Expiry of HOD Accounts Policy


This policy applies to all Principal Investigators and other staff members of the University who have Head of Department (HoD) accounts maintained and accounted for in Auckland UniServices Limited (UniServices) at the IRiS Programme go-live date, 4 April 2018.


To provide a framework for the uses to which HoD accounts may be applied from 4 April 2018.


The University has introduced new policies for the incentivisation of research and consulting activity which apply from 4 April 2018. The effect of these new policies is that, from that date, funds held in UniServices HoD accounts will be transferred to equivalent accounts in the University. Further funds will be able to be added to those accounts only from contracts that are in progress at 4 April 2018.


1. The balances on these accounts will be available for spending under the existing rules, subject to (4) below and confirmation from the Vice Chancellor, on an annual basis at the time of setting the University budget, that expenditure from these accounts does not compromise the overall financial position of the University.

2. With respect to contracts still active on 4 April 2018, the distribution of funds to the credit of the HoD account is to continue until the closure of the research or consulting project.

3. Principal Investigators and other University staff who have HoD accounts are to continue to receive advice with respect to the balances and movements on their HoD account.

4. The UniServices policy “Use of Funds in HoD Accounts” dated 11 January 2017 includes the following directions which remain relevant in the policy for the expiry of these accounts:

  • Funds in HoD accounts may not be transferred to other institutions. Where an academic ceases to be eligible for an HoD account through resignation or retirement or any other reason the balance on that account will expire to the credit of the relevant faculty administration account
  • Funds in HoD accounts are to be used exclusively for academic purposes. This includes conference travel, books, subscriptions, office equipment, research, research equipment, academic and student research or scholarships. If in doubt, the HoD administrator in the Research Operations Centre will determine what expenditure is allowable
  • HoD account holders may not draw any personal remuneration from the account either directly or indirectly
  • Employment of staff: Staff members may be employed from the HoD account if the outcome supports further research activity (refer to item 5 below)
  • Equipment purchases: Funds may be used to partially or fully fund purchase of research equipment for an academic unit. Equipment purchased through an HoD account is the property of the University

5. With respect to item 4 above, staff employed from the HoD account may be employed only by the University and their hiring is subject to the recruitment and appointment policies of the University.

6. By default, all contract proceeds or deficits are to be credited/debited to an HoD account.

7. Any variation to this (e.g. personal payments for consulting work) must be agreed to and signed off in the HoD Approval Letter prior to work commencing on a contract.

7. The HoD accounts will continue to be tracked in relation to expiry dates.

8. The existing expiry policy which states: “any balances not utilised within three years expire to the credit of the relevant faculty administration account” will continue to be applied. After a further 36 months any residual funds in the relevant faculty administration account will be transferred to the University.

Note – Given the continued disruption to research activity caused by Covid-19, 50% of any residual funds scheduled to be transferred to the relevant faculty administration account OR to the University in 2022 (or before) will not be transferred. Account holders will be able to access 50% of those residual funds until 31 December 2023 at which time any remaining amount will be transferred. 


The following definitions apply to this document:

HoD account means Head of Department (HoD) account and is an account set up for University research and academic purposes. HoD accounts are funded from contract proceeds and revenue such as royalty payments.

Principal Investigator is the named researcher responsible for leading and carrying out the research project and delivering the outputs relating to a funded research project.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part-time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Group Financial Controller
Content manager: Financial Services
Approved by: Chief Financial Officer
Date approved: 27 July 2021
Review date: 27 July 2026