Institutional Priorities

UAlberta Budget Model

Changing Budget Models

Historically, the University of Alberta has employed an incremental budget model. We are now transitioning to a new activities-based model. 

The budget model outlines the mechanisms and processes for the assignment of revenues and responsibility for costs across the University’s faculties and administrative units.

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How the New Model Works

The new budget model is activity based. Faculty revenues depend on teaching and research activities, the University’s two core mandates, rather than on the historical allocation of resources.

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How are we changing?

The University of Alberta is moving from an incremental budget model to a new budget model that more effectively directs operating resources to the core activities of the university – teaching and research.

Why are we changing?

We need to make this change because incremental budget related issues are preventing us from making the best use of resources:

  • Incremental budgeting is based on history rather than data; there is no discernable link between how we allocate our resources and the actual cost of our core activities of teaching and research.
  • Over time, a number of unique sharing and allocation arrangements have emerged that make the current model overly complex and, in some cases, have entrenched historical inequities.
  • Without transparency around decision-making processes, there is little accountability for outcomes.

The new budget model aligns with Objective 22 in For the Public Good, in which we commit to developing a sustainable budget model to preserve and enhance our core mission.

What will we achieve?

The new budget model will:

  • Bring transparency to the allocation of resources and to decision-making
  • Help us to align spending with strategic academic priorities
  • Create a culture of long-term academic planning
  • Enable all of us to make better decisions

When are we changing?

Allocations determined by the new model will be used during the budget planning cycle beginning September, 2019, for the 2020-21 budget year. Actual dollars will not be distributed using the model until April 1, 2020.

Who is leading this change?

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Steven Dew and Vice-President (Finance and Administration) Gitta Kulczycki are the executive leads of this project. In May 2017, a Budget Model Working Group (BMWG) was created to develop and implement a new budget model. This work is now complete.  As we move towards implementation, a Budget Model Operational Unit has been established to put the model into action.

How are we getting ready?

The first phase of pre-implementation will include:

  • Activities of the Budget Model Operational Unit:
    • Align and integrate budget planning processes
    • Ensure coordination and reliability of data sources and systems
    • Develop reporting systems to support the model
  • Activities of the Change Management Team:
    • Monitor and assess readiness for the change
    • Coordinate pre-implementation activities
    • Develop strategic communications strategy and tools
    • Identify training needs and ensure that it is delivered
  • Committee work (and consultation) on considerations and issues, as well as development of processes, procedures and policies.
  • Regular updates and information on progress through: GFC, APC, and Chairs’ Council; State of the University Address; budget planning meetings.
See More: Budget Model FAQs