Post award associates are responsible for overall fiscal and administrative oversight of all extramural funding (sponsored awards) within their portfolios, including account setup, monitoring budget spending activity, billing and financial reporting, assuring projects comply with university, federal and sponsor 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 award.
Good monitoring practices for PIs include:
- Assuring salaries and equipment are charged accurately. If you spot fiscal problems, please notify OSP as soon as possible to assure 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 3255 Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects, requires supporting justification before transfers over 90 days may be processed. Further information may also be found in the OSP procedure 30004 Cost Transfers Associated with Sponsored Awards.
- 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 associate will notify you and flag the project. No additional expenditures can be posted until the overdraft problem is solved. Your post award associate can work with you to clear up any budgeting issues, and if necessary, transfer costs to the appropriate college or department overhead account. Further information may also be found in the OSP procedure 30004 Cost Transfers Associated with Sponsored Awards.
- Noting any restrictions placed by the sponsor on the expenditure of your funds. Sponsors often require advance 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 associate 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 is a financial commitment by the university to share in the funding of a sponsored activity. The university often cost shares on an award by contributing a portion of the PI's salary and benefits to the total amount of effort required on the award. 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 associate.
Roles and Responsibilities in Cost Sharing
The PI and their Department
- Assure total promised commitment to the sponsor is fulfilled.
- Assure expenditures are reflected on your cost sharing account or are documented.
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
- Set up cost share fund in accordance with Form A.
- Track the actual amount of cost shared funds expended and notify PI if cost share exceeds or does not equal required match. If Virginia Tech has committed cost share for an award, during award close out, the post award associate will assure these obligations have been met and recorded by the end of the second full month following the award expiration date as required by university policy 3245: Cost Sharing on Sponsored Projects.
- Retain supporting documents on cost share for audit purposes.
The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI)
- Transfer overhead budget to the cost share account as the cost share amount appears on Form A.
- OVPRI has no involvement in other non-F&A cost sharing commitments using state funds unless that commitment was made directly by OVPRI 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, they may contact the Vice President for Research and Innovation Office for assistance. If there are questions about receiving the State, SCHEV, and/or other non-overhead commitments from another department, they should contact that department directly.
University Policy governing Cost Transfers: 3255 Cost Transfers on Sponsored Project.
OSP Procedure governing Cost Transfers: 30004 Cost Transfers Associated with Sponsored Awards
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.
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 award. The same rule holds true for cost sharing projects.