Monitoring Project Expenses

According to Stanford policy, PIs are responsible for the ongoing fiscal management of awarded projects, which includes regular monitoring against project period budgets. The Research Administrator supports the PI in fiscal management.

Monthly Review by the Research Administrator in the eCertification System

Sponsored project and cost sharing accounts must be reviewed by the Research Administrator and the review recorded/verified quarterly in the eCertification system. Review is expected to be completed before the quarterly certification by the PI.

Any questionable charges must be brought promptly to the PI's attention, and, if needed, corrected by an appropriate transfer. Transfers should be initiated as soon as possible after a need has been identified. Procedures governing transfers of expense are defined in RPH, 15.8 Cost Transfer Policy for Sponsored Projects.

The following certification statement appears in the eCertification System. The Research Administrator will acknowledge the following attestation in the eCertification system.

I have reviewed the three months of expenditures for this quarter. To the best of my knowledge, all expenditures are appropriate. Where required, corrections have been or will be made through the accounting system. I understand that to be considered timely all corrections must be made in accordance with RPH 15.8, Cost Transfer Policy for Sponsored Projects.  

Quarterly Review by the Principal Investigator in the eCertification System

The PI has overall responsibility for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project. This includes the management of the project within funding limitations, adherence to reporting requirements and assurance that the sponsor will be notified when significant conditions related to project status change. While responsibility for the day-to-day management of project finances may be delegated to administrative or other staff, accountability for compliance with Stanford policy and sponsor requirements ultimately rests with the PI.

The purpose of the review and certification is to confirm that all expenses charged to the account are allowable, allocable to the project, and reasonable. The certification of salary expenditures confirms that salaries charged to the account are supported by a corresponding expenditure of effort during the time period being certified. The certification also assures that other expenditures are for items or services purchased and used during the project period as specified by the award.

The following certification statement appears in the eCertification System.

As the principal investigator I confirm that to the best of my knowledge, salary and wages charged to this project are appropriate in relation to work performed on this project. All other costs charged to this project are, to the best of my knowledge, appropriate. Where required, corrections have been or will be made through the accounting system.

Changes in Approved Project's Timeline, Scope and Budget 

During the life of a sponsored project, it may become necessary to modify certain aspects of the original award. Such changes may involve rebudgeting of funds among expense classes or adjusting the length of a project period. Many federal agencies have transferred the authority to approve such changes to awardee institutions. Review the terms and conditions of your award and consult your IO (institutional Official).

Federal Grantors require PIs to report deviations from budget or project scope or objective, and request prior approvals from Federal awarding agencies for budget and program plan revisions as noted below. 

  1. Change in the scope or the objective of the project or program (even if there is no associated budget revision requiring prior written approval).
  2. Change in a key person specified in the application or the Federal award.
  3. The disengagement from the project for more than three months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved Project Director or Principal Investigator and key personnel.
  4. The transfer, by contract or other means, of a significant part of the research or substantive programmatic effort (i.e. subaward).

Note that number 3 above does not use the term "absence" but "disengagement" from the project. The distinction is a PI/PD or key personnel can be off campus and still engaged in the research, which would not require prior written approval.

Specific to the School of Medicine, evidence of engagement or disengagement from a sponsored project should be documented on Attachment A of the Sabbatical Leave form which must be reviewed and approved by the School Dean's office, and forwarded to the Institutional Official who will review, countersign and uploaded it into the appropriate SeRA record(s).

SeRA's Central Office Request Form

The SeRA Central Office Request form allows department administrators to submit requests to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), Research Management Group (RMG) and Industrial Contracts Office (ICO) via the SeRA system for institutional officials to contact sponsors for notifications, requests and approvals, or changes to Oracle accounts - PTAs for sponsored projects. 

Benefits of the SeRA Central Office Request form:

  • SeRA records when the request was submitted; what information was provided; who is working on it; and the status of the request and all requests are searchable
  •  Eliminates emails to one person and delayed response since requests are sent to the central offices' queues which allows for assignment to the next staff member if staff are out of the office.
  • Users can see who the request is assigned to and the processing time to date.


Notifications for Federal Contracts

Limitation of Funds

The Limitation of Funds clause is typically inserted into Federal contracts that are incrementally funded cost-reimbursement contracts.  The clause requires Stanford to notify the sponsor that we are coming to an end of obligated funding, and send notification to the contract officer that the obligated funds will be fully spent within the next 60 days. OSR will initiate the notice to the sponsor.  You may also notify OSR if you will require additional incremental funding within the next 60 days. Refer to FAR 52.232-22 for additional information.

Limitation of Costs

The Limitation of Costs clause is inserted into federal contracts when they have been fully funded. The clause requires Stanford to notify the sponsor if we expect in the next 60 days to have spent 75% of the estimated cost or expect expenses to be greater or substantially less than previously estimated. Refer to FAR 52.232-20 for additional information.