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Research finance

Research finance can help you with:

  • setting up research accounts with appropriate controls
  • administering post-award research grants, contracts and creative awards
  • processing and managing post-award activity
    • e.g., inter-institutional funds transfer, amendments, extensions

If you need help managing your financial transactions such as claims, expenses, financial statements, financial requirements and FAST inquiries, contact Research Accounting.


Eligible expenses for research funding

Research funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the research for which the funds are awarded. The funds must be used as per granting agency and UVic policy.
Please see Salary, employment rates and other research budget costs.

In general, eligible expenses must be: 

  • direct costs of the funded research project
  • essential to the funded research project
  • in accordance with terms and conditions of the agreement and agency and UVic guidelines
  • incurred within the allowed project term 

The following evidence is required to support your expense claim:

  • justification, if necessary, that provides enough detail for an outside person to make a judgement on reasonability
  • invoices, contracts or receipts (no credit card slips)
  • authorization of PI or delegate and one-over-one signatures
  • for travel expense, check the sponsor guidelines and UVic Travel and Business Expenses Policy FM5610

Eligible expenses for Tri-Agency programs

The Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide reflects the rules of all 3 grant agencies (i.e., NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR).

Please refer to UVic’s Travel and Business Expense policy (FM5610). Additional guidance on research expenses will be posted shortly.

  • eligible and non-eligible expenses specific to a program are detailed in the agency’s program literature
    • the agency’s program literature prevails over the general Tri-Agency Guide
  • in the absence of a written agency policy, the institutional policy (e.g., per diem rates for travel) should be applied – see Salary, employment rates and other research budget costs
  • in the presence of both an agency policy and an institutional policy, the agencies require compliance with the involved agency policy, recognizing that grantees may also have to comply with institutional policies 

Ownership of research equipment

For all grants and contracts, all equipment purchased with grant funds, including equipment-only grant (known as a Research Tools and Instruments Grant at NSERC), belong to the university and not to the individual grantee, unless the funding agency agrees otherwise in writing, or unless doing so would be contrary to a legislated requirement.

If the equipment is transferred or loaned to another institution, UVic shall retain ownership of the equipment. A letter of agreement should confirm:

  • ownership of the equipment and the associated responsibilities
  • how the equipment will be used
  • what access researchers from each institution will have 

If you have questions about research equipment (e.g., equipment sale or donation), contact Research Services

No-cost extensions

A no-cost extension extends the project period beyond the original project end date outlined in the Notice of Award with no additional funding.

It may be requested by a PI when all 3 of the following conditions are met: 

  • the end of the project period is approaching
  • there is a programmatic need to continue the research
  • there are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended period

Automatic extension

An automatic extension does not require Research Services’ involvement.

For some programs, an extension is automatically given to allow a PI to use funds remaining in their account for 1 year following the funding expiry date of their grant. The PI does not need to apply for it.

Not-automatic extension

Not-automatic extension requires Research Services involvement.

  • for programs where an extension is not automatically given, the PI needs to submit a writing request with a justification to Research Services
  • Research Services will contact the sponsor to request the extension
  • if the request is approved, the sponsor will inform Research Services
  • upon notification, RAIS will be updated and the PI and Research Accounting will be notified of the extension
  • if an extension is not approved, you should refer to the Award Closure page

Please check your funding agency’s guidelines for information about extension period for use of funds beyond the grant period.

No-cost extension of Tri-Agency programs

Some NSERC and SSHRC programs and all CIHR programs are given an automatic extension.

  • a PI does not need to apply for it
  • the extended period allows the PI to bring research activities to a close
  • the PI may make and pay new commitments during the extension period but not beyond

If an extension is not automatically given, the PI needs to complete the Extension Period for Use of Funds Beyond a Grant Period section of the grant amendment form and email it to Research Services for processing. 

Please note that Research Services needs to submit the written request to the agency's program staff before the funding expiry date of their NSERC or SSHRC grants, or 30 days before the end of the automatic extension period of their CIHR grants. 

Please see the Extension Period for Use of Funds Beyond a Grant Period section on Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide for details.

NSERC & SSHRC residual balances

For SSHRC and NSERC programs, if the extension is not approved by SSHRC/NSERC but your funds are eligible, you can request continued access unspent funds through the UVIC’s General Research Fund (GRF).

The university is required to spend at least 50% of the total opening balance of its GRF fund each year. To ensure compliance, ORS has implemented the following procedures for the management of NSERC and SSHRC residual funds:

  • as the account holder and chair, you will receive an email message from Research Accounting approximately 6 months prior to the end of the extension year of the grant
    • you will also receive a reminder that your account will be closed at fiscal year-end (March 31) and a notification to submit a funding request for GRF funds
  • at the end of the fiscal year, the existing account will be closed and all residual funds
    transferred to the institution’s GRF fund
  • funding requests must include a budget and cannot exceed 50% of the balance of funds that
    were transferred to the GRF
    • requests must be received by March 1 and the final allocation will be confirmed after the end of the fiscal year
    • on approval of the request, an account will be set up for 1 year
    • at the end of the year, any remaining balance will be transferred to the
      GRF and the account will be closed

View the Government of Canada Guidelines for the GRF for more information. 

Changes in academic status

A UVic PI who has an active research project should promptly notify the sponsor and email Research Services of any changes in academic status, such as:

  • full-time to part-time
  • tenure-stream eligible appointments to non-tenure stream (e.g., adjunct appointment)
  • leaves of greater than 12 months
  • resignation
  • retirement and emeritus appointment 

If your award is a contract or a non-Tri Agency grant, please review termination terms or contact Research Services to help you navigate them as soon as your leave is confirmed. Many sponsors base their policies on the Tri-Agency guidelines. 

Sabbatical/research leave (Tri-Agency grants)

  • the agencies accept sabbatical/research leave (paid or unpaid) for up to 1 year without prior notification
  • a UVic PI will continue receiving installments/annual commitments during sabbatical/research leave
  • no additional funds will be given to cover the sabbatical/research leave
  • a UVic PI who takes a sabbatical leave for more than 1 year should notify the funding agency and email Research Services
  • the agencies will consider terminating grants when the PI takes a sabbatical leave for more than 1 year
  • there must be at least 1 year between 2 sabbatical/research leaves for a grant to continue

Maternity/parental leave & medical Leave (Tri-Agency grants)

The general UVic policies regarding maternity, parental and medical leave apply.

A UVic PI who takes maternity, parental or medical leave should inform the funding agency and email Research Services as soon as the leave is confirmed and dates are known.

The agencies recognize that extended leave (3 months or more) granted to the PI by UVic may impact the PI’s research projects. The following options are offered: 

  • when the UVIC PI has taken an extended leave of absence, they may request:
    •  an extension of the term of the current grant up to 2 years (NSERC and SSHRC) 
    •  an amount to cover eligible expenses during the extended leave of absence up to 2 years (NSERC), at a level up to but not exceeding the current amount
  • the PI may defer the submission of a renewal application
  • the PI may compete for a grant in the usual way
  • the PI may request an Extension for Use of Funds beyond a Grant Period to manage unspent funds and mitigate the impact of the leave period (CIHR)

View the UVic study leave policy for more information.


A UVic PI must promptly inform Research Services upon receipt of resignation notification. A delay in may increase the risk of ineligible expenses that the department or faculty will need to absorb.

The following scenarios apply to UVic PI who move to another domestic institution: 

  • the UVic PI can maintain PI status if they meet adjunct professor eligibility
  • the UVic PI who relocates to an eligible Canadian institution can transfer the grant to a new institution
  • the UVic PI who does not have an eligible adjunct status, but has co-applicants, can request a change in the lead PI
  • the agency will terminate the grant if the UVic PI has neither an eligible adjunct status nor co-applicants and is no longer at a domestic institution 

UVic PIs should be mindful of significant expenses made after confirming resignation. Sponsors may deny expenses incurred after the notification date (before the final departure date).

PIs should also consider expenses charged to recently awarded grants after confirming resignation. If you wish to make expenses, obtain prior approval from the granting agencies before authorizing. 

Transferring an active project to a new institution

As a PI leaving UVic, you are responsible for initiating the transfer process. Procedures, rules and regulations on grant transfers differ between sponsors.

Step 1: Check sponsor requirements, permissions and process.

Step 2: Send a request to Research Services to transfer an active project with the following information: 

  • name of the new institution
  • final date of employment at UVic and the effective date of transfer
  • plans for transfer or necessary changes to the active research project
  • summary of project progress and description of work accomplished (required by most sponsors)
  • total funds to be transferred:
    • you must review all expenditures to ensure the appropriate allocation of expenses in preparation for the closeout
    • you will need to stop initiating charges to the project account, as all outstanding charges must be identified before making the transfer request
  • contact information for a departmental staff person or sponsored program staff person at the new institution 

Step 3: Research Services will work with you to submit the relinquishing paperwork to the sponsor.

Step 4: The sponsor sends Research Services a revised award document to change the period of performance and de-obligate the remaining funds per the relinquishing.

Step 5: You must prepare and timely submit all required progress or technical reports to the sponsor. Research Accounting will prepare and submit all final financial reports to the sponsor.

Step 6: When all expenses are clear, Research Services will release a cheque or return unspent funds to the sponsor and closes out the project.

As a transfer may take longer than anticipated to coordinate with the sponsor, department/faculty and new institution, it’s recommended to begin the process as soon as possible. 


Research Services will terminate any sub-awards dependent on the transferring funds. 

Research Accounting will work with sub-awardees to ensure that all required financial reports are returned to the university. 

Research equipment

Equipment purchased from external funds or with university funds (including internal research funds) is the property of UVic. This equipment will remain with the university and the leaving PI will not transfer it to a new institution.

Equipment purchased with funds from a Canadian granting council or research contract may be transferred to another Canadian university when a PI leaves UVic, provided that the equipment is not necessary for the research activities of other researchers at UVic. Otherwise, the equipment will remain at UVic.

Project changes

The following policies apply to Tri-Agency programs (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR). For research grants funded by other sponsors, please check specific sponsor guidelines or contact Research Services.

Grant amendment requests for Tri-Agency grants

The Tri-Agency Grant Amendment Form is used to notify and request changes to Tri-Agency grants.

All requests must be submitted to the Tri-Agency through Research Services, not direct to the Tri-Agency. We will communicate your requests to the respective agency and inform you of the outcome.

Use the amendment form for changes such as:

  • no-cost extensions
  • Deferral of Installment requests
  • termination
  • relocation to another eligible institution
  • change in eligibility such as sabbatical/research leaves (longer than 1 year)
  • leaves such as maternity, parental, medical, for yourself or your student and post-doctoral fellows
  • changes in employment status to non-tenure stream (adjunct, emeritus etc.)
  • change in grant participants such as adding, removing, and promoting co-investigators/ collaborators

Deferral of installment

Government policy states that the Tri-Agencies cannot pay installments in advance of need. The agencies can provide funds only to correspond with the cash flow requirements of the research project.

If a PI has a build-up of funds in a research account due to a slowdown or delay in the research (e.g., sick/maternity/parental leave), and believes that the scheduled instalment/annual commitment for the next financial year will not be needed at that time, the PI should request a deferral of the next instalment from the agency.

Deferring an installment extends the life of the grant, allows the PI to re-organize activities and postpones the renewal/re-application date by 1 or 2 years. The total of all deferral periods cannot exceed 2 years. 

  • if a PI has not resolved pending issues with the application, CIHR allows the postponement of the grant start date for up to 1 year from the date indicated in the funding opportunity description
  • deferral of installment will not affect the review of the PI’s next application
  • the agencies may defer or hold back the PI’s next installment if the PI’s build-up of funds has not been properly justified.

If you have a build-up of funds in your research account, please contact Research Services.

Early termination

A research project may be terminated by the sponsor, the university or by mutual agreement of both parties. The research agreement or agency regulations explain the early termination process. Contact Research Services immediately if you receive a notice of project termination.

The Tri-Agency will terminate a grant when:

  • the PI no longer holds an eligible position at UVic
  • program requirements are not met (e.g., unsatisfactory progress, discontinuation of the partner’s contributions)
  • the PI is unable to carry out the research or research-related activities for which the grant was awarded

If the PI is no longer holds an eligible position at UVic, the agency may approve:

  • the transfer of the grant to an eligible co-PI
  • another eligible individual, as suggested by UVic