In order to protect the institution, the PI, the sponsor, and all other parties associated with a grant proposal or agreement, UACES has an internal approval process in place. The following steps must be followed in order for a proposal or agreement to be approved:
- A PI planning to submit a proposal for sponsored funding should contact the appropriate Office of Sponsored Programs Pre-Award staff as early as possible in the proposal development process. Pre-Award staff will assist the PI in interpreting the Request for Proposals, deadlines, proposal contents, budget requirements, and associated forms.
- If a PI is submitting documents for a sub-award from another institution, they should consult program staff at that institution to obtain required forms for the sub-award.
- After the PI has worked with Pre-Award staff to develop a proposal and completed all required forms for the application, they should download and complete the FIN-312 Internal Grant Approval Form. Instructions to complete the FIN-312 are included on the form and on the Resources page of this website.
- After filling out the FIN-312, the PI must obtain their immediate supervisor's or department head's signature.
- When the supervisor or department head has signed off on the project, the FIN-312, proposal, required forms, and any attachments should be forwarded to Pre-Award staff. To insure appropriate time for review and obtaining additional approvals, proposals should be received in the Office of Sponsored Programs five (5) business days before the submission deadline. If Pre-Award staff has not been involved in the proposal development process, it should be received ten (10) business days before the deadline.
- After reviewing the proposal for completeness and accuracy, Pre-Award staff will forward the documents to the Associate or Assistant Director over the department where the proposal originated for review. The Associate or Assistant Director will then forward the documents to the Associate Director of Finance & Administration. If necessary, the document will then be forwarded to the Associate Vice-President for Agriculture-Extension (normally only required if the proposal exceeds $250,000).
- Following final approval, the documents will be scanned and given to administrative support personnel in the appropriate department for return to the PI. Upon receipt, the PI may submit the proposal to the prospective sponsor.***
***If a proposal must be submitted via Grants.gov, it will be returned to Pre-Award staff for submittal. Likewise, if arrangements have been made with Pre-Award staff in advance, or if the PI is unable to submit the proposal due to unforeseen circumstances, Pre-Award personnel may be able to submit the proposal on behalf of the PI.
Depending on the project sponsor, grant agreements can arrive in the OSP office through various channels. As a PI, if you receive and agreement requiring signature, you should be aware that only the Associate Vice-President for Agriculture-Extension or the Associate Director of Finance & Administration can officially commit the institution to an agreement. In some cases, there may be a line for the PI to sign. If so, please sign as indicated and forward the agreement to the Office of Sponsored Programs. Upon receipt, the agreement will be reviewed in accordance with UACES requirements based on the institution's relationship with the sponsor.
Example 1: Agreement received from a private sponsor UACES works with routinely (i.e., Cotton Inc.)
- If the PI receives the agreement, they should look to see if their signature is required on any form, then forward the document to OSP.
- OSP staff will compare the award document to the original FIN-312 and proposal in terms of the scope of work and budget. If the budget has changed from the original submission, the PI will be asked to send a revised budget to OSP.
- When the scope of work and budget are determined to be accurate and indirect costs calculated correctly, OSP staff will review the agreement for routine agreement information (billing address, frequency of billing, reporting requirements, etc.) If all clauses are determined to be routine and have not changed since UA legal staff last reviewed the proposal, it will be forwarded to the Associate Director of Finance & Administration for signature. In some cases, sponsors will only accept the signature of the Associate Vice-President for Agriculture-Extension or the UA System Vice-President of Agriculture. If these signatures are required, processing of the agreement may be delayed.
- When an agreement is approved at the institutional level, OSP staff will return it to the sponsor and request a fully-executed copy after the sponsor signs. When received, the agreement will be forwarded to Award Management staff, and you will be notified of a fund number, bridge conference date, etc.
Example 2: Agreement received from a sponsor with which UACES has not previously done business
- Steps 1, 2, and 3 in Example 1 remain the same.
- While reviewing the agreement, OSP staff will ensure various information is included such as the official name of the institution ("The Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas Acting for and on behalf of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service"), sponsor contact information, payment terms and conditions, etc. If these items are incorrect, OSP staff will often contact the sponsor and request revisions.
- If while reviewing the agreement, OSP staff determines some clauses create a cause for legal concern (i.e., indemnification, intellectual property rights, patents, publishing, etc.), the agreement will be forwarded to the Associate Director of Finance & Administration with the recommendation it be sent for review by UA System attorneys. If this review takes place, it is possible the ultimate approval of the agreement may be delayed. OSP will forward a revised document to the sponsor with requested changes highlighted. If the sponsor does not agree, negotiation will ensue, and on some occasions it will be necessary for the sponsor and UA System attorney's to discuss and reach a solution.
- After legal review has been completed and a satisfactory agreement has been accepted by both parties, UACES administrators will sign the document, and OSP personnel will forward to the sponsor for signature.
- Upon receipt of the full-executed agreement, the document will be forwarded to Award Management staff as outlines in Example 1.