Research Award Management

When a proposal has been awarded and fully executed by the Office of Sponsored Programs, the IST Office of Research Administration will:

  • Help you to comply with Penn State and federal policies on spending of funds
  • Complete the internal forms necessary to set up a new budget and fund number for your project - you will make frequent reference to your award and budget and fund numbers
  • Set up subawards as necessary and approve invoices for payment
  • Assist with required agency financial reporting
  • Request no-cost extensions as necessary and verify receipt of extension
  • Revise budgets at the principal investigator's request
  • Submit budget modifications to the sponsor as necessary

Award Negotiation and Receipt of Funds

There are several steps and additional requirements to be met by both the Office of Research Administration and Penn State to successfully negotiate the award and receive funding.

The Principal Investigator is responsible for understanding the terms and conditions of their awards. All awards received by Penn State faculty members are actually awards made to the University, and agreements are negotiated by the university's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Penn State assumes all financial responsibility and guarantees completion of the project.

Steps for award acceptance:

  1. OSP receives notification that the sponsor wishes to support the project.
  2. If a grant or cooperative agreement, OSP reviews the award guidelines and recommends that the University either accept it as offered or with minor changes to non-technical details.

If the award is a contract, OSP enters into formal negotiations with the sponsor and reviews the non-technical details of the contract, such as copyrights, patents, export default, and termination clauses. After all parties agree to the content of the contract, the University accepts the award.

Start Date: Grant start dates are usually determined by the sponsor of the award. Faculty have access to the funding as soon as the University accounting system is ready. Contracts are not as predictable, as the start date may be specified in the award or determined by the final signature date. The final signatory may be the University or the sponsor, depending on the contract. Funds are not released to the University until the official start date of the project.

Account Number: When a start date has been determined, the Office of Research Administration establishes an account number.

Expenditures: Faculty manage award funds and initiate all expenditures. The financial officer approves expenses.

Faculty Responsibilities: It is up to the individual researcher to identify any restrictions, determine eligibility, and other requirements before submitting a proposal. The University assumes legal responsibility for all funded projects. The principal investigator is responsible for the management, research, and technical reporting activities. All technical reports and project deliverables are the full responsibility of the faculty member. The principal investigator must maintain contact with the sponsor’s technical monitor and comply with all technical reporting requirements. The principal investigator must also initiate correspondence through IST's Office of Research Administration with the sponsor’s administrative or contract monitor to request programmatic or budgetary changes.

Monitoring and Oversight

It is critical that you know your grant’s technical or program officer and keep them informed of any changes or questions about the project.

It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to ensure that project expenses meet the following three needs:

  • Allowable: Is the cost permitted based on OMB Circular A-21 guidelines, and was the cost budgeted and approved by the sponsor?
  • Allocable: Is the cost necessary for the project’s success?
  • Reasonable: Would the cost be incurred by a prudent person?

Remember to submit technical progress reports on time, as most agencies won’t release next year's funds until progress reports are submitted.


  • myResearch – A portal that provides real-time, web-based access to associated sponsored research. You should monitor expenditures, sub-agreements, award notifications, invoicing, and financial reporting frequently.
  • Research Accounting Office – A Penn State office that serves the needs of both the research departments and the sponsoring agencies.
  • Research at Penn State – This site provides you information on financial management and non-financial issues.
  • Cost Accounting Standards – A Penn State Fact Sheet that provides additional information on F&A, charges and exceptions, purchases, and more.
  • Export Compliance – Regulations for shipping items abroad, hosting a visiting scientist in your lab, and traveling internationally.
  • Modifications and Extensions – Detailed information on no-cost extensions, budget revisions, and changes to the scope of work.
  • IST Intranet – Additional information on IST specific forms and processes.
  • Research Integrity – Penn State policies and other resources which guide research integrity.
  • Current Tuition, Fringe, and Overhead Rates

Office of Research

411 Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub
State College, PA 16801
(814) 863-6801