A. Setting up an Award on the OGA System
Once a research agreement is signed, the Grants and Contracts Manager at OGC sends a memo to the OGA administrator detailing the project grant information , which contains the start and end date of the award, budget details, reporting requirements and frequency, and the terms and conditions of the agreement. The OGA Administrator will create the award and related project on the OGA system.
Once completed, the Grants and Contracts Manager will be notified that the new project was established on the system, and will be required to review and approve the project information.
Upon approval of the Grants and Contracts’ Manager, the Principal Investigator (PI), the Comptroller’s Office personnel, and Faculty Administrators will receive an email notification entitled: a “Set up of New Grant Award.” The notification will include the following information:
- Award Number
- Funding Agency Name
- Project Title
- Organization / Department/ Center of PI (or department/ Center)
- Project Director (PD) or Principal Investigator (PI) Name
- Project Number
- Start and End Date of Agreement
- Project Funded Amount
- Budget Breakdown (tasks)
- Award Terms and Conditions
The "Set up of New Award” notification provides the PI and faculty administrators with the PTAEO (project account number) combination to use for processing expenditures on the grant. The PTAEO is needed to be able to charge any expenditure on awards/projects.
PTAEO stands for the following:
P = Project Number
T = Task Number (budget line item)
A = Award Number
E = Expense Number (this should be identified by the Department when charging the account)
O = Organization/Department Number
B. Receipt of Funds on Grants:
Funding Agency disbursement of funds is either processed through wire transfer, or through direct payments to AUB by checks. If received by check, the Office of the Comptroller is responsible for processing the deposit and crediting the award/project the amount of funding received. If received by wire transfer, the Grants and Contracts Manager at OGC should identify corresponding award and inform the Comptroller’s office to deposit the funds in the account.
C. Implementation of Award Amendments on OGA System
I. No Cost Extension
Once a no-cost extension is approved, or project close date is extended, the Grants and Contracts manager sends the details to the OGA administrator to process on the system. The following changes are processed by OGA administrator on the system:
- Entering the new date on the “Project” and “Award” sections,
- Changing the date on the budget breakdown (budget line items) section,
- Entering the new dates on the installments sections,
- Submitting the new budget for approval by the Grants and Contracts Manager.
Once the Manager approves the change on the system the change becomes effective and an e-mail notification entitled: “Grant Amendment” is sent to the PI and project personnel (PIs and Comptroller’s Office) informing them of the implemented changes. The “Grant Amendment” notification includes the following information:
- Project Number
- Project Title
- PI(s) name(s)
- Organization / Department/ Center of PI
- Funding Agency Name
- Start and End Date of Agreement
- Project Funded Amount
- Description of the Change made
- Budget Breakdown
II. Cost Extension (Applies also to Annual Renewals)
Once a cost extension is approved, the Grants and Contracts Manager sends the details to the OGA administrator to process this extension and budget change on the system by:
- Changing the end date on the “Project” section,
- Setting the new end date on the budget breakdown (budget line items) section, and/or create new budget lines as needed and approved,
- Changing the end date on the “Award” Section, and creating an installment to reflect the cost extension/ renewal,
- Increasing the project funding,
- Submitting the changes for approval by the Grants and Contracts Manager.
After the Manager approves the change on the system the cost extension becomes effective and an e-mail notification entitled: “Grant Amendment” is sent to the PI and project personnel informing them of the implemented changes. The “Grant Amendment” notification includes the following information:
a) Project Number
b) Project Title
c) PI(s) name(s)
d) Organization / Department/ Center of PI
e) Funding Agency Name
f) Start and End Date of Agreement
g) Project Funded Amount
h) Description of the Change made
i) Budget Breakdown
III. Budget Increase/ Decrease
Once a budget Increase/ Decrease is required on a grant, the Grants and Contracts Manager sends the details to the OGA administrator to process to implement the change on the system by:
- Creating new budget line items in “Project” section,
- Updating/creating an installment to reflect the increase/decrease in the “Award” section,
- Changing the project funding and the budget breakdown,
- Submitting the changes to the Grants and Contracts manager for approval.
After the Manager approves the changes made on the system the budget increase/decrease becomes effective and an e-mail notification entitled: “Grant Amendment” is sent to the PI and project personnel (faculty administrators, Comptroller’s office, OGC award manager) informing them of the implemented changes. The notification includes the same information as for changes for cost and no cost extensions.
IV. Budget Reallocation
Once a budget reallocation is approved, the Grants and Contracts Manager sends the details to the OGA administrator at OGC to implement the change on the system. The OGA administrator implements the budget changes/reallocation on the budget breakdown section and re-submits to the manager for approval. When the Manager approves the budget reallocation on the system it becomes effective and an e-mail notification entitled: “Grant Amendment” is sent to the PI and project personnel informing them of the budget reallocation. The Grant Amendment notification includes the same information as for changes for cost and no cost extensions, and budget increase/decrease.
D. Processing of Budget Expenditures:
Various expenditures on sponsored research projects have special rules and regulations which the principal investigator must follow. Allowable costs on sponsored research grants are usually outlined in the award agreement. If a question arises regarding whether a specific expenditure is allowable on an account, the PI should contact OGC for explanation and/or clarification.
Unauthorized expenditures or unapproved changes in the budget can result in penalties against the institution and the possible loss of further research funds for the PI.
Project cash transactions should be processed by the PI or by the faculty/department faculty administrator or by a financial monitor employed for the project and will be subject to the controls established by the Comptroller's Office and OGA system.
I. Equipment and Supplies
The purchase of supplies and equipment is often a part of an award budget if their purchase is necessary for the performance of the project. Some funding agencies may require prior written approval before equipment is purchased while others give the university the authority for such a decision. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to check the award conditions pertaining to the purchase of equipment and supplies and he/she must adhere to the grant conditions.
Ordering equipment from overseas must be done early on in the project and at least three months before the end date of the award agreement to allow ample time for the payment and thus meet the final reporting requirements of the sponsor agency.
Supplies and equipment can be ordered from the University stores or external suppliers through the purchasing department and must follow the Purchasing Requisition process (I-procurement) already established.
II. AUB Personnel Salaries
Appointments of all personnel on funded research projects are subject to the Human Resources Department
policies and procedures already established. Payment of AUB personnel on projects is effected through the University Payroll system. Salaries of project personnel are processed manually and follow the already established HR procedures.
Requests for Summer Research Contracts, Course Buy-Out and Incentive Pay (through the Faculty Research Incentive Pay Policy) for Principal or Co-Principal Investigators on Sponsored research grants should be first approved by the Director of OGC prior to HR approval.
Note: It is important to note that project funds are not used to supplement the PI or any other university staff salaries.
Research Assistants (RAs):
RAs are on academic appointment and they can be appointed on a part-time or full-time basis, for more information on this please see the Research Assistantship Policy
under AUB's Policies and Procedures.
Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs):
GRAs should be full time graduate students. GRAs stipend and tuition support could be compensated from internally or externally supported projects. GRAs may not work more than 20 hours per week in this capacity and are not allowed to work outside the University. They will not be entitled to receive other financial aid as long as the GRA is in force. Salaries/stipends for Graduate Research Assistants should not be budgeted to include employee benefit costs. For more details, see the policy on Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships under AUB's Policies and Procedures
Student Work Study (SWS): These are undergraduate students who are hired on a project to assist in project coordination and they are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week.
Process for Hiring on a Sponsored Research Award:
- Hiring of Research Assistants: The PI or Project Director sends the Dean a request to hire a research assistant on a grant award. Once the dean approves the employment, the Dean’s office will issue a Recommendation of Appointment which is sent for the approval of HR, once approved it is sent to the Comptroller’s Grants Section to check on compliance and availability of funds on the grant award. If request for appointment is in compliance with award conditions, the Comptroller’s Office will charge the salary to the award.
- Hiring of and Graduate Research Assistants: Only graduate assistants are entitled to become Graduate Research Assistants on research projects. The PI or Project Director sends the Dean’s Office a request to hire his or her Graduate Assistant on a grant. The Dean’s Office will prepare a graduate assistantship contract and secures the student’s signature on it. Once the contract is signed the Dean’s Office sends it to the Comptroller’s office along with a payment voucher and instruction on which grant award to charge. If request for appointment is in compliance with award conditions, the Comptroller’s Office will charge the salary to the award.
- Hiring of SWS: Hiring of SWS is processed through the I-Procurement system as follows:
- a) Students apply online for SWS,
- b) The Project Director places a request on Oracle I-Procurement per student per period (preferably per semester),
- c) The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) and the department carry out the student selection process,
- d) OSA issues a Purchase Order (PO) on Oracle,
- e) The Project Director receives worked hours monthly on I-Procurement and sends the “Requisition Details” printout to OSA,
- f) OSA approves and sends the printouts to Comptroller’s Office,
- g) Comptroller’s Office processes the received amounts and issues the monthly payments to SWS,
- h) At the end of the Semester, OSA will close all partially utilized POs to release committed funds.
It is often necessary to draw on the expertise and services of individuals who are not University employees in the performance of specific tasks of a sponsored funded project. Such services may include consultancies, preparation of working papers or presentation for a workshop and other activities which are important for the implementation of a project. The selection and appointment of consultants to provide professional services shall be made in accordance with the university policies and the budget approved by the funding agency. Consultancy agreements are used to hire consultants for special tasks or jobs to be charged on service contracts or research projects.
The following procedure is followed:
a. The PI prepares a memo to his/her Dean requesting approval for hiring a consultant. The memo should include the following information and documents:
- Name of project and funding agency, and Award Number,
- Consultant name and title,
- Terms of reference (specify the tasks to be carried out by consultant),
- Period of performance,
- PTAEO to be charged,
- Location (country) of the work to be performed,
- Consultant's CV,
- Copy of consultant’s university degree,
- Declaration Form,
- Copy of Lebanese ID (if foreigner: a copy of the passport is needed)
- If the consultant is a foreigner, and the work will be conducted inside Lebanon, a copy of the work permit is needed,
- Statement ensuring that there is no conflict of interest, see Policy on Conflict of Interest
- IRB approval (if the tasks involve human subjects).
b. When the request is approved by the Dean, the Dean's office forwards it to OGC to prepare the consultancy agreement.
c. Once the agreement is prepared the OGC sends it to the PI to secure the consultant’s signature, and ensures provision of tax stamps by the consultant. The Director of OGC countersigns the consultancy agreement and the Grants and Contracts Manager sends copies of the agreement to the Department of Human Resources, Office of the Comptroller, Dean's Office and the Project Director. The PI must keep a copy of the agreement for his/her records and give a copy to the consultant.
d. For remuneration of the consultant, the PI prepares the request for payment on I-procurement, which should include the following attachments:
- A letter from the PI that work has been satisfactorily completed,
- The duly signed Consultancy Agreement,
- The Consultant’s ID,
- The signed Citizenship Declaration Form,
- The amount to be paid based on the payment schedule set and approved in the consultancy agreement.
Travel requests for sponsored projects are processed in accordance with the University travel procedures. Travel requests and reimbursements for sponsored projects are processed through the Office of Auxiliary Services at the University and in accordance with the AUB Travel Policy. Each request for travel should state the relationship of the trip to sponsored project.
V. Petty Cash on Grants
Petty cash requests are processed through AUB Internet-Expense (I-Expense) by creating an expense report. The petty cash custodian must choose the option entitled: “P.C, choose the petty cash template, define purpose for the petty cash. The petty cash custodian must then fill out the details of each expense according to its type, and supported by a scanned copy of the receipt and submit through the system.
E. System Notifications on OGA
The system automatically sends to PIs, faculty administrators, comptroller’s office staff, and OGC award managers a workflow email notification for the below cases:
- Setup of new grant award: is an email notification sent to PI and project personnel informing them that a new award was set-up. It provides all concerned parties with the general information about the award, and the account (PTAEO) to use for charging expenditures.
- Grant Amendment: is an email notification alert sent to PI and project personnel informing them of any changes on the grant (Cost Extension, No-Cost Extension, Budget Reallocation etc…).
- Installment Active: is an email notification sent to PIs and project personnel to inform them of activation of new installment.
- Project Narrative Report: is an email notification sent to PI and project personnel to inform them of the due date for reporting on the grant.
- Project Financial Report: is an email notification sent to PI and project personnel as well as the comptroller’s Office to alert them of the due date for the financial report on the grant.
- Project Closure Alert: is an email notification sent to PI and project personnel to alert them that the project is ending soon, so that they PI can process payments on the grant and follow-up on pending commitments and requested. This notification is usually sent 3 months prior to the ending period of the grant. This notification is also sent to the Comptroller’s Office to follow-up and to expedite committed funds.
F. Roles and Responsibilities of Personnel on OGA
Grants and Contracts Manager
- Provides project information to the OGA Administrator to set-up the project budget on the system based on the terms and conditions of the grant agreement/contract/Sub-award.
- Reviews the project information and budget set-up on Oracle and approves it (baselines the budget).
- Provides OGA Administrator with grant changes to be processed on the OGA system, and approves grant amendments (No Cost Extension, Cost Extension, Budget Increase/ Decrease or Budget Reallocation, etc..).
- Responsible for following up on award expenditures. The manager checks the Project Closure Alert notification (Oracle automated notification), and follows-up with the comptroller’s on the pending committed expenses.
- Responsible for following up and submission of project reports (Narrative and Financial) to funding agencies. The manager receives and uses the “Financial Report Alert” and “Narrative Report Alert” notifications (Oracle automated notifications), as a reminder to follow-up with PI on submission of a narrative report, and with the comptroller’s office to prepare the financial report.
- Answers PI’s and Comptroller’s inquiries regarding awards establishments on Oracle (refers them to OGA Administrator for certain cases).
- Responsible for Award closure on the OGA system. The manager authorizes the closure of grants on the systems and when needed the award manager provides special instructions to the Comptroller’s office and OGA Administrator.
- Creates and establishes new award(s) and project(s) on the Oracle OGA system.
- Implements grant amendments (No Cost Extension, Cost Extension, Budget Increase/ Decrease or Budget Reallocation) on the Oracle OGA system.
- Checks Project Closure Alert notification (Oracle automated notification), and follows up with the comptroller’s on pending commitments.
- Implements project /award closures on the Oracle OGA system.
Comptroller’s Office Grants’ Manager
- Receives Award Setup notification Alert (to note that that new Grant Award/ Project has been established on the system).
- Processes and approves award expenditures (Personnel, Research Material etc…).
- Receives and records Checks and transfers from the Funding agency on the Oracle OGA system.
- Checks Grant Amendment notifications (No Cost Extension, Cost Extension, Budget Increase/ Decrease or Budget Reallocation) and verifies future budget expenditures based on them.
- Checks Project Closure Alert (Oracle automated notification) and follows up on pending commitments and requests.
- Checks financial reports due Alert (Oracle automated notification), to note that a financial report is required and due within a set number of days.
- Prepares timely updated official financial reports as requested by OGC and as per funding agency requirements.
- Takes necessary actions for closing Awards of grant agreements on the system (details of special action needed) and confirms to Award manager and OGA manager that it can be closed.
Principal Investigator (PI)
- Receives and checks the Award Setup notification that provides the PI with the general information that his/her project is now active and he/she can proceed with expenditures.
- Receives notifications of grant amendments on his/her grant.
- Responsible on following up on his/her grant expenditures and ensuring that they are correctly and appropriately allocated.
- Responsible for preparation of narrative report on her/his grant. PI receives the “Narrative Report” alert notifications (Oracle automated notification), which states the deadline for its submission.
- Receives the Project Closure Alert notification (Oracle automated notification). The notification is a reminder to the PI to ensure that all grant expenses have been recorded, and as a reminder to process any pending payments on the award.