When it is necessary to request an early PTA, the PI must identify a guarantee PTA with unrestricted funds to cover the costs in the event that the award does not materialize.
If human, animal subjects or stem cells are involved, certification that protocols have been filed for review and that no expenses involving those activities will be incurred until the final protocol approval is granted. Once the award is received, an early PTA becomes the project PTA.
An early PTAs can be requested in the SeRA system. For detailed instructions see the Sponsored PTA Manager - Dept User Guide and the Sponsored PTA Manager - Early/Extend - Post Award User Guide here
Do not use another sponsored PTA to fund expenses that you intend to move later. The expenses would be considered both unallowable and unallocable.
It is strongly recommended that preaward or spending in advance of a fully executed award is NOT charged to an unrestricted PTA. Any time charges are transferred onto a sponsored project PTA, as they would be when you have to “clear” early expenses and transfer them onto the proper PTA, careful documentation is required as to the benefit to the new project. Additionally, depending on how the expenses are incurred, the costs could be considered unallowable. The CAS language states:
The costs of any work project not contractually authorized, whether or not related to performance of a proposed or existing contract, shall be accounted for, to the extent appropriate, in a manner which permits ready separation from the costs of authorized work projects.
It is very difficult to separate a cost that benefit a sponsored project from cost from other costs in an unrestricted PTA.