Bugeting


Budget Estimation


The PI shall identify which of the budget items listed below is applicable to the project. Normally, no additional funds are granted once the research proposal has been approved.

(a) Capital Equipment

The following shall be considered when requesting capital equipment:

1) In cases where the specified equipment is available at one of the colleges/research centres, the proposal shall justify the request for purchase of additional items.

2) Capital equipment items acquired for consultancy services and other projects shall become the property of the University.

3) The Deanship of Research shall enter the equipment into the inventory.

4) The equipment shall be put under the responsibility of the department or research centre that initiated the project, including responsibility for operation and maintenance.

5) The home department shall make equipment available for loan to other research centres or departments, but may charge service fees for usage to cover the costs of maintenance and replacement. The cost will depend on the type of equipment, consumables needed for its operation and other service charges. The costs shall be covered by the research or consultancy funds.

(b) Use of University Facilities

This is to compensate the department or research centre in charge of existing facilities and equipment for the cost of maintenance and replacement plus any expenses related to the use of the same.

(c) Recurrent Items

This includes all items to be purchased or consumed specifically for the project, such as consumable materials and disposable instruments.

(d) Computing costs

This includes specialised software and hardware purchases and online subscriptions to electronic databases.

(e) Printing, Publications & IP Protection

This includes the costs of printing study reports, scientific books, time-limited journal subscriptions, protecting any generated IP, and getting research results published.

(f) Insurance

This covers the cost of insuring personnel and material employed for the project.

(g) Miscellaneous

This includes items not belonging to any of the above cost categories.

(h) SQU Personnel Costs

The following shall be considered during the estimation process:

1) Personnel cost for manpower shall include university, college, centre and department overheads.

2) Personnel costs shall be agreed with the sponsor up-front.

3) Actual time spent shall be recorded on a weekly timesheet by each SQU staff member to form the basis for invoicing the sponsor on the SQU personnel costs, and calculating the portion to be paid to SQU personnel.

4) SQU personnel may not undertake paid consultancy work (including overtime) in excess of 10 hours per week. If this limit is to be exceeded approval must be obtained to use consultancy funds to cover replacement staff.

5) Consultancy work will be based on hourly minimum rates as indicated in Table 1 for various personnel categories, including overheads.

6) The University charges overhead for using its name, personnel and facilities. This does not include the use of specialized equipment.

7) Government organizations and other public organizations may be exempted from University overhead charges.

8) The sums are distributed among personnel working in the consultancy service, the Department and the College, the Centre and the University as indicated in Table 2.

(i) Consultancy Costs Administration


College and departmental shares of consultancy costs shall be administered by the College Board and the Department Board respectively.

(j) Cost of Contracted Personnel

All contracted personnel costs shall be included upfront; this shall be the responsibility of the PI. The following shall be maintained throughout the duration of the project:

1) Contracted personnel shall cover research assistants, post-doctoral fellows and other jobs required to provide support for the project.

2) Availability of funds in the project.

3) A contract agreement form shall be used for contracting any personnel.

4) If a non-Omani staff member needs to be contracted, the appropriate form shall give reasons for not hiring an Omani.

5) SQU students will be given priority when employing research assistants.

6) University non-academic staff and/or students may also be contracted for specific tasks on an ad hoc basis.

7) Personnel employment shall be in one of the following categories:

a. Full time: shall work not less than seven (7) hrs/day and will be paid a monthly-fixed lump sum amount

b. Part time: shall work defined hrs/day, or days/week, but less than full time and be paid a monthly-fixed lump sum amount.

c. On-Request: shall work upon the request of the PI; unspecified hrs/day, or days /week. On-request research assistants can be contracted to do specific tasks and paid after performing the task.

8) For expatriates, the contract shall specify clearly whether the employee shall be granted housing, medical care, children’s school expenses or any other benefits.

9) Contracted personnel shall be granted access to University facilities as appropriate in accordance with the regulations.

10) Contracted personnel shall complete departure clearance procedures before final departure.

11) Expatriate contracts shall be signed after the administrative procedures have been finalized with the Personnel Affairs Department.

(k) Student Training

Scholarships should be an important component of research grants and consultancies.

(l) Training and Research Visits


Approval of such training and/or research visits shall be subject to the following:

1) Investigators may apply for funds in the project budget to travel or acquire training related to their project.

2) Travel expenses shall cover costs of transportation, registration, subsistence and per diem allowances.

3) Conference attendance shall not be included while budgeting for internal grant projects; instead this shall be obtained from the central conference budget.

(m) Consultants


When consultants and visiting researchers are needed for scientific advice, improved implementation of research, and technology transfer, the following conditions shall be maintained in hiring a consultant for a research project:

1) The proposal shall clearly indicate the consulting period.

2) Description of the consultant’s task shall be outlined in the proposal.

3) The allowable consultancy visit shall normally be one week; this can be extended only if it is deemed necessary, and for this extension a prior approval of the DVCPSR's must be obtained.

4) Consultant and/or visiting researcher’s travel expenses (airfare and per diem) shall be covered by the project.

(n) External Co-investigators/Collaborators

New proposals can seek external collaborators, where appropriate. When visiting SQU, such co-investigators/collaborators shall:

1) Be entitled to 50% of the allowance paid to a consultant.

2) Duration of stay per visit will be determined by the needs of the project execution.

(o) Contract Work


1) Contracted work for any company or personnel shall be signed for using appropriate forms.

2) SQU contracting rules and regulations shall be observed.

3) The Deanship of Research shall obtain legal advice for any contract terms and conditions.

(p) Research Project Construction


1) Any construction made within the University’s vicinity for a research project shall be in accordance with the University construction specifications and standards.

2) Approval of the Technical Affairs Department shall be obtained for any research project construction within the University.

3) All project construction shall be the University property once the project is completed.

Budget Reallocation

The following shall be implemented for reallocation applications:

1) The PI may apply to reallocate fund distribution from one item to another within an IG, JG and HMTF research project.

2) Reallocation requests for EG and RCG are made to the Deanship of Research and, where applicable, the sponsor.

Petty Cash

1) Each year the DVCPSR shall determine the amount allocated to each research project and specifies an upper limit on the cost of a single purchase.

2) Research projects shall be granted a lump sum amount at the start of the financial year for use as petty cash to meet urgent research requirements.

3) The PI shall be responsible for petty cash expenditures and may obtain cash advances with the approval of the ADPSR, providing receipts for all purchases made under the project.

4) Periodically, the Deanship of Research shall reconcile against the petty cash expenses, by debiting the amounts spent from the respective research project accounts, and then reimbursing the same amounts to the petty cash account.

5) At the end of the financial year any remaining petty cash shall be returned to the Deanship of Research under the project budget.

Reporting

 

Principal investigators shall submit final reports for all funded research projects and consultancies. For multiyear projects, the release of the next year budget requires the approval of the progress report for the previous year. The procedure for the processing and approval of progress reports as well as final reports are summarized below.

1 Progress Reporting

1) Progress reports are due annually or as specified in the contract with the funding agency. Progress reports shall be in the format outlined on the Progress Report forms set by the Deanship of Research. Other formats may be agreed on with the funding agency. The reports shall include the following:

a. Achievements over the previous year with respect to the stated goals and milestones.

b. How the execution conforms to the proposed schedule.

c. Deviations from original objectives and execution plan.

d. Any difficulties and challenges encountered.

e. Expenditure as per the approved budget.

2) Activation of the second and following annual budgets shall be subject to submission and acceptance of the annual progress reports.

3) The CRC/RCAC shall summarize the evaluation of the progress report using evaluation forms and shall submit its recommendations to the Deanship of Research.

4) Progress reports may be returned to the PI for revision.

5) The Deanship of Research shall submit a summary of progress reports to the DVCPSR to take appropriate action.

6) The DVCPSR may devise other or additional procedures for the approval of progress reports.

7) For external grants, Research Council grants or consultancy requests, the PI shall abide by the contract with the funding agencies and submit appropriate progress reports to the Deanship of Research through the ADPSR/Director, while honouring any confidentiality agreement.

2 Final Reports

1) Upon completion of a project, the PI shall submit a detailed final report using the Final Report form or any other format agreed on with the funding agency. The Final report shall cover the following:

a. Project achievements against the approved goals.

b. Deviations from approved objectives.

c. Problems encountered during the project execution.

d. Publications, and /or intellectual property resulting from the project.

e. External support and collaboration.

f. Actual versus planned expenditure.

2) A soft as well as a hard copy shall be submitted to the CRC/RCAC, which shall evaluate the report and submit its recommendation to the Deanship of Research.

3) The Deanship of Research shall submit a summary of final reports to the DVCPSR to take appropriate action.

4) The DVCPSR may devise a different procedure for the evaluation of final reports.

5) For external grants, Research Council grants or consultancy requests, the PI shall abide by the contract with the funding agencies and submit an appropriate copy of the final report to the Deanship of Research through the ADPSR/Director, while honouring any confidentiality agreement.

6) Failure to submit a final report may exclude the PI research from funding opportunities in the future.

Release Time and travel



A department may grant its staff involved in research/consultancy release time from their normal teaching duties to work on research projects. Such time may be used for study visit, training and conference attendance, under the following conditions:

1) Normal departmental duties shall be continued without conflict, as determined by the respective HoD.

2) Any fees, travel expenses and cost of substitute staff shall be paid from the project budget.

3) Applicable University rules and policies concerning travel for training, exchange visits, research leave or conference attendance shall be respected.

4) Upon return, the staff member shall submit a report, highlighting the main technical achievements and findings of the trip, with supporting information (e.g. conference proceedings, presented papers, etc.).

IP and Publication


1) For consultancy requests, publication of any research results requires the sponsor’s approval, unless the contract stipulates otherwise. Such approval shall be sought via the Innovation Affairs Department.

2) Publications shall acknowledge the support, financial and otherwise, received from the University and/or the sponsor.

3) In case the results contain intellectual property (IP), which is considered by the University and/or the sponsor to be of substantial commercial value, no publication clearance shall be granted before assessing the option of seeking IP protection through the Innovation Affairs Department.

4) The PI shall complete the “Confidential Invention Disclosure”. Absolute confidentiality is essential to safeguard future IP rights of the University and sponsor.

5) More information on IP policies and procedures can be obtained from the Deanship of Research.

Equipment


All equipment purchased with research or consultancy funds is the property of the University. It should be labelled and inventoried as such at the time of purchase.