Award Structure in BFS

Structure to Facilitate Reporting

Two grants-specific BFS chartfields facilitate sponsor-required invoicing and reporting by grouping award transactions by Project (a body of work) Activity (a budget period). Each award has one primary Project ID and at least one Activity ID.


  • An executed agreement between the institution and a sponsor

The award identifies all the transactions associated with an award, such as expenses against the fund number, cost sharing transactions, program income, as well as revenue.


  • A body of work defined by the sponsor agreement

A Project ID groups transactions into the budgeted work of an award. Each award has one primary project associated with the lead PI named on the award. Multiple projects can be created if the sponsor has more complex reporting requirements.


  • The budget or reporting period required by the sponsor

An Activity ID identifies transactions within a funding period. If an award has only one funding period, then each project has one Activity ID. Multiple Activity IDs can be created if the sponsor defines multiple funding periods.

Project (a Defined Body of Work)

Award documentation defines the budgeted "body of work" to be done for the award. Most awards have only one body of work - and therefore one Project ID - because most awards do not require spending reports on distinct tasks within the total award amount. A Project ID identifies all the transactions associated with a body of work within an award to facilitate invoicing and reporting.

Some awards require multiple Project IDs to group transactions within an award. For example, an award might require reporting on research costs (Project 1) separate from reporting conference and results dissemination costs (Project 2). Or a sponsor may want reporting on equipment fabrication (Project 1) separate from the research done with the equipment (Project 2).

Multiple Projects

An award should have multiple projects only if:

  • Multiple PIs have budget allocated to them
  • The sponsor requires reporting on specific budgeted tasks
    • For example: separate phases, specific deliverables
  • Specialized equipment will be fabricated to meet distinct reporting requirements
  • The award activity will generate Program Income
    • For example: conference fees
  • There are separate F&A rates or bases

Please note: Projects are not expense categories or budget periods. While sponsors may require reporting on these variables as well, there are other chartfields that capture and track this type of budget information.

Activity (a Budget or Reporting Period)

An activity is defined by sponsor-required interim funding or reporting periods. If no funding or reporting period is mandated, one activity is set up covering the entire award period.

Multiple Activities

A project should have multiple activities only if:

  • The sponsor requires interim financial reporting or invoicing by a specific funding period
  • The award restricts carry-forward between funding periods

Keep it Simple

The award structure should be as simple as possible, with only as many projects and activities as necessary to meet sponsor-defined budget reporting requirements (not departmental or campus and internal reporting requirements).