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General Research Accounts (formerly Banked Research Accounts)

General Research Accounts are a good vehicle to capture funds for a current or future research project or scholarly activity. 

Research projects and scholarly activity should be distinguished from professional development activities.  To help make that distinction, Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity have these characteristics:

  • The findings of your research activity are shared (through a paper, a conference, a presentation to your peers, a workshop, a play, a novel, an art show, etc.);
  • The findings are shared in such a way that allows your peers to comment and critique your contribution (peer review, critiques, debates) for the purpose of setting or maintaining standards and contributing to knowledge in your field.

General Research Accounts were created to provide faculty with flexibility and opportunities to support their research and scholarly activity.  It is important that Canada Revenue Agency not perceive this mechanism as a taxable personal benefit, hence the tight restrictions on how these funds are to be used.

Funds eligible for transfer to a General Research Account include:  departmental professional development funds, small research grants and contracts (after all reporting and the grant/contract is concluded -- Tri-Agency grants excepted), and employee donations.  The funds in these accounts can only be used to cover your research expenses, purchase release time from instructional duties, hire students to work on your research project, or other expenses related to a bona fide research or scholarly activity project.

To open a General Research Account, complete a Request for Non-Base Cost Centre form.  Your Dean must authorize your request and you must agree to comply with all ethics policies, procedures, and guidelines of VIU. You will also be required to complete and attach a VIU signing authority form. 

To access the funds, your Dean must approve all purchases/expenditures (in accordance with standard VIU Financial Services guidelines) and has the right to request a research proposal to verify that the funds are being used for research purposes.  The necessary ethics certifications, and annual renewals if required, must be in place before funds are accessible.

Balances in General Research Accounts are eligible to be carried forward into new fiscal years; however, you may be asked to verify the required ethics certifications are in place before the funds are allowed to be carried forward. 


  • The funds are considered VIU funds.
  • Canada Revenue Agency will not allow before tax salary transfers to a General Research cost centre.
  • Funds are not to be used for personal compensation.
  • Professional development funds transferred into a General Research cost centre are no longer available for PD activities.
  • Equipment items purchased with General Research funds are the property of VIU.
  • Funds are to be used to cover incidental expenses related to your research.
  • Any residual balance in a General Research cost centre will revert to the institution upon termination of employment.

For questions or advice on General Research Accounts, speak to Financial Services or the Research Services Manager. 

Cost centre request forms for General Research Accounts, and the accompanying signing authority form, can be found on the Financial Services webpage at:


Updated: May 16, 2018