Award Management is a process that encompasses Sponsor and University policies and procedures pertinent to the project. It is referred to as the “post award” phase of the life cycle of an award. Sound management of sponsored funds is critical in maintaining the public trust in research results and outcomes, its trust as research participants, and its trust in how public and private funds are spent.
Now that you have been awarded funding for your project; here’s what you need to know in order to manage it successfully!
- Ensure that your research/program staff are cognizant of their responsibilities and those of the University’s administrative offices.
- Abide by the key terms and conditions of your award, such as the approved scope of work and budget, required prior approvals, reporting, payment, publication rights.
- Know and work within your Sponsor’s rules and regulations and the University’s research and business policies, guidance, and procedures.
The policies and procedures can be found in the subsections below:
General Guidance on the Management of Sponsored Project Funds
Direct Charging Policy
End of Award Expenditures
End of Award Equipment Expenditures
Financial Reporting and Closeout Policy
NIH Salary Cap
Sponsored Travel Policy
NIH Childcare Allowance
Review your award budget in Workday at the outset of the project and immediately notify OSP if changes are required. Review of ongoing expenditures should occur at least monthly to ensure proper allocation of funds in accordance with the approved budget and budget justification. Do not wait until annual report or close out (!!) to examine your account balance.
Equipment purchased with federal funds requires advance coordination with Brown's Purchasing Office in order to meet the Uniform Guidance standards.
The following transaction types are frequently cited by Auditors as higher risk practices. Should you have any questions please contact your Post Award Accountant.
- Equipment purchases at the end of a project period;
- Equipment purchases on multiple awards without a sound cost allocation methodology;
- Travel expenses incurred by individuals who are not paid by the award;
- Personal travel costs before or after the business purpose of a trip;
- Foreign travel not previously included in an approved budget;
- Expenses charges to 'spend down' an award.
- Re-certification of Effort Certification Report;
- Expenses charged to award after period of performance
- Cost Transfers
Brown has a long history of proper management of sponsored awards. Let's keep up the good work!
In accepting federal funds for sponsored projects Brown University agrees to abide by government regulations regarding the use of those funds. The Direct Charging Policy serves to provide guidance to meet the compliance standards for defining, charging and accounting for direct and facilities and administrative (F&A or indirect) costs to sponsored awards.
The Direct Charging Policy follow the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance for any Notice of Award issued to Brown University on or after December 26, 2014.
The purpose of this policy is to provide the institutional standard for determining how direct costs are budgeted in proposals and charged to grants, contracts, and other sponsored awards.
It can be difficult to demonstrate how expenditures near the end of a project period benefited the award in a limited amount of time. All purchases incurred within the last 90 days of a project period should be reviewed to:
- Ensure the item/service was received during the project period; and
- Determine how the item/service provided benefit during the project period, given that it was purchased close to the applicable end date. Providing benefit means having a reasonable amount of use during the project period.
In addition to the above, it is recommended that equipment expenditures near the end of the project period should be reviewed to determine:
- If the equipment was included in the original budget proposal. Include this information with the purchase documentation. If the equipment was identified but not purchased until the end of the award, document how the equipment benefited the award given the limited amount of time left on the award.
- If the equipment was not included in the original budget proposal, determine and document how it benefited the award, given the limited time remaining.
- If Sponsor approval, as required, was obtained for the purchase of the equipment, document that the approval was received in the purchase documentation.
- If the equipment will not be used exclusively on this award, document how the cost was allocated to other funding sources.
- If applicable, document why the purchase was necessary when the proposal indicated that the project had access to necessary equipment and/or facilities.
- If the equipment was purchased to replace existing equipment, provide detail of the equipment being replaced.
The Post-Award team manages the cash-related activities of Brown’s sponsored projects. The goal is to maintain appropriate levels of cash flow for Brown’s sponsored projects while ensuring financial compliance with Federal regulations, sponsor requirements, and University policies.
Essential responsibilities include:
Process Letter-of-Credit (LOC) cash draws and web-based invoicing for Federal awards.
Prepare and file the quarterly Federal Financial Report (FFR) for the LOC awards, and perform funding, cash and expenditure reconciliations.
Process installment or cost reimbursement invoices for Non-Federal or Federal Pass-Through grants and contracts and act as the point of contact for billing inquiries.
Process receipts of sponsor payments and ensure they are credited to the correct award and invoice.
Track sponsored project receivables and initiate collection communication.
Reconcile sponsored project receivable and follow up on unbillable issues.
The shifting of previously incurred costs from one account to another, i.e. Cost Transfers, continue to be one of the top audit risks for sponsored awards and are frequently cited in financial audits of Higher Education institutions across the nation. Below are links to the Cost Transfer Policy and Cost Transfer Request Form. These documents will assist preparers and approvers with the tools necessary to identify the elements critically important for their cost transfers submission and how to properly document and justify the transfer of an expense to a sponsored award.
The goal of Financial Reporting is to provide Principal Investigators and department administrators with quality support services and financial compliance guidance along with effective stewardship of sponsored awards.
Most sponsors require financial reporting to determine the use of sponsored funds on either a monthly, quarterly, annual or other reporting basis. The Post-Award team is responsible for ensuring that the deadlines for financial reporting are met and that we are in compliance with the federal, state, sponsor specific and/or Brown University’s policies and procedures depending on the type of award. Brown University shall submit timely financial reports to the sponsors of research and other scholarly activity that:
Accurately reflect the actual use of sponsored funds as recorded in the financial records of the University
Ensure that all reports are in compliance with the sponsor’s terms and conditions
Each department is assigned a Grant/Contract Accountant from OSP that will provide guidance and assistance as well as answer any questions that may arise on a day to day basis.
At the conclusion of the award, after the financial report is filed with the sponsor, and all financial obligations are satisfied, the Grant/Contract Accountant is responsible for closing the award within the University’s financial system.
The policy alerts the research community to the urgency of timely submission of final deliverables and the prompt closeout of expired sponsored projects. Federal agencies have become increasingly stringent about the timely submission of required reports as this is considered a key mechanism reflective of proper accountability and good stewardship of funding. Non-compliance with sponsored project reporting term and closeout of award record has adverse consequences including but not limited to, forfeiture of final payment, delayed or reduced future funding, less favorable award terms and conditions, and audit finding risks. The submission of final financial, performance, and other reports to the sponsor and the closeout of completed projects within 90 days of expiration help mitigate risks and negative consequences.
The University must ensure that cost sharing requirements of sponsored agreements are proposed, approved, accounted for, and reported in a manner consistent with the requirements of the sponsor and the University. Cost sharing can be of the following types: Mandatory, Voluntary committed, Voluntary uncommitted, Matching and In-kind. Mandatory, voluntary committed cost sharing, matching and in-kind must be identified, administered and accounted for consistently throughout the University.
The Cost Sharing Policy establishes requirements for the identification, approval, funding, accounting and reporting of mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing, matching, and in-kind requirements associated with sponsored projects. Cost sharing represents a binding obligation of the University once the award has been granted.
The Office of Management and Budgets’ (OMB) Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards includes regulatory requirements for the planning, confirmation, and certification of effort associated with Federal organized research projects and other activities. Effort directly charged to sponsored projects and any mandatory cost shared effort (i.e. committed effort that is not directly charged to the award) must be identified in the University’s effort distribution/reporting system. The principles that govern how the University must document time and effort on federal awards are in OMB Uniform Guidance. The Uniform Guidance requires each grantee to maintain a system of distributing salary charges to federal awards that results in a reasonable allocation of salary charges to each award. The salary distribution system also must include a periodic review to confirm the reasonableness of salary charges to the federal projects.
The University employs an After-the-Fact effort reporting system that provides the principal means for certifying that the salaries charged or contributed to sponsored projects are reasonable and consistent with the portion of total professional activity committed to the projects.
The following categories of University employees are certified on University generated reports:
All faculty, graduate students, and administrative and professional employees paid on sponsored projects (Frequency - Semi-annually)
Non-exempt support staff, undergraduate students, and limited duration employees paid on sponsored projects (Frequency - Monthly)
As part of the budget appropriations of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the US Congress legislatively mandates a salary cap. The salary cap applies to grants, cooperative agreements and contracts (with the exception of those that are clearly defined to be exempt from the cap). Click HERE to view the salary cap for current and previous years. The salary cap limits the rate of academic and summer salary that may be charged to NIH, SAMHSA, and AHRQ awards.
Brown University considers academic or calendar year salary in excess of the imposed cap as mandatory cost sharing. The amount in excess of the cap cannot be used as matching funds. The University may pay an employee’s salary amount in excess of the salary cap from non-sponsored project funds. Salary in excess of the NIH Salary Cap is considered mandatory cost sharing and should be identified during the proposal phase of an award. Refer to Cost Sharing on Sponsored Projects Policy (300.0).
Summer salary is defined as any compensation paid during the summer period to a faculty member in excess of his or her academic year salary. The summer period is defined to be the period outside Institutional Base Salary of the academic year appointment.
A request for summer salary indicates a commitment to put forth the comparable effort on the particular project(s) during the summer, not the academic year. Effort expended during the academic year does not satisfy a commitment related to the receipt of summer salary.
All effort devoted and corresponding salary charged to sponsored projects must be in compliance with sponsor and University policies. Committed effort on a sponsored project should be devoted exclusively to the activity supported by that sponsored project. Other activities performed during the summer months, e.g. any administrative or academic activities, vacation, writing new proposals, may not be charged to sponsored projects. Note that sponsors may have restrictions on summer salary. Faculty should therefore consult their grant terms and conditions prior to committing summer effort. Any questions regarding sponsor terms or conditions should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Projects.
When processing a costing allocation in Workday, please complete and attach the Summer Salary Costing Allocation Template.
There are specific rules relating to travel charged to Federal Awards. This policy is an extension of the University Travel Policy. To view the Sponsored Travel Policy, please see below:
Brown's current approved rates are for use on grants, contracts and other agreements with the Federal Government. For more information on our current rate agreement and additional F&A FAQs, please visit the site below:
NIH has made a childcare allowance available on its NRSA fellowship and institutional training grant awards. The maximum amount of the allowance is $2,500 per budget year per fellow/trainee (not per child). Reimbursement is excluded from F&A, per NIH policy.