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Pre- or post-award research administration? Let’s examine functions that are unique to each of these two parts of the research administration process.

For the sake of this post, let’s assume everything prior to account setup is pre-award, and everything including/after account setup is post-award. Some of these items may fall on different sides of the split depending on an organization’s needs, priorities, procedures, expertise, etc.

Distinct Functions of Pre-Award Research Administration

What does “pre-award” say about what you do? While this varies by organization, the functions of research administration that are typically exclusively pre-award in nature are:

  • Finding funding: Locating funding via search engines such as Pivot,, Foundation Center, individual funding agency websites, or even Google.
  • Budget creation: Working with the principal investigator(s) to determine what their budgetary needs are, as well as incorporating and taking into consideration other factors such as organization and funding agency limitations or set rates (fringe benefits, indirect costs, etc.).
  • Filling out proposal forms: Completing forms, which depending on the funding agency, could be a simple cover page or something as involved, or more involved, than a package.
  • Submitting the proposal: Submitting the final, internally approved proposal to the funding agency for consideration.
  • Award negotiation and acceptance: Negotiating the corresponding award and its formal acceptance by your organization.
  • Compliance considerations: Making sure compliance requirements (funding agency and project specific) such as human subject, animal subject, responsible conduct of research, financial conflict of interest, etc. are satisfied. Typically this is completed by a research compliance office, but most pre-award offices still need to verify the appropriate documents are completed/approved prior to turning the project over to the post-award group.

Post-Award Research Administration

What does it mean to work in a post-award office? What does that say about what you do?  While this too can vary by organization, the functions of research administration that are typically only part of the post-award process are:

    • Award/account setup: Establishing a central general ledger number for the principal investigator(s) to charge project expenses to.
    • Modifications: Managing any changes to the initial award which do not require a new proposal.  Examples are a no-cost extension, change in personnel, scope revision, budget reallocation, etc.
    • Financial compliance monitoring: Making sure expenses charged to the project meet standards set forth by your organization, the government, and the funding agency.
    • Facility, equipment, and space Monitoring, reporting, and billing: Generating invoices for use of research facilities or charge back centers, tracking those funds, monitoring and tracking space and equipment usage, preparing and submitting interim and final financial reports, invoicing or completing funding agency drawdowns, etc.
    • Project reporting: Submitting progress reports and deliverable reports as defined and required by the award document.
    • Project close-out: Filing all the paperwork, internal and external, to close out the project and address items such as unused funds, equipment disposition, intellectual property generation, etc. in accordance with the award document.

Solutions to Assist with Pre- and Post-Award Administration

We offers research administration software that is innovative, easy to use, diverse in report selection, well-supported by an implementation staff with research administration experience, and competitively priced.

There are numerous customer case studies and other literature on the ease of use, implementation, and added value of a solution from Cayuse.  For more information about our solutions, contact our team.