The information below is organized into four separate categories. First, Role of Principal Investigators explains Principal Investigators’ responsibilities for ensuring the success of sponsor projects. Second, Financial Management provides resources to efficiently manage the financial aspects of awards. Third, Technical & Contractual Management includes information about managing the performance of different award types and contracting for various types of goods and services. Finally, Talent Acquisition: How to Hire details the processes for hiring personnel to work on Principal Investigators’ awards. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Role of Principal Investigators
Principal Investigators (“PIs“) have primary responsibility for achieving the technical success of sponsored projects, while also complying with the financial and administrative policies and regulations associated with the sponsored project agreement (the “Award“). Although PIs may have administrative staff to assist them with the management of Award funds, the ultimate responsibility for the management of sponsored projects rests with PIs. The fundamental responsibilities of PIs during the post-award phase of sponsored projects include, but are not limited to:
- Execute the project as outlined in the Award using sound management techniques;
- Carry out the project’s financial plan as presented in the Award, or make changes to the plan following a prescribed set of policies and procedures;
- Report project progress to the sponsor as outlined in the terms of Award;
- Maintain accurate records of project-related expenses;
- Comply with all Boise State University (“University“) policies and procedures related to project management and personnel practices; and
- Comply with all applicable sponsor rules, regulations and/or terms and conditions of the Award; and
- Fulfill the PIs’ obligations set forth in the Principal Investigator Award Certifications and Assurances.
PIs’ responsibilities may be divided into two related but distinctly different sets of activities: (i) management of the Award Scope of Work (“SOW“); and (ii) responsible spending of Award funds. While the SOW should drive financial activities, sound management practices in both arenas are required. The financial stewardship of Award funds is a shared responsibility between PIs, the PIs’ college/departmental administrators and the Office of Sponsored Programs (“OSP“).
Once a project has been funded, there is the expectation by both the sponsor and OSP that PIs responsibly spend Award funds. Sound fiscal management of Award funds requires knowledge of, and adherence to, a prescribed set of federal and locally developed financial guidelines (see, e.g., the Uniform Guidance Basics). Over the life of an Award, PIs may initiate changes to a project that impact the management of awarded funds. PIs must have a good understanding of the procedures associated with initiating financial transactions or changes to an Award’s financial plan.
OSP is committed to assisting PIs’ fulfillment of these responsibilities. In addition to offering workshops and training sessions, OSP has prepared (and will continue to prepare) forms, policies, procedures and training materials aimed at acquainting PIs and their college/departmental administrators with information that will positively affect sponsored project management.
A project is the allocation of resources directed toward a specific set of goals that follows a planned and organized approach to meeting those goals. Sponsored projects have an added explicit dimension of time that sets them apart from many internally funded and managed projects. Most sponsors expect PIs to meet the budgets and time frames outlined in Awards’ SOWs. This expectation puts special emphasis on PIs’ abilities to carefully plan and manage Award work.
The most basic project-operating document is the project plan. All resource allocation, including funding and staffing, must support the objectives outlined in the project plan. As project managers, PIs must:
- Manage Award resources;
- Plan and control Award work; and
- Communicate with individuals and groups about the Award.
While the management of Award resources may appear to take the bulk of PIs’ time, it is the planning, controlling and communicating tasks that will prove most time consuming.
PIs, particularly if they manage multiple and/or complex Awards, may find public domain or commercially available software packages extremely helpful in managing their Awards. Use of project management and financial software, such as Microsoft Project and Excel (available through BroncoTec), can assist PIs in reporting project progress, tracking work, analyzing project-generated data and managing time keeping. Although Award financial information is maintained in Oracle Financials Cloud (“OFC”), PIs are encouraged to develop means by which they or their college/departmental administrators can maintain records related to the hours and tasks performed by each member of project teams.
PIs have responsibilities and prerogatives in the selection, training and evaluation of project staff, subject to the policies and procedures of the University’s Human Resource Services (“HRS“). These personnel practices conform to federal and state laws, and reflect the University’s approach to human resource management. Consistent with these policies and procedures, PIs may select staff to carry out project work. PIs unfamiliar with University personnel practices are encouraged to contact HRS staff.
- When to Contact Your Sponsored Project Administrator (“SPA”)
- Oracle Financials Cloud (“OFC”) Login
- OFC Job Aids & Tutorials
- Reference Guide to the Uniform Guidance
- How Do I Pay for Many Types of Expenses?
- Electronic Employment Action Form (“EAF”)
- When to Use the Electronic EAF
- Budget Adjustment Request
- Grant Funding Distribution Forms (“GFDFs”)
- Cost Share Life Cycle
- Cost Share Transactions & Fund Balancing Examples
- Cost Share Affidavit
- Third-Party Cost Share Form/Certification
- Advance Department ID / Advance Spending Request
- Types of Awards and Important Differences
- Subcontractor or Subrecipient v. Contractor/Consultant/Vendor
- Subaward Negotiation and Acceptance (Negotiated by OSP Contracting Services)
- Procuring Goods & Services (Negotiated by Colleges/Departments, Purchasing or OGC)
- Research Experience for Undergraduates (“REU”) Participant Agreement (Negotiated by Colleges/Departments, Purchasing or OGC)
- Non-Disclosure Agreements (Negotiated by the Office of Technology Transfer)
- When to Contact OSP Pre-Award Services
- No-Cost Extension FAQs