All Frequently Asked Questions located throughout our website are compiled here in a comprehensive set of FAQs.

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Proposal Development FAQs

Frequently Needed Information

What is our Federal-Wide Assurance number, Animal Welfare Assurance number, DUNS, CAGE, TIN and other Federal IDs?

The most commonly requested organizational codes and numbers are listed below and also in our Frequently Needed Information section of this website. If you cannot find what you need on this list, please contact your Proposal Analyst.

  • Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS): 007431505
  • DHHS Animal Welfare Assurance #: D16-00388 (former number was A3646-01)
  • Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code: 4B475
  • Congressional District: CO-002
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN): 84-6000555 (1-846000555-A2 for HHS & Dept. of Education)
  • DHHS Human Subjects Assurance #: FWA00003492
What is our federally negotiated F&A Rate Agreement?
Where is a copy of the IRS tax exempt status letter verifying the University's non-profit tax status?

Finding Funding Questions

What resources are available to identify funding opportunities for sponsored projects?

The Research and Innovation Office (RIO) offers a variety of tools and resources to help faculty, students, and staff identify opportunities for scholarly activities. These include internal funding opportunities, limited submissions, and links to external funding resources.

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Through a collaboration between the University Libraries, RIO, and Advancement, the CU Boulder campus now has access to Foundation Directory Online, a tool beneficial to those seeking grant funding, company information, and job opportunities.

The data in Foundation Directory Online, which is updated weekly, is compiled from IRS information returns, grantmaker websites, annual reports, printed application guidelines, the philanthropic press and various other sources. It includes more than 140,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S.; a database of more than 4,000 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; a database of more than 3.8 million recently awarded grants; and a keyword-searchable database of more than one million recently filed IRS Forms 990 and 990-PF.

You can access the Foundation Directory Online tool on campus or using VPN.

In addition, CU Boulder launched a pilot online fundraising platform in May 2014 as another option for funding projects. Visit the Boulder Crowdfunding website for additional information on this funding option.

Common Proposal Questions

How do I contact my Proposal Analyst and what information should I provide?

Use the OCG Unit Directory to locate your department’s Proposal Analyst.

In your email to your Proposal Analyst, please include your Proposal Submission Request formbudget, and budget justification. Budget details can be provided in text form or using a budget template. View our proposal development pages for more information on starting a new proposal.

How early do I need to contact my Proposal Analyst?

Please contact your Proposal Analyst as soon as you have identified a funding opportunity. At a minimum, you should contact your analyst no later than five business days before the sponsor deadline, and provide your completed Proposal Submission Request (PSR) formbudget, and budget justification in your request. Budget details can be provided in text form or using a budget template.

When do I need to have the final proposal ready?

According to OCG’s Five Business Day Rule, your PSR form, budget, and budget justification should be sent your Proposal Analyst for review at least five business days before the sponsor deadline. The rest of your proposal should be completed and routed to your Proposal Analyst as early as possible to ensure a thorough review.

If you’re submitting a proposal through Grants.gov, we highly recommend submitting at least two business days before the deadline. It can take several hours to several days for Grants.gov and the specific agency to process and approve your proposal. Any errors that occur after a deadline, regardless of when you receive notification of an error, will prevent submission and acceptance of your proposal.

What are the responsibilities of the PI and Proposal Analyst?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is always responsible for the budget justification, documents related to project personnel, and the technical portions of the proposal, as well as for being familiar with sponsor and program submission guidelines. 

Your Proposal Analyst will assist with developing a proposal budget, as well as help to ensure that the proposal adheres to sponsor guidelines and other applicable policies and regulations.

Additionally, PIs are responsible for providing signed internal forms to Proposal Analysts such as the IDC Addendum, Cost Sharing Addendum, and subrecipient forms. Internal forms will be saved as part of the internal proposal file.

When do I contact my Proposal Analyst vs. Grant or Contract Officer?

If you would like to discuss a research proposal or other sponsored funding application, contact your Proposal Analyst. Also contact your Proposal Analyst for any other questions that arise prior to receiving an award and for assistance with progress reports. 

If you have already received an award, contact your Grant or Contract Officer. The OCG team assigned to your department can be found in the Unit Directory

View our organizational structure for more information about the team functions within OCG.

Proposal Analysts are always happy to assist with navigating you to who to contact in OCG.

Does my proposal need to go through OCG?

Most proposals, especially to federal sponsors, require OCG’s involvement, and you should contact your Proposal Analyst as early as possible.

OCG will help develop your budget and guide you through the submission process as well as check to ensure that your proposal complies with sponsor guidelines and any other relevant policies and regulations. Many sponsors also require that an Authorized Organizational Representative (or Signing Official) submit your proposal.

Even if the sponsor allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit the proposal, if funding will come through the University, OCG will still need to review the full proposal prior to submission. Submitting without OCG’s assistance can result in detrimental budget errors and delays in processing your award.

Here are two situations in which you may not need to involve OCG:

Preliminary proposals (or similar – such as white papers or concept papers) do not require OCG involvement unless a budget is included or if the sponsor requires that an Authorized Organizational Representative submit the pre-proposal.

Fellowships that do not require an institutional endorsement and the funding will go directly to the student may be submitted directly by the student without OCG involvement.

In any instance, if you’d like assistance with budgeting, please contact your Proposal Analyst.

The program announcement limits the number of submissions from our institution. Who should I contact?

Contact your Proposal Analyst if the program announcement limits the number of submissions from CU Boulder. S/he will work with the Research and Innovation Office (RIO) to determine whether or not there is or will be an internal competition in place.

Where can I find information regarding CU’s internal competitions?

For more information regarding limited campus competitions, please visit the Research and Innovation Office (RIO) website.

How can I get my funds faster?

By involving your Proposal Analyst prior to proposal submission, you are ensuring that a completed proposal is on file at OCG, which your Grant or Contract Officer will need in order to process the award.

It is also important to have all required approvals on file, including your DEPA and IACUC/IRB approvals, as appropriate.

Should I contact OCG for fellowship proposals?

Yes, you will need to work with your Proposal Analyst on fellowship proposals.

Exception: If the sponsor does not require an institutional endorsement and the check will be made directly to the student, then you do not need to involve your Proposal Analyst.

What do I need to know about working with Industry?

If you plan to be involved in an Industry proposal, contact the Office of Industry Collaboration. Depending on the particular sponsor and program guidelines, there may be special requirements.

Who is eligible to be a PI?

View the Prinicipal Investigator Eligibility policy for a complete list.

I have questions about what to provide on the Proposal Submission Request (PSR) form. Where can I get more information?

Detailed guidance on completing the PSR form is available in the PSR User Guide. Your Proposal Analyst can also assist with any questions.

Submission Registration Questions

How do I register for NSF's FastLane and NIH's eRA Commons?

For NSF FastLane and NIH eRA Commons registrations, please contact Lyn Milliken at lyn.milliken@colorado.edu.

How do I register for NASA's NSPIRES?

For NASA, we use the NSPIRES system for proposal submission.

You must register through NSPIRES

After you register, an email will be sent to an OCG staff member to approve your registration. They will contact you with further instructions. The Principal Investigator starts the proposal in NSPIRES and completes the proposal requirements, including uploading required attachments. Your Proposal Analyst will enter the budget.  

When ready, you will need to “Lock” your proposal. Your Proposal Analyst will then review the proposal for anything that might prevent submission or review. When everything is complete, your Proposal Analyst will submit your proposal through the NSPIRES system.

Do I need to register for Grants.gov or SAM (System for Award Management)?

No, Investigators do not need to register for Grants.gov or SAM.  CU Boulder is registered as an institution in both systems. OCG staff are registered users of Grants.gov and have the authority to submit all proposals on behalf of the University.

How do I change my NSF (FastLane) password?

To register a new account in FastLane, or change the institutional affiliation of your existing FastLane account to CU, please email Lyn Milliken.

If you can’t remember your current FastLane password, but it has not expired, contact your assigned OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken, and they can send it to you if we have it on file.

If FastLane requires you to change your password after logging in, follow the directions given to you on the screen to change the password, and then send the new password to your OCG proposal analyst and/or Lyn Milliken, so we can update our records.

If your FastLane password has expired, go to www.research.gov and click “Log In,” then “Forgot Password.” Enter your NSF ID number (if you don’t remember it, contact your OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken and we can look it up for you) and click “Send Temporary Password.” An email will be sent to the address NSF currently has on file containing instructions on how to reset your password. Passwords must contain between 8 and 20 characters, from at least three of the following four categories:

  • Upper-case letters
  • Lower-case letters
  • Numbers
  • One of these special characters: # & % ! @ ( )

You cannot re-use any of the previous six passwords for your account. After 10 unsuccessful login attempts, your account will be locked. It may take 30 minutes or longer for the new password to propagate through all of NSF’s systems, so plan ahead and do not attempt a password change while on deadline for a proposal submission. Once you have changed your password, please email it to your OCG proposal analyst and/or Lyn Milliken, so we can update our records.

Research.gov provides both a password reset guide (including screen captures of all the various stages in the process) and an FAQ page about the process. If you need additional assistance beyond the information contained in those documents, contact your OCG proposal analyst or Lyn Milliken.

Proposal Development Questions

What do sponsors mean by PI, Co-PI, Co-I, senior personnel, etc.?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the lead scientist on a research project and has primary responsibility for the design, execution and management of the project.

Co-PI (Co-Principal Investigator) and Co-I (Co-Investigator) designations may be used when multiple Investigators are permitted on a project. Co-PIs/Co-Is are typically considered Senior/Key Personnel and play a central role in the project.

Sponsor definitions vary; carefully read the guidelines for each proposal before assigning project roles.

What is a statement of work?

A Statement of Work or Scope of Work (SOW) is a document that outlines the project activities, deliverables, and timeline for completion. The SOW should clearly explain what tasks will be completed and by when. CU Boulder does not currently have a required template, but the document should be in narrative format.

If an award check will be issued to me directly and I will not use the University’s resources, do I need to involve OCG in my proposal?

If the award will be made directly to the Principal Investigator and not to the University, OCG does not typically need to be involved. This occurs most frequently with fellowships and consultant agreements. 

For consultant agreements, it is important that the University’s resources are not being used.

If you have any questions, contact your Proposal Analyst.

If multiple departments are involved in a proposal, do I need to do anything regarding indirect cost recovery (ICR) splits?

When multiple departments are involved in a proposal, indirect costs are normally shared between them. An agreement will need to be in place in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the respective Department Chair(s) or Institute Director(s) for any standing ICR splits. 

For one-time ICR splits unique to a particular proposal, your Proposal Analyst will need Chair/Director email approval. 

For more information, see the ICR Splits Policy.

Who do I contact for NIH Just in Time (JIT) information?

Contact your Proposal Analyst for all NIH JIT requests. The Principal Investiagor will need to upload JIT information in eRA Commons according to the instructions provided by NIH.

Notify your Proposal Analyst when the files have been uploaded, and s/he will review and submit the information to NIH.

Do I need to budget for graduate research assistant tuition?

Yes, according to CU Boulder policy, we are required to budget for graduate student tuition if the graduate student is working during the academic year.

How do I determine effort on a project?

The Principal Investigator should determine the appropriate level of effort for all project personnel based on the expected time commitment required to complete their portions of the proposed project.

Effort should be expressed in terms of percent time on a monthly basis, e.g. “50% time, 3 months summer” or “10% time, 9 months AY.”

Some program guidelines may limit or set a minimum level of effort for certain project personnel so it is important to carefully read the guidelines.

How long can my NIH application title be?

Answer as provided on NIH Extramural Nexus

The project title must be no more than 200 characters long, including the spaces between words. The NIH application guide provides answers to this and many more application submission questions.

Why do I need to be careful naming the PDF attachments for my NIH application?

Answer as provided on NIH Extramural Nexus

Electronic systems can be a little finicky when presented with file names that include unexpected characters. Take care to follow the directions in the NIH application guide to ensure smooth processing of your application. PDF file names should be less than 50 characters, including punctuation and spaces. File names can contain any of the following characters: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore, hyphen, space, period, parenthesis, curly braces, square brackets, tilde, exclamation point, comma, semicolon, apostrophe, at sign, number sign, dollar sign, percent sign, plus sign, and equal sign. While single spaces are allowed between words or characters in the file name, do not use two or more spaces in a row between words or characters as this will cause errors. File names should NOT contain ampersands (“&”).

For more tips on creating your PDFs for your text attachments, visit the NIH PDF guidelines.

Budget Preparation Questions

Who can help me develop a proposal budget?

Your Proposal Analyst will help you develop your proposal budget. Visit the Proposal Development pages for more details and information on what your Proposal Analyst will need in order to get started.

What do I include in a budget justification?

Your budget justification should thoroughly justify all costs within your final budget and should be written in narrative format.

OCG has a budget justification template and a budget justification checklist to help you complete your justification.

Why must I prepare a Budget Justification when the Sponsor itself does not require one?

The University has fiduciary responsibility as a steward of Federal and other sponsored funding that requires us to demonstrate on all proposals submitted and awards received that the costs budgeted are allocable, allowable, and reasonable. A well written Budget Justification provides details that demonstrate adherence to these critical qualifications and assures that, if awarded, a submitted budget will be charging against costs meeting those standards. While some detail is included on the University’s standard internal budget template, the Budget Justification explains the detailed basis of estimate for the budget.

Sponsors are increasingly mandating the submission of formal Budget Justifications when, in the past, they may not have. Instances where a sponsor does not require a Justification at proposal phase are becoming increasingly rare. Even when a budget justification was not requested at the proposal stage, sponsors frequently require a Justification be submitted at the award stage, which can cause delay in award acceptance and a duty to revisit a budget that had been submitted up to nine months earlier, given the lapse of time between submission and award.

Certain sponsors may not communicate, or even be aware of, all the applicable Federal rules and regulations that must be followed in order for the University to receive sponsored funding. It is therefore incumbent on the University to not only be apprised of and follow these guidelines, but also to help give the sponsor an awareness of these duties.

Additionally, as a steward of sponsored funding, the University must demonstrate consistency in budgeting and proposal preparation practices between various types of sponsors (federal, industry, foundations and non-profits). Therefore, a Budget Justification is required for all proposed budgets at the proposal phase, when we can ensure its direct relevance to the budget submitted with the proposal.

OCG and the Campus Controller’s Office of Sponsored Project Accounting have collaborated to streamline the proposal budgeting process in recognition of the ever-increasing administrative burdens present in this highly regulated research environment. This year, the University eliminated use of the Cost Accounting Standards “CAS” exception form which used to be required in addition to the Budget Justification, to explain unusual circumstances such as budgeting for computers or administrative time.

To eliminate unnecessary work for Principal Investigators and Department Administrators, only the Budget Justification is required to document costs, which means the Budget Justification needs to be very robust and leave no room for questioning of budget items by the sponsor, whether at proposal or award stage, or in the case of an audit.

What is considered cost share?

Cost share essentially means that the University is “donating” money, employee effort, or tangible goods towards the direct costs of a sponsored research project. These contributions may be made by CU Boulder, the Prinicpal Investigator, or by other third parties, but all are a form of cost share. 

CU Boulder generally prohibits cost share unless it is specifically required by the sponsor or program guidelines, and/or is in the best interests of CU Boulder. Any quantified commitments (or quantifiable based on the details provided) are considered cost share, and should not be included in your proposal unless you have obtained official University approvals.

Official approvals must be in place before submitting proposals that include any form of cost share. Review CU Boulder’s Cost Share Policy and contact your Proposal Analyst with questions well in advance of the proposal submission deadline.

Do I need an IDC Waiver or an IDC Addendum?

IDC Addendums are required whenever a sponsor limits indirect costs to a rate that is less than our federally negotiated rate.

IDC Waivers are required when full indirect costs are permitted by the sponsor, but the Principal Investigator does not want to request full indirect costs for reasons that can be fully justified.

Contact your Proposal Analyst to process either request.

Who do I contact about a revised budget?

If you have not yet received the official award document, contact your Proposal Analyst.

If the award has already been issued, contact your Grant or Contract Officer.

Can I request a deviation in the two month salary support on an NSF grant?

As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. CU Boulder considers our fiscal year as the one year period. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. If anticipated, any compensation in excess of the two months can be requested from NSF in the proposal with the required documentation and justification. NSF also provides CU Boulder rebudgeting authority to internally approve changes to personnel salary support, even if that results in support that exceeds two months.

If you want to propose and/or expense more than two months direct NSF salary support in any 12 month period, you should include the following applicable criteria to assist you in developing your justification, either at proposal or for a budget deviation after the award has been funded.

  • The additional salary support is necessary to fulfill the research objective of the project
  • The project will be negatively impacted by not supporting additional Principal Investigator paid effort
  • How the costs are reasonable, directly benefit the project, and represent prudent use of the sponsor’s funds
  • An explanation for other budgeted costs that will be reduced in order to compensate for the additional unbudgeted salary support

OCG is currently developing a large number of procedural guidelines regarding cost principles, including a process for budget deviations expected to be in effect in early 2016.

What is the difference between Direct Costs and Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs?

Direct costs solely support and are traceable to a specific project. These costs may include laboratory supplies, research equipment, salary support for researchers and project directors, and travel. This is both the core of university research and where the bulk of the sponsor investment is spent.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs cover a portion of the infrastructure necessary to conduct research (these costs cannot be readily identified to a specific project). These costs include utilities such as light and heat, telecommunications, and the administrative functions necessary to comply with regulations and conduct business. View the F&A Costs Handout for information on what is included in F&A costs.

DEPA & Other Compliance Questions

How do I submit my DEPA (Disclosure of External Professional Activities)?

You can access your DEPA through the MyCU portal. Select the “CU Resources” tab, click on “Faculty Reporting & DEPA,” and follow the instructions provided. After completing a brief questionnaire, you can submit your DEPA.

Note that anyone responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the research must have a current DEPA on file in order to submit a proposal.

For detailed direction and further assistance, see the Disclosure of External Professional Activities (DEPA) Form webpage.

When do I submit my DEPA?

The general deadline for submitting an annual Disclosure of External Professional Activities (DEPA) is March 31 of each calendar year.

New employees should submit within 30 days from the date of hire.

Updates to the DEPA should occur within 30 days of a change in DEPA status.

Regardless of the March 31 general deadline, all DEPAs must have an approval status in the current calendar year prior to the release of new or continuing award monies, so DEPA submission may be requested prior to March 31.

Lead Principal Investigators on sponsored projects are ultimately responsible to see that anyone who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research is also in compliance with the University’s DEPA reporting requirements.

For more information about DEPA visit the Office of Research Integrity website.

When should I obtain IRB, IACUC, biohazardous materials, and/or other compliance approvals?

Most approvals, such as Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and biohazardous materials, are generally not required at proposal stage but should be obtained as soon as possible.

NIH requests IACUC and IRB approvals at the JIT stage.

If awarded, no project award funds may be used until all approvals have been obtained from the appropriate compliance offices.

Contact the Office of Research Integrity to begin the approval process.

Notice of Award Questions

What should I do if I receive a notice of award?

If you receive notice of an award, send this to ocg@colorado.edu. If the notice of award requests further documentation and/or a revised budget before the award may be issued, then please contact your Proposal Analyst.

All official award documents should be forwarded to ocg@colorado.edu for logging and a Grant or Contract Officer will be in touch with you soon. Please do not sign the award, as only certain individuals in the University are authorized to sign awards and an unauthorized signature could render the agreement null and void.

If your project requires any approvals, such as for the use of animals, human subjects, controlled substances or biohazardous materials, and you do not yet have approval, we highly recommend starting the approval process as soon as possible. For more information, see the Office of Research Integrity website.

What do I do if I receive an award, but I did not submit my proposal through OCG?

All sponsored funding applications must be submitted through OCG. If you did not work with OCG at proposal stage and you receive an award, contact your Proposal Analyst as soon as possible. S/he will work with you to develop a proposal “after the fact,” which is required in order to issue a SpeedType.

Your proposal must include, at a minimum: budget (Excel format), Budget Justification (narrative format), Statement of Work, and Proposal Submission Request (PSR) form.

Post Award Questions

Who is responsible for preparing and submitting my progress reports?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for preparing progress reports. Sponsored Projects Accounting provides financial report information. Some sponsors require that an Authorized Organizational Representative sign and/or submit the report. Your Proposal Analyst can assist with this.

For NIH, once an RPPR is fully completed and checked for any errors, the PI should route the report to Betty Rasmussen, Contracts & Grants Specialist in OCG, for review and submission.

I want to do a No-Cost extension. Who should I contact?

A No-Cost extension extends the project date without additional funding. Contact your Grant or Contract Officer for assistance.

Fellowship FAQs

Common Fellowship Questions

What is considered an externally funded fellowship?

This is funding received from an external source (e.g. government entity, private foundation, industry sponsor, etc.) to support a student or postdoctoral scholar in the pursuit of a degree or to support research. Usually, a fellow does not have an employee relationship with the University.

Fellowships can be used to support a variety of expenses depending on the purpose and terms of the award, including but not limited to tuition remission, travel expenses, stipends, research supplies, etc. Externally funded fellowships are sometimes awarded directly to the fellow, and in other cases they can be awarded to the University.

Who can help me to apply for a fellowship?

The Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) can assist you with most fellowship applications. The contacts for fellowships are as follows:

NSF GRFP fellowship proposals:  Contact Gretchen O'Connell from the Graduate School

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad proposals:  Contact Katherine Vogel in OCG

All other fellowship proposals - Contact the Proposal Analyst assigned to work with your department. Your assigned Proposal Analyst can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory

Which fellowships do I qualify for?

The qualification requirements for fellowship awards vary greatly by sponsor and by opportunity announcement. It is up to the fellow to read the fellowship application materials thoroughly to ensure that they qualify for the fellowship that they are applying for.

How do I receive my fellowship funding?

Some sponsors award their fellowship directly to the fellow. In these cases, the fellow should ensure that the sponsor has the correct contact details and should contact the sponsor directly if they have not received the funding in a timely manner. Fellowships that are awarded directly to the fellow are often sent via check or money order.

Other sponsors award fellowships to the University, rather than directly to the fellow. If the University will be receiving the fellowship funds, please contact the Grant Officer assigned to your department. Your assigned Grant Officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.  

Finally, some sponsors allow the fellow to choose whether the funds will be awarded directly to the fellow or to the University. In these cases, we recommend submitting through the University for tax and insurance reasons and the support OCG and SPA (Sponsored Projects Accounting) can provide for sponsor award and financial requirements.

Do I need to work with OCG on my fellowship application?

Fellowships that require an official budget, the signature of or submission by an authorized organizational official, or any type of institutional certification should be submitted through the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG). Some submission systems, such as Grants.gov, will also require that the application go through OCG in order to be submitted.

If the University will receive the award, then you will need to work with your Proposal Analyst and go through the normal process for submitting an application. Please follow the process for proposals as described here on the OCG website for preparing and submitting proposals

If the fellow will receive the funding directly from the sponsor, the applicant can probably submit on his/her own without notifying OCG of the submission.  If you are not sure, notify your Proposal Analyst and ask for clarification.

Proposal Analyst contacts can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

What is the OCG process for submitting a fellowship application?

The first step is to read the "Get Started Now" information on the OCG website, so that you can familiarize yourself with the proposal submission process.

The next step is to contact your assigned Proposal Analyst to let them know that you intend to apply. Your assigned Proposal Analyst can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory

Your Proposal Analyst can assist with the next steps and guide you through the proposal process.

When should I contact OCG about a fellowship opportunity?

It is never too early to contact OCG when you have found a fellowship opportunity that you wish to apply for. Depending on the level of complexity, OCG may need to complete forms on behalf of the fellow, gather institutional approvals, create a budget, etc. As with other externally funded proposals, OCG must be notified at least 5 business days prior to the application deadline.

Most federally funded fellowships, with the exception of the NSF GFRP, musts be submitted through OCG. We have the authority to submit them as well as take care of required institutional registrations such as with Grants.gov, Dunn & Bradstreet Number (DUNS), and the System for Award Management (SAM).

If you are unsure of whether or not OCG needs to be involved in submitting a proposal, your Proposal Analyst can assist with answering this question. 

I have already submitted my fellowship application, when can I expect to hear a decision?

The response time for fellowship applications can vary greatly by sponsor. Many federal fellowship programs can take 6-9 months before a decision is made. It is important to read the application instruction because some sponsors include an expected funding timeline in their call for applications.

Can I have more than one fellowship at a time?

Some sponsors do not allow a fellow to hold more than one fellowship at a time. It is important to disclose all of your fellowships to OCG so the University can ensure that you do not violate the terms and conditions of your fellowship(s). Please email your assigned Grant Officer with a list of all of your current fellowships at the time of award. Your assigned Grant Officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

I am applying for an NIH fellowship, how do I begin?

For detailed information on applying for NIH fellowships, including resources for completing your proposal, see the Fellowships page on the OCG website

I have received an NIH fellowship, what do I do now?

If you are receiving an NIH fellowship, you should have worked with your assigned Proposal Analyst at the time of the application. Some additional steps you may need to take:

  • A member of the OCG staff will contact you or your mentor to complete NIH forms, which may include payback and activation notice forms, and to obtain any missing information, including protocol approvals for animal or human subjects research and/or toxins, chemicals, lasers, or materials needing review.
  • If your project includes animal research or human subjects and you do not yet have protocol approval, contact IACUC or IRB
  • if your project includes any toxins, chemicals, lasers or materials needing review and you do not have an approved protocol, contact EH&S.
  • Read through your award document and contact your mentor and/or your assigned OCG Grant Officer with any questions. Your assigned Grant officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

If this is the first NIH award that you have been involved with, you will need to complete the educational training and conflict of interest disclosure that is required by all Public Health Service (PHS) agencies. Here is a link to the RIO's webpage detailing these requirements. 

Manage Awards FAQs

Common Award Management Questions

Who is my Grant, Contract or Subcontract Officer?

The Unit Directory on our website allows you to search by department to find your contacts at OCG. In the directory you will find your Proposal Analyst, Grant Officer, Contract Officer and Subcontract Officer.

What is the difference between a grant, contract and subcontract?

Incoming Awards and Funds: Incoming funds can be defined as any number of items, including a grant, contract, or subcontract. Regardless of its definition, these specifically address when a sponsor awards CU funding to perform a specific project. All incoming awards should be routed to ocg@colorado.edu and the award will be assigned to a Grant or Contract Officer for review and negotiation.

Outgoing Awards and Funds: CU Boulder generally issues outgoing subcontracts (awarding and funding) to collaborators outside of CU Boulder in order to further specific research goals.

Who has signing authority?

Signature authority delegations at CU Boulder are designed to protect academic freedoms, including a faculty member’s right to publish, and faculty’s intellectual property. Delegation originates with The Regents of the University of Colorado to President Benson then to named individuals within the University.

The Office of Contracts and Grants holds the delegation of signature authority for University research contracts and grants, and official sponsored project correspondence over the life of an award (e.g., requests to the sponsor for no-cost extensions, budget deviations, prior approval authorizations and other modifications to the terms).

The University’s Technology Transfer Office holds the delegation of signature authority for University nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.

View the Signature Authority Delegations fact sheet for more information.

What is the difference between fixed price and cost reimbursable?

Fixed price contracts will be invoiced or paid by a set dollar amount or fixed-price, regardless of how much is expended. If funds are remaining after completion of the project and fulfillment of the deliverable, remaining funds will be administered in accordance with University policy. The remaining funds become residuals. In fixed price agreements, if for some reason we exceed the budget, the University takes on the liability of completing the project regardless of additional funds necessary.

Cost reimbursable contracts can only be reimbursed for actual expenses to a project. In a cost reimbursable agreement, the risk of project completion falls upon the sponsor. The University completes as much work as possible within the budget we are awarded.

How do I get a No-Cost Extension?

Contact your Grant or Contract Officer with the following information:

Request an NCE

  • Project number
  • Award number
  • Current period of performance
  • Requested extension end date
  • Amount of funds expected to be available on the current end date
  • Brief technical or scientific reason for the extension
  • Brief summary of work to be accomplished during the extension period

The request will be submitted according to the procedures of the sponsoring agency. With some sponsors the request will be submitted through an online system, such as Fastlane, NSSC, or ERA Commons. In other situations a request will be submitted via email to the Sponsor's authorized signing official. Please note that there are deadlines for submitting these requests, which will vary according to sponsor requirements.

NOTE: NSF now has a 1200 character limit on no cost extension justifications. OCG does not edit your justifications; it is important to stay within the limit to ensure the sponsor receives all of the information. A brief paragraph for the description of work to be accomplished and the work to date is sufficient.

Who handles student projects and how?

Student projects, such as Senior Design courses and their affiliated funding, are handled by the OCG Contracts Team.

Anna Thomas and Danell Thompson assist departments in creating a standard template contract to sponsors funding both undergrad and graduate projects. A Statement of Work (SOW), project title, and sponsor contact are needed for OCG to initiate the contract with sponsors. We negotiate and follow up with sponsors in order for these agreements to be finalized.

Who handles Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements (CDAs), or Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)?

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements (CDAs), and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are handled by OCG Contract Administrators. For assistance with any of these agreements, facilitating signatures, and agreement management, please email ocgcontracts@colorado.edu.

SpeedType Questions

How do I access my money?

Each sponsored research award will be assigned a SpeedType and project number. The SpeedType is a number assigned by the finance system and is the number to which charges on sponsored projects will be posted.

When will I get my SpeedType?

The assignment of SpeedTypes is initiated by SPA (Sponsored Projects Accounting). After the OCG Grant or Contract Officer has completed the review and processing of an incoming award, the file is routed electronically to SPA to be input into the financial system, which then generates a SpeedType.

If SPA has no questions or issues with the award processing or documentation the SpeedType is usually assigned within two days after being received by SPA. If there are issues, the file will be routed back to OCG to resolve, which may delay the SpeedType. 

How can I get my SpeedType faster?

Principal Investigators can help facilitate quick assignment of SpeedTypes by ensuring:

  • DEPAs are current
  • IRB and IACUC approvals are current and have been obtained 

OCG must have a proposal on file for all incoming awards before the awards can be processed. Work with your Proposal Analyst to create a proposal prior to receiving an award.

If there are ICR splits, OCG needs documentation of the split approvals.

When an award amount is different from the proposal budget a revised budget will be required.

How do costs post to a Fund 30 SpeedType?

Funds must post by the end date of the project to be allowable expenses. If an expense is pending or encumbered, it must clear by the project end date to be an allowable expense.

Federal sponsors typically give us 90 days to invoice for our final payment.

Industry sponsors and other contract terms do not usually allow this extra invoicing time. Industry sponsors have hard stop dates for projects. No-Cost Extensions with industry sponsors are not guaranteed. When working with industry sponsors, we should have spent as much of the funds as possible before the end date.

Why do some projects need a new SpeedType for every year?

When awards are received that have more than one year of funding, and the funding agency requires prior approval to carry forward funds from one year to the next, we must request a new SpeedType for each year's funding. New SpeedTypes for each year helps to create a cut off for the prior budget period so that the department and/or Principal Investigator cannot post to the previous SpeedType.

Funds cannot be commingled without sponsor approval.

When do separate SpeedTypes need to be set up for a project?

There are a variety of reasons why separate SpeedTypes might be needed for one award.

If an award has an outgoing subcontract included in the budget, the subcontract account must be split out into a separate project number and SpeedType.

If an award includes Participant Support Costs, a separate project number and SpeedType must be set up because Participant Support Costs usually do not have IDC associated with them. In some cases the award terms require that the Participant Support costs be tracked separately from the main project.

Supplements that are awarded with a different IDC rate than that of the original award need to have a new project number and SpeedType. If the supplement is received with the same IDC rate, it may be able to remain in the main project number and SpeedType.

Anytime there are multiple IDC rates associated with an award each different IDC rate would need to have a separate project number and SpeedType.

Separate SpeedTypes may be requested by a department for a variety of reasons, such as when there are multiple departments, programs and/or Principal Investigators associated with the award and each would like to account for their portion separately.

How can I get a Pre-Award account before I have a SpeedType?

A fully executed award contract is needed in order to set up a SpeedType. If a Principal Investigator (PI) would like a SpeedType prior to the award being fully issued, the PI has the option of making an At-Risk Project request. After completing the At-Risk Project Request form, send it to your Grant or Contract Officer to begin review.

The at-risk award process will vary somewhat depending upon whether your award will be issued as a federal grant or under another funding mechanism. Some examples include:

  • Federal grant: Under 2 CFR 200 Part 458 (Uniform Guidance) the recipient is allowed 90 day pre-award spending unless disallowed or restricted by the funding agency. You will need to complete an At-Risk Project Request form for pre-award spending.
  • Contracts, federal grant flow-down, or non-federal grants: Aapproval from the funding institution is needed to ensure costs prior to the performance start date will be allowed. Contact your Grant or Contract Officer to request approval. You will need to complete an At-Risk Project Request Form.

Pre-award costs are limited to 25% of the anticipated award amount and for a period of 90 days. A non-Fund 30 Department SpeedType is required to determine which charges can be transferred in the event that the award is not issued.

Without an at-risk award account, the PI will have to wait for the contract to be reviewed, accepted, signed and sent through the system between OCG and SPA to have a SpeedType set up.

The other option is to communicate this with your Contract Officer, who will request preaward authorization. The Sponsor may or may not approve, but if approved, it will be noted in the contract.

Budget Questions

How do I know if I can revise my budget?

Review your award document to see if there are restrictions regarding budget revisions. If there are restrictions, contact your Grant or Contract Officer to have them work with the sponsor to request a revised budget. 

When is a revised budget required?

A revised budget is required when there have been changes that will require a different allocation of expenditure than previously set up or proposed. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Amount of the award received is different than proposed
  • Addition of personnel
  • Changes in cost or pieces of equipment to be purchased
  • Change of personnel (ie. Principal Investigator changes)
  • New funding that was not included in the previous budget
  • Items required (such as travel) that were not previously included in the budget or approved by the sponsor
Can I request a deviation in the two month salary support on an NSF grant?

As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. CU Boulder considers our fiscal year as the one year period. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. If anticipated, any compensation in excess of the two months can be requested from NSF in the proposal with the required documentation and justification.  NSF also provides CU Boulder rebudgeting authority to internally approve changes to personnel salary support, even if that results in support that exceeds two months.

If you want to propose and/or expense more than two months direct NSF salary support in any 12 month period, you should include the following applicable criteria to assist you in developing your justification, either at proposal or for a budget deviation after the award has been funded.

  • The additional salary support is necessary to fulfill the research objective of the project
  • The project will be negatively impacted by not supporting additional Principal Investigator paid effort
  • How the costs are reasonable, directly benefit the project, and represent prudent use of the sponsor’s funds
  • An explanation for other budgeted costs that will be reduced in order to compensate for the additional unbudgeted salary support

OCG is currently developing a large number of procedural guidelines regarding cost principles, including a process for budget deviations expected to be in effect in early 2016.

Award Status & Change Questions

How do I change the PI on my award?

Changing the Principal Investigator (PI) on an award will require sponsor approval. Send a request to your Grant or Contract Officer with the following information:

  • Names of both the current PI and the new PI (NSF ID numbers if NSF award)
  • Project number(s) affected
  • Why the current PI is leaving the award
  • Why the new PI was chosen
  • Current CV and Current and Pending Support for the new PI
  • Impact of this change on the project

Your Grant or Contract Officer will submit the request to the sponsor for approval.

How do I change the Department contact in the award record?

You must complete the Project Manager Change form found on the Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) webpages. Follow the instructions on the form for returning to SPA. SPA will validate the new personnel and update PeopleSoft. Once PeopleSoft is updated, the change is forwarded to ocg@colorado.edu to be updated in InfoEd.

How do I change the home Department and organization number in the award record?

You must complete the Reorg Request form found on the Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) webpages. Follow the instructions on the form for returning to SPA. SPA will enter in PeopleSoft. Once PeopleSoft is updated, the change is forwarded to ocg@colorado.edu to be updated in InfoEd.

How can I transfer funds from one account to another?
Can I move funds from one category of expense to another?

The answer is dependent upon several things:

  • The award sponsor and their terms and conditions; the terms and conditions may restrict rebudgeting without prior approval, and/or they may impose a dollar amount limitation on reallocations
  • The categories of expenses that you are trying to move to/from; for example, funding cannot be moved from participant support to another category without prior approval from the sponsor

It is best to check with your Grant or Contract Officer so they can advise you on how to proceed in your individual situation. 

Who notifies the Sponsor when spending reaches a certain amount or percentage?

The Principal Investigator (PI) and department monitor all spending. Once the threshold has been reached, it is the PI's responsibility to notify the sponsor. Contact your Grant or Contract Officer for assistance or questions related to these notifications.

How do I transfer my award to another institution?

There are multiple steps and approvals required in order to transfer an existing award to another institution when a Principal Investigator (PI) is leaving CU and wishes to transfer active awards.

How the transfer request is initiated with the sponsor is dependent on the sponsor. Some agencies such as NSF and NIH have an online process. In other cases it may be handled through email correspondence with the sponsor.

Typically a transfer will involve relinquishing the unexpended balance on an award back to the sponsor, who will then reissue it to the new institution.

Required supporting documentation typically includes a budget, budget justification, and statement of work. There may be additional requirements depending on the sponsor. The PI and/or Department Administrator will need to work with the Grant Accountant to ensure there are no outstanding encumbrances and to determine the final transfer amount.

Your OCG Grant or Contract Officer will submit the transfer request. Prior to doing so, OCG will need a letter signed by the Department Chair or Director and the PI stating that the Department does not wish to nominate a substitute PI for the award, and stating the effective date of the transfer and the transfer amount, whether there is equipment on the award, and agreeing that the Department will be responsible for any overexpenditures.

What does it mean when OCG notifies me that my project has funds being deobligated?

When something is being deobligated, it means that the Sponsor is removing funds from the project. Sometimes this means that they are reducing the overall anticipated budget. Other times it means that they are reducing the dollar amount on the project, and we have to send back funds that we may already have. Work with your Grant or Contract Officer to determine the deobligation action and next steps.

How can I request a change in co-PI?

Send a request to your Grant or Contract Officer with the following information:

  • Names of new co-PI
  • Explanation detailing why the change is necessary and explanation of why the new co-PI is qualified
  • New co-PI's biosketch/CV
  • Effective date of the change
What happens if the PI goes on Sabbatical/Extended Leave and has active awards?

Sabbatical or extended leave may impact Federal or Federal flow-down sponsored projects that are still in progress when leave begins.

Recipients are required to notify OCG:

  • If there will be a reduction in personnel effort by the approved project director or Principal Investigator (PI) on an award, prior approval must be requested in advance for those budget deviations when there is disengagement from the project for more than three months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project.
  • If a PI is going on sabbatical to work on a federally sponsored project.

Contact your Grant or Contract Officer in OCG for assistance with submitting these requests to the sponsor.

How do I add a subrecipient on an already existing proposal/award?

If a subrecipient was not identified as part of the proposal documentation, the sponsor usually requires prior approval to add them to the sponsored project. Work directly with your OCG Grant or Contract Officer to get sponsor prior approval for the subrecipient request.

Your OCG Grant or Contract officer will need the following documentation to submit to the sponsor: 

  • Description of work to be performed by the sub for the prime award
  • Budget reflecting reallocation of funds for Subrecipient and a Subrecipient budget (Including Justification)
  • Justification for Subrecipient

Your new sub will be required to provide the following documentation to your OCG Proposal Analyst once approved by the sponsor (if not already submitted):

  • Detailed Sub Budget
  • Sub Budget Justification
  • Sub Statement of Work
  • Sub Commitment form (If the new sub is part of the Federal Demonstration Project (FDP) cohort, it is possible this form can be skipped)
  • Indirect Cost Rate Agreement
  • Sub Review Form

Budget Note: CU will charge Indirect Cost (IDC) on the first $25,000 of the sub according to our negotiated rate agreement. The existing budget will have to be revised to cover these costs.

NSF Salary Limit Questions

Can I request more than two months of salary on an individual proposal, or can I get paid more than two months of salary across all of my funded NSF projects?

Yes. The NSF policy is a general rule, meaning that exceptions can and will be made where the needs of the project warrant. You should request a salary amount from the project that is commensurate with the effort required to complete the research being proposed. If you ask for more than two months’ salary on a single proposal or if you are receiving more than two months’ salary across all of your funded proposals, you will need to provide additional justification for the amount(s) received.

Do I have to get NSF approval to make changes to the amount of salary I receive on a project that has already been awarded, if that change would exceed the two month salary limit?

Not necessarily.

  • If the change in effort does not entail a change to the overall scope or objectives of the project, prior NSF approval is not needed. Notify your grant officer so the change and your documentation can be retained in OCG records, and also alert your proposal analyst during your next NSF proposal submission to adjust your current and pending support information.
  • However, if the change in your effort does represent a change to the project’s overall scope or objectives, then work with your grant officer to notify NSF and get approval to make the change, and also work with your proposal analyst during your next NSF proposal submission to adjust your records.
Does the NSF two-month rule apply to all salary funded by the grant?

Yes. NSF changed its policy in 2009.The policy now applies to any NSF salary support taken in summer and during the academic year during a CU fiscal year.

Does this policy apply to uncompensated effort on proposals?

No, the two-month rule only applies to NSF-funded salary that is paid to senior personnel.

Is this policy specific to the National Science Foundation, or do other federal agencies also have this restriction?

Yes, this policy is specific to the National Science Foundation although some NSF programs have different limits, as do other funding agencies. Always be sure to check the guidelines for the specific competition you are applying to (or from which you have received funding), to ensure that you are following the correct policies.

When did these new NSF regulations about the 2-month salary limit become effective?

NSF permitted exceptions to this limitation since the ruling became effective in 2009.  However, it is only since 12/26/2014 that allowable exceptions were incorporated into the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).  Therefore, only senior personnel salary earned on awards receiving new funding after 12/26/2014 is governed by CU Boulder’s procedural statement, NSF Two-Month Salary Rule for Project Senior Personnel.

Situational Questions

There is salary support on my project, how do I ensure we don’t over or underspend based on the budget?

If your project has salary posted to it, a sponsor will not usually give additional funding for increases in salary, fringe, or F&A costs after an award is made. It is up to the Department to adjust the percentage of salary distribution based on the approved budget.

There are m-Fin reports that will show you the actual fringe rate of each employee (m-Fin Compensation Summary) that will often get you as close to exact as possible for charging salaries over the course of the year without creating an overage. Doing this can prevent PETs in the future.

Monthly or quarterly monitoring is suggested by departmental staff of Fund 30 Speedtypes for this reason. An adjustment might be required on each of your fund 30 Speedtypes in July to account for faculty and staff salary increases. PETs also create questions from sponsors and the potential for unallowable expenses later in the project period.

If I have a multi year projects that currently has 1 year of funding and a 1 year period of performance, can I book travel for year 2, in year 1?

With a period of performance that only extends a year, you should not be expensing or obligating funds beyond year two, even if we are paying for year two activities in year one. The reason for this is that there is no guarantee that the Sponsor will be award more funds than are currently awarded and obligated in year one.

I have an award where we are subcontracting to company A and also purchasing a piece of equipment from company A. Can I have a single Speedtype and action to capture these things with this Sponsor?

You will need two separate actions. The first action will be for the actual Subcontracted dollars, which will be worked through with your Subcontract Officer. A second action will be with the procurement department, issuing a PO for the piece of equipment. If you need assistance during this process, please work with your Grant or Contact Officer. 

I am interested in working with a foreign sponsor for a research project. What should I keep in mind when foreign currency is involved?

The strength of the U.S. dollar may ebb and flow through the period of performance on a contract. For example, an award amount valued today at 200,000 EU may be worth $400,000 if the exchange rate is $2 to 1 EU; yet in three years, the exchange rate could change to $1 to 1EU. Essentially, that would mean receiving $200,000 to perform the same anticipated work. While an exaggerated example, the decrease in dollars received is a source of great fiscal risk for the University. Here are a few ways we can mitigate the risk.

  1. The greatest way to minimize the risk is to negotiate a fixed price contract in dollars. Why? We receive a set amount of U.S. dollars no matter the actual cost to us, whether more or less than anticipated, and no matter the flux in exchange rate. Of course, the University bears the risk of inflation here in the U.S., but the foreign sponsor is legally obligated to pay the bargained-for amount no matter how weak or strong it’s currency becomes as compared to the U.S. dollar. So, if in the above example, the exchange rate comes 2 EU to $1 for a $400,000 award, the foreign sponsor will bear the risk of paying twice as many Euros as originally anticipated.
  2. Negotiating a fixed price contract in U.S. dollars could be an unrealistic goal for most foreign sponsors. If that is the case, negotiating a fixed-price contract in the foreign currency and requesting a lump sum payment upon execution is another viable option. Why? The University only must deal with the uncertainty of the currency conversion once, not each time an invoice (as in the case of a cost-reimbursable contract) is submitted. The department can then plan accordingly and adjust the budget as necessary based on any shortfalls or excess.

If obtaining a lump sum upon execution of a fixed price contract in foreign currency is not possible, the next best option would be obtaining lump sums on an annual basis. Again, by minimizing the number of exchange conversions throughout the period of performance, the University can mitigate the deficits created by unknowingly overspending and then invoicing, only to find that the number of dollars received is less than anticipated.

Outgoing Subawards FAQs

Who is my Subcontract Officer?

The Unit Directory on our website allows you to search by department to find your contacts at OCG. In the directory you will find your Proposal Analyst, Grant Officer, Contract Officer and Subcontract Officer.

The Subcontracts Team can also be reached through email at OCGSubs@colorado.edu.

Outgoing Subs Proposal Stage Questions

What documents are the PI and the department responsible for acquiring at the proposal stage?

The following documentation is required:

  • Statement of Work
  • Budget (this is a detailed budget for the sub, not the main)
  • Budget Justification (also for the sub, not the main)
  • Sub Commitment Form (filled out by Subcontractor)
  • Sole Source Justification Form (filled out by CU PI)
  • If there are human or animal subjects, a protocol will be needed at award
How can we set up a new subcontract that was not in the proposal?

If a subrecipient was not identified as part of the proposal documentation, the sponsor usually requires prior approval to add them to the sponsored project. Work directly with your OCG Grant or Contract Officer to get sponsor prior approval for the subrecipient request.

Your OCG Grant or Contract officer will need the following documentation to submit to the sponsor: 

  • Description of work to be performed by the sub for the prime award
  • Budget reflecting reallocation of funds for Subrecipient and a Subrecipient budget (Including Justification)
  • Justification for Subrecipient

Your new sub will be required to provide the following documentation to your OCG Proposal Analyst once approved by the sponsor (if not already submitted):

Budget Note: CU will charge Indirect Cost (IDC) on the first $25,000 of the sub according to our negotiated rate agreement. The existing budget will have to be revised to cover these costs.

Why is the Sub Commitment form required?

This is the Sub's authorized official committing to the proposed work. It is also a method for CU Boulder to gather compliance information from the Sub. 

Why do Sole Source justifications have to be completed on every subcontract by the CU Boulder PI?

Every year CU is subject to audit for our purchasing system. A large part of that audit has to do with Subcontracts. We are using government and tax payer funds so there are many rules and regulations that we must abide by.

The research that CU does is specialized. Our Principal Investigators (PIs) oftentimes have collaborators in their specialized field that they work with to do research. This is not the type of work that we could go to bid for, but we are expected to do just that.

Our other option is a sole source justification. This works well for us in that we usually only have one source that can do the work we need due to the years of study, work, and specialization of our PIs. If we failed this audit, we would have to have written permission from the Office of Naval Research for every Sub and Sub modification before we could enter or modify a subcontract. This would take a large amount of time and delay our research projects.

Using the sole source helps us pass this audit because it explains why we did not go to bid to select our subcontractors. 

Outgoing Subs Post Award Questions

When does work begin on a new Sub Agreement after a Prime Award has been granted?

Once a grant or contract is in place, it is routed to Subcontracts Team and Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) at the same time. OCG cannot begin work on a Sub until the Prime Award is in place.

What documents are required to process a subcontract at the time of award?
  • Statement of Work
  • Budget (this is a detailed budget for the Sub, not the main)
  • Budget Justification (also for the Sub, not the main)
  • Sub Commitment Form (filled out by Subcontractor)
  • Sole Source Justification Form (filled out by CU PI)
  • Sub Review Form (filled out by CU PI)
  • If there are human or animal subjects, an approved protocol is required
  • Sub’s F&A Rate Agreement
  • SPO requisition entered into CU Marketplace by the department administrator
Why is the Sub review form filled out at time of award instead of at proposal and why does it have to be filled out every time there is a new budget?

The Sub Review Form is an aspect of subrecipient monitoring. It is used to show that the CU Principal Investigator (PI), who is ultimately responsible for the subcontract, has looked at the statement of work and the budget, and determined that the budget is adequate and reasonable to complete the work described in the statement of work.

It is filled out at the time of award to save the PI's time because oftentimes the budget that we propose and the budget that is awarded are different.

This type of subrecipient monitoring needs to occur every time there is a new budget.

What are the steps if I want to add funds to a subcontract purchase order?

It is important to understand that the subcontract purchase order is a payment mechanism for the subcontract and can only be modified after the actual subcontract agreement has been modified. 

If you are adding funds to a subcontract and it is incremental funding on an existing subcontract budget you only need to mark up a PO. In CU Marketplace, search for the PO number, print the fax version of the PO, write/type the changes you would like made, sign the PO, and scan and send it to ocgsubs@colorado.edu.

If you are adding funds not previously expected, then you will need to mark up a PO as above, send the PO, a budget and Statement of Work (if it is different from the original) to ocgsubs@colorado.edu

Why do we do marked up SPOs?

This is for the Subcontracts Team to gain department approval for each modification. 

What changes to a subcontract require Sponsor approval?

The complete answer depends on the terms of the award document.

In most cases, the following require Sponsor approval:    

  • Change in Statement of Work
  • Change in budget larger than 10%
  • Change in Subcontractor
  • Change in Principal Investigator of Subcontractor (if they are named as Key Personnel in the Award)
What is involved in Subcontract Monitoring at the Department and PI level?

Reviewing the invoices is extremely important. Compare the actual charges being billed against what was in the original budget, and question the subcontractor on unbudgeted expenses (especially travel and equipment).

The PI should review the invoices and sign them in if possible. Invoices should be sent no later than quarterly and should be detailed. If they are not detailed, question the subcontractor. Don’t be afraid to refuse an invoice and to ask for an acceptable one. 

Outgoing Subs Closeout Questions

What is the process to close a subcontract once the grant/contract period has expired?

The Closeout Specialist handles the closeout of all awards, both main and Subs. The Subcontracts Team will assist the Closeout Specialist as needed.

If you have a Subs Closeout question, email ocgsubscloseout@colorado.edu.

Property FAQs

Common Property Questions

What is capital equipment?

Capital equipment is a commercially available piece of equipment that has a useful life of at least one year and a total cost of $5K or more.

What is a fabrication?

A fabrication is an assembly of materials, non-consumable supplies, and hardware into a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that meets a research need. Fabrications are distinguished from standalone equipment by either original development or original components. Fabrication components must be essential and integral to the function of the entire piece of equipment, to the extent that removal of any one component would reduce the functionality of the whole piece of equipment.

In order to be considered capital equipment, fabrications must also have a useful life of at least one year and a total cost of $5K or more. 

Can an upgrade to existing equipment be capitalized?

Upgrades that provide a substantial increase in either the functionality or efficiency of existing equipment, allowing it to perform additional tasks that were not originally anticipated, may be capitalized if the estimated useful life of the upgrade is at least one year and the total cost for the upgrade is $5K or more. 

When will tag numbers and physical tags be created for property in my Department?

At the beginning of the month, the Property Accounting Office (PAO) generates a report for all fixed asset expenditures during the prior month and assigns a unique tag number for each piece of standalone equipment. PAO prints and mails these tags to the Department Property Manager who is responsible for affixing the tags to their equipment.

Fabrications are assigned a tag number when the fabrication and Chartfield request forms are submitted to PAO. The tag for fabrications will be printed and mailed to the Department Property Manager when the fabrication has been placed into service.

Government-titled property is assigned a tag number by the OCG Property Specialist as soon as the department has physically accepted the property. The OCG Property Specialist prints and affixes the tag for Government property as quickly as possible after the department has accepted the property. 

How do I request prior approval from the sponsor for equipment purchases?

Approval requests to purchase Government-titled property will be submitted by the OCG Property Specialist. The Department Property Manager or Principal Investigator (PI) coordinates with the OCG Property Specialist unless the department has been given authorization to submit requests directly to the sponsor. If the terms and conditions of the award require prior written approval from the sponsor to purchase University titled property, the Department Administrator or PI may work with their Contract or Grant Officer in OCG to submit a request to the sponsor. 

Who is responsible for identifying Government property and how will a department know if it has Government property?

The OCG Property Specialist reviews the terms and conditions for each new award and award modification and lists any special conditions in OCG’s award database, including whether property purchased on the award will be Government-titled property or if sponsor prior approval is required.

FAR 52.245-1 (alternate II) is the most frequently used clause to govern the use and management of the Government-titled property, but each agency or subaward agreements can cite their own specific terms governing property.

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator and the Fiscal Manager to review the Terms and Conditions pages in Boulder eRA when they receive both new awards and modifications to existing awards.

What should you do if your department receives property from a sponsor?

Contact the OCG Compliance team. The OCG Compliance Officer will either negotiate a bailment agreement or ensure that the award records are updated to reflect the University’s accountability for sponsor-furnished property. Principal Investigators and department personnel are not authorized to sign bailment or loan agreements on behalf of the University. The OCG Compliance Officer will ensure that the bailment agreement includes the correct identifications, documentation, and insurances for property loaned to the University.

What should you do if your department wants to loan property to an external entity?

Some collaborations may necessitate the University loaning equipment to an external entity for a specific purpose. To negotiate and execute a bailment agreement for loaning University property to an external entity, contact the OCG Compliance team. University property cannot be loaned to an external entity without the execution of a bailment agreement by the OCG Compliance Officer.

What is a bailment agreement?

A bailment agreement is a legal agreement that documents the terms and conditions of property loaned between two entities.  While title to the property is not transferred, a bailment agreement will document the period of the loan, transfer process, insurance, and other relevant conditions of the loan.  In order to negotiate and execute a bailment agreement for loaning property to (or from) an external entity, contact the OCG Compliance team.

Travel FAQs

Common Travel Questions

What receipts do I need for my travel related expenses?

Effective January 21, 2014, travel related receipts are required only when an individual expense exceeds $75.

Not all expenses incurred while on travel status can be considered travel related. For instance, if the traveler needs to pay for copies or other printing services while away from campus or purchases books and/or other written materials available at a conference, those costs are classified as operating costs because they are not supporting the travel status, and must therefore follow the guidelines established for Procurement Card transactions. This is especially true if the expenses will be charged to a sponsored project.

What is the Fly America Act?

Government funded travel on grants and contracts at CU where the “Fly America Act” is in effect stipulates that air transportation must be performed by or under a code-sharing arrangement with a United States flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available, regardless of cost or convenience.​

What does United States mean?

For purposes of the use of United States flag air carriers, “United States” means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

What is a U.S. flag air carrier?

An air carrier which holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 but does not include a foreign air carrier operating under a permit.  The full list can be found on U.S. Department of Transportation’s website here

How do I determine if I can use a non-U.S. air carrier?

Please review the Fly America Desk Reference on the OCG website to determine if a non-U.S. air carrier can be used.  If it is determined that a non-U.S. air carrier can be used, the Fly America Act Waiver can be used to document why a particular carrier is permitted.  These resources are both available on the OCG website here. If you have any questions, please email ocgtravel@colorado.edu.

I can get a much cheaper rate if I use a European carrier when I travel for my project with the DOD or by a department of the U.S. Military. May I do that and save the project some money?

No. You must use a U.S. air carrier regardless of cost on a project funded by the DOD or by a department of the U.S. Military.

One leg of my trip is not on a US air carrier because a U.S. carrier does not go to the destination. What do I need to do?

It should be documented why a non-U.S. air carrier is used.  This can be done using the Fly America Act Waiver form found on the OCG website here.

Does OCG need to approve the Fly America Act Waiver?

No. Only the traveler and the Principal Investigator (if not the traveler) need to sign the form. The completed form should be attached to the other trip records, such as the travel authorization and expense report, and kept with the award records with the department.

My PI has funding from both federal and non-federal sponsors. Are there rules relating to travel costs charged to federal awards that are different than those for non-federal awards?

Yes. Any travel costs charged to federal awards must comply with federal regulations, including the requirement to book the lowest economy airfare and comply with the Fly America Act.  When traveling on non-federal awards, unless it is specifically prohibited in the terms and conditions of the award agreement, travel does not need to meet the Fly America Act requirement.  Regardless of the sponsor, University of Colorado’s travel policy is in effect.

Are economy upgrades on a federal award allowable?

Generally not, unless you meet an exception specified in the federal regulations and you are able to meet University of Colorado’s travel policy.

May I travel by a foreign air carrier if the cost of my ticket is less than traveling by a U.S. flag air carrier?

No. Foreign air carrier service may not be used solely based on the cost or convenience.

Reporting FAQs

Common Reporting Questions

What happens if a PI does not submit their report on time?

Failure to provide reports on time can result in sponsors not providing future funding increments. In some cases, the sponsor will also not process any new awards to a PI with a delinquent report, which is the stance NSF has recently been taking. In addition, timely closeout of awards results in shorter records retention of the award because the records retention clock does not officially start until all final documents are completed.

Can a PI sign any Project Report documents requiring appropriate signature authority?

No, the PI should not sign any documents (including research performance reports) that require signature from an authorized University official or contain certifications or representations on behalf of the University. If this type of signature is required on a project report, the PI should provide the report either through the sponsor’s online system, if applicable, or via email to ocgreports@colorado.edu. If the report is for financials, the appropriate Grant Accountant will be able to assist with the submission of these reports.

What if my report is late for a justifiable reason?

Sponsors may or may not authorize the submission of a late report, but the request must be made before the report becomes late. If for some reason the report cannot be submitted on time, please contact Stacy Litwin at 303-735-1996 or send an email to ocgreports@colorado.edu with your request and justification for why you would like to request an extension to the reporting timeframe, but please keep in mind that this request will not always be approved.

Why does OCG need my report if I’ve already given it to the sponsor?

Reports that are stored in infoED transitions responsibility from the PI to OCG to produce a copy of the report in the event the sponsor questions CU’s fulfillment of the award.  If OCG does not receive a copy of a report, then the PI and that PI’s department assume this responsibility and will need to retain the document for six years past the inactivation date of all financial accounts of that award, in accordance with CU Boulder’s Records Retention and Management policies.

How can I track upcoming deadlines for a PI or department?

There is a Cognos report under CU Reporting > eRA > CU Boulder > Proposal and Award Tracking titled “Deliverables Report." This report allows the selection of many specific parameters, such as department or individual. The “Comments” field will result in multiple line items on particular awards if the identified deliverable, such as Final Report, has multiple comments. The comments are there to inform OCG and others of reporting communications going on regarding the report. Usually, multiple comments will indicate late reports, but not always. If you would like to only see 1 row per award, there is a radial button that can be selected to only show the most recent comment entered in InfoEd.

What if I need assistance with the requested reporting requirements or reporting systems?

You can send an email to ocgreports@colorado.edu or contact Betty Rasmussen at 303-492-9660 or Greg Bradley at 303-492-2698.

I’ve had sponsored awards for more than 10 years but the sponsors have always been pretty relaxed about reports I needed to complete. Why have they changed?

Federal agencies have been given the mandate by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to close awards per Federal requirements.  In addition, both NIH and NSF have been audited since 2013 with recommendations to take appropriate actions to ensure performance reports are submitted on time. Consequently, many agencies are continually improving their capability to track outstanding obligations and are making warnings or taking steps of disciplinary action against individual PIs and the University because of unfulfilled obligations. Prior to 2014, OCG had seen this type of sponsor response only in rare and extreme situations. It is now becoming common practice.

If I need to send a copy of my performance reports to OCG, why doesn’t OCG just submit the reports by the required deadline? Why do I have to do them?

Completion and submission of performance reports within the sponsor deadlines are the primary responsibility of the lead Principal Investigator (PI) because these reports capture the achievements of the research and progress according to the scope of work. OCG helps ensure compliance with the reporting requirements by tracking the submissions of the reports, not by submitting the reports on behalf of the PI. In some cases, OCG does assist with the report submission (see the "How To" Guide for Reporting Requirements tool). However, it is understood by most sponsors that the PI will complete and submit the required performance reports. Those sponsors have designed their submission systems with the understanding that PIs, not the central administrative offices, would complete and submit the performance reports.

If a property report is required, does Property Accounting submit that?

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Property purchased with sponsored projects funds is managed by the OCG Property Specialist, and that person would submit any required property reports to the sponsor. If you have questions, email OCGProperty@colorado.edu.

If I receive a no-cost extension, does that change the date I need to submit an annual report?

Extending the end date of a project will generally change the due date of the final report. Whether an additional annual report is required is dependent on the sponsor and/or the award terms.

NSF requires an annual progress report for the prior year if a no-cost extension is approved. NSF allows you to submit an extension request in as little as 10 days before the period of performance ends, which means there can be very little time between the no-cost extension approval and the previous year’s annual report due date. The day the extension is approved is when the reporting requirement is made available in Research.gov. There is no leniency to the due date once the extension is approved because the system adjusts the dates based on the period of performance and terms of the award. To avoid this potential issue, submit NSF no-cost extension requests as soon as the need is known to reduce the risk of last minute reporting needs.

NASA and NIH do not typically require an additional annual report when granted a no-cost extension, but they could incorporate a requirement in the award modification if they choose to do so. For other organizations, updated reporting due dates may be identified in the award modification. If you have questions regarding reporting requirements, email ocgreports@colorado.edu.

Why does OCG care whether my technical reports are submitted?

OCG tracks the due dates and submissions of award deliverables for all sponsored awards on the Boulder campus to help ensure campus compliance with increasingly important sponsor reporting requirements.  Past due reports place the University's future funding at risk. OCG has received notices from Federal sponsors saying they have blocked particular awards and have also delayed processing certain requests because of reporting non-compliance.

Closeout FAQs

Common Closeout Questions

The sponsor sent me a notice requesting a number of reports. Am I supposed to complete all of those listed?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for submitting only the annual and final technical reports to the Sponsor. However, the PI can also receive notices about all outstanding reports, and ultimately, it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements of the award are met. If you have questions, email OCGcloseout@colorado.edu.

I send my Program Officer monthly financial reports. Why do I need to send a final financial report, too?

Monthly financial reports are used by the sponsor for planning purposes to ensure your spending rate is on schedule with the proposed budget and reflects activity throughout the period of performance.

A final financial report is submitted by a Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) Grant Accountant to summarize cumulative expenses per cost category and, in some instances, validate final payment from the sponsor.

Department Closeout Property Report

What is the Department Closeout Property Report?

The Department Closeout Property Report is a form that is completed by the Principal Investigator and their department during the closeout of a sponsored award. The form contains details on the fixed assets acquired with award funds and a brief description of the intended use of the fixed assets in the future. The Department Closeout Property Report is listed on the Closeout Checklist in Boulder eRA as the “Project Property Report.” The form must be completed when a sponsor requires a final property report from CU Boulder and when standalone permanent equipment, fabrications, or deliverable equipment have been purchased with award funds.

Does the Department Closeout Report need to be submitted for all sponsored awards?

No, the Department Closeout Property Report only needs to be submitted for awards ending in October 2015 or later, when a sponsor requires a final property report from CU Boulder and when standalone permanent equipment, fabrications, or deliverable equipment have been purchased with award funds.

How do I know whether the Department Closeout Property Report is required for my award?

The OCG Compliance team is working to update Boulder eRA award records to indicate whether the Department Closeout Property Report is required. For those records that have been updated, the “Required” box beneath Project Property Report on the Closeout Checklist is checked when this report is required. If the Department Closeout Property Report is required for your award, you will also receive an email notification along with a financial detail of the fixed assets expenditures on your award.

Why do I need to complete the Department Closeout Property Report?

The Department Closeout Property Report is used by the OCG Property Officer to complete and submit the final property reports required by a sponsor. The information entered on the form of the cost, acquisition date, use and condition of fixed assets acquired with award funds must be disclosed to the sponsor. Completion of the Department Closeout Property report ensures that final reports to the sponsor are accurate and submitted on time.

What do I need to do if I have residual unused supplies with a total aggregate value of $5,000 or more?

Attach a detailed list of the residual unused supplies to the Department Closeout Property Report before submitting the report to OCG. The detailed list should include descriptions, quantities, and costs of the residual supplies. If you have questions on the level of detail required, contact ocgproperty@colorado.edu.

When is my Department Closeout Property Report due?

Check your notification from ocgproperty@colorado.edu for the specific due date of your Department Closeout Property Report. In general, the due date for the Department Closeout Property report will be thirty days prior to the sponsor’s deadline for the University to submit a final property report.