Financial Services

University Special Purpose Funds Policy

Special Purpose Funds relate to grants and donations accepted by the University to finance research or teaching projects, fellowships, scholarship awards and prizes, as well as funds received from sources such as endowments, consultancies and publications.

The University encourages members of the academic staff to seek funds from external sources to supplement monies received from government appropriations.

Special Purpose Funds are monies under the control of the University, and as such are subject also to general University financial and administrative policies and procedures, including those associated with Financial Delegations of Authority.

Control over the use of funds can vary from being unrestricted such as general donations, through to funds that are governed by terms and conditions.

Policy statement

Types of Special Purpose Funds

Research grants
Grants for research are usually received through a competitive process and the research may be basic, strategic or applied.
Contract research
Contract research results from a direct request by industry or a government agency, from competitive bidding, or from the production or development of a product of direct interest to an agency or industry.
A consultancy involves buying the skills and expertise of staff and equipment to work on a specified project.
University discretionary funds
University discretionary funds have been established by the University to provide an independent source of funds for the University's strategic initiatives. The University also has a body of funds that will be preserved in real terms, with only the residual interest available to support identified activities in perpetuity. The University Discretionary Fund is divided into three broad fund groups.
Vice-Chancellor's Discretionary Fund (VCDF).
Funds are awarded for ad hoc non-recurrent expenditure.
Research Matching Fund (RMF).
Funds are administered by the Research Committee and are applied towards research activities that strengthen the University's opportunities for additional external funding.
University Strategic Fund (USF)
Non-recurrent funding is provided to assist in the pursuance of initiatives and objectives specified in the University's Strategic Plan, Operational Priorities Plan and associated management plans or in the achievement of the UWA Academic Profile.
Gifts for specified purposes
Monetary gifts to the University for a variety of purposes, as specified by the donor and agreed to by the University, are exhausted by their use. They are distinguished from endowment funds in that there is no notion of preserving capital. Endowed and bequest funds preserved under Senate policy are restricted in that only investment income earned on the funds (rather than the funds themselves), can be used for University purposes.
Interest income
Income earned on Special Purpose Funds cash balances and investments may be used for specific teaching and research projects.
Sale of goods and services
Funds received from the sale of goods and services include:
  • Conferences (other than those sponsored externally)
  • Consultancies
  • Contract research
  • Royalties
  • Sale of publications
  • Continuing education activities
  • Construction of apparatus
  • Licensing fees
  • Sitting fees
  • Hire and lease fees.


Agency funds
The University is unwilling to administer monies over which it does not exercise complete control. Therefore, monies belonging to external agencies and incorporated bodies will not be included in the University's ledger without the approval of the Executive Director (Finance and Resources).
Gifts for unspecified purposes with benefit to donor
A donor must not receive any material benefit or advantage. Where a monetary donation is made to the University and where the donor does not make a specific request regarding its use, the University has total discretion as to its use.
Gifts in kind
Gifts in kind other than financial ones (cash and securities) are part of General University Activities and are therefore not included in, nor managed through, Special Purpose Funds.
Monies set aside for capital items, such as building funds or for the purchase of specialised or large equipment items, are not part of Special Purpose Funds. Interest earned on funds invested will be appropriated to the reserves.
Management of Special Purpose Funds
Special Purpose Funds are often one-off allocations and are therefore not tied to recurrent funding. Management of these Special Purpose Funds is to be undertaken by the specific Business Unit to which they relate. Income received and expenditure related to Special Purpose Funds requires observance of the same procedures and policies as all other income and expenditure incurred on behalf of the University. In some cases, Special Purpose Funds will accrue interest.
Note that funding from these sources cannot exceed the allocation approved by the relevant Committee/University Executive and can only be expended for the purpose specified in the application.