Funded Research

Management of Research Funding Procedure (Post-Award)

Policy Code: RS1926

Purpose

To provide a framework outlining the processes involved in accepting and managing designated externally awarded research funds and projects at Federation University Australia.

Scope

The Procedure covers all categories of external funding for research activity, including funding awarded by national and international bodies, such as the ARC and NHMRC and all levels of government, as well as private industry, philanthropic and the community sector. This procedure applies to:

  • All staff, including sessional staff employed by the University or any controlled entity;
  • All persons, including Honorary and Adjunct appointees of the University or any controlled entity;
  • Higher Degree by Research candidates who apply for or have been awarded external research funding or an external scholarship stipend as part of their candidature.

Definitions

Term Definition
Administering Organisation An Organisation (usually a University) which submits a proposal for funding and which will be responsible for the administration of the funding if the proposal is approved.
ARC Australian Research Council
Bona Fide Donation A gift made to the University to fund research within a specific discipline or broad target for which there is no restriction placed by the donor
Budget Costing Pro Forma Finance excel spreadsheet used to develop research and consultancy budgets.
Carry-over

A request to the Finance Office to retain project funds beyond the original end date of an agreement. Carry-over requests must be supported with variation documentation. 

This term may also be used to describe the retaining of project funds beyond the current fiscal year (i.e., multi-year funding).

Category 1 Income: Australian Competitive Grant R&D income Consists only of net-receipted income for research activity as defined by Department of Education and Training (DET) in the “HERDC Specifications for Category 1 Australian Competitive R&D Income”.
Category 2 Income: Other Public Sector R&D Income

Consists of R&D income received from the Australian public sector that is not eligible for inclusion as Category 1 income. Public sector agencies and authorities may include:

  • Businesses that are wholly or partly owned or funded by Commonwealth, state or territory, or local governments; have a board; and operate on a profit or cost-recovery basis.
  • Research and Development Corporations where they are statutory corporations or authorities.
  • CRCs, where the reporting HEP has not been defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as “The Researcher (CI)” or a “Participant” (i.e. was not a signatory to the Commonwealth Agreement, a CRC Participants Agreement, or a Company Constitution during the reporting period).
Category 3 Income: Industry and Other R&D Income Consists of R&D income received from the private sector, philanthropic and international sources that are not eligible as Category 1 or Category 2 R&D income.
Category 4 Income: CRC R&D Income

A Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is created through a Commonwealth Agreement with a Higher Education Provider (HEP).

Under Category 4, HEPs must report the R&D income from a CRC in which they were defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as a “Participant”, and are a signatory to the CRC‘s Commonwealth Agreement or Participant‘s Agreement. Category 4 CRC R&D income includes HEP income received from CRC Projects (CRC-P).

Charitable Trust/Foundation An organisation established for charitable purposes and recognised as such by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Chief Investigator (CI) For the purpose of the Research Funding Policy and Procedures the Chief Investigator is the first named Federation University researcher on the project    
Contract/Funding Agreement

This is an agreement for the provision of R&D activities under specified negotiated terms and conditions in exchange for specified deliverables, signed by all parties. For University purposes research agreements must include one or more of the following:

  • formal contractual agreements, including those requiring execution under seal
  • letters of agreement
  • variations

Standard Agreements

  • A suite of pre-approved standard agreements containing Federation University Australia’s preferred terms and conditions.

Non-standard Agreements

  • FedUni standard agreements with variations;
  • Agreements provided by a third party that require legal review for advice, amendments and/or negotiation.
Contract Research

Research and experimental development activities carried out under an agreement to provide research services within specified negotiated conditions in exchange for specified deliverables.

This may occur as a result of direct negotiations rather than a nationally competitive application process.

Controlled Entity A company over which the University has control within the meaning of section 3 of the Audit Act 1994 (Vic) and which has adopted this Policy.
Direct Costs Costs directly attributable to undertaking the project including salaries and salary on-costs of staff employed on the project, consumables, travel, equipment purchases and other maintenance costs etc.
DVC (R&I) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Funding Body An Organisation or Agency that provides funds for the purpose of conducting or supporting research activities.
Funding Establishment Form (FEF) Internal post-award form used to facilitate the establishment of a contract/funding agreement and to request a Finance Project Code.
Indirect Costs Infrastructure and overhead costs incurred by the University in support of research, including but not limited to existing facilities and equipment (e.g. laboratory and office space), technical and administrative support, libraries, computer services, telecommunications, power and lighting, and building maintenance and cleaning.
NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council
Partner/Collaborating Organisation

Partner or collaborating organisation generally refers to organisations who are listed on the proposal and will contribute to the development, delivery and outcomes of the research.

Partnership, roles, activities and contributions, including cash and/or in-kind, are agreed to via a contract/agreement signed by authorised personnel for all parties

Proposal or Research Proposal (application) Pre-award documentation for a research project submitted to an external funding body for consideration of award. This may be in the form of a prescribed competitive funding application, university initiated proposal or draft contract.
Research Funding Funding from an external source awarded to the University for a staff member, HDR candidate or research team to carry out research activities under a contract/funding agreement.
Variation Any formal change to a project that is agreed upon by all parties via an approved signed agreement or formal correspondence. This may include, but not limited to, changes to project budget, timeframe or milestones.

Actions

1. Notification of funding and development of a Contract

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Notification of Awarding of Research Funding

Funding Body

CI

Research Funding Team

  • Funding Body notifies the University of the Awarded Funds.
  • Where notification is directly to the CI they are to inform the Research Funding Team, and forward all relevant documents/notification.
B. When awarded funds deviate from those applied for in the Funding proposal or other budget clarification required.

CI

Research Funding Team

Finance Office

  • Where awarded funds differ to that applied for, the CI will be required to revise the budget. These revisions may include changes to the scope of the work to be undertaken, variations to staff appointments and timeframes, revised expenditure items etc.
  • The Finance Office will liaise with the CI as appropriate to clarify any budget gaps prior to the revised budget being incorporated into the contract/funding agreement. 
C. Contract/FundingAgreement

Research Funding Team

Legal Office

Funding Body

CI

Standard Agreements

  • The University has a suite of pre-approved standard agreements that contain the University's preferred terms and conditions. Staff should seek to use these agreements wherever possible.
  • The Research Funding Team edits Standard Agreements to include funding body details, project details, milestones and related project details, and where applicable inclusion of the proposal or project plan as the schedule.
  • The Research Funding Team forwards the draft contract/funding agreement to the CI for review and approval to proceed.
  • CI submits a completed Funding Establishment Form (FEF) to the Research Funding Team including confirmation that they have read and understood the terms and conditions of the contract/funding agreement.
  • The Research Funding Team forwards draft contract/funding agreement to the funding body for review.   

Non Standard Agreements

  • Non-standard contracts/funding agreements include those provided by an external party (i.e., Funding Body or Administering Organisation) and a Standard (Federation University) Agreement where terms and conditions have been modified
  • Prior to signing a Non-standard agreement, the Research Funding Team will request that Legal Office review the agreement and provide advice and/or make amendments for negotiation.
  • The Research Funding Team forwards draft contract/funding agreement to CI for review and approval to proceed.
  • CI submits a completed Funding Establishment Form (FEF) to the Research Funding Team including confirmation that they have read and understood the terms and conditions of the contract/funding agreement. 
  • The Research Funding Team forwards draft contract/funding agreement to the funding body for review.      
D. Contract/Funding Agreement Sign Off (execution)

CI

Funding Body

Legal Office

VC or delegate

Research Funding Team

  • The Research Funding Team will arrange sign off by authorised personnel for all parties for full execution of the contract/funding agreement;
  • Standard Agreements and Non-Standard Agreements may be signed by the third party or the University delegate (as specified in the Delegations – Contract, Financial, Staffing and Tender Policy) in whichever order the parties find most suitable;
  • The Research Funding Team will return a fully executed copy to the external party(ies) where applicable;
  •  Legal Office will retain one copy of the agreement for central files. 
  • Scanned copies will be retained by CI, School or equivalent, and the Research Funding Team.    
E. Research Project Code

Research Funding Team

Finance Office

  • Following full execution of the contract/funding agreement, the Research Funding Team request the Finance Office to create a research project code. Finance will notify CI, School or equivalent of this code.
  • Finance Office will arrange for the completion and return of Creditor Forms, where required;
  • Pending all other required approvals have been obtained e.g. ethics, expenditure against the project can commence.

2. Managing a Research Grant

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Invoicing and expenditure of Project Funds

CI

Research Funding Team

Finance Office

School or equivalent

  • The Research Funding Team in consultation with the Finance Office and/or School or equivalent, will liaise with the CI to develop a plan for invoicing and expenditure, set milestones and management of project funds.
  • Recovery of indirect costs will be processed by Finance Office.
  • All invoicing and expenditure of research project funds must be approved by Finance Office and comply with the Delegations – Contract, Financial, Staffing and Tender Policy.
  • CI continues to liaise with the Research Funding Team to advise of progress and any potential variations or issues affecting the continuation of the project as agreed to in the contract, including invoicing, expenditure and reporting deadlines or changes in personnel.
  • CI produces milestone reports, as per the terms of the contract/funding agreement and provides copies to the Research Funding Team.
  • The Research Funding Team liaises with the Finance Office to provide financial reports as required by the Funding Body.
B. Completion of Project

CI

Research Funding Team

Finance Office

  • Where required the CI produces a final report, and forwards to the Research Funding Team and directly to the funding body as per the funding agreement.
  • Where required Finance office issues final invoice.
  • No transactions against the research project code can take place after the contract/funding agreement end date, unless otherwise specified in the contract/funding agreement.
  • In consultation with the Research Funding Team, the Finance Office closes the project and arranges disbursement of any unspent funds or recoup of deficits.
C. Acquittal and Final Report

Research Funding Team

Finance Office

CI

  • In consultation with the Research Funding Team, the Finance Office coordinates the financial acquittal of the project, as required.
  • The Final Report and financial statement are forwarded to the Funding Body by the CI, Finance Office or the Research Funding Team as appropriate to the funding agreement.

3. Variations, Extension, Unspent Funds and Deficits

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Amending existing contract/funding agreements

CI

Research Funding Team

Legal Office

Funding Body

  • CI discusses amendments of project with the Research Funding Team.
  • The Research Funding Team liaises with the CI, the Funding Body and the Legal Office (as required) to organise a contract/funding agreement variation, extension, or negotiate a new agreement.
  • The Research Funding Team coordinates the full execution of the revised contract/funding agreement between the parties..
  • Once project variations have been approved, the Research Funding Team will request the Finance Office update project forecasts and carry-overs in line with the agreed terms, including budget, end date, reporting requirements, etc.
B. Unspent Funds

Finance Office

CI

Dean

  • Where unspent funds can be retained by the University, the CI should advice the Dean and liaise with Finance to arrange transfer of funds from a research project account to an approved research support consultancy account.
C. Budget Deficits

Finance Office

CI

School or equivalent

  • The CI should liaise with their School or equivalent and the Finance Office to arrange transfer of funds to recover the deficit from an approved account. 

Responsibility

  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this Procedure
  • The Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise (as the Policy Sponsor) is responsible for maintaining the content of this Procedure as delegated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)
  • The Research Funding Team is responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this Procedure as directed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)

Promulgation

This procedure will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  3. Notification to Schools or equivalent.

Implementation

This procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. Staff induction sessions
  3. Training sessions

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Budget Costing Pro Forma Finance Office Finance Office 7 years after project end date.
Funding Establishment Form (FEF) Research Services Director, Research Innovation and Enterprise 7 years
Research Contracts/funding agreements and variations

Legal Office – Central Filing Systems

Research Services

Legal Office 7 years after contract has expired