Once a research project has been formally concluded, the Faculty Research Services team will initiate the award closure process to reconcile and close the account in the grants management system. As a first step, they will confirm with the Principal Investigator (PI) and the departmental administrator that:
- The final scientific report or equivalent has been submitted on time
- Any overspends, disallowed costs or surpluses have been cleared and any open Purchase Orders have been closed.
If a Principal Investigator (PI) suspects that a research agreement is at risk of early termination, it is important to notify their Faculty Research Services team and departmental administrator immediately.
Faculty Research Services and Faculty Contracts teams will review the contractual obligations, termination clauses and commitments to identify a preferred solution and will negotiate with the funder. If a reduction in funding or a change to the project end date occurs, the Faculty Research Services team will be responsible for amending the budget and project dates as well as eventually closing the project account in the grants management system.
Many of the College's core funders including charities, UK Research Councils and the EU Commission reimburse costs based on the actual expenditure incurred. This means that by the project end date if the total spend is less than the awarded budget then the funder will only reimburse the value of the costs incurred and not the full budget. This is often referred to as an underspend.
Industrial funders generally base payments on milestones and instalments within a fixed price contract rather than expenditure incurred. This means that the budget is likely to be reimbursed in full as long as the Principal Investigator (PI) meets the deliverables set out in the contract.
Regardless of whether a project is underspent, the Research Services team will proceed with account closure once the project end dated has passed and the PI confirms all objectives have been delivered.
Overspends and removing disallowed costs
As part of the account closure process, the Research Services teams will liaise with the Principal Investigator (PI) and the departmental administrator to identify and remove any costs that exceed the awarded budget (i.e. an overspend), are incurred after the project end date or are subsequently disallowed by the funder after the submission of the Final Expenditure Statement (FES) or equivalent.
It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) and the departmental administrator to promptly remove any disallowed or ineligble expenditure immediately to prevent delays in formal account closure and archiving.
Transferring awards between institutions
Faculty Research Services teams are responsible for managing the transfer of sponsored research funding to or from Imperial College London and will reconile, set-up or close accounts in the grants management system once approval is received from the Head of Department (HoD).
The time taken to transfer an award will depend on the funder and the complexity of the transfer. To allow sufficient time to undetake the relevant procedures, the Principal Investigator (PI) should notify the HoD and Faculty Research Services team of an impending transfer at the earliest opportunity.
Foreign Exchange Gain/Loss
Income adjustments for net exchange gains or losses will be processed by the Research Office Grants Admin team on request from the Research Services teams. Adjustments will be charged to the G00000 account for the main award cost centre using analysis codes 567134 for exchange gains and 169619 for exchange losses.
Gains and losses on payments to Research Partners made in the same foreign currency as the related income will be charged to a central College account. The income rate will be used to calculate the gain or loss. Income adjustments for accounting gains and losses on Research Partner expenditure will be processed by Grants Admin on request from Research Services teams. Adjustments will be charged to a Central Finance account using analysis codes 567134 for exchange gains and 169619 for exchange losses.