The administrative management of research contracts is taken care of by the administrative offices of the Departments/Campuses that are the first point of contact with the professors in charge of research activities. The administrative staff of the Departments/Campuses that manages research contracts can rely on the support of the Research Service.
Activities carried out by the Departments
The support to the management of research contracts for third parties and of funded projects is divided into several stages and is provided by the administrative units of the Departments, in agreement with the contract scientific coordinator.
Monitoring and controlling deadlines
The management of research contracts for third parties and funded projects must be subject to the monitoring and control of the deadlines that apply for the issue of the corresponding invoices/requests for payment. The administration of the Department is required to check the deadlines to avoid delays in the issue of invoices/requests for payment.
Invoices/requests for payment
All invoices/requests for payment are issued by the administration of the Department in accordance with the payment schedule laid down in the contract/project. Invoices/requests for payment may be conditional upon the delivery of reports, whose copy must be delivered to the administration of the Department.
Reporting and accounting
The monitoring activities carried out by the administration of the Department include the reporting and accounting of costs which, where required by the other party, must be in line with the negotiated budget, if any.
The costs may be monitored at pre-established deadlines or at the time of accounting, if any. Funded projects may involve accounting rules that vary according to the funding organisation and the competition. Some funding organisations adopt complex rules and require detailed accounting. Accounting guidelines may be contained or indicated in the call or may be issued subsequently by the funding organisation.
Some funded projects required costs to be audited by an external audit firm. In these cases, reference must be made to an auditor or audit firm that are entered in the register of auditors. The auditor will check the costs incurred by the structure that manages the project so as to issue a certificate of costs that will be delivered to the funding entity.
The certifications issued by these auditors are 'first-level' certifications and may be the subject of 'second-level' controls by audit firms appointed directly by the funding entity.
Conclusion of activities
In case of research contracts for third parties, the conclusion of activities must be formalized in a final report or in another document that certifies contractual performance. In the absence of these documents, the scientific coordinator of the research project, the Principal and the Head of the Structure (Head of Department/Vice Rector of the Campus) will sign a report certifying completion and performance of the contractual obligations.
Activities to support the Departments
The Research Service supports researchers also in the management of research projects for issues related to administrative aspects of the budget and especially to prepare the forms required for accounting purposes.
Audit by the Research Service for national projects requiring it
In April 2013, MIUR established that all final accounts of FIRB and PRIN projects must undergo specific internal audits by ad hoc suitable structures.
The final accounts must be checked by the audit firm, for all projects, within 6 months of completion of the accounts.
The Academic Senate has established the composition and role of the Audit Unit as an internal reference point of the University that can offer advice for the duration of the project so as to accurately and periodically assess the administrative management of the projects in progress and avoid non-recognized costs in the required final verification.
The Central Audit Unit of the University, coordinated by the Research Service, consists of: the President (General Director), 2 members from the Research Support Services, 1 or more members from the Human Resources and Organisation Department, 1 member from Administration and Finance and 2 Department Managers (on a rotation basis to avoid any conflict of interest).