Need an extension?
Contact your Grant or Contract Officer about the requirements for submitting an extension request. Find your Grant or Contract Officer in the Unit Directory.
The Office of Contracts and Grants is the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) and administrator for all externally funded sponsored research on the CU Boulder campus.

OCG Grant and Contract Officers review, negotiate, and accept all award agreements and assist with overall award management, including approving and processing modifications and revisions. OCG's Subcontract Officers prepare and issue outgoing subawards, and OCG's Compliance team manages government property, travel and award closeout.

The Departmental Financial Management Guide provided by Sponsored Projects Accounting covers many aspects of sponsored projects in Chapter 14. This is a resource for those whose work involves post-award responsibilites for sponsored projects administraton. 

Key Topics & Guide to Award Management

Types of Sponsors

  • Federal Government
  • Other Universities
  • Industry Partners
  • Non-Profits
  • State Governments
  • Other
    • Municipalities
    • Foreign

Pre-Award Spending

Generally, a fully executed award agreement is needed in order to set up a SpeedType.

Principal Investigators (PIs) do have the option to request a SpeedType prior to the award being fully issued by requesting to set up an at-risk account. The PI should complete the At-Risk Project Request Form and send it to your department’s Grant or Contract Officer to begin review.

The at-risk award process will vary somewhat depending upon whether the 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. The PI will need to complete an At-Risk Project Request Form and then contact your Grant or Contract Officer to request approval.

Contracts, federal grant flow-down, or non-federal grants: The award will require approval from the sponsor to ensure costs prior to the performance start date will be allowed. The PI will need to complete an At-Risk Project Request Form and then contact your Grant or Contract Officer to request approval.

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 setting up an at-risk award account, the PI will have to wait for the agreement to be reviewed, accepted, signed and sent through InfoEd and OCG to Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) in order for a SpeedType to be set up.

If the award has already been issued and does not explicitly call out Pre-Award spending as authorized, contact your Contract or Grant Officer to request pre-award spending authorization from the sponsor. The sponsor may or may not approve, but if so, it will be noted in the agreement.

Review & Negotiation

Before accepting an award on behalf of the University, the Grant or Contract Officer reviews all terms and conditions, regardless of the sponsor, and they are responsible for negotiating and reviewing all awards. Contact your Grant or Contract Officer with questions and for more information.

Award Acceptance

Upon successful negotion of award terms and conditions, designated Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) staff have the authority to sign the award on behalf of the University.

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).

In addition, OCG holds the delegation of signature authority for other research related awards including:

  • Material Transfer Agreements
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Service Agreements
  • Data Agreements (Transfer, Access or Use)

OCG can assist PIs with questions about agreements and signature authority. View the Signature Authority Delegations fact sheet for more information.

SpeedType & Project Number

Once all documents have been received and your project has been reviewed and processed it will be routed to Sponsored Projects Accounting to be assigned a project number and SpeedType.

These items must be completed and accurate before being routed to SPA:

  • Current DEPA on File with Office of Research Integrity
  • Human and/or Animal Subjects Approvals with IRB/ IACUC/ BIOSAFETY (if applicable)
  • Proposal on File
  • Budget and Budget Justification matching award
  • IDC Form fully signed (if applicable)
  • Cost Share Form fully signed (if applicable)
  • Sub Documents (if applicable)
  • Export Control Office Review (if applicable)
  • Tech Transfer Review (if applicable)
  • ICR Split Documentation with all approvals (if applicable)

Request Post-Award Approvals

The following is a sample list of the types of requests that may require post-award approvals. This list is not all-inclusive, and other areas may require approval that are not identified below.

Determining Allowable Costs

According to federal regulations, an expense qualifies as a direct cost of a sponsored project only when it meets all four of the following criteria:


Allowable and unallowable costs are defined in OMB Circular A-21, the Uniform Guidance, and in the terms of specific awards.


Only those expenses that benefit a project may be charged to that project.


Costs must reflect what a “prudent person” would pay.


Costs must be handled consistently across the University by following CU Boulder policy.

Prior to your purchasing or incurring an expense you must assure that it is allowed by the University and by the sponsor.

It is crucial to use the correct account code and SpeedType expenses correctly to comply with CU Boulder’s obligation to the federal government for both direct and indirect cost recovery. Our ability to obtain federal grants and contracts is dependent upon our performance in meeting federal requirements.

We must understand the distinction between allowable and unallowable costs whenever we record University expenses. The integrity of the University’s financial systems depends on the knowledge and skill of each of the individuals who process the thousands of financial transactions here every day.