Research Service Center

Definition of Terms

RESEARCH SERVICE CENTER (RSC)
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

GENERAL STATEMENT:

The grant process is a cooperative effort between faculty, their administrative / financial staff and the RSC.  The documents, communications and correspondence that are listed below represent the majority of the documentation needed by RSC. However, due to the unique nature of each grant, the list is not limited to the items below. The list below is given in approximate chronological order.  In addition, RSC needs copies of all correspondence pertaining to the grant.  This includes copies of letters, e-mails, information received from phone calls, and from faxes.  RSC also requests that we receive responses to our inquiries in a timely manner (within 5 business days).

It is our hope that with the guidelines below the grant process will be easier for all concerned.  You may refer to our website at: USM.MAINE.EDU/OSP where you will find valuable information regarding the ongoing management of your program.  As always please feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding your grant(s).  


Thank you,

The Research Service Center staff

DOCUMENTS NEEDED BY THE RESEARCH SERVICE CENTER

PROGRAM GUIDELINES/REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

(RFP) In an effort to better serve you at the proposal planning stage, it is helpful if RSC receives a copy of the RFP and/or Program Guidelines prior to proposal review so that we too have a clear understanding of any special requirements, guidelines and format.

LETTER OF INTENT:A letter sent to the Funding Agency expressing interest in a program.

PROPOSAL: The complete document prepared for submission to a sponsor

BLUESHEET:

  • The bluesheet should be fully completed and signed by the PI, PD, Chair, and Dean.  If an item on the blue sheet is not applicable, please indicate so.  It is mandatory that a Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number is provided for any project receiving Federal or Federal /State funding.
  • If University funds (Direct Cost Sharing) are being offered, this information must be included on the bluesheet, including the source department numbers and the amounts they are providing.
  • RSC will not create a project number until all information is provided and the bluesheet is completely and properly filled out and is accepted by RSC.

BUDGET Should be included with proposal and submitted with the Bluesheet

  • The budget should be detailed and include the correct University System account codes and any translation to the sponsor’s categories, if different from USM’s.
  • The budget amount must match the amount of the award. If not, a new budget must be submitted to RSC. 
  • If a budget is to be modified by 10% (or more) in an object code or by 10% (or more) of the net sponsor cost, written authorization must be obtained. In some cases RSC has the authority to grant such changes, in other case the sponsor needs to grant the approval. Please contact RSC prior to making any changes to determine the proper procedure for you specific sponsor.


NOTICE OF DECLINATION

  • If the award is declined, RSC needs a copy of the Notice/Letter of declination.


AWARD NOTICE

  • If the award is funded, RSC needs to receive a copy of any document that indicates an award has been granted.  These documents include but are not limited to: Award Notice, Notice of Award, Contract, Cooperative Agreement, Agreement to Purchase, Letter of Agreement or Letter of Intent.  Any document that requires a University signature/acceptance must be signed by RSC, not the PI.  
  • RSC reserves the right to decline setting up a project until a fully executed copy of the award notice is received. In some cases, for expediency, a project may be created for you in advance of an award. However, if RSC does not receive a fully executed copy of this document within 30 days of project create, the project will be frozen. Please stay in contact with your sponsor to ensure that an award is forthcoming.  
  • After an award notice is received, invoicing begins.  Generally, invoicing is a service that RSC provides.  If we jointly have determined that you are going to do your own invoicing, RSC needs copies of each invoice issued.


AMENDMENTS TO AWARDS/AGREEMENTS/CONTRACTS/GRANTS

  • Amendments to any to awards, according to contract law, should be executed by the same parties as the original document.
  • RSC need copies of all amendments.  Amendments include but are not limited to: no cost extensions, additional funding, budget reallocation, budget decreases, change in project personnel, changes in project scope, and other modifications.  
  • It is essential that RSC receive a fully executed amendment within 30 days of the effective date of the amendment.  If the amendment extends the life of the contract, an executed copy of the amendment must be received by RSC at least 30 days prior to the termination date of the program.  (Some sponsors require longer notice.) If RSC does not receive a copy of the amendment, we will assume that an extension was not granted and will freeze your account. Invoicing will also be discontinued.
  • As with budget modifications note above, in some cases RSC has the authority to grant no-cost extensions on behalf of a sponsor. Please contact RSC to determine the proper procedure for your sponsor.


SUBCONTRACTS

  • If your program requires subcontracting with an outside agency or individual, RSC requires copies of all subcontracts including Contracts for Special Services and Contracts for Personal Services.  We also need any amendments to the subcontracts. RSC can provide templates for these documents.
  • For subcontracts under $5,000, a Dean may execute the document on behalf of the University. Subcontracts in excess of $5,000 must be executed by RSC. (We would also like the Dean to co-sign the document). Any agreement in excess 0f $25,000 is subject to Federal procurement laws – please contact RSC in advance of any commitments.



MONTHLY FINANCIAL REVIEW (MFR Sheets) See website for form:  Monthly Financial Review Sheet (MFR)

  • Your project must be reconciled each month (including one for Year End) in a timely fashion. A Monthly Financial Review Sheet (MFR) should be completed and submitted to OSP whether or not there are any changes or adjustments to your project. This serves as a way for you to keep us informed of the financial progress of your account.
  • Per our and University Cost Transfer Policy: corrections requested on the MFR, including Journal Entries (JEs), should be for the month that the MFR is dated.
  • Per the Cost Transfer Policy: all adjustments should be requested within 60 days of the original transaction date and an explanation for the correction should be included.
  • If a request is made after 60 days, an explanation for the delay must also be included and should be signed by a supervisor who assumes responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the change. Corrections requested after 60 days may be returned at the discretion of RSC based upon a lack of adequate supporting documentation. 
  • Please note: Any adjustments involving grant accounts must be processed through RSC.  Do not send them to the Business office or the Payroll Department as this will just slow the processing since those departments just forward the requests to RSC.


LABOR DISTRIBUTION ADJUSTMENTS (LDAs)

  • LDAs must be requested on an LDA form.  LDA requests will be compared to Time Sheets for accuracy when applicable.
  • Per the Cost Transfer Policy: all adjustments should be requested within 60 days of the original transaction date and an explanation for the correction should be included.
  • If a request is made after 60 days, an explanation for the delay must also be included and should be signed by a supervisor who assumes responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the change. Corrections requested after 60 days may be returned at the discretion of RSC based upon a lack of adequate supporting documentation. 
  • Please note: Any adjustments involving grant accounts must be processed through RSC.  Do not send them to the Business office or the Payroll Department as this will just slow the processing since those departments just forward the requests to RSC.


CLOSING PROJECTS

  • Just like opening a new grant project, the closing of a grant project is a cooperative process.   The closing process may require meeting with your RSC contact in order to complete the Final Report.  
  • At the time of final report preparation, all of the MFR cover sheets should have been received by RSC and all encumbrances must be completed and/or paid.
  • Typically a sponsor allows up to 90 days beyond the termination date for the “dust to settle”.  RSC uses this time to make final adjustments, and to allow outstanding encumbrances and expenses to clear the project. After 90 days all expenses should be complete and all reporting done. Your project will be frozen at that time. 
  • As with any program expense, it may be necessary for the project staff to follow up on outstanding revenue/invoices.