Have a question that you don’t see below? Contact your SPA Representative.
Q: I have a great idea for a new project. How do I find grant submission opportunities that would be appropriate for funding?
A. The UGA Office of Research provides helpful tools for identifying appropriate extramural sponsors for your research. There are also several internal competitions that might help to provide seed money to develop your project.
Q: How do I find out who is the appropriate person at SPA to help me with my grant submission?
A: Use the Find Your SPA representative database to identify who can help you.
Q: Why does UGA require a detailed budget justification for my modular grant when NIH does not require one?
A: While NIH doesn’t require detailed budgets on submission, the White House Office of Management and Budget issues additional rules and regulations UGA and all institutions receiving federal grant dollars must follow. In order to meet these requirements, UGA requires budget justifications for all federal awards.
Q: What is “program income” and how is it accounted for on University records?
A: Program income is any income resulting as a by-product of a sponsored project. An example might be a sponsored project funded to conduct a specific workshop that charges participants a fee to offset the total costs of the workshop. The expected income should be included in the project budget at submission, and is accounted for separately by SPA. Please contact your SPA representative if you have questions about program income.
Q: What is “cost sharing”?
A: Cost sharing is any cost associated with a sponsored project that is not paid by the sponsor, and can be mandatory (required by the sponsor), or voluntary. If you are a faculty member and you think your project will include cost share, please consult with your academic unit accounting staff, departmental DLSA, or SPA representative for advice.
Q: If I make no commitment of effort on my proposed project, yet I am forced to put a percentage effort on the Current and Pending Support form of the grant application, does this constitute cost share for this project?
A: It depends on the rules of the federal agency to which you are submitting your proposal. For agencies such as NSF and USDA, effort shown on the current and pending support section is not considered committed effort. However, agencies like NIH do consider effort on current and pending support as well as effort on progress reports to be committed effort.
For questions about specific awards or other federal agencies, please contact your SPA representative.
Q: What is the difference between 12-month, academic, and summer effort on a project? How do I know what kind of effort to claim?
A: Most faculty at UGA are on academic year appointments, meaning that your salary is paid over 10 paychecks for the 9 month academic year. These faculty may charge their summer salary to extramurally funded research projects. Regardless of 12-month, academic, or summer pay, faculty and staff salaries should be charged to appropriate sources of funding that match the activities and their time and effort spent on those activities. If you do not know what type of appointment you have, check with your academic unit accountant or business manager.
Q: I am on an academic year appointment and all of my summer effort is accounted for. Can I claim academic year effort on a new grant, and if so, where does that money go?
A: Yes, you can claim academic year effort on a grant, whether your summer effort is fully accounted for or not. If you claim academic year effort but do not provide salary for that effort in your budget, then this is a form of cost share. If you provide salary for academic effort in your budget, then your salary will be paid from your project for that amount of time during the academic year instead of your department. This frees up departmental funds for alternative use during the fiscal year. Some colleges provide incentives for faculty to claim and pay for academic year effort – check with your college for details.
Q: For someone working on multiple sponsored projects, how should committed effort on a sponsored project be documented if paid for by the University (cost shared)?
A: Effort on sponsored projects that is not compensated by an award but is committed in the award is a financial responsibility of the University (a “cost share”). A cost sharing account will be created by SPA when the award is established and salaries will be charged to this account as effort is expended. See above under “Proposal Submission – Cost Sharing” for more information.
Q: What if my effort on a particular grant changes over time or is significantly different from committed effort?
A: Whenever committed effort and actual effort deviate from the original commitment, the PI must notify the University (Pre-Award) to ascertain if sponsor approval is required, since the threshold of deviation from the original effort level triggering sponsor approval varies by agency.
Q: If an award receives a no-cost extension, do the levels of effort committed in the proposal extend into the no-cost extension (NCE) period?
A: The answer varies by federal agency. NIH requires commitments to extend into the NCE period while NSF and USDA do not. A good rule of thumb is to check with your SPA representative prior to requesting the NCE in order to include all relevant requests together when submitting to the agency.
Q: What is the difference between a pre-award and a pending award?
A: A pre-award allows you to spend before the anticipated award budget period and can be used on federal awards only. If notification of an award has been received, but the official project start date has yet to arrive, the PI may request that an account be opened up to 90 days prior to the official start date. Refer to the federal RTC (Research Terms and Conditions) matrix to see if your sponsor allows pre-award costs or ask your SPA representative.
A pending award allows spending within the anticipated award budget period and can be used on most types of awards, if notification of an award has been received but official award documentation has yet to arrive.
Q: How long do I have access to the funds?
A: With a pre-award, you have access to the funds 90 days in advance of the start date of the project.
A pending award gives you access to the funds for 90 days beginning on the actual/anticipated start date of the project.
Q: How can I set-up a pre-award or pending award?
A: In order to set up either type of award, an Administrative Action Request Form must be completed.
The form must be signed by the PI, Department Head, and Dean/Director before submission to Sponsored Projects Administration. Sponsored Projects Administration must have a complete proposal, including Transmittal Form, detailed budget, budget justification, and compliance approval, on file in order to process a pre-award or pending award.
A non-restricted account number is required for unallowable expenses. A pre-award or pending award cannot be created without a non-restricted account number from the department. This number will be used to cover any charges that are incurred prior to the approved start date of the award, if the project is not funded, or if there are charges made to the account that are not allowable.
Q: Are there any restrictions or special requirements on these types of awards?
A: Yes, they can be set-up for up to 25% of the anticipated yearly award amount and will expire after 90 days.
A non-restricted account number is required for unallowable expenses. This number will be used to cover any charges that are incurred prior to the approved start date of the award, if the project is not funded, or if there are charges made to the account that are not allowable.
Q: What if the award isn’t here within 90 days of the pre-award/pending award?
A: Multiple pending awards can be requested. However, it is important to note that the more pending awards that are requested/approved, the more risk to the department. All charges incurred on a pre-award/pending award must be covered by the department in the event the project is not ultimately funded.
If, after the original 90 days, you need additional time but not additional money, a request for time only can be submitted.
In order to set-up a pre-award for more than 90 days, prior approval is required from the Sponsor.
Q: If I have requested a no-cost extension on my project, can I submit a pending request to keep the account open?
A: No, to do so could be considered a breach of contract. A pending account can only be used when we do not have a contract/agreement in place or we are expecting additional funding on the same project.