UCR Policies and Procedures

Printer Friendly Version

Policy Title:                      Pre-Award Spending
Policy Number:                550-80
Responsible Officer:       Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development
Responsible Office:        Office of Research and Economic Development
Effective Date:                 04/01/2005
Revision Date:                 01/12/2016
Purpose and Background
This policy is intended to identify the circumstances in which Pre-Award spending is encouraged. It also  provides guidance for requesting Pre-Award approval.

A Pre-Award is the internal approval to incur expenditures, related to a specific contract or grant, prior to the sponsoring agency’s issuance of the fully executed award.
A Pre-Award should be considered when, for instance, an official award has not been executed due to external delays or due to delays in negotiation of award terms, yet there is a firm project start date and award amount, and the project would be adversely affected by the delay.
Pre-Award Guidelines
A critical need to meet project objectives should exist to expend funds prior to the receipt of a fully executed award or continuation award (e.g., the need to order/purchase equipment or the need to continue paying salaries & benefits when the next increment of funding has been delayed beyond the next budget period start date of a continuation award).

Pre-Awards may be authorized for an expenditure of funds (i) incurred during a certain time period prior to the official start date of the award and (ii) in an amount up to a certain percentage of the anticipated award amount, contingent upon the sponsoring agency’s Pre-Award spending guidelines.

(i)  The Pre-Award period (i.e., the period of time prior to the official award start date) must not exceed ninety (90) calendar days (contingent upon sponsoring agency guidelines). In the event the sponsoring agency is a Marketing Board, the Pre-Award period must not exceed the six (6) month period preceding the official award start date. Exceptional circumstances requiring additional time must be justified/explained within the Pre-Award request.

(ii)  The amount of Pre-Award spending authorized must be for a specified dollar amount. Requests should not exceed estimated expenditure levels for the Pre-Award period. Thus, a 90-day Pre-Award associated with a one-year award should not exceed 25% of the annual budget. Exceptional circumstances requiring additional amounts must be justified/explained within the Pre-Award request.

Authorization to incur Pre-Award spending are processed via UCR’s online Pre-Award Request System, which is accessible through the PAMIS (Proposal and Award Management Information System) Portal from the Authorized Applications section in R’Space or through http://pamis.ucr.edu.

Pre-Award expenditures cannot be incurred without authorization and a Pre-Award budget in place. Expenditures cannot exceed the approved Pre-Award amount.

All Pre-Award requests must include an alternate FAU. The alternate FAU will be charged, to cover unfunded Pre-Award expenditures incurred, in the event the funding is not received or in the event the Pre-Award period does not coincide with the project period of the funded award.

Pre-Award requests should be supported by a letter of commitment or other confirmation from the sponsoring agency, which identifies their intent to award a specified amount of funds during a specified period of time. In the event a letter of commitment or other confirmation cannot be obtained, the Pre-Award request may, nonetheless, be approved if the Department Approver (or the Organizational Approver, when appropriate) providing the alternate FAU indicates the desire to proceed despite the increased financial risk in doing so in the absence of the sponsor’s firm commitment.

Note: If the Department is unable to provide an alternate FAU, it may seek an alternate FAU from within Research and Economic Development’s accountability structure (“RED FAU”). RED will then have the final option as to whether to proceed, with or without a firm commitment, from the sponsor.

Pre-Awards are processed in the same way as awards are processed within PAMIS. Upon final approval of the Pre-Award request, the Pre-Award allows for the immediate establishment of a fund number and budget.


Please direct any questions regarding this policy to the Office of Research and Economic Development.