Grant & Contract Administration

General
Allowable Direct Costs Under Circular A -21

The Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 sets forth principles for determining costs applicable to Federal grants, contracts, and other agreements with education institutions.  The Circular prescribes which costs are allowable and not allowable for recovery and of the costs considered allowable, whether the institution most appropriately should classify the costs as direct or indirect.

 

The expenses listed below are considered unallowable as direct charges to federally sponsored programs:

 
Generally unallowable as a
direct charge to sponsored account

 Account Description

  Books and periodical subscriptions
  Clerical and administrative salaries
  General purpose office equipment, i.e., printers, computers, copiers, etc.
  Office supplies
 

Always unallowable as a
charge to sponsored account

 
  Bad debts
  Losses on other sponsored agreements
  Alcoholic beverages
  Meals and entertainment
  Fines and penalties
  Donations and contributions


In order to justify classification of normally indirect charges as direct, the cost must be:

a)  budgeted as a direct cost as a clear indication of the planned need with sufficient justification (refer below to item c); and
b)  not prohibited by sponsor restriction as a direct charge; and
c)  used in quantity or circumstances beyond normal activity or in delivery of a major program.

 

All requests are subject to final approval by the Office of Research Administration.


Clerical and Administrative Costs

General Information
Clerical and administrative activity is defined as general operational support provided that benefits departmental objectives in the delivery of its academic and research programs.  Costs in this category are not specifically identifiable to a particular program.  Routine secretarial and operational duties performed to initiate personnel actions, procure supplies and equipment, conduct travel arrangements, keep records of and monitor financial transactions, respond to inquiries, transcribe and edit reports are general administrative functions; although the list of these activities is not all-inclusive or exhaustive, the list is presented to illustrate the types of activities that support university operations.  Oakland categorizes clerical and administrative support for sponsored programs as an indirect cost. Regulatory or Institutional References Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 defines direct costs as costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.  OMB Circular A-21 requires that costs which are not specifically identifiable as direct be classified as and recovered through the university’s negotiated facilities and administrative (alternatively termed F&A or indirect) reimbursement; therefore, general clerical and administrative costs are generally not permitted as a direct charge to federally sponsored agreements. Specific information on University policies and procedures regarding direct costing and expenditure documentation are found in the Oakland University Administrative Policies and Procedures manual accessible via the internet address http://www2.oakland.edu/audit/.

 

Research Administration Guidelines

General Guideline

Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or indirect costs.  Oakland categorizes clerical and administrative costs of sponsored programs as indirect because the costs are not characteristically associated with a specific measurable benefit to a program.  Clerical and administrative costs are not separately budgeted in a proposal to a sponsored organization. 

Proposing Costs for Administrative and Clerical Support

Indirect costs of all proposal submissions are proposed at the applicable federally negotiated rate and are assumed to support a normal level of administrative activity.  In cases where the normal level of administrative support does not apply, case-by-case consideration will be applied to the circumstances.  Special circumstances are rare and must meet the guidelines of OMB Circular A-21 as determined by the Director of Office of Research Administration. 

In the rare circumstance that clerical and administrative costs are categorized as direct, prior approval through a budget justification reviewed and approved by the Director of Office of Research Administration is required.  A detailed budget disclosing proposed effort (percentage FTE or hours) and supporting narrative disclosing proposed tasks must be provided.  The level of detail required to support internal approval for direct costing of administrative support may exceed the sponsor’s requirements to support the budget.  Sponsoring organizations rely upon Oakland to fairly, accurately and consistently cost proposed work in conformity with its policy on the direct and indirect allocation of expense.  Salary, wages and fringe benefits are applied as direct charges as a percentage of effort for salary (exempt) personnel or actual hours worked for hourly personnel (non-exempt).

Standard Pay Rates and Apportionment

Rates of pay for all work associated with sponsored agreements is paid at the employee’s contracted rate for the period of service.  The employee’s contracted rate may be institutional base salary or hourly rate dependent upon the employment contract.  

Overtime Pay Rates (Non-Exempt Employees)

Overtime rates for non-exempt employees must be paid at the contracted overtime rate for the period and in compliance with university policy and procedure, bargaining agreements and any federal or state regulations or contractual obligations under a sponsored agreement, where applicable.  Overtime pay must follow the employee’s base assignment funding source(s).  Overtime charges, where allowable by the sponsor, are apportioned using the base allocation of salary and wages for an employee’s normally assigned work schedule.  Sponsored agreements often restrict or prohibit overtime charges, therefore, overtime charges are subject to disallowance if found to violate the terms of a sponsored agreement or to result in inequitable cost allocation.  Overtime separately directed to a grant or contract agreement is not permitted. 

Supplemental or Miscellaneous Pay

In rare circumstances, an employee may receive supplemental pay or miscellaneous pay for work performed unrelated to normal job duties.  Approval is subject to all organizational reviews necessary to approve supplemental or miscellaneous pay and records documentation should be maintained to substantiate the circumstances.  The conditions for approving supplemental or miscellaneous pay are not affected by the funding source, but are solely determined by the activity.  Disparate treatment based on funding source will result in disallowance.  Supplemental or miscellaneous pay for activity that is necessary and directly related may only be charged to a sponsored agreement if prior approved by the Director of the Office of Research Administration in compliance with all university and sponsor restrictions for supplemental or miscellaneous pay.  Hourly employees must be paid at the contracted rate for the documented period of service.


Cost Allocation Standards

Identification of Direct and Facilities & Administrative Costs Under Sponsored Agreements

Costs attributable to sponsored agreements categorically include all:
  • salaries & wages
  • fringe benefits
  • travel
  • supplies & materials
  • equipment
  • other direct costs
  • facilities & administration

Direct costs are charged as actually incurred to implement program objectives.

Salaries & Wages:


For salary personnel, Oakland allocates charges based on the effort apportioned in accordance with the plan-confirmation methodology approved under OMB Circular A-2I. Timecard personnel are charged as confirmed by supervisory approval of the bi-weekly timesheet.

Fringe Benefits:

Allocated based on the salary/wages directly charged. Fringe benefit rates are federally approved through the Department of Health and Human Services as the cognizant agency.

Travel Expenses:

Direct charges as actually incurred. Oakland uses actual cost to reimburse employee travel expense other than mileage. Mileage reimbursements are based on the federal per diem rate.

Supplies & Materials:

Direct charged as actually incurred.

Equipment:

Equipment is direct charged. The capitalization threshold for equipment is $5,000 with a useful life of more than one year.

Other direct costs:

Other expenses are direct charged as actually incurred.

Facilities and Administration:

Oakland University has an approved Indirect Rate funding agreement established with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Oakland University maintains all records, documents, and other evidence to such extent and in such detail to properly segregate and reflect all costs, direct or indirect, of labor, materials, supplies and other costs for which payment is claimed under sponsored agreements. All financial records and documentation are maintained in a manner to meet federal cost allocation requirements per Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, for universities.

Distinguishing a Grant from a Gift

The following list is a summary of evaluative factors to be used in determining whether an award may be considered a grant or a gift.  The list is not exhaustive or a substitute for professional judgment.  The factors shaded in gray may require balanced consideration of other factors.  All gifts and grants in support of research activity must be considered organized research expenditures.  For questions regarding grant applications or management of an existing project, contact the Office of Research Administration.  Development and Alumni Relations should be contacting on issues regarding gifts.

GRANT

GIFT

 

Penalty may exist for non-performance of proposed research; agreement states that a technical report or other outcome is expected to fulfill obligation.

 

No penalty exists for non-performance.  Gift may be given in support of research or other activity without expectation of specific outcome.

 

Funding is contingent upon university’s commitment to expend effort or resources in fulfillment of the specific proposal.

 

Agreement does not define a quid-pro-quo return or definitive outcome in exchange for consideration.

 

Activity involves the use of human subjects, laboratory animals, radioactive materials or biological hazards.

 

Gifts do not involve the use of materials or subjects requiring institutional approval.

 

Disposition of rights to intangible property, i.e., data, licenses, patents, copyrights, are specified in the agreement.

 

Gifts do not involve the transfer or negotiation of rights to intangible property.

 

Sponsor is a governmental entity.

 

Sponsor is an individual.

 

Period of performance is defined by the sponsor.

 

A period of performance is not defined by the sponsor. 

 

Unexpended funds are usually returned to sponsor.  Grants may allow retention of unexpended funds for a specific purpose.

 

 

Gifts are irrevocable.  The obligation to return unexpended funds after a period of time indicates a grant.

 

Sponsor is a private foundation or business entity – Entity type is not a distinguishing characteristic of a grant vs. gift.  Private foundations and businesses offer grants and gifts in support of research or other activities.

 

 

Proposed scope of work binds the researcher to a specific line of inquiry or supported activity – Defined scope of work is proposed and awarded.  If proposal is the result of a solicitation for proposals, then the award is a grant.  Unsolicited proposals should be evaluated by the preponderance of other factors enumerated on this list.

 

 

A line item budget is substantive part of proposal – A line item budget may be provided as evidence of responsible stewardship.  The existence of a line item budget is not sufficient in itself to differentiate between a grant vs. gift.  If penalty for deviations exist, the agreement should be considered a grant (performance indicator).

 

 

A financial report is expected or required by sponsor – A financial report may be provided as evidence of responsible stewardship.  This requirement is not sufficient in itself to distinguish a gift vs. grant.

 



Patent Policy and Procedures

While it is recognized that the results of university research are, in the vast majority of cases, reported to the public through various professional channels, it is possible that some investigators may conclude that best use of their findings will require patenting.

The University has no desire to constrain investigators in the disposition of their inventions except where the University has an obligation to a third party under a grant or contract agreement. In order to assure that its obligations are met in such cases, the University requires that all inventions emanating from Oakland University, regardless of the source of support, be reported in a prescribed manner in order that possible third-party proprietary interests may be identified.

When any member of the University community (e.g., faculty, staff, student), in pursuance of his University duties, makes a discovery or invention which has some promise of patent-ability, he or she should promptly report the following information in writing to the Director of Research:

  1. description of discovery;
  2. sources and amounts of external support, if any; and
  3. recommendation of inventor on the matter of patent protection.

The Director of Research has the responsibility for judging whether the investigator has any obligation to assign rights to an invention to any third party. In cases in which a third-party interest is deemed to exist, the Director may be able to provide the inventor with assistance in obtaining patent releases, but because of the University's contractual obligations, any and all negotiations with third parties must be conducted through the Office of Research and Academic Development.

If it is determined that no third party has a proprietary interest in an invention (or the third party chooses not to exercise his right), the inventor will be free to dispose of his invention as he wishes. Generally speaking, three options are available to him:

Option 1:

He may place the invention in the public domain by publishing his findings. (An invention may be patented within one year after public disclosure. Oddly enough, during this time, the right to file is not limited to the inventor.)

Option 2:

He may, on his own initiative, obtain patents on his invention and thereafter administer, dispose of, or license such patents in whatever manner seems to him to be appropriate.

Option 3:

He may ask the University to apply for a patent. In this case, the University will normally turn to a non-profit patent management firm, such as Research Corporation, for advice and assistance. If a patent is obtained, the inventor is to receive 35% of the gross licensing proceeds; the University 22.5%; and the non-profit patent management firm 42.5%, with the understanding that the non-profit firm is to pay all normal expenses of evaluating, patenting, and licensing the process or invention. Any unusual and special expenses connected with litigation on the validity or scope of the patent are to be deducted from the gross proceeds before any division only if the inventor and the University give their approval prior to the incurring of such expenses. The University reserves the right not to seek a patent if the prospects for return are not favorable. In that case, the inventor may elect Option 1 or 2.

Oakland University Administrative Policy #465 governs the administration of patents.  


Statistical Software

Oakland University now has two campus-wide site licenses to support research efforts:  SAS (Academic Version 9.3) and the latest version of JMP Statistical Discovery and Data Visualization Software (from SAS).  These research software tools will be made available to all Oakland University students and faculty.   Follow the Quick Start instructions for downloading and installing the JMP software for installation on your computers.

Faculty can install SAS on their PCs or can make a request to their IT staff to provide the software on DVDs.   Another approach for faculty and students is to use SAS® OnDemand for Academics, which provides immediate online access to SAS software at no cost – with no configuration or support concerns.   However, if you choose to use SAS® OnDemand, please be sure to read and comply with the terms and conditions.

In addition to the above campus-wide availability of SAS and JMP, SPSS offers four primary licenses that are used on campus. These licenses have specific license usage restrictions that will determine the correct license type for your request.  Please refer " SPSS Frequently Asked Questions" on the UTS website for more information.

Proposal Development Assistance

Grant Writing Workshops and Resources

ORA typically offers a full-day grant-writing workshop for faculty during March or April. Also, workbooks that are specific to funding agencies are available to faculty on a short-term loan basis. Please contact Pratima Krishna PhD for more information about either of these resources.

Faculty may request funding to attend grant-writing workshops on special topics that are useful in their discipline. Please contact Dorothy Nelson PhD, Vice Provost for Research, to make a request, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended that the applicant identifies additional sources of funds for the activity, such as departmental travel funds, to partially offset the total cost.

Pre-Peer Review

The Vice Provost for Research (VPR) provides incentives for the pre-peer-review of certain federal grant proposals to be submitted by OU investigators. Reviewers receive a stipend for a timely review based on the criteria established by the funding agency. This incentive program includes financial rewards for both the reviewer and the investigator if the proposal is successful (i.e. funded). The PI must allow sufficient time for the review, and should plan their timetable accordingly.

Any OU investigator who is planning to submit a grant proposal to a federal sponsor (e.g. NIH, NSF, DoD) can apply for the pre-peer-review program.  The total direct costs for all years of the grant must be at least $200,000. Please direct your request to the AVPR, Dr. David Stone, at 
dstone@oakland.edu.

Pre-Award
Contact Information

Research is a vital and integral part of the university’s mission.  The Office of Research Administration (ORA) supports the research mission through providing services to locate funding, coordinate proposal development and work with faculty to develop relationships and collaborative networks in research.  The university is experiencing record highs in both the number and amount of research programs supported by our external sponsors. 
Pre-award activities and processes performed by the staff in ORA are designed to facilitate the application and award process, while balancing the need for institutional and sponsor regulatory compliance. 

ORA grant officers are assigned by funding agency to provide assistance in the following areas:

 

  • Funding Sources – ORA grant officers are experienced in use of search engines to locate potential sources of funding.
  • Letter of Intent – ORA grant officers assist in the preparation and obtaining required authorization for letters of intent or other institutional commitments that may be part of the proposal process.
  • Proposal Development – ORA grant officers are equipped to provide information for realistic budget development, editorial proofreading of narrative sections and act as an agency liaison.
  • Proposal Review for Institutional and Sponsor Compliance – ORA grant officers review completed proposals for compliance with regulatory requirements, complete and accurate information, as well as conformity to standards required for electronic and manual submission methods.
  • Proposal Submission – ORA grant officers are empowered as authorized organizational representatives to submit proposals on behalf of Oakland University.   
  • Award Negotiation and Acceptance – ORA grant officers are responsible to review offers on behalf of Oakland University to ensure acceptable terms and conditions of award.
  • Origination of Subawards and Subcontracts – ORA Grant Officers are responsible to initiate and negotiate subawardee agreements to support a sponsored project.
If you have are seeking funding, contact the ORA grant officer assigned to your prospective funding agency.  The chart below will assist in locating the appropriate grant officer:


 

Bonnie Kwit

kwit@oakland.edu

(248) 370-4116

Shamon Murdock

smurdock@oakland.edu

(248) 370-2557

FEDERAL

 

  • Department of Commerce (DOC), including EDA
  • Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), including NIH
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of Education (USED)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Federal Research Laboratories
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

STATE

 

  • Michigan Department of Community Health
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
  • Foreign Entities
  • State of Michigan
  • Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs (MCACA)
  • Michigan Department of Education (MDOE)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

 

  • School Districts
  • County Agreements
  • City/Local Agreements
  • Other Local Municipalities

OTHER

 

  • Corporations
  • Foundations
  • Hospital Agreements
  • Research Institutes
  • Universities

 

OU CENTERS & INSTITUTES

 

  • Eye Research Institute (ERI)
  • OU INC
  • Macomb - OU INC
  • Center for Biomedical Research (CBR)

 

  • Fastening & Joining Research Institute (FAJRI)

Proposal Preparation Tips

Preparing Your Proposal

Thoroughly read the program announcement and agency guidelines.  The program announcement contains valuable information about format and timing of submissions.  When reading the guidelines, pay careful attention to additional requirements for cost sharing, special approvals, letters of support/commitment, and special restrictions on the program. 

 

The requirements for content and format of proposals differ markedly among the various sponsoring agencies. Some require the use of preprinted agency forms, while others will accept a proposal in any format that presents all of the required information.  The proposal document represents a plan of work that will be evaluated by the sponsor for its merit and potential funding.  The principal investigator is responsible for the technical content of the proposal, proposal budget, and for compatibility of the proposed research with other professional duties. It is important to remember that if a project is funded the sponsor will expect the work to be carried out substantially as proposed.

 

Prior to submission of your proposal, you will need to obtain the review and approval of your departmental Chair and college Dean.  Completion of the Electronic Grant Application (EGA) is required as the routing mechanism for proposal approvals.  You will need to attach all documents required and route them with the EGA electronically to the Grants Officer assigned for your sponsor.  The Vice Provost for Research has institutional authorization to submit proposals on behalf of Oakland University.

 

The Office of Research Administration ORA has put together a report to assist researchers in the grant application process regarding facilities and resources available at OU. If you would like to review this information, contact Sue Willner at (248) 370-4111 or willner@oakland.edu.

 
Generally, every proposal should include the following:

1.  Title Page
2.  Technical Abstract
3.  Table of Contents
4.  Introduction
5.  Objectives
6.  Methods and Procedures
7.  Dissemination of Findings
8.  Evaluation Plan
9.  Equipment and Facilities
10.  Budget and Budget Justification
11.  Biographical Data or Curriculum Vitae
12.  References
13.  Appendices or Supplementary Documentation
14.  Institutional Approvals and Other Required Certifications

  1. Title page
  • Unless a specific format is supplied by a sponsor, the following information should be included:
  • The name of the entity to which the proposal is being submitted
  • The name of Oakland University
  • The title of the proposed project
  • The name of the principal investigator and any co-investigators, with the school and departmental affiliation of each with Oakland University
  • A place for the principal investigator's signature, a place for the signature of the Vice Provost for Research
  • The date of submission and the proposed project period

Certain standard information about Oakland University, e.g., legal address, taxpayer identification number, DUNs number, can be found under general information.   

2.     Technical abstract

Depending on the scope and complexity of a project, an abstract may be of assistance to a prospective sponsor. The technical abstract should be a condensed version of the project, usually no more than 250 words. State concisely the significance of the project, what is expected to be accomplished and how, and the period of performance of the project. 

    3.    Table of Contents

Including a table of contents, list of tables and figures may assist the proposal reviewer.


    4.    Introduction

The introduction (statement of need) emphasizes the importance of the project. The relationship of the project to the interests of the funding agency may be stressed here and should emphasize related research.

    5.    Objectives

The problem should be stated as specifically as possible. The importance and rationale of the proposed research should be well specified. It is important that the objectives, both general and specific, are well conceived based on related research. If the objectives are ill-defined, it may be due to an inadequate timeline or budget.

    6.    Methods and Procedures

This section details how the research will be carried out. The procedures may be written in several different ways, i.e., by activities tied to specific procedures, by functional categories such as planning, development, and implementation, or by major time blocks or activity phases.

The problem should be stated as specifically as possible. The importance and rationale of the proposed research should be well specified. It is important that the objectives, both general and specific, are well conceived based on related research. If the objectives are ill-defined, it may be due to an inadequate timeline or budget.This section details how the research will be carried out. The procedures may be written in several different ways, i.e., by activities tied to specific procedures, by functional categories such as planning, development, and implementation, or by major time blocks or activity phases.

If the sponsor limits the number of narrative pages, consider the use of tables or graphs in the appendix to conserve space. Some sponsors have limitations on use of appendices and what they may contain. Additional justification for unusually expensive or specialized equipment can be cross-referenced in this section to reinforce the budget request.

    7.    Dissemination of Findings

While research projects generally result in published papers in professional journals, many agencies require additional means of disseminating results. A statement of how this is to be done should be included.

    8.    Evaluation Plan (if required by sponsor)

Some projects may require inclusion of a plan for evaluation of the success or progress of the project.    

 
9. Equipment and Facilities

Most proposals should include a section on equipment and facilities available to the research project. Major items of equipment which are being requested are need to be clearly identified and their need described. The Office of Research Administration has put together a report to assist researchers in the grant application process regarding facilities and resources available at OU. If you would like to review this information, contact Sue Willner at (248) 370-4111 or willner@oakland.edu.

    10.    Budget and Budget Justification (Refer to detail on preparing budgets by clicking on the link below)

For modular budgets, a budget justification is required that includes effort commitment of key personnel, anticipated supply items restricted under A-21, equipment, and subawards.  A-21 restricted items that do not accompany the original budget with adequate justification will not be approved after the award.

    11.    Biographical Data or Curriculum Vitae

Biographical information should be submitted with every proposal to indicate the background, areas of interest, research capabilities, and publications of the principal investigator and other professional investigators.  Federal sponsors may require a specific format for preparation of biographical data.

    12.    References

Proposals should include a list of references to pertinent literature in the field. The list should be as current as possible at the time the proposal is prepared, and should cite the most recent advances in the field.

    13.    Appendices or Supplementary Documentation

Appendices may be used to indicate data of peripheral benefit to the research, e.g., reprints of articles, subaward data, letters of support, tabular data, and graphs.  Sponsors often limit the length and type of information that may be included within the appendix.  As of April 7, 2008, NIH funded peer-reviewed articles accepted for publication must be made available on PubMed Central within 1 year of publication.  For NIH submissions of renewals or new applications after May 25, 2008, you will need to provide the PubMed Central ID number for publications funded by NIH.

    14.    Institutional Approvals and Other Required Certifications

All proposals submitted to external funding agencies require the review and approval of Oakland University.  The Vice Provost for Research is the institutional official recognized with authority to submit proposals on behalf of Oakland University.  Federal agencies require a number of representations and certifications which also must accompany each proposal. Some agencies such as NIH and NSF have incorporated these in their forms while others such as DOD, NASA, DOE and EPA have separate certification forms which must be completed by the Office of Research Administration.  Principal Investigators are not authorized to sign proposals or contracts binding the university to a commitment of resources or performance.  As part of the university's internal application process and as required by many sponsoring agencies, the principal investigator, must certify that the information submitted within the application is true, complete and accurate to the best of his/her knowledge; that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or claims may subject him/her to criminal, civil, or administrative penalties; and agree to accept responsibility for the scientific conduct of the project and to provide the required progress reports if a grant is awarded as a result of the application.

 

PREPARING A REASONABLE BUDGET ESTIMATE

The principal investigator must estimate the costs of performing the research and provide adequate justification of those costs.  Oakland University Grant Officers are available to assist the principal investigator and business administrators in preparing a realistic budget.  Contact the ORA Office at (248) 370-4116 with proposal preparation questions.

Personnel Wages and Benefits

To determine total salaries and wages, list the percentage of effort to be spent by each person who will work directly on the project. Effort should be shown in terms of percentage of full-time effort, person-months, hourly rate, or other basis as required by the sponsor.  The proposed effort must reconcile as a proportionate share of base salary and cannot exceed this amount. For individuals paid on an academic year basis, show a breakdown between academic year and summer effort. 

    Some cautionary notes on personnel budgeting:

  • Clerical or administrative personnel are generally unallowable as direct charges to a federally sponsored project. 
  • Sponsor funded activities will not result in any Oakland University employee receiving compensation at a rate in excess of authorized salary. 
  • You must use the fringe benefit rate for the applicable employee class as authorized under Oakland’s federally negotiated rate agreement OU Rate Agreement.
  • Graduate research assistants receive tuition and may be eligible for tuition incentives funded by the Vice Provost for Research.  Tuition assistanceship is considered cost sharing and will be counted towards fulfillment of a sponsor-mandated match commitment.  If a match is not required by the sponsor, tuition should be proposed as sponsor funded.  Tuition assistance is provided based on funds availability.  You will be notified by the Grant Officer to apply for available tuition assistance if the proposal is awarded.

Materials & Supplies

A research project will usually consume expendable supplies and minor equipment such as laboratory items, instructional materials, animals, laboratory notebooks, etc. A reasonable amount should be budgeted for these items.  Office supplies are normally unallowable under federal awards unless specifically requested and justified as a programmatic need, i.e., a survey would require paper and envelopes.  The purchase of computers for research purposes must also be justified in the proposal as directly related to the project and used exclusively for research purposes.  Purchase of computers subsequent to the proposal without original justification will not be allowed as a direct charge.  Refer to the Oakland University Guidelines on A-21 restricted expenditures for additional guidance.   
 
Travel

Reimbursement for travel expenses is subject to sponsor requirements and Oakland University Administrative Policy and Procedure #1210.  Many sponsors request specific data on each proposed trip, including destination, transportation costs, number of days of travel, and purpose of each trip. Domestic travel within the U.S. and Canada should be separately budgeted from foreign travel.  All foreign travel on federally funded projects must utilize US flag air-carriers whenever possible regardless of cost or convenience.  Refer to the Oakland University Guidelines on Travel Regulations for additional information on this topic.

   
Equipment (excluded from indirect costs for MTDC)

Capitalized equipment is university-owned equipment with a cost of $5,000 or greater and a useful life of more than two years.  All equipment purchases must be reported to the Property Office upon acquisition or prior to disposal (248) 370-4220.  Proposals outlining equipment purchases must be supported with a justification of the need and how the amount was derived.  Equipment purchases proposed in excess of $50,000 require a vendor quote to substantiate the amount proposed.

   
Consultants

By definition, consultants are not employees of the University. Consultants should be budgeted only for tasks where on-campus expertise does not exist or is not readily available.  Normally, consultants are paid a fee plus travel and other expenses.  If travel is included in the fee, you will need to indicate this.  In all cases, consultants should be contracted at a reasonable rate.  In rare circumstances consultants are employees, when this occurs, consultants must be across academic disciplines and should be incorporated as personnel with applicable fringe benefits in the budget.  A Personal Services Agreement should be completed for consultant costs.  Refer to Oakland University Policy #262 for guidelines on consultants.

   
Participant Support Costs (excluded from indirect costs for MTDC)

Support for participants to attend conference/workshop program is provided for some sponsored programs.  Participant support is defined in the funding announcement and does not include the personnel or travel costs associated with University personnel.

 

Subawards (Greater than $25,000 is excluded from indirect costs for MTDC)

Subawards are issued to complete a substantive portion of research or other programmatic activity.  Subawardees must provide the statement or scope of work, budget, period of performance, negotiated F&A agreement to verify the indirect costs proposed, and the signature of a representative authorized to contractually commit the institution that can be in the form of a letter of intent.  A subaward should be justified in the proposal as a necessary substantive portion of the research or other programmatic activity.

Other Direct Costs

Animal housing per diem, publication charges, reprints and page charges, postage (allowable as a direct charge ONLY when the scope of work includes recruitment of participants or surveys), equipment maintenance, long distance phone charges, campus services, etc.  These charges should be anticipated and described as part of the budget narrative.

Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, also called overhead or indirect costs, reimburse the Oakland University for laboratory and office space, utilities, administrative services, library services, building, grounds, street and parking lot maintenance. In other words, it includes those things essential to support sponsored activities which are difficult to identify as a direct charged to a specific research grant or contract.

F&A cost percentages are determined periodically from actual cost records through a detailed cost accounting procedure and are audited and approved by the federal government.  Full F&A costs should be charged on all projects, the only exceptions being for those sponsors that have a published policy that limits indirect cost recovery. Any exceptions to full F&A cost recovery must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.  The most recently negotiated on-campus rate is 48.0% for modified total direct costs (MTDC) or 26% off-campus MTDC.  Other bases may be used for non-federal sponsors, i.e., total direct cost.  MTDC excludes F&A on tuition, NIH trainee stipends, rent, equipment, participant support, and the portion of any subaward that exceeds $25,000.

Cost Sharing

Some sponsors require a contribution to the total cost of the project as mandatory cost sharing. In addition to mandatory cost sharing, any contribution to a project included in the proposal, either in the budget as university funded effort or within the proposal narrative will be considered voluntary committed cost-sharing which Oakland University must document. After-the-fact cost share (voluntary uncommitted) to a project that is not proposed is not required to be documented.  At the proposal stage, the fund to which mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing will be charged must be identified and approved by the Department Chair and the Vice Provost for Research.Cost shared direct costs should also include the associated F&A costs when determining the total amount of cost sharing committed in the proposal.  Federal sponsors must pre-approve waived F&A as cost sharing.  Oakland University discourages cost sharing unless mandated by the sponsor.

Budget Detail and Justification

1. GENERAL INFORMATION

One of the most important elements of the proposal is the budget.  Many agencies review budgets separately from the proposal so it is recommended that any text regarding funds (especially specific dollar amounts) remain in the budget and budget justification.  Budgets should be done in accordance with the sponsor’s specific guidelines. 

The following are some general guidelines to follow when constructing your budget.  When constructing the budget, you should show how you calculated your figures for every item presented. 

SENIOR/KEY PERSONNEL.  The first main section of the budget is key personnel.  This section is for Oakland University personnel only unless sponsor guidelines direct otherwise explicitly in the application instructions.  Senior personnel should be listed in order of project commitment with principal investigator listed first.  Any other proposed staff should be under a subcategory called other personnel or consultants (if they are consultants).  For OU personnel, provide the name and job title.  Complete either the academic and summer term commitment or the calendar year commitment.  Faculty at Oakland work an eight-month period during the academic term and a four-month summer term.  This period is the basis of a commitment and should be disclosed in the budget justification.  University costing guidelines require that no more than the base salary for a comparable period of time be used to apportion costs to sponsored agreements.  Grant Officers verify the amounts apportioned as salary under sponsored agreements and are available to provide costing assistance. 

Time should be expressed as percent of effort or person months (not exceeding 100% or 8.0 academic, 4.0 summer).  The university will only provide estimated hours if it is required in the proposal costing instructions since faculty are not hourly employees and hours are not the basis of university costing for faculty effort.  When converting salary to an hourly basis, use 2,080 (8 months x 173.33 hours/month + 4 months x 173.33 hours/month = 2,079.96) as base hours for conversion.  Faculty are considered paid an annual salary, so any summer term costs of service should use the academic salary and the base of 2,080 multiplied by the number of hours anticipated to work during any summer term period. 

SUMMER EFFORT.  Faculty can apportion up to 45% of academic salary for full summer effort (May 1 – August 31) performed during this period for all activity including research and teaching.  The 45% limit applies during any period of the summer and converts to a limit of approximately 3% per week.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) limits summer salary to no more than 2/9th’s of the faculty member’s regular academic year salary.  This limit applies to all agreements paid by NSF during the year of award for any calendar period and applies to each month of pay.  Faculty charging a sponsor less than the full rate for a comparable period during the summer term will be considered to render voluntary uncommitted cost share as the institution is not contractually obligated to pay any salary differential during a summer term. 

OTHER PERSONNEL.  Describe the activity associated with each class of employment listed in your proposal.  Administrative and clerical effort will normally be apportioned to indirect (F&A) costs.  The direct charging of these costs may be appropriate where the nature of the work performed under a particular project requires an extensive amount of administrative or clerical support that is significantly greater or very different than the level of such services normally provided by academic departments at Oakland University.  In order to include these costs as direct, a justification of the different nature of the activity must be provided with a detailed explanation of the activity.  A portion of administrative and clerical effort will be allocated as a direct charge if the justification supports this treatment. Salary allocations above the base amount normally earned during the period will not be permitted. 

FRINGE BENEFITS.  Fringes must be calculated on all university personnel.  Oakland University uses federally approved fringe benefit rate for two types of employees only; full-time and part-time.  All employment classes should be allocated fringe rates according to these categories.  If the employee is normally employed full-time, use the full-time rate; otherwise, use the part-time rate.  Use the part-time rate to cost faculty summer term fringe benefits.  The fringe benefit rates change at the beginning of each fiscal year July 1st).  Fringe benefits include health insurance, retirement, unemployment, and social security.

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS.  Graduate Assistant stipend guidelines are accessible on pages 4 and 5 of the Graduate AssistanceshipGuidelines.  Tuition remission for 2010-2011 is currently $540.50 per graduate credit hour times the number of credits.  For continually updated information, you should verify the most recent guidelines on the following websites:

EQUIPMENT COSTS.  Equipment is any item with a useful life of more than one year and a cost $5,000 or greater.  Modular components of equipment will meet this definition if the parts are inseparable.  Include any predictable delivery, installation or special training costs to bring the equipment to an operable state.  Specialized software to control scientific equipment should be included in the acquisition cost of equipment, however, software should generally not be included in computer valuation because all software (including the operating system) is removed from computers prior to resale or scrap.  Any anticipated equipment maintenance should be itemized as Other Direct Costs.  Vendor quotes should be obtained to substantiate proposed costs for equipment. 

TRAVEL COSTS.  The type of travel should be explicitly stated in the budget along with a brief description of connection to the project.  Each assumption for travel should be detailed in the budget, such as estimated airfare, lodging for the locality if known, ground transportation, and per diem allowance.  Local travel is currently reimbursed at $0.50 per mile and the daily maximum per travel reimbursement for meals and incidentals is $42.00/day. 

The Federal rates for common localities may be accessed at Per Diem Rates Look-Up.  Estimates should not exceed the search engine FTR rates where provided for lodging or the current maximum Oakland University daily reimbursement rate for meals and incidentals, i.e., Anaheim CA maximum daily proposed costs for May 2011 would be $165 ($123 lodging/night and $42/per diem for meals and incidentals). 

PARTICIPANT SUPPORT.  Proposal costs should be very specific in this category.  Itemize as much as possible.  Costs of memberships in social organizations are unallowable.  Professional memberships for participants may be included only if a requisite part of the program and adequately justified. 

OTHER DIRECT COSTS.  Costs of research supplies directly related to the project should be itemized here and the planned use should be described.  If costs for postage, photocopying, telephone, and general supplies are expected to be incurred, these should only be included in a budget for a project where such activities require an unusual amount and bear a direct relationship to the research being conducted, i.e., survey production, phone calls, mailing and tabulation. 

SUBAWARDEE COSTS.  Each subawardee or subcontractor must provide its own detailed budget and budget justification, so you should permit time to obtain information from collaborators.  Collaborators will need to provide an institutionally approved letter of commitment, key personnel CV’s or resumes, budget with justification and federal rate agreement.  International collaborators will be limited to a maximum of 10% of proposed cost as F&A reimbursement. 

2. BUDGET JUSTIFICATIONS

Budget justifications or budget narratives are the storytelling pieces of budgets.  They explain the budget in paragraph form.  It is imperative to explain as much as possible.  The justification should be a line-by-line explanation of each piece of the budget.  Nothing should be without an explanation.  The budget justification should lead to answers, not more questions.  If a sponsor has questions regarding the budget, the narrative should be adequate enough to explain or answer those questions.

 REMEMBER:  Each subawardee or subcontractor must provide its own detailed budget and budget justification.

 Click here to view an example of a completed budget worksheet and narrative justification.


Requirements for Proposal Submission

Timing of Proposal Submissions

Permit time for institutional approval of proposal submission.  Typically, a 2-3 day period before deadline is sufficient to route and receive electronic approval of the department and college before submittal to the Office of Research Administration.  Five days is recommended to ensure adequate time during high volume periods.

Electronic Portal Submissions (Grants.gov et al)

Electronic submissions through Grants.gov and other portal systems should allow two additional days for validation.

Proposal Submission Documents Required

eProposal Routing Application (ePRA) Webform

Principal Investigator, dean and chair signatures that indicate institutional approval of proposed activity, as well as any approving commitment of personnel, equipment, space and regulatory compliance assurance.  Application questions on anticipated review for laboratory safety, research involving animals or humans, and export compliance must be completed.  Upload all required documents and any additional material that you anticipate submitting to the sponsor.

Statement of Work – Summary of activity proposed to be funded by external sponsoring organization.

Budget – Estimated cost that includes the period of performance and detail of resources that will be used.

Proposal Submission Requirements for Federal Sponsors:

  1. ePRA – eProposal Routing Application
  2. SF-424 Grants.gov Application or Other Package Required by Sponsor for Submittal

Check the application instructions thoroughly and work with a grant officer for federal proposal submissions.  Grant officers are assigned by sponsoring agency and are familiar with the requirements of a particular sponsor.  For grants.gov submissions the SF-424 application instruction link may be accessed [here].  Each funding announcement will also contain additional instruction unique to the program needs.  It is important to read the funding announcement and to contact the OU grant officer or the sponsored program official named in the funding announcement for questions.  Upload all required documents to the SF-424 grants.gov portal and route the ePRA and additional material by upload on this webform.  Do not upload extraneous material to the SF-424 grants.gov portal. 

Proposal Submission Requirements for Industry Sponsors:

  1. ePRA – eProposal Routing Application
  2. Information Required by Sponsor for Submittal (typically a statement of work and budget)

Industry proposals typically result in a contractual agreement between the industry sponsor and Oakland University.  An ePRA should be initiated by the principal investigator and routed for institutional approval of the proposal.  The contract agreement, if received directly by the principal investigator, should be sent to the ORA Director of Sponsored Programs in the Office of Research Administration delavan@oakland.edu or the director’s contact information should be provided to the industry sponsor.  The industry contact person for contract negotiation is usually a procurement official at the sponsor, not the technical contact.  Be sure to provide procurement contact information if it is available.  

Contracts are reviewed by the Office of Legal Affairs and other areas potentially affected by the contract terms and conditions, prior to acceptance by Oakland University.  You will receive an email notification of the contract status through Smartsheet® when information is updated. Typical processing time to allow for review of contracts is from five days to two weeks from presentation of the contract and any materials incorporated by reference.  Contracts that contain unusual conditions such as restrictions on publication, hiring restrictions or stipulations, intellectual property rights granted to other than the university, requirements to indemnify, special insurance provisions and other types of terms, may take longer to negotiate as Oakland is unable to accept some provisions as a state-funded higher education institution. 

Proposal Submission Requirements for Foundations, Associations, Other Non-Profit Organizations:

  1. ePRA – eProposal Routing Application
  2. Information Required by Sponsor for Submittal (typically a statement of work and budget)

Foundation, association and non-profit sponsors usually have a very short list of items required for a proposal submission.  Oakland University requires only these items and the ePRA for institutional approval of the proposal.  If you have an agreement which has a restriction on the use of funds, reporting of use of funds or the research requires approval of any compliance committee, the proposal should be managed by the Office of Research Administration.  Any governmental source funding is also managed by the Office of Research Administration.  University Relations manages gift funds, which are funds without restriction of how the funding is used and where compliance committee approval is not required for the research. 


Grants.gov

Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for more than $400 billion in federal grants. It is THE single access point for over 1000 grant programs for the 26 Federal grant-making agencies. The Find and Apply features simplifies the grants management process and creates a centralized online process.

The Find Grant Opportunities feature allows the grant community to search for information on available grant opportunities using a number of criteria, including key words or specific agency. It also includes a registration function to receive email updates as new grant opportunities are added. Federal agencies are required to post all competitive grant opportunities to this site.

The Apply for Grants feature enables users to apply for competitive Federal grant opportunities through a single, unified process.

Contract and Material Transfer Agreement Processing

Contractual sponsored agreements with Oakland University are initiated and negotiated through the Office of Research Administration.  The agreements below are presented as a general reference in outlining fundamental terms of negotiation.  All contractual agreements are subject to review by Oakland University Legal Affairs and are not binding upon the university unless executed by an authorized contractual signatory.  The Vice Provost for Research, Provost and President are authorized contractual signatories for agreements between external sponsors and Oakland University.  If you have questions regarding contractual issues or terms within the boilerplate language, contact Bonnie Kwit, Grants and Contracts Officer in the Office of Research Administration, at kwit@oakland.edu or the Office of Legal Affairs.  Refer to the Oakland University Policy on Contracting and Employment Appointment Authority for additional information.

Oakland University, as an academic institution, has a primary organizational mission to broadly and openly share the results of fundamental research.  Contractual agreements with the university will reflect this commitment to the organizational mission.

CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT CATEGORIES:

Non-Disclosure Agreement - An agreement to maintain confidentiality.  Typically used as a pre-cursor to discussions involving proprietary technology or processes where an industrial partner will work with an Oakland University researcher.  This agreement is executed by the Vice Provost for Research.  The responsible faculty member must sign an acknowledgement agreeing to abide by the terms of the non-disclosure agreement.  All non-disclosure agreements are subject to review of the Office of Legal Affairs.

Subawards Agreement from Oakland University to Other Parties - An agreement issued by Oakland University to other parties.  As an alternative, under federal agreements between collaborating universities, the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) template may be used.  All contractual agreements are subject to review of the Office of Legal Affairs.

Sponsored Agreement (Contract) - An agreement between Oakland University originated by an external sponsor for performance of research or other activity.  The agreement here is a template that aids in outlining the terms negotiable and required by Oakland University.  An approved agreement would be executed by the organizational official with signatory authority within the dollar-value threshold for the contract.  Principal Investigators are not authorized to sign contractual agreements binding the university.  All contractual agreements are subject to review of the Office of Legal Affairs. You may use the Research Agreement template as a template of Oakland University's standard terms and conditions with an outside agency. The Vice Provost for Research, 544 O'Dowd Hall, X2552, is authorized to enter into a sponsored agreement on behalf of the University.   

Any change to the standard agreement must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research and OU legal counsel. Send your request for alterations to the Vice Provost for Research research@oakland.edu.

Research Agreement

Consulting Agreement
 - An agreement between Oakland University and a consultant/independent contractor.  The Oakland University standard consulting agreement presented here may be initiated by a Principal Investigator and executed by Oakland University Purchasing.  Consulting agreements are not initiated, negotiated, or managed by the Office of Research Administration unless involving international partners or issues of intellectual property/technology transfer.

Material Transfer Agreements - An agreement between Oakland University and a provider of proprietary or potentially hazardous material or proprietary process.  This agreement is presented by the provider, reviewed and executed by the Vice Provost for Research and countersigned by the responsible faculty member.  All material transfer agreements are subject to review of the Office of Legal Affairs.
Post-Award
Overview of Post-Award Administration

Post-award consists of processes that occur between award inception and award close-out. During this period, ORA staff, the Principal Investigator, and departmental administrators must continually monitor the award fund to ensure the project is running smoothly.

Some of the most often utilized post-award activities include:

Expenditure Approval
Expenditures charged to a sponsored project are reviewed and approved by ORA to confirm that the expense is consistent with the terms and conditions of the award and to identify that sufficient documentation and justification is provided.

An expense is allowable on a sponsored project if it meets the following criteria:

  • Reasonable – a prudent person would have purchased this same item and paid same price; an arms-length arrangement.
  • Allocable – expense is allocated to a project in proportion to the benefits derived to the program objectives; the investigator is the responsible person who determines the proportional charge to the project.
  • Consistently Treated – like expenses are treated the same by the institution given same circumstances.
  • Allowable – all three above criteria met and the expense is permitted as a direct cost per the terms and conditions of the award.

Expenditures on Federal agreements are subject to the provisions of OMB Circular A-21 "Cost Principles of Educational Institutions".  If you have questions regarding the allowability of an item, you are encouraged to contact ORA prior to placing the purchase. Read A-21 Restrictions for a notice regarding expenditures on Federal awards.

Cost Transfers

The Office of Research Administration assists with proposal budgeting and reviews costs that are charged to sponsored projects at Oakland University.  This process ensures a fair degree of reasonable allocation and allowability of costs to sponsored projects.  However, occasionally errors in posting and allocation occur in any accounting system.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to periodically review and ensure the reasonable allocation and accuracy of costs charged to the sponsored project.  A periodic review should occur within a reasonable period of 30 days from posting to the ledger.  Generally, error corrections should be completed within 60 days.

Error corrections initiated beyond  60 days or after the project end date are continually an area of audit scrutiny, also requests that appear to use a remaining balance on a fund near or beyond the project end date may be questioned.  Losses or disallowed costs on other sponsored projects are not allowable cost transfers.  To ensure the fiduciary duty of Oakland University as a responsible financial steward of sponsored funding, unusual circumstances in timing or amounts will be scrutinized for propriety and denied without adequate justification and documentation.  It is preferred that a positive, proactive approach to managing sponsored funding is taken by Principal Investigators and supporting administrative personnel.  If you require assistance with reviewing financial reports, reconciling costs to planned budgets, system or report accessibility, or tracing an error in posting, please contact the ORA Office for assistance.

Budget Monitoring/Amendment
The Principal Investigator is responsible for expenses charged to his/her award and should meet with the departmental administrator periodically to review the program. As a result of this review, a need may arise to amend the program budget. Sponsors have differing guidelines for budget modifications and whether or not sponsor approval is required. You are encouraged to contact ORA for advice in this instance.

No-Cost Extensions

To discuss the processes related to the above areas, please stop by the office or contact ORA staff.


Fund Number Set Up for New Awards

When a grant or contract proposal has been approved for funding by the agency, OU will receive an official award notification or a fully executed contract.

If the award notification is received by the Principal Investigator (PI), please inform ORA as soon as possible. Please note: it is important to forward the entire award notification package to ORA including any payments received, acceptance letters to be returned to the agency, etc. These items will be processed by ORA.

Upon receipt of the award letter, ORA will request a fund number from the Accounting Office. It takes 3 to 5 working days for Accounting to process the request and assign a fund number. ORA will send the PI and department/school Budget Manager an e-mail providing the fund number, a copy of the award notification, and a summary of any special terms and conditions. A signature card will be sent separately through campus mail. Please feel free to contact ORA with any questions regarding your new award.

Oakland University Expenditure Guidelines

A Quick Overview of A-21 Requirements for Charging Administrative Costs to Sponsored Agreement.

Circular A-21 sets forth a few key requirements that apply to direct costs and administrative costs must meet these requirements in order to be considered direct costs.

 Overview of A-21.doc 
Close-out of fixed price agreements.doc

Expenditure Approval

Expenditures charged to a sponsored project are reviewed and approved by ORA to confirm that the expense is consistent with the terms and conditions of the award and to identify that sufficient documentation and justification is provided.

An expense is allowable on a sponsored project if it meets the following criteria:

  • Reasonable – a prudent person would have purchased this same item and paid same price; an arms-length arrangement.
  • Allocable – expense is allocated to a project in proportion to the benefits derived to the program objectives; the investigator is the responsible person who determines the proportional charge to the project.
  • Consistently Treated – like expenses are treated the same by the institution given same circumstances.
  • Allowable – all three above criteria met and the expense is permitted as a direct cost per the terms and conditions of the award.

Expenditures on Federal agreements are subject to the provisions of OMB Circular A-21 "Cost Principles of Educational Institutions".  If you have questions regarding the allowability of an item, you are encouraged to contact ORA prior to placing the purchase.  Read the A-21 Restrictions for a notice regarding expenditures on Federal awards.


Cost Transfer Requests

The Office of Research Administration assists with proposal budgeting and reviews costs that are charged to sponsored projects at Oakland University.  This process ensures a fair degree of reasonable allocation and allowability of costs to sponsored projects.  However, occasionally errors in posting and allocation occur in any accounting system.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to periodically review and ensure the reasonable allocation and accuracy of costs charged to the sponsored project.  A periodic review should occur within a reasonable period of 30 days from posting to the ledger.  Generally, error corrections should be completed within 60 days.  

Error corrections initiated beyond  60 days or after the project end date are continually an area of audit scrutiny, also requests that appear to use a remaining balance on a fund near or beyond the project end date may be questioned.  Losses or disallowed costs on other sponsored projects are not allowable cost transfers.  To ensure the fiduciary duty of Oakland University as a responsible financial steward of sponsored funding, unusual circumstances in timing or amounts will be scrutinized for propriety and denied without adequate justification and documentation.  It is preferred that a positive, proactive approach to managing sponsored funding is taken by Principal Investigators and supporting administrative personnel.  If you require assistance with reviewing financial reports, reconciling costs to planned budgets, system or report accessibility, or tracing an error in posting, please contact the ORA Office for assistance.

Budget Monitoring/Amendment

The Principal Investigator is responsible for expenses charged to his/her award and should meet with the departmental administrator periodically to review the program. As a result of this review, a need may arise to amend the program budget. Sponsors have differing guidelines for budget modifications and whether or not sponsor approval is required. You are encouraged to contact ORA for advice in this instance.

Procedure to Request Salary Payment from Sponsored Funding

The Summer Pay Request (SPR) form should be used for faculty employees who have an academic year appointment.  For employees who have full calendar year appointments, a Change of Status (COS) form or online request should be used. 

 

The faculty member should complete the Summer Payment Request (SPR) form for External Grants or Contracts.  This form should be submitted with the Faculty Special Pay form and reviewed by the Dean’s Office before submission to ORA.  The Dean’s Office will route the required forms to ORA for all grant or contract funding requests.

 

Oakland University guidelines for payments to faculty employees outside the regular service period stipulate that no more than 45% of base salary may be paid for teaching and other related duties over the course of the entire summer term.  Any payment request should comply with the Oakland University guidelines and sponsoring agency restrictions, if applicable.  

  1. Enter the identifying information for the employee who will be working during the summer term.  Please be aware that the home department for the employee may be different than the unit responsible to approve charges to the fund.  The Faculty Special Payment (FSP) form requires signatures of the persons responsible to approve charges.

  2. The Summer Payment Request must be signed by the employee who will receive payment during the summer term.

  3. Either the payment amount or the percentage of efforts should be completed; both are not necessary.
  4. An Earnings Code of 324 and Subaccount C053 must be used for the transaction to correctly allocate fringe benefits.

  5. The Banner transaction number is a required field on the form and should be entered prior to sending the forms to ORA.  If the amounts change due to the 45% limit or sponsored restrictions, the electronic transaction will be sent back to the Dean’s Office with comments.  The transaction should be corrected online.

  6. Submit a Faculty Special Payment form for each funding source.  Please note the following:

a. An FSP form has only one funding source indicated because the signers on the FSP are the persons responsible for oversight of the single fund. 

            
b. The signatures obtained on the FSP certify that the fund fiduciaries approve of the commitment against the fund.  However, the signature obtained on the SPR is confirmation of the employee's commitment to perform activity during the summer term.  If the employee becomes aware of a change prior to the 10th workday of the month, an email notification should be sent to ougcsr@oakland.edu to stop payment. 

            
c. The employee will receive an Effort Certification report at the end of the summer term to confirm the activity actually performed during the summer term.  If there is a significant difference of planned vs. actual activity, a refund may be due to the sponsoring agency. Summer payments are made for activity that occurs during the summer term only.  It is not appropriate to request payment for work completed during the academic term in the summer; to do so is a violation of compliance with grant/contract terms and Oakland University policy.

            
d. The limit of 45% applies to all activity during the summer term, including teaching and other related professional duties.  Salary above the base academic term amount is unallowable for a comparable period of time, i.e., $50,000 academic pay would limit summer pay to $22,500 (45% x $50,000), however, if only 1/2 the summer term is worked, the limit would be $11,250.  If a faculty member received $4,800 for teaching during this time, research pay would be limited to $6,450.

            
e. Sponsor restrictions override Oakland University policy.  If the sponsor does not permit summer pay or restricts pay and/or benefits, Oakland University will not approve payment of the sponsor funds in excess of these restrictions.

The ORA fax number is (248) 370-2973.  Emails may be sent to ougcsr@oakland.edu for questions related to summer salary approvals.


Meal Policy

ORA Guidelines on Allowability of Meals (non-travel status)for Reimbursement on Sponsor Funded Agreements

The University recognizes meals as an appropriate expense of University funds if hosting activities of outside guests contribute to, or result from, legitimate university-related business.  Federal and state funded agreements reimburse meal expenses only while an employee is in travel status or when meal expense is an integral part of the program and is included within the sponsor-approved budget.

Meals that are in accordance with university policy must be reviewed by ORA if reimbursement is requested from a grant or contract.  The terms of the grant or contract agreement will govern whether reimbursement is approved by ORA.  If business meals are unallowable per grant or contract restriction, employees should consult with their departmental budget manager prior to engaging in the activity.

Allowable meal expenses per university policy #208 “Business Meals and Hosting Expense” (non-travel status):

  1. Local business meals and meal expenses incurred by employees while hosting university guests within the constraints of good taste and reasonableness; 
  2. When employees are required to participate in a non-recurring event such as a retreat, workshop or seminar;
  3. When employees are required to participate in a business meeting outside of the regular work hours of 8 to 5 p.m.;
  4. When students are involved in a meeting for advancement or training purposes.

Guidelines for Reimbursement from Federal and State Sources

 

Federal and state guidelines allow meals while employees are in travel status, for subjects and patients under study, or where specifically approved as part of the project activity, provided that such charges are not duplicated in per diem or subsistence allowances.

 

Meals provided to a potential recruit are not reimbursable from a federal source, but the university may reimburse this hosting expense from non-federal sources.  Federally reimbursable employee recruitment costs are limited to help-wanted advertising costs, costs of travel by applicants to and from pre-employment interviews for a specific assignment, and the travel costs of university employees while engaged in recruiting personnel. 


Meeting and conference costs, including meals, are only allowable if such costs are specifically and clearly identified in the proposed scope of work and budget, as modified and approved by the sponsoring agency.  When certain meals are an integral and necessary part of a conference (e.g., working meals where business is transacted), sponsor funds may be used for such meals.  Federal or state funds are not otherwise to be spent for meals or coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, including, but not limited to, laboratories, departments and centers.


Travel Regulations

Charging International Travel to Federal Sponsors

 

The Federal Travel Regulations establish requirements for charging travel costs to federally funded grants, contracts, and other agreements.  Of special concern is the restriction on use of foreign carriers.  If you are making travel arrangements that require the use of foreign carriers you must adhere to the following requirements (cost savings is not a valid exception to these requirements):

 

You are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the “Fly America Act,” to use U.S. flag air carrier service for all air travel funded by the U.S. Government, unless:

 

    1)  You cannot purchase a ticket in coach class of service on a U.S. flag air carrier, and a seat is
            available in coach class of service on a foreign air carrier; or

    2)  [for non-stop direct service] such use would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, 
            by 24 hours or more; or

    3)  [where non-stop service is not used] such use would

  • Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside of the U.S. by 2 or more; or
  • Extend your travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
  • Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

The code of a U.S. flag air carrier must be noted as part of the flight number on the airline ticket, flight coupon (boarding pass), or passenger receipt.  A two character code is designated just to the left of the flight number.  Compare the airline codes on the ticket with those on the list below to determine whether or not the flight is on a US Flag air carrier.  For proposed travel, you may wish to consult with your travel agent or the Office of Research Administration.


Alaska Airlines (AS)

Continental Airlines (CO)

Frontier Airlines (F9)

United Airlines (UA)

American Airlines (AA)

Delta Airlines (DL)

Northwest Airlines (NW)

US Airways (US)

Airtran Airways (FL)

American West (HP)

American Trans Air (TZ)

Hawaiian Airlines (HA)

Midwest Express (YX)

Southwest Airlines (WN)

Spirit Airlines (NK)

 

 

All requests are subject to final approval by the Office of Research Administration.


Invoicing

ORA completes all invoicing for sponsored projects.  If an invoice is needed for an awarded project please contact ORA for assistance. 

Grant Financial Reporting

All financial reports are submitted by ORA. No financial report should be forwarded to a sponsor without the approval of our office.

Grant Close-Out

At the end of a sponsored project the fund will be reviewed for any errors. During this process if any unallowable expenses are discovered the charges must be transferred to a departmental fund. Cost Sharing and Effort Reports will be verified and deficits need to be cleared. Additionally, any open encumbrances must be closed. If the project is fixed price and a balance exists, ORA will close-out the fund according to the Close-Out of Fixed Price Agreements instructions.

Sub-Recipient Payments & Monitoring

Sub-recipients submit invoices directly to ORA. After initial review ORA forwards the invoice to the Principal Investigator/Department for approval. Invoices should be processed through accounts payable as any other expense to the grant.

Before the invoice is approved by the PI it should be reviewed to insure that charges are correct and allowable for the billing period in question. If the PI does not agree with any charges the invoice should not be approved and the sub-recipient should be notified of any issues. Invoices should only be approved if the work is satisfactory to the PI.

Extension Request

 
Requests for Performance Period Extensions

 

Sponsor funded agreements contain a number of provisions that govern the performance expectations of all parties.  These provisions become obligations upon acceptance of Oakland University whether the funding mechanism is a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other restricted funding type.  The performance period is almost always clearly outlined in a sponsoring agreement or within the proposal.  Oakland University, unless permitted to extend the end date by the terms of the sponsored agreement, will require the explicit permission of the sponsor to extend the performance period.  Under some federal grants, the university has “expanded authority” to extend the performance period one time for one year or less.

 

To request an extension of the end date of a sponsored agreement, you will need to provide the following:

1. Provide a request or notification to the ORA Grant Officer prior to the end date of the award. 

a. Federal agreements that permit expanded authority must be made at least 10 days prior to the end date. 

b. Other requests should be made at least 30 days prior to the end date to allow time for the sponsor to respond.

c. If the sponsoring agreement grants explicit permission to extend the end date and you wish to exercise this provision, you must adhere to the notification requirements specified in the terms of award.

2. Provide a justification that succinctly outlines the basis for the extension request and the follow-on activity planned during the extension period.  A request solely to expend unused funds will be denied unless the sponsor terms of award specify that the project may be extended until the funds are exhausted.  Unspent funds at the end of the project performance period are either returned to the sponsor or closed out to an unrestricted fund if permitted under the terms of award.

3. Provide a concise budget for use of the remaining funds.

If you have questions regarding this policy, you may contact the Office of Research Administration at (248) 370-2552 or email your inquiry to research@oakland.edu.

 

All requests are subject to final approval by the Office of Research Administration.
Time & Effort
Report
Principal Investigators on sponsored projects must complete Time & Effort Reports three times per year according to the following schedule; at the completion of fall term, at the completion of winter term, and at the completion of summer term. Principal Investigators will be contacted by the Office of Research Administration office when the reports are available in the on-line Time & Effort report system.


Step-by-step instructions for completing the Time & Effort reports:

  1. Access the on-line Time and Effort Report system.
  2. Login using your NetID (OU email) name and password.
  3. Select the reporting period.
  4. A list of grants/funds for which you are listed as the Principal Investigator will be displayed. 
  5. Click the fund number (Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from www.adobe.com, is required to read the effort report).
  6. Each effort report is divided into 3 sections: Bi-Weekly, Monthly and Graduate Assistants. 
  7. For monthly employees and graduate assistants, each employee’s effort on various activities/positions numbers (teaching, department chairs, grants, etc.) is presented in percentages. For monthly employees, totals for all position numbers should equal 100% for each employee. Review and verify these percentages.  As Principal Investigator, you are only expected to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of effort.
  8. For student and bi-weekly employees, compare the total hours to the hours per your records.  Only hours charged to the fund are visible, so you are only expected to gauge the reasonableness of the hours reported.  Recall that a time card was previously certified for the employee's time.  
  9. An adjustment column is provided to make corrections to the percentage effort reported if necessary.  For significant changes, a justification should be recorded in the comments.
  10. The Principal Investigator should sign and date the report.

    Completed reports should be sent via campus mail to the Office of Research Administration Research, ATTN:  Bonnie Kwit, 529 Wilson Hall.