The office is working with the Scottish Executive, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Carnegie UK Trust to set up the unit, which it calls the Centre of Excellence. Research partners and the centre's location will be decided once funding has been confirmed.
A spokeswoman for the Office of the Third Sector said: "Negotiations with key academic and third sector bodies are almost complete and we hope to make an announcement shortly.
"The centre's aim will be to support high-quality research that develops the evidence base so we can better understand charitable giving issues and influence policy and practice decisions. Its main role will be to strengthen the provision and use of independent, relevant and robust research."
The office was not able to confirm whether concerns raised last year, about whether research would be peer-reviewed, have been considered.
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: "We will look into what research currently exists and what gaps fundraising practitioners feel there are. We'll use this to argue that fundraising research forms a major component of the centre."