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In 2004 and 2005, we made seven recommendations to the University of Calgary to improve its research management systems. In 2010, we reported on the university’s progress in implementing the recommendations. We repeated four of them. The university has implemented the four recommendations repeated in 2010.

What we examined

Our audit objective was to determine if the university had implemented the four recommendations we repeated in 2010. To perform our audit, we:

  • interviewed management and staff to learn what action they took in response to our recommendations
  • tested the university’s systems, processes and policies for administering research
  • examined samples of research projects, including high-risk institutional projects
  • reviewed strategic and accountability documents
  • reviewed internal audit and external agency audit reports

We used the following criteria to assess the university’s progress in implementing the recommendations. The university should:

  • plan for, build and maintain research capacity, using business plans that identify the human resources needed to carry out research
  • have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for approving, managing and monitoring research
  • ensure research policies are current, clear, comprehensive and supported with processes to monitor, assess and enforce compliance
  • use processes for researchers and teams to manage projects cost-effectively, control project expenses against budgets and incur expenditures only for the purposes intended


The University of Calgary improved its overall research management control environment by:

  • developing workforce plans related to research and using models to determine and budget for indirect costs of research
  • defining consistent roles and responsibilities for research management, support staff and administration
  • ensuring research policies are current, appropriate and regularly monitored for compliance
  • applying project management tools, monitoring project expenditures and consistently reporting processes on all research projects