Award Process

All awards for sponsored activity are reviewed, negotiated and signed by OGCA in accordance with University Trustee policy.  Only certain Amherst campus individuals are authorized to sign awards (grants, cooperative agreements or contracts) on behalf of the University (See Fact Sheet).  The following briefly describes the award process and key milestones:

  • Award receipt –  Awards are received in a number of ways:  emailed as an attachment, posted on a sponsor’s website for access by OGCA, or sent in hard copy to OGCA or the PI directly. Original award documents should always be sent to OGCA - if you receive an original hard copy award, please forward to OGCA; emailed awards you receive can be forwarded to
  • Matching to file– Incoming awards are matched to the related proposal file and passed to the appropriate grant and contract administrator.  See award staff listing for contact information.
  • Review of award terms– the grant and contract administrator will review the entire award, noting any terms that need negotiating or special attention/approval by principal investigator (PI) or other campus departments
  •  Award Negotiation – OGCA staff leads the campus’ negotiation efforts, coordinating as needed the input from PI/co-I, legal counsel, other compliance offices, risk management, Controller, etc.  OGCA should serve as the single point of contact for negotiations to avoid confusion on the sponsor’s end
  • Documenting PI’s concurrence– OGCA administrator will send a Principal Investigator Award Agreement (PIAA) form to PI to document PI’s concurrence to terms and obligations, as well as to flag any additional materials or information needed to complete the award process (e.g., revised or incremental budget, background intellectual property identification, etc)
  • Award Execution –An OGCA signatory will sign award once all terms and conditions have been finalized and the PI has concurred formally.  Awards can either be “first ex” or “full ex” when signed – that is, UMass may sign first or second.  If the campus signs first, the document must then be returned to the sponsor for “full ex”.  It is only after an award is fully executed by both parties that it is legally binding.  Spending should not occur prior to the full execution of an award unless OGCA has approved and processed a Pre-Establishment/Pre-Award Request Form (PEA)  (Click here for PEA form.)
  • Expenditure Account Establishment – Once fully signed, OGCA profiles the award, including approved budget and performance period, in the Grants Award Management System (GAMS) and obligates the funding in the system.  The Controller’s office pulls the award from GAMS into PeopleSoft and sets it up for spending.  The Controller assigns all expenditure account numbers and notifies the PI via email.