Special Research Projects Procedure

Contact Officer: Associate Director, Research Accounting


The Special Research Project (SRP) procedure provides clarity on the authority, accountability and establishment of SRPs.

Special Research Projects (i.e., Accounts) hold funds received from indirect costs associated with research agreements, residual balances from completed research projects, donations, gifts and endowments for the purpose of research, and funds provided by internal sources for the support of research activities. In order to reside in an SRP, the related funds must not have any of the following restrictions:

  • Reporting requirements
  • Project end date
  • Requirement to return unspent funds

The official funding letter from the sponsor will need to clearly indicate that these conditions do not apply. If any of the above criteria apply, the funds cannot reside in an SRP.

Personal contributions to one’s SRP are allowable, with approval from the Associate Director, Research Accounting and the Executive Director, Research Operations and Strategy, however, income tax receipts will not be issued. This would include proceeds from book or publication sales.

The opening balance of a new SRP must be a minimum of $2,000. Where funding is less than $2,000, the department will manage the funds on behalf of the researcher (e.g. departmental operating fund).

Faculty members will have a maximum of two SRPs: one for internal sources of funding and one for external sources of funding. In order to comply with accounting standards, internal and external sources of funding must be managed in separate research projects.


Establishing a New Special Research Project

Faculty Member

Complete a new TRAQ DSS (for a minimum of $2,000) including an official funding letter from the sponsor, and submit electronically for Department Head approval. The sponsor letter and approved TRAQ DSS are required if the Faculty Member is expecting external research funds, which have no restrictions; or if the Faculty Member is receiving internal research funds (e.g. contribution from Faculty, Dept or School), which have no restrictions.

In cases where an SRP is required to manage residual funding or indirect costs revenue, these projects will not require a TRAQ DSS since the original source of these funds is already captured in TRAQ. For these scenarios, please send an email request to research.accounting@queensu.ca.

Department Head

Review and approve the TRAQ DSS.

Research Services

Approve the establishment of the SRP and advance to Research Accounting for project set-up.

Research Accounting

Email Budget Template and Research Project Signing Authority Request form to faculty member for completion; once received, review and establish the SRP.


Allowable Use of Funds

Faculty Member

Review the detailed list of eligible expenses (see Appendix A).  If the eligibility of an expense is questionable or does not appear on Appendix A, contact Research Accounting to discuss eligibility.

Use of SRP funds for salary and stipend payments to the account holder is not permitted.

Over-spending is not permitted.


Accountability and Review

Faculty Member


Research Accounting, Internal Audit Services

Responsible for adhering to Queen’s policies and procedures.


Reviewed by Research Accounting, Queen's Internal Audit, and Queen’s University External Auditors.


Annual Compliance Reminder for Special Research Project Funds

The Annual Compliance Reminder notice will be sent to all SRP owners each year. These annual notices act as reminders to Faculty Members to ensure their SRP(s) are in compliance with the following:

  • Animal Care, Biohazard, and/or Human Ethics Certifications are current if applicable to the research being carried out with SRP funds.
  • All expenditures are in support of research activities and eligible.
  • All expenditures comply with prevailing Queen’s University policies.

Research Accounting

Email Annual Compliance Reminder to each SRP holder.

Faculty Member

Ensure compliance requirements listed in Annual Compliance Reminder are met.

Notify Research Accounting or Research Services of any known issues of non- compliance.

Notify Research Accounting if an SRP can be closed.

Faculty Member and Research Accounting

Keep all original supporting documentation for expenditures as required by prevailing Queen’s University policies. 


Closing Special Research Projects

Faculty Member Notify Research Accounting if an SRP can be closed.

Research Accounting

Close SRP upon receiving confirmation from SRP owner or authorized delegate by:

Research Accounting

Applying SRP funds to honour existing commitments in the Faculty Member’s other research accounts; this will also apply when Faculty Member leaves the employ of the University.

Research Accounting

Return any remaining funds to the Faculty/School/Department of the Faculty Member after existing commitments have been discharged.


Appendix A

Eligible Expenses

Ineligible Expenses

Compensation Related Expenses

  • Salaries, stipends and non-discretionary benefits for research and administrative personnel
  • Consulting fees
  • Fees paid to research participants
  • Subcontract costs
  • Clerical salaries directly related to dissemination activities
  • Honoraria for guest lecturers
  • Salaries and stipend payments to the project holder
  • Administrative or management charges and fees (e.g., late fees)
  • Discretionary severance and separation packages


Travel and Subsistence Expenses

*Must be in accordance with Queen’s Travel Policy

  • Travel costs for research field work, research collaboration or research conferences
  • Travel related to thesis defense or examination
  • Visa entry fees if required for research purposes


  • Commuting costs between a residence and place of employment, or between two places of employment
  • Passport and immigration fees
  • Reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyer points programs
  • Alcoholic beverages (unless pre-approved in accordance with the Queen's Hospitality Policy)
  • Interest charges levied on overdue invoices or credit card statements
  • Meals if already included in another reimbursable item (e.g., conference fees or travel expenses may include cost of a meal)
  • Travel costs for academic purposes

Hospitality Expenses

*Must be in accordance with Queen’s Hospitality Policy

  • Alcoholic Beverages (unless pre-approved in accordance with the Queen’s Hospitality Policy)
  • Personal membership to the University Club
  • Memberships deemed to be social in nature
  • Non-research related or personal expenses
  • Interest charges levied on overdue invoices or credit card statements
  • Meals if already included in another reimbursable item (e.g., conference fees or travel expenses may include cost of a meal)
  • Expenses related to accompanying companion(s) unless there is a required accommodation
  • Social events deemed to be personal in nature

Sabbatical and Leave Expenses

  • Travel costs for research field work
  • Travel to research related conferences
  • Transportation costs to move research equipment & materials to and from sabbatical location and field work location
  • Living expenses (includes accommodation and meal expenses incurred in sabbatical location)

Equipment and Supplies Expenses

  • Research equipment and supplies
  • Travel to manufacturers (for major research equipment purchases)
  • Transportation costs for purchased research equipment (e.g., shipping, brokerage and customs charges)
  • Extended warranty for research equipment
  • Staff training on use of research equipment or specialized research facility
  • Maintenance and operating costs for equipment/vehicles used for research (vehicle repair costs require pre-approval if vehicle is not owned by institution)
  • Safety clothing, gear, and footwear necessary to conduct research
  • Construction/renovations and related repair costs for research facilities
  • Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles


Computers & Electronic Equipment Expenses

  • Computers, tablets, modems, hardware and software required for research
  • Cellular phones and smartphone devices (e.g., BlackBerry, iPhone, Pocket PC), when necessary for research data collection, and with adequate justification
  • Equipment required for field safety (e.g., satellite phones and monthly charges)
  • Monthly connection or rental costs of telephones
  • Connection or installation of communication lines
  • Voice mail
  • Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of the institution
  • Home internet


Dissemination of Research Results

  • Costs of developing web-based information related to research
  • Costs associated with the dissemination of findings (e.g., costs of preparing a research manuscript for publication, translation costs)
  • Page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to findings and data management costs.
  • Costs of holding a research workshop or seminar


Services and Miscellaneous Expenses

  • Recruiting costs for research personnel (e.g., advertising and airfare)
  • Costs for safe disposal of waste
  • Books, periodicals, specialized office supplies, computing equipment and information services not provided by the institution
  • Specialized courses with adequate justification
  • Professional association or scientific society memberships if necessary for research
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles specifically required for research field work


  • Costs related to staff awards and recognition
  • Education-related costs such as tuition and course fees leading to a degree or diploma
  • Costs related to professional training and development
  • Costs associated with the preparation of teaching material
  • Small appliances unless required for research and with justification
  • Expenses deemed personal in nature
  • Parking or speeding tickets
  • Office furniture and decorations, unless required for research and with justification
  • Patent related expenses


Date Approved:  March, 2021

Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines:  Research Administration Policy