Managing Your Award

Both the Principal Investigator (PI) and ORSP have important roles in the management of a sponsored award. The PI is responsible for carrying out the objectives of the award as awarded by the sponsor, monitoring the budget, ensuring expenses are allowable, allocable, necessary, reasonable, and consistent, monitoring subrecipient preformance and expenses, submitting technical reports by deadlines, ensuring compliance with University and sponsor guidelines, and communicating with ORSP. ORSP is responsible for remaining current on federal regulations, compliance/audit requirements, sponsor terms and conditions, and University policies and procedures, providing resources to PIs to help them better understand guidance, monitoring award expenses, performing subrecipient monitoring, coordinating requests to sponsors for change in scope, extensions, budget modifications, etc., and communicating with PIs. Following is further information on the most common procedures of award management.

Common Award Procedures

Set Up Budget

Once the funding agency has informed you and ORSP that your award has been funded, you will work with the ORSP staff member assigned to your award to set up a budget. As the Principal Investigator and Project Director (PI/PD), you should have submitted a budget as part of the proposal endorsement process. ORSP will obtain this proposed budget and verify that the submitted budget and the agency-awarded/funded budget match; if there are any discrepancies, ORSP will contact you determine how to revise your budget.

Based on the budget approved by the funding agency, the PA will record the budget in the Common Financial System (CFS). A Delegation of Authority form indicating those individuals (aside from the PI/PD) who should be granted signature authority on the award will be forwarded to the appropriate individuals.

New PIs/PDs are required to complete a Confirmation of Understanding. ORSP will review the requirements of the Confirmation of Understanding and provide the form to you for signature.

Once the budget has been recorded, the Delegation of Authority has been signed and returned to ORSP and the Confirmation of Understanding, if applicable, has been signed and returned to ORSP the PI/PD is authorized to begin spending award funds.

Please note that the budget awarded by the funding agency may not match what was requested in the proposal; in such a case, ORSP will help you determine how to revise your budget accordingly.

Revise Budget

General information about budget revisions for the most common funding agencies is listed below. Please refer to your project's specific funding regulations to determine whether budget revision is allowable; contact ORSP with any questions and to initiate the process.

U.S. Department of Education
Recipients are required to both report and request prior approvals for deviations from awarded budgets and program plans. For non-construction awards, prior approval is required for any of the following program or budget related reasons: 

  • Change in key personnel specified in the application or award documents. 
  • Change in the project's scope / objective, even if there is no associated budget revision. 
  • An absence of more than three months, or a 25% reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved PI.
  • Need for additional Federal funding.
  • Transfer of funds budgeted for indirect costs, or vice versa, if approval is required by the Secretary.
  • The inclusion, unless waived, of costs that require prior approval in accordance with 2 CFR Part 200 - Subpart E - Cost Principles
  • Transfer of funds allotted for training allowance (direct payment to trainees) to other categories.
  • Unless described in the proposal and funded in the approved award,the subaward, transfer, or contracting out of any work under an award;this provision does not apply to the purchase of supplies, material,equipment, or general support services.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Unless otherwise specified in the award, prior written approval is required for the following significant project changes, and must be submitted electronically through NSF's Fastlane System:

  • Transfer of project Effort
  • Change in objective or scope
  • Absence or change of PI
  • Change in the amount of cost sharing reflected on Line M of the award budget
  • Rearrangement/alteration aggregating $25,000 or over (Construction)
  • Reallocation of funds provided for participant or trainee support.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH grantees are allowed some flexibility to rebudget within and between categories; some types of changes require prior written approval while others do not. Grantee-initiated changes that require prior approval from the designated NIH official include:

  • Change in Scope
  • Change in key personnel
  • Change of grantee organization
  • Equipment purchases exceeding $25,000/unit, regardless of amount of NIH funds involved
  • Alteration and renovation (A&R) (rebudgeting into A&R cost exceeding 25% of total approved budget for a budget period)
  • Transferring amount from trainee costs
  • Capital expenditures (construction, land, or building acquisition) 
  • Need for additional NIH funds

Set Up Subaward

A subaward is needed when a Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) has identified an entity (at another institution) that will conduct some of the research, or contracted work, on a funded award. For example, a subaward would be setup if a $500,000 award from NSF was awarded to Professor Jones (SSU), and $50,000 was needed to pay for work done by Professor Smith (at UC Berkeley), for that work. 

In most cases, subawards are written into proposals and would be approved by the agency via the budget included in the award notification. In the event that a subaward is not preapproved by the funding agency, check with your PA to find out if it can be added later (noting that agency approval must be granted).

When a need for a subaward has been identified on an award, the PI/PD should contact ORSP to discuss and provide ORSP with their colleague's contact information at the other university. ORSP will verify that the subaward is allowed on the project.

ORSP reviews the budget for the subaward (usually included in the awarded/funded budget) then works with the PI/PD to ensure the appropriate documents are sent to the Procurement Office who is primarily responsible for developing the contractual agreement. Only a Procurement Office official may sign the contractual agreement.

The PI/PD is responsible for creating the scope of work which must be included in documentation submitted to the Procurement Office. The Procurement Office sets up the agreement, sends courtesy copies to both the subaward and SSU PI/PD and ORSP, and sends the agreement to the contracts office at the subaward PI's/PD's institution for them to execute. The SSU PI/PD will typically have little involvement in the subaward agreement after this point, as most contact will take place between the Procurement Office and the subaward PI's contracts office.

After the subaward has been fully executed the SSU PI/PD and the subcontracted PI/PD will collaborate on the work of the award as outlined in scope of work that has been approved by the sponsor.

Please note that if the entity receiving the subaward is programmatically involved with your award (not just providing a service), you will need to be aware of SSU's Subrecipient Monitoring requirements.

If the SSU PI/PD is receiving the subaward to collaborate on research by a colleague at another institution, this is viewed as a regular award by ORSP and is setup in a similar fashion to regular awards granted to SSU.

Financial Reports

Principal Investigators/Project Directors (PIs/PDs) are provided with financial reports for their awards on a monthly basis via email. The report consists of a financial summary of the award and a detail of expenses charged to the award in the month reported.

PIs/PDs may also access financial reports for their awards via the Common Financial System's Data Warehouse. PIs/PDs should contact ORSP for information regarding access registration and instructions for using the Data Warehouse. While the monthly financial reports present an overall financial statement for awards, PIs/PDs should specifically look for the following items:

  • Are the expenses charged to the award charges that the PI/PD authorized?
  • Is the budget presented for the award current, complete, and accurate?
  • Is the amount of funding left to spend sufficient to achieve programmatic goals and objectives of the award?

If a PI/PD has a question regarding any expense charged to an award or would like further guidance on reviewing and understanding the financial reports, ORSP should be contacted.

Extend Award

Most no-cost extension (NCE) requests on federal awards may be approved by SSU (the "grantee"). Typically, federal agencies require 10-90 days notice prior to the award's original end date and NCEs do not usually exceed twelve months. More than one NCE may be approved, depending on the federal agency. The format for these requests varies according to the federal agency's requirements; check with ORSP to clarify the appropriate format for your NCE.

National Science Foundation
The first NCE on a National Science Foundation (NSF) award is considered a "notification," and can be approved by the grantee. If time is needed beyond the first extension, a second NCE is considered a "request" that must be approved by NSF. "Notifications" and "requests" must be submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) via Fastlane or, and should include the information outlined in the bulleted section below.

National Institutes of Health
If NCEs are allowed on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) award, a link for "extension" is posted in the "status" area of the NIH Commons 90 days before the end date. Once the link is posted, ORSP can submit the request. To initiate this request, the PI should submit a request to his/her PA with the information outlined in the bulleted section below.

All Other Awards
PIs must submit requests for NCEs to all other agencies in writing (by email or in a memo) to their PA for review/approval.

  • Justification for the NCE, including progress to date. The following reasons are acceptable: 
    • Additional time beyond the initial end date is required to complete the project.
    • The extension is necessary for an orderly phase-out of a project that will not receive continued support.
  • Length of the requested NCE.
  • An estimate of funds that are expected to remain unobligated on the scheduled end date.
  • A plan for how any remaining funds will be used during the extension period.

Please note that requesting additional time simply to spend down remaining funds is not considered a reasonable justification.

Award Closeout

Award staff and/or the Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) should work closely with ORSP during the last several months of an award to ensure orderly close out. During this time the PI/PD must:

  • Inform ORSP if a no-cost extension request will be submitted to the sponsor.
  • Submit all transactions (invoices, travel claims, reimbursement requests) within 45 days of the project's end date.
  • Close any open Purchase Orders (POs), including blanket POs, within 45 days of the project's end date (unless the sponsor requires a financial report sooner than 90 days).
  • If the award has recurring expenditures (i.e. telecom or copying), a new award/fund code must be provided for charges beyond the award's end date; if there is no further funding ORSP will inactivate and close the award/fund.
  • Provide a new award/fund number for the Procurement Card (P-card) charges; if the PI/PD has no other funding, the card(s) should be terminated.
  • Send an electronic copy of all final technical/programmatic reports to ORSP to ensure compliance with funding terms and conditions.
  • Confirm that all cost sharing requirements have been met (if applicable).
  • Review and approve the final financial report and/or invoice prepared by ORSP, if applicable.
  • If the PI/PD is expecting additional funding beyond the end date of the current award but have not yet received the corresponding notice of grant award or contract, contact your PA to determine if pre award spending is allowable.