Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Award Acceptance

Legally, sponsored programs are liabilities of the university. They represent the consequence of a bona fide offer (the proposal) extended to and accepted by an outside entity (the sponsor). Sponsored program awards come in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.

  • A grant is a funding instrument through which the sponsor is a patron of the project.
  • A cooperative agreement implies substantive mutual interaction between the sponsor and the award recipient.
  • A contract is the vehicle for procurement of property or services (e.g., drug development, research and development services, evaluation, training, etc.).

The Office of Sponsored Programs accepts sponsor funds on behalf of the university and the researcher. Until the Office of Sponsored Programs completes the necessary administrative tasks (negotiating awards, establishing the project account, and reporting the award to the university’s board of trustees), the award is not legally accepted and costs may not be incurred. If a principal investigator is notified by a sponsor of an award, the agreements and any other documentation should be sent to the Office of Sponsored Programs sponsored program officer.

Who can sign an agreement or contract?

The Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees established The Ohio State University Office of Sponsored Programs as the organization legally authorized to accept awards and agreements for sponsored programs on behalf of Ohio State and Ohio State researchers. Any document requiring an official signature must be signed by an authorized representative of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Principal investigators are not authorized to sign agreements on behalf of the university or the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Preliminary Project Numbers

Under certain circumstances, a preliminary project number can be assigned before all of the award paper work is completed (e.g., so that critical equipment or supplies can be ordered or to start the process of staffing the project). For this to happen, the principal investigator’s department must agree to accept responsibility for any costs incurred if, for some reason, the award is not made or pre-award costs are disallowed. Authorization for Expenditures/Commitments in Excess of Funds Available form (OGC-005), is used for this purpose. Departments typically set a limit on the pre-award costs they will authorize.