While the principal investigator (PI) is the initiator of all actions related to the sponsored project, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and your department/center are available to assist you. The EHE Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration (ORIC) also is available to provide assistance.
Schedule an initial meeting with your grants manager to review your award and get assistance with next steps. While this initial meeting is about you and answering your questions, there are certain areas that we typically cover, including:
- Your role as a PI in the post-award phase
- Who does what (you, your department or center, ORIC, OSU Office of Sponsored Projects)
- Getting your grant started, including personnel appointments
- Overview of Workday and the PI Portal
It also is important that you meet with the human resources and fiscal professionals in your unit to discuss your new award.
The PI Portal and Workday allow you to monitor all aspects of your award including appointments, expenditures, human subject protocols and other commitments. It is incredibly important to check each month to see if all expenditures and appointments are correct.
Questions? Contact Aimee Sanford, sponsored project officer, or your assigned human resources or fiscal professional.
APPOINTING PERSONNEL TO A GRANT
Requests to assign personnel to your grant can be sent to your department’s ‘s Fiscal Officer for entry in Workday. This includes all OSU employees (faculty, staff and students) who will be working on and partially or fully funded by your grant.
To meet commitments to the sponsor and ensure compliance with time and effort reporting requirements, it is very important that you initiate project appointments immediately. Common times when grant personnel appointments need entered or updated include:
- New OSP funding or funding renewed under a new “GR” number
- Beginning/end of academic year
- Role on grant has changed or ended (even if grant continues)
- New hires that need to be assigned to grants immediately
EHE-ORIC grants managers are tasked with facilitating and closely monitoring personnel assignments on OSP and some internal grants. PIs should consult their grants managers prior to requesting personnel assignments as a best practice and especially when there are concerns regarding availability of funds, allowability, time or other constraints. In some case, OSP may need to be consult regarding sponsor terms and conditions.
If changes to an employee’s effort on OSP funds are requested for a period of time that has already passed, a Costing Allocation must be entered to retroactively transfer the salary expense to the correct funding source. Such retroactive allocations are to be avoided if possible, Those occurring more 90 days after the pay period being changed require detailed justifications before being approved and processed.
RELEASE TIME APPOINTMENTS
Release time is a procedure typically associated with a sponsored grant whereby a faculty or staff member is “released” from regular duties to work on a grant. Release time can be in the form of cost sharing or sponsor release time. Cost sharing is a non-financial transaction representing contributed time or materials to a grant. Sponsor release time represents a financial transaction that charges the grant for a percent of salary and benefits and credits the salary-paying fund.
Release time appointments are initiated at the department level. Once the request is submitted through university HR system, it will be routed to appropriate authorizers for their review and approval. Additional information on release time appointments can be found in the EHE Policy.
PRELIMINARY GRANT SPENDING REQUESTS
Completion of the OGC-005 form will allow: (1) issuance of an Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) project account number prior to award receipt; and (2) continued expenditures/commitments on existing OSP project account in anticipation of receipt of future funds/additional time. In the event the anticipated sponsored agreement is not received, or sponsor payment is insufficient to cover expenditures incurred against this OSP project account, any unrecovered or unallowable expenditures will be transferred to the PI’s department.
RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH
The Office of Responsible Research Practices provides administrative support to the university research community and the committees responsible for research review and oversight. They help Ohio State faculty, staff and student researchers navigate research requirements through education and quality improvement initiatives designed to facilitate research, improve efficiencies, and ensure regulatory compliance. Detailed guidelines for animal care and use, biosafety, and human subjects are provided.
HUMAN SUBJECTS PAYMENTS AND GIFT CARDS
Principal Investigators (PIs) and other faculty/staff members who conduct sponsor- or internal-funded research and want to pay research subjects in cash or gift cards, must ensure the payment process is appropriate and follow U.S. Tax and Immigration laws.
Must-read Information: Paying human subjects
EHE Guidelines for Processing Gift Cards
OSU’s preferred vendor for gift cards is MedMatics (aka Virtual Incentives).
All full-time employees who have been paid through research funds have to certify their effort on their externally funded grants. In addition to certifying their own effort, the PI must certify the effort of all students and postdocs working on a particular grant.
Effort is averaged over the number of months during each certification period. Therefore, percentages can look odd if effort has changed from month to month on a project during the certification period. The fall period is four months long (Sept-Dec), spring period is five months (Jan-May) and summer is 3 months (Jun-Aug).
Effort certification is managed through Workday – you will receive an email in your Workday inbox when effort needs to be reviewed. No reminder emails are sent. A video that provides an overview of the eCertification process can be found at the 5:44 minute mark. A job aid is also available.
- Go to your Workday Inbox and look for Effort Certification Action emails – open each email
- Under the Summary tab – review the effort percentages of assigned to each of the grants
- If you agree with the effort levels – click the “I certify” box above the summary tab; then click on submit.
DO NOT CLICK the Change Effort button if you believe the percentages are incorrect, contact your grant manager and department fiscal staff immediately for assistance.
Our sponsors are many and have varying reporting requirements. Many federal sponsors like, NIH, IES and NSF, have firm deadlines for annual reporting that is to be reviewed and approved by our Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Non-federal sponsors may have similar requirements. Still, others may be more informal and offer flexibility. It’s important to know what is expected and to ask for guidance if deadlines and obligations to the sponsor are unclear. Additionally, most progress reports require financial data which may necessitate cross-referencing multiple systems and OSP e-tools. Therefore, successfully submitting your progress report can require the coordinated efforts of the PI, collaborators, OSP and EHE staff. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Contact your grants manager if you have questions or need assistance with your report. In the meantime, please review the tips below so you can take action early and avoid snags in the reporting process.
- Keep track of personnel and effort
Know who is being paid from your grant! Many progress reports require detail on project personnel. You may be asked to report time and effort in percentages, person months, or hours. It’s hard to keep it all straight but it’s critical to get it right and ensure consistency with systems such as Workday, PI Portal, and eCert.
- Engage sub-awardees and other collaborators early!
If collaborators from other colleges or institutions have a significant role on your grant (and impact on your budget), contact them well in advance of due dates to allow them to fulfill their reporting obligations. This information will need to go in your report. Many sponsors require the same level of reporting for prime awardees and sub-recipients alike.
- Keep sponsor website log-in credentials current
GS, eRA Commons, Fastlane. Most sponsors have online systems through which reporting is submitted. Make sure accessing these systems will not be a problem when you go to prepare your report.
- Know OSP’s role
Many sponsors require your Sponsor Program Officer (SPO) to officially approve and submit progress reports on behalf of the PI. Additionally, OPS’s financial staff are often required to provide expenditure data. If you are, for example, aware of budget or spending inaccuracies, work with OSP staff as needed to ensure information they submit on your behalf is correct.
- Know your reporting deadlines
Your award document should state reporting due dates. Additionally, you should be able to find this information in the PI Portal or in sponsor guidelines. If you find these resources to be unreliable, ask for help.
- Know who to ask for help
EHE Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration (ORIC):
Michael Moses, EHE Senior Grant Manager, 614-292-3883
Shawna Davis, EHE Grant Manager, 614-688-4432
Kimberly Lightle, Director of Research, 614-688-3485OSU Office of Sponsored Programs:
Aimee Sanford, Sponsored Program Officer, 614-292-1994
Todd Eckert, Sponsored Program Officer for EHE CETE, 614-292-4510
John Robinson, Sponsored Program Officer (for-profit-sponsors, such as industry), 614-292-8670
GRANT TRANSFER SUPPORT
Awards are made to institutions, not directly to PIs. Therefore, the relinquishing institution must agree to transfer awards if/when a PI moves to another institution. One of the services provided by ORIC includes helping transfer grants to OSU/EHE from other institutions (when a PI is arriving at OSU/EHE) and vice-versa. In all cases, it is recommended a PI and his/her departmental administrator consult with your grants manager at least 90 days before spending needs to begin at the new location.
To initiate grant transfers, contact Kim Lightle with a list of all existing awards and all pending grant proposals. They should be annotated to show the budget period and project period begin and end dates; the name of the agency(ies); award number(s); and the names and phone numbers of the agency program officers and grants management staff.
In the case of incoming grant transfers, it also is helpful to include copies of the actual award notices, award terms and conditions, the most recent monthly financial statement, and, if known, the name, email address and phone number of the grants administrator in the grants office of the other institution.
ORIC works with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to determine if the grant can be transferred. If allowed, we will work to complete the transfer with the other institution.
Rules and regulations on grant transfers vary widely from funding agency to funding agency. Grant transfers (and transfers of contracts) are complex – especially those involving subcontracts, graduate students who are continuing their education at the original institution, awards having co-PIs or awards ending within a six-month window.
We recommend scheduling a consultation with the ORIC at least 90 days in advance of the transfer date to ensure a smooth transition.
MODIFICATIONS TO GRANT AGREEMENTS
At times it is necessary for a sponsored grant agreement to be modified. For instance, the principal investigator may need to re-budget funds from one category to another, require additional time to complete the project or change the scope of work. For federally funded grants, only grant or contracting officers can modify agreements. The sponsor’s program officials (i.e., technical contacts) are not authorized to approve any changes to agreements.
For most agreements, principal investigators should prepare a letter to the sponsor requesting the desired change and explaining why it is necessary. The senior grants managers in OSP can assist in developing this letter. Requests should be made at least 30 days in advance of the desired effective date. In certain circumstances, the Office of Sponsored Programs is authorized to initiate changes without sponsor approval. The sponsor must still be informed, however, of the changes that have been made.
One final note: please verify the timeline for modifications with your EHE grants manager, and/or Senior Sponsored Program Officer Aimee Sanford at OSP, as some agencies and some specific grants have unique deadlines for such requests.
Please contact your unit chair or director to discuss your space needs. For additional information, please see the space management guidelines. Additional information can be found on the EHE Facilities website.
The following steps need to be completed by the PI to ensure orderly project close-out:
- Ensure all personnel are moved to another grant or a department fund at grant end
- Ensure all required cost sharing is documented
- Review outstanding commitments and informing OSP Purchasing (using the PI Portal email) of those that can be relieved
- Remind subcontractors a final invoice must be submitted within 45 days of the subcontract end date
- Ensure all grant costs are incurred by the grant end date
- Resolve any potential grant over-expenditures
- Complete the final technical report or other grant deliverable
For help with managing equipment or computers and computer-related equipment, contact the Asset Coordinator for your unit (see table). Your coordinator will work with the Office of Information Technology and OSP to correctly determine whether to dispose or re-assign equipment and computers on ending grants. Capital or sponsor-owned equipment such as lab equipment should be evaluated by the expert using it. Additional information on OSP guidelines for managing assets is available.
|Educational Studies||Judith Gordon|
|Human Sciences||Darlene Velez|
|Teaching and Learning||Rebekah Salyers|
|CCEC and Schoenbaum Family Center||David Morelli|
RESIDUAL FUND ACCOUNTS
Residual fund accounts will be created from balances remaining at the end of fixed price grants (i.e., lump sum payment grants) for PI use. The college expects residual fund balances to be expended one year from the date of transfer from OSP to a university fund. Compelling cases for carrying the funds beyond one year can be made to the EHE Associate Dean for Research. These requests should be made at least 30 days prior to the fund expiration date and should include the new proposed fund expiration date. Unspent funds remaining beyond the fund expiration date will be returned to the college for reinvestment by the Office of Research in a seed grant program. Please see the college policy for Residual Fund Accounts. If you have any questions about Residual Fund Accounts, please contact Kimberly Lightle .