Post-award services are provided by the Office of Research Services (ORS) and the Office of Sponsored Programs Accounting and Reporting (SPAR).
Office of Research Services
ORS plays a dual role in the post-award phase of sponsored project activity. The office is the central point of contact for agency grant or contract officers regarding administrative matters both during negotiation and throughout the project. ORS also facilitates and advocates for the principal investigator (PI) in all matters pertaining to the non-technical management of their grants and contracts.
Establishing an Institutional Budget
Upon receipt of fully executed award documents or other proof of award, ORS prepares an institutional budget for the project and any related cost share funds according to the needs of the PI and forwards it to SPAR for assignment of a Fund Organization Program Code (FOP) and entry into Banner, Texas Tech’s accounting system. Once the PI receives notification of the project FOP, funds may be encumbered or expended against the project.
During the course of a project it often becomes necessary for a PI to shift funds from one budget item to another. These budget adjustments are commonly referred to as “money moves.” These actions may be accomplished by contacting your ORS post-award analyst by email or through your department budget management person. Some types of budget adjustments require agency or internal approval, and ORS will assist in expediting the approval process. If a change in the project duration or amount is anticipated, ORS should be advised so that all necessary approvals and actions may take place in a timely manner.
If unforeseen circumstances require the project end date to be extended, ORS will negotiate with the sponsor. The PI should contact ORS well before the project end date if an extension will be needed. The terms of the award agreement may specify a date beyond which an extension cannot be granted.
In general, if an extension is anticipated, the PI should notify ORS at least 60 days prior to the scheduled project end date. The PI should prepare a short justification for making the request. If a significant percentage of project funds remain unexpended a revised spending plan also should be submitted. Merely having unexpended funds generally is not sufficient justification to extend a project. Project extensions should not be requested for projects on which renewal is pending.
There are certain circumstances in which ORS must contact the sponsor in order to receive approval for changes. These changes include changes in key personnel, change in PI’s, change in scope of work, and when award terms require sponsor approval for budget modifications. In these situations the PI should contact the post award analyst in ORS so the analyst can notify the sponsor. Key personnel changes includes when a PI is leaving the university but wishes to leave the grant with a Co-PI or even when the PI wishes to transfer the grant to his/her new university.
Subcontracts and Professional Services Agreements
ORS is responsible for preparing and executing all sub recipient agreements on sponsored projects. When a project involves assistance external to Texas Tech, the sponsor must be informed. A sponsor is usually notified at the proposal stage of a project. It is the responsibility of the PI to inform ORS at the earliest stage of negotiation with the sub recipient. No binding agreement can be made with any sub recipient on a sponsored project unless the agreement is signed by someone authorized to sign on behalf of the Texas Tech, usually ORS. Sub-recipients who complete tasks without having a fully executed agreement may not be paid, or, at best, will have their payment significantly delayed.
ORS assists in the preparation and submission of project reports involving patents. Other reports may also require the signature of the Senior Associate Vice President before submission. Any questions or concerns about intellectual property or patent reporting should be directed to Amy Cook at email@example.com.
Researchers should work with their department’s business manager, or designated person, when hiring and/or appointing managerial, professional and/or clerical staff on any award. For direct charging of administrative expenses on grant awards, the project will need to be designated a “major project” by the Senior Associate Vice President for Research. The Office of Human Resources (HR) maintains job descriptions and salary ranges which may be offered for managerial and professional personnel. HR will send all personnel forms, called ePAFs, to ORS.
Only persons holding certain visas may be eligible for employment or to receive payment. In some cases, sponsors may forbid the hiring of non-US citizens to work on a project. Please consult with your department chair.
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Texas Tech is one of the institutions selected nationwide to participate in the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). Should your funding fall under the FDP terms and conditions, the remarks section of your Notification and Acceptance will state this. Questions or additional details on this program may be addressed to Kathleen Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored Programs Accounting and Reporting
Sponsored Programs Accounting and Reporting (SPAR), a department within the Division of Administration and Finance, assists faculty and business units with the financial administration of their sponsored project funding.
A grant accountant within SPAR is assigned to each project based on the funding source. ORS and SPAR staff are availalbe for meetins at Initiation of project and as needed thereafter.
The Research Administration channel on the Raiderlink portal provides links to additional resources and financial reports to assist PIs with the financial administration of their projects.
SPAR establishes sponsored project FOPs and budgets in Banner, the institution’s accounting system. The principal investigator is assigned as the financial manager of the funds. He/she can designate other approvers through the TEAM Application. Instructions are available to assist PIs in authorizing other approvers.
Billing and Financial Reporting
SPAR prepares and submits all invoices and financial reports to sponsors on behalf of the institution. The interval for billing and reporting will vary based on the agency and the award terms and conditions. Any questions or concerns about billing and reporting should be directed to the respective grant accountant.
The financial closeout of an award is the process at the end of a sponsored project by which the university closes FOPs in Banner and submits any required final accounting to the sponsor. Your grant accountant will send notices prior to the end of a project, along with a checklist of administrative items that you should complete to expedite the closeout process.
SPAR is responsible for collecting revenue from sponsors. Often, interim and final payments are contingent upon the complete and timely filing of technical reports. Please be sure to communicate with your grant accountant when technical reports are delayed.
All employees who receive salary support from sponsored projects must certify their effort. Effort certification provides assurance to sponsors that salaries charged to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the work performed and that commitments to sponsors have been met. eCRT is the system used by Texas Tech University to manage the effort reporting process. A link is provided on the Research Administration tab on Raiderlink. SPAR maintains the system and releases effort reports for certification in accordance with the university timeline.
Faculty and project directors must attend effort training and an online training module is available. All PIs are required to certify all members of their research teams who are supported by external funding for any portion of their quarterly efforts.