on the project. Use these amounts for planning purposes.

  • Cost Sharing. If the sponsor requires the UO to contribute its own resources to the project, it may specify those requirements in the award notice. Documenting and reporting on these costs, as proposed, is a formal requirement for the UO whether or not the sponsor specifies the cost share commitment in the award documents.

  • Accounting and Reporting Obligations. Virtually all awards require technical and financial reports. Many awards require patent and property reports.

  • Deliverables. Under some contracts, the UO must deliver specified work products to the sponsor.

  • Payment to University. Awards specify how the UO will be funded or reimbursed by the sponsor.

  • Special Terms and Conditions. The award may have additional terms and conditions that specify such things as key personnel, limitations on availability or use of funds, need for prior approvals and similar additional oversight by the awarding agency. It is critical to understand these restrictions before incurring costs. Both the PI and the responsible DGA must take note of these requirements in addition to reading all referenced documents within the award notice.

  • General Terms and Conditions. Many awarding agencies, especially federal, publish general policy guidance for the administration of sponsored awards. It is understood that submission of a proposal to an agency constitutes an acknowledgement that the award will be administered in accordance with all agency terms and conditions. It is important to refer to agency policies during the administration of an award.

Account Set-Up

Once an award has been received and accepted, SPS will establish a grant index number and enter the budget into the BANNER Financial Information System (FIS). SPS will prepare an Account Set-Up Notice which summarizes accounting information and highlights special considerations of the award, such as any cost share obligations and proposed sub-recipients. The notice also contains the BANNER FIS grant index number that has been uniquely assigned to this project. All project expenses will be charged to this number.

To ensure compliance with Federal guidance, each new project will receive a new grant number in our systems.  New competitive segments of long-term projects may also receive new grant numbers.  Often it is necessary to establish multiple indexes (funds) within a grant number to reflect contract terms.  Below are the criteria when separate indices (funds) will be established. 

  • The agreement does not allow for automatic carry-forward between project years
  • The agreement includes multiple F&A rates within the project period
  • The agreement includes terms and conditions that require separate programmatic and fiscal tracking of distinct tasks
  • The project includes multiple PIs with budget authority for their component of the work
  • The sponsor provides for supplemental funding (in which case a new EPCS record will need to be completed)

 

A copy of the Account Set-Up Notice (or Account Adjustment Notice for subsequent modifications after award establishment) is distributed to the PI, Co-PI(s), Department Head and DGA(s) in the department administering the award.

It is the PI's responsibility to become familiar with the requirements and restrictions of the project by referring to the Account Set-Up Notice and the previously-distributed award documentation. Please contact SPS for guidance on these documents.

 

Payroll

Once a grant index is established, the appropriate payroll documents should be processed for each UO employee to be paid on the project. For establishment and hiring for new positions, contact the Office of Human Resources.

Cost Share

Cost share obligations outlined in the proposal and/or award documents must be documented through the UO BANNER financial and payroll systems or through another accepted mechanism for tracking, such as the Third-Party Cost share Contributions form. See the Cost Share Reporting and Documentation section of this guide for additional information on the documentation process.

Recurring cost share expenses, such as a percentage of effort expended on the project but not paid directly from sponsor funds, must be set up at the onset to avoid corrections and cost-transfers later. Appropriate forms reflecting the unique BANNER grant number in the Activity Code field should be submitted to Payroll.

Subaward Establishment

Sub-agreements designated in the proposal, and subsequently approved by the agency at the time of award, will need to be initiated at the time of award establishment. To facilitate this process, PIs must complete and submit a Request for New Subagreement form to SPS. The request must include any requested changes to the subaward details from those outlined in the proposal. A revision to the subaward entity’s level of support must be accompanied by a revised budget, approved by the subrecipient’s authorized institutional official. If substantial modifications occur, SPS will work with the PI to submit revisions to the awarding agency in order to meet any prior approval requirements set forth in the award.

Sponsor Payments

Most awards are made on a "cost-reimbursable" basis and the UO is reimbursed for actual expense incurred. This reimbursement usually takes place on a monthly basis by billing the sponsor or by drawing against a sponsor's letter of credit account. Some awards, usually from private sponsors, are funded by a payment schedule which may include some advance payment.

Occasionally, sponsors may send checks directly to a department or to a PI. Should the PI receive a sponsor check, he/she should deliver it to SPS along with identifying information for deposit to the project account. Include with the check the envelope and all documents accompanying the check.

Sponsored Projects Services
August 20 2008