Per University of Alberta policy, researchers must obtain appropriate ethics approval and certifications – human, animal, biohazards and stem cells – before they start their research AND RSO 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.
Sometimes the first months or years of a grant do not involve human participant research or animal use and preparing an application and obtaining approval during this phase of the project may be impossible. The release of funds process, managed by the Research Ethics Office (REO), enables researchers to access the funds budgeted for up to one year of the project pending preparation and receipt of the full ethics approval. See REO's website for more information on the process. Access to your funds will be frozen if your Release of Funds Agreement expires before you obtain ethics approval.
Please note: Without a Release of Funds Agreement, expenses incurred before ethics approval is in place are considered ineligible.