Post-award administrators are responsible for overall fiscal and administrative oversight of all the sponsored projects within their portfolios, including account setup, monitoring budget spending activity, billing and financial reporting, ensuring that projects comply with university and federal regulations as the technical work progresses, and financial reporting to sponsors. Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for monitoring the day-to-day fiscal performance and technical progress of their sponsored project. Good monitoring practices for PIs include:

  1. Making sure that salaries and equipment are being charged accurately. If you spot fiscal problems, please notify OSP as soon as possible to ensure that cost transfers are done on a timely basis. If cost transfers are not made within 90 days of the original posting (including 30 days to get through the university accounting system), University policy requires supporting justification in order for those transfers to be made.
  2. Tracking budget reports carefully. If you have spent 80 percent of your budget, are you roughly 80 percent finished with your project? The earlier fiscal difficulties are spotted, the more likely they will be solved without major expenditures by your college or department. If your project is overspent, your post award administrator will notify you and flag the project. No additional expenditures can be posted until the overdraft problem is solved. Your post award administrator can work with you to clear up any budgeting issues, and if necessary, transfer costs to the appropriate college overhead account.
  3. Noting any restrictions placed by the sponsor on the expenditure of your funds. Sponsors often require advanced approval for expenditures related to foreign travel, equipment not in the approved budget, general purpose equipment, subcontracting part of the project, or hiring outside consultants. Another key budgeting area that often requires the prior approval of a sponsor is a change in the amount of effort the PI expends on the project. Your post award administrator is responsible for working with the sponsor to obtain approval for any items requiring the sponsor's prior consent. If you have a need to obtain prior approval, please contact your assigned OSP team member. The same holds true for all equipment requisitions and payment requests from subcontractors or consultants.

Cost Sharing

Cost Sharing is a financial commitment by the University to share in the funding of a sponsored activity. The university often cost shares on a project by contributing a portion of the PIs salary and benefits to the total amount of effort required on the project. Other types of cost sharing may include unrecovered indirect, tuition remission, contributions from the Virginia Tech Foundation, or state SHEV funds. Cost-share commitments are made with REAL DOLLARS that flow directly from department coffers, and cost-shared funds must be tracked and their obligations must be met. Sometimes sponsors may reference the word “matching” for cost-sharing. PIs and other departmental personnel can direct questions concerning cost sharing to a pre- or post-award administrator.

Roles and Responsibilities in Cost Sharing

The PI and his/her Department

  1. Make sure total promised commitment to the sponsor is fulfilled
  2. Make sure expenditures are reflected on your cost-sharing account or are documented

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

  1. Set up cost share fund in accordance with Form A
  2. Track the actual amount of cost-shared funds expended and notify PI if cost share exceeds or does not equal required match
  3. Retain supporting documents on cost share for audit purposes

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR)

  1. Transfer overhead budget to the cost share account as the cost share amount appears on Form A
  2. OVPR has no involvement in other non-F&A cost sharing commitments using state funds unless that commitment was made directly by OVPR at the proposal stage

Should a PI and/or Department have a question/concern about the portion committed from an overhead source on the Form A, he/she may contact the Vice President for Research and Innovation Office for assistance.   If he/she has questions about receiving the State, SCHEV, and/or other non-overhead commitments from another department, he/she should contact that department directly.

Cost Transfers

Cost transfers onto sponsored projects are highly scrutinized by auditors.  All non-salary and general wages cost transfers are processed using the university’s journal entry form and sent to the post-award administrator for review and approval.  All cost transfers must comply with university policy 3255 Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects.

All personnel cost-related transfers should be done using a P-10.  A P-10 is a mechanism departments use to transfer payroll charges that from one fund to another. Salary-related cost transfers are an after-the-fact transaction and require OSP approval when the transfer involves a restricted account and the payroll change is greater than 90 days after the end date.  All cost transfers must comply with university policy 3255 Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects.

University Policy 3255 - Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects

Effort Reporting

Salaries and benefits for project PIs and staff generally consumes the greater proportion of costs for any research project. It is extremely important that you submit personnel forms, particularly the Personnel Activity Report (PAR), in a timely fashion, and that you fill out these forms carefully to assure that percentage of effort expenditures are correctly charged to your project. The same rule holds true for cost-sharing projects.