What is a Pre-Award/Advance Account?

A Pre-Award/Advance account enables the PI to establish an account prior to the execution/completion of the award setup by OR.

The benefit: allows for expenditures to be charged correctly and directly to the account without the need to perform a cost transfer/journal afterwards; The risk: the department place themselves at risk of having to fund any posted expenditures in the event that the award/contract is not finalized.

For the standard operating procedure, check the shared Folder under COS Training Forms-Training and Forms-Research Administrator.

Award Types


Sponsored projects must be separately budgeted and accounted for and are subject to the terms and conditions of the sponsoring agency. Sponsored projects may include grants, contracts and cooperative agreements for research, training and other public service activities externally funded and governed by specific terms and conditions.

There are two types of business units that sponsored projects may be created under, UCF and RF. This is determined during the negotiation process.


A grant is a funding instrument between a funding source and a second party and in response to the submission of a proposal. A grant generally supports basic research. Grants typically allow the PI more flexibility in conducting a research project and in utilizing the funding provided. Grants, however, are becoming less flexible with more rigid performance and reporting requirements. Generally grants do not require a signature of acceptance by the second party.


A contract is a written agreement between two parties by which the sponsor agrees to pay costs incurred for specific services, deliverables, or research goals. Contracts generally support applied research. Contracts are more rigid, allowing less flexibility in the conduct of the research and utilization of the funds.

Contracts contain specific terms and conditions that must be followed to remain in compliance with the contract terms. Changes or modifications to any aspect of the contract can be done only through a written and signed modification or amendment to the contract.

Cooperative Agreement

A cooperative agreement is a funding mechanism in which both parties to the agreement have substantial programmatic responsibilities.

Billing Types

Cost Reimbursable

A type of agreement that establishes a ceiling that the PI may not exceed. Charges may be posted to the account up to the end date and total no more than the total amount of the award.

Fixed Price

A type of agreement in which the amount to be paid is a fixed amount and is scheduled for payment either by task order, deliverable, schedule, or percentage of work. Money can be spent up to the value of the award. Charges may be posted to the account up to the account or end date and total no more than the total amount of the award.

In the event of excess cash at closeout, this may be moved to the PI’s balance account subject to a review. Please see Balance Accounts section below.

*There are additional types of billing circumstances. Please review the award documents for more information.

Cost Share

What is cost share?

The term “cost sharing”, also known as “match commitment”, or “companion accounts” refers to the portion of the project that is not paid for by the agency. The University’s Cost Accounting Disclosure Statement requires that “companion match accounts” be established to document the use of University funds toward sponsored projects. Cost sharing may be on a voluntary or required basis. It may be fulfilled in several ways. Please review here for cost share sources.

Voluntary Cost Sharing is provided as an institutional commitment in support of a project. It is not reported to the agency.

Required Cost Sharing is required by the agency and written into the agreement. The proposed guidelines will usually stipulate any required cost share. The amount or percentage UCF must match (i.e.: dollar-for-dollar, 25%, 30%, etc. Will be spelled out in the agreement). It is reported to the agency.

Failure to properly document a cost share commitment may result in an audit finding, the requirement to return agency funds, and could negatively affect future sponsorships. It is the PI’s responsibility to verify that cost share requirements are met and the proper documentation exist in accordance with UCF policies and sponsored agency requirements. Generally anything that can be charged to a project can be expended in the cost share account. A PI cannot use cost share for expenditures not allowed on the related project

Balance Accounts

Contains residual balance, also known as “Excess cash”, from fixed priced projects. In the case of projects with several Co-PIs the main PI will determine how the balance will be divided among Co-PIs.

Funds are to be used for purposes related to furthering research activities.

Policy from the Office of Research

Office of Research will authorize the transfer of remaining funds (up to 10% for federal projects and 20% for nonfederal sponsors) to the PI’s balance account. Transfers cannot be authorized until all revenue is received from the sponsor and all deliverables have been submitted by the PI.

If a project is awarded on a fixed-price basis and a 10% Service Fee is approved in lieu of UCF’s full rate, any residual funds at the end of the project period/close-out will remain with the Office of Research. For more info, see here.

Overhead Accounts

Overhead is not distributed/earned on service fee projects with a 5% indirect rate or Research Foundation management fee.

To review the current distribution, please see Overhead Distribution.