Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

OSP News

FAQs on sponsored programs during COVID-19 emergency

Posted: April 2, 2020

The Office of Sponsored Programs has received a number of questions related to the impacts of COVID-19.  Below is a list of the some of the most frequently asked questions.  We will update with new questions and information as they becomes available. If you have additional questions please email


In light of COVID-19, how do I charge personnel expenditures (salary, fringe benefits, stipend) to my sponsored program?

  • On federal awards, continue to charge personnel expenses as usual, even if full effort is not possible. Track when you do this and provide to your SPO; some sponsors require notification (ACF, DOD) and some do not (e.g. NIH, NSF). Please review the matrix developed by Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) for more detailed information on federal grants.
  • On awards from foundations or associations (i.e. private agencies) and from industry (non-federal flow-through):
    • Continue to charge as normal if the work can be performed.
    • If only partial effort or no effort can be performed, and the award is cost-reimbursable, charge for the effort only if the sponsor allows (American Heart Association).
    • If the award is fixed price/deliverable based (as are the vast majority of industry awards) you may continue to charge these expenses, but consider whether you’ll be able to produce deliverables given funding.

How do I charge non-personnel expenditures to my sponsored-programs?

  • While the university is bracing for the financial impacts of COVID-19 and has limited purchases to only business critical items and services, this limit does not necessarily apply to sponsored programs funds. However, per previous guidance from the Office of Research, only critical research that meets specific criteria is allowed to be performed on campus.  If critical research is being conducted then the lab can be open and order and receive shipments as normal.
  • For non-critical research, we can place orders for services, for equipment with longer lead times and/or to be held by the supplier until after labs reopen, or for appropriate goods (no hazard to shipping/storing/using at home) that can be shipped to homes to support research being done by researchers working from home.

How should I track COVID-19’s financial impact to my individual research programs?

  • For non-personnel costs that are captured in the general ledger, use standard expenditure codes but add the new COVID-19 program code: 22521:COVID-19. This will allow reports that will capture this type of impact to be run out of the university financial system.
  • For costs not captured this way, such as donations of PPE and other materials, or researchers being paid at full rate from a federal award but contributing diminished effort due to closure of facilities, the COVID expense donation tracking spreadsheet has been developed to better track impacts. This type of tracking could also help support later requests for supplements to awards to help offset the impacts.
  • Costs to track could include ramp-down and ramp-up costs, such as:
    • loss or destruction of cell cultures and biological samples
    • disposal of hazardous materials and other environment or safety costs,
    • the care or replacement of animal subjects
    • restarting experiments that could not be completed due to the closure of research facilities
    • inability of personnel to interact in the field or missed seasonal opportunities such as plant or animal life cycle
    • non-refundable costs related to canceled events/travel
    • ramp-up costs for COVID-19 related-research for such things as supplies, equipment, additional analytic capabilities
Category : General Information