Reporting requirements can vary depending on the funder. It is important that the PI is aware of any reporting requirements.
Many funders have penalties for failure to return a final report/complete the project on time. These penalties are generally of a financial nature. The School will be responsible for meeting the costs of any financial penalties claimed, which can be expensive. In some cases the funder restricts the relevant academic from applying for further funding.
In September 2014 the UK Research Councils started to use Researchfish, which is an online facility that enables researchers to log the outputs, outcomes and impacts of their work and enables funders to track the impacts of their investments. Further details can be found here.
Details of any specific reporting requirements will be noted on your original award paperwork (AN1).
RIN Finance is responsible for completing and submitting final expenditure statements to funders, and invoicing if required.
RIN Finance will contact the PI 3 months before the project end date to ensure that all expenditure is to be made within the timeframe of the project. Any costs incurred after the end of the project are likely to be deemed ineligible by the funder. Further contact will be made after the end date to ensure that costs such as expenses, which may not have been claimed by staff as yet, are booked to the project before making final claims.
RIN Finance will further liaise with PI and Faculty Finance to ensure any overspend or ineligible costs are removed from the project account prior to closure and project archive. Any such costs will usually be cleared to school budgets.
The majority of research projects are reimbursed based on actual expenditure so the full award value may not be reimbursed if the project is underspent. Fixed price awards (e.g. industry-funded projects) are reimbursed in full following submission of required reports and deliverables.
All funders have the right to undertake individual project audits as well as audit of University procedures. This can be to ensure all projects costs are eligible and projects are managed in accordance with funder guidelines. Audits can also be undertaken to ensure projects are managed within the wider context of University governance and ethics procedures.
Many funders now have assurance standards which we are required to adhere to. UK Research & Innovation (which includes the Research Councils) has the UKRI Funding Assurance Programme which encompasses audit of our basis for full economic costing and also assurance of project management and expenditure.
EU-funded Framework FP7 projects are subject to a certification audit once costs reach €375,000. Horizon 2020 projects require 1 end-of-project audit if EU contribution ≥ €325,000. Audits are undertaken by an external accountancy firm and the costs of the audit are met by the project.
In all cases RIN is involved in the audit process.