About the program


The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies.

A tri-agency initiative

The Research Support Fund is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC.

tri agency logos

Every year, the federal government invests in research excellence in the areas of health sciences, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities through its three granting agencies. The Research Support Fund reinforces this research investment by helping institutions ensure that their federally funded research projects are conducted in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available.

Eligible institutions receive an annual grant through the fund to help pay for a portion of the central and departmental administrative costs related to federally funded research.

The program (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) was introduced in 2003 as part of the federal government’s strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development. It currently has a budget of $342 million and serves 126 postsecondary institutions across the country.

What costs does the program support

Examples of costs supported by the program are:

  • salaries for staff or students who provide administrative support for researchers and their projects;
  • training costs for workplace health and safety;
  • costs related to the maintenance of libraries and laboratories; and
  • administrative costs associated with getting a patent for an invention.