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Office of Research and Projects

External Grants

Graduate Students

Award Acceptance

Once you have received an award you need a whole new set of information. The Graduate School's Office of Research and Projects (ORP) staff hopes the information on these pages will serve as a handy resource for the management of your award.

INTRODUCTION
ACCEPTING A GRANT
SUPPORT FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS
TYPES OF SPONSORED PROGRAMS AND FORMAL AGREEMENTS
BUDGET CONSTRUCTION (review)
BUDGET FAQ
AWARD & NEGOTIATION (review)

INTRODUCTION

Research projects and other activities performed under grants and contracts are supported through funds external to SIUE. Grant funds are awarded to SIUE by way of a proposal or application for funding submitted to an external agency by the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University on behalf of a faculty or staff member.

When a proposal is approved and the project funded by an external agency, official notification is usually received from the sponsoring agency by the Chancellor or the Principal Investigator/Project Director. If the Principal Investigator/Project Director is directly notified, he/she must immediately contact the Office of Research and Projects for specific guidance and appropriate university procedures. Grant and contract awards are officially made to the University, not to the individual.

ACCEPTING A GRANT/CONTRACT AWARD

The first step in officially accepting the award from the sponsoring agency is for the principal investigator/project director to complete the Grants and Contracts Routing Form. All pertinent data must be recorded on this form. If cost sharing has been committed (either in proposal narrative or budget), it must be recorded on the "routing form". The dollar amount and source (account name and account number) of the cost share must also be recorded on the form. The official award instrument (award letter, contract) should be attached to the "routing" form and forwarded to the Office of Research and Projects. Any and all official actions required to fully accept and/or negotiate the grant/contract award will be performed by ORP.

When an award is made by a funding agency, it is awarded to the institution on behalf of the project director, the person who is primarily responsible for carrying out the requirements of the award. Before the University officially accepts an award, the following must approve the document:

1. Principal Investigator/Project Director
2. Chairman or Supervisor
3. School Dean or Director
4. Office of Research and Projects
5. Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management
6. Office of Legal Counsel (for contracts only)
7. Other clearances as necessary, which may included and are not limited to: Office of Research and Projects for Institutional Review Board related to Animal Care, Human Subjects, Environmental Health and Safety for Hazardous Materials/Bio-safety, Vice Chancellor and Provost, Vice Chancellor for Administration, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
8. Graduate Dean who is the University's authorized institutional representative for externally sponsored programs


After the award has been cleared, the Office of Research and Projects will present the document to the Chancellor through the Vice Chancellor and Provost, with recommendation for acceptance of the award. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research on behalf of the Chancellor is the final signatory on all grant and contract documents. The Office of Research and Projects will be the responsible agent in the University for transmittal and notification of awards, and will also be the Office of Record for all extramural grants and contracts.

The award agreement commits the sponsor to fund the project to a certain level, and it commits SIUE to carry out the activities specified in the proposal over a specific project period. When cost sharing is involved and is a condition of the award, SIUE is also committed to fund the project at a certain level. Sponsored agreements often require negotiation and/or subcontract agreements, these activities are also handled in the Office of Research and Projects. ORP will assist you with the administrative requirements and will provide fiscal management and perform financial reporting to the sponsor throughout the post award phase of the funded project.


 SUPPORT FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS  

The main objectives of the Office of Research and Projects with regard to grants and contracts post award management are to provide supportive services to achieve and facilitate sponsored research and education project objectives.

When the University accepts funds from an external agency, it does so under the conditions imposed by the funding agency. The Office of Research and Projects, (both Pre-Awards and Post Awards) seeks to protect the fiscal integrity of the University and to exercise and demonstrate good stewardship of funds awarded to SIUE from all sources. (Federal, State, Private, Local and Foreign governments and entities)

Satisfactory fiscal performance of an award is conditioned primarily on an accurate and adequate proposed budget that has subsequently been accepted by the funding agency. Also, clear indication of the source of funds for the University's share of the total project costs and the proper inclusion of facilities and administration (F&A/Indirect) costs to the extent allowable by the funding agency is required.

Once the University is authorized to expend funds based on fully executed agreements or a grant award has been accepted by the Chancellor, the Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management:

1. Prepares the Request for New Account Form for signature by the designated fiscal officer (usually the principal investigator/project director), the Department Chair, Dean and/or Unit Head. All new fiscal officers are required to take AIS Training. 
2. Establishes the budget entries for submittal to the Administrative Accounting office. Administrative Accounting will then enter the budget into the University's financial system for the grant account.
3. Performs proprietary reviews on all requisitions, vouchers and employee appointments for conformity to agency guidelines and University polices. 
4. Reviews other expenditures of awarded funds.
5. Prepares all financial reports to funding agency.
6. Provides support, guidance and recommendations to PI/PD Fiscal Officer on agency requirements/guidelines, university policies, and business procedures and regulatory compliance. 
7. Prepares entries for the withdrawal of indirect costs, if applicable.
8. Provides funding for the project or program.
a. Requests payments from the funding agency.
b. Withdraw funds on letters of credit (most federal grants)
c. Maintains adequate cash balance to cover the deficit balances of all other grants and contract accounts.

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TYPES OF SPONSORED PROGRAMS AND FORMAL AGREEMENTS

GRANT (Provides assistance with a few restrictions)

A grant is a legal instrument that provides financial assistance in the form of money, property, services or anything of value in order to carry out approved activities. (Approved activities are those activities described in the grant application or document that has been approved for funding). There is no substantial involvement between the funding source and the recipient during the performance period of grant activity. This is because the funding agency anticipates that the recipient's performance will adhere to the proposed project plan that was awarded for funding. Grants require that the recipient provide financial accounting via reports submitted on monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Grants also require that the project director/principal investigator submit interim and/or final progress reports on the activity of the funded project. Granting agency terms and conditions are generally attached to the award document.

COOPERATIVE GRANT AGREEMENT (Provides assistance with substantial involvement between parties.

A Cooperative Agreement is also a grant. It is used when the principal purpose is to transfer funds to a recipient to accomplish a public purpose. Substantial involvement by the funding agency should be anticipated. Substantial involvement means that the funding agency program staff will collaborate or participate in the project or program activities as specified in the Grant Award Norification. The terms and conditions are generally attached to the award document or are referenced in the award document. 

CONTRACT (Procure tangible goods and services)

A contract is a written agreement between a recipient and a third party to acquire commercial goods or services. A contract is used for the delivery of service or work for hire.  A contract can also mean the procurement of service via a sub-grant (subcontract).  The terms and conditions are incorporated in the contract via articles and clauses.  A contract with a federal sponsor (i.e. collaborative agreement/cooperative agreement) is subject to substantial involvement by the sponsor as to the direction and scope of activities. 

FIXED PRICE AGREEMENTS (are contracts and purchase order)

A fixed price contract or purchase order is when the awarding agency gives a lump sum of money.  The amount is predetermined without regard for the actual costs of the project.  Generally there is no program specific audit and there is a greater amount of flexibility.  Fixed price agreements are generally tied into deliverables.  This means that either reports or products have a delivery due date that is sometimes tied into a payment schedule.  If, at the conclusion of the performance period, funds remain in the grant account, the PI/PD/Fiscal Officer may utilize those funds after the performance end date.  The funds must be used for items or activities that are closely related to the project for which the agency granted the award and must additionally be used within twelve months after the end date of the project performance period.

ADVANCED PAYMENT/AUTO-PAYMENTS/SCHEDULED PAYMENTS (generally on contracts with a few exceptions for grants)

These types of grants and contracts are also considered a form of a cost reimbursable grant or contract. The difference is that the granting agency may either choose to pay all grant money up front, or payments are based on a schedule and made in increments. Agencies are invoiced either on a monthly, quarterly or predetermined billing schedule. Any unexpended funds remaining at the end of the grant period is returned to the granting agency.

COST REIMBURSABLE AGREEMENTS (Can be grants or contracts)

Cost reimbursable are grants and contracts whereby the university can only be reimbursed for actual expenditures incurred up to the time of requesting reimbursement.  All expenses must meet the agency and A-21 CAS (Cost Accounting Standard) and Cost Principles criteria. Cost reimbursable grants and contracts are restrictive.  They require detailed record keeping and have to adhere to the approved budget.  Funds are secured from the funding agency based on letter of credit draws, submission of invoices and/or financial reports

All externally funded grants and contracts are audited under the Single Audit Act (agency wide audit).  The Single Audit Act requires an annual financial and compliance audit on all grants and contracts and especially those that are federally funded.  A cost reimbursable contract may additionally require the submission of a program specific audit depending on contract requirements and the dollar amount of the award and sponsoring agency type.

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KEY ELEMENTS IN THE PRE-AWARD PHASE THAT ARE CRITICAL TO POST AWARD MANAGEMENT OF THE AWARD:

It is always helpful to know how your budget development in the proposal affects the administration and management of your grant when it is awarded.  The following are typical elements in budget development that are critical in the post award phase.
 

BUDGET CONSTRUCTION
The following elements should be considered when constructing a budget for direct cost support from a funding agency:

1. Salaries and Wages
a) Institutional policy on academic year salary recovery
b) Summer Salary
c) Graduate Students (salaries or stipends?)
d) Technical Support
e) Clerical Support
f) Undergraduate Students
g) Postdoctoral research associates
h) Use of percent of effort
i) Increases for COLA (cost of living allowance) and merit-based

2. Fringe Benefits
a) Use correct rates; if multi-rates, are they applied correctly?

3. Equipment
a) Be aware of potential differences between equipment definitions (sponsor/institution)
b) Capitalization policy. SIUE's capitalization on equipment is $500.00 versus federal of $5,000.00

4. Expendable supplies and materials

5. Travel
a) Adhere to SIUE's policy and the funding agency guidelines
b) Distinguish between foreign and domestic travel
c) If foreign travel is required and is to be funded by a federal grant, federal international
per diem rates should be used.

6. Subcontracts and consultants
a)     Ensure that proposed costs are reasonable and allowable and that the authorized subcontract representative/consultant has signed the proposal or a confirmatory letter.
b)    The Office of Human Resources requires that they are provided a completed “Independent Contractors Analysis Form” if you have identified a consultant in your proposal and before the proposal is submitted to the funding agency.
c)     SIUE Purchasing Office requires that the name of the subcontractor is included in your proposal in order to sole source.
d)    Not identifying your consultant or subcontractor will require that the work under either of these budget lines will have to be bid out per State of Illinois Procurement Codes.

7. Other
a) Communications
b) Publications
c) Animal Care Costs
d) Human Subjects Costs
e) Maintenance/service contracts
f) Computer Costs
g) Graphic Arts/photographic services
h) Rental/lease of facilities
i) Construction/renovation/remodeling costs


Inflationary adjustments should be considered, especially for multi-year grants.

TIPS:
*Include both Direct and F&A Costs
*Budget should be detailed and include narrative explanations
*Include only allowable costs
*If necessary, include matching or cost-sharing (if cost sharing is proposed it should be proportional between direct
and F&A costs)
*Be consistent with funding agency policies and requirements

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A successful grant award is not only conditioned on a successful proposal but also on the sound and fiscally responsible budget and budget justification accompanying the proposal. When you are awarded an externally sponsored grant or contract, the following are also critical elements for carrying out the project that the funding agency has awarded. 

These items are reviewed by ORP Post-Award before establishing an AIS budget purpose number.  There may be instances where ORP will have to negotiate certain items in externally sponsored contracts.  Terms and conditions on grant awards cannot be negotiated.

AWARD & NEGOTIATION - ITEMS FOR REVIEW

PROGRAMMATIC
1. Statement of Work
2. Technical and other non-fiscal reporting
3. Period of Performance

BUSINESS
1. Compensation (is overload allowed?)
2. Assignment (is effort reasonable)
3. Equipment Title (who retains title, SIUE or agency?)
4. Indemnification (SIUE cannot indemnify the sponsor)
5. Hiring restrictions
6. Restrictions on working with other sponsors
7. Publicity
8. Data Ownership
9. Proprietary information
10. Intellectual Property
11. Export Controls 
12. Human Subjects
13. Publication Restrictions
14. Termination
15. Use of Name
16. Warranties and Guarantees
17. Subcontractor status with sponsoring agency (debarred or suspended, CCR registration status?)

FINANCIAL
1. Understand the Financial Reporting Requirements of your Grant
-Can the university accounting system accommodate
your needs for keeping track of your expenditures or
should you develop your own method of recording
(e.g. - spreadsheet program)?

-Cost sharing or matching - are they real dollars or
in-kind? what documentation should be maintained?
how do you prepare a cost share report?

2. Rebudgeting
o Try to get the maximum flexibility
o Know whether your granting agency has instituted an
institutional administrative authority policy or if prior approval is required.

3. Method of Reimbursement
o Letter or credit, cash reimbursement - monthly, quarterly, etc.

4. Withholding Payments
o Payment from funding agency should not be tied to deliverance,
but should be based on best effort.

6. Travel Policy (usually travel policy is defaulted to University Policy).

7. Conflicts with state laws - are there conflicts - who supercedes who?

8. Transfers (cost transfers/journal entries)- what is allowable? how are transfers processed? 

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