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Many federal sponsors will permit an applicant/grantee, at his/her own risk, to incur obligation and expenditures to cover costs prior to the effective date of any award provided the following criteria are met: The costs concerned are considered necessary to the conduct of the project, the costs are allowable under the potential award, and when required for specific expenditures or activities prior agency approval has been obtained. For new and competing continuation awards, the costs must be incurred within 90 days prior to the effective date of the award. In allowing the applicant/grantee this flexibility, the government expects the grantee to be fully aware that such borrowing against future support must not impair his/her ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. Additionally, the incurrence of costs prior to the award of a grant imposes no obligation on the Federal Government to either make the award or increase the amount of the approved budget.
It is the policy of WVU to secure approval for pre-award costs when at all possible. A formal letter with supporting budget should be submitted to the federal sponsor by the PI through the OSP detailing the need for the pre-award costs.