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Sponsored Project Award Setup and Reporting Methodology

Sponsored Projects

In general, externally sponsored funds are classified as sponsored projects (grants and contracts) when there is an expectation of return services, such as requiring, for example, any of the following: a fiscal, technical or activity report; an external audit by or on behalf of the funding entity; a work statement or a testing of hypotheses; testing or evaluations of proprietary products; return of unexpended funds to the grantor; a line item budget; the disposition of either tangible or intangible properties to the grantor; or providing value to the funding entity in exchange for having received the funds.

Sponsored projects include research, clinical drug/device investigation, instruction & training, and other sponsored activities (OSA). OSA includes such things as community service programs in the form of medical and dental health service projects or grants or contracts for public service/outreach activities including conferences, workshops and symposiums with a primary audience of non-OHSU students and staff.

Awards

An award is any grant, contract, agreement or sub award to OHSU. Awards come in the form of “Notice of Grant Awards” from sponsoring agencies/organizations, or contracts/agreements entered into with sponsoring agencies/organizations. Award notices and contracts/agreements are received by and negotiated and signed by the three “pre award” offices at OHSU – Research Grants and Contracts, Technology Transfer and Business Development, and the Clinical Trials Office. Award packets (which include award document, application, budget, etc) are submitted to SPA for accounts to be setup for spending in the Oracle Grants Accounting (OGA) system, once all award related compliance matters are reviewed and approved (human or animal subjects, conflict of interest, biosafety, etc.). In some rare cases, award funds are managed on the Oracle General Ledger system and although the awards are given OGA Award and Project #’s, the funds are not managed through the OGA system.

Monthly Award Process and Reporting

When an award is setup in OGA, a month-year date is assigned to designate the month and fiscal year in which the award was setup. SPA processes award setups during each month and after the end of the month a report is run of all awards setup in that month and this information is published in the monthly Statistical Report of Awards. This report is the source of the Fiscal Year Sponsored Projects Awards Totals.

Award setups are processed for each month for award start dates through the end of the following month. For example, in May SPA sets up all awards received during the month of May and before June 1 with start dates on or before June 30th. This same process happens each month, using the first and last day of the following month for cutoff dates. For Fiscal Year end, this process is adjusted to include any award notices with July start dates received by the 15th of July. This is due to the large volume of awards that are received in June, as July is when a large percentage of federal award start dates occur based on the federal funding cycles.

Award Notices

Sponsors issue award notices at various times during the year and in various relations to the award start dates. Generally, federal NIH award notices (the majority of OHSU awards) are issued the month prior to the start date of the budget period and SPA sets up the account in advance of the start date so it is prepared for the PI and department to start incurring costs when the start date arrives. Setups in OGA are not processed more than 60 days in advance of the start date (which includes a preaward date if applicable). For the award notices that are electronically transmitted by the sponsor to OHSU (includes NIH) SPA may begin the setup and award counting process the day the award is issued by printing these award notices from the NIH electronic system. The award is setup for counting purposes at this point because it has officially been awarded to OHSU. However, the account is not activated for spending purposes nor is an account number provided to the PI and/or department until the awarded project has been fully reviewed and approved by Research Grants and Contracts and all compliance requirements have been met.

Frequently, award notices are not received in SPA until after the start date of the budget period. This can be due to many factors, including delay in approval of federal budget appropriations. Because of the fact that award notices are frequently received after the budget period start date, OHSU has historically used a combination of the award receipt date and the start date to derive the date/month for officially counting the awards as funded or obligated to OHSU. It is not feasible to use the budget period start date for this reason – if an award notice is received after the start date, it is not possible to go back and adjust the previous month’s report, once issued – this would cause the awards report to be a moving target at all times.

Award Periods

Sponsored Projects awards are awarded for a variety of time periods. Generally, the NIH awards are awarded for 3-5 years up front, and the full 3-5 year award total is provided in the award notice. However, individual budget year awards are specifically awarded to OHSU one year at a time. For example NIH will issue a 5-year award for $1,000,000 for the total award, but only provide the first year funding obligation of $200,000. OHSU sets up individual budget years, one year at a time, and therefore counts only one year at a time for purposes of the Statistical Report of Awards.

In addition, awards are setup a variety of ways in the OGA system. Industry awards that have no annual financial reporting requirement are setup with one award and one project for the life of the award. The majority of accounts are setup with one award and multiple projects (one per budget year).

Award Amount

The award amount that is used to count up the awards each month and each fiscal year is obtained a number of different ways depending on the type of award (grant, contract, clinical drug/device investigation, etc.). The award amount is the amount that is obligated to OHSU by the sponsor or based on the total units indicated by the sponsor applied to the unit amount in the contract (in the case of clinical drug/device investigations). The majority of grant and contract awards contain a specifically designated award amount; this is the amount that the sponsor obligates themselves to pay for the project, for a particular project period (generally a year). This figure is included in the award document (notice of grant award or contract/agreement document).

For industry sponsored clinical drug/device investigations (clinical trials), the agreement document signed by both the sponsor and OHSU includes a budget, usually with a per patient amount to be paid for each patient enrolled in the study, along with information about specific reimbursable items (advertising, patient travel, etc.) and, if applicable, start-up fees that are separate from the per patient payment amount. Some clinical drug/device investigation agreements include the number of patients OHSU is expected to enroll in the contract or attachments to the contract. If specified in the agreement or attachments, this figure is used to calculate the Estimated Award Total for the clinical drug/device investigation. If not specified in the agreement or attachments, the anticipated patient enrollment is obtained from communications with the sponsor, the principal investigator, documents submitted for approval to the OHSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) (approves all human subject related research) or the IRB approval letter and may be used to calculate the Estimated Award Total for the clinical drug/device investigation. Clinical drug/device investigations run any
length of time from a few weeks to several years. The Estimated Award Total is generally not the exact amount, in the end, that is paid to OHSU for the clinical drug/device investigation. It can sometimes end up being more or sometimes less, based on actual patient enrollment and the items invoiced.

All OGA accounts are generally setup with an “Estimated Award Total”. If the Clinical Drug/Device investigation project ever goes over the initial “Estimated Award Total”, additional funding received is noted in the monthly award process and included in the Monthly Statistical Report of Awards.

Exceptions

There are occasional exceptions to the above practices that are approved on a case-by-case basis by the SPA Director and/or the Vice President for Research. Exceptions can also occur due to workload volumes and staffing variances.

Effective 8/31/07, updated 3/10/10