Managing sponsored research: Grant management workshop recap

Towson, Md. (September 15, 2010): On August 24, the College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR), through its Finance Office and the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research (OSPR), presented a workshop aimed at post-award grant and contract administration. For many faculty and staff members, managing sponsored agreements can be a challenge due to the various cost principles associated with federal regulations and guidelines. Even so, overall compliance is the responsibility of TU and involves various individuals in charge of its successful execution. The principal investigator has programmatic responsibilities; OSPR and CGSR administrative and fiscal oversight. As a result, open communication and awareness are vital to the successful execution of sponsored projects.

The workshop, led by Ellen Libao, director of the CGSR Finance Office, provided an overview of administrative and fiscal requirements, as enumerated in OMB Circulars A-110 and A-21. A-21, however, was the focus of this workshop as it addresses the major question: What is an allowable cost? To determine whether a cost is allowable under a sponsored agreement, consider the following:

  • Allowable – Costs that are reasonable, allocable, consistently treated and conform to the terms of the agreement.
  • Allocable – Costs must be able to be shown with certainty to benefit the project for which they are budgeted.
  • Reasonable – Costs must not exceed what a prudent person would incur in the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made.

The workshop also emphasized that funds must be treated consistently, and educated attendees in differentiating between direct and facilities and administrative costs. 

Representatives from Fiscal Planning and Services were also present  to field questions on university policies and processes concerning PeopleSoft, Payroll, Working Fund, Accounts Payable, and Procurement.  

When in doubt, OSPR and CGSR urge the TU community to refer to OMB circular A-21 to determine whether a cost is allowable. Section J of the circular also provides examples of unallowable costs, such as alcoholic beverages, donations, fundraising, and lobbying and many more. Lastly, do not hesitate to contact the CGSR Finance Office. They are there to assist you with responsible fiscal administration of sponsored grants and contracts. Please visit CGSR Finance Office’s new webpage for Post-Award Grant Management at

Office of Sponsored Programs & Research
212E Administration Building

Phone: 410-704-2236
Fax: 410-704-4494




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