Contracts & Grants: Post Award

The life cycle of an award is divided into 3 stages: Award review and acceptance, period of performance, and closeout.

Award Review and Acceptance

During this phase, three separate departments must conduct their own review and processes before the award review process is finalized.

Office of Research: When a proposal is selected for funding, the Office of Research reviews the terms for compliance with UC policy. Negotiations may be required. 

Accounting: Once the Office of Research has confirmed all terms are acceptable, the award is forwarded to UCSB Central Accounting where an account string is established.  

Earth Research Institute: When the email notification is sent confirming the account has been established, the C&G Administrator will then create the project code and establish the project within ERI (and GUS) and send an email to the PI(s) when their review is complete. 

Award Period of Performance (active phase of the project)

During this phase, the “POP”, the awardee is expected to complete award activities and incur all expenses. This period is determined by the award start and end dates. Expenses listed in the approved budget (payroll, purchases, etc.) are not automatically initiated - PIs should contact the appropriate admin teams at ERI to arrange these expenses.

C&G administrators track award end dates and notify PIs when they are approaching, but PIs should be aware of the end dates of their own awards and not wait until the last second to request No-Cost Extensions. 

Closeout (after end date) 

During this phase, all final reporting requirements must be met within the timeframe specified in the award.  ERI C&G administrators process a close memo which the PI must review and sign so that Accounting can formally close the financials.  Common final reports include technical, patent, equipment, and financial.  If you have questions about who is responsible for submitting a report, please review your award terms and/or contact your C&G administrator.


My proposal was awarded - how long before I can spend?

It generally takes a minimum of 4 weeks to set up new awards or increments. The timeline is broken down as follows. Please remember, this is an estimate and can take significantly longer, especially if clarification or negotiation of terms is needed.

Office of Research: The Office of Research requests, at minimum, 2 weeks for award review but it can take significantly longer if negotiations require additional weeks or months to finalize, which is out of the control of ERI.  Other delays can occur if human subjects, animal subjects, conflict of interest, or UCOP indirect cost rate exception approvals are pending. Note: The C&G administrator can help facilitate, but PIs are responsible for getting any compliance approvals finalized (human subjects, animal subjects, EH&S, conflict of interest, etc.) before an award will be fully processed and ready to spend. 

Accounting: The Office of Research then forwards the award to Central Accounting.  Accounting has no set time frame for setting up an award but average turnaround times are about a week.  

Note: If the start date is in the future, Accounting will not generate the account number and release the award for spending until the start date, unless the award is approved by OR for pre award spending.

ERI C&G team: Accounting emails the lead PI and ERI the award Synopsis, Accounting Letter and award letter.  ERI requests up to one week to complete their review and set up in GUS.

May I begin spending before the start date?

No, however there are options available in special circumstances if something urgent is required.  For example, some federal awards may allow pre-award spending which allows the PI to begin spending prior to the start date.  This is not automatic and must be added to an award at review stage.  Please reach out to the C&G Administrator if you have an urgent spending need so options can be discussed.

My new award is being reviewed by OR - what should I be doing in the meantime?

Below is a link to a checklist we hope you find helpful.  This list is non-exhaustive and may require additional PI tasks depending on the project objectives and award terms.  See the “During Award Acceptance” section.

Link to PDF: Principal Investigator Award Management Checklist

How much flexibility do I have with respect to spending vs my proposal budget?

Most sponsors offer some flexibility in deviating from the final approved budget.  Prior approval requirements for deviations from the budget are stipulated in the award document.  Federal grants typically only have restrictions on purchasing equipment not in the approved budget, adding subawards and removing participant support costs.  Awards from other entities (e.g. CA state agencies, ARPA-E) may have more stringent requirements.  To familiarize yourself, please review your award terms and/or contact your C&G administrator.  Restrictions may also be listed in the notes section of your GUS financial statement. 

I’m not going to finish my project by the award end date - how do I get an extension?

Within the final 6 months of the project, the PI is responsible for assessing whether or not additional time will be needed to accomplish the project objectives and communicating this to the C&G administrator.  Requesting extensions solely for the purpose of expending remaining funds is not allowed.  

The Office of Research must review all and in some cases submit requests for extensions.  Being aware of submission deadlines and communicating your needs to ERI’s C&G administrators in advance is imperative for timely submission of requests.  Please contact your C&G administrator if you have questions.

Other than the actual science, what are my responsibilities in managing my award?

Below is a link to a checklist we hope you find helpful.  This list is non-exhaustive and may require additional PI tasks depending on the project objectives and award terms.  See the “During Award Period of Performance” and “Closeout: After End Date” sections.

Link to PDF: Principal Investigator Award Management Checklist


  • If your award is ending and you would like a no cost extension, please reach out the C&G team several months before your award end date

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