Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Responsibilities and Accountability

Accountability to Taxpayers

Since the Agency receives its funding through parliamentary appropriations, it has a responsibility to Parliament and to the Canadian people to ensure that the public funds put in its trust are well managed.

To this end, College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program funds must be used efficiently, effectively, economically and in the best interest of the institutions supported by the grant.

Roles and Responsibilities

The administration of funds granted by an Agency is carried out by three partners: the authorized representative (as identified on the application), the institution, and the Agency. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research for researchers' responsibilities when applying for, or in receipt of, Agency funds, and to the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions for more details on administration of funds granted.

In accordance with federal laws and policies regarding grants, the Agency verifies eligibility for, and entitlement to, grants.

The Agency defines the conditions under which its funds may be used, monitors the use of grants and interprets its rules and requirements for the institutions and the authorized representative.

CCI grants are awarded to the Agency's eligible institutions and are administered through the institution's administration systems. The authorized representative authorizes expenditures in accordance with the Agency's requirements as outlined in this guide, or as stated as a condition of a grant, and with the institution's policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from a grant account without the authorized representative's delegated authority.

Each institution establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that Agency policies and requirements are followed. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by an authorized representative that contravene the Agency's requirements or the institution's policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the Agency on the eligibility of expenses.

Administrative, personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices and policies of the authorized representative's institution.

Deviation from Proposed Activities and/or Budget

The authorized representatives managing grants must adhere to the activities and budget specified in the approved proposal. However, during the tenure of the grant, reallocation of more than 20% of any budget item to other items is permitted upon the Agency's approval of a revised budget and justification for the changes. If an institution is not awarded all the funding that was originally requested, it can modify its activities according to the funding that it receives. Modified activities must still address the objectives of the original application and can be made only if the Agency did not direct funding to a particular aspect of the proposal (that information would appear in the award letter). All adjustments should be documented. Any changes to the projects/activities supported by the grant funds must be discussed with the Agency's Program Manager. A revised budget will be required.

Financial Monitoring

Representatives of the Agency will conduct periodic reviews of the institutions’ management control framework to:

  • assess the effectiveness of policies, systems and internal controls within the institution;
  • confirm that the institution fulfills its research grant funds management responsibilities as outlined in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions;
  • ascertain the level of confidence that research funds are used in accordance with Tri-Agency requirements; and
  • share and disseminate information on guidelines and expectations for the continuous improvement of research fund management.

For information regarding the criteria used to assess the institutions’ management control framework, refer to the Collaborative Information Gathering Tool.

Non-Compliance

Authorized representatives are responsible for using grant funds in accordance with the policies of the Agency, including the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide and Agency grants and awards guides, and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.

Using grant or award funds for purposes inconsistent with the policies of the Agency; misappropriating grants and award funds; contravening Agency financial policies, namely the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, Agency grants and awards guides; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts all constitute breaches of the Agencies' policies.

For information on how the Agencies addresses allegations of breaches of the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide or other Agency policies, please refer to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Process for Addressing Allegations of Policy Breaches by Researchers (section 6.1).

Matters involving financial mismanagement, where there is evidence of fraud or other unlawful activity, are referred to the appropriate authorities as per the Treasury Board This link will take you to another Web site Directive on Losses of Money or Property.

Acknowledgement

Support for applied research by CCI grants are investments by Canadian taxpayers. The Agencies' accountability regarding this use of grant funds includes informing the public about who receives the support, the type of applied research that will be conducted and how funds will be administered.

Institutions are required to acknowledge the Agency's assistance in publications arising from the supported research, in conference or congress materials, and on equipment and facilities purchased and/or developed with grant funds.

Intellectual Property/Patents

The Agencies make no claim to ownership of any intellectual property (IP) generated from the research they fund. As a general principle, institutions need to develop and sign an agreement with each company partner on the ownership and disposition of IP arising from the CCI-funded applied research before initiating any grant activities. Any agreements made regarding the ownership of the IP resulting from the CCI-funded research must take into account the CCI objective of creating partnerships. This implies a sharing of eventual benefits between the partners commensurate with their respective contributions, as well as the sharing of the costs to protect the IP.

Given the purpose of the projects, and the fact that they are company-driven, the institutions must have the right to use the new knowledge or technology in future teaching and research, and faculty and students must have the right to describe the project on their curricula vitae.

Open Access

The Agencies are committed to promoting the availability of findings that result from the research they fund to the widest possible audience at the earliest possible opportunity. Societal advancement is made possible through widespread and barrier-free access to cutting-edge research and knowledge because it enables researchers, scholars, clinicians, policymakers, the private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and the public to use and build on this knowledge. In order to support this commitment, NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC have developed a This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. Please refer to the policy for more details on how to comply with its requirements.  

Archiving of Research Data (SSHRC Only)

SSHRC is committed to the principle that research data collected with grant funds belong in the public domain. Accordingly, SSHRC has adopted a policy to facilitate making such data available to other researchers. All recipients of SSHRC funding are required to comply with the SSHRC This link will take you to another Web site Research Data Archiving Policy.

Institutions must also abide by the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, This link will take you to another Web site Promoting Research Integrity (section 2.1.2).

Ownership of Collections and Specimens

Scientifically valuable collections of animal, culture, plant or geological specimens, or archaeological artifacts collected by an authorized representative with grant funds are the property of the institution. They must be held in trust for the research community, which should have reasonable access to them. Such collections must be deposited as quickly as possible in an appropriate repository.

However, the Agency's policy on ownership of collections or specimens does not supersede any federal or provincial legislation on this issue.

The Agency's intention is not to restrict standard and recognized procedures of exchange of material and specimens between researchers and institutions, but to better ensure their continuing good condition and future availability.

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