1. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is the office authorized to accept awards on behalf of the University for sponsored programs. It helps faculty obtain external funding from government agencies, private industries, and private foundations to support their creative and scholarly activities. Numerous resources and guides are available on their website.

2. College Grants and Contracts Office (Grants Office)

The College Grants and Contracts Office has responsibility for processing financial awards for external funding agencies through the College and appropriate University channels.

3. Award Review

Generally, awards are transmitted by the sponsor to OSP. OSP will review and negotiate as needed. In some instances, OSP may send the award to the College for review prior to acceptance on behalf of the University. OSP will highlight problem areas that impose risk upon the College. The College and PI will need to review and determine if the terms and conditions are acceptable to them.

Any non-negotiable item in an award that imposes risk to the College/University will require an internal sign-off from the Department receiving the award. The Department assumes all fiscal liability associated with these sign-offs.

If the award is sent by the sponsor directly to the PI, it should be forwarded immediately to the Grants Office. The PI should not sign an award and return to the sponsor.

4. Contract Negotiations

A contract negotiator in OSP will negotiate the business and legal terms of the award. It is the contract negotiator's job to review the award and to negotiate on behalf of the University assuring that the terms and conditions are favorable to an institution of higher education and protect the University and its faculty from needless risks or commitments. If needed, the contract negotiator will contact the College and/or PI for clarification or acceptance of particular terms and conditions.

Once negotiations are completed and OSP has received the internal sign-offs (if any), the award will be signed on behalf of the University and returned to the sponsor for their signature.

5. Advanced Fund Number

In many cases, advanced fund numbers can be requested by the unit after the agreement has been signed by the University if sufficient information is provided in the agreement. The advanced fund allows the unit to set up a restricted budget and begin incurring expenses as of the proposed effective date of the award. However, it should be noted that if the award does not materialize, or the effective date is other than stated, the risk for unallowable expenses falls entirely upon the unit.

6. Completely Executed Agreements

A completely executed agreement is one that has been signed by both the University and the sponsor.

7. Account and Initial Budget in IBIS (University Accounting System)

Once a completely executed award has been received, the Grants Office will establish an account and the initial budget in IBIS. A copy of the completely executed award will be distributed to everyone that signed the Clearance Data Forms (CDF). It is the responsibility of the PI to review the award for their reporting responsibilities. In most cases, it is the responsibility of Research Accounting to do the invoicing and prepare financial reports. However, in those instances where the University automated invoices and financial reports are not sufficient for the sponsor, it will be the responsibility of the Department to provide the additional information needed for invoicing and financial reporting. The accounting individual in your unit will handle the day-to-day fiscal transactions.

8. Revisions/Amendments

Requests for revisions such as no-cost extensions, budget revisions, change of PI, etc. must be processed through the Grants Office. Amendments to awards are handled in the same manner as the original award. In most cases, signature of the authorized University official is required. The PI is responsible for the preparation and submission of technical reports and any other required deliverables.

Office of Grants and Contracts


107 Ag Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802