Federal Contract Account Activation

Account Activation

The Office of Research requires the submission of certain documents to its office before an award can be assigned a project number and activated by Sponsored Projects Accounting.  Once a project number is assigned, expenses can be charged to that project in accordance with the sponsor's requirements and allowable costs. The Office of Research receives awards via various mediums, including electronic and original hardcopy awards/agreements. The Office of Research will contact the awarded department electronically and send the award along with a Department Approval Memo which, will include a request for documents necessary for account activation.  When all of the paperwork for an activation is received and the Office of Research completes its final review, the file will be released to Sponsored Projects Accounting for activation.

Next Steps and What to Expect:

  • If a proposal for the award scheduled for negotiations was not submitted through the Office of Research in accordance with approved University procedures, all necessary internal documents that were required at proposal stage must be submitted prior to the commencement of negotiations by the Office of Research.
  • Items needed for OR processing of award:
  1. Departmental Approval Memo (i.e., memo signed by PI, Chair, and Dean symbolizing agreement with the award terms and conditions)
  2. 0202 Form
  3. Compliance Items (i.e., IACUC, IRB, UPMC FISCAL, Confirmation from CSSD, if applicable, etc.)
  4. Completion of all necessary COI Disclosures and training modules for all Investigator(s) and Key Personnel (per the University of Pittsburgh and not just per award)
  • If the award is received by department first instead of the Office of Research, then please forward all of the above as well as the following to OR:
  1. Email or letter from sponsor
  2. Electronic copy of award (if available)
  • If award is received by OR, then OR will forward a copy of the award to the department.
  • Once approval memo is received in OR, negotiations will officially start, if necessary.  Department Administrators will be copied on all applicable correspondence and the Agreements Tab within InfoEd system will be updated.
What steps does OR take before a Federal Contract can be activated?
  • Double check compliance, including CSSD confirmation, if applicable
  • If PHS funded and “Yes” to Part II in COI Disclosure, send to COI Office for review and approval
  • Send notice to Human Resources regarding E-Verify, if applicable
  • Request Insurance Certificates, if applicable

If all compliance items have been received and negotiations have been completed, then the memo to Sponsored Projects Accounting will be sent after receiving the fully executed agreement.

Will the Office of Research authorize the creation of an Early Account for a Federal Contract?

No.  When we agree to begin work for a sponsor that will fund the work through a contract, the University at that point assumes all risk for the project. This is not the case under federal grants where there are standard terms and conditions that allow for early start dates and retroactive charging, i.e., 90 day pre‐award costs.  So, if the University fails to come to terms with a funding agency regarding contract language, the University may be solely responsible for the costs of that work. 

Also, starting work on a project is often considered to be a full acceptance of the terms and conditions of a contract.  Because Federal Contracts often contain terms and conditions that are not acceptable to the University, an overall acceptance of the terms and conditions of the agreement without negotiation can leave the investigator, the department, and the University vulnerable to serious risks, financial and otherwise.  Because of these reasons, work on a Federal Contract should not start prior to the execution of the contract.  This includes work being done on departmental funds with the intention of moving costs after execution to the account number created for the contract.