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New Award Notice Flow

Sponsored Programs & Regulatory Compliance Services (SPARCS) > Contracts and Grants (C&G) > College Research Office

Even though a PI may be notified that an agency is going to fund a proposal, the referenced flow above cannot take place until SPARCS has a fully-executed award from the sponsor.

If there is an immediate need to appoint a grad student or begin the research, then a “pre- award account” is a viable option.

If there are other PIs at NC State listed who are outside your department/unit, you will need to ensure they receive a copy of the award notice that you receive from the College so they can request a segment account.

Receipt of Awards and Establishment of Accounts

After the evaluation of the proposal is complete, both the faculty member and the university are generally notified directly of the outcome. In the case of favorable review, the proposal may be funded with or without changes. If changes are required before the award is received, then they must be addressed and submitted by the University to the sponsor. Once the official notification of an award is received by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance (SPARCS) that Office proceeds with the contract negotiation. Once the contract is negotiated, the information is directed to the Office of Contracts and Grants to establish an account for the grant (Ledger 5-Account). Notification is then sent to the Wilson College of Textiles Research Office. The Research Office distributes a copy to the Principal Investigators (PI) along with a copy of the award/contract, which contains the terms and conditions. At this point, funds become available for expenditure.

It is very important that the PIs carefully review and comply with all the terms and conditions specified in the award documentation.

Pre-Award Account Request

Occasionally it may be necessary to establish a project ID (an account number) before a sponsored agreement is finalized. When assured that a sponsored agreement is reasonably expected to materialize, a pre-award project number can be established for the purposes of beginning the process of recruitment of project employees, ordering of specialized equipment, etc.

Pre-Award Project requests should be submitted by Department Heads. Requests should be sent to Jennifer Clark and include the following information:

  • Any and all correspondence received from the sponsor that indicates imminent funding.
  • Indicate the spending cap you would like placed on the pre-award project number (this should be just enough to get you started pending finalization of an agreement).
  • Acknowledge in the e-mail text that you understand that should a sponsored agreement not materialize, any expenditures you make against the pre-award project number will be the responsibility of the department.

In the event that the University is unable to fully negotiate and execute this proposal and make an official award through Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance Services (SPARCS), the Department will retain sole responsibility for all costs incurred under this Pre- Award project set-up. Additionally, should the official project begin date create unallowable costs, the previously designated unit will also be responsible for payment of these costs from  other appropriate funding sources.

As a reminder: when one requests a Pre-Award Project account, in addition to the financial risks, there may be risks associated with export controls identified within the sponsor’s terms and conditions and made available to us at the time of award notification. For example, if the sponsor prohibits NC State University from employing the services of a foreign national on a research project, we may not be aware of such restrictions until after the award is received and the terms and conditions are reviewed/approved by the University. Therefore, it is recommended that we consider these potential risks, in addition to the financial risk, and proceed with caution at the time the Pre-Award Project account is established.

Grants and Contracts Accounting

The PI has primary responsibility for directing the activities of his or her grant or contract, which includes authorization of all grant expenditures. All of the functions for research expenditures are subject to federal, state and university auditing, and thus while the primary function of the Research Office is to assist the PI in managing the grant, it is imperative that the expenditures comply with guidelines and regulations.

It is most important for the PI to maintain good communication with the Research Office to ensure that the needs of the PI are met, and that issues are handled in a timely manner. Special attention needs to be paid to requests that require prior approval, which will vary depending on the terms and conditions of the contract. The Research Office works with the Business Office and Human Resources to alert faculty in advance of deadlines for which a response is required.

Examples of transactions handled by the Research, Business and HR Offices

  • Payroll transactions for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty salary, technician or other personnel
  • Tuition
  • Documenting effort and cost sharing
  • Purchase requisitions (equipment, supplies and services, initiating Purchase Authorizations and PurchaseOrders);
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Summer/supplemental pay
  • Subcontractor costs
  • Coordination of reports to funding agencies
  • Issuing consulting contracts documenting effort and authorizing payment;
  • Assisting with budget revisions
  • Conflict of interest resolution
  • Close-out
  • Account reconciliations
  • Appointments and approval of personnel
  • Documenting the VISA status of international students and other

Reminder for Salary Distribution Changes:

  • Salary distribution changes that date back more than 90 days require special approval by the Associate Dean for Research and University Contracts & Grants. These requests must be submitted via the eRAF portal by the College Research Office.

PIs have access to the PI Portal and WRS for up-to-date information about the status of their accounts. Training videos (Unity login required) are available to explain WRS 2.0 and how to use the reports.

Data Management

The NCSU Libraries has created this “post-award data management checklist” to help researchers follow their Data Management Plan and to help you to keep your data safe and available for sharing and reuse by you and other researchers. Someone from the Libraries is available to assist you in implementing your plan and checklist. Please email if you have questions for post-award data management or would like additional support.

Technical Reports

Paramount to the Wilson College of Textiles and NC State University’s ability to sustain its extensive externally sponsored endeavors is the timely, meaningful and high-quality technical reporting required by individual sponsored agreements. Delinquencies cause the institution to suffer in its reputation with sponsors and often carry significant institutional sanctions. The project’s PI is responsible for timely submission of technical reports.

Closing Out a Project

There are various activities associated with closing out a sponsored project or award. There are usually reporting obligations to the sponsor, financial reconciliations, forms and reports for the institution, and account closeout tasks which must be completed.

Final Invoices and Reports

Upon project termination, the Research Office will review the account and work with the PI to determine the final figure to be reported to the sponsor on the financial report or final invoice.  In most cases for federal awards, final financial reports must be submitted within 90 days from the award end date, and within 60 days for final invoices. Non-federal deadlines may vary by sponsor. To meet sponsor deadlines there needs to be clear and timely communication between the PI and the Research Office.


Adjustment charges refer to costs incurred after the termination date of a project/award. The adjustment and reconciliation of charges must be completed in a timely manner after award end to ensure closeout deadlines are met.

Any charges posted after the termination date will need to be reviewed and justified for allowability if they are included with the final financial report or final invoice.


Deficits occur when cumulative expenses exceed the amount awarded by the sponsor and could be considered voluntary uncommitted cost sharing. It is the responsibility of the department/unit to transfer deficits out of sponsored awards promptly and no later than 3 months after the termination date.

Post-Award Glossary of Terms