Office of Sponsored Programs - 400.03 - Principal Investigator & Departmental Administrator Responsibilities at Project Setup


Office of Sponsored Programs - 400.03 - Principal Investigator & Departmental Administrator Responsibilities at Project Setup


This standard is to properly inform Principal Investigators (PIs) and Departmental Administrators (DAs) of their responsibilities when receiving sponsored projects and the steps required at project setup.

Policy Statement

I. Principal Investigator

The PI is responsible for reviewing the award document to familiarize themself with the terms, conditions, and project expenditure restrictions. Also, when the award is initiated, the PI must ensure compliance issues are properly managed. DAs also review the award document to identify restrictions on cost allocations for spending, as well as agency reporting requirements.

Since DAs work in conjunction with PIs for various aspects of research administration, including personnel funding, purchasing, and other similar matters, they must pay careful attention to award terms and conditions, effective dates, and any restrictions, in consultation with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

Transactions must adhere to the attributes, structure, and accounting methods established by the University, and display Project IDs accordingly on forms for routing, approval, and electronic data processing.

II. Department Administrators

Conduct Review of Award Agreements

  • Identify restrictions
  • Note reporting requirements
  • Check for purchasing/spending authorizations under the award terms and conditions
  • Initiate, monitor, and maintain current financial information regarding the award

Setup a System for Monitoring Post-Award Activities

  • Prepare personnel transactions upon assignment of a Project ID number. Include information that affects salary, such as salary caps, cost sharing, rate of pay compensatory to amount of full-time effort (FTE), etc.
  • Create tracking for direct costs, indirect costs, subrecipient costs, and consultant expenditures
  • Establish reminders for deadlines of financial, progress, and technical reports
  • Monitor spending, IPAs, and prior approval requirements in light of the award funding
  • Communicate regularly with those responsible for project activity to prepare requirements in a timely fashion
  • Handle transactions and reconciliations by anticipating end-of-budget periods and other changes

Related Requirements

Unit Policies, Standards & Procedures

Contact Information

For questions regarding this operating standard and its related procedure, please contact

For questions regarding Pre-Award management or Post-Award administration, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Specialist (SPS).

For invoicing, reporting and other financial matters, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Accountant.
OSP Staff assignments may be found in RAMSeS or on the OSP website.


History Table
Date Description
07/01/2022 Revised to reflect the new office name.
05/15/2018 Revised to coincide with the release of the new OSP Website.

The operating standards in the Office of Sponsored Programs Operating Standards & Procedures Manual supersede any OSP operating standards, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Division of Finance.

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Article ID: 132299
Thu 4/8/21 9:28 PM
Fri 1/19/24 11:29 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/19/2024 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/19/2025 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2008 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Office of Sponsored Programs