Grant calculations

Method used to calculate grants
Yearly grant calculation exercise
Grant value
Funding formula
Eligibility of granting agency and Networks of Centres of Excellence programs in the credit base
Excluded programs
Method used for identification and division of credits
Requests for institutional funding breakdown
More information


Method used to calculate grants

Grants are awarded annually and cover a portion of the indirect costs of research incurred by universities, colleges and their affiliated health research institutes and research hospitals during that year. Institutions must re-apply every year to continue receiving funds. Please see the Apply to the program page for deadlines and requirements.

Research Support Fund grants are based on the funding received by researchers from the three federal research 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) (the agencies)—in the three most recent years for which data are available.

For the 2019-20 fiscal year, for example, calculations are based on the research funding received by institutions from the agencies and funds spent by the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in fiscal years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

These research revenues constitute the amount of credits that are entered into the calculations of Research Support Fund grants, which also includes the Incremental Project Grants.


Yearly grant calculation exercise

Each year, the agencies determine how much research funding each postsecondary institution received from them that can count as Research Support Fund credits (see full list of excluded programs below). The program’s administration uses this information in a grant calculation exercise to determine the value of the Research Support Fund grant for which each eligible institution may apply. It then informs institutions of this potential grant amount, and invites them to submit an application by the Research Support Fund deadline. Institutions must meet the stated deadlines, re-apply every year, and meet the reporting requirements in order to continue receiving funds.


Grant value

The value of each institution’s Research Support Fund grant is based on the amount of funding received by its researchers from the agencies. The funding formula takes the average of the three most recent years for which data are available, and sets an amount according to the Research Support Fund budget for that year.


Funding formula

The value of each grant is calculated as a percentage of the institution's total federal research funding (credits), based on the following formula:

Average revenues from CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC research grants Funding from Research Support Fund*

First $100,000


Next $900,000


Next $6 million



Percentage calculated annually, based on the total amount available.*

* In the event that Parliament changes the amount of funds available for the Research Support Fund, the fund's steering committee reserves the right to change the value of its grants.

This formula provides higher rates of funding for the institutions that receive the least amount of money from the federal research granting agencies. In this way, the Research Support Fund helps smaller universities and colleges provide adequate support to their research programs and strengthen their research capacity.


Eligibility of granting agency and Networks of Centres of Excellence programs in the credit base

The basic principle for allocating Research Support Fund credits is that in hosting a particular program of research, the institution incurs costs that are not covered by the research grant itself. The credits are an indicator of research activity and an indicator that indirect costs are being incurred.

All granting agency programs are included in the credit base for the Research Support Fund, except for the excluded programs listed below.


Excluded programs

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

  • All training awards (summer student programs, studentships, doctoral research awards, fellowships, Clinician Scientists Awards - Phase 1)
  • Best Brains Exchange Travel Award
  • Building the Foundation of the JPIAMR Virtual Research Institute
  • Canadian Council on Animal Care
  • Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute–Innovation Grants
  • Chief Scientific Officer Fund
  • CIHR Barer-Flood Prize for Health Services and Policy Research
  • CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Discovery
  • CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact
  • CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator
  • CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement
  • CIHR-Institute of Cancer Research National: Tumour Banking Network Grant
  • CIHR-Institute of Population and Public Health: Trailblazer Award in Population Health Solutions
  • Commonwealth Fund Dissemination Award 2015-2016
  • Grand Challenges Canada
  • Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge
  • Human Frontier Science Program
  • Indigenous Component of Healthy Life Trajectories (I-HeLTI)
  • Indigenous Gender and Wellness – Idea Fair and Learning Circle
  • IHSPR Article of the Year Award
  • IHSPR Rising Star Award
  • Institute Community Support – awards, grants and travel awards
  • Institute of Health Services and Policy Research—strategic initiatives
  • INMD Early Career Investigator Partnership Prize
  • Institute Support Grant
  • Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program
  • Knowledge to Action Grants—Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute
  • Operating Grant – CCS Innovation Grants
  • Operating Grant – Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research
  • Operating Grant – Priority Announcement: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Bridge Funding)
  • Operating Grant – Priority Announcement: Blood Supply Risk
  • Operating Grant – Priority Announcement: Blood Utilization and Conservation
  • Operating Grant – Priority Announcement: Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury
  • Operating Grant – SPOR iCT Rewarding Success – Travel Awards
  • Pan-Canadian Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Network in Primary & Integrated Health Care Innovations – National Coordinating Office
  • President's Fund Prize: CIHR Institute of Aging Voluntary Sector Outreach Award
  • Prize: IHDCYH Talks
  • Promotions
  • Randomized Controlled Trials: Mentoring
  • Rapid Research Fund for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks
  • Stand Up To Cancer Canada Metastatic Breast Cancer Dream Team
  • Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Summit Travel Awards
  • Summer Program in Japan
  • Synapse—CIHR Youth Connection Program
  • The Terry Fox Foundation Strategic Training Initiatives in Health Research—full application
  • Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant
  • The following directed grants:
    • Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network—Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health
    • Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research directed grant—Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre
    • Other: Call for Letters of Intent: Implementation Research Teams
    • Other: Global Health Research Initiative
    • Other: Symposium on Mental Wellness in Circumpolar Communities
    • Summer Program in Aging Host Support
  • Team Grant: Ebola Vaccine Phase II/III Clinical Trial
  • Team Grant: Pathways Implementation Research Team
  • Team Grant: Pathways Implementation Research Team – Component 2 – LOI
  • Team Grant: Pathways Implementation Research Team – Component 2 - LOI - Oral Health, Suicide Prevention, Obesity/Diabetes & Tuberculosis
  • Team Grant: Stand Up to Cancer Canada Cancer Stem Cell Dream Team Research Funding
  • Transfusion Science - Priority Announcement
  • Travel Awards: Pathways Annual Gathering 2017
  • Undergraduate: Genetics - Institute Community Support

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

  • Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplement Program
  • CMHC Housing Research Scholarship Program
  • DND/NSERC Discovery Grants Supplements
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grants
  • Fellowship Innovation Platform
  • Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges Grants
  • NSERC Awards for Science Promotion
  • NSERC Doctoral Prizes
  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Industrial Research and Development Fellowships
  • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (all types)
  • NSERC Student Ambassadors
  • NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards—University and Industrial
  • NSERC Young Innovators
  • PromoScience Program

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

  • Aileen D. Ross Fellowship
  • Alice Wilson Award 
  • Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) – SSHRC Housing Research Training Awards Program
  • CMHC-SSHRC Joint Initiative: Collaborative Housing Research Network
  • Connections—Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department of National Defence MINDS Scholarship Initiative
  • International Space University Fellowship
  • Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship
  • MITACS Canadian Science Policy Fellowships
  • Parliamentary Internship Program
  • Presidential Fund for Innovation and Development
  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Scholarships
  • Queen's Fellowship
  • Scholarly Publications
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • William E. Taylor Fellowship

Networks of Centres of Excellence

Exclusions under Administrative Centres:

  • Operational budget
  • Salaries for students and postdoctoral trainees

Exclusions under Core Facilities:

  • Operational budget (some categories only)

Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence


  • Expenditures of administrative centres
  • Research-related expenditures in non-eligible institutions

Tri-agency programs


  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Canada 150 Research Chairs
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs
  • Canada First Research Excellence Fund
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships (including supplements)
  • Canada Research Chairs
  • Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research
  • College and Community Innovation
  • Community and College Social Innovation Fund
  • Industrial Research and Development Internship
  • New Frontiers in Research Fund
  • Tri-Agency Partnership on Knowledge Syntheses on the Environment
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Excluded programs - historical

  • Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada
  • Canada Gairdner International Awards
  • CIHR Café Scientifique program
  • CIHR Journalism Award
  • CIHR Synapse Mentorship Award
  • Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics
  • International Scientific Exchanges
  • National Council on Ethics in Human Research
  • Network of Networks
  • Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations
  • Bourse Fernand-Seguin
  • Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Science and Technology Awareness Network
  • Support for Canadian Science Writers' Association Annual Conference
  • Operating Grant: Future Earth Initiative
  • Operating Grant: WHO HeLTI Knowledge Synthesis Directed Grant
  • Travel Awards: Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases Mental Health—Canada-China


Method used for identification and division of credits

High-level governance

Every year, a senior-level committee decides which granting agency programs should be included in the credit base, and how credits should be allocated to participating institutions.

This Interagency Program Review Committee (IPRC) is composed of the vice-presidents of programs of the agencies, the associate vice-president of the NCE Secretariat, the managers responsible for data co-ordination at the agencies, and the senior managers of the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS).

The IPRC’s mandate is to ensure that the decision on whether agency programs should be included in the credit base is made in a consistent, appropriate and transparent manner. This mandate includes:

  • reviewing all current agency programs on an annual basis to ensure that their inclusion or exclusion from the credit calculations is appropriate; and
  • reviewing all new agency programs to determine whether or not they should be included, in whole or in part, in the calculations of institutional credits for the Research Support Fund.

Affiliated institutions—Crediting applicant institutions with research activity conducted at their affiliated research institute(s)

The credit base of an institution eligible for funding from the Research Support Fund includes credits generated by research activity conducted at the institution as well as research conducted at affiliated research institutes, hospitals and other affiliates.

Every year, as part of the Research Support Fund application process, TIPS contacts eligible institutions (applicant institutions) to confirm their list of affiliated institutions. Research funding awarded to researchers at affiliated research institutes, hospitals and other affiliates is credited to the applicant institution only if the affiliation is duly confirmed in the annual validation of affiliated institutions. It is the applicant institutions’ responsibility to ensure that the information provided to TIPS is current and accurate. As well, all institutions (applicant and affiliate) should ensure that their researchers clearly identify their institutional affiliation in their applications to agency programs, as this is how credits are identified and allocated.

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

  • the federally funded research undertaken at the affiliate institution 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 institution.

Flow-through funds

Research funding originating from sources other than the agencies, but that is awarded as a result of a process the agencies administered, is not included in the credits.

Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) funds

For NCE funds, the credits are based on dollars spent, not those awarded. When calculating the credit base for the Research Support Fund, funds spent by administrative centres hosted by a postsecondary institution are attributed to the host (applicant) institution, for eligible categories. Funds spent by non-postsecondary institution administrative centres are not credited to the host institution. Research funds spent by network researchers are attributed to the institution where the research expenses have been incurred.

Division of credits for multi-institutional grants

The credits for multi-institutional grants are typically divided proportionally among participating institutions based on the number of participating researchers from each institution. The share for an institution that is not eligible for the Research Support Fund is redistributed among eligible institutions.

There are three models for the division of credits for multi-institutional grants. IPRC decides which model will be used when it reviews the eligibility of a granting agency’s funding program.

A—Proportional to the number of researchers: Credits are divided proportionally among participating institutions based on the number of participating researchers from each eligible institution. This model applies to the majority of programs.

B—Proportional to actual expenditures: For programs where the funds from a single grant are redistributed among participating institutions through a formal process, credits are divided among participating institutions according to actual expenditures (e.g., NCEs).

C—Single attribution: In some cases the institution receiving the grant incurs all the indirect costs associated with that grant, regardless of whether researchers from other institutions participate in the research project (e.g., NSERC Major Resources Support Program grants). Credits are attributed to the institution receiving the grant / hosting the program. Other institutions should negotiate their share of the Research Support Fund grant with that institution, if their participation in the project incurs indirect costs.


Requests for institutional funding breakdown

All institutional funding breakdown spreadsheets are available to institutions on a secure SharePoint site. These spreadsheets provide the detailed breakdown of tri-agency funding that individual institutions received for the Fund’s grant calculations.

A single account is created for each applicant institution. Login information is sent to the main institutional contact (the person whose name appears as the “Main Contact” on the program’s extranet). It is the main institutional contact‘s responsibility to share the institutional funding breakdowns posted on the secure SharePoint site to all relevant individuals at their institution. The breakdowns will not be sent to institutions via email.

Have questions related to funding data? Contact us.


More information

All inquiries regarding grant calculations should be sent to