An award to the university from a sponsoring agency is a legal document which obligates the university. An award may be simply in the form of a letter issued by an authorized agent of the sponsor or it may consist of a detailed, lengthy contractual document. In some cases acceptance by the university (and then by the agency) is required before the award is in force, while in other cases no formal acceptance is required. RSP is the office authorized to accept and execute awards on behalf of UWF. RSP will consult with the PI if the award differs from the submitted proposal, so that the award may be accepted, modified, or rejected. No charges may be incurred against a sponsored project until such time as RSP has received and processed an original award notification from the sponsor, and a grant/fund number has been issued by RSP to the Principal Investigator (PI).
Only certain administrators have been authorized to offer proposals, issue certifications and assurances for a proposal for the university or accept a contract or award document. This designation is by Presidential Signature Authorization Policy P-04.01-11/09. All documents must be approved for signature by the university's Office of the General Counsel. No other signature is considered to be legally binding upon the university and is subject to withdrawal if received after-the-fact.
UWF has established an institutional approval process for projects requiring expenditures prior to the receipt of the award document or the final execution of a contract when it is highly probable that such approval is anticipated. In order to request advance authorization, the PI should have confirmation of the sponsor’s intent to fund and a date approved for beginning period of performance. OMB Circular A-21 allows federal agencies and funds authorized to approve expenditures up to 90 days prior to the beginning of the period of performance for pre-award start-up costs with the agency’s approval. Under this system, approval must be authorized by the responsible officials (PI, director/chair, dean/vice president, and provost). For this purpose, a Temporary Authorization for Advanced Expenditures (Excel) request should be submitted to RSP. Submission of this form commits the PI, department, and college/division to reimburse university accounts in the event that the expected sponsor authorization is not forthcoming or advanced expenditures are disallowed. RSP will recommend an action to approve or disapprove such a commitment only after the proper authority at the granting agency has assured us of their intent to provide such funding with an anticipated effective date.
In some cases, an award may be issued by the agency after a series of negotiations which may involve revisions to the scope of the project and/or to the proposed budget. RSP is the authorized agent for conducting and approving such revisions, but no changes to a project or a budget are authorized without the express consent of the PIs. Faculty researchers are reminded that the acceptance of a revised scope of work or budget is a judgment that only they can make; it is not a judgment or condition that may be unilaterally imposed by the granting agency. If the agency requires the submission of a revised work plan or budget, this must be prepared by the PI and submitted to RSP for institutional endorsement and for forwarding to the agency. Upon receipt of an official award by RSP, the PI will receive information pertinent to the award, budget set up and grant/fund number assignment.