Accountability and public acknowledgment
The Research Support Fund (RSF) helps Canadian postsecondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses of managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies:
RSF grants can be used to:
- maintain modern labs and equipment
- provide access to up-to-date knowledge resources
- provide research management and administrative support, including support for equity, diversity and inclusion practices
- meet regulatory and ethical standards
- transfer knowledge from academia to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors
Before applying for a grant, learn more about the program, the administration of grants, and eligible and ineligible expenses.
The RSF also includes the Incremental Project Grants (IPG), a stream of funding available to those postsecondary institutions with the lowest indirect cost reimbursement rate. For information on eligibility criteria and application processes for the IPG, visit the funding opportunity description.
In Budget 2022, additional funding was announced to support research security activities, including for those supporting the implementation of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships, totalling $125 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $25 million per year ongoing. For information on eligibility criteria and application processes for research security, visit the research security funding page.
The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed within the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the RSF.
Research Support Fund Program lifecycle
- The Interagency Program Review Committee (IPRC) confirms the eligibility of agency and tri-agency programs.
- TIPS receives funding data from the three federal research funding agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC).
- TIPS conducts yearly grant calculations.
- TIPS informs eligible institutions (including those newly eligible) of their notional grant amount and invites them to apply for grant funding.
- Institutions ensure that the official contacts in their Convergence accounts are up-to-date. For information on how to update your institutional contacts in Convergence, consult the Financial Administration Guide.
- Institutions negotiate official agreements with affiliated research hospitals and institutes (if applicable).
- Institutions post accountability and public acknowledgment requirements (as applicable) on their websites by the application deadline.
- Institutions submit their application by the application deadline.
- TIPS sends Notices of Award to institutions.
- TIPS pays out grants to institutions according to the payment schedule.
- Institutions implement their Research Support Fund communications strategy, which must be maintained throughout the granting period.
- Institutions report publicly on their websites on the outcomes of institutional performance objectives.
- Institutions submit a statement of account by the reporting deadline.
- Institutions submit an outcomes report by the reporting deadline.
To receive an RSF grant, your postsecondary institution must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
- Received research funding—Researchers at your institution (and/or at its affiliated research hospitals or institutes) must have received research funding from one of the three federal research funding agencies in one of the three most recent fiscal years for which data are available. Note that some of the agencies’ programs are excluded; that is, they cannot be counted as credits in the RSF funding formula.
- Degree- or diploma-granting—Your 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 RSF 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. Your institution must provide evidence of its authority to grant degrees.
- Conferring degrees—Your institution must have conferred degrees during the two calendar years before you apply, or will confer degrees during the calendar year of application or the three subsequent 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—Your institutions must be Canadian and not-for-profit. They must not receive operating funding through any other institution.
Eligibility criteria and application processes for the IPG are found on the funding opportunity description page.
Invitation to apply
TIPS conducts a yearly grant calculation exercise to determine the size of grant for which eligible institutions may apply. TIPS will then notify your institution—including those eligible for the first time—that it meets the program’s eligibility criteria and invite your institution to apply for an RSF grant of the value determined.
Your institution can only apply for an RSF grant if TIPS notifies you that your institution is eligible.
Newly eligible institutions
Each year, TIPS monitors the funding granted by the three federal research funding agencies to all Canadian postsecondary institutions. If your institution receives funding from any of the three agencies for the first time, TIPS contacts you to confirm your institution’s eligibility and invites your institution to apply for an RSF grant.
There are two roles in the Convergence portal for RSF
Senior Official and RSF
Delegate. The individuals in these roles are allowed to create, view and edit the institution’s RSF
application and reporting requirements. The Senior Official also has the permission required to submit these. It is the institution’s responsibility to ensure this information is up to date and complete. For information on how to update your institutional contacts, consult the Financial Administration Guide
Grant value and duration
TIPS uses a funding formula to determine the value of your institution’s RSF grant. The calculation uses the amount of funding received by your institution’s researchers from the three federal research granting agencies in the three most recent years for which data are available. These amounts are used to calculate credits toward the institution. The final value also depends on the RSF’s budget for that year.
For information on how the IPGs are calculated, visit the funding opportunity description.
For information on how allocations for research security are calculated, visit the research security page.
Grants are awarded for one year only. Institutions must re-apply each year and meet all terms and conditions of funding to continue receiving funds.
Application deadlines and instructions
To receive funding, your institution must apply to the program each year by the application deadline. Each institution must:
||Applications available in Convergence
|2022-23 RSF grants
||April 14, 2022
||May 25, 2022*
|2023-24 RSF grants**
||April 14 2023
||May 24, 2023*
|2024-25 RSF grants**
||April 12, 2024
||May 22, 2024*
|2025-26 RSF grants**
||April 11, 2025
||May 21, 2025*
* Applications must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. (eastern) on the deadline date.
** These timelines are tentative and will be confirmed before the opening of the RSF cycle in question.
To apply, the Senior Official or RSF Delegate must:
The Senior Official must:
- Accept the Terms and conditions and submit the application on Convergence by the application deadline
Forfeiture of funds
If your institution fails to submit the online grant application and/or to meet the accountability and public acknowledgment requirements by the application deadline, it will forfeit grant funds for that fiscal year. Failing to submit the application may also affect an institution’s eligibility for the program for future grant years. Forfeited funds may be redistributed to eligible institutions in a later grant calculation exercise.
Your institution must apply by the application deadline in order to receive funding. Institutions will receive a reminder that the notional grant amounts are available, but no further reminders of the application deadline.
TIPS will consider requests for extensions to the application deadline only in exceptional circumstances, such as the following:
- A documented system interruption with the program’s online institutional portal
- Extraordinary circumstances outside of the institution’s control (e.g., severe weather conditions leading to university closures)
For system interruptions, refer to the Service Standards for SSHRC’s and NSERC’s Online Application Systems regarding deadline extensions. For extraordinary circumstances outside of the institution’s control, the grantee (normally the institution’s president, principal or rector) must submit to TIPS a written request providing a justification for the request. Such requests may be sent to email@example.com.
Use of grant funds
In the online Grant Application Form, you must indicate the amount that your institution plans to spend in each of the five eligible expenses categories: research facilities; research resources; management and administration of the institution’s research enterprise; regulatory requirements and accreditation; and intellectual property and knowledge mobilization. You must use RSF grants only to pay current expenses that fall within these five categories and that are tied to federally sponsored research. The RSF Financial Administration Guide outlines the terms and conditions for use of grant funds.
For the purpose of the RSF, an organization can be considered affiliated with 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.
In calculating the annual grant for your institution, TIPS includes credits for research conducted at the institution as well as at affiliated research institutes, hospitals and other facilities. For your institution to be credited for research at affiliated organizations, you must confirm the affiliation in the RSF application. You must confirm these affiliations every year, even if they have not changed from the previous year.
TIPS uses the list of affiliated organizations from institutions’ applications to identify and allocate credits to that institution for the next fiscal year’s grant calculation exercise. Therefore, TIPS requires a comprehensive list of all the organizations affiliated with the applicant institution, either directly or indirectly, to ensure that an applicant institution receives its share of the RSF budget.
Examples of affiliate relationships:
Grantee: University of Toronto
Affiliates: St. Michael's Hospital, Keenan Research Centre, Applied Health Research Centre, etc.
*In Convergence – Search the database using the drop-down list.
Do not use abbreviated names or acronyms if adding an unlisted affiliated organization.
For your institution to be credited for the research of its affiliated organizations, your institution must have in place a formal agreement for (1) all health-related affiliated organizations and (2) other affiliated organizations that involve a transfer of funds. For information about affiliated organizations and the formal agreements that must be in place, see the Financial Administration Guide.
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, contact:
For questions about the application process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.