SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
External Research Grants and Contracts Project Files

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

External Research Grants and Contracts Project Files

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

Research Accounting

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
Project Files CY + 1 yr 5 yrs CY + 6 yrs Destruction

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records relating to the financial management of external research awards, agreements, grants, and contracts. External funding comes from a number of sources, including provincial and federal governments, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry (e.g. Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs, CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, etc.).

These records document Research Accounting's evaluation, review, and approval of proposed budgets, payment arrangements, reporting requirements, audit requirements, potential liabilities, conflicts of interest, and financial risk factors associated with a research award, agreement, grant or contract.

Records may include but are not limited to award letters, contract and grant documents, transmittal memos and email, signing authority forms, approval forms, expenditure supporting documentation, copies of cheques and original cheque stubs, financial reports, invoices, budget appropriation forms, new project data input forms, research project notification forms, approval memos, project summary sheets, financial administration information forms, and research funding application signature sheets.

Note that the Office of Research Services and Research Accounting collaborate of the management of research funding. The former is primarily responsible for assisting Principal Investigators with applying and securing funding while the latter is primarily responsible for ensuring the financial conditions of awards, agreements, contracts and grants are in compliance with SFU's accounting policies and procedures. This RRSDA covers the project files created and maintained by Research Accounting.

See also:

RRSDA 1995-025, External Research Grant Files RRSDA 1998-023, Research Contract and Agreement Files

Personal Information Bank (PIB)

This series is a Personal Information Bank; click here for PIB description.


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

A total retention period of "CY + 6 yrs" is sufficient to meet the University's business need for these records. This retention period encompasses all the external audit requirements by which the University must abide.

Retention and filing guidelines


Records covered by this RRSDA are created and maintained as both paper case files and as entries in a database shared by both the Office of Research Services and Research Accounting. There are some records on the paper files that do not appear in the database and some data captured in the database that does not appear on the paper files (e.g. email documenting contract negotiation is sent and received within the database between Research Services and Research Accounting personnel). Therefore, the whole "intellectual file" covering any one research project is constituted by both formats. Ideally, the retention periods and final disposition outlined in this RRSDA should be applied equally to the paper case files and their electronic database equivalents. Otherwise, records that are due for destruction could live on in electronic form after their business value has expired. Keeping records longer than required is a potential liability to the University. It is the responsibility of the offices maintaining the database to collocate and delete records in accordance with the recommendations in this RRSDA.


Research Accounting will occasionally assign multiple project numbers to a single research project if it simplifies accounting. For example, to help a Principal Investigator keep track of multiple budget line items, a project number may be assigned to each line. These "sub-project" files should be collocated and disposed of concurrently since taken as whole, they comprise a single "intellectual file" documenting the whole of the accounting activities associated with a single, externally funded research project. That is, do not dispose of some of these "sub-project" files earlier or later than others.


Paper case files are labeled with the following information:

1. project number followed by a fund number; 2. Principal Investigator's name followed by the sponsoring body's name; and 3 home department name


At the end of the active retention period (CY project closes + 1 yr), box and transfer the paper files to the University Records Centre (URC). For each box prepare a box contents listing, itemizing all files contained in the box. Always include ONE copy of the file list inside the box sent to the URC taped to the underside of the lid; keep ONE copy for your own records; and send ONE copy (paper or electronic) to the Archives (see Procedures for Transferring Records to the University Records Centre).


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 14 Aug 2012

Last revised: 31 January. 2013

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