When we receive notice of an award from a sponsor, a Research Foundation account will be established according to the approved budget. As permitted by the sponsor, it is our intent to minimize the restrictions on expenditures between budget categories and allow flexibility. If you would like to change the established budget, contact Sponsored Funds. Once an account is established, you will receive notification that will include the award/project and task number(s) and general information on the administration of the account through the Research Foundation. You will also receive a Research Foundation Account Information Abstract that summarizes the budget and provides special notices on the terms and conditions of the award. Additional abstracts will be issued when there are changes to the award.
Establishment of Account Prior to Notice of Award by the Sponsor
When it is necessary to establish a sponsored project before the receipt of an award notice from a sponsor, the principal investigator may request that an account be "backstopped." When an account is backstopped, the department or school assumes responsibility for funds expended if an award is not made. Sponsored Program staff will work with principal investigators to determine the risk of backstopping. All backstop requests require the authorization of the department and/or the dean.
Unless restricted by sponsor, Research Foundation or University policies, you will have flexibility to spend program funds in a manner consistent with achieving the project's objectives. If there are questions, contact Sponsored Funds. We will work with you and the sponsor on any budget changes. Formal budget changes need to go through Sponsored Funds and/or your grant and contract administrator for review and endorsement before submission to the sponsor.
No Cost Extensions
Sponsored Funds will provide you with notification of your project end date within 90 days of the scheduled termination. If an extension is required, complete the No Cost Extension Request Form available in the Forms section. No cost extensions may require prior approval of the sponsor. Any requests to the sponsor for an extension must go through Sponsored Funds.
Sponsored Project Accounting
The Research Foundation's business system provides a number of informational tools to assist principal investigators and project staff with the monitoring of their expenditures and data on sponsored project activity. Monthly Project Summaries available to principal investigators include monthly and award-to-date expenditures by budget categories. The report also will reflect future encumbrances and the balance of funds in your project as of the end of the most recent month.
Principal investigators and their staff members also have access to the Research Foundation's PI Award Interface and RF Quickview. The PIAI and Quickview permit you to view your awards, projects and tasks, reflect expenditures as of the previous working day, access administrative information on your accounts and drill down to various details. For access to these tools, contact Sponsored Funds.
During your project, you may be asked to provide an expenditure or financial report to your sponsor. Contact Sponsored Funds for assistance in completing such reports.
Some sponsors require cost share or matching funds in support of a project. The institution will assist with the identification of cost share or matching funds. This might include equipment matching funds, release time of faculty to conduct research, supplies, tuition scholarship or other institutional resources. We are required to monitor and document cost share throughout the duration of the award. Cost share should not be committed if not required or requested by the sponsor. Refer any questions on cost share to your grant and contract administrator, the associate vice president for research administration or the assistant director of Sponsored Funds Administration.
Billings and Invoicing to Sponsors
If the sponsored project requires that invoices be submitted to reimburse for costs, Sponsored Funds is responsible for creating, approving and forwarding the invoice to the sponsor.
When sponsors are overdue with payment on invoices that have been submitted or do not make payment at all, we will use a standard process to encourage prompt payment before formal collections. We make every attempt to resolve outstanding payments in an informal fashion. If, in conjunction with the Research Foundation Central Office, we are unable to obtain payment, we will take legal action or refer to an external collections agency.
Effort Reporting, referred to by the Research Foundation as Certification of Salary, is a requirement of federal regulations. Sponsors require that we verify and certify the level of effort of personnel on their award. Effort might consist of cost shared time by SUNY personnel (unpaid effort), reimbursement of effort through the income fund reimbursement (IFR) process or actual appointment to the Research Foundation payroll. Certification of Salary is completed three times over the year: in spring, summer and fall.
Reports and Deliverables
Most sponsors require end-of-project reports and, for multi-year awards, an annual report. Other projects may require a deliverable. Technical reports are the responsibility of the principal investigator. Sponsored Funds requires notification from the principal investigator when the report is submitted to the sponsor. If the report requires financial information, contact Sponsored Funds. Some reports may require an institutional endorsement; the associate vice president for research administration signs on behalf of the Research Foundation as the institutional endorsee.
In the majority of projects, financial reports do not require information from the principal investigator. If financial reporting requires a statement of project progress, Sponsored Funds will request this information from the principal investigator. Sponsored Funds Administration should be the office that submits all financial reports to sponsors.
Property, Patent and Invention Reporting
Some federal and industry awards require an annual or end-of-project report on property purchased (equipment or other), patents filed or inventions claimed. These reports are submitted through Sponsored Funds in conjunction with information obtained from the principal investigator, Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships and Sponsored Funds Administration.
Inventory of Equipment
Equipment with a value of $5,000 purchased entirely with Research Foundation funding will be tagged as "Property of Research Foundation" and entered to the SUNY Property Control System, or PCS. Some sponsors may mandate a lower dollar threshold for the definition of equipment. In this regard we will inventory the equipment and tag as Research Foundation owned. Some sponsors may retain title to any equipment purchased with project funds. In this situation, a separate "Property of Sponsor" decal will be affixed to the equipment and the PCS coded to reflect ownership of the sponsor. Equipment is inventoried and tagged after payment has been made to the supplier.
Equipment purchased with any portion of funding from SUNY (state funds) will have ownership vested with the state. If equipment cost sharing or matching is proposed to the sponsor, work with your grant and contract administrator regarding the impact on ownership of the asset. If the sponsor retains title or the right to request title to the equipment, we cannot use state funds to assist with the purchase. If state funds are used to purchase the equipment, it becomes the property of the state and cannot be transferred or sold.
The principal investigator is responsible for the accountability of all equipment purchased with sponsored project funds. No equipment can be removed from the campus or from the location assigned without prior consultation with Sponsored Funds.
Equipment purchased with Research Foundation funding can be insured against theft and loss through the Research Foundation insurance program. A Research Foundation account must be used to pay for the insurance coverage. Under certain circumstances, SUNY equipment can be insured. Contact Sponsored Funds if insurance is requested. Insurance coverage is not automatic.
Audits and Project Reviews
Periodically, Research Foundation projects are audited by federal, state or other sponsoring agencies. In addition, the Research Foundation, through its internal audit department or independent auditor, will conduct audits of RF projects. In all instances audits will be coordinated through Sponsored Funds Administration. In the event project personnel are contacted regarding an audit or a program review, immediately contact the associate vice president for research administration.
Sponsored Funds Administration is the office of record for financial and personnel related information. The principal investigator is responsible for maintaining all technical-related records. In most instances, records should be maintained for seven years after the close of a sponsored project.