Acceptance of an Award and Release of Funds
On behalf of the University of Florida the Division of Sponsored Research is responsible for negotiation and accepting awards in support of the University’s research and training activities. Upon acceptance of an award DSR’s Award Administration Office will process and issue the Notification of Acceptance (NOA) which is the official internal award document that sets post-award activity into motion.
Once finalized, the NOA, is distributed by email with the back-up documentation, normally the award document, itemized budget where applicable, and any other required or useful document to the following units;
Department’s NOA or Grants point of contact
Asset Management (Property)
Contracts & Grants Accounting Services
Contracts and Grants Accounting finalizes the project set-up in myUFL and releases budget, establishes any cost sharing, as indicated by the NOA. Upon completion of the project set-up, the myUFL system generates an email directed to the Principal Investigator that indicates the project is ready with budget and you may begin spending.
Administration of the award is a team effort consisting of the Principal Investigator (PI) and his/her departmental grant/contract administrator, Office of Research, and the University’s appropriate fiscal office (Contracts & Grants, EIES, or IFAS). The PI and the University jointly bear the responsibility for proper administration according to the policies and guidelines pertinent to the particular project. The Award Administration office assists in the clarification of regulations.
Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator
The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for project implementation, assembling the necessary staff, expending the funds, and conducting the project as described in the proposal and agreed to by means of the award notification.
The PI must direct the work so that it will be completed within the budget period and with the funds authorized; otherwise, a request for supplemental funds or a no-cost time extension must be initiated. Although there is similarity among the regulations of major funding agencies, researchers should familiarize themselves thoroughly with the regulations applicable to their specific project.
The PI may authorize changes when they are in compliance with the agency’s cost principles, as well as the State of Florida’s fiscal regulations, and if the goods or services are directly related to the sponsored project. Salaries and wages may be authorized by the investigator only if they are in accordance with Cost Accounting Standards.
Principal investigators have first line responsibility for managing expenditures within the fiscal regulations and amounts specified by the sponsor. While the accounting units on campus are responsible for billing the sponsor per the funding terms, the principal investigator must carefully analyze the monthly departmental ledger (DL) and voucher registers (which are used to develop those billings) to see that all items presented are correct and that appropriate funds (cash and budget authority) are available. The investigator also has the responsibility of initiating or coordinating appropriate adjustments as each situation dictates.
Responsibilities of the Award Administration Office
The Office of Research’s Award Administration Office provides information on compliance with guidelines and policies for numerous funding agencies, including:
Rules and regulations of Corporate Agreements
Federal Acquisition Register (FAR) Clauses
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars
Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and Expanded Authority
The Award Administration Office assures that funding conforms to the terms and conditions of each specific contract or grant. This office provides assistance with compliance throughout the life of the project, including addressing questions on rebudgeting, no-cost extensions, carryover of funds, closeout requirements, etc.
Responsibilities of the University Fiscal Offices
The fiscal offices at the University of Florida utilize the State Automated Management Accounting System (SAMAS), which is a uniform accounting system that includes basic controls as well as accounting reports that assist faculty and their staff in managing grants and contracts. The University accounting system is under the jurisdiction of the Division of Finance & Accounting.
Questions or inquiries concerning accounting should be addressed to the Office of Contracts & Grants (302 Tigert, 392-1235), the EIES Contracts & Grants Accounting Office (545 Weil, 392-6626) or the IFAS Contracts & Grants Accounting Office (2029 McCarty, 392-1735). Check with your particular accounting office for the services they provide. In general, your accounting office may help with:
Establishing accounts and releasing initial budget amounts
Budget transactions such as category conversions
Cash management such as draw down on Letters of Credit
Invoicing agencies to collect funds
Submission of required financial reports
Monitoring and advice on Cost Accounting Standards
Approval of purchase requisitions, change orders, travel authorizations, etc.
Approval of cost transfers before they are sent to Payroll
Fiscal aspects of project closeout
Keep in mind that requisitions for equipment, travel or supplies submitted near the end of the project period will most likely be disapproved.
Participant Support Costs
Some agencies include a budgeting category called participant support costs. This category is normally used only for conference proposals or training proposals and not used in research proposals for general travel to conferences or to bring collaborators together to meet and discuss the project, unless specifically allowed by agency written instructions.
Funds provided for participant support may not be used by grantees for other categories of expense without the specific prior written approval of the sponsoring agency. Therefore, UF will establish a separate project to separately account for participant support costs.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) does not allow participant support costs to be included in the calculation of F&A costs. This is an NSF rule and not a general rule for all participant support costs. Check your sponsor’s guidelines before excluding participant support cost from indirect calaculations.
If you receive Participant Support Costs from the NSF the following rules apply:
Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects.
Funds provided for participant support may not be used by grantees for other categories of expense without the specific prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Program Officer. Therefore, awardee organizations must account for participant support costs separately.
Participant support allowances may not be paid to trainees who are receiving compensation, either directly or indirectly, from other Federal government sources while participating in the project. A non-NSF Federal employee may receive participant support allowances from grant funds provided there is no duplication of funding of items and provided no single item of participant cost is divided between his/her parent agency and NSF grant funds.
Payments to Research Participants
The Directive and Procedure relating to payments made to research participants has been released and is located at the following website:
Below are the important highlights:
This directive is intended to provide guidance and direction for payments to research participants in research studies approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) conducted at the University of Florida, in accordance with applicable Federal regulations and University research guidelines. This directive also applies to all gift cards issued to research participants, whether the cards are purchased by the University or are supplied directly by the sponsoring agency.
A participant support payment form (See forms on Finance and Accounting website) should be completed. This form will also be used for petty cash or gift card reconciliation and sponsoring agency documentation. Determine whether participant is a University of Florida employee or a nonresident alien before allowing participation.
University of Florida Employee Participant
Effective January 1, 2012 payments to University of Florida employees will no longer be processed through the payroll system. Instead, payments will be made in the same manner consistent with other participants in research studies. For the announcement of this change see Important Changes to Processing Research Participants Payments.
Nonresident Alien Participant
If the participant is a nonresident alien, whether they are already a University of Florida employee or not, payment will be through the University payroll system as additional pay. Taxes will be withheld and an IRS Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, will be issued at the end of the year. Contact University Tax Services since multiple tax forms will need to be completed, including obtaining a tax identification number for a non-employee.
Research Participants Other than Employees and Nonresident Aliens
There are 3 options for payment to these research participants:
- Issue an accounts payable check to the research participant after obtaining the required information to establish the participant as a vendor. An IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, will be issued at the end of the year if payments total $600 or more.
- Pay the research participant in cash (limited to $50 per payout) from a petty cash fund. Information on petty cash funds can be found in the section of directives and procedures entitled Cash, Collections, Receivables, and Investments.
Issue the research participant a gift card. Gift cards are defined as any cash alternative including gas vouchers, traveler’s checks, debit cards and gift certificates. The purchase or use of gift cards to use for this purpose requires additional documentation. If the gift cards are purchased using a restricted grant source of funds (funds 201 and 209), the granting agency must give approval. If another source of funds is used, the Dean, Director, or Department Head must justify and approve the use of gift cards for payment to research participants.
A UF Purchasing Card may not be used to acquire the gift cards; purchases may only be made with a voucher.
Cash or Gift Card Payments of more than $600 in a Calendar Year
If payments to any participant receiving cash or gift cards total $600 or more in a calendar year, it is the responsibility of the department to provide the necessary information to Purchasing and Disbursement Services by January 15th of the following year so that an IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, can be generated. Best practice is to obtain IRS Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, initially from each participant for compliance to IRS Form 1099 information reporting.
Internal Control Over Gift Cards
It is the responsibility of the department to maintain the same level of internal control over gift cards purchased to pay research participants as required over a petty cash fund. This includes storing the gift cards in a secure place; providing segregation of duties so that the employee processing the voucher to procure the gift cards is not the employee who has custody or assigns the gift cards; maintaining a log of gift card recipients; and providing high level (Dean or designee) oversight of the gift card process.
Effort Reporting on Sponsored Projects
Effort reporting provides a method for UF to certify to sponsoring agencies that direct labor charges allocated to sponsored projects are reasonable and reflect the actual work performed. Effort reporting is required for all federally sponsored research projects, based on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Circular A-21, the Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, section J.10.
Effort reporting is also used in negotiating the University’s Federal Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rates (also known as Indirect or Overhead Costs) and in demonstrating compliance with the 12-hour law (Florida Statute 1012.945).
We remind Principal Investigators to take effort reporting duties very seriously as non-compliance can result in severe penalties for-UF as the grantee institution and to the individual researchers.
Policies, procedures and guidance, training and system details are available at: http://www.fa.ufl.edu/departments/cost-analysis/effort-certification/.
Subcontracting at the Time of Award Administration
What Happens at the Time of Award?
When the University of Florida accepts an award from an agency that includes a subrecipient, the appropriate research administration office DSR or for Engineering award OER, ill contact the Principal Investigator and/or appropriate Department Administrator to begin the preparation of a subcontract (also know as a subaward) regardless of the dollar amount.
In order to begin preparing a subcontract, at a minimum the following information is needed:
Name and address of the subcontractor
Clear statement of work
Period of performance
Schedule of expected technical reporting by the subcontractor
Subcontractor’s Funds will be Encumbered
DSR and OER will request the C&G Accounting Office to encumber Subcontractor’s funds. Encumbering the Subcontractor’s funds sets aside an amount to cover our obligation to pay our Subcontractors.
Subcontract Template and Terms
The University makes use of two template subcontracts, as follows;
UF Standard Subaward Agreement used by UF when issuing a Subaward under a federal grant
UF Standard Subcontract used by UF when subcontracting with 1) non-federal funds and 2) under a federal contract
In addition, DSR, where needed, will construct and approve custom subcontracts to meet requirements of any unique programs we may engage in. All University of Florida subcontracts flow down applicable prime award terms and conditions, as well as any other applicable federal, state and University policies, procedures and regulations.
Principal Investigator’s Approval
After preparing the subcontract, DSR and OER will transmit the document to the project’s Principal Investigator for review and approval, after which the appropriate office will release the subcontract to the Subcontractor for review and acceptance.
UF and Subcontractor’s Authorized Officials must Sign
Both the University of Florida’s Authorized Official (DSR) and the Subcontractor’s Authorized Official must sign these agreements.
Distribution of Fully Signed Subcontract
The fully signed subcontract is distributed as follows:
Original retained by the appropriate research administration office
Copy to the Principal Investigator and respective Fiscal Office
Copy to C&G Accounting through the imaging system (see below)
Imaging of Subcontract Documents for use by C&G Accounting Main
DSR and OER will image their subcontract documents into the correct folder of GPA Sponsored Research Imaging System. C&G Main will review the subcontract worklist to retrieve their copy the subcontract issued by DSR as well as all subcontracts for the purpose of monitoring A-133 reports.
Modifications to Subcontracts
Most subcontract modifications are initiated when the University of Florida receives an increment of funding from our Sponsor. A good example of incremental funding is when UF receives Year 2 funding from the National Science Foundation. For this example the subcontract would be modified to add additional funds, add additional time, and adjust the scope of work accordingly.
When DSR is modifying the subcontract we follow generally the same procedures as if it were a new subcontract being issued.
When a Subcontractor was Not Part of the Original Plan
Normally, participation of a subcontractor (subrecipient) has been fully disclosed and budgeted for in the University of Florida’s proposal submitted to the funding agency (sponsor). However when a subcontractor was not identified in the UF proposal, prior to entering into a subcontract arrangement, approval from DSR, and when applicable, the prime funding agency will be required.
Invoicing and Payment
Subcontractors should submit invoices to the appropriate Fiscal Office as specified in the subcontract documents. The respective Fiscal Office is responsible for verifying accuracy and obtaining the Principal Investigator’s approval prior to making payments.
Subcontractors must submit their final invoice, final technical report and other close out reports, if any, per the terms of the subcontract to UF. The Principal Investigator must verify that all deliverables and technical reports have been received prior to making final payment. Once final payment is made the subcontract is considered closed.
For Subcontracting at the Time of Proposal Processing click here.
An award may require that the University share in the cost of a project. Cost sharing may be made from any non-federal source, including non-federal grants and contracts. The contribution may be in the form of direct or indirect costs, but only cost items which are generally allowable may be included in the contribution. In order to identify specific cost elements that will be used to meet cost sharing commitments, the Contracts & Grants Accounting office requires principal investigators under its jurisdiction to explain the details in a cost sharing letter. That form letter is sent by C&G to the researcher after an award is received by the Office of Research’s Award Administration Office. (Note: Faculty in EIES and IFAS should contact their own fiscal office as those units have their own cost sharing procedures.) A completed and signed copy of this letter must be returned to C&G to signify acceptance by the PI of this responsibility. No funds will be released until this form is received by C&G.
Contributions in the form of salaries or Other Personal Services (OPS) and their corresponding fringe benefits are documented via UF’s activity reporting system. Contributions of capital and expense items may be documented by submitting copies of the vendor’s invoices for those items with a certification typed on the face of the invoice as follows: “This is certified as a cost sharing contribution to (project number).” Cost sharing documentation is subject to the same audit requirements as costs directly charged to the award.
At the end of each academic term, a cost sharing report that summarizes the cost sharing transactions from inception of the project up to the end of the academic term covered by the report. It is imperative that the investigator initiate the action required to meet the cost sharing requirement.
Federal Demonstration Partnership
In 1986, the University of Florida along with nine other Florida research universities and five major federal R&D agencies -- National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and the Office of Naval Research -- joined forces to test and evaluate a grant mechanism utilizing a standardized and simplified set of terms and conditions. This first phase was called the Florida Demonstration Project (FDP).
The Florida Demonstration Project proved that the most appropriate decision making level is as close to the level of Principal Investigator as possible while maintaining, at the institutional and governmental level, adequate controls for the stewardship of federal funds. Universities and federal agencies demonstrated that by reducing the administrative burden of paperwork, researchers are able to spend more time in the laboratory and are more productive in their research.
In Phase III (since June 1996) the FDP was renamed. It is now called the Federal Demonstration Partnership, and consists of 11 federal agencies, 65 universities and 5 professional organizations. While the FDP’s current focus is on demonstrations that combine electronic research administration (ERA) with increased productivity, it continues to work on other methods which might further reduce the administrative burdens associated with federally sponsored grants.
The central features of the General Terms and Conditions are:
the elimination of federal requirements for most prior approvals;
simplification of administrative procedures;
increased institutional accountability in research for pre-award and post award activities.
The FDP form, DSR/FDP-1, should be used when institutional prior approval is required. Further information and forms are available from Award Administration (207 Grinter, 392-5991) or the Office of Research web site at http://www.research.ufl.edu/research/formstable.html).
Residual and Miscellaneous Donors Projects
The University of Florida has authorized DSR to accept miscellaneous donor funds on behalf of faculty for research, training and other specific purposes. These funds are distinguished from “sponsored research” support by the following characteristics:
no proprietary or contractual relationship exists between the donor and the recipient
no final product is expected
no technical or fiscal reports need to be submitted to the sponsor
These are cash based projects established in fund 212 and do not require any rebudgeting.
In addition, residual balances resulting from fixed price agreements are transferred to these projects and maybe used in support of the PI’s research program.
Prior Approval for Post-Award Changes
When researchers consider rebudgeting or other post-award changes and are uncertain about the allowableness of such changes -- particularly when such items are not mentioned in the regulations, cost principles or other policy documents -- they are strongly encouraged to consult in advance with the designated Grants Management Officer and the Office of Research’s Award Administration Office. Some of the most common post-award changes that require agency prior approval are:
For more information, please contact DSR’s Director or Assistant Director (392-1582), or the appropriate fiscal office.
For more information, please contact DSR’s Director or Assistant Director (392-1582), or the appropriate fiscal office.
Changes in the scope or objectives of the grant-supported activities.
Significant change in responsibilities or replacement of the approved project director (PI), or other persons expressly identified as key personnel by the agency in the Notice of Grant Award, or by the Grantee in the application.
Continuation of the project during any continuous period of more than 3 months without the active direction of an approved project director or PI.
Where the need for patient care in the project has not previously been approved by the agency.
Undertaking any activities or expenditures disapproved or restricted as a condition of the award, including restrictions imposed by standard provisions such as cost principles.
A request for additional federal funds, excluding those situations where the need for additional funding results from an increase in the base upon which indirect costs are calculated (due to otherwise allowable rebudgeting actions such as rebudgeting into the personnel category whereby allocations of indirect costs increase).
The transfer of amounts previously awarded for trainee costs (stipends, tuition, and fees) to other categories of expense. Rebudgeting within the category of trainee costs or into the trainee costs category is allowable without the awarding office’s prior approval.
Rebudgeting and Assigning Rebudgeting
Control Levels “KK” 3 and 5
Effective, February 1, 2006, for awards (federal or non- federal) a project’s “Rebudgeting Budget Control Level” will be assigned at the time of award and placed on the NOA by the Division of Sponsored Research and established in the myUFL grants system by Contracts and Grants Accounting at time of contract set-up.
Rebudgeting Control Level KK 3
Where terms of the award do not impose re-budgeting restrictions, the Rebudgeting Control Level KK 3 will be assigned which allows spending at a direct cost level with no requirement to internally re-budget funds between budget categories.
KK Level 3 Budget Control does allow Investigators the ability to make timely expenditures needed to advance their projects. For example, if you were invited to present your research results at an international conference which you did not explicitly budget for you may attend and charge the grant award without the need to rebudget funds. This approach is consistent with most federal grant terms and conditions with the goal of less administration and more science.
Examples of awards that would be assigned a KK Level 3 are as follows:
- Federal Grants under FDP
- Federal Grants under Expanded Authority
- Federal Grants under the Standard Research Terms and Conditions
- Clinical Trials
- Fixed Price Agreements
- Unrestricted Gifts for Research
- Multiple Sponsor Projects
- Miscellaneous Donor Projects
Rebudgeting Control Level KK 5
Where terms of the agreement impose re-budgeting restrictions, the Rebudgeting Control Level KK 5 will be assigned.
KK Level 5 will require re-budgeting approvals be obtained from the Sponsor or the University, as appropriate, prior to allowing grant funds be used for the expenditure in question.
Upon approval from the Sponsor or DSR, the Department’s Grant Administrator will need to submit a Budget Transfer Form to C&G Accounting with back-up approving the rebudgeting action.
Regardless of the assigned budget control level, grant and contract funds must always be used in support of allowable costs per the terms of the award.
If a Principal Investigator prefers a higher budget control level than assigned the PI should contact DSR’s Award Administration Office and request this change.
Federal Grants Prior Approval Matrix
Most federal granting agencies allow the Principal Investigator a certain degree of latitude to deploy the awarded funds to best accomplish the scope of work being funded. However, some changes require the approval of the sponsoring agency. To see if your action may require the prior approval of a sponsor please review the Federal Grants Prior Approval Matrix.
If you still have any questions about rebudgeting, allowabilty of cost, or if sponsor prior approval is needed please contact DSR’s Awards Administration or anyone of the DSR Assistant or Associate Directors.
Responsibility for Overexpenditures
Principal Investigators and their respective Department have first line responsibility for managing expenditures within the fiscal regulations and amounts specified by the sponsor in the award document. Sponsored projects are established in the following DSR Funds;
- Fund 201 federal sponsored program
- Fund 209 non-federal sponsored programs
- Fund 214 industry funded clinical trials
In addition to sponsored projects, Principal Investigators and their respective Department have the first line responsibility for managing expenditures within the fiscal limitations established in the non-sponsored projects. Non-sponsored projects are established in the following DSR Funds;
- Fund 211 returned overhead
- Fund 212 misc donors and residual
- Fund 213 UFRF allocations
Principal Investigators and their respective Department will be responsible for all expenditures that exceed the authorized spending authority or exceed the amount of revenue collected in any project established (overexpenditures) in the funds listed above. For sponsored projects the normal remedy is to cost transfer the overexpenditures off the sponsored project and on to an unrestricted project at the time of project close and prior to the issuance of the final financial report being submitted to the sponsor.
In cases where the Principal Investigators and/or the Department cannot cover the overexpenditure, it becomes the responsibility of the College in consultation with the Division of Sponsored Research to resolve the overexpenditure.
If the overexpenditure is a result an audit disallowance, corrective action will be determined on a case by case basis by Office of Research with the help, knowledge, and assistance of the principal investigator, department, college, contracts and grants accounting, and other appropriate parties.
The Division of Sponsored Research whether it be by audit disallowance, unrealized cash collected, or otherwise, can decide to cover any overexpenditure by using current or future returned overhead funds or other unrestricted funds (i.e.: residual balances) of the Principal Investigator, the Department and the College.
A no-cost extension extends the project period beyond the original project end date allowing the original scope of work funded by the sponsor to be completed. We have two “no cost extension” paths to choose from;
- Extensions that may be approved by the Division of Sponsored Programs
- Extensions that only the Sponsor can approve.
Below describes the process for each.
If you have questions about your grant and which process to follow please contact DSP’s Award Administration Office at 392-5991 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. No Cost Extension approved by Division of Sponsored Programs;
For those awards administered through DSP where the sponsor has delegated the authority to approve a no cost extension, the Principal Investigator (with the exception of Engineering PI’s who work directly with the Office of Engineering Research), may submit their no cost extension requests directly to DSP by email to email@example.com. DSP does not require a Department Chair or Dean endorsement on no cost extension request.
Examples of Awards where e-mail requests can be used
- All Federal Grants, for example from the NIH, NASA, ED, Energy, EPA, NOAA, USDA, under the Standard Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) (formerly known as FDP or Expanded Authorities)
For National Science Foundation Grants
- Do not email DSP, the request MUST be made using the NSF’s FastLane system.
- Unrestricted Accounts (Miscellaneous Donors, Multiple Sponsor)
- Most industry funded Clinical Trials (see Clinical Trial Extensions)
You must meet the Deadlines
- Extension requests should be submitted to DSP no later than 30-days prior to the grant’s current expiration date. This allows plenty of time to meet the federal deadlines, as follows;
- Upon approval of an internal extension, DSP must provide written notification to Federal Agency’s Grant Officer. This notification must be received by the agency at least (10) ten days prior to the original expiration date of the award.
- If this notification deadline is missed, DSP may not exercise its ability to extend the grant, without the sponsor’s approval.
DSP may extend the final budget period of a grant one time for a period not to exceed (12) twelve months beyond the original expiration date, as long as there will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope or objectives, and at least one of the following applies:
- Additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project.
- Continuity of grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review.
- The extension is necessary to permit an orderly phase out of a project that will not receive continued support.
The fact that funds are anticipated to remain unspent is not sufficient justification for an Extension.
Awards that have little to no available balance will not be extended.
Procedures and Required Information
- Submit the request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Principal Investigator (PI) must transmit the request.
- The email subject line should state: No Cost Extension Request for UF Project Number _______________.
In the body of the e-mail please provide the following information:
- Sponsor Name
- Sponsor Award Number
- Current Expiration Date
- Length of Extension (up to 12 months)
- New Expiration Date
Scientific/Programmatic Justification explaining the need for the extension of time.
This narrative should be written as if you were writing your Program Officer requesting an extension. In the case of Federal grants, DSR forwards this narrative section (as provide by the PI) to the awarding agency.
Level of Effort Confirmation
It is widely recognized that during the no cost extension period a reduced level of effort will be devoted to the project from the Principal Investigator and other named key personnel. If the reduction of effort of these individuals during the no cost extension period will result in a reduction of their overall effort on the grant by 25% or more, please identify the individual and explain the reduction of effort that is occurring. A 25% or more reduction of effort will require a separate approval action with the sponsor’s
Please identify any external subawards issued from the award that will require the extension. This information will allow DSP’s outgoing Subaward Office to amend the subaward with additional time.
Please identify any internal subproejcts issued from the award that will require the extension. This information will allow DSP’s Award Administration office to extend those projects as well as the primary.
2. No Cost Extension requiring Sponsor Approval
The Principal Investigator should craft a letter or email to the sponsor which provides a Scientific/Programmatic Justification for the need of additional time and should give an overview of the remaining budget and how the funds will be used during the extension period.
Letters or emails should be sent well in advance of the project ending date as some agencies require such requests be made 30-days prior to the project end date. In most cases these requests are required to be countersigned or endorsed by a DSP Authorized official before being sent to the sponsor. You may send your letter or email to DSP at email@example.com. We will review, sign and forward to the sponsor. It is recognized we have a variety of sponsors and some sponsor are less formal than others. DSP is very reasonable in accepting other reasonable and appropriate documentation from sponsor personnel that acknowledges they concur with the extension.
Upon the sponsor’s approval DSP will issue the eNOA extending the UF Project, any subproejcts, and subawards as appropriate.
Advance Budget Authorizations
There are two types of special advances available to investigators through the Office of Research’s Division of Sponsored Research:
Federal grants that will be awarded under the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) or Expanded Authority Terms and Conditions allow pre-award spending within the 90 day period immediately preceding the grants effective date. Any period greater than 90-days would require the Federal agencies prior approval.
To request the Office of Research’s approval for pre-award spending, an Investigator must submit a completed FDP Request Form to the Division of Sponsored Research. A letter may be used as long as it contains the required information and signatures.
The request for pre-award costs must include a narrative explaining why the grant needs to begin early, a pre-award budget, the pre-award start date, and a guarantee statement that the department, center or college will cover all expended funds if for any reason the award is not made to the University. The FDP Request Form or letter must be signed by the Principal Investigator, Department Chair or Center Director, and College Dean if College funds are being used as the guarantee.
Pre-award costs are only approved when it is made clear that pre-award spending is necessary for the effective and economical conduct of the project.
Request for pre-award cost should be made prior to the receipt of the grant, it is the exception to approve pre-award costs after the grant has been received.
Temporary Release of Funds:
Investigators often experience difficulties in starting or continuing personnel appointments when an award is assured but the arrival of the award documentation is delayed. The Office of Research normally approves a Temporary Release for no more that 3-months and up to 25% of the anticipated 12-month award amount.
To request a Temporary Release or Temporary Extension to an account an Investigator must submit a letter to the Office of Research’s Division of Sponsored Research. The request must include a start date, a budget to be released (unless its a temp extension), and a guarantee statement that the department, center or college will cover all expended funds if for any reason the award is not made to the University. The Temporary request must be signed by the Principal Investigator, Department Chair or Center Director, and College Dean if College funds are being used as the guarantee.
Investigators should include as an attachment to the request any relative correspondence they may have from the awarding agency indicating an award is going to be made to the University.
A third type of special advance is available through Contracts & Grants Accounting:
As allowed under FL Statue 1004.22 (12) DSR is authorized to advance funds to any principal investigator who, under the contract or grant terms, will be performing a portion of his or her research at a site that is remote from the University. Funds shall be advanced only to employees who have executed a proper power of attorney with the University to ensure the proper collection of such advanced funds, if it becomes necessary. A remote site is defined to mean so far removed from the University as to render normal purchasing and payroll functions ineffective.
The expense advance is to pay for incidental labor and research materials and services. It does not cover travel expenses to and from the university. The expense advance should not be confused with a travel advance.
The procedures for an expense advance are as follows:
The Principal Investigator prepares a Payment Authorization form (FACT 305) for the amount required along with a completed Agreement to account for and/or repay the University for the advance and a Power of Attorney.
The documents are sent to the respective accounting office for verification of information and allowableness to incur expenses in accordance with the award terms and conditions.
If acceptable, the accounting office approves the invoice and processes it for payment. Copies of the Agreement and Power of Attorney must be attached. Originals of these documents, however, are retained by C&G. A copy of the traveler’s request for travel must have already been approved as appropriate.
The traveler receives the check and sends a receipted copy of the agreement to the accounting office.
As soon as the traveler returns from his/her trip, a financial accounting of the advance must be rendered to C&G or the appropriate accounting office. Any unexpended funds on an unaccounted balance must be returned with the summary of expenditures. The accounting office verifies acceptability of the documentation and allowability of expenditures and prepares the appropriate accounting entry.
All expense advance funds are subject to periodic, unannounced audit by the Office of Inspector General.
Full accountability must be made before the Power of Attorney expires, or a new Power of Attorney must be executed.
Program income is the gross income earned by the University that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of an award. Grantees are accountable for this type of income; the terms of the grant may specify how such income may be spent. In most cases, program income is maintained in an account separate from the funds already committed by the sponsor.
Examples of program income include:
Fees earned from services performed under the grant, such as those resulting from laboratory drug testing;
Rental or usage fees, such as those earned from fees charged for the use of computer equipment purchased with grant funds;
Third party patient reimbursement for hospital or other medical services, such as insurance payments for patients, where such reimbursement occurs because of the grant-supported activity;
Funds generated by the sale of commodities, such as tissue cultures, cell lines, or research animals; and
Patent or copyright royalties.
Change of Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator
Awards are made to institutions, rather than to individuals. A PI may leave the University either permanently or for a sabbatical, but research under the grant or contract may continue to be conducted at the University of Florida. If a department wishes to retain an award under new leadership, such change must be prepared well in advance.
When there is a change of PI or Co-PI, the Department chairperson in conjunction with the original PI should notify the sponsor in writing of the upcoming change. The letter should explain the situation, introduce the new PI, highlight his or her special qualifications which assure continuance of the research as originally approved, and attach their curriculum vitae. A new DSR-1 Form should be sent along with this letter to the Office of Research. This document will be countersigned by the Office of Research and forwarded to the agency. Depending on the project period and the date of proposed change of PI, the agency may issue a new award letter or merely confirm its agreement in writing.
Change of Grantee Institution
With the exception of training grants, researchers who decide to leave the University of Florida may be allowed to transfer their research grant to their new institution. Faculty should notify the agency of their relocation plans and request proper forms and instructions to effect the transfer. The documentation must be routed through the Office of Research for endorsement. Due to the wide variation in procedures among sponsors, faculty are encouraged to check with Award Administration with regard to specific guidelines (207 Grinter, 392-5991).
A faculty member who accepts an appointment with another university may wish to transfer research equipment purchased with sponsored project funds. (Note: Research equipment that was purchased with state funds may not be transferred.). A list should be prepared indicating the type of equipment, property identification number, date of purchase, acquisition cost, and account number to which it was charged. This list should be submitted to the University Property Services. Property Services will check the listing against its records, and if correct, will process the transfer. Any questions will be settled by a phone call from Property Services to the researcher. Approval will be required by the department or center, University Property Services, and the Office of Research.
Absence of the Principal Investigator
When a project will continue without any active direction from the principal investigator for more than 90 consecutive days, the sponsoring agency must be notified and give permission to change the PI. Please check with Award Administration (207 Grinter, 392-5991) for individual agency regulations.