Accepting awards and starting projects

Accepting the Award and set-up in Oracle Financials


Depending on the sponsor, an award notification setting out the offer of research funding may be received by Principal Investigators, by departmental staff, by Research Services or by Research Accounts. Award notifications should be forwarded to Research Services as soon as possible.

On receipt of a formal award letter or notification, Research Services will accept the award on behalf of the University (following any counter-signature of the award letter, or acceptance via the funder's electronic system (e.g. Je-S), by the Principal Investigator and/or Department where required by the funder).

Research Services then issue an RPF1 form to Research Accounts and the Department based on the information included in the award letter.


The following exceptions to this approach will apply:

  1. The award relates to an application that was not properly submitted via Research Services.
  2. The funding awarded is different to that applied for (other than arising from indexation applied by the funder).
  3. The funder imposes special conditions that must be confirmed prior to award acceptance.
  4. Funding is to be shared with an external collaborator and corresponding agreements need to be prepared.
  5. Funding is to be shared between Oxford Departments and approval of participation of the collaborating Departments has not been provided previously to Research Services (e.g. at application stage).
  6. The funding conditions are not acceptable to the University and need to be negotiated with the funder.

In all these circumstances Research Services will consult with the Department to seek any additional information and pursue any necessary actions prior to award acceptance and issuing of an RPF1.

Note: For projects involving work for which ethical review and approvals are necessary, researchers are reminded of their responsibilities to ensure that all relevant approvals are in place prior to commencing any such work on a research award.

What to send to Research Services

Please note that when you send the below information to Research Services, we kindly request that you submit this information in one email, marked clearly with the PI’s name and the X5 reference.

Where the Department or Principal Investigator receives an award letter directly from a funder please forward this to Research Services together with:The proposed start date of the award.

  • An X5 costing even if the award matches the application.
  • The signed Award Acceptance as required by some funders.
  • Any other information that you feel is relevant to the award set-up.

The RS Medical Sciences team (Joint Research Office) have devised their own, tailored for clinical departments in the Medical Sciences to complete and send to the Medical Sciences awards e-mail address with the relevant award documentation.

Please note: Research Accounts will use the RPF1 to set the award up on Oracle.

Departments need to review the award letter, RPF1 and award set up in Oracle to ensure they are consistent with their expectations, and to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions associated with the award.

Where internal or external collaborators are involved in the project, departments should also complete the RPF3 form to allow set up of collaborators’ projects.

Please see the Set Up Project  sections of the MRAP process for more details.

Set-up of certain awards in advance of final award documentation

Departments may request the set-up of certain awards in advance of final documentation being received or completed. This applies to the following scenarios:

  1. Collaborative awards led by another institution where Oxford is named in the application/award letter but the completion of an associated collaboration agreement may be outstanding
  2. Transfers-in of awards due to a Principal Investigator moving to Oxford
  3. Subsequent year funding of multi-year awards where a funder confirms awarded funds on an annual basis (e.g. some U.S. federal funders such as the National Institutes of Health)

Set-up of an award in this way is subject to approval by the department, Research Services and Research Accounts as set out in this policy document: Award set-up prior to final documentation (Research Accounts Policy 4).

The process for the set-up of interim budgets and then any uplifting of budgets to final confirmed amounts is managed through an RPF4 form which will be generated by Research Services.

Starting certificates and other start notifications

Some sponsors require a 'starting certificate' to formally confirm the start date for the funding or the date on which expenditure on an award is first incurred. Where these are required, Research Services will submit the necessary documentation in line with sponsor guidelines once advised of the actual start date by the Department.

It is essential that departments liaise with Research Services (and provide the necessary information) in good time over starting certificates; late submission to the sponsor can result in the sponsor applying sanctions or even withdrawing the grant.

Further information about specific sponsors’ requirements in relation to starting certificates or other award acceptance procedures can be found on the Major sponsors pages.