Guidelines for Allocation & Use of Research Overheads


Under the Sponsored Research Administrative Agreement with UBC, (September 2003) overhead funds generated as a result of commercially funded research activity at the C&W site are split between UBC & C&W institutions. Overhead charges of 25% on clinical trials and 38% on lab based projects are collected centrally at UBC & C&W. Clinical trials overheads are split 20% to UBC and 80% to C&W while lab based overheads are split 50% each. These guidelines apply to the funds at C&W and UBC.

The Task Force on Clinical Trial Overheads tabled their report in January 1996 which recommended that 50% of the overhead funds received by C&W be allocated back to the individual investigator who generated them. Subsequently, the C&W executive has approved this proposed allocation.

Principles for the Use of the Funds

The principle for the use of overhead funds is that they are to be used to enhance and to strengthen the research infrastructure of the Investigator's "unit". The funds are intended to be used for "value added" research activities. Pooled use of funds between investigators in order to share resources and/or to achieve a common research purpose is encouraged.

Examples of research expenses which can be charged to these funds are: 

  • Reimbursement to other account for fellowships, scholarships, etc, or for salaries for such items as pooled clerical or technical support staff; (due to the volatility of these revenues no salary appointments may be made directly against these accounts);
  • Seminars and conferences related to the research field of the investigator;
  • Equipment, preferably shared, which will enhance the research capabilities of the unit/department (equipment purchases must be made through C&W Purchasing Dept.);
  • Service contracts for research related equipment;
  • Reasonable development expenses used towards securing research opportunities and/or which enhance the research capabilities of the unit (e.g. Grant preparation expenses);

Examples of expenses which cannot be charged to these funds: 

  • Personal remuneration to the principal investigator responsible for generating the funds;
  • Non-mandatory staff benefits costs such as parking, living expenses, bonuses, etc.;
  • Non-research related expenses.

Management of Funds

A separate cost centre will be created for each investigator as required. The distribution of funds will be managed through the Research Institute's Finance Office. Allocation of these funds to each investigator will be made once each year (by June 30th) and will be calculated at 50% of the actual overhead funds received by C&W which were generated by that investigator up to March 31st of the previous fiscal year. 

Funds will be accessible by submitting a completed payment requisition form to the Research Institute's Finance Office to ensure that the expense item is acceptable within the approved guidelines. The C&W VP Research & Education has final responsibility and authority for determining whether a particular use of these funds falls within the approved guidelines. The hospital's current policies and procedures on payments from C&W funds will apply. Operating statements will be made available to the investigator approximately 3 weeks after period-end by e-mail notification to investigators or their designates.

Over-expenditures will not be permitted and commitments/reimbursements may only be made against funds actually received. Cost centre which become over-spent will be disabled until additional funds are received.

Any funds available at the end of a fiscal year cannot be used in the next year.

Revised: September 2008

Last updated: 10/15/2009