All awards are not alike. Some awards have terms that require no further negotiation and can be processed within a short period of time. Other awards contain terms that are unacceptable to the University because they violate University policy or pose an additional financial or programmatic burden on the principal investigator (PI), the PI’s department/unit, or the University. These awards will take more time to negotiate and process. There also are a number of offices that contribute to setting up a new award, and there are a number of steps along the way. The following information is provided to help PIs understand navigate the award set up process.

Who Does What

At Berkeley a number of offices take part in the processing of an award. The following provides a general overview of “who does what” at Berkeley:

  • The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) receives and processes awards from government and non-profit organizations.
  • The Industry Alliances Office (IAO) receives and processes awards from for-profit organizations and industry.
  • Berkeley Research Services (BRS) or Department Research Administration (RA) is responsible for uploading project budgets for all incoming awards into the Berkeley Financial System (BFS).
  • The Contract and Grants Accounting (CGA) office reviews the information provided by SPO/IAO and the BRS/Department RA and activates the fund number so the PI can begin using project funds.

The Award Process

It is helpful to know the status of an award during the “award process.” One of the best tools to use to find out the status of an individual award is Phoebe Search. This tool provides each UC Berkeley Principal Investigator (PI) with a searchable interface that can be used to find out the status of each of the PI’s proposals and awards. For more information on how to use this tool see the PI Quick Guide to Phoebe Search and other Phoebe Search guidance.

Using Phoebe Search, the PI can determine the real-time status of any of his/her individual proposals and awards. The current status options that will be the most useful to the PI are:

  • Proposal - Awaiting Sponsor Decision
    • This means that SPO/IAO has not yet received any official notice that the proposal is going to be funded. If the PI receives an official notice (not just an informal email alert from a program officer) the PI should forward this official notice to SPO/IAO as soon as possible.
    • If the PI receives an informal notice from a sponsor that an award will be forthcoming, the PI may wish to consider a Fund Advance to obtain a Fund and charge project expenses to this Fund before the award has been received or fully processed by SPO/IAO.

  • Award Received - Under Review
    • This means that SPO/IAO has received an official notice of award from the sponsor. The specific award status will indicate when the award was received.
    • PIs are encouraged to give SPO/IAO time to review the terms and conditions of a new award before requesting updates, which can slow the process down. See the average amount of time it takes Berkeley to process an award from by various types of sponsors before contacting SPO/IAO.

See Phoebe Search: Award Status for additional statuses that show the status of an award as it moves further through the award “pipeline” as well as the offices to contact at each juncture.

New Awards and Amendments

Typically, new award documents and award amendments from government and nonprofit sponsors as well as prime recipients under these types of sponsors are sent directly to SPO or IAO. Electronic documents are sent to spoawards@berkeley.edu, and hard copies are sent to SPO/IAO’s physical address. However, it is possible for a sponsor to send the notice of the award to the PI or even another campus unit or office. It is very important for such award documents to be forwarded to SPO/IAO as soon as possible to prevent delays in setting up the award.

Note: In no case should anyone other than designated officials in SPO/IAO sign the award on behalf of the University. The University must comply with the terms and conditions of a signed award, and it is often necessary for SPO/IAO to negotiate these terms and conditions before signing to ensure that there is no conflict with University policy, procedures, and/or priorities.

The specific steps that SPO/IAO follows to establish a new award at Berkeley are as follows:

  1. The sponsor issues an official award notice. (This is not an email from the Program Officer to the PI—it is a formal notice of award.) Note to government and non-profit sponsors: Award notices should be sent to spoawards@berkeley.edu.
  2. SPO/IAO matches the official award notice to the appropriate proposal submitted through Phoebe Proposal Development.
  3. SPO/IAO review the sponsor’s award terms and conditions.
  4. If necessary, SPO/IAO negotiates award terms with the sponsor to either remove or modify these terms.
  5. When the award terms are acceptable to the sponsor and the University, the award document is signed (if this is required by the sponsor) by the Authorized Official Representative in SPO/IAO.
  6. SPO’s Record Management Team (RMT) enters information about the finalized award through BFS and generates a Phoebe Award Summary (PAS) describing information about the award, which is sent to the PI and his/her department/unit.
  7. BFS generates a fund number, and RAs receive a notification when the primary chartstring is activated and the award is available for spending
  8. Note: RAs should submit a budget reallocation if funding should not remain entirely in unallocated direct costs, or additional chartstring combinations are required for award management. For more information, see Award Setup.
  9. The RMT uploads all award information, related documents, and the active fund number into Phoebe Search.

Amendments to Existing Awards

The specific steps that SPO/IAO follows to process an amendment to an existing award at Berkeley are as follows:

  1. The sponsor issues an official award amendment notice. Note to government and non-profit sponsors: Award amendment notices should be sent to spoawards@berkeley.edu.
  2. SPO/IAO matches the official amendment notice with the existing award.
  3. If no award terms have changed, the amendment will be processed in the same manner described in Steps 5-10 above.

To initiate a change to an award (no cost extensions, rebudget, change in scope, etc.), use the Award Action Request in Phoebe Search.