Reporting to funders

Principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that research projects are conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of funding or any other agreements relevant to the project.

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Most funders require annual, interim and final academic reports on the activity of the funded project. Where funders require these to be signed off by the University before submission this can be arranged via Research Services. Some funders impose financial penalties if final reports are not submitted by the deadline given.

It is the grant holder's responsibility to ensure that reports are submitted on time. Any costs incurred for late or missing reports will be borne by the host department.

A number of funders, including the Research Councils, require grant holders to report on the outputs, outcomes and impacts of their funded research both during the lifetime of the awards and afterwards.

Departmental monitoring of academic reporting

Departments should implement a process to monitor the submission of academic reports for all research funders to ensure that requirements are met on a timely basis. Such a process would require a diary or spreadsheet that sets out the due date for all academic reports, which can be used by the department as a tool to keep track of impending deadlines and to record when submissions have been completed.

The department should look to engage with the PI as the reporting date approaches to ensure there are no issues likely to impact its timely submission. Where a delay is identified the department should consider whether an extension is required and should engage with Research Services to agree with the funder.

Departments may wish to consider using the Portfolio report available from Oracle as the basis of developing their tool. This report will provide a full listing of all awards for the department together with the announced end date on each award. This can then be amended in Excel to reflect when academic reports are due.

European Commission projects

Timesheet requirements for staff working on EC projects can be found on the Oxford Gateway to Europe.

Research Council projects

For Research Council projects, directly incurred staff must use timesheets so that their actual time is recorded against a project. However, where a person is contracted to work 100% of their time on a single project (whether they are working full-time or part-time) timesheets are not necessary. In all other cases timesheets or project time records are required.

TRAC FEC guidance sets out a series of requirements regarding time recording on Research Council projects:

  • Timesheets must be completed on a monthly basis.
  • Timesheets must be signed by the employee and approved by their manager.
  • Timesheets must show actual (or 'productive') hours worked by the individual across a range of activities, not just those hours spent on Research Council projects.
  • Range of activities to be categorised as follows:
    • a separate row for actual productive hours spent on each RC project
    • on non-Research Council funded activities, actual productive hours to be shown against the categories of teaching/research/other
    • productive time spent on support activities to be shown separately

National Institutes of Health (US)

Staff dedicating less than 100% of their time to these projects must maintain time records. The format of the Research Councils' template above is sufficient to meet the requirements of the NIH. Further to this, during the annual NIH audit you are required to provide a declaration appropriately signed for personnel dedicated 100% to the project.


Most major research funders include in their terms and conditions a requirement for researchers to acknowledge in any publication the support received from their funder.

The Research Information Network produced guidance on the acknowledgement of funders in scholarly journal articles. The guidance has been endorsed by the Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust and the Association of Medical Research Charities, as well as by the Publishers Association and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.