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Chapter 3

CSUSM Corporation Office of Sponsored Projects - Principal Investigator/Project Director Manual

Chapter 3:  My proposal was funded!  Now what?

How to Begin

When a PI/PD receives funding notification from the sponsor for an upcoming project, the correspondence should be forwarded immediately to CSUSM Corporation’s Director of Sponsored Projects.

The Sponsored Project Analyst at the CSUSM Corporation Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) will review the Notice of Award then contact the PI/PD to arrange a meeting for an orientation.  The orientation will cover a summary of the project reporting requirements, CSUSM Corporation policies and procedures and the most efficient ways to process any purchases, personnel hires, etc., related to the project and based on the sponsor approved budget.  The Sponsored Project Analyst is available to answer questions, direct the PI/PD to other CSUSM Corporation personnel when necessary and assist with other grant-related administrative needs.
The PI/PD ultimately is responsible for the integrity of the project.  CSUSM Corporation and the PI/PD are responsible for ensuring that funds are used in accordance with all applicable regulations and requirements.  CSUSM Corporation staff administers the project financial affairs by reviewing expenditures, filing financial reports, invoicing/drawing funds and complying with annual audit requirements, etc. and is responsible for administering the external funds associated with each grant received by CSUSM Corporation.  The OSP staff works with PIs/PDs to facilitate the use of the financial resources available to them and serves as liaison between the project and the sponsoring agency.  The OSP staff are also available to provide interpretation of CSUSM Corporation, CSU, campus and sponsor regulations and policies.  CSUSM Corporation has an internal level of review for all expenditures to ensure that the Procurement Policy is followed and is consistent with agency regulations for allowable costs based on the approved budget.  Please do not hesitate to contact the OSP whenever any questions or concerns arise.

The New Project

The first step to establish a project with CSUSM Corporation is to complete and submit a Project Agreement Form.  The Project Agreement Form is available on the Forms webpage of the CSUSM Corporation website or the PI/PD may request the Sponsored Project Analyst to forward the form.  Please complete the project Manager/Coordinator and signature authority sections before submitting the form to CSUSM Corporation.

Assigning a Project Manager/Coordinator

The PI/PD may appoint a Project Manager/Coordinator to monitor spending (in conjunction with CSUSM Corporation staff), ensure the accuracy and completeness of documents and records generated from the project, and otherwise delegate some or all of the project oversight.  Support may be available at a University department level for this purpose.  It is important to note the Project Manager/Coordinator may have access to confidential salary information if salaries are included in the project budget. The OSP staff is available to train or advise the Project Manager/Coordinator.  Whether a Project Manager/Coordinator is appointed or not, the PI/PD ultimately remains responsible for all aspects of the project.

Assigning Signature Authority

The PI/PD may assign alternate signature authority for the project to other individuals, e.g. the Project Manager/Coordinator or the Department Chair.  This is often desirable if the PI/PD must frequently be away from campus and/or needs assistance in administering the project.  The PI/PD has automatic signature authority.  No other person has signature authority until or unless the PI/PD so designates utilizing the Project Agreement Form.

Once the completed Project Agreement Form is returned to CSUSM Corporation, a new project account will be established.  The PI/PD will receive notification of the project number by e-mail.  Additionally, the PI/PD will receive a PI/PD Grant/Contract Information form that provides a brief overview of the grant award, including reporting requirements, expenditure restrictions and project records retention requirements. 

Project Records

Project activity records such as data collected, participant records, etc. must be retained for a period of three years following the submission of final fiscal and technical/progress reports unless otherwise specified by the sponsoring agency or on the PI/PD Grant/Contract Information form.

On-line Access to the Project

Project Financial Reports are available to the individuals associated with the project and authorized on the Project Agreement.  These reports may be accessed using the individual’s campus networked computer. The reports available are: the Project Summary Report, the Detail Transaction Report and Open Purchase Order Report.  These reports and access to them will be discussed during orientation.

Tracking Cost Sharing

Cost share documentation must be provided at the close of each budget period of the award to reflect the actual valuation of the resources pledged in support of the project, as well as any negotiated changes in terms, conditions or scope of project.

Federal regulations require full accountability for costs committed in fulfillment of sponsored projects.  If a sponsor requires financial and/or narrative reports on total project costs, it is the responsibility of the PI/PD to monitor, track, and assist the Sponsored Project Analyst with the reporting requirements.  It is important that PIs/PDs forward supporting documentation for all cost sharing to the CSUSM Corporation OSP.  The OSP will assist the PI/PD with this process and its timing. 

Progress/ Technical Reports

Most sponsors require periodic submission of progress or technical reports.  Report due dates are noted on the OSP PI/PD Grant/Contract Information form.  The Sponsored Project Analyst or Sponsored Project Specialist will communicate with the PI/PD or designee prior to the final report due date.

In some instances an authorized signature from CSUSM Corporation will be required on the Continuation Application or Progress Report prior to submitting to the agency.  If sign-off is not needed, then a copy of the progress report must be forwarded to CSUSM Corporation to be included in the project file.

Please note that financial reports must be filed by the CSUSM Corporation, and not by the PI/PD. 


In accordance with Federal regulations, ARSC undergoes an annual financial and compliance audit.  This audit typically takes place in August.  During the audit, CSUSM Corporation staff may call upon the PI/PD to provide information about the project that was requested by the auditors.  Prompt and complete responses are required and appreciated.  The OSP staff will make every attempt to minimize any inconvenience to the PI/PD.

In addition, Federal and other funding agencies periodically conduct audits of CSUSM Corporation financial systems as well as the activities and records of the funded project.  Typically, ample notice is provided by the funding agency prior to the visit.  If notice of an upcoming agency visit is received by the PI/PD, it is important to immediately notify the OSP Director of Sponsored Projects.

Important Note:  Refer all requests from auditors for financial information to CSUSM Corporation.  Any financial records maintained by the PI/PD for the project are not subject to audit and should not be provided under any circumstances.  However, program auditors may request and should be provided with records and data relating to the technical or programmatic aspects of the project.

Please contact the OSP staff with any questions regarding appropriate responses to agency requests for information.

rev. 042114