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Research Operations Office


There are three situations in which an audit can happen: award specific, funder specific and an internal audit.

Award specific audit

As part of the terms and conditions of some grants, a financial audit carried out by independent external auditors might be required. In such cases the University of Cambridge appoints the auditor and arranges the audit. Funders who require this, the audit triggers and associated costs are listed below:

Audits as requested by funder and appointed by ROO

Recoverablility of audit fee 


Mandatory for every claim (interim or final) in the form of reimbursement of costs whenever the amount of the EU contribution is equal or higher than €375k when cumulated with all previous interim payments.

Yes, with the exception of VAT


Required by a beneficiary only at the end of a project, where total EC contribution (excluding indirect costs) is equal to, or higher than €325k. However, the university has an audit policy recommending interim audit on any grant exceeding €325k on direct cost. In such case, the cost of audit is split between interim and final audit.The interim audit is to be conducted at the end of the first reporting period (or if the expenditure is too low at this stage, at the end of P2) enabling Departments to identify areas of risk as early as possible. Guide on interim audit is available here.


Innovate UK

  • Grants over £2m: required with all claims
  • Grants £500k - below £2m: required with first and last claim and each anniversary of the project
  • Grants £100k - below £500k: first and last claims only
  • Below £100k: last claim only

Not recoverable

Department for Education

For all grants at the end of each financial year.


US federal funds (A133- Single audit )

Required when an entity is in receipt of federal funds of $750,000 or more per fiscal year. 


Audits conducted by the funder

Some funders (or their appointed auditors) conduct audits covering the University's processes and the financial transactions of specific research projects to ensure that expenditure has been incurred according to the terms and conditions of the award. These may be award specific, or a number of awards made by the funder might be sampled (e.g. RCUK FAP audit). Below is a list of funders who have previously conducted project audits on University of Cambridge awards and their audit strategy. Note that all funders have the right to audit the research they fund.

Funder Audits




At least once every three years for an Institution that receives more than £1m per year.


Funder Assurance Programme (FAP) Audit every 3 years for top 50 recipients.

Wellcome Trust

Currently undertakes a grant audit every three years.  They retain the right to conduct additional grant-level audit (e.g. for Centres).

Royal Society

In 2016 Royal Society commenced an annual audit programme on grant awards.

Internal Audits

Grants audit might be carried out as part of the University Internal Audit function, currently delivered by Deloitte.