Before you can spend money, the award must be signed by the sponsor and accepted by the University. An award to the University from a sponsoring agency obligates the University to a contractual commitment. An award may simply be in the form of a letter issued by an authorized agent of the sponsor, or it may consist of a detailed contract. The Office of Sponsored Programs normally receives notification of sponsor acceptance or rejection of proposals. If award notices or letters of rejection come directly to the applicant, original copies should be forwarded to OSP. Before making a public announcement of the award, the award document should be signed by both parties.
The University does not permit work to be performed on any proposed project until the sponsor has granted the award. No charges may be incurred against a sponsored project until OSP has received and processed the formal award notification from the sponsor and an account number has been issued. No commitments to personnel or subcontractors should be made prior to receipt of an official award document. On occasion, the actual sponsor document authorizing project expenditures may be delayed. If a short delay will impede the progress of the project, the Principal Investigator may request approval for limited early expenditures. Such requests are channeled through OSP. These and other exceptions to this policy are based on the written request of the Principal Investigator and the approval of the Dean of the School/College or the Unit Executive Head, and the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research.
Upon receipt of an award, the assigned OSP staff member informs the Principal Investigator. The OSP staff member coordinates with the Principal Investigator and academic unit to review the award, ensuring that it conforms to the proposal, that timetables, work statements, and deliverables are acceptable. Once everyone is in agreement, OSP submits the acceptance documents to the sponsor.
After establishing the project account number, the OSP staff member prepares and distributes a project start-up checklist, a project brief, and an authorized budget. The checklist provides a quick review of standard policies and specific issues. The project brief summarizes the terms and conditions of the agreement, particularly those directly affecting the Principal Investigator. Each project brief indicates the name of the assigned OSP staff member and Accounting staff member. The "Remarks" section details the sponsor approvals required before the University can begin expenditures. As agreements are amended, the OSP staff will prepare and distribute revised project briefs reflecting the changes.