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Administrative Matters

Ownership of Items Purchased With Grant Funds

All items purchased or collected with grant funds belong to the institution and not to the individual authorized representative unless the funding Agency agrees otherwise in writing, or unless doing so would be contrary to a legislated requirement. As the owner, the institution is responsible for ensuring that the items are used to support the applied research program.

For the institution's responsibilities with respect to equipment and facilities consult Section 3.8: Ownership of Equipment and Facilities of the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions. The Agency expects that the equipment will be made available to other institutions for their applied research when not in use by the institution that received the grant. The institution may charge fees to these other users to recover direct costs incurred.

Insurance must not be charged to the Agency's grants. It is the institution's responsibility to insure all of its equipment and assets.

Transfer of Funds Between Institutions

Grants are awarded to the institution and not to the authorized representative. The Agency must be notified immediately of any changes in the responsibility of the administration of the grant.

Upon the authorization of the grantee, research funds can be transferred between an eligible Primary Institution in direct receipt of Agency funds to an eligible Secondary Institution in order to facilitate research collaboration between the Primary Institution and the Secondary Institution. Grant transfers include transfers of both funds and responsibilities. Invoices, contracts or accountable advances are not considered to be grant transfers.

To be eligible as a Primary or Secondary Institution, an institution must have met Agency requirements for eligibility to receive funding and must have signed the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions

In the case of a transfer to an eligible Secondary Institution, the latter assumes the responsibilities of the Primary Institution in respect of the grant or award funds to be transferred. The Primary Institution must also review and consolidate the Form 301 and ensure that a letter of agreement with the Secondary Institution is in place before transferring funds.

The Primary Institution wishing to transfers funds to an Eligible Secondary Institution must obtain a letter of transfer of funds signed by the Secondary Institution in which both parties agree to comply with certain obligations. Information pertaining to the letter of transfer of funds and requirements to be addressed can be found on the Checklist for the Transfer of Funds from a Primary Institution to an Eligible Secondary Institution.

Deferral of Instalment/Annual Commitment Payments

Government policy states that the Agency cannot pay instalments/annual commitments in advance of need; the Agency can provide funds only to correspond with the cash flow requirements of the projects/activities. If the institution has a build-up of funds in its account due to a slowdown or delay in the projects/activities (for example, difficulty in hiring staff), and believes that the scheduled instalment/annual commitment for the next financial year will not be needed at that time, the authorized representative should contact the Agency Program Manager. The Agency's Finance Division must also be copied at for NSERC, at for SSHRC and for CIHR.

Deferring an instalment/annual commitment extends the life of the grant, allows the authorized representative to re-organize activities and postpones the end date by one or two years. The total of all deferral periods cannot exceed two years. The original grant end date will be adjusted accordingly.

Deferring instalments/annual commitments does not adversely affect the review of the institution's next application, but rather demonstrates good fiscal management of grant funds and provides the opportunity for the Agency to fund other institutions who might otherwise not have been awarded funding.

Under exceptional circumstances, the Agency may defer or even hold back an authorized representative's next instalment if, at the sole discretion of the Agency, it is judged that the authorized representative's build-up of funds has not been properly justified and that the need for funds has not been demonstrated.

For more information about deferrals and hold-backs, contact the Awards Administration section at for NSERC, at for SSHRC and for CIHR.

Termination of a Grant

Grants are terminated on the date when the institution ceases to be eligible to hold Agency funding, or when progress is not satisfactory, or when the company partner no longer participates in the grant.

The following documents must be submitted by the institution to the Agency's Finance Division:

  • a statement of account, as of the termination date;
  • a detailed list of outstanding commitments made by the institution prior to termination, including employment contracts/agreements for research personnel.

No new commitments or expenditures may be authorized from the grant account after the date of termination. Any such commitments or expenditures are the responsibility of the institution.

The Agency may authorize a phase-out period for the payment of outstanding commitments or expenditures from funds remaining in the account. If no such period is authorized, payment of outstanding commitments or expenditures is the responsibility of the institution.

When authorized, the duration of a standard phase-out period is three to six months.

Residual Balances

All grants paid are deemed to have a primary holder, namely the authorized representative whose name appears on the award notice. The secondary holder is the president of the institution administering the grant.

All grants that have not been renewed or extended, or that have been terminated, or project grants that have been completed, may contain residual balances of funds allocated in prior years and/or issued in the current fiscal year. This would also include grants for equipment or for the establishment of facilities that may contain residual balances. The Agencies will adjust their next payment to the institution or request a reimbursement in the case when no future payments are scheduled for any current-year funds not required for the purpose for which they were granted.

NSERC and SSHRC only

The Agencies will allow residual unspent funds from prior years to be retained by the institution under certain conditions determined by their Finance and Awards Administration Division. These funds will be transferred to a General Research Fund (GRF). The Agencies will also allow proceeds from any sale of equipment purchased, or facilities established, with funds granted by the Agency, to be transferred to the GRF. The Agencies expect that the institution will use these funds for the broad purpose of enhancing the quality of research in the natural sciences and engineering, or in the social sciences and humanities, as applicable. Funds from the GRF may be used to provide small start-up grants, bridge funding to research teams who are between applications, additional funds to research teams in support of their research, etc. Funds must be spent in a timely manner.

Additional information can be found in the This link will take you to another Web site Guidelines for the General Research Fund (NSERC and SSHRC only).

Conditions required for transferring unspent funds to the GRF

Unspent funds considered to be a residual balance* of expired grants that have not been renewed or extended are eligible for transfer to the GRF of their institution, with written authorization from the Agencies (NSERC and SSHRC). The same applies to unspent funds of grants that, for any reason, were terminated by the Agencies before the expiry date.

Important Note: Transfers to the GRF are authorized by the Agencies under the following conditions:

  • The amount to be transferred corresponds to the definition of a residual balance;
  • The institution has completed the annual reconciliation of active grants and submitted the Statements of Account (Form 301).

* A residual balance is an amount corresponding to 50% or less of the allocated grant. Any higher amount is deemed to be an unspent grant and a reimbursement is required.

A list of eligible programs for GRF transfer is available.

Systems are in place to help authorized representatives effectively plan their budget before the grant expires. For more information, refer to the Deferral of Instalment/Annual Commitment Payments section. 

CIHR only

Any funds remaining at the end of the Authority to Use Funds period must be returned to the Agency. When unspent funds are returned to the Agency, the cheque must be accompanied by a signed Form 301, indicating an unspent balance in the same amount as the refund.