Routing and Acceptance of the Award Notice

Objective: Ensure and confirm that a proposed new award is acceptable to the PI, DLC, and OSP; communicate such acceptance prior to execution of the award by an authorized Institute official to the sponsor.

Sequence of steps to follow when an acceptable award is received by MIT/OSP:

  • Notice of New Award creation
    • OSP prepares a Notice of Award that summarizes the key requirements for administering the award which are included in Kuali Coeus
  • Notice of Award and award document distribution and review
    • An electronic copy of the Notice of Award, or instructions for creating one, is sent with a copy of the award to the PI and the responsible DLC administrator
    • In some cases, the Notice of Award cover page must be signed by the PI and DLC administrator to indicate acceptance of the award terms and conditions and the budget
  • Award execution
    • If the award requires written acceptance by MIT, an individual in OSP authorized to execute award documents for the MIT Corporation signs the award and returns the documents to the sponsor


The PI has directly received a contract agreement from his or her sponsor. Can the PI sign the agreement and send the paperwork to OSP to create an account?

No. Awards are negotiated and signed by OSP on behalf of MIT. PIs and DLC personnel are not authorized to negotiate on behalf of MIT and may not sign sponsored agreements. You should send all paperwork, or email notification of the award, to your OSP representative for appropriate processing.

How do I know when an award requires MIT execution?

Some proposals result in unilateral awards; based on the proposal and through budget revisions, the sponsor issues an award document. In these cases, a formal acceptance of the award signature by MIT is not required because our expenditure of funds demonstrates our acceptance of the award terms and conditions. NSF and NIH grant awards are examples of such unilateral awards.

When a sponsor requires that an MIT-authorized official sign to accept the award terms and conditions, the award is called a bilateral award. Typically, federal contracts and most foundation and industry awards are bilateral.

When must the Notice of Award be signed by the PI and administrator for the responsible DLC?

Notices of Award are produced in one of two ways: (1) negative confirmation—signature is not required; or (2) positive confirmation—signature is required.

When negative confirmation is acceptable, the “no signature needed” statement will be included with a reminder that the expenditure of funds signifies acceptance of the terms and conditions. Kuali Coeus automatically produces this statement if the OSP Contract Administrator (CA) requests no signature.

When positive confirmation is required, the “signature required” statement will be included on the Notice of Award. It signals both the investigator and the administrative officer to carefully review the terms and conditions of the award and to sign and return the Notice of Award to the CA.

OSP contract administrators determine whether the acceptance of award terms and conditions requires positive or negative confirmation. Generally, unilateral assistance awards from the federal government with standard terms follow the negative confirmation process, while the introduction of non-standard terms in an award generally requires positive confirmation. Cost sharing and underrecovery may also need to be acknowledged.