The completion of a research project is usually marked by the end date of the project period included in an agreement. This means that project implementation and expenditures and costs charged to the project must be stopped as of the project end date. When a sponsored research project is completed, there are several administrative measures to be taken to assure a systematic closing of the grant or contract. The following requirements are necessary for most projects:
1. Final Reporting - Final Technical Report
Closing out of a project requires that the objective of the grant has been achieved, and requires that the requisite final technical report be submitted to the project sponsor. It is essential that these be prepared and sent on time. Usually the terms and conditions of the award will specify the final reporting requirements and deadlines.
Sponsors generally require a basic set of reports, such as a final technical and financial report in order to close an award. Reports may vary from a brief summary and list of publications to a comprehensive report describing research results. Sponsors may also provide their own report format which has to be adhered to. It is important to complete all the requirements and it is important to do so in the timeframe and deadlines specified by the sponsor and which are stated in the terms and conditions of the award or contract.
It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to prepare the final technical report and submit it to OGC, several days before its due date and OGC will formally submit it to the Sponsor agency. Some sponsors require the recording of time effort spent by the project team on project implementation and request that timesheets be filled out on a regular basis, indicating the time (hours/and or days) spent on the project. When the submission of timesheets is a requirement, OGC will not charge costs on a grant before submission of the timesheet. It is important to note that unfulfilling the Sponsor's requirements can lead to the prohibition of the principal investigator from receiving subsequent future grants from the sponsor. Eventually, it can even lead to the prohibition of the University from receiving grants from the sponsor because the University is held responsible for all required closeout documents.
If the PI for some reason did not manage to reach the goal of his/her research by the end date, he/she can request a project extension. Faculty members are encouraged to contact OGC if they have any questions related to the terms and conditions of the grant.
2. Final Reporting - Final Financial Report
The Comptroller's Office is the unit responsible for the preparation of the final report and as requested by OGC. OGC is responsible for submitting both the final technical and financial reports to the sponsor agency.
Internal Audit is part of the University's quality assurance mechanism. Internal Audit is responsible for verifying that internal controls, the checks and balances in the system, are in place and are effective. An internal audit is carried out annually and a review of selected sponsored project accounts is included in this audit, as well as the university's compliance with certain agency regulations.
Occasionally a sponsor will request that a specific award be audited by its own staff or external audit firm. The sponsor also has the right to audit a project at any time while it is active and usually for up to three years after the submission of the final financial report. Such audits must be managed by OGC which will coordinate with the principal investigator, the relevant department or faculty, and the Office of the Comptroller.