Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

Key Players in Post Award Management

Please read the principal investigator eligibility guidelines (PDF)  adopted September 1, 2015. This document outlines who is eligible to serve as a principal investigator on externally funded projects. Questions regarding these guidelines should be directed to Tolif Hunt, Director, Research and Sponsored Programs. You can also call RSP at 319-273-3217.

The PI (Principal Investigator) or PD (Project Director) is the individual responsible for project development and programmatic and fiscal management of funded projects. The two primary goals of the PI/PD are to (1) perform the objectives/goals of the funded project and (2) be compliant with requirements of all regulatory entities regarding research, programmatic and fiscal management.

PI/PD Post-Award Responsibilities
  • Communicate with individuals and groups about the project; explain the commitments and expectations of project team members prior to the start of the project
  • Establish and maintain a healthy working relationship with the sponsor; will contact the sponsor immediately regarding potential problems or concerns with a project
  • Read and understand the terms and conditions in the award document
    • Know the start and end dates of the project
    • Pay close attention to Scope of Work  
    • Discuss with Office of Sponsored Programs terms or conditions in the award document which need to be negotiated
    • Manage the technical/programmatic aspects of the project
    • Submit technical or programmatic reports to sponsor as required
    • Avoid deficit spending, when expenditures exceed project budget; NOTE: monthly account reconciliation is mandatory
    • Assure regulatory compliance with University and sponsor policies
    • Conduct the project using the highest ethical standards
    • Complete all close-out and intellectual property requirements promptly
    Department Heads

    One of the most important aspects in grants and contracts management for Department Heads is to assure proposed projects are appropriate and in-line with the departmental and institutional mission and to assume potential financial risk for cost sharing, matching funds or unallowable expenditures. The responsibilities of departments head are to:

    • Approve and provide documentation to RSP for cost sharing obligations
    • Monitor accounts monthly to avoid cost overruns by reviewing Accounting Financial Summary Reports
    • Review and sign Proposal Routing and Approval Form
    • Approve individuals for project director/principal investigator status
    • Determine and authorize the amount of pre-award costs requests
    • Assume responsibility for all pre-award costs if project is not funded or if sponsor does not allow pre-award costs
    • Review and sign appropriate request form for pre-award costs or provisional accounts
    • Provide oversight of procurement activities and other expenditures related to grants and contracts
    • Review and approve cost transfers and effort reporting
    • Review and approve personnel action forms (PAF) to ensure forms are signed and dated, effort posted adds up to 100%, and effort expended on a specific federally funded project is consistent with salary support for that project
    • Approve substantive modifications and re-budgeting
    • Assure timely resolution of fund overdrafts
    • Participate in negotiations with PIs/PDs when technical reports are incomplete and deliverables are unacceptable to sponsor
    Project Administrative Support Personnel

    In regard to managing grants or contracts, the roles of personnel who provide business and financial support services for a project can vary greatly. Support personnel should be familiar with the scope of work, timeline and budget for the sponsored project(s) in their departments. All support personnel should know:

    • Grant expenditure allowability
    • Grant budget(s) and reconcile accounts monthly
    • Object codes for processing expenditure and properly charging to a grant(s)
    • UNI’s policies and procedures for:
      • Purchasing Invoicing
      • Travel (guidelines and procedures)
      • Payroll Procurement
      • Hiring (Human Resources)
    Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Staff

    The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is the central unit on campus responsible for overseeing most public and private grant and contract funding to the University. RSP's post award management team supports and monitors the financial management of sponsored awards, thus allowing PI/PDs to concentrate on programmatic development and delivery. RSP responsibilities include:


    • Negotiating and signing award documents
    • Set up project accounts
    • Monitor project accounts to avoid deficit spending; enforce mandatory monthly reconciliation; over expensed accounts will be closed
    • Financial reporting and invoicing for all grants and contracts
    • Processing Personnel Action Forms for personnel being paid from sponsored projects
    • Orientation for PI/PDs and staff on managing sponsored projects
    • Processing subawards and modification paperwork
    • Overseeing financial closeout and final accounting
    • Assuring compliance with Federal, State and University regulations and policies
    RSP’s Directory of Responsibilities