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Research Support Fund

Submitted by mclean1 on Tue, 03/15/2016 - 12:56pm

In May 2016, The U15 Executive Heads agreed to the following statement on the indirect costs of research. Read more...

What is the Research Support Fund?

In 2003, the Government of Canada introduced the Indirect Costs Program to help post-secondary institutions offset the less obvious costs of research. The Indirect Costs Program will be completed after the 2014-2015 fiscal year. For future years, the program will be replaced by the Research Support Fund.

The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by Tri-Council agencies (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC). The annual grant helps institutions manage the financial demands of the indirect costs of research. By easing the institutional financial burden, the Research Support Fund helps the university create an environment where researchers can focus on their research, collaborate with colleagues, and translate their discoveries and innovations.

What are the indirect costs of research?

In order for research projects to step off the pages of the funding application and come alive in an active, collaborative environment, there is a host of everyday, practical requirements that must be addressed and in place. These requirements, that may not be directly obvious, have associated costs; these are the indirect costs of research. Some of the specific costs include those behind-the-scenes expenses incurred by the university supporting the day-to-day research enterprise. Without heat, electricity, computer and network maintenance or administrative staff, research projects would be near impossible to complete. Costs incurred to keep the lights on, maintain database servers, or the wear-and-tear maintenance for lab space all contribute to the indirect cost of research.

Calculation of the Research Support Fund Grant

The University of Calgary's (U of C) Research Support Fund allocation is calculated based on Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) funding awarded in the previous fiscal year. In 2016/2017 the U of C received a $12.43M grant dedicated to five expenditure categories:

2016/2017 Research Support Fund

In 2016/2017, the U of C invested Indirect Costs funding in facilities to support and maintain laboratories across campus. These funds help provide a vital physical space where the lights are on, the environment is safe, and the equipment is functional to ensure the research team can rely on a lab space where they can seek, discover and innovate.

Dedicating a significant portion of the grant to research resources ensures current and relevant material is available to support research and training at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty level. Maintaining a current library is at the very core of a post-secondary institution as it is a repository of knowledge and an academic foundation for the research enterprise.

This year, management and administration funds supported Research Accounting salaries and benefits as that team operates as a central service unit facilitating the administrative, post-award functions supporting research initiatives. With the new campus-wide efficiency program supporting the administrative systems, there is a vital need for staff to be responsive to researcher requests, as well as the need to produce timely, detailed and accurate reporting. Research Accounting is instrumental to research at the U of C as it works with research teams, administration and leadership, and funding agencies to ensure accurate and timely reporting.

This year, regulatory requirements and accreditation funds supported Animal Care Certification and Research Services ethics staff. In an effort to proactively meet compliance issues, the U of C launched a new ethics certification process – the Institutional Research Information Services Solution (IRISS). IRISS is a significant project that impacts all aspects of research.

In line with the strategic vision to sharpen our focus on research and scholarship, the U of C dedicated salary support for in-house legal counsel to ensure faculty and students protect their intellectual property and successfully execute contracts and agreement when working with sponsored research and industry.

Affiliated Institutions

  • Alberta Health Services (AHS)
    • Alberta Children's Hospital Research Centre
    • Foothills Hospital
    • Peter Lougheed Centre
    • Rockyview General Hospital
    • Tom Baker Cancer Centre
    • South Health Campus
    • Calgary Lab Services
  • Arctic Institute of North America (AINA)
  • Alberta Sulphur Research Limited (ASRL)
  • Carbon Management Canada Research Institutes Inc. (CMCRI)
  • Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)
  • University Technologies Inc. (UTI)
  • Calgary Technologies Inc.
  • Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute
  • Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family
  • Van Horne Institute
  • Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research
  • Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF Joint Venture)

2016-2017 Performance Indicators and Target Outcomes


U of C research core facilities, platforms and research stations will continue to provide access to unique opportunities, latest instrumentation and HQP

Usage and user feedback plus number and quality of publications

RSF will fund a portion of costs to upgrade both facilities & instrumentation and also personnel costs

Status of usage and output indicators


U of C will support increased needs for digital resources including: library collections; research databases; Hyperion for effective budgeting of research funds; research data library; and cloud storage

Usage and user feedback plus number and quality of publications

RSF will fund a portion of the development and maintenance of digital storage, retrieval, analysis systems and personnel costs

Status of usage and output indicators


U of C will implement a new Research Management System that will create efficiencies enabling Research Services/ Accounting to add higher level value that will strengthen grant applications

Number and quality of grants processed and awards received without need for more staff

RSF will fund a portion of the development of Research Management System plus salaries of staff in Research Services/Accounting/Faculties that directly support researchers

Efficiency of processing and transition of staff from more administrative duties to higher level value add. Increase in number of grants/ contracts/


U of C will Increase the effectiveness and ease of use of systems that support animal (CCAC) and human ethics (TCPS-2). Maintain high standards with effective support for applicants

Number, quality and speed of processing of animal and human ethics applications

RSF will fund a portion of the effort to improve workflow required to ensure effective submission and management of applications

Shorter times to completion of applications. Maintain compliance with TCPS2 and CCAC.


U of C will create an Entrepreneurial University achieved, in part, by building more and stronger partnerships with business/industry

Strengthening support for industry liaison and partnerships.

RSF will fund a portion of the salary for staff.

Partnerships with industry leveraged into increased funding. Increase in number of disclosures, patents, start-ups

Past RSF Funding

Submitted by mclean1 on Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:46pm


Calculation of the Research Support Fund Grant

The University of Calgary's (U of C) Research Support Fund allocation is calculated based on Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) funding awarded in the previous fiscal year. In 2015/2016 the U of C received a $11.57M grant dedicated to five expenditure categories:

2015/2016 Research Support Fund

Affiliated Institutions

  • Alberta Health Services (AHS)
    • Alberta Children's Hospital
    • Alberta Children's Hospital Research Centre
    • Foothills Hospital
    • Peter Lougheed Centre
    • Rockyview Hospital
    • Tom Baker Cancer Centre
    • South Health Campus
    • Calgary Lab Services
  • Arctic Institute of North America (AINA)
  • Alberta Sulphur Research Limited (ASRL)
  • Carbon Management Canada Research Institutes Inc. (CMCRI)
    • Containment and Monitoring Institute (CaMI)
  • University Technologies Inc. (UTI)
  • Calgary Technologies Inc.
  • Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute
  • Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family
  • Tecterra Inc.
  • Van Horne Institute

Outcomes Report

As part of our outcomes report, listed below are the qualitative and quantitative measurements on the impact of the Research Support Fund at the University of Calgary, supplemented by the institutions’ internal operation budget. Funds have been invested in each eligible category.

Research Facilities

A preliminary list of 32 core facilities across 7 faculties has been created and is available on the website. This is the first step in the process of compiling a complete list of our core facilities and collecting qualitative metrics (usage, users’ satisfaction, etc.). These facilities are crucial in the support of leading-edge research and innovation. They support thousands of researchers (including faculty members, students and postdoctoral fellows) and provide the infrastructure to implement hundreds of research projects each year.

New facilities that have been announced or opened in 2015/16 include:

  • Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA): for development of technologies to remove chemicals – notably pharmaceuticals, hormones and antibiotics – as well as pathogens and toxins from wastewaters, and to create a deep understanding of the impacts of pollutants on aquatic environments. The ACWA Research Facility is embedded in the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Centre of the City of Calgary.
  • Energy Bioengineering and Geomicrobiology (EBG) Facility: cutting-edge instrumentation including a bioreactor and associated analytical devices for bioprocess and metagenomic characterization.
  • Western Canadian Microbiome Centre (WCMC): under development (opening in 2017), the WCMC will include a new germ-free facility, real-time in vivo & in vitro imaging, and –omics platforms for studying natural and engineered microbiomes.
  • CERC (Canada Excellence Research Chair) lab in the Energy, Environmental, Experiential Learning building with equipment to study micro/nano-materials applied to unconventional oil reservoirs.

Research Resources

A number of initiatives have been established at UCalgary in 2015/16:

  • A committee to develop and implement a digital data management system
  • Upgrade of archiving system to manage new digital data management needs (dSpace)

Management and Administration of Institutions and Research Enterprise

  • More than 150 personnel are dedicated to research support systems in accounting, human resources, IT, legal, ethics and supply chain management.
  • The University of Calgary’s Research Services Office, with a staffing complement of 45, offers services ranging from pre-award assistance to facilitation of major strategic initiatives, networks, centres of excellence and research infrastructure programs (including business case development, securing matching industrial support and developing commercialization strategies as necessary).
  • Ten faculty-embedded research facilitators across the UCalgary campus provide local support for individual researchers in securing and utilizing research funding.
  • Strategic University Proposal and Platform Opportunity Review Team (SUPPORT): Five committees (Chairs, Infrastructure, Networks, Prizes and HQP Training) make recommendations to the VP Research for strategic allocation of institutional opportunities, quotas, and major infrastructure and operating funds. The SUPPORT process provides full peer review for more than 90 major grant applications annually, and feedback to researchers has significantly improved quality and success of our applications (with nationally leading success rates in CRC and CFI JELF awards). Committees are comprised of 44 faculty members from across campus, Associate VPs Research, along with representatives from service units responsible for implementation, such as Campus Planning and Facilities Development.
  • Research Management System: a committee and operational team is in place to develop this new platform that will provide streamlined, one-stop customer service to the research community by providing greater administrative oversight, improved integration and reporting in order to administer, track, and analyze research inputs, processes and outputs. The team includes three full- or part-time consultants plus five seconded staff and steering and oversight committees of staff including members from faculty and administrative staff.

Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation

The Institutional Research Information Services Solution (IRISS): an online program automated workflow for researchers when applying for the certifications necessary to conduct research involving humans or animals. This system supports over 9,000 researchers annually and has significantly reduced the administrative workload when applying for ethics certification, supports efficiencies for the review boards, and ensures institutional compliance with Tri-Council guidelines.

  • In 2015/16, there were approximately 20 activities that were modified to support a more efficient electronic process
  • Many manual activities were automated
  • Submission Stats for 2015: (includes certificate, modification, renewal & closure): 6,309 applications
  • Time to Determination in 2015: (upon submission to REB) 59 days for CHREB (certification only) an 33 days for CFREF (certification only)

Intellectual Property

  • Number of active NSERC partnership grants in 2015/16: 91 (including Engage, CRD, SPG, IRC).
  • UCalgary has created an innovation ecosystem in the energy sector through our partnership with SAIT (Canada’s top ranked Polytechnic in Applied Research) and Innovate Calgary (our Tech Transfer organization). 
  • By partnering with SAIT Polytechnic, UCalgary has a champion in prototyping capabilities and technology transfer in the energy sector. SAIT adds important laboratories and facilities and also a key team of over 45 full-time applied research staff who have a track record of building prototypes and demonstration scale technology apparatus for the energy sector.
  • Innovate Calgary, a 60-person organization serving entrepreneurs and innovators both inside the university and within the community at large, has a 30-year history of managing intellectual property development (invention assessments, patents and licenses), launching new companies, mentoring entrepreneurs and SMEs, and raising capital to build and grow start-ups and link them with technology receptors.
  • UCalgary, SAIT, and Innovate Calgary have partnered with support from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to construct the Kinetica Innovation Center at SAIT (KICS), a prototype development lab space for energy startups (opening fall 2016).
  • University of Calgary Client Successes (data only for the energy-sector): 4 start-up companies that Innovate Calgary has helped to de-risk and accelerate over the past year.


2014/2015 Total: $ 11,932,345
Research Facilities      $ 3,653,766
Research Resources  $ 3,306,906
Management & Administration  $ 3,352,989
Regulatory Requirements  $ 809,342
Intellectual Property  $ 809,342


2013/2014 Total:  $ 11,775,926
Research Facilities      $ 3,373,671
Research Resources  $ 3,226,604
Management & Administration  $ 3,517,492
Regulatory Requirements  $ 826,276
Intellectual Property  $ 831,883

Research Highlights

Research Services Office provides a wide range of support to the research community, including the Legal and Intellectual Property (IP) management of each initiative. Essential services like those offered through the Research Services Office are supported in part by the Government of Canada’s Research Support Fund.

University researchers Keith Yeates and Stephen Freedman part of new Canada-wide concussion study

Bioengineering and chemistry researchers find new approach to destroying tumours

Sheri Madigan’s early childhood development project one of eight supported by $7.6 million in Canada Research Chair awards

Ryan Williams' studies on prisoners convicted of terrorism open new perspectives on security, marginalization and society