Research Operations Guides

Resources ranging from summer employment and pay guidelines to cybersecurity tips and COVID-19 research funding opportunities — and more — are available on our Research Operations Guidance page.  

Charges on Sponsored Programs

April 8, 2020

Purdue Researchers:

We have received many questions regarding continuing to charge salaries and other allowable expenses to externally sponsored grants and contracts while campus research laboratories are ramped-down and/or researchers are unable to participate for any COVID-19 related reason.  

Here, we are reiterating our previously issued guidance for principal investigators (PIs) to continue to charge salary and other allowable expenses to grants or contracts, federal or non-federal, until given instructions to the contrary by either Purdue or the sponsoring agency/program manager. This guidance is in accordance with the March 19, 2020 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) authorization, subsequent NIH, NSF, and other federal agency guidance documents, and Purdue’s recent commitment to pay all employees through at least June 30, 2020. Relevant federal guidance can be found here.

If our current restrictions on research are prolonged, some of our sponsored programs will fall behind in meeting goals and deliverables. We expect programs that rely extensively on experimental research laboratories that have been ramped-down, and/or that involve human subjects or animal research may be impacted the most.  

Based on input from sponsors, we are relatively certain that, at a minimum, no-cost time extensions will be granted to offset COVID-19 related delays. Unfortunately, no-cost time extensions may not address funding gaps created when researchers are unable to make progress toward goals and deliverables not waived by the sponsor. To address this, the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Associate of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) are advocating for federal stimulus relief to include provisions that would allow universities to apply for supplemental federal funding to backfill all or part of these funding gaps.

It is important that we initiate efforts to record effort/financial losses toward goals and deliverables due to any COVID-19 related reason now. This way we will be prepared to respond to agency queries if supplemental funding becomes available in the future. Examples of losses to record monthly include researcher effort (salary) lost toward goals and deliverables, costs associated with aborted experiments due to restrictions, and others.  

We realize that you are juggling many new issues at work and at home right now, and we have been working on a university-wide solution that is easy to use. Next week, we will pilot a COVID-19 PI portal that Purdue created together with Business Strategy Team for Education at Microsoft. After a successful pilot, each PI will receive a link to a dashboard displaying employee effort and financial data for each sponsored program award in his/her research portfolio.The percent of effort lost toward goals and deliverables can be entered along with a justification for the loss. Examples to estimate and justify effort/financial losses for common scenarios resulting from approved COVID-19 related reasons will be included.

Many of our researchers are also raising questions about contacting sponsors to discuss COVID-19 related barriers towards meeting goals and deliverables. We urge all researchers to direct questions to the PI of the sponsored program award. PIs should work with their Sponsored Program Services (SPS) post-award administrator to discuss the issues and review any specific agency guidance together.The PI and post-award administrator will determine the appropriate outreach to the sponsor or course of action within Purdue during these uncertain times.

We know that this is an extremely challenging time with significant uncertainties for our research community, and we appreciate your patience and ongoing commitment.  Please watch the COVID-19 Research Website for regular updates to this and other research-related matters.


Theresa Mayer
Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Jay T. Akridge
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity

Chris Ruhl
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer