Research Administration Procedures

Research and Scholarly Activities

Responsibility: Vice-President, Research
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Dec 16, 2014

Procedures

These procedures are issued under the policy Research Administration to provide more detail on the administration of Research and to distinguish Research activities within the scope of the policy from other contractual engagements.

1.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1.1    The PI or Co-I (if funding has been sub-transferred) is responsible for:

  • preparing the proposal for the Research Project, including its budget and statement of work;
  • ensuring that the Institutional Costs of Research (ICR) are included in the budget as per the ICR policy;
  • submitting the proposal to the Funder once it has been endorsed by the University in accordance with this policy, except in instances where submission by the University is specified by the Funder;
  • ensuring the budget associated with a Research Agreement does not have a significant variance from actual expected costs, and if this should occur, the PI (Co-I) will prepare an amended budget;
  • ensuring the financial management of the Research Project which includes not incurring over expenditures;
  • carrying out the Research as stated in the proposal or as otherwise stated in the Research Agreement;
  • ensuring all persons working on the Research Project, whether paid or unpaid, are fully informed of and agree to comply with all applicable terms of the Research Agreement or the Funder’s terms;
  • ensuring all obligations with respect to intellectual property, whether pursuant to the Research Agreement, Funder’s terms, or University policies, are met;
  • maintaining scholarly or scientific records and data in accordance with the Research Agreement, Funder’s terms, relevant laws, University policies, and best practices of the PI’s (Co-Is) academic discipline, whichever is most rigorous;
  • submitting (and retaining at least one copy of) technical reports and other deliverables in the form and by the dates specified in the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms;
  • authorizing or approving delegation of signing authority for all expenditures in accordance with the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms and the policies and procedures of the University;
  • following all relevant laws, regulations, and University policies and procedures in the conduct of the Research Project;
  • informing the department/college/school and the Research Services and Ethics Office (RSEO) as soon as possible if the PI becomes aware of any circumstances that could prevent satisfactory completion of the Research Project or compliance with any terms and conditions of the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms;
  • ensuring current ethics approvals for the duration of the Research Project; and
  • informing RSEO if there is a change in academic or eligibility status.

1.2    The Administering Unit is responsible for:

  • approving and providing the necessary support for the Research Project (including administrative support, financial support and space as indicated in the proposal) and ensuring the sustained operation of the Research infrastructure and assets by including related operating and maintenance costs into planning and budget processes and documents.
  • ensuring normal teaching duties or other responsibilities of the PI (and Co-I when receiving sub-transferred funding) will not be adversely affected by terms of the Research Agreement, or that acceptable adjustments to these duties have been made and, if appropriate, provided for in the related department/college/school budget;
  • ensuring that any involvement of trainees (undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents, etc.) is appropriate;
  • verifying the PI’s and Co-I’s academic status;
  • processing authorized expenditures in accordance with the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms and the policies and procedures of the University;
  • monitoring all Research Funds and informing Financial Services (FS) to suspend Research Funds that have deficits which are not being addressed by the PI (Co-I);
  • dealing with and finding resolution with the PI (Co-I) and within the college and centre/institute/school (as appropriate) of all financial shortfalls associated with the Research Project, whether occasioned by failure to comply with the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms, overspending, or shortfalls in revenue; and
  • receiving all financial residuals (college/school-level only) associated with Research Funds if the PI (Co-I) departs from the institution, recognizing compliance with the Funder’s terms and conditions related to the funding

1.3    Research Services and Ethics Office, Office of the Vice-President Research, is responsible for:

  • liaising with Funders and point of contact for Tri-Agency and CFI;
  • negotiating and processing of Research Agreements, in consultation with the PI, the Funder and the University;
  • ensuring the necessary internal review and approvals are received;
  • ensuring all Research Agreements have the proper institutional authorizations;
  • approving proposals for Funded Research on behalf of the University, unless otherwise expressly delegated;
  • authorizing the creation of Research Funds and dealing with any amendments of those Research Funds;
  • facilitating any funding transfer and sub-contracting of Research Projects, and full transfers of Research funding of departing or arriving PIs and Co-Is;
  • facilitating required amendments or changes to terms of original Research Agreements;
  • notifying FS of any changes in academic status of the PI or Co-Is which RSEO becomes aware of (if applicable);
  • monitoring ongoing eligibility and confirming annual eligibility as required by Funders;
  • notifying Funders of any changes in academic status that affects eligibility of the PI or Co-Is to manage Research Funds of which RSEO becomes aware (if applicable);
  • notifying FS of any changes in the Research Agreement or Funder’s award such as extensions, PI changes, additional support, early terminations etc.;
  • authorizing the opening of a continuous research fund (CRF) and transferring additional funding to the CRF;
  • informing the PI (Co-I) and the department/college/school as soon as possible if RSEO becomes aware of any significant adverse matter in respect to the Research Project; and
  • informing FS the closing of a Research Fund as applicable.

1.4    Financial Services, Office of the Vice-President Finance is responsible for:

  • setting up the Research Fund and notifying the PI (Co-I);
  • maintaining financial records in relation to the Research Project in accordance with the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms and the policies and procedures of the University, whichever is more rigorous;
  • ensuring updated budgets are approved for Research Funds, especially when the received funding differs from that requested or according to the Funder’s policies; and
  • submitting financial reports and other deliverables in the form and by the dates specified in the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms.

2.0 RESEARCH

2.1  The Principal Investigator (PI) who proposes to initiate a Research Project must determine whether it is Research activity as defined in the policy and procedures before committing to perform the activity, and this determination should be confirmed by the head of the academic unit.  Should there be any uncertainty, a final determination of whether a proposed activity would constitute a Research Project is the responsibility of RSEO, Office of the Vice-President Research (OVPR).

2.2  Further to the definition provided in the Policy, it is anticipated that Research possesses all the following characteristics:

a.         the primary goal of the activity is to advance general knowledge in the academic, scientific or professional community;

b.         the scope of the work and experimental design are determined by the PI, or jointly by the PI (and Co-Is) with the Funder; and

c.         the activities are intended to lead to scientific or scholarly findings which will be disseminated via appropriate knowledge translation activities.

2.3  Research Projects must be conducted in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures with respect to Research.

2.4  For the purposes of the Policy, funding provided to the University for the support of Research infrastructure and assets by the Canadian federal and provincial governments is considered Funded Research.

2.5  Other Research Agreements may include material transfer agreements (MTAs), confidentiality disclosure agreements (CDAs), memorandums of understanding (MOUs), memorandums of agreements (MOAs), student funding, workshops, travel, etc.

3.0 RESEARCH FUNDS

3.1  RSEO is authorized to accept funding in support of Research and to record the funding in a unique Research Fund within the University financial system, administered by FS if:

3.1.1 The project meets the definition of Research and all of the following are present:

- the funding is expendable (i.e. are not provided to establish an endowment); and

- the funding was received internally or from a third party as a result of a proposal, competition, or agreement;

3.1.2  Reporting (if required) to a third party is required with respect to the attainment of identified milestones or deliverables, specific outcomes from Research activities, or actual expenditures according to types or classification or budgets;

3.1.3  The funding is for the recovery of eligible costs associated with Funded Research activities, including capital asset, infrastructure operating costs, and health region service costs (if applicable), etc.; or

3.1.4  The funding is a donation used to match funding provided under a Funded Research Agreement, where the terms of the Funded Research Agreement specify that the donation cannot be used for another purpose.

3.2  Donations for Research that are not specifically directed by the donor to a particular academic unit within the University, or directed for use on a topic normally undertaken by a particular academic unit, will be brought to the attention of RSEO for a determination of the appropriate disposition of the funding in accordance with the donor’s wishes.

4.0 ESTABLISHING RESEARCH FUNDS IN THE UNIVERSITY FINANCIAL SYSTEM

4.1  RSEO must receive a copy of the award notification from either the Funder or from the PI, together with all required documentation that supports the funding for administrative purposes.

4.2  RSEO must have confirmation of all relevant compliance documentation (human ethics, animal care, biohazard permit, external institutional approvals, etc.) that may be required prior to authorizing a Research Fund.

4.3  The PI or Co-I must submit a budget for Research Projects if applicable.  An updated budget must be in place for pertinent Research Projects if the received funding differs from that requested by greater than 20% or spending on any line item identified in the budget is expected to be different from that proposed by greater than 20% (if required by the Funder);

4.4  Once all documentation and compliance requirements are in place, RSEO will authorize a Research Fund to be established within the University financial system and forward necessary documentation to FS.

4.5  FS will notify the PI or Co-I of the establishment of a Research Fund.

4.6  Continuous Research Funds (CRF)

4.6.1    The primary purpose of a CRF is to consolidate residual funding that is intended to be used for Research.  This funding cannot be used for the purposes of personal gain or advantage to the PI.  Such funding is the property of the University but is under the authority of the PI.  A significant budget variance over 20% should not be deliberately incorporated into budgets with the sole purpose to generate a residual to transfer to a CRF.

4.6.2    Upon termination of the Research Agreement, any remaining balance will be treated as per the terms and conditions of the Research Agreement, and the Research Fund will be closed.  Should there be no provisions made for dispersal of the funding, the Funder will be contacted to confirm whether the funding can remain with the University and made available to the PI(s) and/or Co-Is to be used for Research.  The resulting funding will be transferred to a CRF, once authorized by RSEO.

4.6.3    To establish a CRF, the PI shall send a request for a Research Fund to RSEO, identifying the sources of funding.  A PI may have only one CRF.  Centres, under the Director, may have only one CRF.

4.6.4    Residual funding may be deposited into a CRF only after authorization by RSEO.

4.6.5    Principal Investigators will submit requests for transfer of funding to their CRF to RSEO.  If the source of funding is attributable to residual funding from a Research Agreement, RSEO will authorize FS to process the transfer of funding to the CRF.

4.6.6    Once a CRF is created, it can be used to support specific Research Projects or Research Programs.  A separate Research Fund can be authorized to receive funding from the CRF for such Research Projects or Research Programs.  All Research Funds created through this mechanism must meet the requirements of the University for Funded Research.

4.6.7    If a CRF accrues a balance greater than $10,000, the PI must have approval of a plan by the department head/dean of the Administering Unit on how this funding is to be used for Research purposes within a five-year timeframe.

4.6.8    If professors emeriti have CRFs that have remained dormant for five years and there is no plan to use the funding for Research purposes, upon approval by the dean/director, the college/school will transfer residuals to a Fund under their authority of the dean/director.

4.6.9    Research conducted using funding from a CRF must be in accordance with University policies and procedures.

4.7  Closing Research Funds

4.7.1    The PI (Co-I) must notify RSEO when a Research Project is completed and confirm that all the terms and conditions of the Research Agreement have been met.

4.7.2    RSEO will determine if there are any obligations and undertake any procedures required for termination.

4.7.3    The PI will request that RSEO transfer any residual funding, if eligible to be retained by the University as per the terms outlined by the Funder, in accordance with the procedures for a CRF.

4.7.4    If the residual being transferred is greater than 20% of the total amount that was received from the Funder for performing the Research Project, a justification of the variance will need to be approved by the Administering Unit prior to RSEO approving the transfer. 

4.8  Payroll commitments

4.8.1    Any payroll commitments made on Research Funds will be considered an outstanding liability.  Other eligible expenditures will be allowed only on unencumbered funding.

4.9  Change of status of PI(Co-I)

4.9.1    The PI (Co-I) must notify RSEO of any changes in academic status that affects the eligibility to hold and manage Research Funds.  RSEO shall inform FS of status changes which are received.

4.9.1.1  PIs transferring departments and/or colleges

  • When a PI (Co-I) transfers from one department/college to another, responsibility for existing Research Funds will also be transferred with the approval of the Administering Unit of origin and the department/college of destination.
  • RSEO and FS must review proposed changes to ensure that all financial and academic obligations are taken into consideration.

4.9.1.2  PIs changing appointment status

PIs whose appointment status has changed (e.g. to professor emeritus, adjunct) must notify RSEO to ensure that the change in status does not affect their continued eligibility to hold Research Funds as per the Funder’s requirements or university policy and that necessary arrangements have been made with the Funders.

4.9.1.3  Departing PIs

  • Upon being advised of the departure of a PI (Co-I), RSEO will review all Research Agreements held by such a PI to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the award.
  • Continuation of the Research Project at the University should be facilitated where possible.  Should the Funder transfer the role of PI to another University researcher, the Research Fund administration will also be transferred.  If the departing PI (Co-I) maintains his/her role, the Research Fund administration will remain with the PI (Co-I).
  • If the PI is transferring to another eligible Canadian Research institution, transfer of the Research Agreements may be accommodated, subject to outstanding commitments to the University.
  • If continued Research at the University is not possible, and after transfer of the Research Agreement has been executed, any residual funds shall remain with the University and transferred to the college/school.
  • If continued Research is not possible, the Research Agreement will be terminated.

5.0 SERVICE AGREEMENTS

5.1       In this section, “Service” is defined as activities having the following characteristics:

  • the primary goal of the activity is to apply existing knowledge to solve a particular identified problem or generate data of limited general application;
  • the scope of the work and project design is determined by the Funder;
  • the application of established publicly known or proprietary testing protocol or existing Research tools (without material modification) or specific expertise aimed at achieving a client/customer driven outcome;
  • there is no expectation of outcomes that would be publishable in peer-reviewed journals;
  • there is no expectation that the activity will generate patentable inventions;
  • a trainee may participate provided the work does not detract from, nor form the basis of the trainee’s academic program.

5.2       Where the activities meet the definition of Service, the agreement will be recorded within a Research Fund.

5.3       All activities under service agreements must be undertaken in compliance with all applicable University policies and procedures, including without limitation those with respect to the use of human participants, animals, and hazardous materials, and signing authority.

6.0 ADMINISTRATION

6.1       If the activity proposed to be undertaken is determined to be Research, the Research Administration policy and procedures shall be followed by all University participants.

6.2       If the activity proposed to be undertaken is not determined to be Research, the dean, vice-dean, associate dean, director, department head or other head of the budget unit in which the work would be performed or Corporate Administration shall be contacted by the party proposing the activity depending on the nature of the service.

Related Documents

There are no other documents associated with this policy.

Contact Information

Contact Person: Director, Research Services and Ethics Office, Office of the Vice-president research
Phone: 306-966-8575