Underwriting Sponsored Programs – LR 603.16

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Underwriting Sponsored Programs
Policy Number: LR 603.16
Effective Date: June 27, 2016
Revised Dates: –
Most Recent Review Date: –


The principal investigator (PI) of a sponsored program may request that the university underwrite a limited amount of funds during a defined period prior to the receipt of the notice of award or fully executed contract, receipt of incremental funding, or approval of a no-cost extension request. Such requests must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) before any funds are spent.


In addition to allowing the PI to begin or continue a program in a timely manner, this policy serves as a management tool to proactively reduce or prevent the need for cost transfers into sponsored accounts.


Credit. The granting of a loan and the creation of debt.

Underwrite. To accept liability or assume financial responsibility.

Risk. The quantifiable likelihood of loss.

Circumstances That May Create the Need for a Credit Request

Pre-award costs. Pre-award spending occurs outside of the normal period of performance of a project. Some federal sponsors permit spending 90 days prior to the start of the performance period for an award. This authorization comes under the terms of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). Researchers who have an immediate need for funds may request credit for pre-award spending if the grant falls under FDP provisions and there is documentation that the award is forthcoming.

Credit during or after period of performance. Authorization may be granted to spend funds when an award is pending or after the stated period of performance has ended if a request is being processed for additional time or funding. Many sponsors fund projects on an incremental basis, meaning that authorization to spend funds for the entire performance period is not provided at the beginning of the program. Researchers may request credit for such awards if they require immediate access to additional funding due to program needs and if funds for the next increment of the award are not yet available.


Principal Investigator

  1. Provides a written justification and detailed information to request credit for an underwrite of his/her project to ORSP, using the designated Underwrite Request Form.
  2. Provides a written sponsor commitment to fund the program/project either in an email or hard copy documentation to ORSP.
  3. Provides a UALR account number to serve as back-up in case of sponsor default.
  4. If the PI is not an authorized signatory on the account, he/she must obtain the written approval of the authorized signatory for the account provided.
  5. Ensures all research compliance approvals are in place prior to beginning the project.


  1. Reviews the underwrite request, validates the information presented, and approves or denies request.
  2. Notifies the requestor if the request has been approved.
  3. If approved, ORSP will establish a new FOAPAL and file the request in the appropriate folder.

Source: Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Status: Active
Approved By: Chancellor Joel E. Anderson, June 27, 2016
Custodian: Office of Research and Sponsored Programs