Post Award – First Steps

Review all award materials thoroughly. 

  • Identify any special requirements or noteworthy items associated with the award, such as unallowable costs, items requiring sponsor prior approvals (e.g. foreign travel, change in participant support costs, etc.), data management requirements, annual directors’ conferences, etc.
  • Record progress reporting due dates as well as internal dates to start progress report preparation, human or animal protections protocol submission dates for annual approvals, or other key dates in personal calendars.
  • NOTE: While an award’s terms and conditions determine the allowability of specific costs, for federal sponsors, allowability is also predicated on adherence to University policies and practices. A sponsor may disallow an expense that would otherwise be allowable if University policies and procedures are not followed.


Direct Support Staff to Allocate Effort and Costs for Personnel Engaged in the Sponsored Project

Effort for key personnel, individuals essential for the conduct of the project, and non-key personnel, support staff ordinarily identified by position, are presented in the award’s project narrative and/or budget narrative. The costs associated with these personnel are also included in the OSP file copy budget or the OSP cost sharing file copy budget.

Based on information included in the award materials, PI/PDs should direct budget managers to either create or update appointments (i.e., the iJANs) of all individuals working on the sponsored award. The effort entered into the HRSA systems should mirror the committed effort presented in the award.

  • When committed effort is to be charged to the sponsor, the award’s chart string is to be used for allocated costs.
  • If effort has been offered as cost sharing or as voluntarily committed effort, an institutional chart string with the award’s “project tail” (project, activity and bud ref numbers) added is to be used.


Initiate the preparation of materials that enable collaborations with non-SU organizations or individuals for subawards or consultant agreements, respectively

If some aspect of the award will be performed by non-SU personnel, the PI with the assistance of the budget manager or other support staff should

Reminder: This form also documents an individuals eligibility to receive federal funds as evidenced by the date and results of excluded parties list systems searches (

  • See Collaborating with Others – Post Award for further additional information.


Review the awarded budget and budget justification for any unusual or major items of expense. 

  • Plan purchases to ensure that items are available when needed to facilitate the project’s work and objectives.
  • Reminder: items purchased at the end of an award receive particular scrutiny, as their benefit to an award’s objectives may not be obvious. All items charged to an award must be received at SU prior to the end of the award period. Otherwise allowable items that cannot be received by the end of the award will be unallowable.


Identify items that require prior sponsor approval and plan/act accordingly.

  • Items/costs requiring prior approval vary among sponsors, and even for a given sponsor, can vary with a specific award’s terms and conditions.
  • Some sponsors delegate to OSP the authority to approve items requiring prior approval. Consult your award’s terms and conditions. Additional information may be found at:

Common items requiring sponsor or OSP approval include:

  • Reductions in key personnel effort of 25% or more, or absence of PI or key personnel for 3 months or more (this includes academic year research or administrative leave)
    • Consult the award’s policy manual or award management document to determine procedure to be used. Contact your OSP Research Administrator to process the request for sponsor approval.
  • Foreign travel
    • All defense agencies and their affiliates, e.g. National Security Agency, require sponsor prior of all foreign travel, even when included in the award’s budget justification.
    • Some sponsors also limit travelers to US citizens or permanent residents.
    • All federal awards require that travelers comply with the Fly America Act. 
  • Items ordinarily unallowable as direct costs
    • Communication costs including, but not limited to, local phone charges, phone lines, cell phones, etc., copy costs, office supplies, and postage are not allowable as direct costs on federal awards unless expressly included in the awarded budget.
  • Changes to participant support costs
    • NSF and USED both require sponsor approval prior to shift funds out of participant support budget lines. For NSF, requests for program officer approval are submitted via FASTLANE; for USED, requests are submitted to the program official (correct title), OSP must be copied on all written requests and will share these approvals with Sponsored Accounting. 


Ensure that you have access to SAMtool – the Sponsored Award Management tool or FAB reports. 

  • The SAMtool is designed for and by PI/PDs to regularly monitor (e.g. monthly) award expenditures.  Monthly review allows PI/PDs to identify and correct any errors and omissions in a timely manner.  See also Cost Transfer Policy for additional information.
  • The SAMtool presents the ‘bottom line’ and information about the ‘burn rate’ – the percent of funds expended relative to budgeted amounts. The burn rate can help PI/PDs assess whether funds are being expended in a manner that reflects project performance.
  • NOTE: slow or inadequate rates of expenditures indicate to sponsor’s that projects are not performing as expected, whether because of staffing or technical challenges – the bottom line, however is that project goals and objectives are not being achieved in a timely manner.


TIP:  Keep your program manager informed when you encounter speed bumps, so they have no surprises.