CHAPTER FIVE: Award Acceptance and Account Establishment
5.1 Types of Awards
Grants normally provide financial assistance for basic research, training, or community service projects and are usually Principal Investigator/Project Director initiated. Funding agencies have standard terms and conditions; therefore, negotiation by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research is usually not necessary.
Contracts provide financial support for a specific task, with the project usually initiated by the sponsor. Terms and conditions, which are specific to the award, generally must be negotiated prior to acceptance of the contract to ensure compliance with University of Louisville policy. Negotiations are conducted by the Office of Sponsored Programs Grants Administration (OSPGA) or the Office of Industry Contracts (OIC) (dependent upon the sponsor), with assistance of the PI/PD, the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), and/or University legal counsel as needed.
Cooperative agreements, purchase orders, subagreements, etc., that meet the definition of a sponsored activity have accounts established through OSPGA or OIC dependent upon the sponsors.
5.2 Signature Authority
The President of the University has delegated signature authority for all sponsored program agreements to the Office of Sponsored Programs Grants Administration or the Office of Industry Contracts. In no case is a PI/PD allowed to sign for the University.
5.3 Establishment of Award Speedtype
Once the University receives official notification of an award, such as a Notice of Grant Award, letter of award or fully executed contract from the sponsor, OSPGA/OIC will set up a speedtype for the project. Awards will not be established in the financial system unless OSPGA/OIC has a completed Proposal Clearance Form/MIRA, current Financial Interests disclosure, a copy of the final proposal (if any), a current project budget, and an award/agreement document.
Speedtypes can be established prior to an award using a request for pre-award spending or in instances when award information is provided in advance of the actual documentation.
New Account Notification
When assigning the speedtype, OSPGA/OIC will send an email to the PI/PD with a copy to the Unit Business Manager and other appropriate individuals informing them of the number. This correspondence will also include an outline of the PI/PD’s responsibilities in complying with University and sponsor guidelines. The PI/PD will be notified of the responsibility for assuring updated financial disclosures are on file for himself/herself and all other University participants the PI/PD has determined to be responsible for the design, conduct and reporting of research throughout the term of the award.
Once OSPGA/OIC has established the budget, a copy of the award and an Award Information Summary sheet will be sent to the PI/PD, his or her Unit Business Manager or designee and the Office of the Controller. This summary sheet includes the sponsor’s name, award document number, project period, budget period, budget details, cost sharing details and cost sharing sources, invoicing information and any special terms and conditions of the award.
5.4 Pre-Award Costs
Federal regulations sometimes allow an institution to incur charges on a sponsored agreement up to 90 days prior to the actual start date of the award. These pre-award costs are incurred at the risk of the institution. A PI/PD may request a speedtype through his/her chair or unit head for pre-award costs. The Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs Grants Administration (or the Director of Industry Contracts if appropriate) will review requests and compare them to the sponsoring agency guidelines. If the request is approved, a speedtype will be created. The final award budget may be adjusted if the awarded amount differs from the proposal budget. See the Pre-Award Spending Policy.
The request for a pre-award account must be sent from the chair or unit head of the PI/PD to the responsible OSPGA Grants Management Specialist (or the Industry Contracts Service e-mail account INDCONTR@louisville.edu if for an industry-sponsored or clinical trial pre-award setup). The request must explain the necessity of the project beginning prior to the start date, commit a non-sponsored account to cover any expenses that are disallowed or if the award is not received, and provide a budget by pool indicating the total amount of the guarantee. The office that has administrative responsibility for the guaranteed non-sponsored account must cosign this request. No pre-award request will be honored if a PCF/MIRA is not on file.
Pre-award expenditures must meet the same guidelines of allowability, allocability and reasonableness as described by OMB Circular A-21.
5.5 Post-Award Costs
Federally sponsored programs have a pre-determined end date. As such, all expenses for the project should be incurred prior to the end date of the project or the expenses will be unallowable as a charge to the project.
At the conclusion of a sponsored program, charges that were incurred during the project period but were not posted to the account due to delays in processing will be acceptable and included in the final financial report. However, the charges should be posted to the project within 90 days of the end date so that the financial report can be completed on time.
Note: In those instances in which a non-industry project will continue into another fiscal year (such as an annually-renewed state project), OSPGA can set up a speedtype for the next year or extend the current account end date during the annual “Planning and Budget new fiscal year budget preparation” period. This allows payroll appointments to continue in the new fiscal year. The PI/PD must make a request through his/her department with a guarantee of funding directly to the Grants Management Specialist.