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Sponsored Projects

Fund Advance Request

Fund advance requests must be initiated by the PI and approved by the Chair/Dean/Director of the PI’s department/unit. SPO will process the Fund Advance request as long as the request is complete and none of the limitations listed below under “Restrictions” apply.

There are three options for processing a fund advance based on the type of funding and level of risk involved. Regardless of the type of fund advance used, the department/unit will always be responsible for any deficit that results if the award is not issued or SPO is unable to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement with the sponsor by the end of the fund advance period/s. Such deficits will be cleared in accordance with the procedures specified in the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution under “Consequences of Not Resolving the Deficit.”

Type A. This type of fund advance will be processed by SPO if all of the following conditions can be met:

  • The award is a new award or competing-continuation award funded by the U.S. government.
  • The award is made directly to UC Berkeley—not through an intermediary entity.
  • The terms and conditions of the anticipated award permit 90 calendar day pre-award costs.
  • The pre-award costs requested are necessary to conduct the project and allowable under the terms of the anticipated award.

In addition to the Fund Advance Request Form the PI must provide SPO with documentation (from an appropriate sponsor representative) of (a) the sponsor’s intention to fund the project, (b) the start date for the new or competing continuation award, and (c) the anticipated funding level. Under this option the pre-award period is limited to one 90 calendar day period.

Note: The department/unit will be responsible for any unallowable costs should the actual start date of the award vary from the anticipated start date under the Fund Advance.

Type B. This type of Fund Advance may be requested when Type “A” conditions cannot be met, the PI and the department/unit is willing to accept the additional risk involved, and the department/unit wishes to proactively identify a fund to clear any deficit that might result if the award is not received or a mutually acceptable agreement with the sponsor is not possible. Type “B” requires that an unrestricted fund (i.e., 19900 or non-restricted gift fund) and appropriate chart string be provided. The PI and the authorized financial administrator of the fund/chart string both must sign the Fund Advance form certifying this commitment.

Please note: By signing off on a Type “B” Fund Advance Request the PI and the authorized financial administrator are certifying that the backup fund listed is truly unrestricted and has sufficient funds to cover the requested pre-award expenditures.

Type C. This type of Fund Advance may be requested when a Type “A” conditions cannot be met, the department/unit is willing to accept the additional risk involved, and the department/unit does not want to proactively specify a fund to clear any deficit that might result.


RESTRICTIONS: Fund Advances will not be processed by SPO for any awards in which:

  • It is clear that the effective start date of the project is tied to the date of final signature on the agreement. In such cases spending cannot begin until the award or contract is fully executed.
  • The award is a UCOP-funded project.
  • The award has one or more terms or conditions that conflict with University policy on publication rights, citizenship restrictions, third-party indemnification, and IP ownership.

Note: Besides the policy related issues listed above, other non-standard award terms and conditions imposed by a sponsor can often stall and sometimes prevent University acceptance of an award. By requesting a Fund Advance of any type the department/unit is agreeing that it will be responsible for any deficit that results should award negotiations not result in a mutually acceptable agreement with the sponsor.


Specific Requirements

  1. The initial Fund Advance period is limited to 90 calendar days. Type A requests are limited to a maximum of 90 calendar days. The PI may request Fund Advance extensions for Type “B” and “C” requests with Chair/Director/or Dean approval.
  2. The amount of the Fund Advance requested should be pro-rated in relationship to the funds awarded. (For example, 90 calendar days of funding should roughly equal 25% of the funds awarded over a 12 month project period.) The PI should attach a written justification for funding in excess of this prorated amount based on the scope of work.
  3. Funds expended under the Fund Advance period may not be used to establish or support outgoing subawards or subcontracts.
  4. The PI also may request supplementary funds when requesting a time extension or as a standalone request if more funds are needed during an active Fund Advance period. Requests for additional funding should be prorated in relationship to the funds awarded. The PI should attach a written justification for funding in excess of this prorated amount based on the scope of work.
  5. If the PI spends funds over the amount or beyond the time period authorized by the original or any subsequent fund advances, any deficit that results will be resolved according to the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution under “Consequences of Not Resolving the Deficit.”
  6. Project activities during the Fund Advance period either should not involve the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, and/or human stem cells, or the PI should attach documentation to SPO that all required regulatory/compliance issues related to the project have been satisfied/approved.
  7. No financial conflicts of interest should exist for the PI (if under State law) or any other investigator (if under federal regulation), or such conflicts should have been approved by the campus Conflict of Interest Committee.

Instructions: Requesting a Fund Advance

The process for requesting a Fund Advance is as follows:

  • Obtain the UCB Fund Advance Request Form from the SPO web site
  • Determine which condition applies to the Fund Advance request (Type A, B, or C)
  • Complete the form and obtain the signatures required. (Per signatures are not acceptable.)
  • Submit the form with all signatures and attachments as scanned PDF documents to SPO via: spoawards@berkeley.edu.

If project activities during the Fund Advance period involve a conflict of interest and/or research with human subjects, vertebrate animals, and/or human stem cells, the PI must provide the following documentation that they have complied with all necessary institutional or Federal requirements and obtained the following review/approvals.

  • Human Subjects: Provide a copy of the CPHS approval letter indicating the approved Protocol Number and Approval Date. (When the award arrives, the protocol will need to be amended to add the funding source. CPHS then will issue an amended approval letter.)
  • Vertebrate Animal Use: Attach a letter from the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC), stating that the specific proposal has been reviewed and approved by the ACUC. The letter must include the exact title of the project and the approval date.
  • Human Stem Cells: Attach a letter from the SCRO, stating the PI’s protocol number as well as which procedures and cell lines are approved. For CIRM funding attach a SCRO confirmation letter specific to the project.
  • Conflict of Interest: If positive disclosures were made at the proposal stage, provide a copy of the COI Committee approval letter for this project. If the anticipated award will be subject to PHS FCOI requirements, the UC Berkeley PI should submit to SPO a Form 1 for each new UC Berkeley investigator involved in the project who has not previously submitted a Form 1 as well as a Form 2 for any new investigator who has made a positive disclosure. The UC Berkeley PI also is required to submit a signed/dated PI Certification form or email to SPO along with required UC Berkeley investigator and sub investigator disclosures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Fund Advance?

When a new award is imminent or a competitive phase of an existing award is pending it is sometimes necessary to start work on the project before the sponsor issues an agreement. In such cases the appropriate solution is to process a Fund Advance through Berkeley’s Sponsored Projects Office (SPO). A request for a Fund Advance must be initiated by the PI with the concurrence of the PI’s department/unit.

Why should I process a Fund Advance?

It is never appropriate to charge a pending project’s costs to another sponsored project and to transfer these costs after the pending project’s fund has been established. Such a cost transfer can result in penalties and other sanctions applied to the University that could affect Berkeley’s research enterprise. OMB Circular A-21, Section (C) (4) (b), states:
“Any costs allocable to a particular sponsored agreement under the standards provided in this Circular may not be shifted to other sponsored agreements in order to meet deficiencies caused by overruns or other fund considerations, to avoid restrictions imposed by law or by terms of the sponsored agreement, or for other reasons of convenience.”
A Fund Advance is always preferable to a cost transfer because the Fund Advance can be charged for any necessary project costs until the official award is received and processed. The fund number for the Fund Advance then becomes the permanent fund number for the project, and a cost transfer is not necessary.

When is a Fund Advance inappropriate/unnecessary?

A Fund Advance is not appropriate when:

  • It is clear that the effective start date of the project is tied to the date of final signature on the agreement. In such cases spending cannot begin until the award or contract is fully executed.
  • The award is a UCOP-funded project.
  • The award has one or more terms or conditions that conflict with University policy on publication rights, citizenship restrictions, third-party indemnification, and IP ownership

Note: Besides the policy related issues listed above, other non-standard award terms and conditions imposed by a sponsor can often stall and sometimes prevent University acceptance of an award. By requesting a Fund Advance of any type the department/unit is agreeing that it will be responsible for any deficit that results should award negotiations not result in a mutually acceptable agreement with the sponsor.

Also, a Fund Advance is not appropriate in between project periods when the terms of the original award commit the sponsor to future years of support for specific funding amounts without the need for additional agency approval.

How will I know if the Fund Advance Request has been processed?

After SPO issues a Notice of Award, Contracts and Grants Accounting will confirm that the budget for the Fund Advance has been established via email to the PI/Department/ORU.

What happens if the sponsor has not issued the award by the end of the Fund Advance period and more time and/or more funds are needed?

If the sponsor has not issued the award by the end of the initial Fund Advance period or additional funds are needed beyond the amount already requested, a Fund Advance request should be submitted to SPO requesting more time and/or funds. (Please note: Type “A” Fund Advances are limited to 90 calendar days.) As with the initial request, if project activities involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, human stem cells, or a financial conflict of interest are present during the proposed extension period, the PI must provide documentation of institutional approval for these activities before an extension of the Fund Advance will be processed.

If the PI spends over the amount or beyond the time period authorized by the original or any subsequent Fund Advances, any deficit that results will be resolved according to the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution under “Consequences of Not Resolving the Deficit.”

What happens if the award is never received/accepted, or less funding is received than expected?

If an award under any type of Fund Advance is not received and/or accepted by the University, the Department/ORU should transfer the expenses incurred during the Fund Advance period to another appropriate fund source. This source should never be another restricted fund. If the deficit under the Fund Advance is not cleared by the Department/ORU in this manner, the deficit will be resolved according to the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution under “Consequences of Not Resolving the Deficit.”

Who do I contact if I have questions about filling out the UCB Fund Advance Request Form?

If you have any additional questions regarding how to fill out the UCB Fund Advance Request Form please, please contact your SPO Contract and Grant Officer.