Group of Eight Australia
Australia's Leading Universities
     Modules     Organiser  

Module 6: Grant and Contract Administration

1.2 Managing the research grant

1.2.1 Key documents guiding the management of your grant

There are two key documents that guide the management of your research grant. You will use the information contained in these documents to establish a framework for managing your project.

  • The proposal submitted to the funding body. The completed application form and project description submitted to the funding body for approval will contain information about:
    • The investigators. The roles and responsibilities of all named investigators will have been detailed in your application. In addition, where you have requested funds to employ project personnel or to support postgraduate student training, you will have justified your request by describing the level of skills required and/or training to be provided. In managing your grant you need to ensure that all investigators and project personnel carry out the tasks assigned to them in the original proposal.
    • The project timetable, methodology, and goals. You will have included a timetable in your proposal showing how and when the various components of your research project will be completed. This will form the basis of the schedule of tasks and timelines that you will establish to manage your grant. Your proposal will have set out the expected outcomes of the research project. These, too, need to be included in your schedule of tasks and timelines.
    • The budget. Your budget will have detailed how much money you need and why. Project expenditure must be in line with the items requested in your application.

Please note that there will often need to be a resubmission of the proposal depending on the level of funding offered. If the original proposal is impossible given the level of funding offered, then it is important to resubmit a revised project plan indicating what is achievable with the funding offered (see 1.2.2)

  • The funding agreement or conditions of award. The funding agreement or conditions of award set out how the project is to be conducted. Some funding bodies advise that both the funding rules (the application guidelines) and the funding agreement will govern the conduct of your research. In the funding agreement you will receive advice about:
    • The level and duration of funding. The amount of money you have been awarded may not be the same as that which you requested, and strategies for managing any funding shortfall are addressed in sub-topic 1.2.5 (Module 5) ‘Managing your budget’. You must work within the limits of your budget and how you manage your expenditure must be planned from the outset. The duration of funding will be specified in the funding agreement and you will use this information to set the project end date.
    • Special conditions. Your letter of offer will specify any special conditions that attach to the grant. For example, the ARC lists as special conditions the funds awarded for a Fellowship, Teaching Relief, or Postgraduate Scholarship, advising that the money may not be used for any other purpose. The NHMRC lists special conditions on the schedule to the funding agreement. In the case of an NHMRC collaborative Strategic Award, the requirement for collaborating organisations to enter into a multi-institutional agreement will be listed as a special condition. Other examples are non-standard reporting requirements, or a specified project commencement date.
    • Reporting requirements.The funding agreement or conditions of award will set out the financial and project requirements relating to your grant. You need to incorporate this information in your management plan to ensure that you submit all reports by the due date.


If you have not done so in the past, find a copy of the Funding Agreement that covers the current project you are working in. Look through the contents and flick through to get a sense of how the agreement is structured. Find the section that covers the level of funding and duration, and the section that covers reporting requirements. Discuss any questions you have with the project leader.

At your University




< Previous Next >