When a grant is received, the PI takes on the responsibility of administering the project, purchasing, hiring personnel, project coordination and writing the final report. This section will provide general assistance for the administration of grant funds.
A. Accepting the Award
When a grant is awarded, notification is in the form of a letter sent from the funding agency to the provost, PI, or business office. The original award letter (not a copy) is sent to the Office of Sponsored Programs along with a budget. PI's should make a copy for their file. In all cases, official acceptance of funds on behalf of the Board of Regents of UW System is required. The accounting office provides the official signature of acceptance and assigns a university account number.
B. Administrative Responsibilities
The Principal Investigator, operating within the policies of the university and assisted by the appropriate administrative officials is responsible for the day-to-day administration and direction of the grant. He/she should have a copy of the proposal, and will receive a copy of setting up accounts form and the account number from the extramural accounting coordinator. When accepting the award, the PI should be aware of the grant or contract terms and conditions and pay special attention to budget limitations, patents or inventions, intellectual property considerations, copyrights, safety, security and when the final reports are due.
The PI is expected to maintain close liaison with the dean or director and the Office of Sponsored Programs throughout the life of the grant. Any changes in the scope or direction of the study or the initial budget should be communicated to these offices. If a modification becomes necessary, copies should be submitted to the appropriate campus administrators.
- Records - A separate account is established for each UW-Platteville grant. All financial transactions receipts, encumbrances, payments and balances will be tracked on this account. PI's will access accounts via the website address given in the account notification letter and are expected to keep accurate records in their department to monitor budget expenditures, which may not be exceeded without agency approval. Some grants require supplementary records that will be defined in the grant or contract terms and conditions or published in agency regulations.
- Budget Modification - Supporting agencies have specific requirements for and restrictions or deviations from the approved budget. PI's are responsible for complying with the terms and conditions. When prior approvals for budget modificaitons are required, a written request should be routed to the supporting agency via the dean, director, the OSP and the provost. Budget modifications are sometimes sent by the supporting agency to the PI who is responsible for sending copies to campus administrators.
a. Carryover Funding - Sponsoring agencies and organizations have different policies about unspent funds at the end of a budget period in a multi-year grant. PI's should find out what their granting agency requires so the funds won't be jeopardized. Some agencies request that unobligated funds be returned or subtracted from next year's award UNLESS a carryover has been approved. A request to carry over funds is usually included in the renewal proposal. If not, a request should be sent through the proper channels to the sponsor with an explanation of why the residual exists and how it will be used during the next budget period. The PI, who has contacted the funding agency at least two months BEFORE the end of the grant should initiate the request to carryover funding.
b. No Cost Extension - PI's are advised to contact the sponsor via telephone prior to writing the letter requesting a no cost extension. They should request a no cost extension to extend the termination date of the exisiting award. The letter must be signed by the PI and sent to the provost for approval. A copy is sent to OSP. The PI is responsible for writing the letter requesting an extension and attaches any documentation requested by the funding agency. The request should explain the need for an extension and a brief statement about how residual funds will be used. At the minimum the sponsor must receive the request at least 30 days before the termination date. Some agencies require 45 days.c. Supplemental Funds - Requests to supplement awards should be treated as a "mini proposal". A budget showing how the funds will be spent and an explanations of why they are needed must be included in the request. The dean or director's approval is necessary before the request can be transmitted via the Office of Sponsored Programs and the provost to the sponsor.
- Project Charges - Charges on grant accounts must be for approved expenses as indicated in the project budget and in accordance with university policy. University order forms and purchase requisitions with the assigned account number clearly displayed must be used for expenditures.
- Purchasing Procedures - Follow regular university purchasing policy for all purchases with grant funds. If you are unaware of the purchasing procedures, check with the purchasing office, the department secretary or the OSP.
- Salaries - Salaries and wages are administered according to state and university personnel policies. PI's should be familiar with the current policies for hiring faculty, academic staff, classified, LTE and student employees. Information is available on the UW-Platteville web site or from the university personnel director at 342-1176. Federal grants require compliance with federal anti-discrimination statues.
- Travel - State and university travel regulations govern travel on project funds. International travel and related subsistence will be reimbursed according to the terms of the grant or contract. Some agencies specify a maximum dollar limit per day for room and board. Projects accounts should not be charged in excess of the maximums. A Travel Expense Report, TER, is generated via computer to report expenses for travel. The PI will sign the TER and forward it to the Office of Sponsored Programs for approval and signature by the director. A copy will be placed in the PI's file. The director will forward the TER to the business office for processing.
- Equipment - Equipment purchased on grant project funds is owned either by the university or the sponsor. Terms and conditions are spelled out in the award documentation. In either case, the PI is responsible for equipment purchased with grant monies and must account for all items periodically and at the end of the project.
- Changes in the Research Plan - Major changes in the research plan that constitute a redirection of the statement of work in the original proposal should be discussed with the sponsor's technical representative. A letter regarding the changes should be approved by the dean or director and sent to the sponsor with a copy forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs and the provost.
- Change of the Principal Investigator - If an individual is unable to continue as a principal investigator on a project, university and agency approval is required BEFORE a new project director can be designated. Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.
- Transferring the Grant or Contract to Another Institution - When a PI is terminating his/her employment with UW-Platteville and requests a transfer of grant funds to another university, specific approval MUST be obtained from the university AND the sponsor. Normally research funds transfer with the PI, while equipment grants stay with UW-Platteville. A copy of the written request and the sponsor's reply must be forwarded through the appropriate administrative channels.
- Program Income - Federal regulations require the university to account for program income related to the project funded in whole or in part with federal funds. It is important that income generated from the sale of goods and/or services be re-deposited in the account. Prior agency approval is required before expending income generated from grant activities. Approval is generally obtained when the project is funded and is spelled out in terms and conditions of the award. Sales and income is a complex area that should be discussed with the accounting office.
- Reports - The PI is responsible for complying with all technical and scholarly reporting requirements and filing deadlines specified in the terms and conditions of the award. A copy of the final report is sent to the Office of Sponsored Programs and placed in the PI's file. The accounting office prepares financial reports and sends them to the sponsor, usually 90 days, after the project ends.