A principal investigator (PI) or project director (PD) is responsible for a number of items in managing a grant. They will be supported, too, in award management and reporting by an assigned grant monitor in the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration.
- Execute the project as outlined in the funded proposal and the terms and conditions of the award.
- Authorize only those expenditures that are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the project goals and that are consistent with the sponsor’s terms and conditions.
- Spend no more than the amount authorized by the sponsor for the project period.
- Carry out the project’s financial plan as presented in the funded proposal.
- Notify the Grant Monitor of any proposed changes in the scope of work, the PI or other key research personnel, the budget, or the period of performance.
- Follow all applicable University policies and procedures such as travel, purchasing, employment, contracted services, and compensation policies.
- Assure that cost-sharing or matching commitments are fulfilled and reported to Grant Monitor in a timely manner.
- Ensure that time and effort are accurately and completely reported.
- Oversee the care and maintenance of property procured with project funds in accordance with sponsor guidelines.
- Report any intellectual property development which relates to the project in accordance with policies.
- Report project progress, including final reports as required by the terms of the award.
- Review project expenditures regularly and in a timely fashion to assure they are correct and appropriate.
- Comply with all sponsor rules, regulations, and terms and conditions of the award.
Notification of Award and Set-up
Receiving a notice of award (NOA) is an exciting milestone and launches a project into reality. Prior to receiving an NOA, a researcher may receive requests from a sponsor for additional revisions and paperwork. Once an award notice is official, the following can take place:
Sponsors will send awards or notice of intent to provide funding to Grants.Contracts@sdstate.edu. If a PI receives an award notice, they should forward the notice to that email address.
Staff will review each award document for terms and conditions and compare the award amount with the routed budget. The PI will be contacted to discuss any differences between the proposal and award amounts; an updated budget or other supporting documents may be requested.
Terms and conditions often contain prior approval requirements, such as for foreign travel, food, or equipment. They may also contain requirements for budget expenditures and unallowable costs. Additional requirements may be included for the technical reports that need to be submitted by the PI. Some terms may require negotiating changes with a sponsor.
During the award acceptance process, Grant and Contract Administration (GCA) will check with Research Integrity and Compliance staff to ensure that all compliance items have been completed as required for the awarding sponsor and SDSU policy.
Compliance items may include IRB, IACUC, IBC, Export Controls, and COI. Sponsors typically require pending compliance matters to be completed prior to finalization of an award.
The AVP for Research Development and Administration is the designated university representative with signature authority to sign all award documents. In the event PI or other administrative signature is required, the Division of Research and Economic Development (DRED) will facilitate the additional signatures. DRED will notify the PI once the award agreement has been accepted.
It is essential that the PI read, understand and follow the award terms and conditions.
Within an award, the sponsor-approved budget for SDSU may include a subaward to an external entity. A separate grant fund will be created for that subrecipient based on the subaward information included in the routing form and proposal. If there are changes to the subaward from what was routed, please notify email@example.com.
GCA subaward team will forward the Subrecipient Commitment Form and 3B form to the programmatic and administrative contact listed on the Letter of Commitment for completion. Then GCA will prepare the subaward(s) and the PI will receive a copy of the subaward and be asked to review the period of performance, reporting requirements, and the Statement of Work & Budget, prior to it being routed for signatures. Please note we will not issue the award to the subrecipient without PI’s initials.
Upon receipt of a fully executed subaward agreement, the PI will receive a copy for their records as well as more detailed information regarding subrecipient monitoring expectations.
GCA will review the award terms and conditions to determine the appropriate budget restrictions and invoicing requirements before setting up Grant in Banner. Any cost share requirements will be reviewed and set up to collect documentation of matching cost share expenditures.
Upon completion of the Grant set up, the GCA officer will send an email with the award information to the PI and associated department administrators with links and additional information on grant management.
Changes to a project can and do happen. There are processes in place in the event revisions are needed to a project. At this stage, consult with your assigned grant monitor in any of the below situations.
Any post-award revision that is not addressed here should be directed to the Grants and Contract Administration (GCA) staff.
During the performance of an award, the PI may find it necessary to move funds from one budget category to another (budget re-allocation) to complete the sponsor-approved scope of work.
If a revision is necessary, the PI should contact the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration or the project's grant monitor to determine the proper approvals. Some requests can be approved while some require sponsor approval.
The Office of GCA will forward requests that require sponsor approval to the Division of Research and Economic Development (DRED). The AVPR will send a formal re-budget request to the sponsor.
A no-cost extension lengthens the period of performance without receipt of additional funds. Funding agencies will generally allow no-cost time extensions on projects.
Depending on its policy, an agency may allow SDSU to approve a time extension, or the granting agency itself may need to approve the time extension. Some agencies also require that extension requests be submitted a specified amount of time in advance of the award expiration date.
Consult your grant agreement or grant agency policy to verify the eligibility of a project for an extension and for additional instructions. Requests for no-cost extensions should be routed to your Grant Monitor. The AVPR will make the formal request for the extension to the sponsor.
When a PI or key personnel on an award will be transferring departments, leaving SDSU, or discontinuing work on the project, appropriate steps need to be taken in terms of award disposition. Depending on the circumstances, the most common disposition results include:
- The award stays at SDSU and a replacement PI or key personnel is/are named
- The award is transferred to a new SDSU Department
- The award is transferred to a new institution
Often awards need to remain at SDSU due to sponsor limitations, or the timing of the PI’s departure. If, for instance, a PI leaves SDSU in the final 12 months of a project, it may be more practical to leave the award at SDSU and issue a subaward to the former PI at their new institution. This eliminates the long delays that are often experienced when SDSU has to relinquish an award and the sponsor has to reissue it to a new institution. It is often less burdensome on a sponsor to simply approve a replacement PI at SDSU and to approve a subaward to the new institution.
Also, it is possible to have a different outcome for multiple awards to the same PI. That is, one award may be transferred in its entirety, one may be transferred but have a subaward back to SDSU, one may stay at SDSU under a replacement PI with a subaward to the former PI, and one may simply stay in full under a replacement PI.