Award Process and Management

All awards for sponsored activity are reviewed, negotiated and signed by Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM) in accordance with University Trustee policy to ensure that the terms are acceptable to the University and in compliance with University policies and procedures. Only certain Amherst campus individuals are authorized to sign awards (grants, cooperative agreements or contracts) on behalf of the University (See Fact Sheet).

Process: The following briefly describes the award process

  • Award receipt – Awards are received in a number of ways:  emailed as an attachment, posted on a sponsor’s website for access by OPAM, or sent in hard copy to OPAM or the PI directly. Original award documents or notices of pending funding should always be sent to OPAM - if you receive an original hard copy award, please forward to OPAM; emailed awards or notices of pending funding must be forwarded to When forwarding award notices to OPAM please make sure to send the entire set of materials received.
  • Review of award terms– The grant and contract administrator will review the entire award, noting any terms that need negotiating or special review//approval by principal investigator (PI)* or other campus departments.
  • Award Negotiation – The grant and contract administrator negotiates the award terms directly with the sponsor’s administrative authority,  coordinating as needed  input from PI/Co-PI, legal counsel, other compliance offices, risk management, Controller, etc. OPAM should serve as the single point of contact for negotiations to avoid confusion on the sponsor’s end.
  • Documenting PI’s concurrence*– The Principal Investigator will receive a copy of the award for review and approval simultaneously with OPAM’s review and negotiation.  The grant and contract administrator will work with the PI as needed to address any questions or concerns he/she has with the award terms and to  flag any additional materials or information needed to complete the award process (e.g., revised or incremental budget, background intellectual property identification, internal forms, etc.).
  • Award Execution –An OPAM signatory will sign the 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 and can be fully processed.
  • Expenditure Account Establishment – Once the above conditions have been met, OPAM prepares the award for accounting, uploading all relevant documents into Kuali (the award, including approved budget, proposal, etc) setting the funding amount and period of performance  and obligates the funding in the system. The Controller’s office pulls the award into PeopleSoft and sets it up for spending. The Controller assigns all grant account numbers and notifies the PI via email.
  • Subcontracts – If there is a subcontract(s) under an award, once the account is fully set up through the Controller’s office, the grant and contract administrator will prepare the subcontract to be issued to the subcontracting institution. All documents for the sub should have been submitted to OPAM with the proposal, and if any are missing, they will have to be submitted prior to OPAM issuing the subcontract. These include the scope of work, budget, contact information, etc. The PI will be sent a copy of the subcontract that has been prepared for review and approval. The form below will also be sent with an email to be completed and returned to OPAM:

    -  A PI Subcontractor approval sheet and Sole-source Justification if subcontractor is new to the project – used to confirm that the PI approves the subcontract terms and conditions and used to document why this particular subcontractor is solely and uniquely qualified to perform the sub scope of work.  

Award Forms for PI:

  • MOU - Memorandum of Understanding. MOUs are required for all multi-investigator awards. RTF splits will now be captured in the Kuali Research proposal module, so the MOU form has been revised, shortened and streamlined. PIs and co-PIs must sign the MOU. Proposals developed before Kuali Research will require a MOU & Update form, which must be routed and signed by all PIs, co-PIs, department heads and deans. OPAM will send whichever type of MOU form that is required to PIs. Forms are routed though Kuali Build.
  • PIAA - Principal Investigator Award Agreement. PIAAs are no longer required for every single award. PIs will be asked to complete a PIAA only when the award includes non-standard terms and conditions or unusual contractual requirements. For all standard awards, the initial expenditure of funds will confirm a PI’s concurrence. PIs and Award Business Managers will always receive a Kuali notification that includes the terms and conditions, and faculty should not expend award funds if they have any concerns with the terms. The OPAM Award Administrator can help address any questions or concerns about award conditions. Note: Award terms and conditions will always be accessible to PIs in the Kuali Research system..
  • DFW - Drug Free Work Place - This certification is required only once when the PI receives his or her first award. Here is a sample DFW but the current form will be sent to you via email. Please sign, scan and reattach to an email and return to the originating address.
  • PAG - Participation Agreement This certification is required only once when the PI receives his or her first award.  Here is a sample PAG but the current form will be sent to you via email. Please sign, scan and reattach to an email and return to the originating address.