University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Approvals and Budgeting

Approvals

Accepting grant funds under the auspices of UMass Amherst makes the University liable for all activities performed with that support. The Office for Grants and Contracts Administration (OGCA) has the daunting responsibility of ensuring adherence to all UMass policies. OGCA undergoes rigorous federal agency and external audits, so they have little, if any, flexibility in terms of compliance to established policies. If your project involves human subjects, animals, or special facilities, iron it out up-front and include the costs in your proposal budget. See policies for animals, human subjects, etc.

All proposals need to be processed through OGCA. Some Letters of Intent/Inquiry (LOI) may not require OGCA review, but double check with them. Do not assume that just because it is only an LOI without a budget that it need not be reviewed by OGCA.

To review applications, OGCA requires 5 full work days (exclude holidays and weekends) from the date the proposal has to leave campus. You, your department head, and dean or top administrator, all need to approve the application and indicate approval by signing the Internal Processing Form (e-IPF). Projects involving the addition of centers, institutes, and new faculty, require Provost Office approval.

Applications that require submittal from 501(c)3 entities must also be channeled through the University of Massachusetts Foundation (UMF), our system wide 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for all private foundation proposals. Corporate & Foundation Relations staff manage the coordination of approval from UMF and OGCA. Please add an additional 4 weekdays to your deadline for this process. 

Budget

OGCA, in almost all circumstances, will need a line item budget - even if the funder does not require one. And, for valid reasons, the scope of work for your project may contain certain considerations that require permission and approval. 

Example: You receive a small foundation grant to bring in two research assistants to tackle a particular problem. Your department and the university are glad to have more graduate student support. As you go through the Research Assistant (RA) selection process, someone asks where the new RA will sit. There is an unused cubicle big enough for one person, but no computer, no lights, no phone line, not even a chair. It will cost $5,000 to bring the cubicle up to work standards, and you don't have a place for the other RA to work. You have just cost your department $5,000 out of its budget, plus whatever it costs to obtain adequate usable space for the second RA. The RA stipends won't offset the charges to departmental accounts. The $5,000+ cost could have been added to the budget. 

Consult with your business department and Research Business Manager Liaison to prevent this type of trouble. They are there to help - use them!

Find guidelines and current rates for personnel charges here: Office of Grants and Contracts Administration (OGCA).