Various individuals and/or groups need to work together throughout the life of an award to effectively manage sponsored research awards on the UC Berkeley campus. This document describes the primary responsibilities of these individuals and/or groups once a project has been awarded to the university. All these individuals and/or groups rely on each other for the successful fiscal management of the award.
The Principal Investigator (PI) serves as the primary individual responsible for the scientific integrity and fiscal and administrative management throughout the period of the award.
The PI's specific responsibilities include:
- Being cognizant of, and adhering to, all sponsor-imposed terms and conditions, as well as university policies and procedures related to administering sponsored agreements
- This includes all relevant government and university regulations regarding the use of human and animal subjects, biohazards and bio-safety, occupational health and safety, conflicts of interest, and purchasing and equipment management policies
- Obtaining prior approvals from Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) or working with SPO to request prior approval from the sponsor for post-award changes relating to the conduct or scope of the work, and/or budget amendment, expenditure of funds awarded
- Observing UC and campus policies and procedures to protect intellectual property rights and academic freedom
- Supervising project personnel including co-investigators, post-doctoral associates, and students (both graduate and undergraduate)
- Submitting technical and/or programmatic progress reports in a timely fashion to the sponsor as required by the terms and conditions of the award
- Managing and controlling project funds in a prudent manner and expending funds in accordance with the restrictions imposed by the award terms and conditions and university policy
- Funds should only be expended to directly support the project effort, and expenditures should not exceed the total amount of funds awarded
- Deficits and disallowances incurred against an extramural award account/fund are the responsibility of the principal investigator
- Advising Contracts and Grants Accounting (CGA) and SPO of any cash collections issues or any other information on the financial instability of the agency as soon as they are aware of these issues
While responsibility for certain day-to-day management of the project finances may be delegated to administrative or other staff, accountability for compliance with the sponsor requirements and university policy ultimately rests with the PI.
Chronic failure to carry out the responsibilities incumbent upon a principal investigator or chronic noncompliance with sponsor regulations can result in nonpayment of university invoices. Ultimately, this might jeopardize future funding to the PI, as well as to the university as a whole.
The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) at the UC Berkeley campus is responsible for preparing, interpreting, negotiating, and accepting agreements for projects funded by federal, state, and local government agencies, foundations, corporations, and other public and private sources. SPO also prepares and negotiates all subawards for collaborative research.
SPO's specific responsibilities during the post award management process include:
- Advising the PI and project personnel during the period of the award regarding their obligations under the terms and conditions of the award
- Informing the PI and unit administrator about the actions that will need to be taken to meet the commitments under the terms and conditions of the award including subcontracting, patent rights, copyrights, rights in data, license agreements, publication rights, transfer of materials, etc.
- Serving as the office of record for all awards made to The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UC Berkeley campus
- Advising faculty and staff regarding the sponsor's and university's prior approval requirements for changing aspects of the project (i.e., changes in PI, changes in the scope of work, reduction in PI time devoted to the project or absence from the project funding changes, no-cost time extensions, etc.)
- Coordinating and advising agencies of any special requirements related to sponsor notifications during the life of the award, for example: scope changes, funding changes, key personnel changes, and reduction in PI time devoted to the project or absence from the project
- Coordinating and negotiating these changes with the sponsor and as necessary accepting or executing modifications to the award to effectuate these changes
- Reviewing award changes to ensure that the scope of work and terms and conditions are acceptable to the principal investigator and are consistent with university policies
- Accepting or executing modifications to sponsored agreements (grants, cooperative agreements or contracts) on behalf of the Regents of the University of California
- Distributing the award documents and award synopsis to the principal investigator and appropriate academic and administrative units
- Interpreting sponsor policies, university policies, and federal and state regulations related to the terms and conditions of the award, the conduct of the project and the delivery and reporting of project results
- Serving as a liaison between the principal investigator, project staff, administrative unit staff, and the sponsor
- Assisting CGA collection staff on unpaid university invoices by the sponsor, due to non-submission of technical and/or progress reports and other required deliverables by the PI, and disputes on contractual terms
- Monitoring and coordinating the submission of project reports required by the terms of the award and the administrative closeout of the project when the award expires
- Assisting in the completion of all closeout procedures as necessary