Research

Visit UGA’s Office of Research to “start your research program.”

Turner
Mica Turner
UGA’s Sponsored Projects Administration serves the UGA research community by providing expert guidance, exceptional service, and reduced administrative burden throughout the sponsored project lifecycle and allowing our investigators to foster positive change in the world.

There are several avenues in which funding can be obtained and it is highly recommended you reach out to Ecology’s main SPA representative, currently Jenna Jones, before entering into any agreement with an agency, foundation, corporation, individual or other.

 

Your SPA representative can help guide you in the development and submission of your proposal. SPA has new OneSource friendly budget templates that incorporate account codes into the budget development process.

Click here for more information.

  • Ecology Department ID (Academic Credit): 26000000
  • Ecology IDC Unit: 26000ADM
  • Your Management Unit/Department:  26000XXX (Please email Ecology’s AFD if you are unsure what your management unit is.)
  • What is a MOD? A MOD is a modification to your award and SPA typically requires you submit a MOD whenever you have a change to make on your project. After submission, SPA will determine if the mod request will need your agency’s approval.

 

Cost share, Public Service faculty? Use fund type 10000, program 12110 and your management unit.

Cost share, Non-Public Service faculty? Use fund type 10500, program 12110 and your management unit.

After you are funded an award/grant/project/contract there will be times SPA requires documentation of certain changes. Your agency may not mind if you rebudget or make changes (via MOD) for certain requests but SPA does. SPA will then let you know if agency approval is required.

  • Salaries and Fringe

    • If you specifically name an individual in your budget then you must use your funds for that person only. You may be required to submit a MOD to update named personnel if you are not paying the original candidate. Ecology recommends inserting an individual’s title, rather than name, to avoid delays in the future.

    • Employees may not be paid more than 100% for all on-campus work, regardless of funding.

    • If you indicate a time period in your project for key personnel summer pay (time effort) that employee MUST take that pay during the awarded time frame. For instance, if your project runs from July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000, with 3 months of summer pay you may take one month in July 1999 and the other two months in May and June 2000. Further, if you indicate you plan to take one-month summer pay in May only then you must do so or you will need to update your information with SPA to avoid an internal audit discrepancy.

    • If you budget payroll for key personnel (summer or otherwise) you are required to meet that commitment. Else, you must request a re-budget through SPA via a MOD.

    • All employees, whether paid from a project or state account are considered UGA employees and are subject to UGA-HR guidelines, policies, and procedures. Sick pay, vacation pay, and holiday pay are to be met by the grant unless the grant specifically states otherwise. You may require grant-funded employees to take regular leave days. Some exceptions apply.

      • Upon termination/resignation of regular benefits-eligible, classified employees your project’s budget will be responsible for covering up to 360 hours of annual leave payout. Students and postdocs do not qualify for leave payout unless they are transferred to a regular benefits-eligible position.

    • Fringe is estimated at the time of proposal development but your project will be responsible for actual fringe costs unless you have an agreement set up with the agency prior to submission of your proposal. Ecology does not have additional funds to support uncovered costs. Fringe can vary and premiums tend to increase annually beginning in January. The EBO will not provide an updated benefits encumbrance until the second payroll payment is made as there are potential changes made within the first month.

  • Materials and Supplies

    • Ecology does not recommend that you purchase a vehicle because it is much harder to prove the vehicle is being used for one project. Rental charges are much easier to justify. Some of you may already have a vehicle and if you do, confirm with your sponsor whether maintenance costs, fuel, insurance premiums (typically no more than $200/vehicle; depends on the value of the vehicle), and insurance liability ($200/vehicle) is covered. This MUST be included as specific line items in the approved budget.

CASB Exceptions (Cost Accounting Standards Board)

  • The Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 – “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions,” establishes principles for determining costs applicable to Federal grants, contracts, and other sponsored agreements with educational institutions (last revised May 2004).

  • You may submit portions of your budget for CASB exception review. This includes expenses that would normally be charged against F&A costs.

    • Administrative Salaries

      •  Administrative/Clerical charges will be permitted only when the following circumstances can be clearly demonstrated: Administrative and clerical salaries must be specifically identified with the project and support a major project or activity that requires an extensive amount of administrative and clerical support, which is significantly greater than the routine level of such services provided by academic units

        • Examples include:

          • Large complex programs such as research centers, program projects, resource grants, etc., entail assembling and managing teams of investigators from many institutions.

          • Projects that involve extensive data accumulation and entry, surveying, tabulation, cataloging, and reporting.

          • Projects that require making substantial travel and meeting arrangements for large numbers of program participants.

          • Projects that are geographically inaccessible to normal departmental administrative services.

          • In summary, administrative/clerical costs may be allowable as direct costs if appropriately justified and if the charges meet all the following criteria: costs are required by the project’s scope of work; costs can be specifically and easily identified to the project, and costs represent a special need that is clearly different from costs typically charged as F&A. The proposal justification should provide a clear explanation as to how the proposed charges meet these conditions.

    • Other examples of CASB that may be up for review:

      • Office Supplies

      • Memberships

      • Postage/Shipping/Freight – only required for shipment of reports, “ideas”, surveys, and correspondence; not required for shipping products that are included on a purchase order or allowable reimbursement (L.Beard 06.30.21)

      • Books

      • Computers/Laptops

      • Telecommunications

Click here for some examples of CASB justifications. If needed, please consult with Mica or your SPA representative to see if your proposal qualifies for a CASB option/review.

  • Travel

    • Consider whether you, your graduate students or others directly associated with the project need to present research at conferences. 

    • Employees, if allowed, will be paid from the travel category and their budget estimate should be entered in the correct category.

      • Non-employee travel, directly associated with the project, should be budgeted separately.

    • You should clearly identify if funds are for domestic travel or for international travel.

      • All international travel must be pre-approved otherwise SPA will require you to submit a MOD which could create a delay later on.

      • If you are unsure where a conference will be held you can include the possibility of it being an international conference. This should help avoid delays in the future if the conference is, in fact, international.

  • Equipment

    • This includes items with a useful life of more than 3 years, associated cost of $5,000 or more (including sum parts of individual components) and that is for work on the project.

    • Items must be specifically identified in the proposal and should not be purchased at the end of a project. Otherwise, how did the equipment benefit the project? SPA will require a justification for purchasing late on a project, whether pre-approved or not.

    • Equipment is normally, but not always, excluded from IDC calculations.

    • If you do not include equipment in your original proposal but you see you may need the equipment later it will require approval from your sponsor and SPA before an order can be placed. You will need to submit a MOD.

    • Consider whether you need a computer/laptop, either new or replacement. This must be an approved line item in the budget else it will require you to submit a MOD later on.

  • Animals

    • Do you have proper permits in place?

    • Will there be housing costs?

    • Will you need special vet services for this particular project?

    • Will you need a separate caretaker for the animals?

    • Consider if you need a per diem for their care.

  • Sub-recipient or Subcontractor vs. Consultant

    • A consultant or vendor does not make programmatic decisions, tends to have a billing rate, and is not identifiable in the salary/fringe budget.

    • Both budgets are considered materials and supplies.

      • Sub-recipient or Subcontractor – A third-party organization performing a portion of the scope of work identified on the project where UGA is the prime.

      • Consultant – A third party that provides highly technical or professional advice but does not control the manner in which the work is performed.

    • Be sure to consult with your SPA representative to determine which is appropriate.

  • Research (Tuition) Incentive Assistantships (RIAS) – eventually GTRIP

    • Effective January 2022, Ecology is asking all PIs to include this in their proposals. Effective July 2022, UGA will require that PIs include this in their proposals.
  • Indirect Costs (IDC)

    • Also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)

    • Costs are typically not identifiable, and cannot be quantified or be directly linked to the project.

    • There are various IDC rates. Please consult with your SPA rep to determine which rate to use.

    • A portion of IDC is returned to the College/School. The return is based on expenditures made in the previous fiscal year. Policies governing the use and disbursement of IDC are determined by the College/School and vary across the UGA campus. You can find Ecology’s IDC policy here.

  • Effort – You should only consider research or public service time and budget only. This includes the consideration of cost-share and over-the-cap costs, among other things.

    • This is the amount of time PI(s), faculty, and other senior personnel spend on a particular activity. Most proposals must show the percentage of effort committed to a project.

    • The percentage of effort should be commensurate with the percentage of salary requested.

      • If no salary is requested, but the effort will be provided please specifically include this in the budget justification.

    • You may not have more than 100% effort across all programs (administrative, research, instruction, public service). Therefore, you should consider effort on other projects, as well. The EBO does its best to capture the proposed efforts on projects. You may consult with Jennifer Mathews to verify the amount of effort we have on file for you.

  • Research Buyout/Salary Savings

    • Research or instructional granting and contracting agencies, as well as other units of the University, sometimes seek to have faculty devote a portion of their time to a particular funded project. Where the research or instructional work is demonstrably significant and beneficial to the University, the Odum School may foster and approve such arrangements, provided that certain conditions are met.

    • Faculty may buy out their Research EFT using funds from grants or contracts. Grant or contract funds will pay the corresponding part of their salary and associated fringe. Visit here to see Ecology’s research buyout policy.

    • Buy-outs are not automatic – You must seek approval from the Dean with a copy to the AFD for research buyout BEFORE submitting your proposal.
  • Salary Cap (NIH) – also known as Over the Cap (OTC)

    • A companion account is set up that is yoked to the restricted account.

    • OTC salary has to be moved to the companion account and is processed by the Ecology Business Office.

    • The EBO does its best to capture proposed OTC on projects. You may consult with Jennifer Mathews to verify the amount of effort we have on file for you to be sure you are not over-committed as this affects your payroll.

  • Cost Share

    • Mandatory vs. Voluntary? – It must be clearly identified in the budget justification if the cost share is mandatory or voluntary.

      • Mandatory – This should be included in the proposal budget in order to be considered for funding by the sponsor as it is a requirement as a condition of the award.

      • Voluntary – This is NOT required by the sponsor and SPA strongly discourages voluntary cost-share. However, once you offer cost-share it becomes a binding commitment and must be honored if the project is funded. SPA and Ecology do not recommend volunteering cost share as it creates hardship and could affect your payroll and time effort related to academic or summer salary. SPA has indicated it does not increase the likelihood of a successful award yet creates additional work for all units.

    • You may not over-commit cost share. The EBO does its best to capture the proposed cost-share on projects. You may consult with Jennifer Mathews to verify the amount of effort we have on file for you to be sure you are not over-committed as this affects your payroll.

       

    • Types of cost-share (must be clearly outlined in your budget justification including how the match will be captured):

        • Cash Match (salary) – Cash contributions made to a project by UGA, UGARF, or a third party.

        • In-Kind Match – The reasonable value of personnel effort, equipment, materials, or other property used in the performance of a statement of work.

        • Third-Party Match – Any expenditure necessary to complete a project that is borne, not by the sponsoring agency or the prime award recipient, but by a third party.

          Tracking cost-share:

          • A companion account is set up that is yoked to the restricted account.

          • Anything cost-shared (in-kind or cash) has to be moved to the companion account; processed by the Ecology Business Office.

          • ALL cost share obligations MUST be met. If you see you will not be able to meet the cost-share requirement please obtain approval from your sponsor and SPA to update the cost-share amounts at least 6 months in advance of it being due.

  • Budget Justification

    • This is a narrative that provides details of your proposed budget. Imagine you are explaining to multiple persons at various skill levels how you plan to spend your funds.

      • Explains how dollar amounts were determined

      • Indicates how each item relates to the research plan

      • All items must be justified – do not assume their use is obvious to reviewers

      • Explains who, what, when, where, and why

      • Explain if meals, visa fees, international travel, and/or incentive payments are critical to the project; and now, consider the cost of required COVID testing for travel

      • Listing items is not sufficient for a justification, especially for a CASB exception. A detailed explanation must be included for all requested funds.

Mica offers guidance on building your budget, if needed. Be sure to reach out for a review at least 2 weeks before your proposal is due.

You should certainly reach out to Jennifer if your proposal includes required cost share, summer salary, research buy-out or over-the-cap salary on a project. She can help you determine if you will be over-committed.

Click here for SPA’s detailed budget template.

Click here for SPA’s simple budget template.

Failure to complete the SFI Disclosure will stop a proposal from being submitted. For questions, please contact Ecology’s SPA representative.

Below are a few best practice tips, from SPA, that can help expedite your award processing time:

1.  Check your FP (Grant ID) Record. You should receive an email from a SPA representative with the subject line: Information about your Grant

     Submission. From here you can click on the “FP” link to verify your information is correct.

2.  Confirm that the FP record is fully approved. If not, please reach out to your SPA representative. The contact for the rep should be included in the notice.

3.  Obtain all Compliance Approvals.

4.  Prepare/Update the UGA Budget Template.

         If the award is less than proposed, you will need to update the Budget Template or advise, specifically, where the reduction should occur.

5.  Provide Additional Documents you feel could benefit your SPA representative.

Click here for information.

Click here for information.