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PI Responsibilities in Award Management

The Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD), the Research Accountant, and Research Services have important roles in the management of a sponsored award.

  • Attend a New Award Meeting with the grant coordinator and research accountant to review the grant management policies, procedures and expectations.
  • Complete the Scope of Work as agreed to by the sponsor in the award documents.
  • Work with the research administration team to modify the project and/or budget as needed.
  • Work with Human Resources to hire personnel.
  • Ensure expenses posted to the project account are allowable, necessary and reasonable; when in doubt about the allowability of a cost, get assistance from Research Accounting 
  • Monitor sub-recipient performance and grant expenditures.
  • Notify Research Services if there is any type of problem with the award.
  • Submit all project reports on time and in the correct format.
  • Obtain financial reports/approvals from the Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation (GSURSF) prior to submission.
  • Ensure that all cost share has been tracked and reported.
  • Complete and approve time and effort reports in a timely manner.

Together, Research Services and Research Accounting have the delegated role of oversight of the administration of all grant projects; these offices will do everything possible to make the administration of your award as trouble-free and enjoyable as possible.


Administrative Responsibilities


The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for the technical and fiscal and administrative management of a sponsored project. While responsibility for day-to-day management of project finances may be delegated to administrative or other staff, the PI is responsible for compliance with Georgia Southern policy, RSSP-103 Principal Investigator Responsibilities and sponsor terms and conditions.

In order to carry out this responsibility, the PI should be aware of all relevant sponsor and university regulations regarding the budget limitations, conflicts of interest, use of human and animal subjects, biohazards and biosafety, purchasing and equipment management policies, patents and copyrights, inventions, confidential information, safety and security, and required reports.


Communicating with Research Services and Research Accounting

Communications with PI’s regarding award activities are split by function: financial post-award issues to the Research Accountants, and non-financial post-award issues to the Grant Coordinators. The teams work together to resolve issues for faculty, communicate with external sponsors, obtain appropriate approvals/signatures, upload documentation and update internal systems, and disseminate results/actions to the PI and others as needed. After you have received your award, questions regarding specific activities or issues should be directed to:

Grant Coordinator

Pre-Award Concerns
Non-Financial Post-Award Concerns

-Contracts and/or amendments
-No-cost extensions
-Subawards/subcontracts
-Renewals
-Assist post-award in communication with sponsors for approvals on transactions

Research Accountant

Financial Post-Award Concerns

-Budget revisions (internal and external)
-Additional funding
-Subsequent or incremental funding
-Assist pre-award in obtaining documentation of modification to financials


Please check and review your emails frequently as the Grant Coordinators, Research Accountants and occasionally the funding agency will provide important and time-sensitive correspondence via email.


Guidance for Managing Awards

Guidance for Managing Awards provides an overview of the processes and responsible parties for post-award activities.


Technical and Programmatic Reporting Requirements


The PI is responsible for complying with all reporting requirements and deadlines, as specified by the sponsor. Therefore, PIs should read the sponsor’s guidelines carefully to ascertain what reports are required, their frequency, and preparation instructions.


Financial Management and Reporting Requirements


The PI is responsible for managing and controlling project funds in accordance with restrictions imposed by the sponsor’s terms and conditions and university policy and procedure, RSSP-103 Principal Investigator Responsibilities.

PIs are responsible for ongoing fiscal management of their awarded projects. Business Objects reports are a valuable tool for project oversight and should be viewed each month to ensure expenditures and adjustments are timely, and expenditure rates can be monitored to assure availability of funds. Questionable charges must be brought to the attention of your Research Accountant promptly and corrected by an appropriate reallocation (transfer).

Formal financial reports will be prepared by the Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation in coordination with Research Accounting. At the PI’s request, financial reports may be prepared and sent to the principal investigator for review prior to being sent to the sponsor.


Prior Approval for Programmatic and Financial Changes


Each sponsor may have specific requirements regarding changes to the scope of the project or modifications to the approved budget. Any changes should be discussed first with your Grant Coordinator. This is especially important regarding changes in project duration or the budget as Research Services may have expanded authority to approve changes to certain grants without referring back to the sponsor.


Prior Approval

For grants/contracts requiring sponsor’s prior approval, correspondence with the sponsor requesting such changes must be discussed with the grant coordinator and/or research accountant in order to be approved and executed on behalf of the University and PI. Once approval is received from the sponsor, the investigator and other academic and administrative units will receive notification.

Types of Prior Approvals

  • Change in Scope of Work
  • Change of Key Personnel
  • Key Personnel disengagement of 3 or more consecutive months, or decrease in effort of 25% or more
  • Transfer of award to another institution
  • Pre-award costs over 90 days
  • No Cost Extensions
  • Adding to the award budget: Equipment, land acquisition, construction/renovation, administrative or clerical salaries

Prior Approval Requests from Subrecipients

  • Subrecipients should always submit their prior approval requests to the pass-through entity (i.e., Georgia Southern University)
  • Only an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) can approve the request (if it falls under Expanded Authorities).
  • An amendment will be issued to the subrecipient documenting the change.
  • Prior approval requirements DO NOT flow down to subrecipients.
  • Expanded authorities DO NOT automatically flow down to subs (i.e., pre-award, NCE)

Expanded Authorities

  • Created by the FDP (Federal Demonstration Partnership) to streamline federal award management
  • Only used for changes that are necessary for the completion of the project within the original scope of work (SOW) and budget
  • Only apply to grants and cooperative agreements
  • Do not automatically apply to subawards
  • Agencies that exercise Expanded Authorities: ONR, NASA, NSF, USDA-NIFA, OE, NIH (and other PHS agencies), NOAA, DOE, EPA, ARO, and DOT Codified in 2 CFR § 200.308(d)

Types of Expanded Authorities

Pre-award Costs

Agencies may waive prior approval of costs up to 90 days prior to the start date of an award. Pre-award costs must be necessary (not for convenience)

  • Example: Purchasing equipment or animals 6 weeks in advance so when the items arrive, work can begin on the start date
  • Pre-award costs > 90 days requires agency approval

Carry Forward

Agencies may allow unobligated balances to be carried forward into subsequent years.

Always check the sponsor terms and conditions, as well as the award document for guidance and restrictions on carry forward.

Rebudgeting

Agencies may restrict rebudgeting (if the award is over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold) among direct cost categories to 10% of the total cumulative budget.

No-Cost Extensions

Agencies may allow a one-time no-cost extension of up to one year beyond the original end date for additional time to complete the scope of work; complete an orderly phase out of the project; or a competing application is under review while work continues.

Unspent funds are never an appropriate justification for a no-cost extension.

Last updated: 9/2/2020