Start the Award Process

Award Management

Award management of sponsored project or program funding involves several key processes:


After a proposal has been reviewed and approved by ORED, 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 ORED to ensure the terms and conditions are acceptable to the University and Research Foundation. ORED may consult the PI, Risk Management, College Dean, and other offices, including legal counsel.

ORED has the lead responsibility in the negotiation and acceptance of sponsored awards. The Senior Director Grants & Contracts (or ORED AVP when needed) is the sole Authorized Official allowed to sign a sponsored award on behalf of the Research Foundation, which is the recipient organization for all 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, ORED will assign a Fund and Project number and establish a chart-field string in the accounting system. The Grants and Contracts Administrator (GCA) will prepare a budget journal entry. After the journal entry is posted and the new Fund budget is available in the Data Warehouse, the GCA will send a New Award Notification email. Attached to the email will be a copy of the fully executed award document, the Budget to Actual Report, and a fully executed Delegation of Authority (DOA) form. Also attached will be the PI Orientation Guide, which is designed to cover key highlights of the PI and GCA responsibilities, CSULB Research Foundation policies and procedures, and Compliance topics. It is the responsibility of all parties to become familiar with the details of the award and any relevant sponsor 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

There are various types of funded agreements that ORED 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:

Federal Grants

  • 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

Federal Contracts

  • 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

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
Indirect Costs Yes No
Invoicing Yes No
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

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.

Grant Gift
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.