Receiving Funding

Types of Notices

  • A sponsor notification which states the results of an application or proposal may arrive in a number of formats and may be referred to as: Notice of Award, Notice of Decision, Letter of Award, Approval Letter, Letter of Agreement, etc. The Research Services Office (RSO) generally refers to all sponsor notifications as Notices of Award.
  • Principal Investigators should forward all Notices of Award received from a Sponsor to the RSO immediately. The RSO is responsible for processing Notices of Award and setting up projects in PeopleSoft for all research funding at the University of Alberta.
  • Many Sponsors provide Conditional Notices of Award which require some form of action (acknowledgment process, revision of budget, ethics approval information etc.) by the Principal Investigator before the Formal Notice of Award is provided.
  • Please follow Sponsor instructions carefully and contact your faculty-assigned Research Facilitator for clarification or if institutional signatures are required.

Tri-Council Grants

In the case of Tri-Council Agencies, CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC, the Notice of Decision (Authorization for Funding) is sent to the RSO, and the RSO forwards the notice to the researcher. There are instances in which the award must be accepted prior to the issuing of the sponsor’s official notice of award. In these instances the notification is sent directly to the applicant. Should the Notice of Decision require University approval (e.g., institutional authority or financial officer), please contact your Faculty-assigned Research Facilitator.

Sponsored Research

In the case of a sponsored research project, the sponsor usually sends the researcher a Letter of Offer or an Agreement (contract). The Letter of Offer and/or Agreement (contract) will list terms and conditions that must be met before funding is released. Researchers who receive notification directly from the sponsor should send a copy of the Letter and/or response (e.g., acceptance of the award) to the RSO for review and processing as soon as possible to facilitate the setup of the Research Project to ensure administration of the award in compliance with University and sponsor requirements.

Why is My Project Not Set Up?

There could be various reasons why a project has not been set up even though a researcher has received notification of award from an agency. For example:

  • the RSO has no record of the award, agreement or contract;
  • the agreement has not been signed by all parties;
  • Human ethics, biohazards, or animal welfare certification has not been acquired, or the RSO has not received notification that certification has been granted;
  • the sponsor has placed a hold on the funding; and/or
  • the start date is still in the future.

If none of these scenarios apply, researchers should contact their Faculty-assigned Research Facilitator

Authorizing and Activating Projects

The RSO requires supporting documentation before authorizing a project. An Advice Notice provides important information, such as the principal investigator's name, the start and end dates, the project number and its SpeedCode. The RSO also sends an email with the SpeedCode and the project number to the principal investigator.

Required Supporting Documentation

These documents are required for all new projects, renewals and/or amendments to existing projects.

  1. If the funding is given as an unencumbered grant, a letter from the sponsor on company letterhead, signed by an official of the sponsor defining the terms of reference of the funding support; e.g., as an unencumbered grant for use for the research program (project title, researcher name) and any expectations for that funding (timelines) is required.
    If the funding is not given as an unencumbered grant, a research agreement (grant, contract or service contract) defining the expectations and obligations of each party must be negotiated.
  2. Scope of work and budget including indirect costs (usually 20%).
  3. Signature page that clearly identifies the, principal investigator, research title and sponsor.
  4. Proof of approval of human ethics, animal care or biohazards, where applicable, or disclosure to our office that the research does not require certifications. The principal investigator is responsible for providing the copy of the letter of approval from the appropriate authority to our office. The RSO file number (RESXXXXXXXX or GXXXXXXXX should be clearly identified on the certification provided.

Once the RSO is in receipt of this information, staff can set up a project.

The RSO will issue an official advice notice to inform the researcher and his/her departmental administrator for each project that has been created in the financial system and that funds are available. Neither the agency notice of decision nor the letter of offer is the official notice from the RSO.

Eligible Expenditures

Researchers are responsible for knowing what expenses are eligible to be covered by their research funds. Upon receiving the advice notice with the project information, researchers have access to their funds. This is an excellent time to review the terms and conditions, eligible expenses and other details of the project. Agency websites and/or the agreement also contain this information.