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Reminder

Compliance protocols MUST be approved and linked in SeRA to a SPO project record prior to award acceptance. 

See ORA's Award Acceptance Resources for additional information.

eCertification System: PI Leaves & Sabbaticals FAQs

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Background Policies

Research Policy Handbook Chapter 2.2

Acting Principal Investigatorship

Responsibilities for the intellectual direction of our externally sponsored teaching and research activities must rest with the faculty and may not be delegated to others, even on a temporary basis, without prior approval. Acting PIship is subject to the same criteria for eligibility as outlined in RPH 2.1, PI Eligibility and Criteria for Exceptions.

If the PI of an on-going sponsored project will not be engaged in the project for a period of three months or more, another Academic Council member must be named as Acting PI to assume direction of the project, subject to the approval of the sponsoring agency.
Research Policy Handbook Chapter 3.3

Sponsor Notifications and Prior Approvals

The PI is responsible for necessary notifications to the sponsor about project status. In all cases, required notifications or requests for prior approval of contract or grant status, including those described in the sections below, should be made in writing to the sponsor. Such notifications must be coordinated through the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) or the Research Management Group (RMG) in the School of Medicine.


Changes in PI Status

In addition, all federal sponsors and most non-federal sponsors have requirements regarding notification or prior approval of changes in availability of the PI:

  • For federal contracts and non-federal projects, the terms and conditions of the particular agreement will govern
  • For federal grants, Uniform Guidance requires prior written approval from the awarding agency for either of the following circumstances involving the PI or approved Project Director:
  1. A reduction in time devoted to the project of 25% or more from the proposed and awarded level
  2. Disengagement from the project for more than three months (see RPH 2.2 Acting PIship)

For any additional requirements, review the relevant award's terms and conditions and the general award policies of the specific sponsor.

To obtain sponsor prior approval for changes in availability/effort of the PI, including when a PI's faculty appointment will terminate prior to or during a project's period of performance, the department administrator, PI, or Department Chair should prepare and submit within SeRA a Central Office Request. 

SeRA Central Office Request instructions are available HERE.
Research Policy Handbook  Chapter 3.2

Management of Project Expenditures

The following certification statement appears in the eCertification System.

As the principal investigator I confirm to the best of my knowledge that the salary and wages charged to this project are appropriate in relation to work performed on this project or that the charges are appropriate under the policies of the awarding agency relating to chargeable salaries for those who cannot do work due to the COVID-19 related restrictions. All other costs charged to this project are, to the best of my knowledge, appropriate. Where required, corrections have been or will be made through the accounting system.

This certification is the responsibility of the project PI (or Co-PI). A PI may delegate the review of monthly expenditures for accuracy, but may not delegate certification of the appropriateness of the charges except as follows.

  • The PI may only delegate review and certification to a participating Academic Council member or PI eligible individual who is responsible for the portion of the statement of work for which they are responsible. The designee must be identified as the Task Owner in the accounting system.
  • If the PI of an on-going sponsored project will not be engaged in the project for a period of three months or more, another Academic Council member must be named as Acting PI to assume direction of the project, subject to the approval of the sponsoring agency.  The acting PI will assume the responsibility of review and certification of project expenditures. If the acting PI does not have firsthand knowledge of the appropriateness of project expenditures and is unable to certify he/she should contact their School Overseer, or if in the  School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM)

Faculty Handbook Chapter 3

Sabbaticals and Other Leaves of Absence Applicable to the Academic Council and Medical Center Professoriates

It is important that faculty be regularly available to students and colleagues, participating continuously in the educational programs of the University. Sabbaticals and other leaves of absences may not only reduce a faculty member’s contribution to the University, but may also disrupt instructional programs. In general, the granting or denying of leaves is at the discretion of the department Chairs or School Deans.
Faculty Handbook 3.1.2

Short Absences

It is expected that when scheduling periods off, one's academic responsibilities are taken into consideration and continue to be fulfilled. The department Chair should be notified in advance of any absence of a faculty member on active duty that may affect class, laboratory, research, or other University commitments, including graduate student supervision.


FAQs

How do Principal Investigators (PIs) review and certify expenses if they are on sabbatical or leave of absence?

PI Sabbatical or Leave of Absence While Working on Sponsored Projects

The benefit of having an electronic system is that the PI can review and certify expenses remotely.  If a PI is on a sabbatical for research or leave of absence and they are still working on their sponsored projects, they must continue to review and certify the project expenses.

PI Sabbatical or Leave of Absence Not Working on Sponsored Projects

If the PI of an on-going sponsored project will not be engaged in the project for a period of three months or more, another Academic Council member must be named as Acting PI to assume direction of the project, subject to the approval of the sponsoring agency.  Please see RPH 2.2 Acting Principal Investigatorship and RPH 3.3 Sponsor Notifications and Prior Approvals.

The Acting PI must review and certify the project expenses.  If he/she/they does not have first-hand knowledge of the sponsored project expenditures, he/she/they should contact their School Overseer, or if in the  School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM)

PI will leave Stanford and the Sponsored Project will be terminated/end early (Project will not be transferred to another institution, or taken over by another Stanford PI)

If the project has ended, or will be terminated, the departing PI should review expenditures on or before his/her last day at Stanford, and certify the quarter-to-date expenditures.  If no additional expenses post to the project after the departing PI has certified, then no additional steps are needed.

If additional expenses post after the quarter-to-date expenditures were certified, the PTA status will change from “certified” to “partially-certified”, and the additional expenses posted will need to be reviewed and certified.  In order to certify the PTAs, follow the same steps as “PI Has Left Stanford and is transferring their sponsored project to a new institution”.  Otherwise, contact your School Overseer, or if in the  School of Medicine, your Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM) to determine alternate methods for certification.


How should a short leave of absence of a PI be handled in relation to certifying sponsored project expenditures?

  • The PI needs to review expenditures prior to the leave of absence and certify quarter-to-date expenditures.
  • If there is a faculty member who has first-hand knowledge of the sponsored project and the work performed, he/she/they can review and certify project expenditures.  This must first be approved by your School Overseer and then by the ORA RAPC team. Please submit any request for exceptions to your School Overseer first.  Once an exception is approved, an Adobe .PDF version of the expenditure report(s) must be sent to the faculty for review and certification, and returned to the research administrator.  The research administrator must attach the expenditure report(s) to the corresponding account (PTA) in the eCertification System and notify the eCertification team.  If the account (PTA) is under the School of Medicine, the research administrator must also notify their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM). The team will verify the attached expenditure reports and mark the account (PTA) as certified in the eCertification System.
  • If there is not a faculty available with firsthand knowledge of the project, contact their School Overseer, or if in the School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM) for assistance in resolving the matter.
  • There can be unforeseen events that preclude a principal investigator from being able to review and certify project expenditures in a timely fashion.  If the PI is not available, and no one with firsthand knowledge, the research administrator should contact their School Overseer, or if in the School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM) to discuss an appropriate plan.

How do PIs review and certify expenses if they are leaving or have left Stanford?

If the PI is transferring his/her sponsored project to another institution, the PI must complete their review and certification of quarterly expenditures prior to the Office of Research Administration (ORA) releasing the sponsored project or equipment to another institution.  If the PI is planning to leave Stanford during the academic quarter, the research administrator must review Quarter - to - Date expenditure data, and outstanding commitments.  Once the research administrator has reviewed the Quarter to Date expenditures and commitments, the PI must review and certify expenditures in the eCertification System.

PI Has Left Stanford and is transferring their sponsored project to a new institution

If the PI does not have an active SUNet ID

  1. SUNet ID should be sponsored by the department or lab, allowing the PI to login to the eCertification System to review and certify project expenditures, or
     
  2. With prior approval from your school overseer, and then by the ORA RAPC team, an Adobe .PDF version of the expenditure report must be downloaded from the relevant eCertification Account Details pages, and be sent to the PI for review and certification, and returned to the research administrator. 

    The PI must affix a certificate based digital signature to each PTA/PDF s/he signs.  Adobe Sign is recommended, but other digital signatures which provide assurance of the signer’s identity are acceptable.
     
  3. The research administrator must attach the report(s) to the account (PTA) in the eCertification System, and notify the eCertification team, and if in the School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM).  The team will verify the attached expenditure reports and mark the account (PTA) as certified in the eCertification System.

PI Has Left Stanford and is transferring their PI role to another PI at Stanford

If another Stanford PI is taking over the role of the PI, the administering department must seek sponsor prior approval.  To obtain sponsor prior approval for change of the PI, the department administrator should prepare and submit within SeRA a Central Office Request.

SeRA Central Office Request instructions are available HERE

The newly appointed PI must review and certify the quarterly expenditures.  While waiting for sponsor approval, a previously identified Co-PI with first-hand knowledge may take over review and certification responsibilities.

If there is not a faculty available with firsthand knowledge of the project, contact their School Overseer, or if if in the School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM) for assistance in resolving the matter.


What do I do if my PI is unable to review and certify project expenditures due to illness or death?

The research administrator should work with the department or laboratory to determine if there is a faculty member who has first-hand knowledge of the sponsored project and the work performed.  If so, he/she/they can review and certify project expenditures.

The research administrator must download an Adobe .PDF version of the expenditure report(s) from the relevant Account Details pages within eCertification and send the report(s) to the faculty for review and certification, and return to the research administrator.  The research administrator must upload the PI signed expenditure report(s) to the corresponding account (PTA) in the eCertification System, and notify the eCertification team.  If the account (PTA) is under the School of Medicine, the research administrator must also notify their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM).  The team will verify the attached expenditure reports and mark the account (PTA) as certified in the eCertification System.

If there is not a faculty available with firsthand knowledge of the project, contact the School Overseer, or if in the School of Medicine, their Research Financial Compliance Manager (RFCM) for assistance in resolving the matter.


How do I change the Certifier in the eCertification System?

Submit a Help Ticket to receive a quick response and assistance from the eCertification system team.

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