Understanding your Research Grant

Your Questions Answered:

How is a research fund established?
How do I determine the status of my project?
How do I monitor my research fund?

 

 

 

How is Research Fund Established?

There are steps you should take to establish a research fund, long before sending a cheque from the sponsoring agency over for deposit. Completing these steps beforehand will ensure that funds will be available to you as soon as possible (sometimes even before the cheque is in your hand!)

All research proposals must be reviewed by the Office of Research Services (ORS) staff prior to submission to ensure compliance with the policies and requirements of the University and the sponsor. All research contracts are negotiated by the Office of Research Services staff in consultation with the researchers on behalf of the University.

Is your event research-related?

1. Consult with the Office of Research Services (ORS) to determine if your event is research-related. Some events such as conferences or workshops may be required to be set up as research funds. If research results are being disseminated this is likely the case but ORS will make that determination. If you think this may apply to your event please contact ORS prior to submitting a new fund request form to Financial Services and allowing ample time before your event commences.  

2.  Consult with ORS to see what kind of funding is available. See “Three Funding Streams” on http://umanitoba.ca/research/ors/

3.  In consultation with ORS write up your proposal, budget and fill out a FAAF before submitting your application to the agency. For information on the Funding Application Approval Form (FAAF) visit http://umanitoba.ca/research/ors/research_forms_online.html

4.  All contract negotiations on behalf of the University are completed by the Office of Research Services who will consult with the researchers.

5.  Moneys are awarded by the Agency.

6.  If compliances are required: submit the appropriate documents to the Office of Research Ethics and Compliance. Visit the following URL for an overview and specific forms: http://umanitoba.ca/research/orec/index.html

7.  Obtaining preliminary access to funding (RPA) – Occasionally researchers need access to funds prior to receiving full ethics approval. Processing these expenses on alternate research funds is against university policy. Researchers may apply for limited access to funds by requesting an RPA. Spending will not be allowed on an RPA if the deadline has passed. See “Request for Preliminary Access (RPA) to Grant Funding before Activity Requiring Ethics Approval is Undertaken” at http://umanitoba.ca/research/ors/research_forms_online.html

The approved RPA will set access to a portion of your funding for a limited period of time. Spending will not be allowed on an RPA once this period has passed.

Up until a project is marked as “Awarded” by the Office of Research Services (ORS), any questions should be directed to the Office of Research Services or the Office of Research Ethics and Compliance if the issue is a compliance matter.

 8.  Project is awarded and approved by ORS – FOP is set up by Financial Services

Projects are only fully awarded when the following requirements are met:

  • ORS must have all required compliance certification
  • Funding certainty must exist (eg award letter received, signed contract)
  • The Primary Investigator for the fund must be identified
  • Purpose and duration of the funding is defined

9.  Researcher and Department will receive an award notification letter from Financial Services for all funds that have been fully awarded or awarded with RPA.

 


How do I Determine the Status of my Project?

Visit My Research Projects to see the details, http://umanitoba.ca/research/ors/media/How_to_use_My_Projects.pdf

All projects are assigned a UM project or proposal number which follows the project throughout its life-cycle. My Research Tools will provide important details that pertain to the stage where it is at.

Pre-Award:

For projects that have not yet been designated as “Awarded” by ORS please contact the Office of Research Services with questions. For a list of grants officers by agency and type of award visit the ORS Contact Listing, http://umanitoba.ca/research/ors/contact_us.html

Post-Award:

Once a project has been “Awarded” you will receive a “Fund Notification Letter” from Financial Services which provides your fund details as well as your contact in Financial Services. For a list of grant accountants by agency, faculty and type of award contact Research Accounting.

Fund Closure:

When your project is nearing its end date or if all funds expected have been expended, your grant accountant will work with you to ensure your fund is closed and final financial reports or invoices are prepared, final amounts are received from the agency or excess funds are returned to the agency. Spending is not allowed past the end date of research funds unless arrangements have been made in writing prior to the end date.

Who Is Responsible for What?

The policy and procedure for the Financial Administration and Control of Research and Special Funds clearly outlines the responsibilities of the stakeholders within the University of Manitoba. This policy is also based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Tri-Council and the University of Manitoba.

Responsibilities are summarized below – for the complete policy and procedure documents please visit
Financial Administration and Control of Research and Special Funds - Policy and Procedures

Project Leaders (also referred to as the primary signing authority, principal investigator or the researcher) – some of the responsibilities can be delegated to an administrative support staff, but the project leader is ultimately responsible to ensure they are completed.

  • Read and understand the policies and procedures for the external sponsors (can be delegated).
  • Review all transactions recorded against the FOP for appropriateness, completeness and accuracy and sign off on the FOP reconciliation (can be delegated except for the sign-off).
  • Ensure the FOP remains within budget
  • Advise the Office of Research Services through Financial Services of any changes to the external sponsor agreement.
  • Sign off on any Financial Statements prepared for the external agencies.
  • Ensure payments are forwarded to the assigned grant accountant in Financial Services (can be delegated).

Dean, Director or Department Head – must have supervisory authority over the project leader

  • Must provide an alternate budget source in instances where the FOP becomes over expended or where ineligible transactions are charged to a FOP. The Grant Accountant will make an effort to obtain an alternate FOP from the project leader, but if unsuccessful the amount will be charged to the Departmental Operating Fund. 

Financial Services – Every research fund is assigned to a Grant Accountant based on the following factors: type of award, the sponsoring agency and the originating faculty of the project leader. The grant accountant and/or other Financial Services staff are responsible to:

  • Open a FOP in the General Ledger and notify the project leader with the financial details of the project
  • Read and understand the policies and procedures of the external sponsors and help to interpret any questions regarding the compliance of certain transactions.
  • Ensure transactions recorded on a FOP are legitimate and accurate and work with the other parties to resolve any non-compliant transactions.
  • Provide training to project leaders and administrative support staff with respect to University and external sponsor policies as well as effective strategies for transaction documentation, monitoring and reconciliation.
  • Conduct periodic monitoring visits.
  • Inform the other parties if a FOP becomes overspent.
  • Prepare financial statements and invoices for the external sponsor
  • Closing funds – collecting amounts due from the agency, returning unspent funds, resolving over-expenditures

 


How do I Monitor my Research Fund?

Project leaders and grant holders are responsible for monitoring the financial transactions on their research funds. The following tools are available to facilitate the process:

Monthly Reports

Financial Services distributes monthly financial reports to the individual listed as the Primary Signing authority of a research fund. These reports are also available electronically via JUMP to any individuals that have authority to view the details on the fund. For details on the types of reports that are sent out visit http://www.umanitoba.ca/computing/renewal/aurora/finance/reports/index.html

For details on accessing electronic reports visit http://www.umanitoba.ca/computing/renewal/fm/media/E_Print_Reporting.pdf or contact the Aurora Finance help desk by email: aurora_finance@umanitoba.ca or phone 480-1001.

Until the technology exists for researchers to sign off on their reports online, paper reports will continue to be distributed in order to meet Tri-Council guidelines. 

FAST Reporting

Researchers also have the option to view the financial details of their funds by accessing Aurora FAST – the University of Manitoba’s financial reporting tool. This tool provides both a summarized and a more detailed view down to the transaction details. These details can also be downloaded to Excel for your own sorting or analysis.

For information on applying for a researcher account visit http://www.umanitoba.ca/computing/renewal/aurora/aurora_finance_access.html

In addition, a specialized course is available for researchers who would like to have hands-on assistance in accessing FAST. Contact Aurora Finance Support via email: aurora_finance@umanitoba.ca or phone 480-1001 for available sessions on Aurora Finance for Researchers or to receive one-on-one assistance

My Research Tools

Researchers can view a very high level summary of the financial position of their research funding by accessing My Research Projects (http://www.umanitoba.ca/research/ors/media/How_to_use_My_Research_Projects.pdf). If you have any questions about the financial information, check Aurora FAST Reporting for the definitive data.

Argos – Summary Grant Reports for Units

This reporting tool is available for unit Business Managers and provides summarized reports with many of the additional details that are unique to research funds. Reports can be filtered and summarized by project end date, Primary Investigator, Agency, and fund balance. As well, they can be downloaded into Excel for sorting and analysis. Visit the link below for information on the Summary Grant Reports and contact your unit business manager to request a copy of the report with your project details.

http://www.umanitoba.ca/computing/renewal/aurora/finance/reports/index.html (Scroll down to Argos Reporting)

As part of the ROSE Finance Initiative new and improved financial reports, reconciliation tools, and specialized courses will be available for researchers in the upcoming months. Updates that affect researchers in particular will be sent out using the “Ask Finance for Researchers” mailing list.