Manage the Award

Manage the Award Manage Award

Congratulations on receiving research funding! These guidelines are designed to help you efficiently manage your award in compliance with University and sponsor policies and procedures.

As a first step, please verify that the award has been reviewed by the Office of Research Administration (ORA).  Only  the Authorized Organizational Official in the Office of Research Administration is authorized to sign agreements, contracts, and grants on behalf of the University of Miami. If you do not know your department's ORA’s representative, see our directory, Who is My ORA Contact Person. 

ORA will automatically open a new sponsored account for you when your grant is awarded, provided all proper documentation has been previously submitted to Pre-Award. 

In the absence of an award, an advance account may be opened or extended under guarantee. The Advance Account Form can be used to request opening or extending an account without an award letter.  Please keep in mind that if not awarded, the advance account is liable for expenses charged. 

Below are some guidelines to follow as you start your project: 

Responsibility

The University of Miami has been awarded funding for a project. It is the PI’s responsibility, as well as the research administrator’s, to manage the funds appropriately. 

Read the Award

ORA procedure is to send the Principal Investigator (PI) and designated departmental personnel the executed award document. It is expected that the award is read prior to expending funds. This is an important step in maintaining the award. These are some items you should check on: (please note that this is not an exhaustive list)

  • Are there special terms or conditions?
  • Is the award incrementally funded? (e.g., an NIH award subject to SNAP, the Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process)
  • Note any deliverables (reports, products) that PI is responsible for.
  • Are there budget reductions? 
  • Compare the awarded budget to the final proposed budget. Can the work be performed with the reduction in budget? 
  • Will the scope of work need to be reduced? When revising your budget, if the project contains a subawardee, consider reducing the subawardee’s budget, also.
  • Note cost-share requirements (see Cost-Share section below).

A new budget must be submitted to ORA that matches the awarded budget.  Contact ORA if there are major discrepancies.  

Salary Cap

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) restricts the amount of direct salary of an individual under an NIH grant or cooperative agreement or applicable contract to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive Pay scale. Please see the salary cap summary and the time frames associated with existing salary caps.  An individual’s base salary, per se, is NOT constrained by the legislative provision for a limitation of salary. The rate limitation only limits the amount that may be awarded and charged to NIH grants and contracts. An institution must pay an individual’s salary amount in excess of the salary cap with non-sponsored funds. The amount of funding above the salary cap must be coded as cost-share in order to demonstrate compliance with the cap.

Cost Share

Cost Share is defined as funds committed for the project that are not budgeted from grant funds. Some examples include equipment, personnel effort, and tuition. If there are cost share commitments in the proposal, it will require a companion account. The companion account will permit ORA to report on Cost Sharing.

If the cost share is from a third party, contact the source and outline requirements for documentation so that you can report these transactions along with the internal cost share expenses. Specific guidance on cost-sharing in relation to federal grants is in the UG Subpart D.

Personnel

If personnel are supported on an award, a Costing Allocation must be initiated in Workday to direct charge the award.  In addition to direct charges for personnel, there may be related effort commitments which are tracked as cost-share. Payroll charges are processed by HR and are allocated according to the Costing Allocation in Workday.  Presently, whatever is set as the costing allocation on the day that payroll runs is how the entire pay period will be paid.  This becomes an issue especially for grants with start and end dates that are not aligned with the pay period because Workday is not presently configured to calculate partial periods.  These calculations must be done using the Costing Allocation Template (See Costing Allocation Template Instructions).  Allocations have a direct impact on Effort Certification.  It is important to initiate the Costing Allocation in a timely manner to prevent late cost transfers  (See Cost Transfer Policy) and issues with effort reporting (See the Effort Reporting Policy).

Administrative Salaries 

Administrative salaries should normally be treated as indirect costs but at times may be appropriate as direct charges if certain conditions are met (2 CFR 200.413):

  • Integral to a project or activity
  • Individual(s) involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity
  • Costs are included in proposal budget and awarded by sponsor or have prior written approval from sponsor
  • Costs are not also recovered as indirect costs

If administrative salaries were not included in proposal submission and funds awarded by the sponsor, you will need prior approval from the federal or federal flow through sponsor before you allocate administrative salary expenditures to the award. 

Subaward

When anticipating UM subcontracting to another entity, please follow the processes listed on the Subcontracting to Another Entity page.

Revisions to sponsored project budgets that require sponsor prior approval must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Administration.  

For more information see the Post-Award page. 

Reconciling Transactions

During the life of an award, there is no substitute for good practices in tracking and reconciling your transactions. Reconciling transactions on a monthly basis is important to grants management.  If you keep good records, are proactive in reconciling your transactions, and prompt in making corrections, your close-out audit should be trouble-free. Being proactive is the key to success. 

Next year the University of Miami will implement the financial modules of Workday which will assist in grants management.  Currently, the systems we have in place to view financial data and run reports on your projects are Financial Records System (FRS), DMAS and Research Reporting System (RRS).  The Office of Research Administration is the custodian of RRS.  RRS allows users to view University financial data for which they are authorized. You may run reports on your projects and get an overview of the burn rate for each project. For more information about RRS visit the Systems page.  

Cost Accounting Standards

When a sponsor awards funds to the University in support of specific programs and projects, it requires the University to manage those funds prudently to ensure that any costs incurred directly benefit the project accounts being charged.

The Federal Government is the largest sponsor of externally funded activity at the University. The cost principles relating to expenditures on federal awards are contained in the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200. These cost principles require that any expense charged to a federally sponsored project be reasonable and necessary, allocable, consistently treated, and conform to any limits or exclusions set forth in the  Uniform Guidance (UG), or the terms and conditions of the award.

Anyone approving or processing the expenditure of federal funds must have a clear understanding of the University of Miami’s Cost Principles Policy and apply consistent application of these fundamental cost principles. In addition, individual awards may include special terms and conditions which must be considered when incurring costs. Terms and Conditions in an award which specifically address costs override all related comments in the Cost Principles Policy guidelines document. Consult with the appropriate Contract and Grant Administrator in the Office of Research Administration for more details.

Unallowable Costs

Unallowable costs are defined as those expenses which are not reimbursable under the terms and conditions of federally sponsored agreements and/or those specifically identified as unallowable in the Uniform Guidance (UG) Subpart E.  In the event a discrepancy exists between the UG and those specified within the sponsored agreement, the agreement provisions will prevail.

An expense must meet all of the following criteria to be considered an allowable cost:

  • The cost is reasonable: A prudent person would have purchased this item and paid this price.
  • The cost is necessary: The expense is required to fulfill the terms and needs of the sponsored agreement.
  • The cost is allocable:  The expense benefits the sponsored agreement or, when the expense benefits more than one activity, an appropriate share can be allocated to individual agreements.
  • The cost is consistently treated:  Expenses for the same purpose are treated and classified the same way under like circumstances.
  • The cost is not prohibited:  The expense is not specifically prohibited by the  Uniform Guidance (UG), the terms of the sponsored agreement or other regulations.

If an activity/expense does not meet the above criteria, it cannot be charged directly to a federal award nor can it be included in the indirect cost base regardless of its purpose. In addition, it cannot be used to meet a cost share commitment. Please see the Overdrafts and Disallowances Policy.  

Budget Revisions

During the conduct of the project, the principal investigator may determine that budget changes are necessary. Many sponsors allow flexibility in how project funds are expended and permit budget changes needed to meet project requirements. Principal investigators need to be aware of the specific requirements for their awards and to request prior approval for budget changes when necessary. 

Revisions to sponsored project budgets that require sponsor prior approval must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Administration.  Please review the University of Miami’s Rebudgeting Policy.

Effort Certification/Reporting

The University of Miami’s research enterprise depends on funding from federal and state agencies, private foundations, organizations, and industry. The University's electronic system, Effort Certification and Report Technology (ECRT) is the principal means of verifying that salaries and wages charged to or contributed to a sponsored project are fulfilled in a manner consistent with the award documentation and compliant with the federal regulations for which the University is held accountable.  All faculty, staff and graduate students paid from a sponsored account must certify their effort in ECRT twice a year (See Effort Reporting Policy). 

Cost Transfers

A cost transfer is any adjustment or transfer of expenditures to/from an externally funded contract or grant purpose/project by means of a journal.  Diligent review of financial records and timely communication between principal investigators and departmental administrators should prevent the necessity for transfers; however, under certain circumstances transfers may be appropriate.

To comply with the requirements of the Uniform Guidance 2CFR 200, and the requirements of other federal sponsors, the University of Miami has established the following Cost Transfer Policy.  

Program Income

Program income means gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award (UG subpart D) during the period of performance.

Program income includes, but is not limited to, income from fees for services performed, the use or rental of real or personal property acquired under federally funded projects, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and interest on loans made with award funds.

If there is program income included for the award, refer to the University of Miami’s Policy on Program Income.

For more information about managing your award, visit the Post Award page.