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The Principal Investigator has overall responsibility for the technical and financial management of their research award. This includes the management of the project within the terms and conditions of funding, adherence to reporting requirements and timely communication of significant project changes.
Responsibility for the day-to-day management of project finances may be delegated to administrative or other staff as governed by the Post Award Management Policy [pdf]. However, accountability for compliance with College policy and Funder requirements ultimately rests with the Principal Investigator. The Principal Investigator (PI) is accountable to their Head of Department.
Expenditure should be charged directly to the account for which the purchase is intended, must be in line with the awarded budget, must be in accordance with the funder’s terms and conditions and should only be incurred between the actual project start and end dates. Any deviation from the original budget (outside of the terms and conditions of award) should be flagged to, and approved by, the funder prior to the commitment of expenditure.
Financial management reports
There are a number of reporting tools available to assist with award management. These are detailed on the Research Management Information pages.
These include spend reports available through Report2Web. On a monthly basis, spend against budget and spend detail reports from Oracle Grants are distributed to PIs, Departmental Administrators (DA) and Research Services by email, and are also stored centrally within Reports2Web.
OBIEE / ICA Operational Dashboard reports are also available for daily reporting. Nominated departmental staff will also have access to reports, including a number of Exception Reports and a Balance Management Report. The regular running and review of the exception reports is the responsibility of the academic departmental administration.
Charging of expenditure
Expenditure included within the InfoEd costing and the application to the funder and subsequently awarded by the funder is considered as eligible expenditure.
Any deviation from the terms and conditions of the award should be flagged to, and approved by, the funder prior to the commitment of expenditure. For example, research staff should not be replaced by technicians without approval by the funder. Likewise, equipment should match the details included within the application submitted to the funder. If there are discrepancies, the funder may refuse to reimburse the costs.
Ineligible expenditure charged to the research project account, which is not paid by the funder, will have to be borne by the Principal Investigator and the department.
Virement (re-allocation) of budgets/funds
Virement refers to the transfer of funds between budget headings (if permitted by the funder). The Principal Investigator (PI) and Departmental Administrator (DA) should check the funder’s letter of agreement and terms and conditions before committing any expenditure which should therefore be in line with the budget allocations entered into Oracle Grants by the Faculty Research Services team. If further clarification is required, the Faculty Research Services teams should be consulted before contacting the funder. Written approval must be received from the funder.
Faculty Research Services teams will re-allocate the budget if permitted.
In exceptional cases, funders may agree to virement of budgets that conlict with their standard terms and conditions, but they must be contacted in advance. Approval from the funder must be received in writing.
Account reconciliation and invoicing
The Faculty Research Services team will reconcile accounts on a regular basis so that invoices and financial statements are submitted to the funder in accordance with the terms and conditions.
End of project financial statements are submitted and signed off by the Faculty Research Services teams. The statements are sent to Principal Investigators (PI) and Departmental Administrators (DA) for review before submission to the funder. Prompt replies are necessary to ensure timely submission of invoices. Late submission may result in a financial penalty that will be borne by the PI’s department. this could mean a reduction of the award value or non-payment of the final invoice if statements are not received within the time scale set by the funder.
Research partners and subcontractors
When a project is undertaken by a number of institutions and College acts as the lead, the other institutions are defined as research partners. In other cases the College may contract out elements of a project to third party subcontractors.
Administrative arrangements relating to the financial and contractual relationship with research partners and subcontractors is the responsibility of Faculty Research Services teams who liaise with them on matters including:
- Budget details
- Obligations to the main funder
- Financial reporting
- Contractual terms (if applicable)
Please see the Research Partner and Professional Fees Guidance for further information.
Scientific reporting requirements depend on the funder’s terms and conditions. It is important that the Principal Investiga tor (PI) understands their responsibilities and obligations to the f under under the terms of the grant.
If the scientific reports include financial data, they should be checked against the financial statements prepared by Faculty Research Services teams to ensure there are no discrepancies.
Most funders have set deadlines for the submission of scientific reports. It is the Principal Investigator’s (PI) and the Departmental Administrator’s (DA) responsibility to ensure that reports are submitted on time. Failure to submit these reports on time or to communicate a delay in the submission of the report can result in financial penalties which will be borne by the PI's department.
Foreign Currency Projects
As income is received, revised budgets will be calculated by RS/JRO. Income received will be budgeted at the income rate (i.e. the actual conversion rate at time of receipt), whereas the outstanding income will be budgeted using the Exchange Rate Table. GBP award budgets will never decrease below the level initially set up.
When a budget increase is calculated, the decision on how this should be allocated will be made through discussion between PIs, Department Administration and RS/JRO. Any increases to directly incurred (DI) budgets (e.g. research staff, consumables, equipment etc.) must be justified by the PI and, if necessary, approved by the funder before RS/JRO will increase budgets on ICIS. Indirect cost budgets should always be increased in proportion with DI budget increases. Consideration should be given to allocating additional budget to budget categories that will increase the College’s rate of recovery, e.g. overheads on fixed price awards; PI time on EC awards, where this is allowed by funders’ terms and conditions. Budget increases will only be applied to awards if they exceed £10,000.
A budget increase template is available on SharePoint [RS/JRO ONLY]