Award setup is a process by which sponsored project profiles are generated in PeopleSoft Grants (PSG) and the associated project cost centers are created in PeopleSoft Finance (PSF) to allow the Principal Investigators to use award funds, and business administrators to manage and oversee the posting of expenses, invoicing, reporting and payments. Each project cost center(s) is budgeted separately so that award funds can be accounted for independently. Under normal circumstances an award setup takes 5-7 working days from the time the award notice is received by the University to fully Setup and issue an Internal Notice of Award to the PI and the Department. The process is outlined below for transparency and accountability.
Before an award can be setup, the Pre-Award Research Administrator (RA) and the Principal Investigators (PIs) must prepare and submit an internal transmittal that is electronically routed and approved by all appropriate University of Houston (UH) officials. The transmittal record is used to setup the award profile and cost center in the grant management and financial system. The chart below outlines the steps, responsible office or person, and the time it takes to compete each step.
Award Setup Process and Timeline
|Steps||Responsible Office or Person||Timing|
|Receive Notice of Award (NOA) and Agreement documents||
Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG)
Principle Investigator (PI)Dept. Business Administrator (DBA)
|Link and log NOA/Agreement to proposal transmittal and update status to “awarded” to mark the receipt date||Post Award Research Administrator (RA)||Within 1 day of receiving the award|
|Notify the Principal Investigator (PI) about receipt of NOA/Agreement||
Post Award Research Administrator (RA)
|1 day after receiving the award|
|Update ICON conflict of Interest. Note: New awards cannot be setup until verification takes place||PI||As soon as the PI learns of the award|
|Provide Human Subject or Animal Use Protocol approval as needed||PI, Office of Research Integrity and Oversight (RIO), RA||
If approvals are NOT in place, it may take up to one month for Full award setup
|Review Terms and Conditions (T&C) of Contract Awards||OCG Contract Officer, PI, Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation- OTTI (only when there are issues) regarding Intellectual property, or rights to inventions)||5 working days after receiving an award. Difficult negotiations may take up to a month or two to finalize|
|Initiate Award profile setup and create cost center in PeopleSoft Finance. Notify PI and DBA of fund availability||OCG RA||3 working days after reviewing awards with no compliance or negotiation issues|
|Complete Award setup and issue the official Internal Notice of Award (NOA) to PI and Department||OCG RA||5-7 working days after the initial cost center setup|
When an award includes agreements that require negotiation, it is assigned to an OCG Contracting Officer (CO). The CO works with the PI and the sponsor and may include other offices as needed (for example, the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation (OTTI) is included when negotiations involve intellectual property issues).
During negations, if there are issues that cannot be resolved, the matter will be escalated to the Vice President for Research for a final decision. Although the CO takes ownership of negotiations with the sponsor, including follow-up, it is important for the PI to stay engaged and work with their counterpart from the other party to assist in the negotiations. This team effort approach speeds up the negotiation process.
When an award includes Human Subject (HS), Animal Care Research or Biosafety concerns, additional approvals from the relevant institutional board and area are needed before the award can be setup. To ensure that awards can be setup without any delays when they are issued to UH, PIs are strongly encouraged to begin working on these approvals as soon as they learn that an award might be forthcoming. In some cases involving HS research, the PI may request Pre-IRB spending. If approved, a limited budget will be setup for this purpose.
Release of Internal Notice of Award (NOA)
Award funds are setup in project cost centers under the primary department that is flagged on the transmittal. Department Business Managers are responsible for day-to-day management of the award. The internal NOA provides information needed to successfully manage the award. The proposal, budget, budget justification and the award solicitation, also contain vital information for managing the award. These documents are accessible online in the PeopleSoft Grants Management system.
Awards with Sub-Recipients
When an award has sub-recipients, OCG will first gather the necessary documentation from the PI and the sub-recipient in order to create and execute a sub-recipient agreement associated with the award.
Awards from Private For-Profit Sponsor
Awards from private for-profit sponsors are usually fixed price payments. The sponsor may agree to pay at certain intervals based on deliverables. When this happens, the cost center is normally budgeted for the payment received only. Exceptions to this would be an approval from the PI, DBA or Chair allowing for “advance funding” with the understanding that if deliverables are not met and the sponsors does not pay, the expenses on the cost center will be moved to the department IDC. Best practice for these kinds of awards dictates that the PI works with the OCG Contracting Officer to secure a reasonable up-front payment to begin the project.