Office of Research

Sponsor Approvals

Equipment

Clemson University policy defines equipment as any item of non-expendable property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of more than $5,000 per unit. Grants and Contracts Administration must approve all purchases of equipment with sponsored program funds. All equipment requisitions are referenced against the grant or contract for:

  • prior sponsor approval;
  • money available on grant;
  • money budgeted in equipment budget class; and
  • title to property.
Foreign Travel

When a sponsored program requires travel to a foreign country, the traveler must obtain advance approval. The traveler must complete the form "Request for Approval for Foreign Travel" (See Appendix) which is available in his/her college business office or from Grants and Contracts Administration. (Travel to Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands is not classified as foreign travel.) When completed, this form should be submitted to Grants and Contracts Administration for approval.

If foreign travel is not specified in the approved proposal, the PI must obtain written approval from the sponsor before submitting the "Request for Approval for Travel" form to Grants and Contracts Administration. Some sponsors also require additional advance approval for foreign travel, as far as 90 days in advance in some cases. When sponsor approval is necessary, the PI should allow sufficient time to submit the form/letter to the sponsor and to receive necessary approvals before the travel begins.

Subcontracts

When a PI secures funding from a sponsor but is unable to carry out all of the work at the University, s/he must ask for a subcontract to the primary contract. Subcontract information should be a part of the proposal process, so the potential sponsor will know the PI intends to subcontract part of the work. If a subcontract is necessary after the award has been granted, prior approval is required from the sponsor.

Consultants

Advance sponsor approval is necessary for some sponsors for the use of consultant services on a project, unless itemized in the proposal budget. Grants and Contracts Administration must approve all consultant requisitions with sponsored program funds. All consultant requisitions are referenced against the grant or contract for:

  • prior sponsor approval;
  • money available on grant in the appropriate category.
Incremental Funding

Some projects are funded incrementally, particularly with many sponsoring federal agencies. For example, the University may receive a contract for $300,000 for a period of three years but the contract may contain a statement like the following:

"The total amount of this grant is $300,000. The amount currently available for payment is $100,000, which amount covers the period January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2003. The government’s obligation for the difference of $200,000 is contingent upon the availability of funds. Accordingly, no legal liability on the part of the government for payment of this difference shall exist unless and until funds are made available to the grantee by an amendment to the grant."

This type of statement limits the funding ($100,000) to be allowed for the first year (Jan-Dec 2003). This amount must not be exceeded without written approval of the sponsor. When the current funding amount is expended (for direct and facilities and administrative costs), any additional spending on the project is at the risk of the department.

For incrementally funded projects, Grants and Contracts Administration will:

  • Issue a notification letter showing the total project award, with an appropriate statement as to the project cost and time limits.
  • Set up a budget for only the amount that has been incrementally funded. The direct cost amount appears as the budgeted amount on the monthly departmental Budget Status Report .
  • Enter only the incrementally funded amount into the Clemson University Business System (CUBS) so that Grants and Contracts Administration reports show the currently funded amount.

As subsequent periods and amounts are approved by the sponsoring agency, Grants and Contracts Administration will generate new notification letters and budget amendments and update CUBS panels to show current funding amounts.

Any amount over the incrementally funded limit will be treated as pending funds and a letter from the department chair, approving additional spending, is required before spending can exceed the limit. This letter must also state that the costs will be covered by appropriate departmental funds should funding not be allowed by the sponsor.