Monitoring Research Grant Awards
The grants management specialist (GMS) and program director continuously monitor the grants in their portfolio through the review and assessment of information gathered from audit reports, progress reports, financial reports, site visits, correspondence, and peer review.
Financial Expenditures for Research Grants
Recipients are required to have financial systems in place to monitor their grant expenditures. NCI grants management staff monitors individual grants within each budget period and within the overall project period. The rate and types of expenditures are expected to be consistent with the approved project and budget based on an assessment of the effort to be performed during that period. The GMS reviews recipient cash expenditure reports to determine whether they indicate a pattern of accelerated or delayed expenditures. Expenditure patterns may indicate a deficiency in the recipient’s financial management system or internal controls. Accelerated or delayed expenditures may result in a recipient’s inability to complete the approved project within the approved period of performance. NCI allows some flexibility for rebudgeting, but there are specific guidelines and limitations.
The names, titles, and telephone numbers of the responsible GMS and Program Director are included in the NoA.
Rights of Access to Grant Award Records
Under federal regulation 45 CFR 75.364, the HHS awarding agency, Inspector General, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the pass-through entity, or any of their authorized representatives, have the right of timely and unrestricted access to any books, documents, papers, or other records of recipients that are pertinent to the grant awards in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts, and copies. The recipient is also required to allow timely and reasonable access to personnel for the purpose of interviewing and discussing these documents. The rights of access are not limited to the required retention period, but last as long as records are retained.
Evaluating and Resolving Issues
When problems or weaknesses are found, NCI staff work with the applicant or the recipient institution to resolve the issues. It is usually possible for a mutually agreeable course of action to be worked out so that the award process can proceed. However, it may be necessary for the Grants management officer (GMO), designated specialist, and/or program director to visit the applicant or recipient institution(s) in order to evaluate scientific progress, management systems, and adequacy of policies, procedures, and controls if:
- Problems or weaknesses are found to be severe enough to threaten the ability of the principal investigator or the recipient institution to administer and/or complete the research project for which the grant was awarded
- The applicant organization refuses to adopt required assurances and certifications that reflect national social and economic policy
- The recipient fails to comply with the terms of award. NCI staff may then take any of the following actions:
- Not issue the new or competing renewal award
- Withhold the next noncompeting renewal award
- Adjust the level of support awarded
- Place restrictions and/or special conditions on the award
- Pay recipients on a reimbursement rather than an advance basis
- Suspend or terminate the active grant