Related Policy: 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 Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives (RASI) or Research Excellence and Innovation (REI) 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 RASI or REI 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 Operations (FO) 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 Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives (RASI) and Research Excellence and Innovation (REI), Office of the Vice-President Research, are responsible for:
- liaising with Funders and point of contact for Tri-Agency and CFI (RASI only);
- 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 Financial Operations of the closing of a Research Fund as applicable.
1.4 Financial Operations (FO), Office of the Vice-President Finance and Resources, 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; and
- submitting financial reporting, invoices and other deliverables using the format and by the dates specified in the Research Agreement or Funder’s terms.
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 RASI (for grants) or REI (for contracts), 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:
- the primary goal of the activity is to advance general knowledge in the academic, scientific or professional community;
- 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
- 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 RASI and REI are 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 FO 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 RASI and REI 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 RASI or REI 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 RASI and REI 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, RASI or REI will authorize a Research Fund to be established within the University financial system and forward necessary documentation to FO.
4.5 FO 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 eligible Research Funding that support PI, departmental, college/school or centre research. Funding must be for research purposes. Such funding is the property of the University but is under the authority of the PI. A PI must be eligible to hold and administer research funds as per Article 3.0 in the Eligibility to Apply for, Hold and Administer Research Funding Policy.
4.6.2 A PI may have only one CRF. Academic departments, colleges and centres may have only one CRF which will be set up under the Department Head, Dean or Centre Director as applicable.
4.6.3. Funds from the below listed sources are eligible for transfer to a CRF. In all cases, funding cannot be used for the purposes of personal gain or advantage to the PI.
(a) Residuals from external grants
- Residual Funds from external grants are eligible for a CRF if the funding agency does not require a return of residuals at the end of a Research Project.
- A significant budget variance should not be deliberately incorporated into budgets with the sole purpose to generate a residual to transfer to a CRF.
- Residuals should typically not exceed 20% of the original grant. If residuals are greater than 20% of the overall budget, the PI must provide a plan on how the funding is to be used, which has been approved, by the department head/dean of the Administering Unit, before the funding will be transferred to the CRF.
- A plan must be submitted with the transfer request which specifies how funds are to be used for research purposes within a five-year timeframe.
(b) Internal grants if the following criteria is met:
- Be intended for research activity;
- Have no expiry date for fund use;
- No expectation for return of residuals;
- No technical or financial reporting requirements;
- Not compensate faculty for work over and above regular assignment of duties as outlined in work agreement;
- A variety of sources may be eligible for transfer to a CRF, including the following: internal grants provided as incentives to attract the right faculty to some service responsibilities; internal grants provided as incentives to retain faculty; and research fund allocations for department heads and Assistant Deans (Article 18.8.3) This is not an exclusive list and other sources may be considered on a case by case basis.
(c) Transfers of institutional costs of research (ICR)
- When a college/department chooses to transfer ICR to a researcher (as per Institutional Costs of Research policy), these funds are eligible for a CRF.
4.6.4 Funds from the following sources are not eligible for transfer to a CRF:
- Internal or external payments intended as compensation
- Salary redirect to research grants (Article 24.5.19)
- USFA Funds distributed to members are not eligible for transfer to CRF.
- Research funds offered as an alternative to salary or stipend are not eligible for a CRF.
This list may be modified as other circumstances come to light and are decided by the dispute mechanism outlined in 4.6.5.
4.6.5 Disputes over eligibility of funding for CRFs will be reviewed by the Director, RASI and the Director, Financial Operations.
4.6.6 To establish a CRF or initiate a new transfer of internal funds to a CRF, the PI (or administering unit) shall send a request to RASI identifying the sources of funding. Research funding may be deposited into a CRF only after authorization by RASI or REI. The authorized form will then be shared with Financial Operations. If the transfer is for ICR, the unit or ConnectionPoint can prepare the journal entry. All other transfers are the responsibility of Financial Operations.
4.6.7 Funding held in a CRF is to be used for research-related expenditures. Research conducted using funding from a CRF must be in accordance with University policies and procedures. 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.
4.6.8 College Deans have authority and oversight over CRFs held by a PI, Department or College. A Dean may require a plan for use of CRF funds if a Department or PI accrues substantial funds without spending them. Centre Directors have authority over CRFs held by a Centre.
4.6.9 If a CRF has remained dormant for five years and there is no plan by the PI or Department to use the funding for research purposes, upon approval by the Dean/Director, RASI will request the transfer of residuals from the PI’s CRF to the college CRF.
4.6.10 When a PI leaves and no longer has an affiliation with the university, RASI will request the transfer of residuals from the PI’s CRF to the college or department CRF upon approval by the Dean/Director.
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.
6.1 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.
Contact Person: Director, Research Services and Ethics Office, Office of the Vice-president research