University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Research Project Over-Spending and Pre-Spending Approval Procedure

Contact Officer:  Associate Director, Research Accounting


This Procedure deals with the steps necessary to obtain approval to over-spend or pre-spend on a research project. 


Over-spending for the purpose of this procedure results when commitments for future expenses (e.g. payroll contracts, purchase orders, overhead, outstanding advances) together with actual expenses incurred exceed the approved budget in a research project.   

Spending prior to the execution of a signed Research Agreement (i.e. pre-spending) may be permitted on approval of the Faculty (or Delegate).  All other University approvals (e.g. ethics, biohazards, etc.) must be in place before approval will be granted.  In some cases, with the approval of University Research Services (URS), a limited release of funds will be made in advance of ethics approvals if expenses must be incurred to secure necessary ethics approvals. 

Over-spending or pre-spending must be pre-approved by the Faculty and forwarded to Financial Services (Research Accounting).

Responsible Officer/Section Process
Principal Investigator (PI) or Delegate The PI or Delegate is responsible for:


  • Regularly monitoring the balance and spending commitments of the research project;
  • Requesting prior approval from the Faculty/Department for anticipated over-spending or pre-spending;
  • Requesting prior approval from URS for pre-spending prior to ethics approvals being obtained.
Faculty/School/Department The Faculty/School/Department is responsible for:


  • Reviewing and approving or denying requests for over-spending or pre-spending;
  • Notifying Financial Services (Research Accounting) of any approved over-spending or pre-spending by detailing:
    • PI name and PeopleSoft Project Number receiving the approval
    • total over-spending or pre-spending amount approved
    • date the over-spending or pre-spending privileges will expire
    • chartfield values to be charged in the case that additional funding is not received once the over-spending or pre-spending privilege expires
University Research Services (URS) URS is responsible for:


  • Reviewing and approving or denying requests for partial release of funds prior to ethics approvals being obtained;
  • Notifying Financial Services (Research Accounting) of approved release of funds prior to ethics approvals.
Financial Services (Research Accounting) Financial Services (Research Accounting) is responsible for:


  • Processing over-spending or pre-spending approvals;
  • One (1) month after project funds are depleted and/or committed, inactivating research projects that are over-spent without approval;
  • Reactivating research projects if/once approved budgeted funding (internal or external) exceeds expenditures and/or commitments.


Date Approved:  6 July 2015

Approval Authority:  Vice-Principals' Operations Committee

Date of Commencement:  1 August 2015

Amendment Dates:

Date for Next Review:

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