Pre- and Post-Award FAQs

What is Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)?
Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) is a central office comprised of Pre and Post Award staff working collaboratively in one unified department. SPA works closely with research administrators and other administrative support personnel located within UGA colleges, schools, departments, centers and institutes to address the administrative, financial and compliance responsibilities associated with sponsored project activities.

What is a Decentralized Limited Signature Authority (DLSA)?
This is an individual not located in the central Sponsored Projects Administration office who has been granted authority (within a certain amount and sponsor type based on knowledge and experience) to submit grants on behalf of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. OIBR currently has two DLSAs.

What’s the difference between OIBR and SPA?
Although OIBR and SPA both are service units within UGA’s Office of Research who conduct grants administration, they operate differently. SPA is the main central office in charge of research proposal submissions, award negotiation and setup, invoicing, payment collection, project and financial closeout and ensures audit compliance for the entire university while OIBR facilitates pre- and post-award activities at a departmental administration level and liaises with SPA. OIBR research is specifically in the social and behavioral sciences and often interdisciplinary. OIBR provides specialized grants administration services, networking events, career development opportunities, and mentoring.

What is “academic credit” and how do I divide it?
Academic credit serves as a mechanism for faculty Principal Investigators to assign intellectual contribution to faculty Co-Investigators or Key Persons who may have or will be contributing to a grant proposal either in development or in the execution or both. The percent credit does not have to correspond with effort or activity on the project although it usually is reflective of not only intellectual contribution to proposal development, but also anticipated contribution throughout the life of the project.

Should I budget for tuition remission?
If a submitted proposal includes graduate student effort at 33% or more in the budget, then the University strongly encourages funds for tuition remission also be requested. Beginning in July 2024, tuition will be required on all proposals which include a graduate student in the budget. In order to incentivize this policy, the University has started the GTRIP program, wherein a funded project which includes tuition, a multiplier of those dollars will be returned back to the PI’s unit to support additional graduate students. More information.

What is the Grants Portal?
The Grants Portal is the main database for research grants. Your OIBR Grants Coordinator will conduct Portal data entry unless PI requests otherwise. Each proposal is entered into the Portal and receives an “FP” number. Your proposal documents are uploaded into the Grants Portal documents workspace including the detailed budget, budget narrative, scope of work, and other components and OIBR will “route” the proposal transmittal. The Grants Portal is also able to generate federal form sets that link with opportunities so can be utilized as peer-to-peer submission software.
The transmittal is first signed off by the PI after review and then will route to every Key Person, every Key Person’s department head, and every center or institute listed in the Portal entry. You will receive an automated email asking you to sign off on the proposal transmittal.
Make sure to read through the transmittal carefully before signing off to ensure all answers and information are correct as your sign off indicates that you agree with and approve of the information therein.

What is the financial disclosure in the Portal?
All PIs and Co-ls (Key Personnel) must complete a brief Significant Financial Interest (SFI) questionnaire, also known as a Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) disclosure. OIBR or SPA will send an email with instructions to access the disclosure. Per federal guidelines, this must be completed annually for federal PHS agency grants.

What happens after I sign off on a proposal in the Portal?
You may be prompted to complete a short lab safety course, but otherwise you are finished unless you are submitting the proposal yourself. The Signing Authority in OIBR or SPA will sign and submit your proposal to the sponsor. You will be able to view the proposal submittal date in the Portal. Usually, the signing official will notify you of the completed submission via email as well.


Common Grant Questions:

What is a Person Month?
A person month is a unit of time based on percent effort multiplied by the number of months of an employment contract period (academic, 9 months; summer, 3 months; calendar/fiscal, 12 months). One individual cannot have more than 12 person months in a calendar or fiscal year.

What is a JIT?
A Just-In-Time (JIT) request from NIH may be automated based on the score you received or may be written by a Grants Management Specialist and sent directly to the PI and Authorized Organizational Representative or Signing Official on your grant. Be sure to reach out to your OIBR grants coordinator if you receive a JIT request. We will help coordinate and submit the JIT components.

What is a course buyout?
A course buyout is an exchange of effort you spend on your grant project for time you would otherwise be teaching. In most cases, colleges require an instructional buyout at the rate of 10% academic effort or 10% of a faculty’s contracted salary. As an example, if your effort is 20% academic, you might request two course buyouts, one in fall and one in spring semester. This is a conversation between the investigator and their department head.

How do I get paid in summer? Can I swap academic effort for summer effort after I get the award?
Typically, rebudgeting between summer and academic is not problematic as long as the key person’s effort commitment in person months remains similar (within 25% of what was proposed).

What is an “Other Support” or “Current and Pending Support” document and when do I need one?
Information on other active and pending support may be requested by a sponsor to ensure there is no scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap with the proposed or ongoing project. “Other Support” is sometimes referred to as “current and pending support” or “active and pending support.”
NSF requires a Current and Pending support document with proposal submission. At this time, NIH usually only requires this information with certain types of grant applications or should your proposal score high enough for a JIT request. These documents are straightforward; OIBR will work with you to format your document. It will require the investigator’s review and signature.

How does cost share work?
UGA does not commit voluntary cost share for research proposals unless required by the sponsor or RFP. The most common type of cost share involved with NIH research proposals is “over the cap” salary cost share for faculty members, postdocs or students whose salary is higher than the levels allowed for the current fiscal year. Consult your OIBR grants coordinator before committing any voluntary cost share or seeking to apply to a program announcement that may indicate a cost share requirement.

Does OIBR take any percentage of academic credit or indirect cost return?
No. OIBR is an endowed service unit funded by support from the Office of Research. OIBR adheres to policies set by academic departments and colleges on all indirect cost return to the Pl.