Announcing Externally Sponsored Awards: Guidance for Researchers

To safeguard the reputations of Cornell researchers, Cornell, and external sponsors, it is important not to publicly announce a sponsored award before OSP has finalized the grant or award agreement. 

External sponsors often notify researchers verbally or by email once the researcher has been selected to receive a sponsored award. However, different sponsors provide research funding on different terms and with different stipulations; and Cornell—in keeping with its land grant mission and commitment to the open dissemination of knowledge and discovery—has policies and stipulations of its own. OSP will finalize a sponsored award only after it has ensured that the terms of the award align with Cornell policies and regulations. Furthermore, some sponsored awards involve a negotiated agreement between the sponsor and Cornell. The total amount and duration of funding and other terms may change during the negotiation process. In very rare instances, Cornell and the sponsor may not come to an agreement and the award cannot be accepted.

Timing of Announcements 

Public announcements should occur only AFTER the grant or award agreement has been finalized by OSP and is in effect. Once the grant or agreement is finalized, you will receive an email from stating that the award has been finalized and your project has been awarded by the sponsor.

NOTE: Although external sponsors often notify researchers verbally or by email once the researcher has been selected to receive a sponsored award, notification from the sponsor is not the same as a finalized grant or award agreement.  

  • Exceptions to the guideline above may be made if the sponsor provides written permission to announce the award before OSP finalizes the award and the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation approves the exception. Please forward written permission from the sponsor to for review.  
  • These guidelines apply to all public announcements for publication in the Cornell Chronicle or other official Cornell outlets.  
  • For Cornell-led sponsored awards that include sub-awardees at other universities or organizations, sub-awardees should NOT announce an award before the Cornell Chronicle or other official Cornell media outlet has published an announcement or has declined to do so. The Lead PI is responsible for communicating this expectation to sub-awardees. 
  • If you need assistance communicating this expectation to sub-awardees or managing public announcements, your college or unit communications team can assist to help coordinate such communications among participating organizations. 

Additional guidance for communicators may be found at Announcing Externally Sponsored Awards: Guidance for Communicators.

  • If you are a sub-awardee on a sponsored award led by a PI at another organization, you should expect coordination of communications from the Lead PI’s organization.  

Announcements from Social Media Accounts, Lab Websites, etc. 

  • To protect your relationship with sponsors, sponsored awards should NOT be announced through social media, public laboratory and faculty websites, public presentations, or other public communication platforms, spoken or print, until after OSP has finalized the award. 
  • Before making any public announcements, confirm that the grant or award agreement does not restrict such communications. The Additional Project Information PDF (attached with the notification from OSP that the award has been finalized) will call attention to certain non-standard terms and conditions. If communications restrictions are not mentioned in the Highlighted Terms and Conditions, best practice is to check with your Grant and Contract Officer (GCO) before publicly announcing the award.
  • The communications lead in your college or unit can provide professional guidance on using social media, laboratory websites, and other public platforms to announce awards.  

Sub-awardees and Other Research Personnel 

The Lead PI of the sponsored award is responsible for communicating these guidelines to co-PIs, key personnel, individual and institutional sub-awardees, and other persons informed of a funding decision by an external sponsor. The Lead PI is the researcher who led the proposed project or program, and whose organization submitted that proposal to the sponsor or donor.   

Questions? If you have questions about these guidelines, contact Mary-Margaret Klempa (, senior director of Cornell’s Office of Sponsored Programs within the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation.