4.0 GRANT AWARD AND PROJECT SETUP
Congratulations! Your proposal has been approved for funding by the granting agency (for the next three to five years, for instance). A grant award results when a proposal is approved for funding by granting agency. This is the time to set in motion all the processes and procedures for grant management all through the implementation phase to project close-out.
A grant award is accompanied with a Grant Contract or a Cooperative Agreement. The signing or endorsement of the Grant Contract (by representatives of the Sponsoring Agency, the PI and institution) marks the official commencement of the project work. The project can then be set up and managed, guided by the objectives, methodologies and timeliness in the approved proposal, in compliance with the terms and conditions of the project, and all ethical principles for the conduct of the research.
Appropriate procedures are set up in the Grants & Agency unit of the OAU Bursary, as well as the Central Office of Research (COR), as described below. Subsequently, the project PI and team manage the project award, following the timelines and Gantt chart, through project close out, while abiding by the principles of research ethics and integrity. Release of funds is in compliance with the financial regulations of OAU, and the financial guidelines of the granting agency.
A summary of the immediate steps at the Grants & Agency and at the Central Office of Research include the following:
- Official communication from the PI to the Grants & Agency, and to the Central Office of Research about the grant award.
- The PI presents copies of the letter of award, grant contract (including Terms and Conditions for the award), full proposal (including the Gantt chart, etc.) to the Grants & Agency, and to Central Office of Research.
- An official project file is opened at the Grants and Agency, and at the COR.
- The Grants & Agency creates a new Project Code (usually 8-character alpha-numeric code) for the new project. This is the reference code for all transactions and communications for the project, all through the process of implementation, reporting and close-out.
- Grants & Agency also provides Signature Cards for sample signatures to the Principal Investigator (PI), or whoever is designated to play the role of a PI. This is to aid the verification, authentication and authenticity of all transactions (financial and miscellaneous) for that research code.
- The Grants & Agency also provides details of the university domiciliary bank account to the PI (or her/his designate) for communication with the granting agency.
- Through the Bursar, the Grants & Agency notifies the PI about the receipt of funds into the Project Code.
- The Grants & Agency provides periodic (interim) account balances and details of all transactions with respect to the Project Code (upon receiving such requests from the PI).
- The Grants & Agency provides a comprehensive financial report, with full details of all disbursements to the PI upon receiving a request from the sponsoring agency, or at the end of the project.
- For some projects (e.g. the EU) where an external auditor is required to verify all accounts and expenditures of the project, the Grants and Agency (through the Bursar) provides all institutional support for the successful conduct of such exercises.