Award Acceptance & Contract Negotiations
Before an award or sponsored contract can be accepted by the TTUHSC, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) completes a comprehensive review of the award, which includes the terms and conditions. OSP is responsible for conducting all negotiations with sponsors to obtain mutually-acceptable language which will allow the University to accept the award.
Every negotiation is handled by an OSP representative and, depending on the nature of the terms to be negotiated, may require input and assistance from other offices such as the TTU System Office of Technology Commercialization, the Office of General Counsel, various compliance offices such as the IRB and IACUC offices, etc. While OSP works diligently to resolve all negotiations in a timely manner we cannot guarantee a timeframe for completion of negotiations.
Oftentimes we receive inquiries as to the most common reasons that an award requires complex negotiation.
Examples of the most common terms and conditions that require negotiation include:
- Provisions that prohibit publication of the results of the project
- Provisions that require us to assign copyright
- Provisions that do not allow the University to own the data from the project
- Provisions that deal with indemnity for the project
- Provisions that deal with confidentiality
- Provisions that are inconsistent with University policies
- Provisions that are inconsistent with government regulations
- Awards that include non-standard patent and/or licensing terms
- Awards that fail to include all elements agreed upon prior to the awards
Sponsor-Required Prior Approvals
Principal Investigators of federally sponsored projects are required to report departures from budget and program plans and request formal approval directly from the federal awarding agency for any of the following reasons:
- Changes in the scope or the objective of the project
- Changes in the Principal Investigator or Key Personnel
- Absence for more than three (3) months, or a 25% reduction in the time devoted to the project by the Principal Investigator or Key Personnel
- Transfers of funds allocated for training expenses (direct trainee payments, stipends, tuition, fees) to other budget categories
- Subcontracting a substantive programmatic portion of the work, which results in a change in scope, unless described in the application and funded in the approved award
- Equipment not approved in the original award with a cost above $25,000 constitutes a change in the scope of work, mandating approval
Establishing Grant Fund
In accordance with TTUHSC OP 65.01, Establishing Sponsored Program Funds, a separate Fund must be established for each year of the grant award. Under certain limited circumstances and subject to OSP approval, Principal Investigators may request the establishment of a fund prior to receipt of the grant award notice. A fund may be established 90 days prior to the award's anticipated start date when there is an expectation that an award is forthcoming, there is a need to incur costs or establish accounting or budget information prior to the award start date and pre-award costs are allowable by the sponsor.
Establishing Cost Sharing Fund
In accordance with TTUHSC OP 65.11 Establishing Cost Sharing Fund, a separate Fund must be established if a cost sharing commitment is made on a funded grant application. Also, this policy provides information on establishing a separate Fund when an employee's base salary exceeds a sponsor's salary cap. The following salary cap calculator provides a breakdown of the amount that can be charged to the grant and the amount over the salary cap that must be covered by the institution.
While sponsors expect Principal Investigators to complete projects in the time indicated in the grant proposal, on occasion additional time is needed. A no-cost extension provides the PI additional time to complete the scope and objectives of the project without additional funds being provided by the sponsor. Requests are not permitted solely for the purpose of spending remaining funds. However, you may expend remaining funds during the no-cost extension period in order to complete the original scope of work. In addition, please note that the Principal Investigator must maintain his/her current level of effort during the no-cost extension period and all compliance approvals (IRB, IACUC, IBC, etc.) must remain current.
Please contact your OSP representative to begin the no-cost extension process.
Closing an Award
All grants and contracts have end dates that require a variety of closeout procedures. The most common closeout action is a final financial report. Other requirements may include a final invoice, invention and patent statements, equipment purchases and equipment ownership information, subcontractor assignment of refunds, rebates and credits, as well as subcontract release forms. For federal grants, the final financial report is completed by Accounting Services. Final Invention Statements are signed by OSP after completion by the Principal Investigator.
The Principal Investigator is frequently required to complete a technical progress report providing the agency with the results of the research. Timeliness of reporting and closing is crucial to sound grants/contracts management to assure full compliance with the agency regulations and to assure collection of all monetary reimbursement for costs incurred.