Pre-Award/Early Setup Request

Why should pre-award/advanced spending (early setup) be considered?

There can be situations where a faculty member, in consultation with the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance, is confident that an externally sponsored award will be made but believes it is necessary or beneficial to begin the project prior to the final execution of a sponsored project grant, cooperative agreement or contract. In cases where doing so is appropriate, the university encourages the responsible use of two specific mechanisms, advance spending funds or pre-award funds to accomplish this goal. Faculty and Departments are encouraged to establish either pre-award funds or advance spending funds at their discretion to ensure that expenditures may be tracked properly and to, prevent the accumulation of charges in “holding” accounts while waiting for the official sponsor authorization. Thus, Pre-Award funds and Advance Spending funds reduce the likelihood of late cost transfers and ensure that from the beginning of the project costs are properly associated with a sponsored research project.

What is the pre-award/advanced spending form?

  • Anyone who has access to a proposal can submit a Pre-Award/Early Setup Request for the proposal, using Cayuse. Usually these requests are submitted by an investigator or departmental administrator (someone with Proposal Data Access in the department).
  • The proposal must be in one of the following statuses in order to submit a Pre-Award Spending Request:
    • Signed by OSR
    • Submitted to Sponsor
  • When either a pre-award fund or an advanced spending fund is requested the PI is asked to identify the specific amount of direct and proportionate indirect costs needed and to provide a rationale for the request (e.g. hiring a post doc to begin the research, ordering a piece of equipment that will take several months to build/ship, ordering component parts necessary for fabricating an apparatus etc.). If the award is ultimately not made, is made for a lower amount, or the start date is either beyond the 90-day pre-award period for federal pre-award, the responsible Dean’s office will work with the PI’s department and the PI to identify a fund to pay for any unallowable charges.


  1. To submit a Pre-Award Spending Request, access the Proposal Routing Status screen for a submitted proposal through your My Proposals or Proposals in My Dept dashboard, in Cayuse.
  2. Click the PreAward/Early Setup tab in the Proposal Routing Functions.
  3. Click Add PreAward/Early Setup Request to Proposal. A Pre-Award Spending window will appear.
  4. Please pay particular attention to the text box requesting the following information. If this information is not provided, your request will not be approved.
  5. Whether this is Pre-Award or Advance Spending;
  6. The Start Date;
  7. How much advanced funding is requested; and
  8. The need for this request.
  9. After completing the form fields, click Submit PreAward/Early Setup Request for Processing.
  10. An email notification will be sent to the Pre-Award Spending Approvers for the administering department and school. Just like a proposal, one Pre-Award Spending Approver from each department and school must electronically authorize the Pre-Award Spending Request in the Pre-Award Spending Inbox. Once the request has been fully routed through Cayuse, it will reach OSP, where your grant specialist will review and process the request.

What are pre-award and advanced spending funds and how do I know which mechanism to use?

  • A pre-award spending fund applies primarily to federal grants and cooperative agreements.It allows the University, at the request of the PI, and with the approval of the Chair and Dean ability to establish a fund and to incur costs up to 90 days in advance of the anticipated start date for the award. A pre-award fund may be established at two distinct points in time: 1) in advance of receiving the Notice of Award for the grant; or 2) after the Notice of Award grant has been received. In the latter set of circumstances the costs may, for example, have been charged to a faculty member’s start-up account even though they were expenditures needed to begin work on the federal grant. Such costs must not be charged to another federal award, even on a temporary basis.
  • An advance spending fund may be established with any sponsor type or award. The start date for an advance spending fund is timed to be in sync with the start date of the project. There are many situations where it is appropriate to request that a fund be established prior to the receipt of the final award. One example is when the PI is waiting for a subaward to be issued from a peer institution. There are often delays in receipt of subcontracts and by establishing an advance spending fund the PI can make timely progress on the work. Another example is when an award is being negotiated and the PI, Department and Dean’s office feel that it would be prudent to begin work prior to having a fully executed contract or contract amendment.

Pre-Award Spending

Advance Spending

Type Of Award

For grants and cooperative agreements with federal agencies under A-110.

Federal or non-federal grants, contracts, sub-awards, or cooperative agreements

Maximum Period Before Award Start Date

Charges may occur up to 90 calendar days prior to the official start date of the award. After the actual award period is determined any charges falling outside of that period will be disallowed unless explicit sponsor approval for a period exceeding the 90 period is obtained.

Charges may be made while the award is being negotiated. However, after the actual award period is determined any charges falling outside of that period will be disallowed if explicit sponsor approval is not obtained. A maximum period of up to 180 days is allowed.