Procedure for Requesting Pre-Award Costs on an NIH Grant

MUSC may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the official begin date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award if such costs are necessary to conduct the project and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval.

Pre-Award costs may be incurred before the beginning date of a non-competing continuation award without regard to the time parameters stated above.

Note: Pre-Award Costs are generally not applicable to training grants or fellowships.

To request Pre-Award for a NIH grant award that is imminent, please follow the steps below.

The Principal Investigator (PI) or their designee must send a letter or e-mail to the assigned ORSP Grants Administrator with a copy to the Department Chair or their designee (e.g. business manager).

The Pre-Award request should include:

  • Grant title and NIH grant number (if known)
  • Start date for the “at risk account”
  • Direct cost budget amounts per budget category (e.g. Salaries, Supplies and Equipment etc.)
  • Unrestricted UDAK number to charge in the event the grant award is not awarded
  • Projects involving human subjects or animals must address the approval status

Once the department chair or designee demonstrates approval of the request, ORSP will review and take steps to initiate the Pre-Award UDAK set-up with the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting.

Most NIH grant awards allow the Pre-Award approval at the institutional level under Expanded Authorities granted to MUSC.

Notification that the Pre-Award UDAK account has been created will be e-mailed to the PI and to the designated administrators within the initiating department per the standard MUCR UDAK notification procedure.

REMINDERS:  This is an at risk account and should the funding not be approved, the PI/home department would be responsible for covering any expenses incurred. Also, should an award notice arrive later than expected or have an official start date later than anticipated; NIH prior approval would be required for the period of time that exceeded the 90 days prior to the award date.

Example of Pre-Award Request

Dear ORSP Grants Administrator:

Dr. Mary Doe received correspondence from the NIH indicating grant 1R01XX123456-01 (titled: “title of grant proposal here”) is expected to be funded in the next month or two. Thus I am requesting a Pre-Award (at risk) account with a start date of 4/01/201X, so PEAR forms may be processed and supplies can be ordered to get the project underway. The amount of Pre-Award requested is $20,000.00 in the following categories:

Salary –

Fringe –

Supplies –

The IACUC approved the protocol on January, 1st, 201X, approval number AR1234. 

If the grant funding is not received as anticipated, the expenditures may be transferred to MUCU (rest of full UDAK number).

Thank you,