Research Grants and Contracts

The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) coordinates submission of proposals and acceptance of awards for grants and contracts at UC Berkeley. Qualified members of UC Berkeley's faculty are authorized to serve as principal investigator (PI) or project director (PD) and may submit proposals through SPO to these outside agencies to seek funds for research or other projects. See UC Berkeley's policy on "PI status". Each proposal brought to SPO for administrative review and forwarding to a funding agency should be accompanied by a Proposal Review Form containing the signatures of the project's PI or PD, the administering department's chair or director, and the appropriate dean.

If the award document is delayed but the agency's decision to fund can be confirmed, the PI or PD may ask SPO to approve an advance expenditure authorization (fund advance), allowing pre-award costs to be incurred before the start date. Some federal agencies routinely allow up to 90 days of pre-award costs.

Re-budgeting, or changing the way award funds are spent, may require prior approval by the funding agency. Agency approval to re-budget, if required, must be requested in writing with SPO's countersignature.

If the project is not completed and awarded funds remain unspent towards the end of a project period, many funding agencies will allow the PI or PD to request more time to complete the work while spending remaining funds. Extension requests must be sent to SPO well before the existing project period end date.

The Extramural Funds Accounting Office (EFA) provides financial and accounting services for contracts and grants awarded to the UC Berkeley campus. EFA's responsibilities include the initial setting-up of the approved award and budget in the Berkeley Financial System (BFS), preparing financial reports for funding agencies, invoicing and collecting, drawing-down letters of credit, coordinating audits of individual grants and contracts, and preparing Personnel Activity Reports in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget Circular, OMB A-21. The University Relations Office provides the same services for gifts and endowments.

The principal investigator or project director is responsible for the design, implementation and management of the specific research grant or contract. The PI may delegate grant financial management to a departmental business officer, however, the PI remains accountable to the funding agency and therefore must ensure that expenditures are appropriately classified in BFS in accordance with award restrictions. In addition, the PI must ensure that cost transfers are appropriate and in compliance with relevant regulations.