Closing your project

Advice for research staff with awards coming to an end. Stay in touch with your Research Awards Manager (RAM).

We advise you to begin preparing six months before the end of your project

Six months before the end of your project

Your checklist:

  • Review scientific progress of the project - can the scope of work, including all required deliverables, be delivered by the current end date?  What actions need to be taken to ensure this is possible?  
  • Review final reporting requirements - what is the deadline and what information does the reporting template require? It is easier to collate that information over time rather than all at the end.
  • Is a no-cost extension needed? If yes, then discuss this with your Research Awards Manager.  No-cost extensions are extensions of the project’s end date without the provision of additional budget. They must be requested at least three months before the end date but ideally six months before.
  • Contact your Research Awards Manager - request an updated financial statement showing the current financial status of the project including the budget, expenses incurred to-date, known commitments (especially salary costs), and remaining balance. How will remaining funds be spent? Plan accordingly.
  • Collaborators or subcontractors - review both the progress of their work and the status of their invoicing. Contact them to discuss how they will complete their work within the remaining project period and whether they anticipate any significant under or over-spend. 

Responsibilities at the end of the project

*Project coordinator may be the PI, Admin Assistant, Centre Manager or other nominated person. 

Task  RAM 


Outstanding commitments for payments to sub-contractors or project partners have been invoiced to LSE    x  
The final invoice, statement or claim form prepared and submitted in accordance with contractual requirements and dates  x    
Reconciled transactions recorded on the project account  x    
Send principal investigator a copy of the Aptos printout of the project account to confirm that all expenses appear on the account and have been processed in relation to the project. This is mandatory - to be completed before any final invoice/statement or claim is submitted to the sponsor    
Check and sign-off complex or non-standard financial statements or those requiring the signature of Director of Finance and Facilities  x    
Notify Finance Manager of final adjustments for indirect or directly allocated costs (PI and estates costs)   x    
Debit balances investigated and corrected  x    
Account code ‘inactivated’ - including all expense sub-codes on Aptos system (where income is still expected, the income sub-code should remain open until money is received)  x    
One month after the final reporting deadline, check that final income has been received. Follow up where final payment has not been received  x    
Remaining sub-codes on Aptos inactivated; the status field on Converis changed to Closed  x    
The location of the file recorded on Converis against the relevant record  x    
Deliverables and dissemination activities are completed on time in accordance with the requirements of the contract. Please note: late submission (or non-submission) of reports could result in financial or other penalties     
Provide your research awards manager (RAM) with copies of any final reporting. Your RAM will save electronic and/or paper copies in your project’s award files      x
Outstanding salary, expense and supplier payments submitted to Research and Innovation for payment and included in the final financial report        x

End of project balances

This policy covers research projects which have ended, the final payment has been received and all scientific obligations have been met.

Projects should be reconciled and a balance determined by the Research Awards Team within 2 months of receipt of the final payment. 

Debit Balances

If an overspend has occurred*, the Research Awards Team will contact the project investigator(s) and department and ask them to provide a departmental code to charge it to (e.g. to RIIF, individual OSF account). If the Department fails to respond the Research Awards Team will make one further request. If the PI/department fails to provide the account code, the overspend will be transferred to the investigator’s OSF account or the department’s RIIF account as deemed appropriate by the head of research awards.

If there is a dispute over the balance and no resolution can be found, the Research Awards Team will refer the matter to the Finance Director who may agree a write-off of the overspent balance to central school funds.   

The following process is in place to write-off debit balances:
A request for the write-off will be prepared by the research award manager, and passed to the head of research awards for initial approval. If approved, the write-off will be submitted to the Finance Director for a decision, which is final. 

*this policy excludes balances on Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, individual fellowships and networks, or due to exchange rate gains or losses.

Credit Balances

If funding is received on a fixed price basis, and spend is less than income, the Research Awards Team will determine whether, under the terms of the funding agreement or after consulting with the funder, the credit balance can be retained by LSE. If LSE can retain the funds, the credit balance may be transferred to a departmental outside funds account or to the investigator’s OSF account*. 

Where overheads charged to the project are less than the GBP value provided for in the funding agreement, the Research Awards Team will debit the account to the full GBP value of overhead before any remaining balance is transferred to the department or investigator(s).

Where a credit balance is transferred to an investigator’s outside funds account, the individual will be asked to sign a waiver. No balance will be transferred until the waiver has been signed.

Return of unspent funds

If the funder requests return of unspent funds, the Research Awards Team will return the funds directly to the funder.

Further guidance