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Expertise in Grants Management, Pre-Award to Fund Closeout

In addition to our excellent scientific resources, the reputation of our grants management team draws UIC scientists to the Institute.

Our team meets the complex needs of multidisciplinary research in the social and public health sciences. Our team is accustomed to managing multiple large and complex grants, working on grants with multiple subcontracts (including research partners outside the U.S.) and satisfying reporting requirements of sponsors — nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations and public agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

Our grants managers form a tight-knit team, familiar with each other’s work, who pitch in to help when a colleague is facing multiple deadlines or on leave. The team works to ensure no task or researcher is overlooked.

The Researcher’s Grant Manager

In our shared infrastructure, the researcher works with a grants manager whose skills and experience are most suited to the researcher’s needs. The researcher thus builds a working relationship with one grants manager, who develops expertise about the researcher’s projects, staffing, timelines, committed effort, and overall needs.

Each IHRP grants manager administers research grants from proposal development through the grant’s close.

Pre-Award Services

Our grants team begins working on a proposal after a meeting with the research team and careful reading of the sponsor’s RFA. The grants manager quickly becomes a subject matter expert regarding fiscal and submission requirements, even those for new sponsors or grant types.

Our grants managers’ detailed knowledge of grants administration informs their contributions during the pre-award process. They ensure that the proposal’s financial language accords with University business policy, procedures and best practices. By applying this expertise, our grants team optimizes the likelihood of a smooth, prompt start to establish funds, contracts, subcontracts, etc., upon notice of the grant award.

Roles of our grants managers during proposal development include:

  • Subject matter expertise regarding each proposal’s budget development, justification and sponsor terms and conditions (e.g., allowable expenses)
  • Strategic budget language to ensure smooth administration upon funding.
  • Development of a budget template to the researcher, collaboration in writing budget justifications, and proofreading the budget.
  • Circulation of PAF for authorization by home units of researchers.
  • Coordination with the UIC Office of Research Services and service as the researcher’s liaison to that office.
  • Tracking the application to confirm the sponsor has received full application on time.

Post-Award Services

After grants are awarded, our grants team’s chief responsibility is financial oversight of the grant’s expenditures to ensure the researcher complies with governing policies and the sponsor’s terms and conditions as well as to help ensure that the research start-up process is smooth and avoids delays.

The grants manager provides financial expertise, advice, and financial forecasts and analyses that may be needed to help the researcher modify budgets as needed, and to prepare rebudgeting progress reports, no-cost extensions, and grant closeouts. The grants manager’s role also includes:

  • Establishing anticipation fund upon receiving notice of award to allow hiring and early expenditures needed to start the research.
  • Orienting the researcher (or her/his coordinator) to common University administrative systems (i.e., TEM, iBuy, service contracts) as well as the Institute’s fiscal control procedures.
  • Providing the researcher with financial tools, templates, and procedural guides.
  • Troubleshooting and resolving conflict between grant or sponsor requirements and University policy.
  • Assisting the researcher in complying with the sponsor’s terms and conditions and University policies and procedures.
  • Running reports regularly of expenditures, including salaries, with projections against approved budget.
  • Organizing paperwork and meeting with federal or state agents auditing grant expenditures.
  • Serving as unit of record for long-term retainment of all financial documents after the grant ends.

Researcher’s Liaison with University Administration

The grants manager serves as the researcher’s liaison and advocate regarding grant-related financial problems, questions or challenges. Our grants managers work closely with the University Offices of Research Services, Business and Financial Services, Purchasing and Contracts; and they serve as the primary liaison for communication with sponsors, subcontract institutions and purveyors of large purchases to solve problems that may hinder research.

Our grants managers often communicate with business professionals in the sponsor’s office and subcontracting entities as well as purveyors of large purchases.

Expenditures and Projections Reported Monthly

Our proprietary, customized software generates fiscal reports typically more useful to the researcher than those from other University systems. The IHRP reports, provided monthly to the lead researcher, indicate grant expenditures and fund projections by calendar month, grant year and grant cycle. Researchers with multiple grants administered by IHRP see their entire portfolio at once.

Fiscal Oversight and Audit Management

IHRP has established fiscal controls to ensure all grant financial activity complies with federal, state, University and sponsor guidelines for financial and regulatory management.

Because of size and volume of grants at IHRP, we respond to several audits each year. Our team handles the response on behalf of the researcher, and our careful documentation of researcher authorization, unit fiscal controls and levels of fiscal checks allow us to pass these inspections smoothly.