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Management FAQs

Award Monitoring

How do I request a no-cost extension?

The NCE request is first initiated by the PI and sent to the attention of the Office of Research post award program administrator (“PA”). Requests should conform to the sponsor’s requirements and the guidelines below. In general, the PI will explain the reason for the extension and provide a budget for the remaining work. The Office of Research will consider the PI’s NCE request and, if approved, submit the formal NCE request to the sponsor. Upon written sponsor approval, the PI may continue the program effort until the revised performance ending date.

Be aware of the sponsor’s timeline for granting NCE’s. In general, requests should be made to the Office of Research at least 60 days before the program end date; some sponsors require more advance notice.

Projects that are spent out or in a budget deficit will not be extended without additional funding.

Spending out remaining funds is not a sufficient reason for requesting an NCE, and such requests will be denied.

NCE requests that require sponsor approval are typically made to the sponsor’s contractual representative or grant specialist, who will seek approval from the technical monitor with whom the PI communicates performance progress. The process will be facilitated if the PI discusses the intent to submit an NCE request with the program officer in advance of the formal request.

Request Procedures and Required Information

Email the NCE request with the following information to your Office of Research Post Award PA:

  1. NCE Request for fund 2xxxxx
  2. The requested extension end date.
  3. Scientific/programmatic justification explaining the need for the extension of time. This narrative should be written as if you were writing your program officer requesting an extension. If required, the Office of Research generally forwards this narrative section (as provide by the PI) to the awarding agency in accordance with the grantor's required format.
  4. If subawards or subcontracts have been issued and also require an extension, indicate the end date for the subcontract extension and whether funds should be deobligated or additional funds obligated.
  5. NSF NCE Requests:

    NSF allows a one time 12-month grantee-initiated NCE when it is submitted by the authorized institutional official on behalf of the PI, through the Fastlane system under the following circumstances:

    There will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope or objectives, and at least one of the following applies:

    • Additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project.
    • Continuity of Sponsor grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review.
    • The extension is necessary to permit an orderly phase out of a project that will not receive continued support.

    NSF must approve subsequent NCE requests. The PI will first send a written NCE request to the authorized institutional official via the Office of Research Post Award PA. The request must explain the reason for the second extension and include a statement of work and budget for use of the remaining funds. The plan must be consistent with the approved project objectives. If approved internally, the authorized institutional official will submit the formal NCE request to NSF at least 45 days prior to the scheduled expiration date.

    All requests will be submitted via the FastLane system. If approved, an amendment to the the grant will be issued to extend the end date of the grant. Approval is not automatic, and PIs are cautioned not to incur expenditures after the expiration date in anticipation of a no-cost extension.

    NIH NCE Requests:

    NIH allows a one time 6, 9, or 12-month grantee-initiated NCE for awards issued under Expanded Authorities (generally R01 awards are issued under Expanded Authorities). The NCE is in effect as soon as the authorized institutional official submits the notification via eCommons. Notification may be made no earlier than 90 days prior to the end date of the project and no later than 1 day before the end date.

    Second NCE requests and first requests for awards that are not issued under Expanded Authorities require the approval of NIH. If you are requesting a second NCE, please discuss this with your Post Award PA well in advance of the scheduled end date and send formal notice via email at least 30 days before the end date. The email should contain the following information:

    • A detailed line item budget and spending plan for the unobligated budget
    • A scientific rationale for continuation
    • A justification for the additional length of time

    The request will be made by email or a letter to the grants management specialist. Be sure to update all required certifications and assurances, including approvals for human subjects assurances or animal welfare assurances.

What are the requirements for a second no cost extension?

Prior approval is required if a second no cost extension is required. The Principal Investigator should contact Office of Research as soon as they realize an additional extension is necessary. All requests for NSF must be received 45 days prior to the end date and for NIH 30 days prior to the end date. The request must contain:

  • The revised expiration date
  • The funds remaining for the grant
  • The justification for the extension
  • A plan for using the unobligated funds

Please contact your Post-Award Program Administrator at least 5 business days prior to the end date to review and submit the written request with Office of Research signature authority prior to the required deadlines for the respective agencies.

Second no cost extension guidelines for all other sponsors’ instructions can be found in the contract /agreement or sponsor guidelines or contact the individual sponsors directly for guidance.

NH will review and send a revised notice of award with the new end date. NSF will review and send a modification with the new end date. Please note the Investigator is responsible for any expenses after the end date until the formal documentation has been received by the Office of Research.

What’s my budget balance?

To determine the budget balance on a grant fund you need to log into Web Financials (https://www.drexel.edu/webfinancials/) and go to the “Web*Finance” link. Click on the “Grant Activity” link and enter the fund number for the account to be queried. The next screen will present you with all the activity related to the project. The column on the far right titled “Remaining Balance” represents your budget balance. It is the difference between the Project Budget and the Project Activity less any outstanding encumbrance.

What is an acceptable 90-day justification?

Justifications are required for all transactions whether personnel or non-personnel expenses which are more than 90 days after the original transaction was processed. Consequently, any transaction moving expenses off or onto a research project fund account must address the 90 day justification in conjunction with the transaction. For your convenience Office of Research has created a form identifying the four key points that must be addressed. The form can be obtained from your Post-Award Program Administrator.

An acceptable 90-day justification should address four key points in order for Office of Research to approve the transaction(s). They are:

  • Provide an explanation of the reason why the original charge was not made to the appropriate cost center
  • Provide a justification of why this charge would be appropriate to be charged to this project
  • Provide an explanation for the lateness of the request (greater than 90 days after the original charge posted)
  • Implementations to avoid future payroll reallocations greater than 90 days 

Why is a justification necessary for situations involving transfers to departmental accounts?

A written justification is required for all adjustments made to sponsored project grants after the end date regardless of the account to be charged. This is to ensure that the University is in compliance with both A-110 and A-21 cost principle requirements. The University is responsible for ensuring that costs charged to a sponsored agreement are allowable, allocable, and reasonable under these cost principles. According to A-21 a cost is allocable to a sponsored agreement if (1) it is incurred solely to advance the work under the sponsored agreement; (2) it benefits both the sponsored agreement and other work of the institution, in proportions that can be approximated through use of reasonable methods. For more information regarding A-21, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a021_2004/. In order to be in compliance with these cost principles, the University established a requirement for written justification to ensure that the Principal Investigator is fully aware of all the activities related to his/her project. Although Principal Investigators may have administrative staff to assist them with the management of project funds, the ultimate responsibility for the management of the sponsored research award rests with the Principal Investigator.

Did we receive cash payments yet?

To determine the cash payments received on a grant you must log into Web Financials (https://www.drexel.edu/webfinancials/) and go to the “Web*Finance” link. Click on the “Grant Activity” link and enter the fund number to be queried. The next screen will present you with all the activity related to the project. At the bottom of the report, you will see the row titled “Total Cash Balance for 2xxxx”. Click on “0.00” which should take you to the next page detailing all the invoices sent and payments received. If all the payments have been received the cash balance will be zero.

How do I check my grant in Web Finance?

First log into Web Financials at: https://www.drexel.edu/webfinancials/. Enter your username and password then select the institution associated with your grant (i.e. Drexel University, Drexel College of Medicine or the Academy of Natural Science). Once logged in, click on the Web*Finance link which will bring you to the next page with a list of four options. These links will provide you with the necessary information regarding the grant being queried. For example, selecting the grant activity link will provide you with all the transactions associated with the fund number entered from inception to the current date. Also, by selecting the outstanding encumbrance link, the user will be presented with all the outstanding encumbrances that have not been charged to the grant. 

How do I sign up for Web Finance training?

In order to sign up for Web Finance training you need to be an approved user of Web Finance or Web Salary. To qualify for access to Web Financials you must be a Business Administrator or Designee. Complete the Web Financials authorization request form for your existing cost center numbers with the required signatures and send to the contact listed on the form. The authorization form can be downloaded from the Web Finance login page. Once your request has been approved you can go online to HRs’ training request page and sign up for training.

How do I know if I have sufficient funds in general expense to process expenses?

You can check the general expense balance in Web*Finance under the “Grant Activity” link. Log in to (web financials) using your username and password. Once you are logged in, click on Web*Finance then go to “Grant Activity”. Enter the Grant and Fund number associated with your query. This will bring you to the next page which shows all the activity for the project. At the bottom under the “Account Name” column you will see a category for General Expense (Code 62). To find out what your balance is in the General Expense budget, please go to the column at the far right titled “Remaining Balance”. This column represents the balance of what was budgeted in general expense versus what was expended.

I need to move funds from one line to another in my approved project budget. How can I do that?

The budget request form is the administrative device to request, obtain approval for, and put into place an approved project budget revision. A justification is required and the form must be signed by the PI. Be aware that changes in project objectives, scope, and or level of effort require amendment of the award agreement and notification of and approval by the awarding agency (it is a condition of the grant or contract). Therefore if the budget changes requested represent any of these, inform your Program Administrator in the Office of Research of that fact (rather than merely requesting a budget change).

Time and effort and other costs associated with proposal preparation are not "allowed" direct costs, and thus cannot be legally charged to project budgets. They may be included in the F&A pool. See OMB Circular A-21 Section J. part 38.

Intellectual Property Policy

When did the new policy take effect?

The new Intellectual Property Policy (“Policy”) took effect on November 8, 2018.

What prior university policies does the new Policy supersede and take the place of?

The prior university Patent Policy, Copyright Policy, and Courses Delivered Over the Internet Policy are all superseded by the Policy and those former policies are no longer in force.

Who owns course/classroom materials?

The creator or author of the course materials, typically faculty, own their course materials under the Policy except in very limited circumstances.


What can Drexel do with my course/classroom materials?

The creator or author of the course materials typically owns those materials, however, Drexel still has a license to practice such materials under limited circumstances as further described in the policy.


If I use Drexel course designers to enhance my course/classroom materials, does that change my rights to those materials that I author or create?

Use of the services of a Drexel course designer, which the university encourages, does not result in your no longer owning your course materials.

Who owns other types of copyrightable works under the Policy?

“Commercial Works” are typically owned by the university while “Scholarly Works” are typically owned by the author or creator. Please see the Policy for more details.

I am an undergraduate student. Who owns the intellectual property that I create?

In the case of an undergraduate student, the student typically owns the intellectual property. Certain important exceptions are outlined in the Policy, including but not limited to where the student is acting in an employment capacity with the university.

Who owns patentable works invented by faculty and graduate students?

The university is the owner of such inventions, with very few exceptions.

 

If I have a new invention or copyrightable material with commercial potential, whom do I contact?

You should contact as soon as possible:

 

Robert McGrath, PhD
Senior Associate Vice President of Technology Commercialization
rbm26@drexel.edu
215.895.0303

 


I have intellectual property that was licensed to a third party when the old policy(s) were in effect. Which policy(s) apply regarding distribution of income from such licenses?

The new policy applies even in the case of intellectual property that was already licensed. If you believe that the prior policy(s) were more favorable to you financially, please contact Dr. McGrath using the information provided above. You will find however, that the income distribution under the Policy is amongst the most favorable in United States colleges and universities at a 50% inventor/creator personal share.

 

Why did the university adopt a new Policy now?

Several of the policies that the new Policy supersedes were well over twenty-five years old and were no longer current due to changed laws and regulations and advances in technology, among a host of other reasons.  

What is the “Agreement Concerning Intellectual Property” that is made part of the Policy as Exhibit A and why do I have to sign it?

In a nutshell, this reaffirms your agreement to be bound by the Policy. In the case of faculty, this is an important document to sign because, for example, the signing of the Agreement results in faculty owning (in most cases) their course/classroom materials rather than them being considered “works for hire” and owned by the university pursuant to copyright law.

Reporting

What is meant by the term “Effort”?

Total effort is defined as all professional activity for which the University compensates an individual, including students working as teaching or research assistants. For reporting purposes, effort is calculated in percentages of compensated effort with the total allocation of effort being 100%.

What activities are included in Effort?

Effort includes all activities that are associated with an individual’s institutional base salary. Total effort includes activities university/instructional effort, sponsored project effort, department administration effort, clinical activity effort, affiliated institutional activity effort, effort on other institutional activities. Incidental and non-institutional activities are not included in effort.

What is meant by the term Effort Reporting?

Effort reporting is a method for documenting and certifying actual activity expended in work required to fulfill an individual’s employment obligation to the University. It may include both sponsored and non-sponsored activity. Certification of reported effort for personnel associated with sponsored projects is required by the federal government (OMB Circular A-21).

What is the difference between Payroll Distribution and Effort Distribution?

Payroll distribution and effort reporting are related but not the same thing. Payroll distribution is the distribution of an individual’s salary while an effort report describes the allocation of an individual’s actual time spent on the project whether or not reimbursed by the sponsor. Thus effort reporting is separate from and can be independent of salary charges.

Payroll Distribution reflects the activities to which salary is charged in the payroll system. An effort distribution should reflect the percentage breakdown of an individual’s time actually spent on activities regardless of where the salary is charged. Since the payroll system is constantly updated with actual salary distributions changes and budget transfers, ERS relies on actual payroll charges as the basis for the certification. Therefore, individuals completing the certification must report actual effort, regardless of where the salary was charged in the payroll system. 

Who is subject to Effort Reporting/Effort Certification?

Faculty, staff and graduate students will complete effort certification reports if they perform work on any sponsored project, funded directly or by a federal pass-through organization. Their effort will include any work related to activities to fulfill their individual employment obligation to the University, whether the effort is paid or unpaid. Non-exempt employees, undergraduates and/or college work study students who complete auditable time sheets and pre/post-doctoral students, supported only by fellowships are not subject to effort reporting procedures. 

What is meant by the term “Effort Certification”?

Effort Certification is the process for ensuring compliance with the payroll distribution requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, which addresses "principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions." The policies, provisions, and cost accounting standards in A-21 are mandatory for institutions which directly or indirectly receive federal funds. Essentially, this process ensures that direct labor charges to sponsored projects are reasonable and reflect actual work performed.

Who should certify Effort?

Effort of faculty, staff and graduate students should be certified either by the employee or by an individual having suitable means of verifying the effort distribution (e.g., the principal investigator, department administrator or designee having oversight and firsthand knowledge of the employee’s effort). The department administrator will ensure that all certifications are completed accurately and timely.

When is Effort certified?

Effort is certified on twice per fiscal year. The two time periods are July 1st – December 31st and January 1st – June 30th.