Negotiate Awards

Award Negotiations and Just-in-Time compliance reviews
The PI/PD is normally is notified that the proposal has been recommended for funding by phone or email.  This notification ordinarily does not constitute an official, legally binding agreement between the sponsor and the University, but rather is a prelude to contract negotiations or grant award. For example, modifications in the application submitted may be required, e.g. reduction in budget and consequent change in scope of work. On occasion, award notices or agreements are sent to other University offices including the Chancellor’s Office or Foundation Relations. In such cases, those units should forward materials to OSP for appropriate action.

Sponsors may also require a documentation of human or animal subjects approvals among other compliance requirements prior to issuing an award.

To facilitate the various steps associated with award review and negotiation and so chartstring creation, the PI is encouraged to:

  • Inform OSP that an award is apparently imminent; and
  • Forward copies of any materials and documents received to OSP.

Notification of Grant Award
In the event of an award, the sponsor may contact either the PI/PD or OSP, or both either by letter or, more often, by telephone.  Faculty and staff are reminded that they are not authorized to enter into agreements with sponsors. Letters requesting the PI/PD’s signature for acceptance of the award are to be forwarded to OSP for signature and acceptance or negotiation.  Individuals not authorized to sign contracts or agreements may be held personally liable for any untoward consequences of non-compliance.

When the grant or contract is received, it is reviewed by OSP to confirm that it matches the proposal and any agreed upon changes (e.g. budget revisions, statement of work, etc), and that its terms and conditions are in agreement with University policy and principles.  Any requirements contained in the agreement but not addressed in the proposal or the original solicitation will be reviewed with the PI/PD to insure that they are acceptable.  The agreement may be accepted for the University only through OSP.  In no case should any agreement be signed by a staff or faculty member, department chair or dean.

Pre-award Negotiations

Requests to submit revised budgets
A request to submit a revised budget is often an indication of the sponsor’s intention to issue an award. Revised budgets are to be authorized and submitted by OSP according to the sponsor’s instructions.
If the budget is reduced by 10% or more, ordinarily a revised statement of work should also be submitted to make explicit the impact of the budget reduction on the work plan.  Since the budget is the financial expression of the work plan/statement of work, having less funds available means that less work can be accomplished. For some sponsors (e.g. NSF), changes in the statement of work are conveyed via a ‘budget impact statement,’ which should also include a revised budget narrative to justify how funds would be used in support of the project’s objectives.

Just-in-time
Other federal agencies, such as NIH or EPA, use a “just-in-time” approach and notify the University of their intent to make an award, contingent upon completion of a cost and compliance review of items such as human/animal subjects approvals or overlap of the new award with existing or pending work.