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How to Expend Projects Budget

Various expenditures on sponsored research projects have special rules and regulations which the principal investigator must follow. Allowable costs on sponsored research grants are usually  outlined in the award agreement. If a question arises regarding whether an expenditure is allowable on an account, the PI should contact OGC for explanation and/or clarification. Unauthorized expenditures or unapproved changes in the budget can result in penalties against the institution and the possible loss of further research funds for the PI.

Project cash transactions should be processed by the faculty/department financial administrator or by a financial monitor employed for the project and will be subject to the controls established by the Comptroller's Office.

Administration of certain budget line items are addressed here:

1. Personnel Salaries (Staff and faculty members, summer salaries, Research Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants)
2. Consultants and Consulting Fees
3. AUB Faculty Consultancies
4. Subcontracts
5. Travel
6. Supplies and Equipment
7. Inter-Departmental Services

1. Personnel Salaries

Appointments of all personnel on funded research projects are subject to the Human Resources Department at AUB. Payment of AUB personnel on projects is effected through the University Payroll system. A research project should be charged with the portion of each employee's salary equal to the portion of time or effort devoted to the project.

1a. Salaries of Staff and Faculty Members: A research project should be charged with a portion of each employee's salary equal to the portion of time or effort devoted directly to the project. For a faculty member with a nine-month appointment, one month of effort is one-ninth of his academic year salary. Salary increases can be charged to the project if they are accounted for in the proposed budget.

It is important to note that project funds are not used to supplement the PI or any other university staff salaries.

1b. Summer Salaries: Most funding agencies will provide summer months compensation of PIs with 9-month contracts at their regular University monthly rate when included in as part of the project budget proposal.

1c. Research Assistants (RAs): RAs are on academic appointment and they can be appointed on a part-time or full-time basis, for more information on this please see the Research Assistantships Policy under AUB's Policies and Procedures.

1d. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs): GRAs should be full time students. GRAs stipend and tuition support are compensated from internally or externally supported grants. GRAs may not work more than 20 hours per week in this capacity and are not allowed to work outside the University. They will not be entitled to receive other financial aid as long as the GRA is in force. Salaries/stipends for Graduate Research Assistants (i.e., graduate students) should not be budgeted to include employee benefit costs. For more details, see the policy on Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships under AUB's Policies and Procedures.  

In some instances where the sponsor requires the recording of staff time using timesheets, salaries will only be charged on a grant once the Principal Investigator submits the required timesheets to OGC.

2. Consultants and Consulting Fees

It is often necessary to draw on the expertise and services of individuals who are not University employees in the performance of specific tasks of a sponsored funded project. Such services may include consultancies, preparation of working papers or presentation for a workshop and other activities which are important for the implementation of a project. It is important that payments for such services be documented in the accounting system, thus fees for consultants may be charged on a grant in accordance with the terms of the specific grant or contract and the University policy on consultants (consultant's fees must be included in proposed budget).

Consultants may be individuals who provide services to others as part of their primary business, provide expertise important to the project, and are given specific tasks and responsibilities to perform. OGC is responsible for the preparation of consultancy agreements upon receiving a written memo approved by the Dean and specifying the amount to be paid and the task(s) to be accomplished by the consultant.

2a. Payment for Consultants and Consulting Fees

The selection and appointment of consultants to provide professional services shall be made in accordance with the university policies and the budget approved by the funding agency. Consultancy agreements are used to hire consultants for special tasks or jobs to be charged on service contracts or research projects. The following procedure is followed: 

 i. The project director prepares a memo to his/her Dean requesting approval for hiring a consultant. The memo should include the following information and documents:

    - Name of project and funding agency,
    - PTAEO  to be charged,
    - Consultant name and title,
    - Terms of reference (specify the tasks to be carried out by consultant),                                                                                            
    - Copy of University degree,                                                                                                               
    - Consultant's CV,
    - Period of performance,                                                                                                                         
    - Copy of Lebanese ID (if foreigner: a copy of the passport is needed)
    - If the consultant is a foreigner, and the work will be conducted inside Lebanon,  a copy of the work permit is needed,
    - Remuneration & payment schedule,
    - Declaration Form,
    - Statement ensuring that there is no conflict of interest,
    - IRB approval (if the tasks involve human subjects).

ii. Once the request is approved by the Dean, the Dean's office forwards it to OGC for preparing the consultancy agreement.

iii. OGC prepares the consultancy agreement and ensures its signature by the consultant. Once signed by both the consultant and Director of OGC, copies of the agreement are sent to the Department of Human Resources, Office of the Comptroller (to commit the funds), Dean's Office and the Project Director.

iv. The project director must keep a copy of the agreement for his/her records and give a copy to the consultant. 

v. For remuneration of consultant, the Project Director requests the preparation of payment on Oracle from the Dean's Office according to the payment schedule outlined in the consultancy agreement.         

3. AUB Faculty Consultancies

AUB employees may not be consultants on sponsored projects except in certain specific
circumstances as specified in the university Policy on Consultation for Sponsored Research
Projects
, and only if approved by the Dean, Director, or Vice president of HR if needed, and the Provost at the proposal stage. The table below indicates AUB's approved remuneration rates per day per rank.

 

Rank

0-3 years

3-7 years

7-14 years

14+ years

Professor

500

550

600

650

Associate Professor

425

475

475

475

Assistant Professor

350

400

400

400

Lecturer

275

300

325

350

Instructor

225

250

275

275

Senior Lecturer

350

350

350

350

 

*Legacy rates apply to projects that have been signed prior to October 1st 2012

*The above rates do not include University Administrative Overhead Charges.

3a. Payment for Faculty Consultants

For payment of faculty consultants the following steps should be applied:

 i. The Project Director prepares a memo to the faculty consultant's Dean. The memo should include the following information

- Name of Faculty member to be paid and his/ her ID number                                                                                                                      
- Number of days and amount to be paid                                                                                                                                                           
- Title of the project, name of the funding agency, and the cost center and budget line item to be charged                                  
- Description of the task that the faculty consultant accomplished.

ii. The memo should be sent to the Faculty consultant's Chairman and Dean for their approval and signature.

iii. Once the memo is approved by the Dean, it is sent to OGC's Grant Manager who will prepare the payment voucher and send it to the Comptroller's Office for payment.

iv. The Comptroller's Office processes payment vouchers on a first come, first serve basis. Payments are made directly to through the Faculty consultant's payroll.

4. Subcontracts

When the University is awarded a project in which a portion of the scope of work is to be carried out by another institution or organization or company; such subcontracting is usually planned for and is included in the submitted proposal and the award document should document the subcontractor's scope of work and estimated budget. Upon the request of the principal investigator, OGC will prepare, negotiate and execute the subcontract in coordination and participation of the principle investigator.

If the need to subcontract arises after the award is made sponsor approval must be received before any subcontracting action can be initiated. When a subcontract is completed, delivery of all final reports must be accomplished.

4a. Subcontract Payment

Once payment on a subcontract is due, the following steps should be applied:
i. The Project Director/ PI prepares a memo requesting payment  on the subcontract. The memo should include the following information:
- Name of company/organization/institution to be reimbursed or paid                                                                                                                
- A description of the tasks and services rendered 
- Project Cost Center and budget line item to be charged                                                                                                                                  
- Amount to be reimbursed or paid.                                                                                               

ii. The Dean's Office prepares a payment voucher containing the same information mentioned above. 
iii. The Dean of the Faculty approves and signs the payment voucher and one copy of the payment voucher and the invoices are retained in the departmental files for any inquiries and auditing purposes.
iv. The original payment voucher and the invoice are sent directly to the Comptroller's Office for payment.
v. Once received by the Comptroller's Office and if all the documents pertaining to the payment voucher are correct, it takes 45 days from the date of the invoice for checks to be issued, signed and delivered to the Cashiers' Office.

5. Travel

Travel requests for sponsored projects are processed in accordance with the University travel procedures.
Travel requests and reimbursements for sponsored projects are processed through the Office of Auxiliary Services at the University and in accordance with the AUB Travel Policy. Personal side-trips cannot be charged to a sponsored project account. Each request for travel should state the relationship of the trip to sponsored project.

6. Supplies and Equipment

The purchase of supplies and equipment is often a part of an award budget if their purchase is necessary for the performance of the project. Some funding agencies may require prior written approval before equipment is purchased while others give the university the authority for such a decision. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to check the award conditions pertaining to the purchase of equipment and supplies and he/she must adhere to the grant conditions.

Ordering equipment from overseas must be done early on in the project and at least three months before the end date of the award agreement to allow ample time for the payment and thus meet the final reporting requirements of the sponsor agency.
Supplies and equipment can be ordered from the University stores or external suppliers through the purchasing department.

6a.  Non-Catalogued Requisition of Supplies

The Purchasing Department is the central authority for the procurement of goods required by any University or Hospital department and which are not available in the University stores. No individual other than the Director of Purchasing has the authority to place an order with a supplier or to obligate AUB to an outside supplier in any way unless:

    1. The President of the University or the Vice President for Administration specifically authorizes an individual or group to do so.
    2. The Director of Purchasing delegates purchasing authority to specific individuals.

Procurements or other commitments made by unauthorized personnel are not legal and not binding upon AUB and may result in a personal obligation for the individual making the procurement or commitment. On rare occasions, the Director of Purchasing may make an exception and issue a confirming purchase order. The Director of Purchasing may require a written explanation by the individual making the commitment with a signed approval from the appropriate vice-president. This explanation and the vice president's approval will be included in the purchase order file.

For ordering supplies and equipment, the following steps are taken:

    • The user initiates and submits a Non-Catalogued Equipment & Supplies Requisition electronically using i-procurement. Usually staff members who have a grant budget are given access to i-procurement. It is the responsibility of the user to follow up on the status of his/her requisitions until they are approved electronically.

    • Once the Purchasing department receives the approved requisitions, it ensures that all the requirements and needed information are available and a purchase order is issued. The purchase order is generated electronically on the system with a system generated serial number.

    • The purchase order is sent to the supplier and once the goods are delivered, the receiving clerk matches the quantity requested for each item on the purchase order against the quantity delivered by the supplier, and then delivers the items to the requesting department for final approval. User should check quantity and quality before approval. Partial receipt of material or equipment is allowed but discrepancies should be reported to the Purchasing Department. The supplier sends the invoice to the Comptroller's Office for payment.

    • The role of the Purchasing Department ends when goods are delivered and accepted by user.

6b. Item Requisition from AUB Stores

AUB Faculties and Departments can order catalogued items that are available at the University Stores by filling a Store Requisition Form (SRF) which consists of three copies: a white, pink and yellow copy. Catalogued items are those available in stock in the Medical Center and Campus Supply Stores. A listing of supplies can be provided by the Supply Department. The list includes such info as the "Stock Number", "Description of Item", "Issue Unit", and "Unit Price."

The following information must be completed on the Store Requisition Form (SRF):

    1. Name of requesting department and its three letter abbreviation code.
    2. Date requested.
    3. Cost Center (fund number) to be charged, could be department or sponsored project.
    4. Program code (if applicable).
    5. Stock number (found on the supply list).
    6. Description (found on the supply list).
    7. Issue unit (found on the supply list).
    8. Quantity required.
    9. Delivery instructions (date, address, room number, extension...).
    10. Name and extension of person to be contacted for further information.

The steps followed are:

    • The person preparing the SRF must sign in the space provided for that purpose, and send to the dean or director of project.
    • The dean (for academic departments) must counter sign the SRF in the space provided for that purpose.
    • The SRF copies should be sent directly to the Supply Department.
    • The supply department will in turn send it to the comptroller's office.
    • Upon receipt of ordered item(s), the originating person signs the Store Request Voucher (SRV) and takes the second sheet while the Supply Department keeps the Original (First Sheet).

    6c. Express Buy Orders

    To expedite purchases related to sponsored projects PIs can access i-procurement to place orders with pre-approved contracted suppliers for products or items needed to support the functions of their department and whose value per each request does not exceed $1,000.

    The allowable items that could be purchased through Express Buy are listed under the Purchasing Department: http://www.aub.edu.lb/purchasing/ExpressBuy/Pages/default.aspx

     The following items are excluded from the allowable purchases:

    •     Store items (items available in university stores)
    •     Purchases for employee’s benefits
    •     Professional fees
    •     Equipment & furniture
    •     Travel, meals, entertainment
    •     Representation allowance expenditures
    •     Gifts and contributions
    •     Splitting purchases to circumvent the set threshold

    6d. Return of Ordered Items

    When the quantity received does not match the quantity ordered, the matter is referred to the supply manager for appropriate action.

    The Stock Control Supervisor of the Supply Department must authorize the return of ordered items and goods to the AUB stores. The following steps are followed in order to return ordered goods:

      1. The department returning the ordered goods should contact the Stock Control Supervisor who will review the reason of return on a case by case basis.
      2. If the Stock Control Supervisor approves the request to return the goods, a Store Return Voucher should be filled and sent to the Stock Control Supervisor for his/her signature. The voucher contains the following information:
        a. Name of department returning the goods
        b. Store Number to which the goods are to be returned
        c. Date
        d. Stock Number
        e. Description
        f. Account to be credited
        g. Issue Unit
        h. Quantity returned
      3. The department will arrange with the Storekeeper for the delivery of the goods back to the store.

      7.  Inter-Departmental Services (Items or Services Requested from AUB Departments)
      In order to request any service or item from another AUB department such as core laboratory analysis (service), or purchasing of goods from AUB's Bookstore, the requesting department will:

        1. Send an approved Inter-Department Transfer Notice (IDTN) to the servicing department indicating the following:
              • Name of Requesting department (department ordering item or requesting service).
              • Name of Servicing department.
              • Service description.
              • Item Number.
              • Amount (L.L. or $).
              • Department to be charged.
        2. The IDTN is signed by the project director or Chairman of Department then sent to the Dean for his approval. The IDTN should be forwarded to the servicing department after director or chairman approval.
        3. The Servicing department fills the account to be credited on the IDTN and sends it to the Comptroller's office to be processed accordingly.
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