Apply to 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:

Research Support Fund grants can be used to:

  • maintain modern labs and equipment;
  • provide access to up-to-date knowledge resources;
  • provide research management and administrative support;
  • meet regulatory and ethical standards; and
  • transfer knowledge from academia to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Before applying for a grant, institutions should learn more about the program and administering grants, and should familiarize themselves with the complete list of eligible and ineligible expenses.  

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Research Support Fund.

Program Lifecycle

  1. Eligibility of tri-agency programs confirmed by the Interagency Program Review Committee (IPRC).
  2. Secretariat receives funding data from the three federal research funding agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC).
  3. Secretariat conducts the yearly grant calculation.
  4. Secretariat informs eligible institutions (including newly eligible institutions) of their notional grant amount and invites them to apply for grant funding.
  5. Institutions review and update the contacts in their Research Support Fund extranet accounts.
  6. Institutions negotiate their official agreements with their affiliated health-research hospitals/institutions (if applicable).
  7. Institutions post their accountability and public acknowledgment requirements (as applicable), including their institutional performance objectives, on their websites by the application deadline.
  8. Institutions submit their Grant Application Form and Affiliated Organizations Validation Form by the application deadline.
  9. Notices of Award are sent to institutions.
  10. Grants are paid out to institutions according to the payment schedule.
  11. Institutions implement their Research Support Fund communications strategy, which they must then maintain throughout the granting period.
  12. Institutions report publicly on the outcomes of their institutional performance objectives via their institutional websites.
  13. Institutions submit a statement of account in the extranet by the reporting deadline.
  14. Institutions submit an outcomes report by the reporting deadline.
  15. Secretariat reviews all outcomes reports and produces the Research Support Fund Progress Report 


Only Canadian postsecondary institutions that meet all of the following eligibility criteria may receive a grant from the Research Support Fund:

  • Received research funding—Researchers at the institution (and/or at its affiliated research hospitals or institutes) must have received research funding from at least one of the three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This funding would have to have been received in at least one of the three most recent fiscal years for which data is available. Note that some of the agencies’ programs are excluded; that is, they cannot be counted as credits in the Research Support Fund’s funding formula.
  • Authorized to grant degrees or diplomas—The institution must be authorized by a provincial or territorial government to grant its own university degrees, applied degrees or postsecondary diplomas. A postsecondary educational institution affiliated or federated with another degree-granting institution can be eligible for its own Research Support Fund grant if its operating budget comes directly from the provincial government (e.g., ministry of education or higher education, or equivalent) and it has its own board of directors. The institution must provide evidence of its authority to grant degrees.
  • Conferred degrees—The institution must have conferred degrees during the two calendar years prior to application, or have students enrolled who will receive degrees during the calendar year of application or within the three succeeding years. The institution must provide evidence that it has granted (or expects to grant) degrees within the required time period.
  • Canadian and not-for-profit—Private postsecondary institutions must be Canadian and not-for-profit. They must not receive operating funding through any other institution.

Invitation to apply

The Secretariat conducts a yearly grant calculation exercise to determine the size of grant for which eligible institutions may apply. The Secretariat then notifies institutions—including those eligible for the first time—that they meet the program’s eligibility criteria, and invites them to apply for a Research Support Fund grant of that prescribed value.

Only institutions that have been notified by the Secretariat that they meet the program’s eligibility criteria may apply for a Research Support Fund grant.

Newly eligible institutions

Each year, the Secretariat monitors the level of funding granted by the three federal granting agencies to all Canadian postsecondary institutions. If an institution receives funding from any of the three agencies for the first time, the Secretariat contacts them to confirm their eligibility. Upon confirmation of their eligibility, the Secretariat invites them to apply for a Research Support Fund grant.

Institutional contacts

It is the institution’s responsibility to keep the portfolio page in their Research Support Fund extranet account up-to-date and complete. This will ensure that the institution continues to receive all memos and updates related to the program.

Grant value and duration

The Secretariat uses a funding formula, as part of its yearly grant calculation exercise, to determine the value of each institution’s Research Support Fund grant. The calculation uses the amount of funding received by the institutions’ researchers from the three federal research granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) in the three most recent years for which data is available, and depends on the Research Support Fund’s budget for that year.

Grants are awarded for one year only. Institutions must re-apply each year and meet all terms and conditions of funding in order to continue receiving funds.

Application deadlines and forms

To receive funding, institutions must apply to the program each year by:

Grant Application Requirements Fiscal Year 2017-18 Deadline

1) Grant Application Form (preview form)
2) Affiliated Organizations Validation Form
3) Accountability and public acknowledgment requirements

May 25, 2017

See Extranet and online forms for more information about Research Support Fund forms.

Forfeiture of funds

Failure to submit the online Grant Application Form, the Affiliated Institutions Validation Form, and/or to meet the accountability and public acknowledgment requirements by the application deadline will result in the forfeiture of grant funds for that fiscal year. It may also affect an institution’s admissibility to the program for future grant years. Note that all forfeited funds (if applicable) will be redistributed to eligible institutions in a later grant calculation exercise.

Deadline policy

Institutions must apply by the application deadline in order to receive funding. Institutions can expect to receive a memo from the Secretariat—sent by email, usually in February/March of each year, to the first and second contacts listed on the portfolio page in the institution’s extranet account—announcing that the notional grant amounts are available. No further reminders regarding the application deadline will be sent.


Extensions to the application deadline will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances, such as the following:

  • A documented system problem occurs with the program’s online institutional portal.
  • There are extraordinary circumstances outside of the institution’s control (e.g., severe weather conditions leading to university closures).

To request an extension, the grantee (normally the institution’s president, principal or rector) must submit to the Secretariat, prior to the application deadline, a written request providing a strong justification for the request and outlining the extraordinary circumstances leading to it. Such requests may be sent to:

Use of grant funds

In the online Grant Application Form, institutions must indicate the amounts that they plan to spend in each of the five eligible expenses categories: research facilities; research resources; management and administration of an institution’s research enterprise; regulatory requirements and accreditation; and intellectual property. Research Support Fund grants must be used only for the payment of current expenditures attributed to federally sponsored research, and that fall within these five categories. The Research Support Fund Financial Administration Guide outlines the terms and conditions for use of grant funds.

Affiliated organizations

For the purpose of the Research Support Fund, an organization can be considered an affiliate of the applicant institution if:

  • the federally funded research undertaken at the affiliate organization contributes to the research excellence of the applicant institution; and/or
  • the applicant  institution incurs indirect costs for the federally funded research conducted at the affiliate organization.

The credit base of an applicant institution eligible for the Research Support Fund includes credits generated by research conducted at the institution as well as research conducted at affiliated research institutes, hospitals and other facilities. Federal research funding awarded to researchers at primary and sub-affiliated organizations is credited to the applicant institution in the annual grant calculation exercise only if the affiliation is duly confirmed in the Affiliated Organizations Validation Form (see below). Note that institutions must confirm their affiliations annually, even in cases where their affiliations have not changed from the previous year.

Annual validation of affiliated organizations

All institutions applying for a Research Support Fund grant must validate their institutional affiliations every year by submitting an Affiliated Organization Validation Form by the grant application deadline. 

The Secretariat contacts applicant institutions (i.e., grantees) to confirm their list of affiliated organizations (including primary and sub-affiliates). The list of affiliations provided in the form is used by the program to identify and allocate all of the potential credits to an institution in preparation for the next fiscal year’s grant calculation exercise. A comprehensive list of all the organizations that are either directly or indirectly affiliated to the applicant institution is required to ensure that an applicant institution receives its share of the Research Support Fund budget.

Example of an affiliate relationship:

1. Grantee: University of Toronto

1.1 Primary affiliate: St. Michael's Hospital

1.1.1 Subaffiliate: Keenan Research Centre

1.1.2 Sub-subaffiliate: Applied Health Research Centre

Do not use abbreviated names or acronyms

It is the applicant institution’s responsibility to ensure that the information provided on the Affiliated Organizations Validation Form is complete and accurate. Therefore, applicant institutions must identify affiliate organizations by their official names and not by an abbreviated name or acronym (e.g., The Hospital for Sick Children, not ‘Sick Kids’). Adjustments to an applicant institution’s grant value will not be made in cases where incorrect information was provided.

Step-by-step application instructions

1. Log in to the Research Support Fund extranet. Enter your institutional account number and password, as provided by the Secretariat. (Note: Passwords are case sensitive.)
2. Verify that the institutional portfolio page correctly identifies the individuals responsible for administering the institution’s Research Support Fund grant, and that their contact information is up-to-date. To correct or update the information, click the appropriate  contact type under the ‘Institutional Contacts’ section (e.g., Main Contact), make the necessary changes and click ‘Save’ at the top of the page.
3. View the grant amount. Click ‘Grant Amounts’ in the menu on the left side of the screen.
4. Fill out the Grant Application Form and indicate how the Research Support Fund grant will be used for the payment of current expenditures attributed to federally sponsored research that fall within the five eligible expenditure categories. Click ‘Application Forms’ on the left side of the screen.
5. On the ‘Grant Application Forms’ selection screen, follow the instructions for submitting the form electronically. Submit the form by the application deadline. Click ‘Submit’ to send the Grant Application Form to the Secretariat.
6. Ensure that the institution’s website meets the Research Support Fund’s accountability and public acknowledgment requirements. Insert the web link to the institution’s Research Support Fund accountability and public acknowledgment web page in section D of the Affiliated Organizations Validation Form
7. Complete the Affiliated Organizations Validation Form and email it to the Secretariat by the application deadline. Affiliated Organizations Validation Form (MS Word format)

Email the completed form, in MS Word format only, on or before the application deadline to: (IMPORTANT: Do not send the form as a PDF).


 Technical support

If you experience technical problems, such as difficulty submitting, printing, previewing or saving your electronic forms, or need to recover your institutional login and password, please contact:

More information

For questions about the application process, please contact