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Research Operations Office


When you learn that your application has been successful

Please notify the Research Operations Office of the outcome of your application.

We will require the approval of the department before the award can be accepted and activated.

How to accept an award

The Research Operations Office is authorised to accept awards on behalf of the University however we will always seek approval from the department.

The acceptance procedure of some sponsors is through activities such as the sending of a start certificate (e.g. Research Councils) and others are through formal acceptance letters.

When the grant has been activated on the University Finance System (UFS also known as CUFS) Principal Investigators (PIs) Heads of Department (HODs) and Departmental Administrators (DAs) are notified of this and reminded of the Terms and Conditions relating to the specific award, which they are responsible for delivering.

The award is activated in UFS by:

  1. Setting the start and end dates as per the contractual agreement with the sponsor
  2. Entering the correct amounts of funding under the appropriate projects, tasks and funding categories, reflecting the contractual commitments to the sponsor
  3. Setting any necessary controls

1. Start and end dates

The start date is normally the date on which work on the project actually commences.  Any change in the start date or end date must be with the agreement of the sponsor.  Other information you may need to know:

  • Salaries, overheads and other ongoing costs are calculated from the start date
  • Purchase orders can be raised against funds from the start date (e.g. for equipment or travel)
  • It is not necessary to wait for the sponsor to transfer funds to the University
  • A close date, typically two months after the end date, is assigned to the award


2. Projects, tasks and funding categories

project is defined as a self-contained undertaking that achieves a particular objective.

An award can fund either a single project or multiple projects, and an individual project can be funded by more than one award. You may need to contact us to discuss the distribution of award funds between projects.

project consists of one or more tasks, each of which can be used to break the award budget down further for ease of budgeting We may need to discuss with you which tasks are required and which costs belong to each task.

A task will consist of direct costs which may include:

  • staff costs
  • pooled labour
  • equipment
  • travel and subsistence
  • other costs

Non-direct costs (Task 100) usually consist of the Full Economic Cost (fEC) elements. The funds under this task are used by the University and are not available to researchers.


3. Controls

As part of the activation process, we will set controls on spending against an award. Controls are set at the following levels:

  • award
  • task
  • expenditure category
  • expenditure type

A control can be absolute, which means that all spending above the amount available is prevented, or it can be advisory, which means that spending above the amount available is flagged but not prevented.

Controls are set according to the sponsor’s terms. Normally, an absolute control is set at the award level, so spending is prevented above the total award amount. Controls at other levels are normally advisory.

Please be aware that you will still need to take care to comply with the sponsor’s terms, since the fact that an item of expenditure is not prevented does not always mean that it complies with the terms.

Getting started

Sponsors vary but in general once an agreement for sponsored research is concluded (whether negotiated or awarded as a standard grant) and it is activated on the system, it is possible to start spending against the budget specified.

It is vital to ensure that the PI and any administrative support are fully aware of the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions relating to the project, including any specific obligations, for example in reporting or keeping records during the project.

Please contact the Finance Analyst in your team.

Need further information?

Please contact the Finance Analyst in your team