Research Finance

Research Finance provides financial oversight for the entire University’s sponsored research portfolio. The team’s goal is to ensure compliance and accuracy in the financial stewardship of sponsored awards. In support of this, we provide leadership and expertise with the financial management that is provided across each of the Research Finance teams. 

Research Finance Teams:

Research Finance Portfolio

Research Finance Operations

Cash Management

Training and Compliance


Research Finance Portfolio Team

The two Research Finance Portfolio Teams actively engage with clients University-wide to support the post-award management of sponsored awards and ensure compliance with sponsor requirements and Harvard policies. The teams:

  • Employ a risk based approach to analyze expenditures for allowability, allocability, and reasonableness, in accordance with sponsor terms
  • Prepare and submit sponsor financial reports and invoices
  • Provide collection support for outstanding receivables
  • Actively engage with clients and provide post-award subject matter expertise
  • Monitor sponsor due dates and manage deadlines to facilitate timely closeout of awards

Research Finance Operations Team

The Research Finance Operations Team serves a quality assurance function to ensure that the financial terms and conditions of each award are accurately recorded and monitored according to sponsor requirements.  In doing so, the team ensures that automated processes for standardized invoicing and financial reporting (financial deliverables) are operating effectively to expedite reimbursement from sponsors.  

  • Reviews all sponsor notices and interprets the financial terms and conditions
  • Schedules all financial reports and invoices in GMAS
  • Processes all automated standard financial deliverables
  • Provides collection support for all expired accounts receivable

Cash Management

The Cash Management Team provides University-wide support for all sponsored payments, including the federal letters of credit. The team

  • Identifies sponsor payments (checks, wire, ACH)
  • Creates receipts and apply payments to outstanding receivables
  • Coordinates weekly and monthly letter of credit drawdowns
  • Files quarterly letter of credit reports to federal agencies
  • Calculates and issues annual interest payments to the federal government


Training and Compliance Team


In collaboration with leadership and schools, the OSP Training Team leads the University Research Administration Training Team (URATT) in the development, coordination, and administration of quality training opportunities and materials for staff at Harvard University to support the University Mission of Research and Education. Offerings include:

  • Quarterly, instructor-led training sessions for basic courses such as, Overview of Sponsored Projects, GMAS basics and requests, and ecrt basics.
  • Online training focused on Harvard Policy, and federal rules and regulations that govern sponsored funding through the Harvard Training Portal (HTP).
  • Webinars that provide how-to guidance such as, how to write a strong budget justification or enter billing agreements in GMAS.
  • REACH Certificate program.


Audit support is provided university-wide. The audit team’s involvement varies by audit request type and school.  At a minimum, our team provides support by:

  • Reviewing the engagement request and audit scope documents to ensure alignment with terms and conditions of the award.
  • Ensuring Harvard’s information is protected by having auditors sign a confidentiality agreement and submitting information through secure file transfer.
  • Reviewing the auditors final report and school representation letter.

Additional resources include:

  • Review of supporting documentation, 
  • Consultation on audit approach, and
  • Audit report responses

Other Compliance Activities

  • Performing quarterly monitoring of a subset of transactions on federal accounts for compliance with Harvard Policy and federal requirements (2 CFR 200.61) in the areas of:
    • Cost Sharing
    • Charging Administrative salaries
    • Cost Transfers
    • Travel and Entertainment
    • PCard Transactions with self-approval
  • Working with the University Subrecipient Monitoring Committee to support subrecipient monitoring effort
  • Reviewing, approving, and tracking cost transfer requests from schools and departments
  • Serving as a resource for schools and departments who have complex sponsored questions.