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The Office of Research Accounting is the last stop in the funding process before University of Calgary researchers can officially begin their work.
The office’s team, led by Marjorie Moreau, manager of research reporting, is responsible for all the reporting activities required once research funding is received—from getting accounts set up so researchers can access the money, to completing financial reports at each project’s conclusion.
Making all that happen can be a challenge.
“The biggest challenge any university faces is the mere fact that our budget dollars can’t compare to the corporate world,” said Moreau. “When you’re working with less, having the proper staff complement to do what you need to do can be difficult.”
Moreau says recent funding, including federal funds received through the Research Support Fund, has helped the university hire more staff and upgrade its software to better support the university’s many researchers.
Accurate and timely financial reporting, for example, gives funding agencies and sponsors confidence that their investments are being well managed. And by giving researchers more precise information about how and when their funding will be allocated, researchers can appropriately budget their expenses.
Most importantly, having enough staff on hand to co-ordinate and report on the funding process relieves the administrative burden put on the researchers, letting them focus solely on their research.
“It’s important my group works together, and everything is processed as quickly and accurately as possible, so the researchers can focus on their important work,” said Moreau.
The Research Support Fund supports a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, such as salaries for staff who provide administration support, training costs for workplace health and safety, maintenance of libraries and laboratories, and administrative costs associated with obtaining patents for inventions.