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Managing Research Funding (Financial Services and Other Central Departments’ Support)

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Managing Research Expenditures

This section addresses effective management of expenditures through restricted research funds.

When an award has been made, there are two important steps to releasing funds for use by the Principal Investigator:

  1. the execution of a formal research Funding Agreement between the Sponsor and the Vice-President Research and Innovation (on behalf of the University); and
  2. a Restricted Research fund must be set up on the University’s Administrative Management Systerm (AMS).

Internal Communication and Funds and Budgets (Appropriations)

In addition to the Principal Investigator, the Departmental Chair and Business Officer, the staff in the Division of the Vice-President Research and Innovation are all involved in Fund management. As such, each party should be notified of the award, and its terms and conditions, and/or should be involved in the process of completing and executing a funding agreement so that all relevant information is known.

VPRI staff is responsible for award establishment and will create a Restricted Research Fund with a budget in AMS based on the information in the Award Notice. Any adjustments and amendments to budgets must be done in consultation with the VPRI staff member identified on the FReD so that any restrictions or required sponsor permissions can be taken into account.

The FReD is available to the Principal Investigator, the Business Officer and the Chair of his / her department. It can be viewed through My Research On Line (MROL) by the Principal Investigator and in AMS by the Business Officer and Chair of the Department or designate.

Please refer to the Research and Innovation website, for further information on how to access research funds.

Roles and Responsibilities in Accountability and Compliance

Managing restricted research funds involves several departments. The roles and responsibilities of the key players involved are: the Principal Investigator (PI); the Principal/Dean and Chair, the Business Officer and the VPRI office. See Roles and Responsibilities in Accountability and Compliance in the Manage Your Research Funding page of the VPRI website for more information.

Financial Services Department

Distributes guidelines and procedures for processing financial transactions via:

Completes the processing of appropriately authorized research accountable advances and settlements authorized by the principal investigator or departmental business officer or chair/director/principal/dean.

Other Central Departments     

Central departments involved in assisting the researcher in the purchase of resources such as Procurement Services, MedStore, Human Resources, Computing and Network Services, Facilities and Services, etc.

Safety, Risk and Insurance

Investigators face a range of safety and risk issues in the course of their research. The following list provides some key references relating to safety, risk, and insurance.  Some sponsors, for example, will require that the University has in place certain types and amounts of insurance coverage.


Refer to the VPRI website section on Spending, which covers issues specific to Research Funds relating to:

For general Procurement matters, refer to the Procurement Services website and the Procurement Policy.


Central Support

Certain systems and tools assist to help prevent overspending:

  • Encumbrance/commitment accounting – assists with funds management at the University
  • Funds Availability Checking – FIS does not permit research fund overdrafts except in specific circumstances.  Note: The University legally cannot, and does not refuse to issue payment on the grounds that the fund being charged with the payment has insufficient funds. The charges are made to the next level in the financial hierarchy if insufficient funds are available.
  • Payroll Distribution Report – A payroll distribution report is available for departmental business officers, and should be used as follows:
    • the payroll distribution report should be checked to ensure that research funds have not been encumbered beyond the current grant budget period, and that they are reconciled to HR and payroll forms
    • the payroll distribution report should be reconciled to the monthly fund center detail reports to confirm that payroll payments have been recorded accurately in FIS and to identify and follow-up on payments made to individuals, which were rejected and therefore not recorded in FIS.



Last revision November 2015