Use of Grant Funds
The following are guidelines to assist the authorized representatives and the institutions’ financial administrators in their interpretation of the acceptable use of grant funds. The list of examples is not exhaustive. Authorized representatives are encouraged to communicate with their relevant institutional contacts, e.g., financial administrators and research grants officers. For further information on any of the Agencies’ policies and requirements, contact the Agency's Finance Division.
The authorized representative must not have any financial or personal interest, direct or indirect, in any transaction charged against the Agency’s grants.
In general, the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program funds must be used for direct costs of research. However, depending on the CCI grant type, some limited funds could be used for operating, equipment and supplies costs (up to 20% of the total project costs) as well as for overhead and administration costs (up to 20% of the grant instalment per year), see the various types of CCI grant descriptions for details.
The funds must be used effectively and economically, and the expenses must be essential for the projects/activities supported by the grant.
Consult the Eligible Expenses sections for each of the CCI grant types for additional details on use of funds. The use of funds described therein takes precedence:
Contributions to shared expenses must be directly attributable to the funded program, and agreed to and approved by the authorized representative.
In the absence of a written Agency policy, the institution’s policy is to be applied (e.g., per diem rates for travel). In the presence of both an Agency policy and an institutional policy, the Agencies require compliance with the involved Agency policy, recognizing that institutions may also have to comply with their own policies.
Institutions that wish to use funds in a manner not covered by explicit Agency guidelines or requirements must consult the Agency’s Program Manager or an Agency Finance Award Administration Officer prior to doing so by telephone at 613-995-2694, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for NSERC, at email@example.com for SSHRC and firstname.lastname@example.org for CIHR.
The Agency relies on the institution’s research integrity and conflict of interest policies to ensure the accountable and responsible use of grant funds.
The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold approval of expenses proposed by an authorized representative that contravene the Agency’s requirements or the institution’s policies.
The eligible expenses for grant funds described in this document apply to all CCI grant types, except the ARTI Grants. See the ARTI Grants description for eligible expenses for that type of grant.
Overhead and Administration
As funding received through the CCI Program is not eligible for the Research Support Fund, institutions may request funds for overhead and administration costs attributable to the college’s applied research program, but not for general overhead and administration costs of the institution as a whole. These costs may be requested as part of the Engage, IE, ARD, IRCC, and CU-I2I grant applications. The maximum allowable percentage for overhead and administrative costs is 20% of the grant instalment per year to a recipient institution.
Overhead expenditures eligible in the Research Support Fund are eligible CCI expenses, except for the expenses outlined below.
- Support for the creation of spin-off companies.
- Development of incubators.
Costs incurred between the date of the grant announcement on the Agency’s website and the effective funding start date of the grant are eligible. However, the Agency will not assume any responsibility for any costs should a change in funding occur. These expenses are subject to approval at the discretion of the institution.
In exceptional circumstances, as determined at the sole discretion of the Agency, the Agency will agree to consider the eligibility of certain retroactive costs incurred prior to the official start date of a grant.
The Agencies will not assume any responsibilities for retroactive expenses if the project or expenses are not approved.
Retroactive expenses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Agency in accordance with the following four criteria:
- they must be “eligible expenses” as per the sections below and/or the relevant program description;
- they must be identified as retroactive expenses and justification provided at the time of submission of the original application;
- they must relate to a CCI grant application that has been approved for funding; and
- the cost must be incurred between the submission date of the original application and the official start date of the approved grant.
Categories of Expenses
The following are guidelines to assist the authorized representatives and the institutions’ financial administrators in their interpretation of the acceptable use of grant funds. The list of examples is not exhaustive.
The following eligible expenditures are supported under a CCI grant where attributable to the specific CCI grant activities to be undertaken.
Salary: Remuneration for work performed by research personnel, in accordance with institutional employment contracts or collective agreements, where applicable.
Stipend: Financial support given to recipients of a training award, or provided by the authorized representative to trainees, to support them while they are working on applied research projects.
- Salary for applied research activities of a part-time faculty member holding a contract of less than three years with the institution. The total salary support (part-time salary plus CCI grant salary support) cannot exceed that of a full-time faculty member (when calculated on an annual and hourly basis).
- Salaries and non-discretionary benefits for technical and professional staff carrying out applied research, research administrators, business development and technology and/or knowledge transfer personnel.
- Limited costs for course load reduction for the replacement of faculty to support their involvement in applied research projects (up to $9,000 per course load reduction per semester per faculty, or the equivalent of a 0.1 full-time equivalent positions).
- College student salaries* including non-discretionary benefits or stipends* to support their involvement in applied research projects.
- Stipends to visiting researchers up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for up to 125 days per year, not including travel and subsistence costs (NSERC only).
* The Agency defers to the Canada Revenue Agency for all taxation-related questions.
- Persons paid from Agency grants are not considered Agency employees, scholars or fellows.
- The institution’s non-discretionary benefits normally include long and short-term disability insurance; life insurance; pension benefits; medical, vision and dental care benefits; and parental leave. The institution’s non-discretionary benefits must not contravene the Agency’s guidelines.
Other Eligible Expenses
- Fees paid for the purpose of participant recruitment, such as modest incentives to consider participation (i.e. to establish a potential participant pool), where approved by a Research Ethics Board.
- Clerical salaries directly related to dissemination activities, including manuscript preparation.
- Honoraria for guest speakers.
- Consulting fees (must be reported among the “Operating, Equipment and Supplies” expenses [see below]).
- Salaries for university students.
- Any part of the salary of a full-time college faculty.
- Any part of the salary, or consulting fee, to the institutional participants or to other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for grants from the Agency.
Travel and Subsistence Costs
- Travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) within Canada including reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for field work and collaborative trips for research personnel, college students and colleagues for a short period of time.
- Travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) outside Canada up to a maximum of $5,000 per year when prior approval has been obtained by the Agency.
- Air travel must be claimed at the lowest rate available, not to exceed full economy fare.
- Travel cancellation insurance and seat reservation charges.
- Travel health insurance for research personnel who do not receive any such benefits from their institution and/or other sources.
- Safety-related expenses for field work, such as protective gear, immunizations, etc.
- Commuting costs of the authorized representative and associated research personnel between their residence and place of employment, or between two places of employment.
- Passport and immigration fees.
- Reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyer points programs.
Operating, Equipment and Supplies
- Consulting fees.
- Maintenance and operating costs of equipment used for Agency-supported applied research.
- Materials, supplies and other consumables necessary to conduct the applied research.
- Small equipment to conduct the applied research.
- Professional and technical services.
- Parts and materials for prototype development, if the prototype will be owned by the college at the conclusion of the grant.
Funding cannot be used to support routine testing of samples or products or for technical consulting, or solely for purchase of equipment. Requests for equipment must be incorporated into the CCI application.
The maximum allowable percentage for operating, equipment and supply cost expenditures is 20% of the total project costs to a recipient institution.
Applicants must justify the need for small equipment to effectively conduct the activities to be described in the proposal. CCI grants support only expenditures related to the purchase, installation and development of research equipment, as well as the operation of an applied research facility. If CCI-funded equipment is later sold, the Agency expects that the proceeds will be re-invested in research. Expenses related to the construction, purchase or lease of a building are not eligible expenditures.
Other Eligible Expenses
- Travel costs to visit manufacturers to select major equipment purchases (including international travel if unavailable in Canada).
- Transportation costs for purchased equipment.
- Extended warranty for equipment.
- Brokerage and customs charges for the importation of equipment and supplies.
- The costs of training staff to use equipment or a specialized facility (including international travel if training not available in Canada).
- Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles.
- Costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities.
- Consulting fees for testing required to certify a partnering company's product, process or service.
- Consulting fees for technical or professional services from service providers who have an existing relationship with the partnering company.
- Costs for the depreciation of the equipment used.
- Parts and materials for prototype development, if the prototype will be owned by the company partner at the conclusion of the grant.
Computers and Electronic Communications
- Computers, tablets, modems, emerging technology and other hardware and/or specialized software required for the applied research not normally provided by the institution, and with adequate justification establishing the need in relation to the funded research.
- Cellular phones, smartphone or other electronic devices when they are necessary for research purposes (e.g., data collection) and/or for personnel safety with adequate justification establishing the need in relation to the funded research.
- Monthly plan fees for electronic devices when being used for the research purposes (e.g., data collection) and/or for personal safety only.
- Standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones.
- Connection or installation of lines (telephone or other links).
- Voice mail.
- Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of an Institution.
- Home internet costs.
Dissemination of Research Results/Networking
- Costs relating to communications activities and networking, including hosting technical lectures and workshops, and attending professional and technical conferences and lectures.
- Activities aimed at increasing local companies’ awareness of the applied research expertise available at the institution, including literature, meetings and workshops; lectures; and meetings and workshops open to the local community to raise awareness of the institution’s work and to share results that could have an economic, social and/or environmental impact.
- Costs of developing web-based information, including website maintenance fees.
- Costs associated with the dissemination of findings, i.e., through traditional venues as well as videos, CD-ROMs, and other media.
- Page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to the findings (e.g., costs of publishing in an open access journal or making a journal article open access).
- Translation costs associated with dissemination of findings.
- Costs of holding a workshop or seminar related directly to the funded research (including non-alcoholic refreshments or meal costs).
Research and Technology Transfer Support Services
- Research planning and promotion, and public relations.
- Pre-commercialization support services (e.g., intellectual property protection where appropriate, market studies, business plan development, counseling and technology evaluation).
- Administration of invention patent applications.
- Administration of agreements and partnerships with companies.
- Support for technology licensing.
- Marketing of technology; data sets and databases; software, computer models and other tools; survey instruments; and teaching materials arising from the applied research.
Note: Most technology transfer expenses and costs must be shared with the partners.
Services and Miscellaneous Expenses
- Recruiting costs for research personnel, such as advertising and airfare for candidates, foreign national recruitment fees, etc.
- Costs for safe disposal of waste.
- Costs for the purchase of books or periodicals, specialized office supplies, computing equipment and information services not formally provided by the institution to all its academic and research staff.
- Costs involved in providing personnel with training and/or development in novel techniques required for the conduct of the research project (including international travel if training not available in Canada).
- Costs of membership in professional associations or scientific societies if necessary for the research program/project.
- Monthly parking fees for vehicles specifically required for field work and only for month(s) when field work was conducted.
- Hospitality costs (non-alcoholic refreshments or meals) for networking purposes in the context of formal courtesy between the institution’s staff and guest researchers and of research-related activities in the context of assemblies that facilitate and contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the projects (e.g., authorized representative meeting with partners, stakeholders, guest researchers).
- Patenting expenses including college legal fees (for college portion of patent ownership).
- Costs of alcohol.
- Costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts, other than those specified above such as regular interactions with colleagues from the institution and personnel meetings.
- Costs related to staff awards and recognition.
- Costs related to professional training or development, such as computer and language training.
- Costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials.
- Costs of basic services such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility.
- Insurance costs for buildings or equipment.
- Monthly parking fees for vehicles, unless specifically required for field work.
- Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies.
- Costs of regular clothing.
- Costs of moving a laboratory.