What Qualifies as an Eligible Expense for a Research Award?

What do I need before I can begin?


Each research fund establishes what is permitted as eligible expenses for the funds they have provided. The University of Toronto Research Account (UTRAC) describes eligible expenses and/or where to go if you need more information. In order to ensure compliance with each sponsor’s rules about eligible expenses, it is important to understand what is considered eligible and ineligible.

Incurring an ineligible expense will result in rejection of the expense and runs the risk of placing the University in breach of compliance with the funder’s terms, especially for research funds governed by an Agreement. 

Identifying Eligible Expenses

You can identify eligible expenses by referring to the following materials.

In the case of funds received through a formal agreement, review the terms and conditions for budget and expenditures. This includes instances where you may wish to move a certain budget amount from one eligible expense line to another; in this case, please contact the Research Officer listed in the header section of the UTRAC after reviewing the sponsor’s rules for budget reallocation.

Time Frame for Eligible Expenses

Any eligible expenses must be incurred within the time frame permitted by the sponsor (i.e., grant start date and grand end date).

Multiple Policies: Order of Precedence

In cases where multiple policies can apply to the eligibility of an expense, follow the advice below.

  • The sponsor’s policy takes first precedence
  • If both the sponsor and GTFM have policies about a specific expense, the policy with the more strict application takes precedence
  • If the sponsor is silent about the expense, then the GTFM takes precedence. Contact the Research Officer identified in the header of the UTRAC for clarification


  • Provide guidance and clarification regarding expense eligibility
  • Assist in determining if an expense is eligible for a specific research fund
  • Support department and division staff in the application of expense eligibility rules and guidelines
  • Liaise with the sponsor where clarification is required

VPRI Contact

Please first contact the Research Officer identified on the UTRAC.

You can also find the appropriate VPRI staff member to assist you by checking our staff directory. You may search by discipline area (e.g. Social Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Natural Sciences or Engineering, etc.) or funding agency name.