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Research Operations Office


Published on 8 March 2013

ESRC Visit - Wednesday 27 March 2013

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will be visiting the University of Cambridge for one of his eleven annual visits to universities in the UK. O

ur visit will take place on Wednesday 27 March and Professor Boyle will be giving a presentation followed by Q&A at 10:45am - 12:20pm.

Anyone from within the University of Cambridge with an interest in the ESRC is welcome to attend.

If you would like to book a place, please register here


As you are likely aware, the USA was required by law from 1 March 2013, to issue a sequestration order cancelling approximately $85 billion in budgetary resources across the Federal Government for the remainder of the Federal fiscal year (2013).

This will affect many of the University’s current US funders and hence have an impact on funds awarded to us for 2013. Many of our US funders have already written to the University advising of this, but as yet are unable to determine the impact at grant level. They have all advised that they will communicate with us as soon as they themselves have further information on the effect on them.

It would be advisable in the interim to be cautious about spend on your 2013 funds on these awards as it is likely that these budgets will be reduced.

The Research Operations Office will notify you immediately if advised on individual awards, but it is likely that the Grant Officers will be in direct contact with the PI’s on the grants to discuss the remit of the projects in light of these changes.  Most US organisations are very good at keeping the central RO’s informed, but if you are aware of your grant budgets being reduced, please do contact your Research Support Advisor at ROO.

Wellcome Trust Grant Reviews

As part of their assurance strategy, the Wellcome Trust has been conducting a number of grant reviews in relation to the financial transactions on awards.  We have been informed that all centre grants, strategic awards, investigator awards and fellowships may be subject to one of these reviews on a sample basis.   Having recently undergone such a review we have received the following comment from the trust in relation to the presentation of the information.

For many individual items included in the transactions listings, the ‘Comment’ or ‘Description’ field often only contained the Purchase Order number, or another internal reference, which was not helpful. We would like you to advise those responsible for recording transactions on Trust grants that in future we would like each entry to include a clear and informative description of the item charged.

This is extremely important and similar comments have been made by other auditors, including the EC and RCUK.  Please could this be passed onto those individuals that are responsible for processing invoices within the departments.


EC Framework 7 Auditors

After an extensive tender process CG LEES Accountants have been appointed to conduct audits on EC awards.  They have a wealth of experience with regards grant auditing and also have agreed to ensure that those doing the fieldwork will be qualified experienced auditors. 

Should you have any concerns or queries please contact Charles Shannon at

RCUK Assurance Visit

We have now received the final report from RCUK assurance in relation to their visit in November 2012 and include their findings below.

“The visit has provided Substantial Assurance (1 rated) to the Research Councils regarding the review of administration and management of grant funding. 

The visit has provided SatisfactoryAssurance (2 rated) to the Research Councils regarding the review of compliance with TRAC methodology. “

 Many thanks to all of those involved in achieving this result.

TRAC methodology.  The ratings have been defined at Annex 2.