Managing an Award

AWD and GR Cost Centers: The Office of Research Services (ORS) will notify the PI, the department and the respective School Deans when an AWD cost center has been activated in the financial system and a PI may begin charging expenses to his or her cost center.

Salary: Salary is charged to an award based on the percentage of effort that is devoted to the project. During the academic year, salary charged to AWD accounts offsets what the University was scheduled to pay the employee. The department administrator must update the employee’s “Personnel Transaction Form” (PTF) if faculty or staff salaries are to be charged to the grant. In addition, the faculty member’s home department must process a “Miscellaneous Payment Form” if faculty members wish to be paid SUMMER salary from their grant or contract. Paying an employee from an AWD account does not automatically produce payment of summer salary. NSF grants will pay salary up to an amount equaling 2/9ths of the investigator’s academic year salary.

Students paid from AWD cost centers must be hired and paid in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Student Employment Office.

Fringe Benefits: Georgetown University’s fringe benefit rates are effective July 1, 2018.

Consultants: If you need to pay an individual as a consultant (i.e., an independent contractor) under a grant, please work with your ORS grants and contracts administrator to establish an Independent Contractor Agreement.

The above information will be reviewed in ORS and forwarded to the Tax Department for approval. The Tax Department must ensure that 1) the contractor is not currently on the University’s payroll and has not been during the current calendar year, and 2) the services to be provided by the consultant are not those typically performed by University employees. When the Tax Department’s approval is received, the consultant is checked against a database of individuals who are debarred or suspended from participating in U.S. government funded projects. If the consultant clears each requirement, then an “Independent Contractor Agreement” (ICA), along with relevant tax forms, is sent to the consultant for signature. A copy of the fully signed contract and relevant tax forms will be sent to the Principal Investigator. The Principal Investigator is responsible for paying the Consultants/Independent Contractors once an ICA has been executed. The consultants will submit invoices to the Principal Investigator. To process payment, the PI must submit an “Expense Authorization,” a copy of the fully executed ICA, an authorized and dated invoice (the PI signs and dates the consultant’s invoice), and the relevant tax forms to the Accounts Payable Office.

Honoraria: Honoraria payments typically are used to compensate an individual in exchange for his or her service as a panel member or presenter at a conference. Honoraria payments are used only for service of very short duration. Honoraria are processed by the PI who issues a letter to the individual offering to compensate them in return for their participation in an activity (workshop, conference, etc.). The individual must sign the letter to indicate the acceptance of the offer and must complete the relevant tax forms. (The W-9 is used if the individual is a U.S. citizen. A variety of tax forms are used if the individual is not a U.S. citizens). Payments to non U. S. citizens must be cleared through the Tax Accounting Department. To process payment, the PI must submit an “Expense Authorization” accompanied by the letter of offer and the individual’s signed acceptance, and the relevant tax forms to the Accounts Payable.

Equipment: Many sponsors will not allow you to purchase general-purpose equipment (such as computers, printers, and fax machines) unless it will be used solely for the project. Scientific equipment is generally permitted. If the equipment was not in the original proposal budget, then the PI should check with ORS to make sure it is allowable. Equipment purchases are prohibited in the last few months of an award.

Travel: The University will not reimburse travel expenses such as hotel and airfare costs without original receipts. Exceptions include meal expenses under $10 and non-meal expenses under $25. These can be listed in a travel expense log containing the date of travel, amount paid, and the purpose or description of the expense. Although travel expenses on your proposal budget may have been based on government “per diem” rates, the grant is still subject to the University’s travel policy. All travel expenses must be documented as stated above.

Important note: Air travel on federal grants and contracts must be done on U.S. flag carriers. Travel on foreign carriers is not permitted on federal awards with the exception of code share travel. U.S. flag carriers have entered into code share agreement with many foreign carriers. Travel is permitted on foreign carriers with code share agreements with U.S. flag carriers as long as the flight is ticketed through the U.S. flag carrier to the final destination or furthest destination serviced by the U.S. flag carrier. Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to ORS.

Subcontractors: Please work with your ORS grants and contracts administrator to establish a subcontract.

If your project requires a subcontractor that was not included in your original proposal, you may have to submit a sole source justification to ORS detailing why this contractor is the only organization that can do the work.

Payments to subcontractors are processed by the Sponsored Programs Financial Operations  (SPFO). Once ORS receives the fully executed contract, a copy is forwarded to the principal investigator and to SPFO.

Non-U.S. Citizens: If any faculty, staff, or potential consultants on your project are not U.S. citizens, then contact the Tax Department at ext. 7-5448 or 7-5449 for guidance. They will instruct you on the forms that must be completed and interpret the tax treaties for the individual’s country of citizenship. This is especially important because the amount the individual is taxed is governed by the U.S. tax treaty with the particular country. GU must honor each country’s treaty.

Cost Sharing: There are two categories of cost sharing, mandatory and voluntary.

  1. Mandatory cost sharing is that which is required by the sponsor and documented on the award notice. If you have mandatory cost sharing, you must document those charges pertaining to the award that are paid with University funds.
  2. Voluntary cost sharing is promised in the proposal but not mandated in the award.

An example of cost sharing is a faculty member charging 20% effort to a grant, but only charging 10% of his or her salary to the grant. The remaining 10% paid by the University is the cost sharing.

Human Subject Incentive Fees: Human subject incentive fees require the approval of the Georgetown University Institutional Review Board. Human subject incentive fees may occasionally be paid to non U.S. citizens who are participating in a research study outside of the United States. In order to ensure compliance with IRS regulations that require the University to report all payments to non U.S. citizens, it is best to have the subject complete Part 1 of the W-8BEN. If the subject is not willing to complete the W-8BEN, instead, the subject should sign a letter that includes the name and address and a statement that he or she has received “$x” amount of dollars in exchange for participating in a research study entitled “Y.”

Indirect Costs: Indirect costs or IDC (called Facilities and Administrative [F&A] Costs by the Government) are costs that are not directly attributable to a project but that provide the project with an indirect benefit. The University, like all other research Universities, has negotiated an indirect cost rate agreement with the federal government. This agreement stipulates the IDC rates that may be charged for research and instruction projects. Private foundations and corporate sponsors may or may not permit indirect costs. If a non-governmental sponsor does not have a written policy on indirect costs, the University requires that you request at least 15% from private foundations, and at least 25% from commercial sponsors. As direct costs are charged to the account, an associated indirect cost charge (if permitted by the sponsor) will show on the account simultaneously.

No-Cost Extensions: Many sponsors permit a one year no-cost (without additional funds) extension at the end of the final grant year. If you require an extension, please request one in a memo or email to ORS. Extensions can be made for three reasons: 1) to permit an orderly phase-out of a project that will not receive continued support, 2) to maintain continuity of support while a renewal application is under review, and 3) to ensure that the originally approved project is adequately completed. No-cost extensions are not permitted simply to use unexpended funds. After receiving your request, ORS will either extend your account or send a formal extension request to the sponsor depending on the terms and conditions of the award.

Financial Reporting, Invoicing & Auditing: These functions are performed by the University’s Sponsored Programs Financial Operations. Questions concerning expenses showing up on your CSRs, inquiries concerning if sponsors have been billed, and audit issues should be directed to the relevant SPFO analyst.

If the terms of the award indicate that the project is not a “sponsored program,” the Main Campus Finance & Business Services Office should be contacted for assistance in establishing the cost center.

The principal investigator is responsible for:

  • Conducting the project in accordance with the proposal and the terms of the award. If it becomes necessary to significantly change the scope of work of the project, the sponsor’s written approval must be obtained.
  • Approving the expenses charged to the project cost center. Always use the correct cost center number and account code number when charging an expense to the externally funded project.
  • Managing the resources of the project so as to ensure timely and successful completion of the project.
  • Filing all appropriate technical reports as required by the award document. One copy of the letter transmitting the technical report should be provided to the ORS for inclusion in the University file for audit compliance.
  • Reporting any inventions and or scientific discoveries made during the course of the project to the Office of Technology Commericialization.
  • Reviewing the monthly “Center Status Reports” (CSR) for accuracy and reporting and discrepancies to Sponsored Programs Financial Operations as soon as possible.