If you need to begin work while your contract is in negotiation, you must request an At-Risk Account. At-Risk Accounts allow the PI to begin work and record charges against the proper account related to a project before the start of the award or prior to contract execution. This is most commonly needed for subawards where there can be delays in receiving the contract from the Pass-Through Entity. Establishing an At-Risk Account, when appropriate, can prevent the necessity of making cost transfers and allows payroll to be reflected accurately in quarterly effort reports. If the award is not ultimately received or if sponsor conditions preclude pre-award spending, the department is responsible for covering any unreimbursed expenses.
Uniform Guidance (2CFR 200.458) defines Pre-Award costs as those incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award directly pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the Federal award where such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of work. Such costs are allowable only to the extent that they would have been allowable if incurred after the date of the Federal award and only with the written approval of the Federal awarding agency.
In order to request an At-Risk Account, the At-Risk Account Request Form must be completed with all required signatures and submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs. The department research administrator/FRST should work with the PI to complete the form.
OSP will obtain the sponsor’s approval, if required. The funds loaded to the At-Risk Account will be available for use for a 90 day period. If more than 90 days is required, a renewal request must be made and the Office of Sponsored Programs will review the account and consider whether renewal is appropriate.
Extramurally sponsored projects are made to the University in its corporate name, University of North Texas Health Science Center. Therefore, awards of funds for sponsored projects are awards to the University and commitments under agreements are commitments of the University. Any work performed by a faculty member of the University under such a project must be considered as work performed for the University.
Sponsor award notifications can take many forms such as grant award, contract, subcontract or cooperative agreement depending upon the type of sponsor and project. These documents require review and signature by the authorized institutional
authority to sign on behalf of UNTHSC.
Authority to accept awards has been granted by the Board of Regents and President to OSP and such signature authority delegated to the Assistant Vice President for Research responsible for oversight of OSP. If the PI receives a notice directly, OSP should be immediately contacted.
Many awards are received which require both sponsor and University signatures. PIs are not authorized to sign award documents on behalf of the University.
Getting Access to Your Project Account
In order to set up a Project Account, the Office of Sponsored Programs must have the following:
- Fully executed award document/contract
- Verification of Annual Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Training
- Cost sharing authorization form, if applicable
- Defined commitment of effort for key personnel
- Budget breakdown
- IRB/IACUC approval, if applicable
o If this is not received, spending may be restricted until applicable approvals are in place
- Subcontract information, if applicable
o Statement of Work
o Contact Information
Once the Office of Sponsored Programs has received the above documents and information, the Post Award team will set up a Project Account in PeopleSoft/EIS and load funds for spending. Before you receive access to your new account, you will be required to attend a Project Initiation Meeting (PIM). The following individuals should be present at the PIM:
- Principle Investigator (PI)
- Department Administrator
- Faculty Research Support Team (FRST) member / Office of Research Services team member
- Post Award Analyst from OSP
At this meeting you will discuss:
- Detailed budget information
- Financial responsibilities of PI and department
- Award Terms and Conditions
- Effort allocations and ePar planning
- PI and departmental responsibilities related to any subawards (Subrecipient Monitoring)
- Effective Documentation
- Special terms and conditions
- Required reports to the sponsor
At the PIM the Office of Sponsored Programs will provide the Project account number (Project ID) to the PI. We will also provide a copy of the Award document and a completed Project Initiation Meeting Form which will detail the information reviewed during the PIM for easy reference.