The Principal Investigator [PI] has overall responsibility for the scientific, technical and financial management of their research award. This includes: management of the project within the terms and conditions of their funding and in line with associated UCL policies; adherence to Funder reporting requirements; and timely communication of significant project changes/developments.
Responsibility for the day-to-day management may be delegated by the PI to administrative or other staff however accountability for compliance ultimately remains with the PI.
UCL Post Award Policy (pdf) sets out the responsibilities of Academic Departments and Research Services in the management of sponsored research projects at UCL.
- Charging Expenditure
Expenditure should be charged directly to the project for which the purchase is intended, must be within the awarded budget, must be in accordance with the funder’s Terms and Conditions and be incurred during the lifetime of the project. Any deviation from the original budget awarded, outside the Terms and Conditions, should be notified to and approved by the funder prior to the commitment of expenditure.
As an educational charity UCL is an “Eligible body” and is entitled to certain relief in respect of VAT. Further information with regard to VAT, Tax, Sales and Receipts can be found on the Finance Website.
Charges for internal services for example BSU, Facilities costs should be completed promptly by IDT’S. The charge amount must related to only costs incurred and full back up documentation must be provided to confirm how the charge was calculated.
Staff and Student costs should be charged in accordance with standard HR and Registry processes.
To correct a transaction posted to the incorrect Project these should be completed promptly by IDJ after a need has been identified. The description entered must be relevant and understandable for an external funder and back up documentation available. Salary and studentship costs transfers can only be approved and processed by Research Services. Please contact your Research Finance Administrator for further advice.
- Managing Project Budgets
Best practice is for a monthly review of all live projects, and at a minimum, accounts should be reviewed at least quarterly by Academic Departments. Areas to be reviewed are;
- Expenditure incurred on the project is in accordance within the funders terms and conditions
- Expenditure is reviewed in accordance with the budget awarded on the award letter or Contract. Overspending of agreed budgets is the liability of the department and should be addressed immediately. If budgets are foreseen to be insufficient then the PI must take the necessary steps to either vire funds (if permitted) or request supplementary funding from the funder.
- Equipment expenditure is as per the application and award. Equipment budgets are in general to be incurred in the early stages of the project to allow for full utilisation of the piece of kit.
- Staff costs being charged to the project are for staff working on the project and any timesheets required as per the funders terms and conditions are being completed.
- Commitments on MyFinance should be reviewed at least quarterly. If they are outstanding for a considerable time they should to be investigated and cleared. When preparing invoices and financial statements committed costs cannot be included unless approval has been obtained from the funder.
- Internal facility costs are charges as per their published unit rate, with appropriate documentation stored.
- Project Amendments
During the lifetime of the project, budgets and end dates can be amended if agreed with the external funder.
Refer to your funder’s terms and conditions if you wish to amend the budget of your project.
Further information on supplements, extensions and amendments is available.
- Financial Monitoring Reports
To support the management of the externally funded research projects PI’s and academic departments have access to a suite of reports on Axiom:
Project Investigator Report: Provides a monthly report of the expenditure against the budget awarded. A pdf version is also emailed to PI’s monthly.
Research & DTAs Report: Provides a budget v expenditure view of costs to date with drillable transaction information.
Transaction Reports: Provides a full transaction report of all expenditure incurred
Exception Report: Provides a view of Equipment and Staff Budgets which have not been fully utilised
For more information with regard to Axiom, visit the Finance and Business Affairs website
- Invoicing and Financial Statements
All research invoicing and financial reporting to funding bodies is managed and authorised by the Research Services, Post Award team. If you are contacted by your funder for an invoice or financial statement please contact your Research Finance Administrator who can provide this information.
The Post Award team reconcile the research projects on a regular cycle to ensure invoices and financial reports are submitted to the funders in accordance with their Terms and Conditions.
Research Councils and several other funders pay the University automatically via a payment schedule (known as profile payments) and this income when received is recorded against the appropriate award