Government of Canada announces investment for university, college research overhead

University of Alberta will receive $16.5 million to support world-class research that creates jobs and prosperity

January 19, 2015, Edmonton, Alberta–Chairs Secretariat

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced significant investments through the Research Support Fund to support university and college overhead costs. Through this fund, the University of Alberta will receive significant investment to support world-class research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge and creates jobs and growth. Minister of State Holder was joined by the Honourable Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre; Don Hickey, Vice-President, Facilities and Operations, University of Alberta; and Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The Minister of State took the opportunity to tour the laboratory of Dr. Amit Kumar, an expert in bioenergy and biofuels. His Large Scale Fluids Laboratory, which received administrative support through the Research Support Fund, provided the Minister of State a first-hand demonstration, converting straw into an easily transportable energy source. Dr. Kumar is also the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Energy and Environmental Systems Engineering, which is an area of investigation that is helping identify environmentally promising energy pathways for future research and development.

The federal Research Support Fund, formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program, will help the university with overhead or additional costs of research that fall outside of direct investments in postsecondary research.

Quick facts

  • The Research Support Fund supports a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), such as salaries for staff who provide administrative support, training costs for workplace health and safety, maintenance of libraries and laboratories, and administrative costs associated with obtaining patents for inventions.
  • In Budget 2014, the government committed an additional $9 million per year to the Research Support Fund, for a total of $342 million in 2014-15. Since 2006, government support for the costs of managing research has increased by more than 25 per cent.
  • The University of Alberta will receive an investment of $16.5 million through the Research Support Fund in 2014-15. Since 2006, the government has provided the University of Alberta almost $137 million in research support funds.
  • Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered on the government’s commitment to provide an updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy. The Strategy is a vision and a roadmap to strengthen Canada’s position as a global leader in scientific research, while looking to harness greater Canadian innovations that create jobs, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians.


"As our government’s updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy demonstrates, we are making the record investments necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians. Through the Research Support Fund, we are supporting the overhead and additional expenses of research at universities and colleges so that researchers can focus on what they do best—world-class research that benefits Canadians."

Ed Holder
Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"Our government’s continued record investments, including the Research Support Fund, have helped propel the University of Alberta to become one of the most successful and respected research universities in the country. The U of A’s research creates new knowledge, new understanding and new opportunities which contribute to creating jobs and economic growth for Edmontonians."

Laurie Hawn
Member of Parliament (Edmonton Centre)

"The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies. It allows world-class research to happen at universities across Canada with the best equipment and administrative support available."

Dr. B. Mario Pinto
President, NSERC

"I am pleased that the Research Support Fund will continue where the Indirect Costs Program left off—by providing critical funding support to Canadian universities, by covering expenses such as utilities, maintenance of equipment and infrastructure, and research management and administration. The Fund will help the University of Alberta ensure its ability to continue to conduct innovative and ground-breaking research for the benefit of Alberta, Canada, and the world."

Dr. Indira Samarasekera
President, University of Alberta

"The Research Support Fund is essential in maintaining our labs and equipment, providing administrative support, and in the planning, coordination and set-up of these collaborative research projects."

Dr. Amit Kumar
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Energy and Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Alberta

Additional links


Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Anne-Marie Cenaiko
Media Relations Advisor
Research Support Fund