The post-award administration for sponsored projects was consolidated on June 1, 2014 into the Office of Research Accounting (ORA), formerly known as Sponsored Programs Accounting and Report (SPAR), to more effectively support the university’s vision to become a nationally-recognized public research university. The overall goal with the consolidation is to improve customer service to departments and principal investigators and to maximize efficiencies in post-award process.
Office of Research Services
While most post-award services have been moved to Office of Research Accounting, ORS will also continue to be responsible for the following post-award activities:
- Award extensions, continuations, renewals, and modifications
- Changes in principal investigators/key personnel
- Sub-award agreements
- Advance FOPs
- Human subject, animal care, hazardous material, and financial conflict of interest compliance
Establishing an Institutional Budget
Upon receipt of fully executed award documents or other proof of award, ORS forwards the award document, a copy of the proposal and other information to the Office of Research Accounting.
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 an admendment to the award for budget modifications. 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.
Reports may require the signature of the university authorized representative before submission. Three staff positions in ORS are authorized to sign these reports.
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 email@example.com.
Office of Research Accounting
ORA, formerly Sponsored Programs Accounting and Reporting (SPAR), is a department within the Division of Administration and Finance. ORA now has responsibility for most post-award administration functions. A dedicated grant specialist within ORA will assist with all post-award administrative activities and will address any and all issues, concerns, and questions you may have about the award, related compliance requirements, and institutional processes.
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.
A grant specialist will provide the following services throughout the term of your project:
- Award Setup – establish all project and cost share FOPs and budgets in Banner
- Award Management – process and monitor budget revision requests, approve procurement of federally-funded equipment, monitor certain project expenditures, monitor cost share commitments, address all questions and issues related to the financial administration of projects, and obtain sponsor approval as needed
- Award Closeout – coordinate the submission of all required closeout documents
Accounting and Reporting
A separate group within ORA will perform the following post-award financial and accounting activities:
- Billing – submit invoices and/or draw down project funding
- Reporting – submit required financial reports
- Collections – follow up with sponsors to collect amounts owed
The invoicing and reporting for some projects may require some departmental coordination. To the extent possible, ORA will work through your grant specialist to meet the billing and reporting obligations. Again, the goal is that you have one point of contact.
Cost Accounting and Compliance
ORA also has responsibility for the following, some of which may involve different points of contact on a less-frequent basis: facilities and administrative (F&A) rate proposal, academic service center rate development, effort reporting, sub-recipient monitoring, ePAF approval, eVerify compliance, and various other internal and external reporting.
OAR 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
OAR 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.
OAR 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. OAR 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.
Vice President for Research
Office of the Vice President for Research