Grants & Finance
Expertise in Grants Management, Pre-Award to Fund Closeout
In addition to our 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 diverse grant portfolios, often with numerous subcontracts (including foreign research partners) and satisfying reporting requirements of the sponsors — nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations, and public agencies at the federal, state and local levels.
Our grant managers form a cohesive team. Familiar with each other’s work, our grant managers seamlessly serve as second-tier back-ups during high-volume deadlines. The team works to ensure no task or researcher is overlooked and strive for maintaining excellence in all situations.
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 sponsored projects from proposal development through the grant’s closeout.
Our grants team begins working on a proposal after meeting with the research team and carefully reading the sponsor’s request for application (RFA). The grants manager becomes a subject matter expert regarding fiscal and submission requirements, including those for new sponsors or grant types.
Our grant managers’ detailed knowledge of grants administration allows them to provide meaningful input 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 with the researcher, collaboration in writing budget justifications, and proofreading the budget.
- Circulation of an electronic PAF for authorization by the home units of key researchers.
- Coordination with the UIC Office of Research Services; serves as the researcher’s liaison to that office.
- Tracking the application to confirm the sponsor has received full application on time.
Our grant team’s chief responsibility is financial oversight of project expenditures to ensure the researcher and project team comply 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 is equipped to provide financial expertise, advice, and forecasts and analyses to help the researcher modify budgets, prepare rebudgeting for progress reports, no-cost extensions, and grant closeouts. The grant manager’s role also includes:
- Establishing anticipation fund to accommodate hiring, payroll set-up, and setting up purchasing procedures to start the research on time.
- Orienting the researcher (or her/his coordinator) to common University business financial 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 project reports of expenditures, including salaries, with projections against approved budget.
- Organizing and maintaining the project’s financial and administrative paperwork and meeting with federal or state agents auditing grant expenditures.
- Serving as unit of record for long-term retention 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.
Reporting of Expenditures and Projections
Our proprietary accounting software generates expenditure reports customized to the project award dates rather than the University’s fiscal year and are provided on a regular basis. This provides the researcher with the opportunity to review the project’s financial standing in a more relevant context. These reports indicate grant expenditures and projections based on grant year or grant cycle and include summary and detail formats, with monthly payroll by employee. Reports are provided for all fiscal funds managed by IHRP. Ad hoc reports can also be requested off-cycle, to assist with specific reporting needs.
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.
Due to the size and volume of grants at IHRP, we respond to several audits each year and our team works with the researcher collaboratively to respond to the request. Our careful unit fiscal controls (documentation of researcher authorization and fiscal checks and balances) allow us to meet the standards of due diligence.