Research and Innovation Services


Activating your project

When you have accepted your award you will need to activate your research and innovation project. Find out what steps you need to take to get started.

Before activating your project you should ensure you have taken the necessary steps to formally accept your award and prepare an account for your funding.

Starting your project

Project start date

Many funders require projects to start on a fixed date as indicated on the contract or within a defined period from the proposed start date. For example, UKRI Research Councils require projects to start within 6 months from the date shown on the award letter. 

Some funders require a ‘starting certificate’ to confirm the funding start date or the date on which expenditure on a project is first incurred. When these are required Award Services Post-Award team will submit the necessary documents in line with funder guidelines once the department has confirmed the actual start date. For Wellcome and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) grants the Principal Investigator (PI) is required to submit the start certificate through the funder’s online portal.

Activating your project in MyFinance

The Post-Award team will activate projects in MyFinance when:

  • They receive the first staff approval form in MyHR
  • They are notified in writing that the project has started and that the PI has expenditure to charge
  • The start and end date is set as agreed with the funder.

Expenditure cannot be incurred against the project on MyFinance until one of these steps has been completed.

Managing your funding

Meeting funder and UCL terms and conditions

PIs and the project team should ensure they are familiar with and adhere to the funder’s terms and conditions and UCL’s internal policies. Further guidance can be found on our Managing funding and Funder golden rules pages.

Award Services should be kept informed of any changes to the project, such as:

  • Staff changes
  • Duration
  • Budget amendments
  • Change of scope.

Approval may need to be sought from the funder ahead of significant changes.

Charging expenditure to your project

To charge to a research or innovation project you need to know:

  • Your project number
  • Valid tasks associated with your project
  • The award number
  • The expenditure type of the item you are purchasing.

Award Services will provide your project and award number in your award announcement notification email. Tasks associated with your project will correspond to the awarded budget headings. You can find your available tasks using Axiom reports

If you have any queries regarding charging expenditure to your project, get in touch with your designated Award Services Post-Award contact.

Financial assurance and audits

Recipients of external research funding need to provide assurance that public funds are spent efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. All expenditure charged to research projects needs to be checked to ensure that it is in line with the terms and conditions of the funding and UCL’s Financial Regulations. Research projects are subject to audits initiated by the funder.

Departments and the PI need to ensure that:

  • All costs charged are directly related to the project actions and deliverables required
  • UCL's internal regulations regarding Human Resources (HR), procurement, and expenses are followed at all times
  • The completion of monthly timesheets for staff charged to the project, if required by the funder. Staff costs not supported by timesheets will be deemed ineligible
  • There is an auditable method to identify correct usage when charging equipment and internal facilities for the project as this will be required by the funder
  • Documents for inter-departmental transfers (IDTs)/inter-departmental journals (IDJs) and purchase card expenses are kept and provided to your dedicated Award Services Post-Award contact, for example, transaction listing, facility charges, credit card statements, and receipts.

Foreign currency projects

Project budgets awarded in a foreign currency are set up on MyFinance in British Pounds (£) to assist in limiting exposure to exchange rate variance. Exchange rate losses or gains on projects are not covered centrally by UCL. For purchases, UCL deals with a variety of foreign currencies, which can be selected in iProcurement when raising a Purchase Order (PO). 

Collaboration agreements

Collaboration agreements are needed for projects involving at least 1 other external research collaborator on a project. If part of your award will be allocated to an external third party, such as a company, charity, government body, or Higher Education Institution, you will need to submit a Worktribe contract request.

Contract Services will then arrange for the appropriate documentation to be sent to the third party informing them of budget details, invoicing instructions, and the terms and conditions of the award.

Collaborator invoices and statements of expenditure are managed by our Award Services Post-Award team. The PI or their delegate will be asked to authorise payment, confirm work is progressing as expected, and that the costs have been incurred in accordance with the agreement.

    Ethical approval

    You will need to ensure your research is conducted in accordance with UCL’s Code of Conduct for Research. You should consider ethical issues and establish whether your research requires ethical review.

    If your research will involve human participants or their data (including human tissue), has the potential for adverse environmental impact, or could cause significant reputational risk to you, your participants, or UCL, you will need to plan sufficient time to seek research ethics review before you start any participant recruitment, data collection, or analysis activities.

    You can apply for ethical review through several routes depending on the nature of your research. For guidance on ethical review requirements and processes at UCL, visit the Research Ethics Service website.

    You can also use the Health Research Authority’s online decision tool to determine whether your research requires review by an NHS Research Ethics Committee (NHS REC). The UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office provides support for researchers who require NHS REC approval.

    Compliance and due diligence

    Compliance with certain government regulations, such as Export Controls and the National Security and Investment Act, is a legal requirement. You should check whether your research is compliant by visiting our Compliance and Assurance pages.

    UCL is required to carry out appropriate due diligence checks on third parties who undertake activities funded by a grant. You should ensure that all project partners, including in-kind contributions, are listed in the Partner tab on Worktribe. Visit our Due diligence page for further information.