Group of Eight Australia
Australia's Leading Universities
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Module 8: Project Closeout

2.1 Implications of not meeting project closeout compliance requirements

Granting agencies generally have clauses in their funding agreements that specify the implications of not meeting obligations, e.g. the researcher, the department or the whole institution may become ineligible to submit new applications until obligations from completed projects have been met in full.

Another consequence of not meeting project closeout compliance requirements on time and with an appropriate standard of quality are loss of reputation, initially for the researcher but also for the institution, as the funding agency implies that the institution was not able to control or manage the researcher and the project sufficiently.

When the project end date is approaching it is important to assess existing results against the deliverables agreed. If it is clear that the research cannot be completed in the agreed timeframe there are two options available:

  • Seek an extension with a carry forward of funds
  • Seek additional funds for a follow-on project

Either way, it is necessary to contact the sponsor/client and negotiate the way forward. It is not appropriate to wait to the last minute to submit a request for an extension. If the funding agency has no reason to suspect that the project is doing anything other than going according to original plan, then the chances are budgets will have been closed off and it will just not be possible to provide additional funding for the project, as funding has already been committed to other new and continuing projects.

Some research institutions may have the facility to send out reminders to the chief investigator or the department manager for each approaching milestone. If this facility does not exist, the chief investigator should use electronic calendars and other tools to ensure that milestones and reporting requirements are met on time.

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