University of Saskatchewan

Financial Services (FS)

Tri-Agency Financial Administration

Institutional Approval Guidelines for Equipment and Supplies; and Computer and Electronic Communications Related Expenses (Revised Jan. 14, 2014)

Direct vs. Indirect Costs of Research

The Tri-Agency presumes funds to be used effectively and economically.  Expenses must be essential for the research for which the funds were awarded; known as the direct costs of research. The Tri-Agency expects the university to assume any indirect costs and general expenses of the research project.  Therefore, grant funds are to be used to cover the direct costs of research and cannot be used to pay for general expenses such as those associated with office accessories normally already provided for staff.  Examples of general expenses include:

Research Related Expenditures

Expenditures on supplies are admissible if they are not part of the basic equipment of the university’s academic and research mission and if they are not normally provided for staff.  The recipient must explain/provide justification as to how those supplies are essential to his/her research activities.


Equipment, supplies, computer and electronic expenses can be made using different methods of payment.  These can appear as pcard purchases, internal purchases (Campus Computer Stores), invoices paid through UniFi or by cheque requisition and reimbursements.  The institutional approver will look at the expenses incurred and using the guidance below will make a determination of compliance.

Proper Authorization

1. Expenditure properly authorized

Check to ensure the expense has the proper authorization (e.g. invoice has authorization, pcard has researcher or delegate’s authorization).  In some instances, an email sent by the researcher can be considered as the authorization to purchase an item.

The researcher is responsible for authorizing or initiating expenditures from his/her grant account in accordance with the Tri-Agency's requirements and conditions of grants and with the university’s policies. The only other individuals who may initiate or authorize expenditures from a Tri-Agency fund are those where the researcher’s has provided written delegated of that authority.  A delegation of authority form should be completed for all Tri-Agency funds even if there is no delegation involved.

The signatures certify that:

 2. DOSA if fully documented

3. Sufficient fund balance

The fund that the expenditure is to be charged against must have a sufficient balance to cover the expenditure. 

4. Dates within timeline

Supporting documentation

Researchers are responsible to provide supporting documentation for all expenditures charged to their grant fund.  The claim must include the following information:

5. Supporting Documents Complete (Supplier Invoices )

6. Receipts are original

7. Justification is Provided and Sufficient

Eligible Expenses

8. Confirm eligibility

Equipment and Supplies

Expenditures on research equipment and supplies, as well as costs of training staff that will use the specialized instruments or facilities, are eligible.

Computer and Electronic Communications

The Tri-Agency suggests that computers, tablets, modems, emerging technology and other hardware, specialized software and/or other related expenses are normally provided to the principal investigator by the institution and thus deemed an indirect cost of research.  The practice the University of Saskatchewan follows is one where researchers are not normally provided with computers and electronic devices.  Therefore, the researcher can use this information as justification for the purchase but needs to indicate this when initiating or authorizing the purchase. Refer to computer and electronic communication non-eligible expenses.

Non-Eligible Expenses

Equipment and Supplies

Computer and Electronic Communications