FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Pre-Award
How important is my budget and what are its components?
What is IDC/Overhead?
What is the difference between a Subcontract and Consultant/Independent Contractor?
How do I start a new proposal in Cayuse?
As a Center Director/Department Head, how do I certify a proposal in Cayuse and easily see all the components?
How do I find funding?
Who do I contact in ORA?

Contracts Team
My Award came in but was funded at a different amount than was proposed. Who can help me?
How do I set up an At-Risk Account? What does At-Risk mean?
Grants vs. Contracts – What is the difference in my agreements?
What is incremental funding?
Do we have contract templates?
I’m being asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), what do I do?
How do I request a No Cost Extension (NCE)?
How do I change the Principal Investigator (PI) on a Project?
I received notice of funding, can I spend now?
What is involved when I subcontract?

Post-Award
Who do I contact in ORA?
How do I access my All Funds Balance Report (AFBR)?
What Prior-Approvals are needed?
How do I Pay Students or Faculty on a Research Grant?
What do I do if an employee was paid on the wrong fund?
What are Time and Effort Certifications used for?
What is a Cost Transfer? And what type of back-up documents do you need?

Billing
Who submits reports to sponsors?
What types of things delay invoicing?

Closeout
My Award is ending, how do I start the Closeout process?
What happens if I’m overspent and trying to close an award?
How do I resolve my deficit?
What is the difference between closing a cost reimbursable and fixed priced award?

 

Pre-Award

 

How important is my budget and what are its components?

  • Budgets need to be as accurate as possible to cover research related expenses including, but not limited to, PI and co-PI efforts, Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Research Associates/Postdocs, fringe benefits, materials & supplies, travel, lab use fees, subcontracts, equipment, overhead (IDC), etc.
  • The budget outlines you anticipated project expenses and the budget justification is a narrative that provides further detail about how these funds will be used
  • Your Proposal Analyst will help you build your budget and guide you through allowable and unallowable costs
  • Once awarded, your final approved budget becomes part of the contractual agreement for how and what you can spend; it is important to build your budget as accurately as possible to meet your research needs

What is IDC/Overhead?

  • Overhead, or indirect costs, are administrative expenses that are required to operate the University, for example lights, building maintenance, library services, administrative functions (payroll, travel, etc).
  • Overhead is always applied to a proposal unless the solicitation explicitly states otherwise. If a solicitation limits or does not allow overhead, an email approval from your Department Head is required indicating he/she is aware of and approves the limited, or no, overhead; see the Budget Exception PolicyPDF versionText only version (PDF).
  • ORA defaults to using the on-campus overhead rate unless over 50% of the research done by the PI and/or co-PIs (not GRAs) is occurring off-campus.
  • Mines calculates overhead based on the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). The MTDC base is calculated by excluding capital expenditures (buildings, individual items of equipment, alterations and renovations), the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000, participant support costs, and graduate student tuition, fees, and insurance.

What is the difference between a Subcontract and Consultant/Independent Contractor?

  • Subcontractors are partners in the research are required to fulfill the same requirements of the PI i.e. publications, advising students, etc. They have programmatic decision making and their performance is integral to the overall success of the project. They complete a full proposal (scope of work, budget, and justification).
  • Consultants/Independent Contractors perform the ancillary services requested (lab testing, printing, etc) on the project. The work requested is part of their regular business operations and they provide the same goods or services for sale to others. They do not implement solutions or have the ability to publish on the results.

How do I start a new proposal in Cayuse?

  • All research proposals are submitted for routing through Cayuse, Mines’ online proposal and award management system. Cayuse can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection and works best on Firefox and Internet Explorer; Safari will not allow you to upload documents.
  • Start a new proposal by going to mines.cayuse424.com, log in with your multipass username and password, click on Cayuse SP (for Start Proposal!), and click on Start New Proposal
  • At a minimum you need to enter:
    • Sponsor - if it’s not listed, please use Other as the placeholder and provide your Analyst with the Sponsor’s name and address so they can be entered
    • Short Project Name – PI last name, sponsor, and due date
    • Project Start and End Dates
    • Activity Code – typically this is Research, or for a Fellowship mark Fellowship
    • Award Admin Dept – this is the Center or Department responsible for managing the award
    • Primary Administrative Contact – the Administrative contact for the Award
    • Affiliated Dept(s)/Centers – DO NOT USE this field!
    • Sponsor Deadline
    • Title – if you don’t have a title yet write ‘TBD’
  • Once the first page is generated a 6-digit number appears
  • Answer the yes/no questions affiliated with Conflict of Interest, Regulatory Compliance, Export Control, and Intellectual Property
  • Add a 6-10 sentence Proposal Abstract; please do not copy and paste the entire abstract
  • Your Proposal Analyst will enter the Budget and help with uploading attachments
  • Green check marks appear as sections are completed; once all sections are complete and documents are uploaded the PI or Proposal Analyst can hit the ‘submit for routing’ button

As a Center Director/Department Head, how do I certify a proposal in Cayuse and easily see all the components?

  • Login to Cayuse, click on Dept Approval Inbox and on the proposal needing to be certified
  • At the top, under ‘Proposal Routing Status’ the Proposal Number is listed, click the PDF icon next to Proposal Number. The PDF allows you to easily see all sections of the proposal including Sponsor, Research Team with effort (including co-PIs and Senior Personnel), Budget, Cost Share, Subcontractors, Abstract, and the Proposal Attachments
  • Attachments cannot be viewed in the pdf. To view attachments, click the paperclip icon at the far right side of the orange bar and attachments can be opened individually
  • To Approve the Proposal:
    • On the Proposal Routing Status screen, click on “Authorize Proposal.”
    • On the Proposal Authorization screen, click on “Submit Authorization”

How do I find funding?

Who do I contact in ORA?

ORA staff are broken out by campus departments, to find who you should connect with view our Proposal, Contract, and Grant Assignments list

  • Proposal Analysts – Assist with building budgets, preparing sponsor required documents, and submitting proposals. Analysts ensure all submitted proposals are compliant with sponsor mandated guideline.
  • Contracts Team – Prepares, negotiates, and finalizes contractual items related to your award, including amendments, no cost extensions, and processing and issuing subcontract awards.
  • Grant Administrators – Help manage your award by reviewing and reconciling expenses in accordance with the Sponsor’s requirements, assist if your account is in deficit, and work with you to closeout your research award.
  • Billing Team – Assist with processing payments, submitting invoices to sponsors, submitting financial reports, and obtaining backup documentation as needed.

 

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Contracts Team

 

My Award came in but was funded at a different amount than was proposed. Who can help me?

  • It is very common for Sponsors to fund research at a different dollar amount than was proposed. Your Proposal Analyst can help you with your rebudget and any other documents required by the Sponsor. The Contracts Team often gives the Proposal Analysts the heads up that a revised budget is required and the Analyst works with the PI to ensure costs are outlined correctly.

How do I set up an At-Risk Account? What does At-Risk mean?

  • An At-Risk Account allows PIs to begin charging expenses while funding is waiting to arrive or being negotiated. Signatures from the PI and Department Head or Center Director must accompany all At-Risk requests. ORA reviews all requests to evaluate risk to Mines and the likelihood funds will be received by the Sponsor.
  • At-Risk requests should include an estimate of funds needed to cover costs for the next 90 days.
  • Complete this form to set up an At-risk accountPDF versionText only version (PDF)

Grants vs. Contracts – What is the difference in my agreements?

  • Grant: A grant is an award given to carry out a proposed scope of work. The sponsor has no substantial involvement in the work. Faculty use best efforts to follow the budget and have flexibility in adjusting the scope of work. Grants typically come from NSF, NIH, and ONR.
  • Contract: A Contract clearly identifies goods or services in the Scope of Work that the sponsor wants completed. The sponsor may act as technical overseer and may have substantial involvement. Contracts have a more rigid scope of work, firm timelines to complete the work, and deliverable requirements. Sometimes, terms and conditions are required when submitting a proposal and confirmed prior to accepting a contract. Contracts typically come from DOE, National Laboratories, or private companies.

What is incremental funding?

  • Incremental funds are a portion of the whole amount of funds committed to a project. Providing a portion of the total funding gives the sponsor more control on expenses. Many times sponsors will limit the amount of funding by budget period, to determine a GO/NO GO decision, or to ensure certain tasks/milestones are met under the agreement.

Do we have contract templates?

  • Yes, the Office of Research Administration has different types of agreements that support research at Mines. For more information on the different types of agreements managed through ORA, including Sponsored Research Agreements, Non-Disclosure (Confidentiality) Agreements, MOUs, IP Management, and others, request information by emailing awards@mines.edu.

I’m being asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), what do I do?

  • A company may ask you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to discuss a possible research project. Anytime you receive an NDA, please forward to awards@mines.edu for the ORA Contracts Team to review.
  • ORA will review and negotiate terms that are acceptable for both parties and have the faculty member co-sign the agreement to acknowledge the terms and conditions.
  • Individual researchers do not have the authority to sign on behalf of Mines.

How do I request a No Cost Extension (NCE)?

  • A no-cost extension can be submitted by ORA, on behalf of the PI, when all three of the following conditions are met:
    • 1. The end of the project period is approaching, and
    • 2. There is a programmatic need to continue the research, and
    • 3. There are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended effort
  • To request a NCE, please send the following information to your Contract Administrator
    • 1. Fund/Index Number (4xxxxx)
    • 2. New desired end date
    • 3. A short justification for the need of the extension; and
    • 4. A short explanation of how the remaining funding will be used

How do I change the Principal Investigator (PI) on a Project?

  • If a current PI plans on relinquishing management of a project that will continue at Mines a substitute PI will need to be identified.
  • The Contracts Team will work with the PI and the sponsor to receive approval of the change.
  • To request an Change in PI, ORA will need the following:
    • The new PI Name
    • The New PI’s current Curriculum Vitae and/or biosketch, and
    • A brief justification the change and explanation on how the new PI has the capabilities to conduct the project.

I received notice of funding, can I spend now?

  • A Letter of Intent informs faculty that their proposal has been selected for award. At this stage, the award is coming but the formal agreement has not been received. PIs cannot spend at this point unless they have an approved At-Risk.
  • An Award Agreement will provide the details of the award, and any terms and conditions the sponsor requires in the performance of the project including the approved period of performance, budget, deliverables, payment terms, publication rights, etc. Frequently, Mines does not receive the full amount of the award and the funding may be limited to a Budget Period or other parameters.
  • Once the award is signed and the award has been set up by your Grant Administrator, the PI will receive an automated email from ora@mines.edu with the Cayuse award set up notice. At this point, PIs can begin spending.

What is involved when I subcontract?

  • Subcontracts are drafted by the ORA Contracts Team based on the proposal provided by the Subcontractor and the requirements of the Award Agreement. If you would like to include specific terms (such as deliverable schedules), please be sure to let your Contract Administrator know.
  • Read more about Subcontracts.

 

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Post-Award

 

Who do I contact in ORA?

How do I access my All Funds Balance Report (AFBR)?

  • AFBR is a user-friendly Cognos report that offers a snapshot of an individual’s fund balance and activity.
  • PIs, co-PIs, and Fund Managers can access the report by logging into Trailhead, selecting the My Funds tab, and the AFBR Cognos report will generate automatically.
  • Fiscal Officers, Program Administrators and others can access the report via Cognos, navigating to Public Folders ‎> Finance ‎> General Campus ‎> Controller Campus ‎> AFBR and running the report ‘AFBR-L1-summary’. The user will be prompted to select from a pulldown list of current PI, Co-PI, and Fund Manager names.
  • Read the FAQs and more information regarding AFBR

What Prior-Approvals are needed?

  • Sponsor Prior Approvals – Expenses for certain budget categories may need Sponsor prior-approval for allowability **BEFORE ** they can be charged to a fund. Most common pre-approvals include:
    • Change in PI or change in PI effort
    • Equipment purchase, if not originally budgeted
    • Foreign Travel
    • Change in Scope of Work
    • Budget changes affecting more than 10% of the budget
    • Changes in cost share commitment
    • Addition of Program Income
    • Addition of a Subcontractor if not part of the original agreement
  • Mines Pre-Audits – Internal Forms that require ORA review before processing include:
    • Travel Authorization (T/A)/Travel Expense (T/E) TA/TE Forms, TEM and FAQs
    • Voucher Reimbursements (VR)
    • Internal Sales Service Voucher (ISSV)
    • Purchase order requisitions

Note: Please follow submission instructions for these forms. ORA, Procurement and the Controller’s office have workflow processes in place to obtain ORA review and signature.

How do I Pay Students or Faculty on a Research Grant?

What do I do if an employee was paid on the wrong fund?

  • If a student or faculty was paid on the wrong fund, and you know where the employee should have been paid, please follow the Payroll instructions by processing a Banner Payroll Redistribution Request Form (XLS)
  • If you do not know where the employee should have been paid, contact your Grant Administrator who can research where this employee should have been charged and can spearhead the process to make this change

What are Time and Effort Certifications used for?

  • Time and Effort Certifications are Mines’ way of providing assurance to federal sponsors that effort was devoted at a level that reasonably reflects the activity for which the employee is compensated
  • Time and Effort Certifications are completed three times per year - after each Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters

What is a Cost Transfer? And what type of back-up documents do you need?

  • A cost transfer is an after-the-fact reallocation of an expense that moves from one fund to another. Costs should be charged to the correct Banner fund number for that sponsored project when first incurred.
  • It may be necessary to transfer a misappropriated expense from one fund to another. Such transfers require careful monitoring for compliance with Mines’ policies, federal regulations and cost principals for sponsored projects. Please submit a completed Journal Entry formPDF versionText only version (PDF) and appropriate documentation to your Grant Administrator
  • Backup documentation - All cost transfers must be supported by back-up documentation that fully explains the error and should include a justification that clearly shows:
    • Where the incorrect charge currently resides-which includes:
      • a. A copy of the fund detail that shows the fund number and period charged
      • b. An explanation for why the expense was charged to the incorrect Fund and how the expense is allowable on the receiving Banner Fund (e.g., attach documentation of sponsor approval or justification for the charge if necessary)
      • c. The allocation method used if transferring expenses to multiple Funds
      • d. How systematic reasons which may have caused the problem to be repeated have been addressed and corrected
      • e. If the transfer is more than 90 days old, please explain the reason for the delay in the timely processing of the transfer
    • Cost transfers that may receive additional ORA and Sponsor review:
      • a. Large cost transfers that exceed $10K or 10% of the award
      • b. Transfers within the first or last 60 days of a project
      • c. Transfers that do not meet the timeliness criteria

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Billing

 

Who submits reports to sponsors?

  • ORA will send final financial reports and final invoices to the sponsor. ORA will also send final patent and property reports if needed.
  • The PI is responsible for sending any technical reports. When a project has technical reports, please email a copy of the cover page describing the type of report and a transmittal letter or email showing when it was emailed to your Grant Administrator to complete the project file.

What types of things delay invoicing?

  • Accounts in deficit
    • Please see the Deficit Resolution bullet below and work with your Grant Administrator to rectify the deficit balance.
  • Invoices requiring progress reports to be combined.
    • Be sure to turn in your progress report to the sponsor on time to ensure faster processing of invoices.
  • Missing or outdated contact information for the Sponsor

 

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Closeout

 

My Award is ending, how do I start the Closeout process?

  • The first step to closeout is filling out and submitting the Closeout MemoPDF versionText only version (PDF); this is emailed from ora@mines.edu and PI’s begin receiving these emails 90 days prior to expiration of their project.

What happens if I’m overspent and trying to close an award?

  • An award cannot be closed if it is overspent. Be sure to work alongside your Grant Administrator to process any deficits. See the Deficit Resolution bullet below.

How do I resolve my deficit?

  • A deficit occurs when the expenses on a project exceed the contracted amount provided by the Sponsor
  • If a fund is in deficit, a review is necessary to determine if:
    • The deficit is due to expenses on the project that were charged in error, in which case expenses need to be transferred to the correct project OR
    • The deficit is due to an overrun of the funded amount. In this case, the expenses that caused the overrun need to be removed to a non-research fund number.
  • The PI can specify how he/she would like the charges removed based upon the above explanations. This information can be communicated through the Closeout MemoPDF versionText only version (PDF).

What is the difference between closing a cost reimbursable and fixed priced award?

  • Fixed Price Award: If all funding has been received and there is a surplus after all expenses have cleared, the available funds can be transferred to the PI’s research development fund. The transfer is based upon the remaining available funding less the IDC charged on the project. Review of the remaining balance must be approved to be transferred if the available balance is more than 10% of the funded amount.
  • Cost Reimbursable Award: Mines can only receive payment for allowable expenses; if there is remaining budget at the end of the project, it will be removed and the project will close short. These unused balances cannot not be transferred to the PI’s Research Development fund.

 

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