Unauthorized Commitment

Principal Investigators are not authorized to make a commitment of UAH resources. This will include authorizing individuals to proceed to work without a fully executed Subcontract/Letter Subcontract.

Commitment without UAH Approval can be construed as a UAH contractual commitment. When you commit the University, it is assumed that you are speaking for the University and this puts the University at risk. It also puts YOU at personal risk. Risk factors include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Audit by State or Federal auditors who may deem a charge unallowable and the University would have to refund the charge and cover it from internal funds. This is a financial burden on UAH’s budget.
  • Compromise of UAH’s negotiating position resulting in less favorable contract terms for UAH (beginning work prior to finalizing the agreement is de facto acceptance of the terms and conditions.)
  • Inability to accept or fulfill contract terms and conditions after unauthorized commitment has been made could result in legal action against the University.
  • Individuals may be found personally liable for the cost of unauthorized commitments.

UAH signature authorization is granted in a resolution from The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. Different individuals at UAH are authorized to agree to different types of commitments. Principal Investigators, Deans, Department Chairs, and Center Directors do not have this authority.

Before a subcontract can be issued after the actual start date of the prime award, a PI must obtain the specific approval of the VP for Research to issue a subcontract after the subcontract start date. The following information must be submitted to the OSP:

  • Completed Consultant/Subcontract Approval Request (CSAR) signed by the Principal Investigator, Department Chair, Dean, and/or Center Director.
  • Memo explaining why the PI authorized the work to proceed and did not follow established procedures.
  • Risk memo to cover cost of commitment should the VP for Research disapprove the CSAR.

PI will be notified of VP’s decision.