Award Processing Timeline

The following is a guide to help you anticipate the processing time of your award through Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM) to the Controller’s Office.

Please Note: These timelines may be impacted if there is a delay in the receipt of the following if they are applicable to your project: completed MOU’s if there are Co-PI’s, IRB approval, IACUC approval, FCOI approval, COI, or Export Control.  

Please also note that if you have not provided Department ID’s for any of the following, PI, Co-PI’s, Department and Dean, the Controller’s Office will not be able to process the award until you provide them with that information.

Pre-Establishment (2 weeks or more)

Pre-establishment requests will normally be set up within 2 weeks as long as OPAM is able to establish with the sponsor the assurance of funding, the dollar value of the award and the effective start date of the anticipated award. Approval of a pre-establishment account is dependent upon an evaluation of the sponsor’s credentials, whether this will be an export controlled project, and all applicable compliance approvals are in place (i.e. signed MOU’s, IRB, IACUC, COI, FCOI, etc.)

1st Ex Agreement (4 weeks)

A 1st ex (first execution) is when a sponsor sends us an agreement that needs to be signed by both parties and they require our signature first.  At that point, we review, negotiate terms and ask for any changes that need to happen. Once the agreement terms are acceptable, it is signed and returned to the sponsor for their signature and we need to await the fully executed agreement before we can finish the award process and forward to the Controller’s Office for account set-up.

Full Ex Agreement (2 weeks)

This award is the 1st ex agreement that is returned to our office now fully signed and ready for the preparation and obligation into the system for the Controller’s Office.

Unrestricted Grant (2 weeks)

An unrestricted grant is normally a one page letter that is accompanied by a check. This type of award does not contain requirements for deliverables, reporting (either technical or financial), or terms and conditions.

Grant or UMass Boilerplate Contract (3 weeks)

Standard grants from agencies such as NSF, NIH, NASA or UMass issued boilerplate contracts that have had no alterations to the terms and conditions. These types of agreements contain terms and conditions that require review and only minimal, if any, negotiations, alterations or modifications.

Contracts (4 weeks, potentially longer)

Contract containing terms and conditions requiring substantial negotiation due to the inclusion of terms that are unacceptable because of our status as a state-controlled institution of higher education. Such issues are generally liability, publication rights, intellectual property, indemnification, insurance, ownership of data, etc. Such agreements require modification and may also require legal counsel review and input, export control technology plans, special campus approvals, etc.

Awards for which the appropriate proposal process was bypassed (Undetermined timeline)

These are awards that are received in which the proposal was sent to the sponsor directly, bypassing the appropriate process of submitting through the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS), and has now received an award. The proposal will first go through the proposal review as it would have had it gone through appropriately.  Typical review time is 2 weeks, but will take longer if we have to go back to the PI to obtain additional documents (RFP, proposal documents, cost share, etc.) associated with the proposal and not routed to OPAS with the other materials. It should also be noted, proposals for other faculty already in the queue that are being reviewed and processed, will not be bumped out of the queue. Once your proposal is processed internally, it will then be moved forward to the OPAM award staff for review, negotiation and signing. That review timeline will be addressed according to the type of award as identified above.

Award Processing Delays

If the negotiation and set-up of your award is going to take longer than anticipated, and the project start date is imminent or already gone by, OPAM Award Administrators will assess the risk of the items still under negotiation.

If the risk is minimal and all other applicable items are in place (i.e. signed PIAA, fully signed MOU, IRB approval, IACUC approval, COI, FCOI approval, Export Control) we will process an auto pre-award so that the project can get started.

If the issues are a risk to the institution, a formal pre-establishment form may be submitted with the Dean and Department Head assuming the financial liability if we are unable to come to an agreement with the sponsoring institution. These will only be processed if the above referenced compliance approvals are in place as applicable.