Research Development Accounts Policy


This policy applies to all University academic staff  members who are involved in research or consulting activities


To provide a policy framework for the use and administration of Research Development Accounts 


The University has designed a policy framework to incentivise Principal Investigators to win and deliver research outcomes which support the University’s research strategy.

The financial allocations from certain research, consulting or technical services projects may include an allocation to the Principal Investigator in accordance with the Research and Consulting Incentives Policy. These allocations are held in Research Development Accounts (RDAs) in the name of the Principal Investigator.  RDAs are set up for each PI at the time of activation of a research project.

This policy sets out the administration and management of these accounts and the uses to which these funds may be applied.


Allocation to Research Development Accounts

Note - The quantum and timing of the distribution to these accounts will be in accordance with the Research and Consulting Incentive Policy. This policy sets out the allocation of the project cash flows.

1.    Funds of Research Development Accounts are explicitly funds of The University of Auckland, and may not be transferred to any other institution

2.    Any new funds placed in a Research Development Account are required to be expended within 36 months. After 36 months any residual funds will be transferred to the relevant faculty administration account at the discretion of the dean

3.    Research Development Accounts may be established only for staff members who hold an appointment with the University of Auckland as outlined in the Academic Staff Collective Agreement September 2017 – 31 August 2019

Note - The Academic Staff Collective Agreement September 2017 – 31 August 2019 includes Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor, Senior Tutor (only where research is part of the role as defined in the job description), Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Professional Teaching Fellow roles 

4.    Students may not hold Research Development Accounts

5.    When set up, each Research Development account is to have a nominated “Holder"

6.    Any incentive sums arising from research and consulting projects, as determined in accordance with the Research and Consulting Incentive Policy, are to be automatically credited to the appropriate Research Development Account

7.    Academic staff may request a personal payment, rather than a RDA payment, for consulting work undertaken in accordance with the Outside Activities Undertaken by Academic Staff Policy and Procedures

Note - Such personal payments must be agreed to and signed off by the head of department, in accordance with the Research and Consulting Incentive Policy, prior to work commencing on the consulting contract

8.    No personal payments may be made from an RDA account

Utilisation of funds held in Research Development Accounts

9.    Funds in Research Development Accounts are to be used exclusively for academic purposes.

Note - This includes conference travel, books, subscriptions, office equipment, research, research equipment, academic and student research or scholarships. If in doubt, the Research Operations Centre (ROC) gives advice on what expenditure is permissible

10.Expenditure is to be initiated by the Holder of the RDA and approved by the relevant line manager

11.Funds in Research Development Accounts may not be transferred to other institutions

12.Employment of staff: staff may be employed from the Research Development Account if the outcome supports further research activity.

Note - The hiring of staff from the Research Development Account is subject to the recruitment and appointments policies of the University

13.Permanent positions may not be funded from the Research Development Account

14.Equipment Purchases: funds may be used to partially or fully fund purchase of research equipment for an academic unit

15.Equipment purchased through a Research Development Account is the property of the University

16.Academics' use:

  • This may include refunding personal expenses incurred on academic business of a kind that conform to any policy or practise of the University in this regard
  • Research Development Account Holders may not draw any personal remuneration from the account either directly or indirectly
  • When on sabbatical leave an academic may claim expenses they would not have incurred had they stayed at home, for expenses in excess of the University leave allowance. These include airfares and hotel expenses, for example
  • The expenses must relate to their sabbatical

Note - They may not claim for any tourist elements or any expenses relating to taking their family with them; refer to the Travel Policy 

  • Funds may not be transferred, or "repaid" from the University to the Research Development Account

Note - For example, if funds from a Research Development Account are used to cover costs of resources pending activation of one or more University-based grants, these costs may not subsequently be "repaid" from a University account when the research grant(s) become available

Management & Administration of Research Development Accounts

17.The management and administration of Research Development Accounts is to be undertaken by the Research Operations Centre

18.The Research Operations Centre is to be the first point of contact providing support services to the Principal Investigators, Research Programme Managers, and Research Programme Coordinators, including:

  • overseeing the process for the allocation of cash flows from research projects into Research Development Accounts in accordance with the Research and Consulting Incentives Policy
  • preparing and making available monthly reporting to Principal Investigators showing the monthly movements and account balances; and
  • answering Principal Investigator queries

19. Expenditure from Research Development Accounts will follow the University’s purchasing and payment policies through the Shared Transaction Centre 


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

Document management and control

Owner                          Group Financial Controller

Content manager          Financial Services

Approved by                 Vice-Chancellor

Date approved              23 March 2018

Review date                  23 March 2021