Start & Manage Projects

Find information in this section on what to do when you receive external funding for sponsored projects and how to manage your sponsored project from the time of award through the end of the project.

Topics

Start a Project

You have received news of funding from an external sponsor for your grant or contract, so what's next? Here's how you begin your sponsored project.

Accepting an Award

New Award Meetings

new award responsibility matrixOnce Sponsored Programs has processed your award, you will be contacted about setting up a New Award Meeting.

  • This meeting will be held with both your contact person in Sponsored Programs and Special Funds Accounting. Your department/office administrative assistant will also be invited.
  • During the meeting, you will provide Special Funds Accounting with information they need to set up an account (or fund) for your sponsored funds.
  • Also, everyone will review who is responsible for what (click here to see the Responsibility Matrix - PDF) during the management of your sponsored project, including effort reporting, re-budgeting, sub-recipient monitoring, financial and technical reporting, and closing out your project when it is finished. 

Establishing an Account, or Fund, for Your Sponsored Funds

  • Post-award processes, which are handled by Special Funds Accounting (SFA), are triggered by notification from Sponsored Programs that the proposal has been officially awarded and accepted by the University.
  • SFA establishes a 55XXXX fund number to account for the project's revenues and expenses and sends a Fund Authority Form to you, the Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) for signatures.

Who Does What?

new award responsibility matrix

Special Funds Accounting (SFA), which is part of the Business Affairs unit of the University, is responsible for the financial management of sponsored projects, including funded grants and contracts.

View the Responsibility Matrix (PDF) which outlines who (yourself, Sponsored Programs, SFA, etc.) is responsible for what throughout the process of managing your award (found on p.2 of the Matrix).

Click here to view your department's staff person in SFA, who will assist you with managing your grants and contracts; this list also includes staff assignments for Sponsored Programs.

Collecting Funds from the Sponsor

  • Special Funds Accounting (SFA) is responsible for collecting funds from the sponsor. 
  • Each project, in its awarding document, has specific requirements for either billing the sponsor or drawing down funds from a designated web portal.
  • Please note: If the sponsor is a private company or industry, Appalachian will require advance payments in the contract agreement.
  • SFA staff will review all grant or contract expenditures for reasonableness prior to submitting the request for payment to the sponsor.
  • In the event of sponsor non-payment of the invoice submitted, collection procedures (PDF) are invoked.

Monitoring Your Sponsored Funds

  • The responsibility for monitoring all grant and contract expenditures belongs to you, the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD).
  • All expenditures must comply with the sponsor's and University's guidelines and be aligned with the approved budget in the proposal application.
  • Special Funds Accounting (SFA) recommends that the PI/PD review all expenditures on a monthly basis, at a minimum. It may be necessary for the PI/PD to create an internal spreadsheet to monitor the rate of spending and available balances.
    • Helpful Tip: You may receive monthly detail and summary financial reports from your Departmental Administrator. 
    • Alternatively, there are several reporting tools available for monitoring expenditures on your own:
      Banner eprintappalnetAppLEAP


Monitoring Funds and Activities of Subrecipients

If Appalachian receives a grant that includes subrecipients, the University and the Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) are responsible for insuring that the subrecipients meet all the federal and state regulations imposed upon Appalachian. This section describes what steps should be taken to monitor our subrecipients (which is called subrecipient monitoring).

If a subrecipient agreement is required for a project, you will work with your contact person in Sponsored Programs to issue the agreement.

Under reporting requirements mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), Appalachian must now verify that all subrecipients and vendors paid a cumulative amount of $25,000 or more in federal funds have both a:

  • Valid CCR registration (Central Contract Registration);
  • DUNS number (Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System).
    Please note: The University cannot issue a subrecipient agreement or purchase order until these requirements are met. Effective October 1, 2010, a DUNS number and CCR CAGE Code (a 5-digit federally assigned identifier) are required at the point of proposal submission.

Once the subrecipient agreement has been fully executed (i.e., authorized officials for all parties have signed the agreement), the responsibility for insuring that all subrecipient expectations are met belongs to you, the PI/PD.

Your contact person in Special Funds Accounting will assist you with monitoring subrecipient compliance. This is done in several ways:

  • Reviewing invoices to insure they match the proposal budget and the scope of work 
  • Reviewing all cost share documentation to insure it meets the federal, state, and University guidelines 
  • Conducting site visits as necessary 

You will be responsible for approving all work completed by a subrecipient before payment is made to them.
You will collect all technical reports from the subrecipient as required by the subrecipient agreement. These should be posted to AGrants as part of the project record.

Hiring People to Work on Your Sponsored Project

Overview

Sometimes a new award necessitates hiring new staff or re-allocating existing staff. Here are hints on how to navigate the hiring process.

  • All hiring must be conducted and approved in accordance with University policy.
  • If a current Appalachian staff or faculty member is being paid from a sponsored program, the work must first be approved by that individual's direct supervisor (in many cases, a department chair).
  • Additionally, any funds being paid to Appalachian staff or faculty from a sponsored program will be processed through Payroll and, as such, are subject to tax, fringe benefits, and social security. 
  • IMPORTANT: All salaries charged to a grant must be for work that happens within the grant period.

As you think about your hiring needs, please complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain authorization approvals before the work commences.
  2. Determine the type of classification for the position: faculty, researcher, staff (EPA/SPA), graduate assistant, student temporary, non-student temporary, etc.
  3. If non-student, contact Human Resource Services and confirm that a position exists for this work; if not, you will need to request the creation of a position. 
  4. Complete the Questionnaire for EPA Status Assessment to create a new EPA position, or request a SPA Job Study or Establishment of New Position if the position is SPA. All required forms are available on the Human Resource Services website

For EPA Staff and Researcher Positions

  • Contact Human Resource Services, and ask for an equity evaluation of the proposed salary. Please be advised that Appalachian cannot pay salaries in excess of salaries paid by the state for similar positions.
  • Complete the Dean's Recommendation for Employment form, obtain signatures, and submit to Academic Affairs. No offer can be made to a candidate until this form is approved.
  • Allow six (6) weeks between the arrival of the recommendation form at Academic Affairs and the employment start date. 
  • The contract must be signed by the employee and returned to Academic Affairs at least four (4) weeks before the start date.
  • Please note that an employee cannot be included on payroll until the tax forms are signed. Tax forms must be signed in person during the first day of employment, or by appointment with Human Resource Services before the first day of employment.

For Graduate Assistant Positions

Contact the Graduate School Assistantship Officer at 828-262-2173.

For Student Temporary Worker Positions

Consult The Office of Student Employment website.

Paying Human Subjects

Paying Human Subjects

The process for paying human subjects in your research projects depends on the method in which you are distributing funds and the amount of the payment. Find the method that best fits your project, and follow the indicated steps. These steps apply to any situation when you pay human subjects and need reimbursement from the University, including departmental reimbursement.

Payment without University Reimbursement

If you are paying human subjects without needing reimbursement, you must keep a "Stipend Log" of all funds paid to subjects.  Otherwise, no further action is needed from you, the PI.

Methods of Payment

Payments under $100

  1. Human subjects may be paid in cash increments up to $99.99. 
  2. A cash advance by Procurement up to $1000 is the preferred method to fund cash payments to subjects. Alternatively, subjects may be paid first, and then you can request reimbursement.
  3. Payments must be documented; a Stipend Log template is provided below.
  1. Human subjects should only be paid with a check if the amount issued is more than $25. 
  2. You must complete a Direct Payment Form (form PDF, login required, and instructions PDF) for individual payments or the Direct Payment Form and Research Subject Payment Spreadsheet (XLS) for subjects to receive funds. 
  3. Subjects without Banner ID numbers must also complete a Vendor Information Form. This form may be given to the subject to complete and mail back to Accounts Payable. 
  4. Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 
  5. Funds will be distributed from the Controller's office in the form of a check sent directly to the address provided on these forms. 
  1. Gift Cards must be purchased through the Direct Payment Form (form PDF, login required, and instructions PDF). Do not use P-Cards for gift card purchase. 
  2. Gift Cards may also be purchased and reimbursed.
  3. Collect human subject information on Stipend Logs. Do not collect Social Security numbers or Banner ID numbers if gift card is less than $100. If subjects are receiving gift cards for more than $100, you must collect SSNs or Banner IDs.
  1. This applies to third parties such as Amazon gift cards, Amazon Turk payments.
  2. Keep all receipts, correspondence, and proof of disbursement. 
  3. Follow the steps for cash reimbursement for the amount of the gift card.
  1. Door Prizes must be approved by IRB during the application process. 
  2. They may not be used in exchange for valuable consideration such as blood or tissue samples or significant time and effort in research participation. The IRB will make this determination. 
  3. If approved, follow the steps for cash for the amount of the door prize.

Payments of $100 or more

  1. Human subjects who will receive individual payments of $100 or more must have a completed Direct Payment Form Direct Payment Form (form PDF, login required, and instructions PDF). Payments over $100 cannot be processed through cash advances or reimbursements. 
  2. Subjects without Banner IDs must also complete a W-9 (PDF). This form may be given to the subject to complete and mail back to Accounts Payable. 
  3. Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing.
  4. Funds will be distributed from the Controller's office in the form of a check sent directly to the address provided on these forms. 
  1. Door Prizes must be approved by IRB during the application process. 
  2. They may not be used in exchange for valuable consideration such as blood or tissue samples or significant time and effort in research participation. The IRB will make this determination. 
  3. If approved, follow the steps for cash for the amount of the door prize.

How to get reimbursed

Payments under $100

  1. Complete a Direct Payment Form (PDF, login required). Download instructions for Direct Payment Form (PDF). Obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 
  2. Funds are direct-deposited to the employee's bank account.
  3. Use a Stipend Log to record payments to human subjects.
  4. Within 24 hours of completion, redeposit any unused cash at the Cashier's Window in Student Accounts to the fund/account listed on the Procurement. Be sure to identify the funding source as the description on the redeposit. 
  5. Send the completed Stipend Log to Accounts Payable, referencing "Settlement of Cash Advance for 'Employee X'." 
  1. Pay human subjects out of pocket. You must have prior approval of funds available for this method.
  2. Use Stipend Log to record payments to subjects. 
  3. Complete a Direct Payment Form (PDF, login required). Download instructions for Direct Payment Form (PDF).
  4. Attach Stipend Log, obtain necessary signatures, including Special Funds Accounting if on a trust or grant fund, and submit to Accounts Payable for processing. 

Stipend Logs should be used each time a human subject is paid to comply with audit standards. Names and addresses, at minimum, should be collected as evidence of reimbursement.

Here are two examples of stipend logs:

  1. Stipend Log #1 (portrait, DOC 35K) is a running list designed to allow subjects to complete a row while all other completed rows are covered to prevent visibility to other subjects. 
  2. Stipend Log #2 (4 slips to a page, DOC 30K) is designed to be distributed to subjects in individual strips for them to complete and return to the PI. 

Payments of $100 or more

  • For any payment of $100 or more, you must collect a Banner ID number or Social Security number. Whenever possible, Banner ID is the preferred identification. 
  • If the human subject does not have a Banner ID, you should send a W-9 form to the subject to complete and return. Mail the completed form to the Controller's Office.
  • You must take steps to protect this data. These records should be kept in a secure and locked location.
  • The data should be properly disposed of after it is no longer needed. For more information, refer to the ASU Identity Theft Prevention Plan.
  • The informed consent process should provide the prospective subject with information about the need to provide the University with his/her name, Social Security number/Banner ID number, and address. 
  • Susbjects who do not wish to have their confidential information shared with the University could have the option to waive receipt of any payment if they still wish to enroll in the study. 
  • If waiving receipt of payment violates the subject inclusion criteria for the study, the investigator may state that subjects who choose not to provide their name, Social Security number or Banner ID number, and address to the University may not enroll in the study. 

Stipend Logs should be used each time a human subject is paid to comply with audit standards. Names and addresses, at minimum, should be collected as evidence of reimbursement.

Here are two examples of stipend logs:

  1. Stipend Log #1 (portrait, DOC 35K) is a running list designed to allow subjects to complete a row while all other completed rows are covered to prevent visibility to other subjects. 
  2. Stipend Log #2 (4 slips to a page, DOC 30K) is designed to be distributed to subjects in individual strips for them to complete and return to the PI. 

Other Information

Important Notes

  • These records should be kept in a secure and locked location. These logs are proof of payment and contain sensitive information that could lead to identity theft. For more information, refer to the ASU Identity Theft Prevention Plan.
  • You must keep these records for three years after the close of the fiscal year of the transaction. If on a grant, records must be kept for three years after the close of the fiscal year that the grant ends. 

Total Anonymity

  • In studies that require anonymity, you must indicate to the IRB in the protocol application that human subjects will be paid a nominal amount, how many subjects will be paid, and why it is important that total anonymity be maintained.
  • In these instances, do not collect names or any other identifiers. The IRB will authorize payment using a letter with the information that a certain dollar amount can be paid for a specified number of subjects and the period of time. This signed letter should accompany all cash advance requests or reimbursements sent to Accounts Payable.

Purchasing Equipment

  • Appalachian's Purchasing Policies (see section 509 in the Policy Manual) apply to all purchases made by a department or faculty member, including purchases of equipment and supplies from a grant/contract fund.
  • Thus, before you start spending any grant/contract funds, you should become familiar with and understand the basic terms and mechanisms that comprise the University's purchasing process. 
  • Your Departmental Budget Administrator is your point of contact and your immediate resource for procurement issues and information. 
  • Download complete details on Types of Purchases, Methods of Purchasing, and Responsibilities Associated with Purchasing and Receiving (PDF).

Reporting Your Time and Effort on Sponsored Projects

  • Effort is considered to be the amount of time any individual spends on a specific University activity. This includes time spent working directly on a sponsored project in which salary is charged directly (as cash payments to the salary line) or contributed (as in a cost share or matching funds situation).
  • Effort is reported as a percentage of the total time spent on work-related activities for the University.
  • It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) to certify that the time and effort reports are accurate and not over-inflated. 
  • When the individuals working on a grant and the PI/PD sign the time and effort report, they are certifying that the information provided is accurate.
  • If a grant or contract is audited and it is determined that the information provided was not accurate, the individual reporting the time and effort, the PI/PD, and the University may be responsible for repaying the grant.

Documenting Cost Share and Cash Match

  • Cost sharing or matching means that portion of project or program costs not borne by the sponsor.
  • Cost sharing is used to describe a commitment of any size. Even very small commitments (down to 1 percent of project costs) are described as cost sharing. 
  • Use of the term "matching" generally describes a larger commitment. Matching is often referred to as a dollar-for-dollar, 2-for-1, or 3-for-1 match of non-federal funds to sponsor funds. 
  • If your project includes cost share, the costs that are counted as cost share must meet the same criteria as direct costs: allowable, allocable, and reasonable. Special Funds Accounting will provide documents for cost share certification as required by the award agreement.

Budget Revisions

  • The award budget is the financial expression of the project or program. Re-budgeting of these funds is subject to appropriate institutional review and approval processes. 
  • Sponsors often require prior approval for budget changes involving key personnel, contractual actions, foreign travel, and equipment. These high-risk areas mirror those that frequently require sponsor prior approval for overall project changes as well.
  • Proposed revisions in sponsored project budgets should be submitted in writing to Special Funds Accounting (SFA) for review of the terms and conditions of the award agreement and general cost principals. If the requested budget revision meets these standards, it will be completed.
  • If required by the terms and conditions of the agreement, SFA, in conjunction with you the Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD), will submit the request for budget revision to the sponsor. Sponsor approval must be received to complete the budget revision.
  • Budget revisions should be made in advance of affected expenditures.

No Cost Extensions

  • No cost extensions lengthen the period of performance beyond the original expiration date in order to finish a project.
  • These extensions are without additional award amounts.
  • Most federal agencies allow the institution to add up to one year to the final year of a research grant (not contract), so long as there is timely notification to the sponsor.
  • You must provide a justification for the extension, which cannot be granted simply to spend out remaining dollars.
  • Plan ahead if a no cost extension will be needed! Sponsors often require prior approval or have deadlines for requesting no cost extensions.
  • Contact your contact person in Special Funds Accounting as soon as you anticipate the need for an extension.

Reporting on Your Sponsored Project

  • At a minimum, the majority of sponsors will request a final financial report
  • In many cases, the sponsor also requests a final technical report of grant activities and outcomes.
  • Funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Education (DoEd) will require annual reports in addition to final reports.
  • The Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) is responsible for following the sponsor's reporting requirements. 
  • In many cases Special Funds Accounting (SFA) will complete financial reports without the involvement of the PI/PD; however, if the PI/PD is asked to submit a financial report, it must be completed by SFA.
  • It is the PI/PD's responsibility to complete all required technical reports and send a copy to Sponsored Programs to be uploaded in AGrants.

Closing Out Your Sponsored Project

A unique characteristic of sponsored project funds versus other trust funds is their limited life span. As such, every sponsored agreement must be "closed out" at some point in time, and a final financial report may have to be sent to the sponsoring agency.

  • For most agreements, closeout comes at the end of the project period, which may be either a single or multi-year period. 
  • For some agreements, a formal closeout is required at the end of each budget period within the project period.
  • You should receive reminders from Special Funds Accounting (SFA) as your closeout date nears, along with a helpful checklist of final tasks.
  • The keys to a successful closeout of a sponsored agreement are:
    • Working with your contact person in SFA and your Departmental Administrator to identify all of the costs of the project;
    •  The submission of a timely and accurate financial status report (FSR)**, and other reports as required by the terms and conditions of the award agreement, to the agency. 

**The FSR is a generic term for the agency-prescribed method of reporting expenditures whether it is a final invoice or other format.

  • Other reports that may be required are MBE/WBE (a report of purchases from Minority-Owned or Women-Owned Businesses), Final Inventory of Equipment, or Final Report of Patents and Inventions. 
  • Each staff person in SFA is responsible for compliance with these procedures as they close out their assigned sponsored agreements.
  • Any final cash balances, positive or negative, must be resolved before the fund can be inactivated. Residual balances of fixed price contracts are closed in accordance with related procedures.