RA Key Roles and Responsibilities
The CSS RA team is responsible for overall administration of the award. The CSS RA management staff supervises and/or manages the CSS RAs, and will assist the PIs with their pre and post award duties and responsibilities. The CSS RA team’s specific responsibilities include:
- Work with the PI to develop and review proposed budgets as required by agency guidelines
- Create non-technical sections of the proposal and assist PI with requirements for supplementary documentation
- Review of proposal submissions for completeness and format accuracy according to agency requirements
- Provide assistance with questions regarding proposal electronic submission or required paper submission
- Provide assistance with completion of university and state required forms.
- Liaise with the PI and SPO/IAO during the proposal preparation, submission and award process
- Provide PI with monthly statement on the financial status of his research projects, including salary and benefits projections
- Ensure that the project operates within budget and ensure that semi-annual federally mandated Effort Reports are reviewed and certified by the PI (or person with first-hand knowledge of employee effort) by campus CGA deadline
- Ensure that the project expenditures are charged and approved by the PI in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award and relevant UC policies
- Monitor that all expenditures are allowable and research and resolve questionable costs
- Monitor encumbrance (i.e. lien) balances on a monthly basis and ensure the balance reflects current purchase obligations for the award
- Track and report on cost sharing commitments. Prepare the Cost Sharing Contribution Report, provide the certified Cost Sharing Contribution Report to Contract and Grants Accounting (CGA), as well as retain all documentation substantiating cost sharing expenditures in accordance with university record retention policies.
- Provide the sponsor with exceptional reporting and other supporting documents per award terms and conditions
- Review monthly financial reports and adhering to SAS115 certification
- Work with CGA, SPO / IAO, and PI to follow up on billing and payment issues raised by the funding sponsor
- Advise and assist the PI in fulfilling the UC award closeout requirements and provide final financial report to CGA (Final Closeout Concurrence)
- Monitor vendor and sub-awards contracts to ensure they adhere to the terms and conditions of the award
The PI serves as the primary individual responsible for the scientific integrity, and fiscal and administrative management throughout the life of the award. While responsibility for certain day-to-day management of the project finances may be delegated to administrative staff (CSS RA), primary accountability for compliance with the sponsor’s technical and financial requirements as well as UC and UC Berkeley policies ultimately rests with the PI. The Principal Investigator’s specific responsibilities include:
- Notify CSS Research Administrator (RA) as early as possible and provide Request for Proposal (RFP) link or program announcement link to the RA.
- Provide the RA as many details as possible prior to SPO deadline.
- For complex proposals (i.e., multiple sub awards, multiple Co-PIs including faculty in other UC Berkeley departments, mandatory cost sharing requirement by the sponsor) provide reasonable lead time. Work with CSS RA to develop proposal submission timeline.
- Work with the CSS RA in preparing a budget with correct direct cost elements and indirect rates to ensure full cost recovery from funding sponsor
- Adhere to all applicable terms and conditions as well as UC and UC Berkeley policies and procedures
- Certify own effort and employee project effort on federally mandated Effort Reports
- Assign and supervise project personnel including post-doctoral associates, specialists and students
- Submit progress and final technical reports to the sponsor as required by the award’s terms and conditions
- Work closely with CSS RA to manage and control funds, and to expend funds in accordance with the award’s terms and conditions
- Certify the cost shared expenditures on the Cost Sharing Contribution Report
- Secure cost share commitments.
- Continually monitor the award’s financial status and ensure expenditures stay within budget
- Timely review of monthly financial reports, notify CSS RA of any necessary changes in recurring expenses paid on project funds
- Initiate, review and approve requests/requisitions for sub agreements and vendor agreements
- Address notifications from CSS RA regarding allowability of costs
- Work with CSS RA, CGA, and SPO / IAO to follow up on and resolve billing and payment issues with the sponsor as soon as they are identified
CGA is primarily responsible for billing and cash collection throughout the life of the project as well as award closeout. They also prepare and/or submit financial reports to the funding Sponsor, and appropriate UC organizational entities. They manage the internal Billings and Accounts Receivable system in the UCOP’s Financial Management System (FMS) to assure data integrity. CGA’s specific responsibilities include:
- Working with SPO / IAO in setting up all new Sponsors and sponsored research award types in BFS
- Reviewing financial billing/payment terms, advance types, Sponsor location code (ALC), as well as accounting (distribution codes) setup for proposals established by SPO / IAO
- Reviewing cost shared expenditures on the Cost Share Contribution Reports submitted by campus departments, and reporting cost sharing to sponsors according to the sponsor requirements and the terms and conditions of the sponsored agreement.
- Preparing advance invoices and sending them to Sponsors
- Preparing invoices and billing all funding Sponsors in accordance with the award’s invoicing terms
- Assuring that advance payments and unidentified payments from Sponsors are applied in a timely fashion in order to maintain positive cash balance
- Applying check payments and wire transfer of funds accurately to the UC’s outstanding accounts receivable account
- Processing letter of credit draw-downs for all NIH awards in a timely manner
- Conducting cash collections for all billed receivables, notifying SPO / IAO, CSS RA and/or PIs for assistance with payment resolution on problem billed receivables
- Resolving Sponsor questions regarding invoicing, payments, and collections with assistance of PIs, CSS RA, and SPO / IAO
- Preparing the monthly unbilled report and working with CSS RA and CSS RA management to clear unbilled costs
- Performing the financial close out and the funding de-obligation of the award as well as processing timely and accurate refunds to the sponsor
- Performing the accounts receivable to general ledger reconciliation, including researching and resolving any credit balances in accounts receivable
- Submitting financial reports to the funding Sponsor including NIH financial status report (FSR)
- Executing the non-standard financial billing and payment terms policy, and write off accounts receivable policy
- Notify PI and RA of Effort reporting deadlines and maintain the Effort reporting portal
- Follow-up with PI on effort certification
- Provide funds closing report /notice of award termination
- Notify CSS RA of early closeout requests from Sponsor
UC’s Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) and Industry Alliances Office (IAO) are responsible for reviewing and approving the submission of all proposals, and the negotiation and acceptance of all awards for sponsored projects on behalf of the University. SPO and IAO also give departments approval to submit proposals directly to sponsors but only after SPO/IAO review and when necessary/appropriate. The Industry Alliance Office is delegated to perform these activities for industry and other for-profit sponsors and the Sponsored Projects Office is delegated to perform such functions for sponsored projects funded by federal, state, and local government agencies and non-profit entities. In addition SPO is the authorized agent to submit all electronic proposals through Grants.gov, FastLane and all other electronic proposal submission portals requiring institutional approval. Both SPO and IAO are delegated to submit requests to sponsors for additional funds/time extension and to obtain all project related approvals required by sponsors. SPO/IAO also notify sponsors of issues impacting funded projects. SPO / IAO’s specific responsibilities within their delegated areas of authority include:
- Reviewing and approving the submission of all proposals for sponsored projects developed by UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students on behalf of UC Berkeley.
- Approving the submission of proposals by Departments directly to sponsors after SPO/IAO review when necessary/appropriate.
- Negotiating the terms and conditions of all externally sponsored agreements, awards and contracts in accordance with UC and University policies.
- Ensuring that differences between the Scope of Work/budget in the proposal and the Scpe of Work/budget in the award are acceptable to the PI, and are consistent with UCB and UCOP policies prior to accepting the award on behalf of the University.
- Approving the establishment of externally sponsored awards after all compliance issues have been resolved/approved by appropriate central review offices and committees.
- Authorizing PIs and cognizant CSS RA staff members to have access to proposal development systems (e.g., FastLane,) and progress report systems (e.g. eRA commons)
- Authorizing award funding from external sponsors.
- Distributing the notice of award (NOA) to the PI and appropriate UC administrative units as well as the award document describing the PI’s obligations with respect to the terms and conditions of the award.
- Serving as the Office of Record for all sponsored project awards made to The Regents of the University of California
- Coordinating and submitting all requests and notifications to Sponsors during the life of the award
- As the primary conduit to the Sponsor, supporting the PI, CGA, and CSS RA to resolve issues related to the terms and conditions of the award as well as problems with slow and nonpayment of invoices as well as coordinate suspension of work.
- Working with CGA and CSS RA to help resolve award closeout procedure issues after being notified by sponsor.
The Sponsor is the organization that has a funding opportunity available. They dictate who is eligible to apply for their funding opportunities, and the terms and conditions that UC Berkeley must follow if the University accepts the award. In cases where UC Berkeley is a sub-recipient, the primary awardee becomes the Sponsor from the University’s standpoint. The Sponsor’s responsibilities include:
- Negotiating the terms and conditions of the award or funding opportunity with SPO/IAO.
- Processing payments from UC Berkeley
- Asking for special reporting when required
- Approving final project reports
The Chair provides approvals on all proposal submitted by faculty, staff, and students in their academic unit as well as special approvals that are required for proposals that are submitted “late” to SPO/IAO or are in response to a limited submission opportunity.
The VCRO provides approval on late submissions and PI status exceptions.
Sub-recipients are entities that perform significant parts of the scope of work and are involved to a substantial degree in programmatic decision-making for a given funding opportunity, and in turn are reimbursed for their costs in performing this work by the prime awardee. Such partnerships can involve other UC campuses, other institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations not acting as fee-for-service vendors/contractors.
CSS HR handles all appointments and changes to appointments needed during the Expense Setup procedure or the Award Management process.
The Department GSAO provides, on an annual or semester basis, an excel spreadsheet, containing all Graduate Student appointment information. This information includes appointment start and end date, total amount of salary and tuition/fees to be paid and complete chart string for the faculty research funding managed by CSS RA. Any changes after the initial approval by CSS RA needs to be communicated via email between GSAO and CSS RA and updated on the excel spreadsheet.