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Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Administration

East Tennessee State University

Award Management

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A. "Grant" vs. "Contract"

B.  Receipt of Award

C.  Account Management

D.  Post-Award Management

E.  Personnel Management

F.  Travel

G.  Procurement

H.  Consultants

I.  Subawards and Subrecipient Monitoring

J.  Cost Transfers

K.  Re-budget Requests on Sponsored Projects



A. "Grant" vs. "Contract"

Sponsored program funding may be awarded to the institution through one of several mechanisms. The most common are grants and contracts.

A grant is an "assistance" mechanism. A grant is generally awarded in response to a proposal that was developed by a faculty member and submitted to the sponsor by the institution. A grant supports a specific project but without the expectation of the delivery of a specific product or service other periodic progress and financial reports. Grant funds are awarded through the issuance of a "notice of award" (NOA) to the institution (the "grantee"). The NOA spells out the general terms and conditions of the award including the project period and reporting requirements. It may or may not require an institutional signature to accept the award. Grants typically support basic research, fellowships, and training.

A contract is a "procurement" mechanism. It is generally awarded in response to a technical proposal developed by a faculty member and submitted by the institution in response to a detailed request for proposal (RFP) from the sponsor. A contract also supports a specific project or set of tasks ("scope of work") but for the direct benefit of the sponsor, not necessarily the institution. The terms and conditions of the funding are generally presented in greater detail in a formal written agreement. It is not uncommon for these agreements to include terms and conditions that are prohibited by either the State of Tennessee or the Tennessee Board of Regents and require negotiation with the sponsor. Once accepted by all parties, the terms and conditions are secured by the signature of an authorized official for each party and are enforceable by law. Under a contract, the university the contractor is given much less latitude to modify the scope of work or the budget without prior approval from the sponsor. Contracts typically support applied research and service activities.

A subaward is a grant awarded to the university under a larger grant award issued by the originating sponsor to another organization (the "prime recipient") for the performance of a portion of the scope of work. Subawards are typically subject to the terms and conditions of the prime award.

Both a direct contract to the university from the originating sponsor and a subaward agreement issued to ETSU by the prime recipient of a grant are examples of what we collectively refer to as "sponsored agreements".

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B.  Receipt of Award

The Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs is authorized to accept a sponsored program award on behalf of the university. All sponsored program awards must be processed by the ORSPA for review and approval prior to the acceptance of the award. All award documentation, including an official Notice of Award should be forwarded to the ORSPA immediately upon receipt.

All contracts between ETSU and outside entities, including sponsored agreements, must be reviewed and approved internally before they are executed by an authorized official of the university. Sponsored Agreements must be routed by the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) along with a completed Internal Routing Form to his or her Department Chair or Unit Head and College or Division Dean for review and approval signatures.

Once the agreement has been reviewed and approved at the department and college levels, it should be routed to the ORSPA for final review and approval by the Associate Director for Contract Management and the Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs.

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C.  Account Management

 Official Account Set-up
When the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs receives a Notice of Grant Award (NGA) or fully-executed agreement (FE), the official account set-up process begins. ORSPA reviews the award document for variances from the proposal document. After the budget and statement of work have been approved, the official account set-up paperwork is completed and forwarded to Grant Accounting; a copy is also provided to the PI, the department and the college.

After receiving the paperwork, Grant Accounting will assign an index and communicate that information to the PI, department and college.

Pre-Award Account Set-up
The establishment of a Pre-Award Sponsored Program Account may be requested prior to the receipt of an official notice of grant award or a fully-executed sponsored agreement if there is sufficient evidence that a sponsored award is imminent and the Principal Investigator/Project Director's department accepts financial responsibility for any project costs incurred in the event the award does not materialize.

  • The PD/PI may initiate a request for a Pre-Award Sponsored Program Account up to 30 days prior to the anticipated start date of the official award. The request is made by completing and submitting the signed Pre-Award Sponsored Program Account Request Form and required documentation to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Administration (ORSPA).
  • ORSPA reviews all requests for completeness and prepares and forwards a Pre-Award Account Setup Request to Grant Accounting.
  • Grant Accounting establishes and manages Pre-Award Sponsored Program Accounts according to federal cost accounting standards, sponsor guidelines, and university accounting policies.

Please refer to the ETSU Pre-Award Sponsored Program Account Request Policy for additional information.


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D.  Post-Award Account Management

The Office of Grant Accounting in Financial Services prepares, submits and receives all invoices associated with a sponsored program and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all charges to a sponsored program meet the criteria for allowability, allocability, and reasonableness set forth by the sponsor and the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The PD/PI is responsible for both the programmatic and financial management of the sponsored program. All documents pertaining to this index number should have the PI's signature as the responsible person. All charges to this index must be allowable, allocable, and reasonable.

We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with all Banner forms and tools, including eBucs and Sciquest. Banner training is available through the Office of Human Resources, Training and Development. Your Department Administration and Grant Accounting can assist you with Banner.

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E.  Personnel Management

Personnel costs on ETSU sponsored projects will be budgeted and charged to the sponsored project commensurate with the individual's committed ETSU effort on the project and at their established institutional base rate of pay. Under no circumstances will personnel charges to sponsored projects exceed the proportionate share of the base salary for that period. Personnel charges on sponsored projects replace, not supplement, the existing pay source.

If the sponsored project budget includes summer salary for one or more ETSU faculty with a 9-month appointment, or, in the rare case of an ETSU faculty member qualifying as an "intra-institutional consultant", the Request for Extra Compensation form should be completed for each payment. In all cases, the award document from the sponsoring agency must state that additional compensation is allowed or imply that the proposal was accepted with no alterations regarding the request for additional compensation.

When effort is committed to a sponsored project by a member of the faculty during the period covered by their contract with ETSU (9 or 12 month), the level of effort committed in the proposal and approved by the sponsor should be used to generate a revised Fiscal Year Salary Allocation Form.

Please refer to the ETSU policy on Personnel Compensation on Sponsored Projects for additional information

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F.  Travel

ETSU Travel policies and procedures must be followed unless the granting agency has more restrictive requirements. Call the ETSU Travel Office at 9-6113 with any travel questions.

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G.  Procurement

The purchase of any supplies and equipment requires access to the eBucs system. Ordering must follow all  Purchasing policies.

All items should be received and used during the grant period. All bills should be paid before the end date of the grant and should be allowable items under the terms of funding. Any unallowable items will be charged to the PI's department account or reimbursed to the University.

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H.  Consultants

 PD/PI's should follow established Procurement and Contract Services'  procedures for securing the services of consultants and other contractors as budgeted on a sponsored program.

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I.  Subawards and Subrecipient Monitoring

 The University has the responsibility throughout the lifetime of the subaward agreement to monitor the activities of subrecipients in accordance with the terms and conditions of the prime sponsored award. The PD/PI is responsible for the management and administration of the subaward in accordance with the sponsored award, federal regulations and University policy.

All subawards (subcontracts) are processed by the ORSPA. The PD/PI must complete the Subaward Request Form to initiate the subaward process.

Please refer to the ETSU Subrecipient Policy for additional information.

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J.  Cost Transfers

 Any costs allocable to a particular sponsored agreement may NOT be shifted to other sponsored agreements (or other funds) in order to meet deficiencies caused by overruns or other fund considerations, to avoid restrictions imposed by law or by terms of the sponsored agreement, or for other reasons of convenience. Any costs allocable to activities sponsored by industry, foreign governments or other sponsors may not be shifted to federally-sponsored agreements. A PD/PI should contact Grant Accounting upon identifying an incorrect charge to a sponsored program to initiate a cost transfer.

Please refer to the Cost Transfer Policy for additional information.



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K.  Re-budget Requests on Sponsored Projects

The terms and conditions of an award generally determine the allowability and/or procedure for rebudgeting sponsored project funds. Rebudgeting of sponsored projects will only be allowed when the request to rebudget falls within the guidelines of the sponsor and is reviewed and approved by ORSPA. Requests to rebudget sponsored project funds that represent a change in project scope and/or key personnel may need additional approvals.

The Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) initiates any request to rebudget sponsored project funds by completing a Rebudget Request Form, obtaining the required signatures, and submitting it to ORSPA for review and approval. Additional information to substantiate the rebudget may be requested.

Upon obtaining all necessary approvals, ORSPA will forward the approved request to Grant Accounting for implementation.

Please refer to the ETSU Rebudget Requests on Sponsored Projects Policy for additional information.

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