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Establishing an Award

About this Policy

Establishing an Award

Policy Number: 27001

Effective Date:
Dec 12, 2017

Last Updated:

Responsible Office:
UM System Controller’s Office

Responsible Administrator:
UM System Controller

Policy Contact:

Campus Sponsored Program Office


  • Finance

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The Curators of the University of Missouri receive funds to support sponsored awards from federal and non-federal funding agencies/sponsors. This policy provides guidance for the University to process and set up an Award and/or process a Pre-Award Project request.

Reason for Policy

This policy is necessary for the proper recording of sponsored Awards.

Policy Statement

All Proposals seeking funding from a potential sponsor must be reviewed and approved by the campus Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) before being submitted to the sponsor.  The Principal Investigator (PI) completes the Proposal, which starts the process of acquiring approvals on the Proposal Signature Routing Sheet (PSRS) and will be reviewed by SPO.

Receipt of Award
The University receives award notifications in various locations on campuses that a sponsor has decided to fund a Proposal.  If a department receives a notification of award, the department must transmit the award to SPO.  Upon receipt of the award, the review and processing by the SPO.  The SPO review of the completed award is a control to ensure the final award agrees with the Proposal authorized by management and that other University policies are complied with.

Award Setup
No spending or work on a sponsored Project may take place related to an Award or Pre-Award Project until the Project ChartField string has been created and activated.  The ChartField string will not be created and activated until the reviews and approvals have been completed (except execution of the agreement in the case of a Pre-Award Project).  Once an award has been fully executed (or accepted by the University, in the case of unilateral awards; or guaranteed by the department in the case of Pre-Award Projects) and received by the SPO, the award must be set up in the financial system. Setup of the award consists of making the appropriate entries in the financial system and notifying the PI so that funds can be expended. A review of the award package must be performed by the SPO to ensure completeness and accuracy of the set-up. 

Note: The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number associated with federal and federal flow through Projects should be obtained as early in the process as possible to be used as part of the Award setup in order to ensure the accuracy of reporting to the Federal government and that fringe benefits post to sponsored activity Chartfields at the correct rate.

Pre-Award Project Setup
Under certain circumstances, a Pre-Award Project will be set up for activity where a Fully Executed Award is not yet in place. Care must be taken by SPO managers, PIs and departments to ascertain from RFPs, RFAs, or bid solicitations, that federal grantors and state contracting authorities will cover pre-award expenses should any be incurred before the start date of an eventual award.

The following criteria must be met in order for a Pre-Award Project to be set up:

  • The academic unit creating the Proposal agrees to cover any costs that are not covered by an eventual award (or by an award not materializing), and notifies the SPO to that effect.
  • A pre-award request must be authorized and approved by the PI, Department Head and Dean or equivalent.
  • The academic unit notifies the SPO in writing (including email or fax) of:
    • their desire to begin work on the Project before an award is finalized;
    • compliance with pertinent requirements (e.g., IRB (Institutional Review Board), IACUC (Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee), etc.);
    • the discretionary spending source to be charged for any costs not covered by an eventual award or due to an award not being granted.

Once these criteria are met, a Pre-Award Project is set up and spending on that Project can begin. After a fully executed or unilateral award is received, the Pre-Award Project is converted to fully awarded status.  The status of the Project is changed from Pre-Award to Awarded and appropriate billing information is entered.

Pre-Award Monitoring
Quarterly, a Pre-Award Project review must be conducted by the SPO. A summary of this review will be provided to the Management in the SPO. The SPO should review a listing of pre-award projects over 90 days to ensure there is no build-up of unfunded Projects and that appropriate follow-up occurs with the PI and departmental administrators.  The review of this listing ensures that management is aware of the existence of Pre-Award Projects and provides the opportunity to question the status.

Any Pre-Award Project in place for more than 6 months must be reviewed and its continuation affirmed by written approval of the PI, department chair and dean or equivalent.  If the existence of the Pre-Award Project is not affirmed at that time, and an award has not been made, the pre-award Project is to be closed with all expenses transferred to the discretionary spending source committed by the academic unit.

A Pre-Award Project will be terminated and expenses transferred to the discretionary spending source controlled by the academic unit immediately upon receipt of knowledge that an award will not be issued or at the withdrawal of department’s commitment to cover expenses that was given at establishment of a Pre-Award Project.


Award - an agreement providing or obligating funds from a funding agency/sponsor in support of a sponsored Project.

CFDA Number - Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number associated with an award.  The CFDA Number is a federal government-wide compendium of financial and non- financial assistance programs. External auditors may request this number and seek to verify it with external documentation available.

Fully Executed Award - a document signed (executed) by both the University and Sponsor to provide funding for a sponsored Project.

Pre-Award Project - This is a Project established in the financial system prior to receiving a Fully Executed Award document.

Proposal - a document sent to a potential sponsor seeking funding for a Project.

Proposal Signature Routing Sheet (PSRS) - report generated out of the financial system with Proposal data and signature lines, where signatures signify approval of the Proposal to be submitted.  It is also used to document approval of cost share and time commitments included in the Proposal.

Project - the characteristics of a sponsored Project are:

  • activities relating to a Proposal funded by an entity outside the University,
  • funded for a specific purpose,
  • an exchange transaction where the sponsor receives value in return for the funding provided to the University,
  • executed an award, contract, cooperative agreement, memorandum of understanding,or other formal mechanism,
  • for the purpose of supporting any research, scholarly, instructional or public service activity
  • the sponsor may retain some claim (option or otherwise) to intellectual property that may be developed as a result of a sponsored Project,
  • the sponsor may have a direct interest in the development and ownership of the intellectual property resulting from the activity, and.
  • the Project may have restrictions requiring regulatory compliance.


Campus Sponsored Programs Office:

  • Reviews Proposal ensuring appropriate approvals are in place.
  • Checks Proposal for compliance requirements.
  • Tests Proposal and award budget calculations.
  • Ensures proper Proposal and award setup in the financial system.
  • Reviews every award setup for consistency with Proposal.
  • Ensure PI approval and acceptance of the award.
  • Monitoring of Pre-Award Projects.
  • Obtain award review from other University representatives as required (minimally to include the Principal Investigator and General Counsel).
  • Review and negotiate the terms of the award.
  • Execution of any agreement that is finalized.
  • Creation of the award in the financial system.
  • Verify CFDA Number and cluster during award set-up.
  • Complete follow up on outstanding CFDA Number questions once award is setup.

Department Head:

  • Approves the Proposal
  • Agrees to cover pre-award spending not covered an ensuing award.

Principal Investigator:

  • Completes the Proposal and PSRS and routes it for approvals and submission.
  • Authorizes all spending.
  • Obtains departmental and college/division approval for the Proposal.
  • Gives formal acceptance and approval of Award to the SPO.

Additional Details



Related Information



Formerly Accounting Policy Manual 60.35 – Establishing an Award (revised 3/4/2014)


Reviewed 2017-12-06