Office of Sponsored Projects
The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) provides faculty members and researchers with support in the preparation of grant proposals and administration of awards, as well as regulatory oversight to ensure compliance with both sponsor and University policies. In addition, OSP oversees the annual effort certification process, approves all expenditures applied to sponsored projects, and serves as the primary point of contact on behalf of faculty and the School for engagement with University central grants administration offices, Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF). OSP utilizes a portfolio approach where each staff member is assigned a specific faculty member. This allows one point of contact to each PI throughout the lifecycles of their sponsored projects.
Here a some frequently asked questions:
Who’s who in OSP?
OSP is overseen by Allen Zweben, PhD, Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Research and Academic Affairs. We are located on the 6th floor and are comprised of the following staff:
Amanda Kay Erekson, Associate Director
Amanda Erekson has been with OSP since spring 2012 and has completed Columbia’s Sponsored Projects Certification Program in research compliance. Prior to joining the School of Social Work, Ms. Erekson worked in operations and administration for several nonprofit organizations. She has a Masters of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia School of Professional Studies where she learned “to plan and lead knowledge and information services, improve collaboration and networks, and create innovative knowledge products.”
Brenton Harper, Grants Manager
Brenton Harper joined OSP in 2016 and has completed Columbia’s Sponsored Projects Certificate Program in research compliance. He previously worked at the Institute of International Education (IIE) where he oversaw a number of scholarship and travel-learning grant programs. Brenton is keen to apply his extensive experience abroad to supporting international sponsored projects.
What kind of services can I expect from OSP?
In general, OSP provides the following services:
- Proposal preparation and submission, as described below, in collaboration with SPA and the PI
- Facilitation of grant close-out in collaboration with SPF and the PI Review and approval of all expenses applied against a sponsored project
- Assistance with interpreting federal rules and regulations, as well as University policy, as they pertain to sponsored projects
- Determination of allocability and allowability of expenses applied to sponsored projects
- Facilitation of quarterly review and annual certification of effort
- Processing of salary distributions and cost transfers to sponsored projects
- Verification of funding for all personnel appointments applied against sponsored projects
I’m thinking of applying for a grant. What do I do?
It is never too early to reach out to OSP when considering or planning a proposal submission. Begin by completing the Upcoming Proposals and Reports form which will alert OSP of your upcoming plans, or you can reach out directly to OSP to discuss the funding opportunity—please be sure to include any guidance documents you may have from the sponsor.
Once it is decided that a proposal will be submitted, a member of the OSP team will reach out to you to set-up a meeting to review the sponsor’s requirements, University requirements, and timeline. The PI will be required to complete the PropTrak – Funding Proposal Data Form which will be used by OSP to complete the Proposal Data Sheet in RASCAL. More information on RASCAL can be found here.
OSP can provide assistance on the following for proposal preparation:
- Creation of proposal checklist and timeline for on-time submission
- Completion of sponsor’s required forms
- Creation of budget and assistance with budget justification
- Assistance with biosketch formatting and PMCID numbers
- Assistance with Other Support documents
- Coordination of subawardees documents and correspondence with subaward partners
All sponsored projects are granted to the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. As a result, institutional review and sign off by SPA is required for all grant submissions. OSP requests ten business days to adequately review and submit your proposal to SPA in order to ensure your application meets the sponsor and University requirements. Within this timeline is the five day lead time required by SPA. SPA is unable to guarantee thorough review for proposals submitted with less than five days review time, and reserves the right to pull a proposal from funding consideration if any compliance issues are identified post-submission.
A colleague at another University wants to include me in a proposal as a subaward. What is required?
Even though the proposal will not be submitted by Columbia University, institutional sign off is still required and ten days lead time is requested in order to facilitate the necessary approvals.
Please complete the PropTrak Funding Proposal Data Form. In addition, if the prime institution does not have specific forms to demonstrate institutional sign-off, we will be required to complete the facepage found below, as well as provide a Scope of Work, Budget and Justification for the activities that will take place at Columbia University.
A colleague in another department within Columbia University wants to include me in a proposal. What is required?
Please connect OSP with the Department Administrator (DA) of the department that will be submitting the proposal. At minimum, the School of Social Work will need to be listed as an approver on the Proposal Data Sheet in RASCAL. This serves as the official record demonstrating that the School has approved the inclusion of SSW faculty on a given proposal.
OSP will work with the external department to ensure that base salaries of SSW personnel are listed correctly and that the effort is calculated correctly. A scope of work and/or budget justification should be provided to OSP. Once an award is made, please notify OSP so we can ensure that SSW salary support is properly charged to the project.
I just received an award. What happens next?
- Review terms and conditions of the award or contract
- Review approved funding level and modify proposed budget as needed
- Submit project set-up form to SPA in order to establish financial ledgers in ARC
- Once chartstring is established, spending can commence
- Ensure PI and staff, if applicable, have necessary security clearance to access ARC
Typically award letters are sent directly to SPA and the PI. As soon as OSP is notified that an award has been received, we will review the terms and conditions in collaboration with the PI. The PI must confirm that he or she is in agreement with the conditions before any funds are spent or checks deposited.
SPA serves as the official business officer and authorized signatory for all sponsored projects. In the event that a signature is required by the sponsor, please note that only SPA can formally accept an award or enter into an agreement. For projects that do not require a signed contract, once spending commences the University has indicated that it accepts the terms and conditions outlined in the notice of award. For these reasons, if there are any issues with the terms outlined in the NGA, it is imperative that these are brought forth before the project is activated.
Once Columbia has accepted an award, OSP will work with the PI to review the budget and determine if any items have been disallowed or if re-budgeting is required. Once the budget is agreed upon, OSP will provide a project set-up form to SPA, which in turn will inform how the budget is established in the financial system. A PIN (Project Information Notification) will be generated and a chartstring will be established. The chartstring serves as your “account number” to place charges against your grant. Please include this number on any expenditure or reimbursement requests.
I need space for my research, who should I contact?
Requests for additional space should be submitted to Gerard Bueno, Associate Dean for Administration, Finance & Planning with a copy to Allen Zweben, Senior Associate Dean of Research and Academic Affairs, and include the following:
- Justification for additional space including projected timeline for how long space will be needed
- Verification of funding for new personnel who will occupy space, such as notice of grant award or approved budget
OSP can provide verification of funding and duration of award.