Eligible and ineligible expenditures

Five expenditure categories

Institutions have flexibility in deciding how to use their grant, provided that the funds are used for the payment of current expenditures attributed to federally-sponsored research that falls within the following five categories:

  1. Research facilities
  2. Research resources
  3. Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise
  4. Regulatory requirements and accreditation
  5. Intellectual property and Knowledge mobilization

1. Research facilities

Eligible expenses

Renovation and maintenance of research facilities

  • Research facilities include libraries, laboratories, research networking spaces, offices of research and finance administration, and offices of social science and humanities researchers.
  • The purchase and/or refurbishing of furniture for research facilities is eligible.
  • Do not include expenditures to meet regulatory requirements in this category.

Upgrades and maintenance of research equipment and other devices

  • An "upgrade" is defined as replacing a part to make a piece of equipment more usable. "Maintenance" (and/or "maintenance contracts") is defined as the upkeep or repair of equipment to improve or preserve efficiency.
  • Investments in air and water quality, or power upgrades (e.g., air conditioners, water purifiers, ventilation systems) are considered as upgrades/maintenance if these pieces of equipment support the research infrastructure's overall operation.
  • Do not include the purchase of computer hardware and software, or software licences, in this category. (See the Research resources and/or Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise categories.)

Operating costs

  • Operating costs include custodial, security, maintenance, utilities, and leasing costs; and costs for capital planning associated with research spaces and research equipment, and insurance on research spaces.
  • The purchase of materials used in operating research equipment such as cryogens for nuclear magnetic resonance imagers (NMR), liquid nitrogen, argon, oxygen, filters for flow chambers, O-rings, HP and HT greases and lubricants, batteries, and distilled water is eligible.

Technical support for laboratories, offices and other facilities

  • Include technical support for the creation, development and/or maintenance of an institutional website.
  • Do not include technical support for animal care in this category. (Such technical support should be included under Regulatory requirements and accreditation.)

Ineligible expenses

  • Purchase or construction of a building
  • Purchase of laboratory equipment, or any other equipment eligible for funding under other federal programs.
    • The purchase of basic laboratory equipment is not eligible (e.g., test tubes, microscopes, Bunsen burners, sample containers, gloves, masks, coats).
  • Collateral on mortgage financing and payment of interest charges
  • Rental costs for space that is owned by the institution
  • Purchase or lease of land
  • Purchase of furniture for the offices of researchers

2. Research resources

Eligible expenses

Acquisition of library holdings

  • Library holdings include journals, books, collections, periodicals and site licences (e.g., through the Canadian Research Knowledge Network).

Improved information resources

  • Include databases, telecommunications, information technology and research tools.
  • The purchase of computer hardware and software and software licences for libraries is eligible.
  • Do not include technology to track grant applications and to provide financial services in this category. (This must be reported under Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise.)

Library operating costs and administration

  • Operating costs include custodial, security, maintenance, utilities, leasing and capital planning costs, and staff salaries.
  • The purchase of research computers, filing cabinets, photocopiers, scanners and supplies for the exclusive use of libraries is eligible.

Insurance on research equipment and vehicles

Ineligible expenses

  • Start-up grants or pilot studies
  • Purchase of hardware or software to be used in a specific research project and/or teaching exercise

3. Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise

Eligible expenses

Institutional support for the completion of grant and award applications / research proposals

  • Salaries and benefits for staff who work on grant applications and research proposals (e.g., grant facilitators, award/prize facilitators, secretarial and administrative assistants), and the costs associated with grant-writing workshops are eligible.

Acquisition, maintenance and/or upgrade of information systems to track grant applications, certifications and awards

  • The purchase of computer hardware, software and software licences for the office of research is eligible.

Training of faculty and research personnel

  • Costs associated with professional development training, such as the use of software (e.g., accounting and human resources software) are eligible.
  • Costs associated with attending research administration-related conferences for professional development (e.g., CARA, CAUBO) are eligible.
  • Do not include training necessary to meet regulatory requirements in this category.

Human resources and payroll

  • Salaries and benefits for employees who support the research enterprise (research, financial, human resources and purchasing offices) are eligible.
  • Salaries for students who provide administrative services are eligible. These employees must not already be funded through a direct research grant.

Financial and audit costs

Research planning and promotion, and public relations

  • Costs associated with corporate publications that highlight research (e.g., annual reports, newsletters, magazines, press releases) are eligible.
  • Travel costs associated with research promotion and international collaborations (for the institution’s research enterprise as a whole) are eligible.

Implementing equity, diversity and inclusion objectives

  • Costs associated with implementing the institution’s equity, diversity and inclusion commitments (e.g., training on equity, diversity and inclusion—including instructions on limiting the impact of unconscious bias—for recruitment, selection, and promotion and  tenure committees)
  • The salaries of equity officers
  • Costs associated with collecting data on the participation of the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities)
  • Costs for developing an equity and diversity action plan
  • Costs associated with conducting an environmental scan and an employment systems review  
  • Costs for developing an equity/diversity communications strategy

Ineligible expenses

  • Recruitment of new faculty
  • Support for fellowships, scholarships and stipends
  • Research time stipends / teaching release
  • Costs associated with collective agreements
  • Costs for scholarly conferences, or expenses associated with presenting papers and findings at national or international conferences
  • Costs of publication for scientific journals

4. Regulatory requirements and accreditation

Eligible expenses

  • Creation and support of regulatory bodies
    • Costs associated with research ethics boards (REBs) may include paying for a portion of a board member's salary and mileage costs associated with travelling to board meetings.
  • Training of faculty and other research personnel in health and safety, animal care, ethics review, handling radiation and biohazards, and environmental assessments
  • International accreditation costs related to research capacity
  • Upgrades and maintenance of research facilities and equipment to meet regulatory requirements
  • Technical support for animal care and for handling of dangerous substances and biohazards
  • The purchase of animals exclusively used for training purposes (not research)

Ineligible expenses

  • Purchase of animals for research purposes

5. Intellectual property and Knowledge mobilization

Eligible expenses

  • Creation, expansion or sustenance of a technology transfer office or similar function
  • Administration of invention patent applications
  • Support for technology licensing
    • Legal fees for technology licensing are eligible.
  • Administration of agreements and partnerships with industry
  • Development of incubators
  • Support for the creation of spin-off companies
  • Outreach activities undertaken to transfer knowledge through venues not eligible for funding under other federal programs
    • Costs associated with research conferences, symposiums or lectures are eligible if the general public is the target audience.
  • Marketing of teaching materials, scientific photo libraries, survey instruments, statistical packages, data sets and databases, software, computer models and other tools

Research support costs related to other federal funding programs

Institutions may not use their grant to pay for the research support costs related to federal tri-agency research funding programs where the grant or award already includes funding to cover the indirect costs of the research (e.g., the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, the College and Community Innovation Program, and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund). These programs allow institutions to use a reasonable portion of funding towards the research support costs of the research.


The list of eligible and ineligible expenditures provided in this section is not exhaustive. Affiliated institutions are encouraged to communicate with their host institution (e.g., financial officer, research grants officer) should they have questions or need help interpreting program guidelines.

For more information, please contact information@rsf-fsr.gc.ca.