Overview

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.
  • Campus Shared Services Research Administration (CSS 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 CSS 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 have 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 - In Process 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.
Other Award Statuses
(additional statuses to be added)

The above award status options pertain only to the work on awards carried out by the Contract and Grant Officers in SPO and the Contract Managers in IAO.

Additional status options will soon be posted to 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

The specific steps that are followed 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.)
  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. (Note: funds cannot yet be spent.)
  8. The PI’s CSS RA uploads the project budget into BFS for review by the CGA office.
  9. CGA approves the budget and activates the fund so that the PI can spend his/her project funds.
  10. The RMT uploads all award information, related documents, and the active fund number into Phoebe Search.

Amendments to Existing Awards

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

  1. The sponsor issues an official award amendment notice.
  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.