What is a Special Purpose Fund?
Special purpose funds are given a unique project code in University's financial system, which enables the University to separately identify and to report on a whole of life basis funds received for a specific purpose. There are two types of special purpose funds:
- External funds: Include competitive research grants; collaborative research and development grants; contract research from industry or a government agency; consultancy and the endowment of excellence.
- Discretionary funds: Include funds with no formal agreement or contract requiring submission through the Research Office and donations for a specified purpose.
Please see the Overview of special purpose funds for more information.
The special purpose funds are reported under different fund codes (S, Q, D or E) according to the contractual obligation and purpose of the funds:
'S' fund ledger:
'S' fund ledger is an accounting ledger within the University’s finance system, used to identify external funds where there are explicit reporting requirements and deliverables. The funds are held contractually by ANU, with ANU obligated to return any unspent funds at the completion of the contract. Typically 'S' funds are for competitive research grants; collaborative research and development grants.
'Q' fund ledger:
'Q' fund ledger is an accounting ledger within the University’s finance system, used to identify funds where there are no specific reporting requirements and the University does not have to return unspent funds. Typically 'Q' funds are for contract research income, consultancy, sale of goods and services income and discretionary funds.
'D' fund ledger:
'D' fund ledger is an accounting ledger within the University’s finance system, used to identify term gift funds managed under ANU Endowment for Excellence framework. Typically 'D' funds are disestablished once all monies are expended or conversion to a perpetual fund occurs.
'E' fund ledger:
'E' fund ledger is an accounting ledger within the University's finance system, used to identify perpetual funds managed under ANU Endowment for Excellence Framework. Typically 'E' fund are monetary gifts received to support an activity or activities in perpetuity.
The Finance team provides assistance in preparing the budget for grant applications.
We will help you by:
- Providing advice on funding requirements;
- Advising on the budget structure and budget justification;
- Costing the activities;
- Producing a final budget spreadsheet according to the funds provider specification.
An adequate budget needs to be fully integrated with your research plan and methodology, and link to milestone and outcomes expected. It maps out your resource pathway that you will need to run your project. Budget items may include but not limited to personnel, equipment and its maintenance, travel, third-party services, conferences, fieldwork, data, publication and dissemination of research output.
In accordance with the Costing and Pricing of Externally Funded Research Projects, University Consultancies and Commercial Services Procedure, both direct and indirect cost must be taken into consideration when preparing a budget. The procedure is currently under review and changes.
The Indirect recovery rate for
- Category one research income is exempted;
- Categories two, three and four research funding is 75% of total salary cost including on-costs;
- Commercial research and consultancies are 120% of staff costs, including on-costs.
The University recognises that the full recovery of indirect costs may not be possible due to limitations applied by the funds provider. Under this circumstance, an exception to the standard indirect cost recovery rates will apply. Please refer to the Costing and Pricing of Externally Funded Research Projects, University Consultancies and Commercial Services Procedure for more information.
Each item/group of items needs to be disclosed when preparing budget justifications:
- What and how much is requested?
- What critical needs does this item/group of items address and why?
- Why are the particular item/group of items selected better than any other options?
- How did you calculate the cost?
Funds Acceptance and Management
The Finance team will work with the chief investigator to revise the budget if a grant is only partially funded.
The Finance team is also responsible for the following activities:
- Record and monitor grant contract and variations to ensure all financial milestones are met when due
- Raise invoices to funds providers in accordance with the funding agreement
- Monitor the expenditure of project and ensure all project funds are expended in accordance with the conditions outlined in the funding agreement
- Work with the chief investigator and the Research Office in preparing budget variation if it is required
- Prepare and submit financial reports to the funds provider in line with the funds provider’s requirements
- Prepare for auditing if it is required
The chief investigator is responsible for ensuring the project funds are used in accordance with the funding agreement and University’s policies and procedures.
Central PPM Division provides chief investigators with Chief Investigator Financial Reports (CIFRs), in PDF format, at the end of each financial period via email or through a link to their reports in the ANU Insight system.
At any time chief investigators can access their reports via ANU Insight portal and can run reports for the current period and historical periods. Reports can also be run in different formats including Excel.
When the project reaches the end, the Finance Team will prepare a final financial report for the chief investigator and the Research Accounting for certification. The Finance Team will also coordinate for the return of any unspent funds to the funds provider in accordance with the funding agreements for all externally granted projects.
The Finance Team will request the project code to be closed in the finance system once the final financial report has been submitted. Once this has been done, the finance team will notify the chief investigator, Research Office team, Human Resource team and the school manager.