Winning and activating an award
What happens when you learn
that your application has been successful?
Please notify the Research Operations Office of the outcome of your application. If the awarded amount is within
5% of the amount expected we will assume you and the department are happy for
the award to be accepted and activated.
Accepting an award
The Research Operations Office accepts awards on
behalf of the University because it is the part of the University that is
authorised to conclude sponsored research agreements. The acceptance procedure
of some sponsors is through activities such as the sending of a start
certificate (e.g. Research Councils) and others are through formal acceptance
When the grant has been
activated on the University Finance
System (UFS), Principal Investigators (PIs), Heads of Department and Departmental
Administrators (DAs) are notified of this and reminded of the Terms and Conditions
relating to the specific award, which they are responsible for delivering.
Activating an award
the award is to be accepted, we activate the award in the UFS by:
Start and end dates
The start date is normally the date on which work on the project actually starts. Any change in start date must be with the agreement of
the sponsor. Depending on the sponsor’s terms, the start date may be changed
from the date on the award letter, and the end date adjusted accordingly so
that the length of the project remains the same. This may occur if, for
example, it is not possible to appoint a member of staff by the original start
date. Other information you may need to know:
- salaries, overheads and other ongoing
costs are calculated from the start date
- purchase orders can be raised against
funds from the start date (e.g. for equipment or travel)
- it is not necessary to wait for the
sponsor to transfer funds to the University
- a close date, typically two months after
the end date, is assigned to the award
Projects, tasks and funding categories
A project is defined as a self-contained undertaking that achieves a particular
objective. An award can fund either a single project or multiple projects, and
an individual project can be funded by more than one award. You may need to contact
us to discuss the distribution of award funds between projects.
A project consists of one or more tasks, each of which has part of the direct
costs in the pFACT budget assigned to it. We may need to discuss with you which
tasks are required and which costs belong to each task. Direct costs are listed
under the following headings:
- staff costs
- pooled labour
- travel and subsistence
- other costs
are numbered from 1 for each project. There is also always a task 100, to which
all non-direct costs are assigned. Non-direct costs usually consist of the Full
Economic Cost (FEC) elements added to staff costs in pFACT. The funds under
this task are used by the University and are not available to researchers.
As part of the activation process, we will set controls on spending against an award.
Controls are set at the following levels:
- expenditure category
- expenditure type
control can be absolute, which means that all spending above the amount
available is prevented, or it can be advisory, which means that spending above
the amount available is flagged but not prevented.
Controls are set according to the sponsor’s terms. Normally, an absolute control is set
at the award level, so spending is prevented above the total award amount.
Controls at other levels are normally advisory. Please be aware that you will
still need to take care to comply with the sponsor’s terms, since the fact that
an item of expenditure is not prevented does not always mean that it complies
with the terms.
Sponsors vary but in general once an agreement for sponsored research is concluded
(whether negotiated or awarded as a standard grant) and it is activated on the
system, it is possible to start spending against the budget specified. It is
vital to ensure that the PI and any administrative support are fully aware of
the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions relating to the project, including any
specific obligations, for example in reporting or keeping records during the
Please contact the Administrator in your School Team.