First steps — receiving notice of grant award
Foundations and the federal government all differ in who will receive notice of your grant award, so please confirm that OSP has received notice when you do.
Similarly, sometimes we are notified prior to your receiving notification. We will communicate with you as soon as we receive notice of the award. Likewise, you will need to forward any communication you receive from the sponsor regarding your award. This is important as we must have all documentation associated with your award in your grant file.
Grant agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding (MOU)
Usually SPU receives your grant agreement or contract soon after your notice of grant award. OSP is responsible to review the terms and conditions of the grant agreement to ensure that the award matches the application proposal. OSP will work with finance on more complex grant awards.
The director of FLO has University-delegated signature authority and in general will sign on behalf of SPU. Faculty members (i.e., principal investigators), deans, and chairs cannot sign grant agreements as the award is made to SPU on your behalf.
Based on their operating principles, granting agencies may send the agreement to different offices (to you, OSP, your school, or even the president) or require the provost or president to sign agreements. In any event, OSP will manage collecting the signatures and submitting the grant agreement documents on your behalf. OSP will copy the documentation for your file.
Acknowledging your award
OSP will transmit your signed grant agreement. If your funding agency is a foundation, OSP will also write an email/note thanking the sponsor for its support. We also strongly encourage you to write a note of thanks to the foundation. In some cases the President’s Office will send an acknowledgement to the funding agency.
Setting up your grant account
OSP will send a copy of the grant award or agreement to the PI and to the University controller, who is
responsible for financial administration of sponsored projects. The controller will assign a restricted fund (budget)
number and communicate that number to you, your School’s appropriate budget manager, and University Advancement.
Even if SPU has not received grant payments, once the grant agreement is signed and a budget number has been assigned, you may start to spend funds.
Note: It will take one to two business weeks to receive a budget number from the University controller.
Spending your funds
As the PI, you will need to work closely with your School’s budget manager to spend funds specifically budgeted for in the application (direct costs).
- Spending may begin:
- as of the budget period start date found in the grant award notice or grant agreement (OSP Post Award Academic Grant and Fellowship Guidelines Spring, 2015).
- after the controller has assigned a restricted fund number, and after you confirm that OSP has a copy of your approved IRB protocol.
- Work with your budget manager to make purchases, submit receipts, receive advances and reimbursements, etc.
- Track all of your own grant expenditures. School or department budget managers usually send PIs monthly financial reports of grant activity. You can also request information (a “data-dump”) of expenses running through the fund at any time from your manager or from the controller.
- The PI’s department receives a percentage of a grant’s indirect costs. These funds are allocated to a
designated fund, which you may use with your dean’s approval.
- PIs will work with their department chair to manage their course release.
- The PI’s budget manager will take care of the logistics for overload or adjunct professors.
Receiving your funds
There are multiple ways that agencies disperse funds. Some send checks with the grant agreement or at a specified date. If an agency mails a check, it should be made out to Seattle Pacific University and directed to:
Raedene Copeland, Faculty Life Office
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Ave W., Suite 108
Seattle, WA 98119-1957
Federal government grant payments are made on a reimbursement basis. Subsequently, SPU does not receive grant funds until they have been spent. Every quarter the controller initiates a draw-down of funds from the granting agency for each award.
- Note: SPU may receive notice that NSF or NIH has “released funds” for a specific grant award. This does not mean funds are being transferred but that those specified funds are now available for SPU to draw down. Reimbursement of the total “released funds” may actually take months.
Qualified departments will have their F&A cost recovery funds (indirects) directly deposited into their appropriate accounts by the controller. This usually occurs on a quarterly basis.
You are responsible to write all interim and final reports required by your agency, meeting specified deadlines based on the terms and conditions of the award.
- Federal agencies and most private sponsors notify the PI that a report is due. OSP will also send PIs a courtesy notification four to six weeks prior to the report deadline.
- Sponsors’ websites provide detailed report guidelines and required forms.
- OSP will provide editing and proofreading support, if requested.
- Work with your budget manager and/or the Finance Office to prepare the financial report. Check with Finance well in advance of the deadline if your budget report needs extensive review or revision.
- The VP for Business and Finance approves all financial reports before submission. Therefore, you should send the entire completed report (budget and narrative) to Finance at least one week prior to the report deadline unless you and Finance determine it requires additional review time. Finance will return the budget report to the PI and OSP, confirming that it is approved for submission.
- OSP signs all interim and final grant reports and submits them to the sponsor on behalf of the PI. The exception is NSF, which requires the PI to submit reports via research.gov.
Submitting Changes or Revisions to Your Grant
Events or problems may require changes in the project. PIs should discuss these with the sponsor. Minor changes (i.e., different travel plans, purchase of equipment other than that included in an approved budget, etc.) may not require approval. Major changes, such as a change in PI, usually do. OSP or the controller can help provide direction on notifying the funding agency.
Closing your grant
Reminder: If you are planning to request a no-cost extension, please be sure to make the request 45 days prior to the grant expiration (i.e., end of the grant budget period).
Check your award’s terms and conditions for closing requirements.
- Your sponsor’s websites will provide details and required forms.
- SPU requires closeout of sponsored projects and programs in accordance with federal regulations, the specific sponsor policies, and the terms of the award within the time frame required by the sponsor.
- For federal grants SPU must submit a final federal financial report (FFR), final technical report, and final invention statement and certification within 90 days of the grant expiration.
- Failure to submit timely and accurate final reports may affect future funding for the University or awards with the same PI.
If you leave SPU
A professor who is leaving SPU for another institution should contact OSP and the controller as soon as possible. Check your sponsor’s policies and procedures and work with OSP to determine if or how the grant will transfer to your new institution. In most cases the grant can be transferred without problems, but early planning is essential since the process can be lengthy.
SPU undergoes a federal audit each spring or summer during which grants are randomly selected for review. If your grant is selected for audit, OSP will notify you and provide the Finance Office with all requested documentation. Among other things, auditors check whether or not reports have been submitted on time.