Updated Guidance for Handling Financial Implications of COVID-19 on Sponsored Projects

In conjunction with campus leadership and the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), Contracts & Grants Accounting (CGA) is working to monitor, identify, and capture the impact to sponsored funding as implications of COVID-19 continue to evolve and more information is provided.

Additionally, UCSF Guidance for Handling Financial Implications of COVID-19 is available on the UCSF Finance website. This document provides guidance primarily for campus units. It continues to be updated and expanded as the situation evolves.

CGA is working to ensure continuity of services during this period. Additionally, most agencies and sponsors are being flexible in meeting invoicing and reporting deadlines. Please consult your specific agency or sponsor for more detail and alert the appropriate CGA staff member if there are delays.

Recording of Sponsored Research Expenses Related to COVID-19

To better manage and track expenses related to COVID-19, the Controller’s Office has created two new Flexfields to be used when posting or transferring expenses for activity that can be directly related to COVID-19:

  • Sponsored activity - SPCVID
  • Non-sponsored activity – COVID

An example of how to use these Flexfields is as follows:

Research labs and facilities are supporting the needs of UCSF Health with the transfer of personal protective equipment and other supplies to be used in UCSF hospitals and clinics during this pandemic. UCSF Health has designated the following chartstring for this specific purpose: SFHEA-5020-875302-1111111-42-COVID, with Alt Account 64414.

If originally purchased using sponsored research funding, departments should submit a cost transfer (545 source code) to move the cost associated with these materials to UCSF Health.

  • The sponsored project chartstring should be credited with the addition of Flexfield SPCVID.
  • The UCSF Health chartstring *SFHEA-5020-875302-1111111-42-COVID, with Alt Account 64414, should be debited.

*This UCSF Health chart string should be used only for this purpose and should include supporting justification for any allocation methodology.

Consult UCSF Guidance for Handling Financial Implications of COVID-19 for additional guidance and examples of recording expenses related to COVID-19.

Guidance on Allowability of Costs

Two categories of COVID-19 related charges have been identified:

  • Those that are extraordinary and would not have been incurred except for the current circumstances we find ourselves in, or
  • Those costs that may be allowable, or continue to be allowable, depending on agency or sponsor guidance.

CGA is continuing to work to identify the allowability of costs associated with the disruptions to sponsored projects stemming from COVID-19. Please first follow UC travel policy and guidance found in Travel Policy & Regulations Governing Travel (G-28) when canceling or rescheduling travel. Remember, all credits or refunds that are received should offset charges on sponsored projects. Travel that is booked at a later date using these credits should be then posted onto the benefiting project. Other expense categories are dependent on ongoing guidance and are agency and sponsor specific. As we receive more information, we will post updated direction for other extraordinary and/or non-cancellable costs.

Keep in mind that in order for a cost to be allowable on a sponsored project, it will require consistent treatment across all funding sources. We will continue to share information with the UCSF research community as it becomes available from Federal funding agencies.

Resources from Federal Agencies and Other Sponsors

Federal Agencies and other research-related organizations are continuing to provide guidance around this ever-changing situation. These notices and guidance are being captured on many different sites across campus and research administration organizations including federal and private announcements and FAQ’s.

The Office of Sponsored Research is maintaining a detailed list of agency issued guidance. This page also provides information on the impact to research funding, funding opportunities related to COVID-19 and additional resources.

UCOP is also tracking notices and relevant publications via the Research Policy Analysis and Coordination (RPAC) unit. Their Policies & Guidance Updates page provides daily listings of guidance, articles, updates and other pertinent information for the research community.

Another good resource for the research community includes the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR). They previously had released FAQs Regarding COVID-19’s Impact on Federal Awards to provide guidance arising to administration of federal awards during this continually evolving situation. They are also capturing Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 and Additional Resources.

Recent publications include:

  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued memorandums M-20-17 and M-20-18 addressing administrative relief for recipients and applicants of federal financial assistance impacted by COVID-19 and managing federal contract performance issues associated with the Novel Coronavirus, respectively.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued Important Notice No 146 which is their response to the implementation of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M-20-17). They continue to update their website for the research community to provide detailed guidance on the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The Department of Defense (DOD) has issued FAQs providing updates to their previously released guidance.

The UCSF community can access the latest updates and guidance on UCSF's COVID-19 resource page.