Award management of sponsored project or program funding involves several key processes:
Award Negotiation and Acceptance
After a proposal has been reviewed and approved by ORSP, submitted to the sponsor, and accepted for funding by the sponsor, the award negotiation process begins. Sponsored awards are reviewed and, if necessary, negotiated by ORSP to ensure the terms and conditions are acceptable to the University and Research Foundation. ORSP may consult the PI, Risk Management, College Dean, and other offices, including legal counsel.
ORSP has the lead responsibility in the negotiation and acceptance of sponsored awards and is the sole authorized entity to execute a sponsored award on behalf of the Research Foundation, which is the recipient organization for sponsored awards at CSULB. A more complex contract negotiation process may take as long as several months and will require close collaboration with the PI, Department, and other offices.
Notice of Award
When the sponsored award is fully executed, ORSP will assign a fund number and establish a chart-field string in the accounting system. The grants and contracts administrator (GCA) will issue an Award Orientation Form along with a copy of the award document. The form summarizes all pertinent terms and conditions of the award and any special sponsor requirements. If necessary, the GCA will notify the PI of any unusual terms and/or conditions of the award and any special sponsor requirements. It is the responsibility of all parties to become familiar with the details of the award and any relevant award restrictions and requirements. In addition, all parties must ensure regulatory compliance in key areas:
- Export controls
- Responsible conduct of research
- Financial conflict of interest in research
- Human subjects research
- Animal care research
- Biosafety hazards and biosafety
Types of Sponsored Agreements
There are various types of funded agreements that ORSP will review, negotiate, and execute on behalf of the Research Foundation and University.
- Non-governmental sponsors normally issue awards as grants.
- State and local governments issue both grants and contracts.
- Corporate sponsors generally procure work and will issue a contract.
- Federal sponsors typically issue three agreement types, as follows:
- Assistance activity
- Project conceived by Principal Investigator
- Federal agency maintains cognizance
- Award often references standard terms and conditions
- Follows Uniform Guidance 2 CFR, Part 200
- Deliverables usually in form of a report
- Publications encouraged
- Funds issued through a unilateral funding mechanism
Federal Cooperative Agreements
- Assistance activity much like a grant with more sponsor involvement
- Procurement activity
- Project conceived by federal agency
- Federal agency closely monitors progress
- Follows Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs)
- Deliverables usually a product, service, and/or report
- Publications may be more restricted
- Funds provided through an agreement signed by both parties
Is my Sponsored Award a Grant/Contract or Gift?
|Characteristics||Awards - Grant/Contract||Awards - Gift|
|Specific deliverables (e.g., Technical/progress report, prototype)||Yes||Sometimes|
|Defined scope of work||Yes||No|
|Defined period of performance||Yes||No|
|Line item budget approved by the sponsor||Yes||No (?)|
|Approval of budget modification, if any, by the sponsor||Yes||No (?)|
|Tax implications||Sometimes / No||Yes|
|Return of unexpended funds||Yes||No|
|Obligated to report the use of fund to the sponsor||Yes||Sometimes|
|Awards are irrevocable/nonreciprocal||No||Yes|
|Restricted use of funds||Yes||Sometimes|
|Risk for penalty||Yes||No|
|Compliance with guidelines/policies of the sponsor||Yes||No|
|Separate fund number required for financial monitoring||Yes||No|
|Funded by industries, foundations, or other organizations||Yes||Yes|
|Funded by an individual||No||Yes|
|Processed/received/monitored/recorded by the Research Office||Yes||No|
|Processed/accepted/acknowledged/recorded by University Relations||No||Yes|
Evaluative Factors for Grants vs. Gifts
The following list is a summary of evaluative factors to be used in determining whether an award is considered a grant or a gift. The list is not exhaustive or a substitute for professional judgment. The factors shaded in gray may require balanced consideration of other factors. All gifts and grants in support of research activity must be considered organized research expenditures.
|Penalty may exist for non-performance of proposed research; agreement states that a technical report or other outcome is expected to fulfill obligation.||No penalty exists for non-performance. Gift may be given in support of research or other activity without expectation of specific outcome.|
|Funding is contingent upon university’s commitment to expend effort or resources in fulfillment of the specific proposal.||Agreement does not define a quid-pro-quo return or definitive outcome in exchange for consideration.|
|Activity involves the use of human subjects, laboratory animals, radioactive materials or biological hazards.||Gifts do not involve the use of materials or subjects requiring institutional approval.|
|Disposition of rights to intangible property, i.e., data, licenses, patents, copyrights, are specified in the agreement.||Gifts do not involve the transfer or negotiation of rights to intangible property.|
|Sponsor is a public entity.||Sponsor is an individual.|
|Period of performance is defined by the sponsor.||A period of performance is not defined by the sponsor.|
|Unexpended funds are usually returned to sponsor. Grants may allow retention of unexpended funds for a specific purpose.||Gifts are irrevocable. The obligation to return unexpended funds after a period of time indicates a grant.|
Sponsor is a private foundation or business entity – Entity type is not a distinguishing characteristic of a grant vs. gift. Private foundations and businesses offer grants and gifts in support of research or other activities.
Proposed scope of work binds the researcher to a specific line of inquiry – Defined scope of work is proposed and awarded. If proposal is the result of a solicitation for proposals, then the award is a grant. Unsolicited proposals should be evaluated by the preponderance of other factors enumerated on this list.
A line item budget is substantive part of proposal – A line item budget may be provided as evidence of responsible stewardship. The existence of a line item budget is not sufficient in itself to differentiate between a grant vs. gift. If penalty for deviations exist, the agreement should be considered a grant (performance indicator).
A financial report is expected or required by sponsor – A financial report may be provided as evidence of responsible stewardship. This requirement is not sufficient in itself to distinguish a gift vs. grant.