During your project

Resources to help you better manage your externally funded research projects

All expenditure must comply with LSE financial regulations and sponsor regulations. Check your contract.

 

Spending funds and expenses

Hiring staff

Salary costs are often the largest expenditure on research projects. For more information, see Hiring and managing staff section.

To proceed with hiring, contact your research awards manager (RAM) who will forecast salary costs under various scenarios depending on start and end dates, salary band/step, and % full-time equivalent (FTE).  

Important: All staff appointments on research projects must first be authorised by your research awards manager. Thereafter, your RAM will provide funding confirmation either for you to pass to Human Resources or to Human Resources directly.

During the project, your RAM will monitor salary costs and provide a forecast for remaining salary commitments. 


Travel and expenses

Any claims for expenses should comply with the LSE Travel-subsistence and personal out of pocket expenses policy and the eligibility rules provided in the terms and conditions of your research award or contract.  If in doubt, please discuss with your RAM. 

The following types of expenses should be routed for approval using the appropriate form in OneFinance:

  • Out of pocket travel and expenses for LSE staff – use My Travel and Expenses
  • Expenses claimed by non-LSE staff – use the External Expense Claim (UK only) or the AP Payment Request for overseas claimants
  • LSE staff advances

Your RAM will receive and approve any expenses received through the approval workflow in OneFinance. They will review expenses for accuracy and compliance.  Once accepted, your RAM will authorise, and the transaction will move to payment or the next stage in the workflow, as appropriate.

Once the approval workflow is complete, payment is made according to the Accounts Payable payments schedule.

Please discuss any local support arrangements for the expense claims process with your department or centre manager.


LSE staff expense claims

From 1 August 2019 all out of pocket expense claims must be submitted and approved in OneFinance. Please see the Travel and Expenses and H2020 Travel and Expenses user guides. 

Remember to attach original receipts and supporting documents to your expense claims, making sure that uploaded copies are legible and can easily be matched to the expense item.  The Research Awards Team will reject back to the claimant any expense claims that do not include appropriate or legible attachments.  


Expenses for external project participants

For non-LSE staff expenses claims, please complete an External Expense Claim (UK only) document and AP Payment Request document for overseas claimants in OneFinance.

Attach original receipts to the claim, making sure that uploaded copies are legible and can easily be matched to the expense item.

Further information and user guides for paying External claimants can be found on Finance Division’s web pages.


Expenses incurred in a foreign currency

Convert expenses incurred in a foreign currency using the exchange rates either as evidenced on a bank or credit card statement or as found on xe.com.  If using xe.com, the exchange rate used can be either as on the date the expense was incurred or as on the last date of travel.


Expense claims on European Commission projects

Claim your travel and expenses in the usual way through My Travel and Expenses in OneFinance but remember there will be additional information that you may need to provide such as coding to the associated work package/goal and separating out ineligible costs.  The optional notes section is mandatory for H2020 projects, where you should provide further details of the expense as directed.

Remember to attach all supporting documents and receipts to your claim, making sure that uploaded copies are legible and can easily be matched to the expense item. Boarding passes must be included with any overseas travel expense.

For help with completing an EC expense claim form, see our H2020 Travel and Expenses user guide.

Expense payments to external claimants should be made by completing an External Expense Claim (UK only) form or the AP Payment Request for overseas claimants as appropriate in OneFinance. We will still require the H2020 Excel expense claim form to be completed and this should be attached before submitting for approval. 


Advances

If you are travelling for the purposes of your research project, major costs such as hotels and flights can be booked in advance by using the School's travel management company – Diversity Travel or by using a School Purchasing Card.

However, there will be occasions where costs will be incurred whilst you are away. You can request an advance which will be paid into your bank account to cover these costs. You must then submit an expense claim in OneFinance upon your return to match the advance.

In general, no further advance will be made until a previous advance is cleared, though minor balances may be carried forward at the discretion of the Finance Director or the Head of Financial Reporting & Compliance. 

We will approve advances that are reasonable for the journey and length of time you are away. To avoid rejection or query of your advance request, it is advisable to attach as much justification of the advance as you can, including a breakdown of how you anticipate spending it.

LSE Research and Innovation will not routinely follow up on unaccounted advances.  It is your responsibility to make sure that you expense your advance in good time, making sure you have sufficient funds left in your project budget and before any external reporting to the sponsor or project closure takes place. 

For help on how to make an advances request and how to expense your advance once you return from your trip please see the Requesting a Cash Advance user guide.

For information on advances for collaborating research partners, subcontractors or other external project participants please refer to the Advances for External Parties section.


Purchasing goods and services

From 1 August 2019 LSE has introduced a purchase requisition and ordering system. It is expected that all purchases of goods and services, including those on research projects, but with some known exceptions, will be made by raising a purchase requisition.

Please note: Purchase Orders will eventually become compulsory. For the interim transition period, if you need to process an invoice which does not have a Purchase Order, please see Invoice authorisation without a Purchase Order.

Contracts for collaborating research partners will continue to be managed by the LSE Research and Innovation teams and for the time being will be outside the scope of purchase ordering.  For further information, please see our Managing research collaborative agreements and other contracts section.

If the service relates to subcontracting of research and other services or contracts for overseas researchers, please refer to our procedure for requesting a contract and purchase ordering in Managing research collaborative agreements and other contracts.

To create a Purchase Order to buy goods on your research project, a purchase requisition should be created in OneFinance. Once approved the Purchase Order will be transmitted to the supplier. 

Remember, any purchases of goods or services should meet the School’s financial regulations and the eligibility rules provided in the terms and conditions of your research award or contract.  If in doubt, please discuss with your research awards manager.

LSE financial regulations require evidence of value for money when payments in excess of £8k are made to external consultants or organisations. Written pricing quotations from three (or more) suppliers are required

Contact LSE's Procurement Team for assistance with undertaking competitive tenders, managing EU procurement activities and day-to-day procurement matters.

Purchase Order User Guides:

Introduction to Procurement
Buying from the Internal OneFinance Catalogue [Training guide] 
Buying from the Web Catalogue - Office Depot [Training guide] 
Buying Ad Hoc Items [Training guide] 
Raising a Blanket Order [Training guide]
How to Approve or Reject a Requisition [Training guide]
Goods receipting [Training guide]
Procurement - Advanced guide [Training guide] 


Per diems

Employees will only be reimbursed expenses incurred solely and necessarily in the performance of their duties. No flat rates or ‘per diem’ rates will be paid. Expenditure should be kept to the minimum consistent with the effective performance of work on behalf of the School and recognising that the School is a public body, in receipt of public funds.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact your RAM.


For queries on any of the following, contact your RAM:

- Further help on expense claims for external project members

- Requisitions and Purchase Orders

- Claims for hospitality

- Supplier payments

- Virements

- Expenditure of funds over more than one financial or project year

- Correction of errors on your account (GL journals)

- Year end and annual accounts

- Payments against research projects

- Sub-contracts

- Expense claims

- Purchasing equipment

- Advances

Hiring and managing staff

Recruiting staff

Staff recruitment on a research project is handled by Human Resources (HR) in consultation with your research awards manager. Access guidance on recruiting staff.

Checklist

  • check local practice within your department or centre before proceeding - some departments require prior written approval from the head of department. Contact your department or centre manager for advice
  • contact your research awards manager to check if funds permit the appointment and that it meets LSE and any funder-specific requirements
  • to appoint self-employed consultants and sub-contractors, a number of documents must be completed before the appointment can be made
  • a casual contract can be used when a person is employed on a one-off basis. This is limited to 35 working hours (inclusive of all preparation work) within a one month period
  • appointees with an irregular work pattern who work in excess of these limits require an hourly paid contract
  • appointees working full-time or with a fixed part-time working pattern require a standard salaried contract

Failed recruitment

Unable to attract the right calibre of candidate for your research project? Worried that it will impact the project schedule?  

Funders such as the UK Research Councils would be sympathetic to such situations and open to extending the project end date as long as it is fully justified. To prevent such situations include contingency time in your project plan from the outset and advertise posts as widely as possible.

For further guidance, read:

Online recruitment tool kit
Temporary staff booking form
Appointing hourly paid research and support staff
Information for international recruits
Salary scales
Electronic timesheets for hourly-paid staff


Staff appointments

To appoint staff on a research project, refer to Human Resources 

Notify your RAM of:

  • requests to advertise or appoint staff to research projects
  • extensions to contract, changes to hours or salary level for staff charged to a research project

Casual staff

All casual staff must be paid through LSE. LSE staff are not permitted to make payments directly to a person who has carried out work. Research and Innovation reserves the right not to reimburse individuals in these circumstances.

To appoint casual staff, refer to Human Resources guidelines


Schedule D/ self employed persons

To appoint an individual to work at LSE on a self-employed (Schedule D) basis, follow procedures outlined via Human Resources.

Additional salary payments to project staff

More information coming soon. In the meantime, contact your research awards manager (RAM).

 

Completing timesheets

Monthly timesheets

LSE staff must complete timesheets when required by the terms and conditions of the research grants on which they are working, or when necessary to determine the correct allocation of their staff costs.

Our timesheets FAQs provide full details on the process of completing timesheets, including:

  • what the timesheets are used for
  • who needs to complete timesheets and when
  • what happens if timesheets are not completed
  • where to access the timesheet template

For further timesheet guidance, read:

Step by step summary of the timesheet completion process
Detailed guidance on how to complete a timesheet
Hourly-paid staff are paid one month in arrears following completion of an electronic timesheet. This is managed by Finance Division's Payroll Team. Follow Finance Division guidance and download the timesheet

Direct any questions or concerns to your research awards manager

Buyout

Buyout compensation to departments

More information coming soon. In the meantime, contact your RAM.

Buyout Application Form

Travel

Making travel arrangements

  • Check your award terms and conditions or your Converis project information report to see if you have been allocated a budget for travel.
  • Always seek value for money and refer to the School’s travel guide.
  • Before booking flights check what class of travel is allowed - view Air Travel Class Policy.
  • For quotes and assistance with booking hotels and flights, we recommend using LSE approved supplier, Diversity Travel. If you find a more reasonable flight on the internet you can also book via online travel booking companies such as lastminute.com and Expedia.co.uk
  • Keep all e-tickets, boarding passes, receipts and proof of travel - the Research Awards Team will ask you for these to reclaim the costs from the funder.
  • If you are unsure of the correct procedure contact your research awards manager for advice.

Travelling abroad on LSE business

Travel safety is coordinated by LSE's Health & Safety Team who assess travel risk and issue the travel cover note on a case-by-case basis. To request travel insurance email Health.And.Safety@lse.ac.uk in good time, particularly if travelling to a high risk area. Tell them your:

  • travel destination
  • reason for travel
  • travel dates

If you are travelling to a sanctioned country or an area where the FCO advise "against all travel" or "essential travel only", specific approval from the insurance underwriter is needed. You will need to complete a risk assessment and risk mitigation before cover is requested.

LSE fieldwork and overseas travel advice
Government foreign travel advice


Advances

View further information on advances in our Spending funds and expenses sectioncontact your RAM.

Changes to your project

During the life cycle of a research project, not everything always goes according to plan. Circumstances may require variations from the awarded description of work and budget.  


Viring funds between budget categories

No one can precisely predict the costs of a research project, so virements between budget categories may be needed. Restrictions on virements vary depending on the sponsor, the award type, and any special conditions. Check your award terms and conditions and then contact your research awards manager.

Where there is uncertainty about whether a particular budget virement will be allowed, your research awards manager may choose to contact the funder to request prior approval. 

Virements of less than 10% between budget categories are likely to be allowed. Please note: your award agreement may state no virements to/from specific budget categories.

Virements that result in a significant change to the project’s scope of work are not allowed without the funder’s prior approval.


Changing the principal investigator

For a change of principal investigator, consult the funding body. As it constitutes a major variation of the terms of agreement, a sponsor will not automatically approve the transfer of an award from one individual to another.  

Notify your RAM within Research and Innovation at your earliest convenience so that approval can be obtained from the sponsor.


Transferring your project from LSE to another institution

If you have an existing project at LSE and are moving to another institution you may be able to take the project with you. Where the funder requires that the project remains at the original host institution a new principal investigator will be required to complete the project. Check your award letter and notify your RAM.

If an award can be transferred from the LSE to another institution contact the new institution. Ask if they are willing to accept the award in principle. If there is no objection on the part of the new institution:

1. the sponsor will seek formal approval
2. your research award manager will provide a financial statement to the funding body and/or the institution taking over the award
3. depending on the subsequent agreement reached, LSE will either return any unspent funds to the funding body or pay them directly to the receiving institution.


Transferring your project to LSE from another institution

Please inform Research and Innovation if a newly appointed member of academic staff, with the approval of the funding body, brings an award or contract with them from another institution.

Email your RAM a statement from the principal investigator’s previous institution, showing all expenditure against the award and the balance of funds under each head of expenditure at the date of transfer.

It is usual practice for a new contract or agreement to be drawn up between LSE and the sponsor.


Amendments to research agreements

Project changes require a formal amendment to your award agreement. Amendments can only be signed by the Director of Research and Innovation or his designee. Contact your research awards manager for assistance with this process. 

Email your sponsor requesting a contract amendment. The sponsor will need to confirm changes in writing or by e-mail. Verbal agreements to contract amendments are not accepted.


For queries on any of the following contact your RAM
:

- Parental leave
- Extended illness
- Adding new subcontractors or partners
- Extending the deadline for final reports or other deliverables
- Extending your project’s end date

Reporting to the funder

Technical/scientific reports

Principal investigators are responsible for preparing and submitting any required technical or scientific reports or other deliverables.   

Check your project’s award agreement for technical/scientific reporting requirements. Diarise key dates. A summary is also in your Converis project information report (a document provided by the Research Awards Team at the beginning of the project).

For any questions about your project’s reporting requirements, including templates, submission process, or deadlines, contact your research awards manager.


Commonly used reporting systems

Many funders have electronic submission systems for technical reporting. For example:  

Review the reporting requirements and templates. Each project has specific reporting requirements and templates. Discuss submitting your report with your research awards manager (RAM)


Eight points to consider when reporting:

  1. When is the report due?
  2. Who is responsible for compiling the report?
  3. Who is responsible for submitting the report?
  4. Does a specific reporting form need to be used?
  5. Is institutional approval required?
  6. How many copies are needed?
  7. Have you sent a copy of the report to your research awards manager?
  8. Have you deposited a copy of the final report in LSE Research Online?

If the requirements are unclear your research awards manager can help. Notify your research awards manager at the earliest opportunity if a reporting deadline cannot be met.


Main UK sponsor links:

British Academy guidance for award holders
ESRC guidance for grant holders
Leverhulme Trust reporting instructions
Wellcome Trust reporting forms and instructions
For FP7 or other funded awards, contact your research awards manager.

Audits

More information coming soon. In the meantime, contact your RAM.

Managing collaborative agreements and other contracts

Collaborating Research Partners

Collaboration agreements for multi-partner projects will have been issued at project setup by the Research Development team. However, during the lifetime of a project it may be necessary to add and/or remove a partner. To start this process, please either contact your Research Award Manager directly or complete the New Contract Request form and email it to them.


Sub-contracts, Overseas Researchers and Other Contracts

There may be times when you need to contract with others outside of the LSE for some of the activities on your project. To request a new contract, please complete the New Contract Request form and send it to your Research Award Manager, who will create the contract and arrange for institutional signature.  We will then send it to you to forward onto the contractor for their signature. They should retain one copy and send the other back to the LSE. We will also provide invoicing instructions, terms and conditions of the award etc. to be sent with the contract.

Simultaneously, you or your departmental/project support team should create a purchase requisition in OneFinance. Once a fully signed copy of the contract has been received by your Research Awards Manager, they will approve and transmit the purchase order.

For full details of how the process works, please refer to new contract process map.

To engage individuals who are resident in and UK tax payers please discuss the process with your Research Award Manager or refer to the section on Hiring and managing staff.

You or your departmental/project support team will need to authorise payment, confirming that work is progressing as expected and as far as you are aware the costs have been incurred in accordance with the agreement.
 

Advancing Funds to Partner and Other Sub-contracted Organisations 

Horizon 2020 projects

For H2020 projects where we receive pre-financing, this will passed on as per the terms and conditions of the consortium agreement.

Collaborating Research Partners

LSE’s normal procedure for reimbursement and reconciliation of partner costs is quarterly in arrears, based on receipt of an invoice with supporting financial statement/breakdown of costs, and where required as part of the terms and conditions of the main award, supporting receipts and vouchers.

LSE recognises that some in-country partner organisations are not financially able to advance the costs to complete the project activities.  In these circumstances you should discuss with your Research Award Manager whether funds can be advanced ahead of need.  Each request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

The Partner’s collaboration agreement will be amended to reflect the advance and reporting arrangements.   Project staff should put in place processes to ensure that where funds are being advanced, that the partner organisation accounts for the advance before the next one is made.  Where a partner is failing to meet its financial reporting obligations no further advances will be made.

Please contact your Research Awards Manager for advice.

Other Sub-contracted Organisations

We will not usually make advances to other types of contracted organisations or individuals but recognise that on some occasions an advance may be necessary.  Please contact your Research Awards Manager who will be able to advise.

 

Further guidance