Pre-award spending can be in association with an Advanced Award, prior to the official award notification. However, there are times when the fully executed award is issued with an effective date in the future. The awarding agency determines the allowability of pre-award spending. Pre-award spending allows the Principal Investigator the availability of funds prior to the effective date of the award. Always remember to check the Terms and Conditions of your award for allowability.
NOTE: Our authority to recover pre-award costs was defined under the Research Terms and Conditions (Section 25(c)), but these have now expired. The new Uniform Guidance grants federal agencies the authority to permit pre-award costs, but that doesn’t mean all of them will choose to do so. We are currently expecting revised Research Terms and Conditions by the end of April. Some agencies (including DoD) may elect not to participate in the new Research Terms and Conditions. Other agencies (including NSF and EPA) may issue new awards under different terms that explicitly permit recovery of pre-award costs.
Unless you are certain that pre-award costs will be reimbursed in your specific case, it would be better not to incur any at this time.
UG (Uniform Guidance) 200.458 Pre-Award Costs