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Sponsored Projects

Fund Advance Request

A “Fund Advance” is an internal University procedure that allows a PI (under the conditions described below) to obtain a Fund and charge project expenses to this Fund before the award has been received or fully processed by SPO. Once the award is set up, the same Fund then can be charged for all remaining project expenses throughout the life of the award.

Note: Under the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution, the PI’s department/unit is responsible for any pre-award costs incurred under the Fund Advance period that are disallowed by the sponsor. The PI’s department/unit also is responsible for clearing any deficit that results if the anticipated award is never received or the University ultimately cannot accept the award due to the conditions imposed by the sponsor.

Types of Fund Advances

Type A

Type A. This type of Fund Advance may be used for new (or competing continuation) awards not yet received from a federal sponsor. The federal sponsor must allow 90 calendar day pre-award costs and the award must be made directly to UC Berkeley—not through an intermediary entity.
To process a Type “A” Fund Advance the PI must provide SPO with the following written documentation from an appropriate federal sponsor representative:

  1. The sponsor’s intention to fund the project
  2. The start date for the new or competing continuation award
  3. The anticipated funding level of the award and
  4. The sponsor’s policy regarding pre-award costs (unless Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) to address and implement the Uniform Administrative Requirements apply)

Under this option the pre-award period is limited to one 90 calendar day period.

Type B

Type B. This type of Fund Advance may be used for all other awards. The process a Type “B” Fund Advance the PI will need to provide SPO with:

  1. Pending Awards—Award document not yet received:
    1. A Fund Advance Request Form signed by the PI and the PI’s Chair/Dean/Director.
    2. Written documentation from an authorized sponsor representative of the sponsor’s intent to fund the project, funding level, start date, and the sponsor’s policy on pre-award costs.
  2. Delayed Awards—Award document received but award set up is delayed (e.g., beyond 30 calendar days):
    1. A Fund Advance Request Form signed by the PI and the PI’s Chair/Dean/Director.
    2. If requested by SPO: Informed consent documents signed by the PI and/or the Chair/Dean/Director of the PI’s department/unit for any award terms or conditions that may pose an additional burden on the PI or additional financial risk to the University.

Restrictions on Fund Advances

A Fund Advance will not be possible if 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. This includes most State of California and UCOP awards.

A Fund Advance is not necessary 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.

A Fund Advance may be delayed if the award includes any terms and conditions that conflict with Regental policy (e.g., publication or citizenship restrictions). A Fund Advance will not be processed by SPO until such issues are resolved.

Projects involving Human and/or Animal Subjects or Human Stem Cells

The PI must indicate on the Fund Advance Request Form if research with human subjects, vertebrate animals, and/or human stem cells will occur during the Fund Advance period. If such activities will take place, the PI must provide the following documentation that they have complied with all necessary institutional or Federal requirements and obtained the following review/approvals. If this information is not provided, the Fund Advance will be issued with a restriction preventing project funds from being used for such purposes until the required review/approvals are provided to SPO.

  • 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.

Managing Risk

Departments/units requesting a Fund Advance may wish to consider identifying an unrestricted Fund (i.e., 19900 or non-restricted gift Fund) as a back-up Fund should the pending or delayed award not be received as expected. This Fund and an appropriate chart string may be listed on the Fund Advance Request at the department/unit’s discretion. If a backup Fund is provided, the authorized financial administrator of the Fund/chart string must sign the Fund Advance Request Form certifying this commitment. By signing off on a Type “B” Fund Advance Request the authorized financial administrator of the backup Fund is certifying that the backup Fund listed is truly unrestricted and has sufficient Funds to cover the requested pre-award expenditures.


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 or B)
  • 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.

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 award notice. In such cases it may be appropriate to submit a Fund Advance Request through Berkeley’s Sponsored Projects Office (SPO). A request for a Fund Advance must be initiated and signed 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.

Are there any restrictions on requesting a Fund Advance?

A Fund Advance will not be possible if 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. This includes most State of California and UCOP awards.

A Fund Advance is not necessary 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, or human stem cells are present during the proposed extension period, the PI must provide documentation of institutional approval for these activities or the Fund Advance will be issued with a restriction preventing project funds from being used for such purposes until the required review/approvals are provided to SPO.

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, less funding is received than expected, or the sponsor disallows any pre-award costs incurred during the Fund Advance period?

The Department/ORU should transfer the expenses incurred during the Fund Advance period to the back-up Fund (if provided) or 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.