Early Set Up of Research Account

Terms and Conditions

In the normal course of business, research accounts are assigned and issued by the Research Services Office to the principal investigator when all appropriate documentation (award agreements signed by all parties, certification requirements met, etc.) is complete.

However, circumstances may arise where the principal investigator requests access to an account before the required documentation is complete. The Research Services Office recommends early account set ups only in extenuating circumstances, e.g. a draft agreement has been issued but is not yet signed off and expenses must be incurred to ensure accurate accounting transactions from the outset (charges to the correct account), and only if the research to be undertaken early is not anticipated to breach the terms of the fully executed agreement. Early accounts will not be set up until all certification requirements are met, if applicable (e.g. approvals for animal, biohazard use and/or involving human participants in research). For infrastructure projects funded by the CFI and/or MCU, principal investigators must be working with Research Financial Services to complete the award finalization process, or have completed the award finalization process before an early account will be approved. In some cases, early expenditures might be better coded to general purpose research accounts.

Early account set ups will not normally be approved in the following circumstances:

  • Service work governed by a service agreement
  • Research funded by Tri-Councils (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC)
  • Research funded through the University's template Grant-in-Aid agreement
  • Projects with a start date in the future (i.e. in cases where the Research Services Office has time to finalize the agreement).
  • The Research Services Office determines that it would represent undue liability and risk to the University of Guelph, or if it isn’t appropriate to incur costs in advance of receipt of full documentation.

Prior to requesting an early account, principal investigators should review the checklist below to ensure the mandatory requirements are available in order to request an early account set up. Any questions regarding these requirements may be directed to research.services@uoguelph.ca.


  • A complete, signed OR-5 Form, along with a copy of the proposal and budget. If these are already on file in the Research Services Office, please specify.
  • Certifications and regulatory approvals (animals, biohazards, human participants), if applicable, have been approved.
  • Draft agreement issued by the sponsor, if available. If the Research Services Office is to initiate the draft agreement, please specify.
  • Written confirmation from the sponsor (a letter on letterhead, or an e-mail sent, from someone with authority to bind the sponsor legally, e.g. CEO, listing their full name and job title) confirming:
    • The project is approved and the funds have been awarded;
    • The total amount awarded;
    • The project’s start and end dates (the period of eligible expenses); and
    • When an agreement will be issued for review/signing by the University of Guelph.

To request early set up of a research account, select and complete the appropriate form from the Forms section below. Please submit signed form, along with the mandatory requirements indicated in the checklist above, to the Research Services Office at research.services@uoguelph.ca. Please refer to the Meaning of Signatures policy, including Annex A to verify approvals required.

Following the approval of an early research account, circumstances may change such that it is no longer appropriate for the early research account to be used by the principal investigator. If the matter involves research misconduct (see Responsible Conduct of Research Procedure section, the Associate Vice-President Research has the authority to take interim measures to protect the integrity of the research or the administration of sponsor(s) funds (e.g., freeze or limit financial accounts).  For all other matters, the Research Services Office, the academic unit and the corresponding college (via the Assistant/Associate Dean Research) will consult to assess if the principal investigator’s access to the early research account should continue.

At any time following the approval of an early research account, the academic unit and/or corresponding college with financial responsibility for the account has the right to rescind its approvals and prevent further expenses from being charged to the account. In this event, the academic unit and the corresponding college (via the Assistant/Associate Dean Research) will notify the Research Services Office to confirm the approvals have been withdrawn.