Grant Management Procedures

The University is responsible for the conduct of research and the management of funds awarded by external agencies. Grants and contracts, to the University or to researchers, are entrusted to the University.

The University established a series of policies and procedures to ensure:

  1. Compliance with the regulations of the research sponsor
  2. Proper management of such funds
  3. Accountability to the funding agencies and other University stakeholders
  4. Effective conduct of research activities in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism, safety and ethics

Researchers are employees of the University. The University delegates, to the researchers, overall responsibility for the pursuit and management of their research projects.

Researchers are supported by an organizational infrastructure provided by the University. This infrastructure allows researchers to meet requirements, manage funds and interact with sponsors.

Grants and Contracts

Differences Between Grants and Contracts

Often within the research community grants and contracts are viewed synonymously when, in fact, they are quite distinct.

What is the difference between a contract and a grant?

The difference between a contract and a grant relates to the legal concept of default and whether the researcher is legally bound to produce results or not. A contract is a legally binding document in which the parties make promises to deliver a result in exchange for money.

Funds are granted to a researcher by a sponsor with an expectation that the task at hand can be accomplished. This is not a requirement; however, an accomplished task may lead to more grant funding. If the task is not accomplished, there are likely no ramifications to the researcher or the institution.

GRANT

CONTRACT

Usually a simple award letter

Legally binding agreement

Research proposal is well defined but normally there is no formal agreement

A defined scope of work/research plan, obligations and responsibilities

Likely no confidentiality restrictions

Requirement to sign confidentiality agreement (Proprietary data or knowledge (NDA)

Ownership of any intellectual property resides with the institution

Foreground intellectual property and ownership are clearly defined and option to license granted to the sponsor

Unrestricted rights to publish research results without pre-review or time delay involving the sponsor

Restrictions on Publication Rights such as pre-review by sponsor

Annual renewal - No termination provisions

Termination provisions

Flexible time frame; no detailed schedule of work. Research proposal and direction of research lies with the researcher

Detailed work schedule, including milestones and date for final deliverables. Restrictions on scope of research

Few deliverables (progress/final report)

Specific deliverables, report requirements and timelines defined

Payment in advance generally lump-sum payments (not based on deliverables, not a reimbursable basis)

Payment may be made in arrears and tied to milestones and deliverables. Little budget flexibility – establishes firm, detailed budget

The project/budget can be changed by the principal researcher without notice

Changes to scope of work/budget requires consent of sponsor

Generally no honorarium for principal investigator

Investigator honorarium may be included in budget

Regulations in Research

The policies and regulations that play a role in the conduct of research at the University of Ottawa are guiding principles or broad statements on courses of action to be consistently followed under specific conditions. Exceptions require the prior consent of an approving authority, very often the Administrative Committee.

Managing a Research Account
Foreign Currency

More and more frequently, agencies and companies outside Canada negotiate research contracts or award research grants to the University. Generally, the revenue of the first year is calculated according to the current exchange rate given by Financial Resources (at the beginning of each month) and credited into the account.

Advances Against Future Installments

When a researcher can demonstrate that additional expenditures are essential to the continuation of the project, advances against future installments may be granted.

To obtain an advance the researcher must obtain approval:

All requests for authorization of additional expenses must be fully justified and accompanied by a plan of action to return the centre to a positive balance as soon as possible. The researcher requesting an authorization to overspend is responsible for research grant commitments.

Deficit Accounts

Journal entries in accounts where funds are not available are automatically blocked by the financial system.

However, it is possible, by exception, to approve a transaction. In order to do so, the responsible administrator must provide the Financial Services with justifiable arguments.

Because the financial system doesn’t block salary transactions, an account can go in deficit. If a salary commitment causes an account to go in to a deficit, the researcher is responsible to reimburse the loss of income.

In order to avoid problems, it is essential to ensure funds are or will be available when hiring research assistants.

Surplus Accounts

The researcher should ensure the spending of the amount granted for their project by the established end date.

Some agencies are conscious that it is sometimes difficult to coordinate everything by the project's end date and grant a period of time allowing researchers and administrators to finalize transactions; not all organizations grant this deferral.

If you judge it impossible to respect the originally established deadlines, you must ask the agency, in writing, for a prolongation by briefly explaining the grounds for your request.

The agency's written response must be communicated to Research Management Services, who will in turn advise Financial Services if the system's end date needs to be modified.

It may occur that the whole amount granted for the project was not needed and thus the remainder must be returned. An analyst from the Research and Trust section at Financial Resources will communicate with the responsible Department's administrator and ensure that the Researcher authorizes the reimbursement before returning the excess amount.

Transfer of Expenses and Correction of Errors

When an encumbrance has not been debited from the correct expense account or fund, a journal entry must be made by the administration officer responsible or any other authorized person in order to correct the error.

Journal entries are registered in BANNER for which a user code is necessary to obtain access. Journal Entries are approved by the Financial Resources and are transferred to the ledger during BANNER and FAST daily updates.

Journal entries are also used to register internal sales, reprography services, postal fees, etc. You must communicate the FOAP of the concerned project when you buy goods or services from these units.

Changes to the Budget

Changes between 5% and 10% of the total of each expense account within the cost centre do not normally require outside approval. However, changes exceeding a proportion of 10% of the budgetary expense account within the cost centre must be submitted and approved by Research Management Services, who will then take the steps required to complete the modifications.

Extension

The period of validity (start and end date) is a critical component in research management. In some cases, agencies allow automatic extension periods for the research to continue.

Procedure for Closing of a Research Account

Below are some guidelines to ensure a good management once a project is completed:

 

Contracts

Fixed Cost Contract

At the end of each contract, the professor and administrator must verify if there’s a balance in the account. If there’s a residual balance (non-spent), the administrator must make a request to ISS to transfer the balance in the professor’s general account.

When the project is completed, ISS is responsible for:

  • Verifying, in collaboration with the researcher and the faculty, all expenses charged on the account.
  • Making sure that those expenses are eligible for the project
  • Verifying that the terms and conditions concerning the deliverables were met
  • Making sure that the funding agency is satisfied
  • Ensuring that the total amount of the contract has been received by the University

Once those verifications have been made and confirmed by ISS and the Faculty, they will need to advise financial resources by sending an email to Research Management Services copying financial resources to do the necessary action.

  • Research Management services will close the account in eAwards
  • Financial Resources will transfer the residual in the general research account of the professor (journal entry)

If a general research does not exist, ISS will need to ask the researcher for a signed RE Form and ask Research Management Services to create one.

Cost Reimbursable Contract

When the project is completed, Financial Resources will be responsible, in collaboration with the professor and the faculty/department administrator, to:

  • Verify that the expenses are eligible for the project
  • Provide a financial report to the funding agency and copy ISS
  • Advise ISS of the actual cost of the project

ISS will be responsible to:

  • Confirm that the funding agency is satisfied
  • Confirm that no adjustments will be made in eAwards

Grants

Balance at Zero in Account for Externally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible to review each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Research Management Services is responsible to review each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All terms and conditions tied to the deliverables of the agreement have been met
  • The external sponsor has received all required reports (progress report, grant report, etc.). A follow-up system has been established in eAwards to send a reminder to the Faculty and researcher to provide the reports on time

Financial Resources are responsible:

For each account (FOAP):

  • For fixed-price grants, ensuring that the total amount of the grant has been received by the University (cash flow)
  • For cost-reimbursable grants, ensuring that all invoices (cost-reimbursable grant expenses) has been paid by the funding agency
  • Ensuring that all revenues have been credited to the account; if revenues have not been received from the funding agency, Financial Resources needs to contact the funding agency
  • Ensuring that all necessary financial reports have been produced, signed by the researcher and Financial Resources and forwarded to the funding agency
  • Closing the account and performing all the necessary actions in each corporate system
  • Completing the «Request for Closure of Account» form and obtaining approval from Financial Resources authorities
  • Forwarding the form to the accounting department for action; accounting takes the necessary actions in «Banner» to set account trigger to «close»
  • Advising the Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account in eAwards
Balance at Zero in Account for Internally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible to review each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All the expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Research Management Services is responsible to review each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All progress report, grant report, etc. (where required) have been filed at the University

Financial Resources are responsible:

For each account (FOAP):

  • Closing the account and performing all the necessary actions in each corporate system
  • Completing the «Request for Closure of Account» forms and obtaining approval from Financial resources authorities
  • Forwarding the form to the accounting department for action; accounting takes the necessary actions in «Banner» to set account trigger to «close»
  • Advising the Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account in eAwards
Negative Balance in Account for Externally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible for reviewing each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Research Management Services is responsible for reviewing each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All terms and conditions tied to the deliverables of the agreement have been met
  • The funding agency has received the progress report, grant report, etc. (when required)

Financial Resources are responsible:

For each account (FOAP):

  • For Fixed-price grants, ensuring that the total amount of the grant has been received by the University (cash flow)
  • For cost-reimbursable grants, ensuring that all invoices (cost-reimbursable grant expenses) has been paid by the funding agency
  • Ensuring that all revenues have been credited to the account; if revenues have not been received from the funding agency, Financial resources needs to contact them
  • Ensuring that all necessary financials reports have been produced, signed by the researcher and Financial resources and forwarded to the external sponsors

Once the deficit has been confirmed:

  • Research Management Services will contact the researcher copying the faculty administrator, requesting a solution to cover the deficit in the account. The researcher will be given a period of 30 business days to provide a solution
  • If no feedback or discussion to find a solution is received from the researcher, a second notice from RMS will be sent to the researcher, as well as to his or her faculty administrative staff and Vice-Dean Research, requesting a solution within 5 business days
  • If no reply is received with the given period, RMS and Financial resources will conduct a full review of the researcher’s portfolio to explore possible options to resolve the issue.  This review will include all of the researcher’s accounts, including the general purpose research account and any professional fee accounts that the researcher may hold
  • Funds from either the general purpose research FOAP or the professional fee accounts will be used to cover the deficit

IMPORTANT NOTE: Should deficit be over the balance remaining in general purpose research account and any professional fee accounts that the researcher may hold then that the said deficit will have to be discussed at the faculty level for resolution.

Responsibilities of Financial Resources once the deficit has been confirmed:

For each account (FOAP):

  • Closing the account and performing all the necessary actions in each corporate system
  • Completing the Request for Closure of Account form and obtaining approval from Financial resources authorities
  • Forwarding the form to the accounting department for action; accounting takes the necessary actions in Banner to set account trigger to close
  • Advises Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account  in eAwards
Negative Balance in Account for Internally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible for reviewing each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All the expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Research Management Services is responsible for reviewing each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • Ensuring that all progress report, grant report, etc. (where required) have been filed at the University

Once the deficit has been confirmed:

  • Research Managements Services will contact the researcher copying the faculty administrator, requesting a solution to cover the deficit in the account. The researcher will be given a period of 30 business days to provide a solution
  • If no feedback or discussion to find a solution is received from the researcher, a second notice from RMS will be sent to the researcher, as well as to his or her faculty administrative staff and Vice-Dean Research, requesting a solution within 5 business days
  • If no reply is received within the given period, RMS and Financial resources will conduct a full review of the researcher’s portfolio to explore possible options to resolve the issue. This review will include all of the researcher’s accounts, including the general purpose research account and any professional fee accounts that the researcher may hold.
  • Funds from either the general purpose research cost center or the professional fee accounts will be used to cover the deficit

Note: Should deficit be over the balance remaining in general purpose research account and any professional fee accounts that the researcher may hold then that the said deficit will have to be discussed at the faculty level for resolution.

Financial Resources are responsible:

For each account (FOAP):

  • Closing the account and performing all the necessary actions in each corporate system
  • Completing the «Request for Closure of Account» form and obtaining approval from Financial resources authorities
  • Forwarding the form to the accounting department for action; accounting takes the necessary actions in «Banner» to set account trigger to «close»
  • Advising Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account in eAwards
Positive Balance in Account for Externally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible for reviewing each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Research Management Services is responsible for reviewing each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All terms and conditions tied to the deliverables of the agreement have been met
  • The funding agency has received the progress report, grant report, etc. (when required)

For grants where the terms and conditions confirm that any unspent balance can be kept by the researcher:

Research Management Services will:

  • Confirm with Financial Resources that all funds have been received by the funding agency
  • Forward the account information to Financial resources for further action once the above verifications, validations and actions are completed

Financial Resources will:

  • Ensure that all costs to the project have been invoiced to, and paid by the funding agency
  • Ensure that all revenues have been credited to the account; if revenues have not been received from the funding agency, Financial resources will contact the negotiating service (ISS or RMS)
  • Verify that the journal entries for adjustments to professional fees and overhead costs have been made
  • Perform the journal entry required to deposit the balance from the project account into the professor’s general purpose research FOAP
  • Notify the researcher and all involved parties that the budget has been advanced and that funds are now available
  • Close the research project account and perform all the associated actions in each corporate system
  • Complete the «Request for closure of Accounts» form and obtain approval from Financial resources authorities
  • Forward form to the accounting department for action
  • Advise Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account in eAwards
Positive Balance in Account for Internally Funded Grants

The Faculty is responsible for reviewing each account (FOAP) in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All eligible expenses have been charged to the project account according to the budget and within the validity dates
  • All expenses are eligible in light of the project funded
  • A verified list of accounts has been created and forwarded to Research Management Services for necessary follow-up

Note : When the faculties make the journal entries for closing accounts, the Financial resources will approve those entries after an account analysis. This procedure could take up to or beyond 3-5 days.

Research Management Services is responsible for reviewing each project in light of meeting the following requirements:

  • All terms and conditions tied to the deliverables of the agreement have been met
  • The funding agency has received the progress report, grant report, etc. (when required)

Research management services will:

  • Confirm with Financial Resources that all funds have been received
  • Perform a journal entry to recover any unspent funds from the account to be deposited back in the University’s central account for re-investment in research via the University's internal programs
  • In cases where a faculty contribution was awarded for the same project, the recover indicated above will be for half on the unspent balance and RMS will inform the appropriate faculty to take the necessary action to recover their share of the balance
  • Forward the account information to Financial resources for further action once the above verifications, validations and actions have been completed

Financial Resources are responsible of:

  • Closing the research project account and performing all the associated actions in each corporate system
  • Completing the «Request for closure of Accounts» form and obtaining approval from Financial resources authorities
  • Forwarding the form to the accounting department for action
  • Advising the Faculty and RMS when the account has been successfully closed; RMS will then close the account in eAwards
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