The PI is responsible for reviewing the terms and conditions in the award document and approved award budget, prior to hiring personnel/purchasing goods and services using sponsored funds.
In order for any labor effort or purchase to be charged directly to a sponsored project, it must be allowable, allocable, reasonable, and treated consistently.
Indirect costs are expenses not able to be directly allocated to a specific project (i.e. general office supplies, clerical support, facility costs, etc.) The PI will receive a portion of the recovered F&A charged to the sponsor project. Additional details on how the percentage is determined can be found in the Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rate Agreement.
Identified with a particular project, instructional, or any other institutional activity related to sponsor projects/awards. These items must be justifiable to be directly assigned to the project with a high degree of accuracy.
Personnel Expenditures on Sponsored Projects
Funding changes for personnel affiliated with a sponsored project must be processed as soon as possible, but no later than one month after the start of the project. If the sponsored project includes funds to support the PI, and/or other personnel (i.e., research faculty, administrative faculty, classified personnel, graduate research assistants, or wage employees), please work with your unit research administration manager to charge current GMU employees to the project.
If new employees need to be hired, please visit Human Resources and Payroll for more information on the hiring process. State and Federal law requires that all personnel selections comply with the Mason’s policy on Non-Discrimination, University Policy No. 1201. For more information, visit the Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics (CDE) website.
PIs are obligated to ensure that all personnel forms (hiring, funding changes, and timesheets) on a sponsored project are submitted in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in disallowed cost transfers resulting in effort being charged to a non-sponsored funding source.
New Personnel for National Science Foundation Projects
- Required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training
- Sponsor specific information regarding salary compensation
Important Resources for New Personnel on all sponsored projects
- Faculty Appointments – The Provost Office
- HR Handbooks & Policies
- Graduate Student Appointments – The Provost Office
- Banner Electronic Personnel Action Form (EPAF) and Mason’s Onboarding Portal to hire temporary employees.
- Funding Change Forms
Non-Personnel Expenditures on Sponsored Projects
Please visit Accounts Payable/Fiscal Services for additional information.
A Cost Transfer is a transfer of labor or non-labor expenses to a federally funded, sponsored project for an expense previously recorded elsewhere.
A consultant typically provides a one-time event such as a review, analysis, etc. as opposed to an ongoing relationship. They are used for expertise that is not available within the university and are usually individuals or a consulting firm. They do not typically have the ability to influence the direction of the science, as the role of a consultant is to produce a work product under the direction of the PI, but does not have a named scientific role.
A subrecipient typically serves as a co-investigator and is responsible for the end results of the research effort equally with the PI, where federal funds are being passed through another entity. They have authority for administrative and programmatic decisions and provide on-going service for the life of the program.
Subrecipient Monitoring University Policy No. 4009
OSP – Subawards and Subrecipients
- Vendor/Contractor/Purchased Service
A vendor (contractor/purchased service) provides ancillary goods and services that the PI needs to conduct the research effort. They are not responsible for the research results and typically provide this service as part of their normal business operations to many different purchases.
There is no work component for externally funded fellowship payments to graduate students.
Externally Funded Fellowship Instructions
Food and Beverage Reimbursement
If needed to complete the scope of work, food and beverages must be requested in the proposal and approved in the sponsored award budget. Business meals are not an allowable charge on federally sponsored funds.
Fiscal Services- Request Food and Beverage Reimbursement
Journal Vouchers are used to correct non-labor related errors on posted transactions, transfer posted transactions from one funding source to another, re-classify posted transactions, and expenditure recovery for services rendered between internal university offices.
Fiscal Services – JV Forms
Participant Support Costs
Participant Support are costs for items such as stipends, per diem, travel costs (Fly America Act applies), and/or fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects. These costs must be requested in the proposal and approved in the sponsored award budget. For federal projects that fall under the Uniform Guidance, these items are excluded from F&A and are separate from human subject incentives for participation in research studies. Human subject incentives incur full indirect costs.
Used for payments made to research subjects for purposes of recruitment or encouragement for participation in the project study. There must be an active IRB (Institutional Review Board) Protocol associated with the project.
Purchase of Goods and Services
- Purchasing Goods and Services University Policy No. 2106
- Purchasing Goods and Services
- Direct and Indirect Cost Allocations Under OMB Uniform Guidance University Policy No. 2108
Subsidized Graduate Health Insurance (SGHI)
SGHI is charged proportionally based on where the GRA appointment salary is charged. The transaction posts when the associated semi-monthly pay posts during the academic year.
- Health Insurance for Graduate Students University Policy No. 6001
- Office of the Provost- Subsidized Graduate Student Health Insurance
Travel and Fly America Act
Review the award document for any restrictions related to travel, as some sponsors may not allow foreign travel, any travel not approved in the budget. In some cases, prior approval may be needed and this request would need to come through OSP. Any air travel charged to federally funded, sponsored project must be taken on U.S. flag air carriers, unless an exception applies as noted in the Federal Travel Regulation. For more information, visit Fiscal Services – Travel Office
- Any air travel charged to federally sponsored projects must be taken on U.S. flag air carriers unless an exception applies as noted in the Federal Travel Regulation
- Use the GMU “Fly America Act” Decision Tree to help determine if there are exceptions.
- When submitting your travel voucher or travel agency invoice or travel charge card reimbursement log for a flight that does not comply, you must document the reason for the exception by including a Certification of Exception to Fly America Act
Tuition can only be charged to an award when the associated Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) appointment salary is paid from the same award. If a GRA is being paid from more than one funding source, tuition should be charged proportionally to the salary.