Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to all your Research Finance questions. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us.

Q: I need a ruling on an expense to determine whether or not it's eligible for a research grant.  Who do I contact, and what if I disagree with the ruling?

The first step to be taken is to consider the terms and conditions of the grant funded by the sponsor; often there will be guidance in terms of what types of expenses are eligible and what types of expenses aren't.  Another factor to consider is the University's own policies, which include the Research Policy (LR2), Business Expense Policy (FM8), and the associated Business Expense Rules.  These also provide broad guidance on administrative and eligibility matters.

In case you would like to speak with someone to gain a better understanding of the eligibility of the expense in question, we invite you to reach out to the Research Finance Officer overseeing your research grant.  This can be found by looking at the "Roles" tab of your Grant worktag screen, which can be accessed by typing in your GR worktag number or Speedchart into the Workday search function.  Alternately, we also have two regularly-monitored inboxes that you can send your query to: and

Reseach Finance will discuss with Departmental administration and the PI about the eligibility of any particular expense, and if it cannot be resolved at this level, the matter will be referred to the Managing Director of Research Support Services and the Associate Dean of Research of the Faculty where the grant is situated.  Should further review be deemed necessary, the UBC Quick Response Team (QRT) consisting of the RSS Managing Director, the Associate VP Research & Innovation, Executive Director of the Provost Office, and the Comptroller will make an assessment.  If someone feels there is a need to appeal this assessment, then the matter will be taken to the Executive level (ie. VPs) for final ruling.

Q: Is TAGFA applicable for the research allowance portion of a CIHR Award and do retroactive expenses apply to research allowances as well?

The TAGFA is applicable for Tri-Agency Grants and the research allowance portion of an award is treated as a grant. As such, the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration applies.

Retroactive expenses, at the discretion of the administering Institution, apply to research allowances. This means that research allowance recipients are permitted to begin spending as of the date of the formal notification of award from CIHR rather than having to wait until the actual research allowance start date (e.g. if the CIHR Fellowship has a start date of April 1, 2020, but the Fellow/Supervisor receives the Authorization For Funding (AFF) dated March 1, 2020, the Fellow/Supervisor can, on request, begin spending as of March 1). 

Approval to spend during the retroactive period must be authorized by both the principal investigator and the department head/unit director, using the Tri-Agency Retroactive Expenses Approval Form (posted under “Financial Forms” on the Office of Research Services (ORS) web site: The completed form should be submitted to the ORS at

Q: Do I contact Research Finance, ORS or UILO?

Research Finance looks after the post award financial administration of the Grant. If there are questions on expense eligibility, invoices, financial balance of the account or the financial statements, these can be directed to the Finance Officer at Research Finance, listed on the Research Project Budget Form and under the Roles section of the Grant.

ORS and UILO ensure pre-award compliance is met and assist in setting up the research grant.

If there are concerns regarding the status of a research application, status of a grant set up, budget or any grant agreement/contract issues, please contact Office of Research Services (ORS), or University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) if it is a contract-based account.


Q: What are my responsibilities as a researcher?

Once the grant is opened, the researcher is responsible for:

  • Following agency policies and guidelines on the use of funds in the grant.
  • Authorizing and reviewing expenditures posted to the grant.
  • Providing technical progress reports to agencies as required on a timely basis.
  • Reviewing and notifying the ORS or UILO of any budget discrepancies in their grant.
  • Reviewing and notifying Research Finance of any revenue or expense discrepancies in their grant.
  • Adhering to UBC Policy with respect to research, (i.e. ensure the grant is not overspent, ethics certificate in place, etc).
  • Notifying the granting agency and ORS of any change in academic status.
  • Notifying Research Finance when research is complete and to authorize the closeout of the grant (unless unused funds are being returned to the granting agency, the balance of the grant should be zero).
Q: How can I assist Research Finance in expediting my queries?

In order to provide optimal service to our researchers, when contacting Research Finance by e-mail, voicemail, always quote your grant number and provide a brief description of the issue involved. This will allow Research Finance staff to investigate the situation ahead of time and be able to respond to your queries in a more meaningful manner.

Q: How do I know whether or not my grant has been set up?

The Office of Research Services will email the department an electronic notification called a Research Project Budget Form (RPB) confirming the grant and budget to be set up. Expenditures cannot be incurred in a project until a grant has been set up with a budget. It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure all documentation is submitted during the application process in order for the grant to be created on a timely basis. 

Q: How will I know if I have overspent on my research grant?

The balance available on ledger summary will show a negative amount. Per UBC Policy No. FM4 - Research Over-Expenditure, over-expenditures are not permitted unless prior approval is obtained.

Q: What do I do when I receive cash for a research grant?

All cash received must be forwarded to either Research Finance or the Office of Research Services (ORS), along with appropriate worktags and ledger account information. If the cash received has a direct impact on the budget, these should be forwarded to ORS right away so the budget can be adjusted accordingly.

Refer to section 9 under UBC Policy FM3 - Cash Handling.