Pre-Award Administration

Budget Negotiations

Preliminary budget negotiations are often conducted between the Principal Investigator and the technical contact for the sponsor in order to determine an appropriate level of funding for the program proposed by the Investigator. Such preliminary discussions are encouraged. The Principal Investigator should contact the OSP for established rates for fringe benefits, facilities, and administrative costs, or other budgetary matters that may impact upon the total support required for the project. The Principal Investigator should not attempt to negotiate rates for facilities and administrative costs that are different from the federally-approved rates for the University, nor should it be implied that a reduction in the approved rates would be acceptable to the University. Facilities and administrative costs represent substantial, real expenditures incurred by the institution to support each research program, and if these costs are not fully paid by each sponsor, the University must subsidize them from other institutional resources. In the event that a sponsor indicates to the Principal Investigator that it does not wish to pay these costs in full, the OSP should be contacted in order that this office may contact the sponsor for further negotiation regarding this issue. If formal budget negotiations are required, the OSP will conduct the negotiations, including the confirmation of approved salary, benefits,facilities, and administrative cost rates. The OSP will seek the Principal Investigator’s input and concurrence for any modifications proposed by the sponsor.

Award Negotiations

The OSP reviews the terms and conditions of every award received. Terms and Conditions are negotiated in accordance with UT Dallas policies and The Intellectual Property Policy of The University of Texas System.

Federal Awards: Terms and Conditions are usually pre-determined; however, negotiations may be required.

Non-Federal Awards: Normally, most non-Federal projects require negotiations, especially those agreements with industrial sponsors.

Such topics as inventions, publication rights, liability, and ownership of research results are usually the subject of negotiation. The negotiations are coordinated between the OSP personnel, the sponsor, the Principal Investigator, and, as appropriate, the UT System Office of General Counsel. The OSP leads the negotiations with the sponsor.

Award Acceptance and Post Award Administration

Award documents take many forms depending upon the type of sponsor and project. These documents require review and signature by the official institutional representative authorized to sign on behalf of the institution. The OSP is responsible for award document processing. The Principal Investigator is notified of each new award and its terms and conditions and is asked to accept the award and responsibility for complying with all award requirements by returning a signed acknowledgment to the OSP.

Upon receipt of fully executed award documents or other proof of award, OSP works with Post Award to facilitate creation of cost center and notifies the Principal Investigator.

The Office of Sponsored Projects plays a dual role in the post-award phase of sponsored project activity. The OSP serves as a central point of contact for sponsor grant or contract officers regarding administrative matters throughout the duration of the project. The OSP also serves as facilitator and advocate for Principal Investigators in all matters pertaining to the non-technical management of their grants and contracts. In addition, the OSP coordinates compliance with each sponsor’s requirements for interim and final technical reports. Principal Investigators are responsible for submission of all required reports in a timely fashion.

If the award documentation is delayed, procedures are available to obtain a pre-award letter for a limited period of time (for Government Grants Only). Contact the OSP with information regarding the amount of credit needed. After the award information is verified by a representative of the sponsoring agency with the authority to commit funds, overdraft approval may be given. Credit will be limited to emergency expenses. Many Federal agencies allow pre-award costs up to 90 days prior to the start date of a grant. If pre-award costs are required, the above procedures for verification will be followed and pre-award costs may be approved.

Subcontract/Subrecipient Agreement Award Development

The OSP has the overall responsibility for issuing subcontracts/subrecipient agreements under sponsored project awards. The OSP will maintain documentation relative to subcontract/subrecipient agreement placement and any modification thereof. The accounting and payment function is performed by the Office of Finance and Procurement Office.

OSP will negotiate all subcontracts and subrecipient agreements in accordance with standard business practices and, as appropriate, the Federal Acquisition Regulation and/or OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These agreements will comply with all standard and special provisions of individual awards.

After the subcontract/subrecipient agreement is fully executed and work has commenced, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to:

  1. Review all invoices from the subcontractor/subrecipient to determine if the charges are appropriate;
  2. Prepare a voucher to make payment for all appropriate charges;
  3. Monitor the progress of the subcontractor/subrecipient; and
  4. Obtain all required deliverables from the subcontractor/subrecipient.

No-cost Extensions

One of the most frequently asked questions from Principal Investigators is what to do in order to extend a project without additional funds. The answer to that question depends on the source of funding. The following should assist in answering that question.

Federal Funds – If the award is from a Federal sponsor and the terms and conditions of the award are noted as Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP), the University has the option of extending the project for a period up to 12 months without having to contact the sponsor for permission. The following sponsors usually issue FDP awards: National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency. If you want an extension on a project which qualifies under the above conditions, contact the Office of Sponsored Projects.

If the one-year extension has already been used, subsequent extension requests must be submitted through OSP. The request should be in writing and should provide a justification for the extension. The justification should relate to the completion of the scientific objectives, not to spend remaining funds. Requests for no cost extensions to NSF must be submitted through FastLane. Sponsor approved no cost extensions must be submitted prior to the expiration date of the grant. NSF requires that the request be submitted 45 days prior to expiration. Please note that these requests generally take one to two months to process and approve. Consider the processing time when deciding when to submit your request. Non-Federal Requests for extension should be submitted in writing and routed through OSP. The requests should include a programmatic justification for the extension. The University has no provision for extending these projects without sponsor approval. As with federal awards, these requests should be made prior to the expiration date and with ample lead-time. A three-month lead time is suggested in order to have an approved extension prior to the original expiration date.

Budget Changes

All sponsored project budget revisions are conducted by the Office of Post-Award Management (OPM). If sponsored approval is necessary, OPM will work to obtain necessary approvals. The following may require OSP approval:

  • Change of any named personnel
  • Reduction of salary/effort
  • Change in equipment costs
  • Addition of foreign travel
  • Change greater than 25% of budget item
  • Change in student support (c7000)

Supplemental Funds Requests

Requests for additional funding on an existing project are processed as proposals through OSP.

You will need the following items:

  1. Proposal Certification Form
  2. Export Control Form
  3. Budget and justification
  4. Statement of work for the additional effort
  5. Updated certification for all compliance issues (if necessary)

Change of Principal Investigator

If a change of principal investigator is required on a project, a letter must be sent to the sponsor. The letter should be endorsed by the current PI, the proposed PI, and OSP. The letter also should outline the qualifications of the new PI. Approval from the respective Deans will also be necessary.

Leave of Absence

If a PI plans to be away from the University and has a sponsored project, the PI will need to notify OSP, who will need to notify the sponsor in writing of the absence. The notification will need to address how the PI plans to maintain oversight of the project during the absence. This letter needs to be signed by OSP.

Close-out Process

The closeout process for sponsored projects is a post-award activity and is handled jointly by Post-Award Management, Accounting, and Financial Reporting. Information regarding the process can be accessed here.

Workflow Chart

If you see a post award issue not listed please see the Office of Post Award Management.

For additional information, please see the FAQ page.