Activate Project Account

Activate project account infographic

Once we have the complete package and sponsor approval, Research Administrative Services (RAS) will set up one of the following for you:

  1. Project-specific account:
    Most research accounts fall into this category. For these accounts, access to spending is usually permitted once the RAS is aware of the sponsor's unconditional approval or has signed a research contract (some exceptions may apply.) Spending and reporting must be in accordance with sponsor requirements.
  2. Lab or general research services account:
    For these accounts, access to spending is permitted only after sponsor payment has been received, and there are no expectations about spending or reporting. Learn more about lab or general research accounts.

Speed Codes

When we're ready to activate your account, RAS will assign it a unique 5-digit code called a “speed code”. Your speed code is like a bank account number for a particular research project. Some projects may have more than one speed code, if there are multiple funders, because most sponsors require specific financial reporting about their funding.

Once you have a speed code, you can start spending from your account. All spending must be in accordance with sponsor expectations and University policies.


Regardless of the type of account, if your project requires ethics approval, animal care approval, biohazardous material approval, or other certifications, RAS will not set up your account until we have received appropriate confirmation. You can monitor the status of your account(s) through the Researcher Home Page.

Per University of Alberta policy, researchers must obtain appropriate ethics approval and certifications (e.g., human, animal, biohazards and stem cells) before they start their research and RAS must verify that these certifications and approvals are in place before allowing access to grant funds.

Researchers are also responsible for maintaining the relevant certifications and approvals for the duration of their human and/or animal research, and for closing their ethics file when ongoing approval is no longer needed. Unless a principal investigator (PI) declares that ethics approval is no longer required, access to funds will be frozen if ethics approval expires.

Human + Animal Approvals

Human and animal research ethics approvals are obtained through the Research Ethics Office, and ARISE Online System. For more information regarding applying for Ethics, Release of Funds or system support, contact: Research Ethics Office at 780-492-0459 or

Biohazard Approvals

All persons who have been awarded funding for a biological or medical research project, including all projects involving clinical specimens as well as sewage or wastewater, must apply for biohazards approval from HSE (link will place a copy of the approval application form into your Downloads folder for you to complete and return).

External Ethics Approvals

The University of Alberta has formal ethics reciprocity agreements(s) in place with a number of external agencies. Please provide a copy of your external approval(s) to RAS.

Laboratory Registration

Prior to beginning work, ensure that you have registered your laboratory in the HSE module of the ARISE database and listed all hazardous materials and equipment that you will be working with. In addition, familiarize yourself with the following permitting and declaration requirements for working with specific hazards. Groups working with high-risk chemicals should consult

Nuclear Substance Permit

Before a nuclear substance or device containing nuclear substance can be purchased or taken possession of, the Principal Investigator is required to obtain a nuclear substance permit. The process to acquire a new permit may typically take up to two months. More information about this process can be found in the Use or Handling of Nuclear Substances Code of Practice, section G.

More Information - Purchases of Nuclear Substances 

Registration Certificate for X-ray Equipment + Class 3B or Class 4 Lasers

Before purchasing an X-ray device, Class 3B and Class 4 lasers, it is important to verify that the equipment is eligible for registration to use in Alberta. This must be done by following the process outlined in the Supply Net User Reference Guide. Before use of an X-ray device, Class 3B or Class 4 laser the Principal Investigator must acquire a registration certificate for this device. In many cases, the room in which the equipment is to be housed must meet very specific design requirements. More information about this process can be found on the HSE website and in the Registration Guide.

Additional information

Why a project may not be active

There could be various reasons why an account is not active, even though a researcher has received notification of award from an agency. Please ensure that:

  • the RAS has received record of the award, agreement or contract
  • the agreement has been signed by all parties
  • human ethics, biohazards, or animal welfare certification has been acquired and the RAS has received notification that certification has been granted
  • the sponsor has NOT placed a hold on the funding
Why a Speed Code may be expired

If a speed code does not work, it may have been inactivated due to a project end date expiry or an over-expenditure. Sponsors usually do not permit spending after a project end date. However, the system will allow these transactions to process if the project is still active. Projects are automatically inactivated 10 days following the end date to prevent inappropriate transactions from processing.

If your account is closed, but eligible expenditures have not cleared or your project is not scheduled to expire and a credit balance exists, please contact our helpdesk for assistance.

How to track the status of a new proposal/new project set up?

 You can view the status of a new proposal request, along with the name and contact information of the Contract Specialist (Agreement Administrator) assigned to the file, which can be viewed by navigating to the Researcher Home Page. Search for the proposal in the Proposal Search box at the bottom of the RHP, then click on the “open book” icon in the Grants Life Cycle column beside the relevant Proposal ID.

Please contact the Contract Specialist (Agreement Administrator) assigned to your file if there are any immediate or pending deadlines tied to the request.

Differences between a RES number, a Proposal ID, and a Project ID number

A Proposal ID and Project ID are usually RES numbers. The RES numbering (RESxxxxxxx) started being used in 2009. A Proposal ID is associated with an application/proposal before it is approved by the sponsor and RAS. Once it is approved by the sponsor, and RAS has activated a project and speed code to spend from, the same RES number becomes a Project ID.

If you have any questions regarding activating project accounts that are not covered here, please contact our helpdesk

Need more information about hazardous materials or equipment?

For more information regarding work with hazardous materials or equipment, contact