Congratulations – your project has been chosen for funding. If you receive direct notification from the funding agency, please share copies of the grant letter and other materials with Kristin Magendantz
, director of faculty grants and Carol Kessel
, associate comptroller. If you will need to take a leave period, please give the dean of academic affairs responsible for your department or program as much advance notice as possible.
The principal investigator or project director (PI/PD) is responsible for administering the project as described in the grant proposal. The PI/PD is expected to conduct all work in a responsible manner, and to keep the College and the funding agency informed of any significant changes in the project pursuant to the funder’s rules and regulations.
The responsibilities of the PI/PD include:
- Regular and timely reports: Most funding agencies require progress reports at least annually. Note that some federal funders, such as NSF, require that the reports be filed 90 days in advance of the anniversary date. Final reports must be filed within 90 days after the conclusion of the grant period.
- Adherence to funding conditions: All faculty members must comply with grant rules and conditions, and ensure that all disbursements are made for the purposes of the award. The College signs proposal applications as well as annual statements verifying the accuracy of grant compliance.
- Documentation of expenditures: Funding agencies have been conducting an increasing number of desk audits in order to diminish grant fraud cases. It is essential that faculty members document all expenses.
- Compliance with responsible and ethical conduct of research: Faculty members must comply with the College’s Policy and Procedures for Review of Alleged Unethical Research Practices; and the College's Financial Conflict of Interest policy. In addition, faculty PI/PDs are responsible for ensuring that all faculty, staff and students engaged in their funded research are educated in the responsible conduct of research per the funder’s requirements. Please see Research Policy for more information.
When a grant is received, the director of faculty grants will share the grant letter and budget information with Carol Kessel, associate comptroller of the College.
The associate comptroller is responsible for administration and distribution of grant money. Once a grant is received, she will set up an account for the grant funds and inform the PI/PD of the account number. Budget line items will be designated according to the lines in the final approved grant budget. The PI/PD authorizes expenditures against the grant budget and oversees the proper use of grant funds by all personnel involved in the project.
The Comptroller’s Office maintains the official financial records on the grant. The responsibilities of the associate comptroller include:
- Reporting: The associate comptroller provides regular financial reports to the PI/PD, files regular reports with federal agencies and requests grant payments when appropriate.
- Complying with audit requirements: All federally and privately funded projects are subject to an annual audit by the College. In addition, grantmaking agencies may conduct their own audit of any project they fund.
- Maintaining equipment inventory: The associate comptroller keeps records on all equipment purchased with grant funds for inclusion in a required annual inventory.
- Negotiating the facilities & administration (F&A) rate with federal agency representatives.
Important note regarding purchasing for federal grants: For projects funded by any agency of the U.S. Government, goods and services may not be purchased from any entity that is excluded from receiving federal funds through contracts, subcontracts, and certain other forms of financial assistance. Before committing to any purchases under federal grants, the PI/PD must consult the Excluded Parties List System to ascertain that the prospective vendor has not been debarred. For example, the FLY America Act requires any that government-funded travel be undertaken on air carriers flying under the U.S. flag. For further questions and assistance accessing the list, please contact the director of faculty grants.
Other Grant Administration Issues
Overhead return: If a grant is approved with the full amount of F&A (indirect costs) requested, 20 percent of the recovered indirect cost will be placed in a separate, restricted fund for the PI/PD to use for his or her own research, travel, equipment, etc., but not for his or her salary. There are cases where the use of these indirect funds may be re-directed in negotiating awards. The associate comptroller will assign the account number and inform the PI/PD.
Personnel funded by grants
: Hiring personnel for grant-funded positions must follow College procedures with respect to advertising, recruiting, offers of employment, rate of pay, etc. and may be further directed by federal hiring guidelines. Refer to the Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual (4.02)
for more information. The appointment letter for administrative staff hired for grant-funded positions may not be issued by a faculty member. Letters of appointment can only be issued by the director of human resources, the president, or the dean of the faculty, depending upon the nature of the assignment.
Budget changes: Most funding agencies will permit some budget adjustments among approved categories if approval is requested in advance. Certain federal agencies (NSF and NIH), have guidelines in place that permit a grantee institution to transfer grant funds from one category to another within limits without prior agency approval. The PI/PD should discuss any anticipated budget changes with the associate comptroller as soon as possible.
No-cost extensions: Extensions in the project period that do not involve additional funds are called no-cost extensions. They are usually necessary when work on the project takes longer than anticipated—not simply because grant funds remain at the end of the original project period. Most federal funding agencies provide up to a year’s extension as a routine matter, but require review and approval of subsequent extensions. Contact the director of faculty grants and the associate comptroller as soon as possible, as extension requests are subject to deadlines.
Change of PI/PD’s level of effort and changes in objectives/scope of the project: A change of either type will require the advance approval of the funding agency. The PI/PD should discuss plans with the director of faculty grants and associate comptroller to assist in re-budgeting and accurate effort reporting.
Grant transfers: When a PI/PD leaves Trinity with substantial time and money remaining in a funded research project, transferring the grant to the new institution is usually the appropriate course. Contact the director of faculty grants and the associate comptroller as soon as possible; transfers may take some time to complete.