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Sponsored Projects

Pre-Award and Preliminary Spending Requests


Submit request to expend sponsored project funds prior to official receipt of an award when there is a very high likelihood that the award will be made.


Principal Investigators (PIs) and departmental administrators requesting pre-award spending when an executed award document (initial award or modification) has not been received or executed. It is often advantageous to set up a chartfield prior to receipt of the award document in order to meet payroll and effort requirements for a sponsored project.

1. Preliminary projects are  typically set up for a period of 90 days - 6 months for federal grants with expanded authorities.

  Federal contracts do not provide a 90 day pre-award spending period.  Agreements with national labs will typically have an effective start date based on execution and not the proposed period of performance.  Please consider these additional risks and discuss your start date with your sponsor. 

2. In certain circumstances, preliminary projects may be appropriate for fully executed awards. For example, when the start date is past and COI's are still pending. 

NOTE: Submitting the Preliminary Project Set-Up Request or Preliminary Project Extension Request does not automatically initiate an extension by OSP. Please let your Sponsored Project Office know if you need assistance making a formal extension request to the sponsor.


  1. Ensure the following information is on file with OSP.
    1. An approved Document Summary Sheet (DSS).
    2. Submit a Pre-award Spending Transaction via eAward
    3. When available, attach additional documentation from the agency regarding its intent to fund the proposed project.
  2. The guarantee chartfield cited in the request must be a solvent University of Utah funding source.
  3. The request will be reviewed and information validated by OSP
    1. The risk that an award, document and/or payment from the sponsor will not be received must be considered when requesting pre-award and/or preliminary extension spending.
    2. If approved, the request will be sent to Grants and Contracts Accounting (GCA). GCA will setup the preliminary project or preliminary project extension.
  4. Charge appropriate expenses to the account
    1. GCA will permit expenses to be charged to the account but such expenses should not exceed the proposal budget. It is the department's responsibility to monitor these expenditures.
  5. The preliminary chartfield is cleared and a finalized project is established when executed award documents, along with a final budget, are received by GCA:
    1. The PI and department administrator should follow up with the sponsor to check the status of the award, if the award is not already in the process of review at OSP.
    2. If an award is not received, it is the responsibility of the department/unit that requested pre-award spending to close out the account by transferring payroll and expenses to an appropriate funding source and to notify GCA that the account should be closed.
    3. If in the judgment of GCA, the account should be closed due to lack of an award document, lack of income, or other factors, GCA will work with the department/unit to transfer all expenses off the preliminary project spending account.
  6. GCA may transfer expenses from the preliminary spending chartfield to the guarantee chartfield cited on the request form and close the account. If the guarantee chartfield is no longer solvent, the unit administrator will be asked to provide another funding source in accordance with standard procedures for account close-out.

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Last Updated: 1/23/23