PTA Initiation and Setup

The SeRA Sponsored PTA Manager module (Module 3):

  1. Replaces the OSR electronic PTA System (ePTA)

  2. Eliminates OSR paper forms (38 - Early PTA Request, 39 - University Research PTA Request and 40 - Extended PTA Request)

  3. Creates an online routing and approval process within SeRA

  4. Allows for real-time status look-up of PTA set-up transactions

  5. Includes PTA information on the Notice of Award

Learn How to Set Up An Award Using the PTA Manager

This is a new process and we have lots of ways to help you!

User Guides

Other Resources Available to You


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PTA Setup

The Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) sets up different types of PTAs based on project needs and the terms and conditions of the award. 

OSR strives to do so within four business days. Department administrators can speed up the process by ensuring all internal requirements noted on the PDRF are completed, all protocols (human/animal subjects) are approved, and, if the budget has been significantly modified, OSR has been sent the revised budget.

The Setup Process

  1. After a Sponsored Project Award is received and  processed by OSR or RMG, an Award Approval Notification (AAN) is created and  emailed to the project stakeholders.
  2. A New PTA Setup transaction is created and assigned to a department administrator via the SeRA system for review and completion.
  3. The Notice of Award (NOA) will be sent out once the New PTA Setup transaction has been completed. The NOA will now include PTA details.
  4. A New PTA Setup transaction will be automatically generated as the final step of issuing a New Award in SeRA.

For details about the complete process and your role, see the Sponsored PTA Setup Quick Guide, found in the Related Items section below.

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Cost Sharing PTA Setup

If cost sharing is committed, that is, proposed by Stanford and accepted by the sponsor, then it must be accounted for as cost sharing. The costs can then be sorted and categorized for the indirect cost calculation. 

For committed cost sharing, OSR will open a unique cost sharing PTA. Within a cost sharing PTA, multiple tasks can be set up when the funding source is coming from different schools/departments or if there are multiple salaries that need to be closely monitored.

Cost sharing tasks are given the designation of the 700 task series with budget and expense tied to the sponsored project period and carried over the fiscal year end (corresponding to the primary sponsored agreement).

Notification of PTA Setup

Oracle Workflow notification informs the department of the new grant/contract PTA(s) and corresponding cost sharing PTA(s). When the cost sharing PTA is established, OSR enters the committed cost sharing amount as the budget. 

Cost sharing PTA(s) are budgeted with the committed cost sharing appearing in the Expense Control column of the Monthly Expenditure Statement.

Funding the Cost Share PTA

The cost sharing PTA(s) must be funded at the end of each fiscal year and at the end of each award period, but a best practice is to fund the cost sharing account at the inception of the PTA. Cost sharing PTAs cannot be in overdraft at the end of the University's fiscal year.

The Cost Sharing PTA Attribute Setup Request form allows the originator to designate whether the cost sharing PTA is to be funded at inception or at year end by the fund(s) identified. You must indicate if funding is coming from a:

  • gift fund
  • endowment income fund
  • designated/special fund
  • operating budget (not allowed in SoM)

All cost sharing expenses must be fully funded by the fiscal year end.


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Early PTA Setup

For most Federal Grants, grantees may incur allowable pre-award costs within the 90 day period immediately preceding the effective date of the expected grant providing:

(a) the approval of pre-award spending is made and documented in accordance with Stanford’s procedures; and

(b) the advanced funding is necessary for the effective and economical conduct of the project.

Make sure your expected grants terms and conditions allow pre-award costs.

Pre-award costs are made at the PI’s risk.  If the award does not materialize or the start date is not what you expected, the PI is responsible for all costs incurred.

Early PTA Setup Procedure

The PI must provide a guarantee PTA with unrestricted funds identified for the expenses to be charged to in case the sponsored award does not materialize. The PI or business manager also must certify that required human, animal  and or stem cell protocols have been filed for review (if applicable) and that no expenses involving those activities will be incurred until the final protocol approval is granted.

To request an Early PTA, use the SeRA PTA Manager.  From the Project Summary Page under Start a Transaction select Early/Extended PTA Request.

Once the award is received, the Early PTA becomes the project PTA. There is no need to transfer expenses. See the Sponsored PTA Manager - Early/Extend - Post Award User Guide for detail instructions.

Additional Considerations

Although an early PTA can be opened prior to obtaining approval for human subjects, actual research using human subjects cannot begin until approvals are in place.

Don’t use another PTA to fund expenses even if you intend to move it later. The expenses would be considered both unallowable and unallocable. Don’t charge project expenses to an unrestricted PTA while waiting for an award to materialize.

Setting up an early PTA where appropriate can save you time and trouble in the long run. Any time charges are being transferred onto a sponsored project PTA, as they will be when you have to “clear” early expenses and transfer them onto the proper PTA, careful documentation will be required.

Unrestricted Funds

In addition, if an unrestricted PTA is used to initially cover research expenses, 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.“


Certain agencies or programs, especially contracts have specific rules governing pre-award expenses. Some sponsors may limit the dollar value of such charges, or may set time limits for their expenditure; read your award document.

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Forms to Setup or Modify Existing PTAs

Changes to existing PTAs in Oracle Financials, such as incremental funding, modifications, and amendments, are generally processed through SeRA.

PTA Form Name Form Number

Stanford Sponsored Research Project PTA Setup Form (attribute changes for PTAs not initiated in SeRA)

OSR Form 35
Early PTA Request Form SeRA Sponsored PTA Manager
Extended PTA Request Form SeRA Sponsored PTA Manager
OSR Cost Sharing Request Form OSR Form 37
Fellowships (with no SPO #) OSR Form 36
University Research PTA Request Form SeRA Sponsored PTA Manager
Request for Expenditure Allocation PTA 

Word Document

Non-Sponsored Project Forms  
 To make changes to ROLE-related attributes for Principal Owner 

Requesting Mass Changes to PTAs

 PTA Role Change Form

Changes to Org Codes, contact your school accountant  

There are other PTA Set-up Request forms for non-sponsored PTAs. Links to those forms are:

  • Capital Accounting and Fund Accounting
  • Research Policy and Compliance - Service Center PTA
    Request Form 

Quick Steps: Request New PTA

Service Center PTA
Request Form 


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Subaward Setup

  1. Department prepares an online requisition in iProcurement to initiate the subaward
  2. For a new subaward, use the request type “Standard.Subaward”
  3. Write a description (Example: “Create a new subaward in accordance with the statement of work and budget for SPO #12345.”) and submit a requisition. Your requisition should include:
  • SPO and prime award numbers
  • A complete list of contacts, e.g., the subrecipients PI, administrator, contract officer, etc.
  • Performance period
  • Updated SOW, if different from originally proposed
  • Updated budget, if different from originally proposed
  • Human/animal subjects, if involved
  • Any special terms (IP, reporting) the PI wants included
  • Attach copy of re to SeRA PDRF or NOA
  • Allocate funding within the constraints of the prime agreement
  • Any special requirements

See Fingate for more information about how to create a subaward requisition in iProcurement.

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Modifications to Subawards

You may initiate a modification or amendment to an existing subaward agreement by following these steps:

  1. Create a standard change order requisition referencing the original requisition number for the subaward.
  2. Specify which budget line is affected by the change in conjunction with funds. (For example: “Increase dollars for test kits. Add $24,000 to supplies.”)
  3. Fax a current revised budget, other pertinent backup material, and the new requisition to OSR. It will be incorporated in the amendment as an attachment.

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How to Set up a University Research Award

After receiving an internal award (which should include a Notice of Award Cover Sheet and, perhaps, an award letter), complete and route to OSR  a PDRF with the following attachments:

  • Award Letter and Cover Sheet
  • Approved Budget
  • Any required protocol approvals

OSR will initiate the PTA set-up process.  The setup process follows the same path as all other sponsored projects.

For detailed instructions on how to complete a PDRF for University Research awards see the Related Items section below.

Steps to Begin Spending

  1. The OSR Research Accountant will review and approve the PTA.

  2.  The personnel listed on the Oracle Award will receive an electronic notification.

  3.  Upon notification that the award budget has been set up, the awarding organization will create an iJournal Funds Transfer to transfer University funds to cover the amount of the award.

  4.  Begin spending


Research activity is properly classified as University research if the activity is supported by either of the following:

1. Funding that is derived from Stanford institutional funds (e.g. gifts, endowment income, interest income, technology licensing income and operating budget) through a competitive application and award process, and where the proposed activity is characterized by the same factors which generally distinguish sponsored projects, such as the existence of a statement of work and detailed financial accountability. Detailed financial accountability includes:

  • A requirement to return any unexpended funds at the end of that period

  •  A specified period of performance, typically defined with “start” and “stop” dates

  •  A line-item budget related to the project plan

  •  Regular financial reporting (beyond an acknowledgment of funds)

  •  Terms for the disposition of properties

2.  Cost sharing represents that portion of the total project costs paid by Stanford resource. When an award is received in which there was a commitment by Stanford in the proposal to share project costs, the activity becomes a binding commitment.



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Transaction Controls

Transaction controls are used to block the use of designated expenditure types for new sponsored projects and new cost sharing awards.


Many of the hundreds of expenditure types now available for use on sponsored projects may not be appropriate for use on sponsored projects, or may be considered unallowable or only be appropriate in certain circumstances.


Blocking the use of expenditure types that are inappropriate for use on a sponsored project will prevent administrators from charging unallowable or unallocable expenses to the award, will reduce the number of journals and other time-consuming adjustments administrators must make, and reduce further unnecessary costs to the departments. 


OSR will assign transaction controls at the project level (the “P” in P-T-A) when OSR sets up PTAs using project templates in Oracle. The project templates will address these six areas:

  1. Unallowables – not chargeable on federal or state awards

  2. Administrative Charging on Federal Awards (Major Project)

  3. Stipends on Research Awards (example NIH R01 awards)

  4. Expenditure types that would not be charged to any sponsored projects (example: ET 51610 LD Clearing Account, Cost of Goods Sold, COGEN , etc.)

  5. Expenditure types that are chargeable to federal/non-federal awards only  (example: animal care charges (VSC),  NSF participant costs)

  6. Capital Equipment and Fabrications  - The default is SU owned,  with the ability to change to non-SU or no capital equipment/fabrication

What You as an Administrator Can Do

When an expenditure type cannot be charged on a sponsored project, make sure you understand why the expenditure type is not useable:

  • Review the job aid “Error Messages  -  expenditure type cannot be used because of a project  transaction control” for example error messages when a project transaction control is making an expenditure type unchargeable.

  • Run the RM3180 PTA Configuration report for a listing of all project transaction controls on your award. (See the job aid “Transaction Controls on the RM3 180 PTA Configuration Report.”

Once you have determined a project transaction control has made the expenditure type unavailable for charging, do not pick another expenditure type just because it is chargeable. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I using the correct expenditure type?

  • Is this an expenditure type that is restricted to a specific award type (federal/non-federal)?

  • Am I charging administrative expenses to a federal award that is not “administratively intense" (major project)?

  • Is this a charge that is not allowable on any sponsored project?

  • Am I correctly charging the appropriate capital /fabrication expenditure type?

  • Am I incorrectly charging stipends instead of salary on a research award?

Once a department has determined the expenditure type is chargeable on the sponsored award, the department can request that the expenditure type be made available for charging by completing the OSR Form Request to Make Expenditures Types Chargeable/Non-Chargeable. This same form can be used to make expenditure types non-chargeable as well.

  • Transaction Controls on the RM3 180 PTA Configuration Report -- provides guidance about transaction controls and how they restrict the use of expenditure types on your project. 

  • Error Messages  --  expenditure type cannot be used because of a project transaction control displays examples of error messages when a project transaction control makes an expenditure type nonchargeable.

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