Initial Award Management
Once a proposal is submitted to a sponsor, the review process may take from six to nine months before the University receives formal notification about its status. While Principal Investigators may receive preliminary or informal advice from the sponsor, this advice may precede official notification by as much as several months. Because scientific or program approval does not always guarantee funding, no work may be initiated or costs incurred until the sponsor's official written notification is received and accepted by the University and the IRB has concluded its review. When this notification comes directly to the investigator, the award document and any attachments should immediately be forwarded to the OSP for formal acceptance. Unless the agency normally distributes awards electronically, emails do not constitute official award documentation.
In some instances, the sponsor will wish to negotiate the substance or scope of the work, or the terms and conditions under which an award will be made. Negotiations of the technical aspects of a proposal are generally conducted with the sponsor's program officials; negotiations concerning type of award mechanism, terms, and financial arrangements are conducted with the sponsor's grant or contract officials. The Principal Investigator and the Director of Sponsored Programs of their designee, respectively, are responsible for negotiating the technical and contractual aspects of the proposal.
It should be noted, however, that in no case should the technical aspects of the project be negotiated without consultation with the Office of Sponsored Programs, since any changes in the project scope are likely to affect the cost elements as well as other performance aspects, particularly the time period.
If negotiations do result in any major contractual or technical changes to the original proposal, the proposal, as revised, must be resubmitted for internal approval, following the same procedures as those outlined for the original proposal.
An award may be made in the form of a letter issued by the sponsor or it may consist of a complete contractual document.
The Office of Sponsored Programs is the university's central office for the receipt of notifications of sponsor acceptance or rejection of awards. In cases where an award document is sent directly to the Principal Investigator, such notices should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs immediately.
Because an award to the University from a sponsor represents a formal obligation by the University, both the Principal Investigator and the Office of Sponsored Programs must review the provisions of each award offer before the university formally accepts the award. The Principal Investigator must review the document to ensure its conformance with the proposal and that the scope of work, timetables, and deliverables, if any, are acceptable. The Office of Sponsored Programs reviews the award to ensure that its provisions are acceptable to the university, identifies any unusual terms and conditions to the Principal Investigator, and conducts any further negotiations with the sponsor, should they be required.
After review, the Office of Sponsored Programs submits the appropriate acceptance documents to the sponsor. In some cases, the award is not official until the sponsor returns a final signed copy of the award document. The OSP will make a Daily Digest announcement of the official award as soon after an award is received as possible. The Public Relations (PR) Office should be contacted for further community outreach. Keep in mind that the Stevens Amendment requires each federal award to be properly acknowledged by the University. The PR Office has been apprised of this federal law but all University employees are responsible for its fulfillment. Each award may also make specific mention of required language to appear in any public announcement on the web or in print form.
No charges may be incurred against a sponsored project until such time as the Office of Sponsored Programs has formally accepted the award, the IRB has cleared the research to commence (if applicable), and a University account number has been issued by Accounting. Commitments to personnel or subcontractors, prior to formal institutional processing, will not be honored. Additionally, the PI must schedule a meeting with the Gallaudet Finance Office in order to begin the process of setting up a grant account an any additional internal documentation required (subcontract set up, PAFs, signature authority forms, provision of Peoplesoft, etc...).
As signatories on the Office of Sponsored Programs Sponsored Project Routing and Approval Form for Proposal Submission, Principal Investigators, Department Chairpersons/Directors, and Deans/Unit Budget Heads are considered by the University to be accountable for project implementation as outlined in the proposal. Successors to those individuals assume responsibility in the event that a signatory vacates the role they filled at the time of signature. Both technical and administrative content fall within their purview.
The Office of Sponsored Programs prepares and distributes a copy of the award and internal budget to all concerned units within the University.
Please note that the Principal Investigator will need to follow departmental or unit procedures to place people on the payroll or otherwise expend funds. This process is facilitated by the Grants Accountant referenced above.
Upon receipt of the award document, the Office of Sponsored Programs will forward a copy to the Grants Accountant in the Controller's Office for assignment of an account number. Each project is fiscally accounted for by a separate restricted account.
Each project has a budget approved by the sponsor and/or the University. This is a target document indicating intended categories of fund expenditures; depending on the sponsor's award provisions, it may be modified, as required, in the course of project performance. Some sponsors have restrictions as to the kinds and amounts of modifications that may be made in the budget. In the event that a revision to the original budget is permitted by the agency sponsor, the university has a specific procedure that it must conduct in order to make any budget revision. Please see the instructions on the GU Internal Prior Approval System on the OSP Forms page.
Persons making unauthorized commitments of University resources may become personally responsible for those commitments. For example, the University will not recognize obligations for subcontracts or consultant service agreements that have been entered into without proper institutional clearance as indicated in the A&O Manual Policy 2.09.
With few exceptions, every sponsor requires a stipulated number of reports during the life of the project as well as a final report. Preparation of the technical report(s) is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator, who must make certain that such reports are delivered to the sponsor in a timely manner and in the required format. The importance of the submission of such a report(s) on a timely basis cannot be overstated. In a grant or contract arrangement, unlike gifts, the sponsor expects to be informed of results. Negligence by the Principal Investigator may substantially affect his or her (and the University's) ability to receive other support from the sponsor; it may also result in a loss of payment for costs already incurred. Should an authorized institutional official be required, a complete copy of the final version of the technical report must be provided to the OSP. Additionally, any financial information must be confirmed by the Finance Department before a signature will be provided.
The Accounting Office is responsible for the preparation of billings and financial reports to project sponsors. Principal Investigators should not prepare and send billings or provide financial reports to sponsors. Furthermore, the OSP will not transmit financial information to an agency sponsor without confirmation from the Accounting Office. PIs should work with accounting to complete the financial aspects of their annual or final reports.
Sponsor requests for special billings or reports should be directed to the Grants Accountant in the Controller's Office.
At a minimum, records pertaining to grant/contract income, expenses and correspondence must be retained for a period of five (5) years, beginning with the final closing date of the award period.