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Research and Cost Accounting - FAQs

1.  What do I do with a check if I get one from a funding agency?

Make sure the check and any accompanying documents are hand carried to the Cashier's Office  and advise Research and Cost Accounting .

2.  What do I do with an invoice from another institution if it comes to my department?

If you cannot identify an invoice, please send it to the Property Accounting Office.

3.  How do I process a payroll funding distribution change?  Is it the same for students, staff, bi-weekly vs. semi-monthly?

For graduate students, the department should submit a Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office.  If the salary is being redistributed to a sponsored award, the department must provide justification on how the student's services benefited the project.  For staff paid bi-monthly, the department should submit a Payroll Redistribution form to Payroll.  For salary redistribution affecting semi-monthly payroll, the change can be noted on a Payroll Redistribution form or a time allocation report and submitted to Payroll. 

Refer to restrictions contained in the Cost Transfers  page. 

4.  I have a fund that will expire but has not been completely spent.  What are my options?

Refer to  Award Closeout under Guidelines and Procedures.

5.  What do I need to do to get a new Research (an "R") fund set up?

Refer to  Award Setup  under Guidelines and Procedures.

6.  What is a Salary Reimbursement Agreement (SRA)?  When is it needed and why?

It is an arrangement between Rice and another institution which allows one institution to recover the costs associated with a student registered at the other institution wherein the student is participating in collaborative research activities with principal investigators at both institutions.  As an example, if a full time Rice student were to work on a collaborative project with an investigator at a TMC institution, the student would continue to be paid by Rice and the TMC institution would reimburse Rice for the cost.

7.  What is cost sharing, and what are the different types?

Refer to  Cost Sharing under Guidelines and Procedures.

8.  What is pre-award spending?

Refer to  Award Setup  under Guidelines and Procedures.

9.  Can a PI charge Academic Year Time to research grants?

A faculty member may request the use of sponsored project awards (R funds) to pay academic year salary on the following basis:

  • The faculty member documents that academic year salary is an allowable charge to the project, that the amount to be charged is consistent with effort to be spent on the award during the time periods charged, and that this effort is above and beyond any cost sharing commitment of academic year time.
  • The department chair and the Dean approve the request.
  • No more than 3 months of total salary during a single 9-month academic year may be charged directly to sponsored projects under this policy.  The total charged directly to sponsored projects, plus any cost sharing of academic year time, may not exceed 4.5 months during an academic year.  Requests in excess of 4.5 months during an academic year require approval of the Provost, and will be granted only in unusual circumstances.
  • The budgeted funds for academic year salary and associated fringe benefits (when the grant pays fringe benefits) released as a result of charging sponsored projects will be transferred to a Designated Fund or Funds at the direction of the school.
  • Salaries charged to sponsored projects in any period may never exceed actual effort applied to the project during that period and cannot include effort committed as cost sharing.

The process is to submit (1) a Payroll Redistribution form or corrected Time Allocation Report to Payroll, including the PI's, chair's, and dean's office approvals, and (2) a budget transfer form to transfer funds from A1 budgets to designated funds.

See also Rice University Research Policy No. 311-98 .

10.  What do I need to process if a PI is leaving and is transferring federal funds to another institution?

Consult your grants coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Research .

In addition, contact the  Property Accounting Office to make sure that any equipment being transferred will be properly accounted for.

11.  What do I need to process if a new PI is joining our department and is bringing federal or non-federal funds?

Consult your grants coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Research about transferring awards from the PI's previous institution.

 In addition, contact the Property Accounting Office to make sure incoming equipment can be properly registered.

12.  Where can I get information about charging foreign travel to federal awards?

Refer to the International Travel section on the Expenditures page.

13.  My award is confirmed, but OSR has not received it and I need to start spending.  What do I do?

Refer to the Advanced Spending section on the Award Setup page.

14.  If I know an auditor is coming, what do I do?  What do I need to have ready?

If you are contacted directly by an auditor regarding a sponsored agreement, notify Claudia Murray immediately.  In the course of an audit, many documents will be requested and reviewed.  Among them are:

  • Documents describing Rice policies, procedures, guidelines and practices on various topics  These can include:
    • Drugfree workplace
    • Civil Rights/Affirmative Action
    • Research misconduct; use of animals or human research subjects, DNA, etc
    • Proposal, award, and closeout processes
    • Procurement, travel, equipment, and subcontracts
    • Payroll processing and effort reporting
    • Cash management and financial reports
    • WebApps resources
    • Cost transfers
    • Cost sharing
    • Subcontracting and subrecipient monitoring
  • Downloads from Banner of all transactions on federal awards
  • Detailed support for selected transactions related to:
    • Salary and fringe expenses
    • Equipment (may include a physical review of equipment)
    • Travel
    • Cost transfers and service centers
    • Subcontracts
    • Other direct costs
    • Cost sharing 

      Note:   The original documents may reside in the department
  • Copies of proposal, award, and setup documents for selected funds