Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund

by ahnationtalk on July 3, 202028 Views

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The program will be delivered in three funding stages. The application instructions for Stage 2 and 3 are still in development. Check this page for the finalized program description and instructions before submitting applications to these stages.

Overview

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) was announced on May 15, 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The temporary program has been established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the program will help reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and ensure that the benefits of significant investments to date in universities and health research institutions are protected. This will maintain Canada’s international competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy, and contribute to Canadians’ health and social and cultural life, as well as the health of Canada’s natural environment.

CRCEF is a tri-agency program and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC. The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration.

Program objectives

The program, which has a total budget of $450 million, has two objectives:

  • as a priority, to provide wage support to universities and health research institutions, both of which are ineligible to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), to help them retain research-related personnel during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic (up to $325 million); and
  • to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume ($125 million).

Eligibility

Only eligible institutions that confirm the need for emergency funds will have access to funding from the program.

  1. Universities eligible to the Research Support Fund (RSF) are eligible to apply to CRCEF directly. Health research institutions will receive funding through the universities with which they are affiliated.
  2. Non-affiliated health research institutions that are already eligible for agency funding will be eligible to apply directly to the program. CIHR’s list of eligible health institutions will be used to identify non-affiliated health institutions that could potentially apply to the program. A public call will be put in place no later than July 10 to ensure these additional institutions can access the program.

The terms “applicant” and “recipient” are used in this program description to refer to eligible institutions described in the two categories above (a and b). The “applicant” refers to the institution that applies for funding. The “recipient” refers to the institution that receives funding. The term “affiliate” is used in this program description to refer to affiliated health research institutions that receive funding through the universities.

Program description

The program will be delivered in three funding stages. Institutions must apply at each stage to access funding. The first two stages will exclusively provide wage support for eligible research personnel. The third stage will support incurred costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. For all stages, the demonstration of need to access the emergency funds will be required.

Funds in Stages 1 and 2 must be used exclusively for wage support for research personnel whose salaries were adversely affected by COVID-19 and who are paid in part or in whole by non-governmental sources. All reasonable efforts must be made to avert or reverse layoffs of eligible research personnel. Applicants must ensure that individuals for which they are requesting wage support from this program are not claiming other wage support (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit). See Eligible expenses for further information.

Universities will be responsible for distributing funding to their affiliates. Universities will be required to account for their method of distribution to their affiliates at each stage of the program. They must also post their method on their public-facing websites. Universities are not permitted to hold back any portion of funds that are intended for affiliates. Recipients and affiliates are not permitted to hold back any portion of the grant for administrative purposes or indirect costs.

Stage 1 – Wage support for research-related personnel ($225 million)

Eligible applicants:

Initial funding for wage support in Stage 1 will be immediately distributed using an allocation based on research incomes as a proxy to estimate needs. This is to help address urgent needs.

The allocation formula is based on the applicant’s proportionate share of non-governmental-sponsored research income and is used as a proxy for institutional needs. The data is taken from the publicly available FIUC from CAUBO. See Grant allocation formula for more information.

Funding for affiliates will flow through the principal university with which they are affiliated in the CAUBO dataset. Universities are required to implement a process to distribute funds to their affiliates that is based on a dataset and an allocation formula with the same methodology used by the program. This process must be agreed upon by the affiliates.

Any portion of the funds provided in Stage 1 that exceeds the need for wage support must be held in reserve by recipients, pending the funding decisions of Stage 3.

Stage 2 – Supplemental wage support for research-related personnel (up to $100 million)

Further information will be provided at a later date.

Eligible applicants:

  • universities not included in the CAUBO dataset, eligible to the RSF and not eligible to apply in Stage 1;
  • non-affiliated health research institutions eligible to receive funding from the three federal research funding agencies; and
  • all applicants that have residual needs.

Non-eligible applicants:

  • Stage 1 recipients with unspent funds held in reserve.

The combined final wage support in Stage 1 and 2 will be entirely based on needs (i.e., total personnel supported and total costs incurred).

To ensure equitable access to the funding in Stage 2, funds will first be allocated to applicants who did not receive funds in Stage 1. See Grant allocation formula for more information.

Remaining Stage 2 funding will then be awarded to the applicants who can demonstrate a need for additional wage support beyond what they have already received. Funding amounts will be prorated if the applicants’ total demonstrated needs for supplemental funding exceed the funding available for Stage 2.

Stage 3 – Research maintenance/ramp-up costs ($125 million)

Further information will be provided at a later date.

Eligible applicants:

  • universities eligible to the RSF; and
  • non-affiliated health research institutions eligible for funding from the three federal research funding agencies.

Funding in Stage 3 will be awarded to support direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. An initial maximum payable allocation per applicant will be established based on the applicant’s proportionate share of total sponsored research income (including governmental research income). This allocation will be based on the publicly available RSF data from CAUBO and the supplemental data provided by universities and non-affiliated health research institutions not included in the CAUBO dataset. See Grant allocation formula for more information.

Applicants must justify need for the funds based on actual costs incurred. If some applicants do not establish need or do not request Stage 3 funding up to their maximum allocation, funds will be reallocated on a prorated basis to those applicants demonstrating need in excess of their maximum Stage 3 allocation. Application forms will allow for the submission of incurred expenses that exceed the maximum allocation.

Unused Stage 1 funds held in reserve by recipients will be applied against their approved allocation for Stage 3. Should the reserved funds exceed the approved allocation for Stage 3, the recipient will be required to return to the Receiver General of Canada the excess portion of funds.

Grant allocation formula

For Stage 1, the funding is allocated according to the following formula.

For each applicant, the distribution will be prorated and:

  • based on the CAUBO research income report;
  • based on the annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources;
  • scaled to a period of 12 weeks (12/52); and
  • will assume that 60% of funding is allocated on average to personnel costs (60% of total).

For Stage 2, for other universities and non-affiliated health research institutions, the funding is allocated according to the same formula used for Stage 1. Distribution will be prorated as if the data had been available in Stage 1 with the CAUBO dataset and:

  • based on the research income data provided;
  • based on the annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources;
  • scaled to a period of 12 weeks (12/52); and
  • will assume that 60% of funding is allocated on average to personnel costs (60% of total).

For additional wage support, funding will be allocated based on demonstrated needs. Funding amounts will be prorated if the applicants’ total demonstrated needs for supplemental funding exceed the funding available for Stage 2.

For Stage 3, the maximum payable allocation will be calculated according to the following formula. For each applicant, the distribution will be prorated and based on:

  • the CAUBO total research income data, or data on total research income provided by universities and non-affiliated health research institutions not included in the CAUBO dataset; and
  • the annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) for the total research income from all sources.

Eligible expenses

Only direct costs of research as outlined below are eligible. Expenses for wage support must be incurred by August 29, 2020, and expenses for maintenance and ramp-up costs must be incurred by November 15, 2020.

Administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of CRCEF.

Stage 1 and 2 – Wages (or wage portions) of research-related personnel

Eligible expenses include the following:

  • Up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual, incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.
  • Personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period can become eligible retroactively, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period.

Research-related personnel are those employed by universities or health research institutions who are working for faculty members conducting research, or who are working in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects). Principal investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.

Applicants cannot claim benefits, salary/wages or portions of these, and expenses covered through:

  • other federal research funding agency awards;
  • the Canada Foundation for Innovation awards; or
  • funding from all levels of government, including COVID-19 relief programs.

Individuals who will have their wages funded by CRCEF cannot receive support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Stage 3 – Research maintenance and ramp-up costs

Further information will be made available at a later date.

Eligible expenses include costs incurred by November 15, 2020, and associated with the following:

  • Cost incurred associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes:
    • animal and specimen care through the crisis period;
    • maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts;
    • technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and
    • safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance.
  • Costs incurred associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:
    • re-organizing the research environment and activities;
    • additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental);
    • re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials;
    • exceptional costs to access special facilities, platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops;
    • restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities;
    • reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and
    • personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel.

Grant payment

Payments will be issued through a grant to recipients in up to three installments, to align with the three funding stages, as described below:

  • the first installment for wage support in Stage 1;
  • the second installment based on wage support supplemental needs, in Stage 2; and
  • the third installment for direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities, in Stage 3.

Those applying directly in Stage 2 will receive two installments.

Application instructions

The table below summarizes the stages and application deadlines.

Purpose Eligibility Deadline Expected payment date
Stage 1 Wage support Universities included in the CAUBO database and eligible to the RSF July 7, 2020 July 20, 2020
Stage 2 Wage support
  • Universities not included in the CAUBO database, eligible to the RSF and not eligible to apply in Stage 1
  • Non-affiliated health research institutions eligible to receive funding from the three federal research funding agencies
  • All applicants with residual need
July 29, 2020 End of August 2020
Stage 3 Ramp-up and maintenance costs
  • Universities eligible to the RSF
  • Non-affiliated health research institutions eligible for funding from the three federal research funding agencies
September 1 to November 15, 2020 By January 31, 2021

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit the application form in each of the three stages (as applicable) by the deadlines indicated above.

The applicant must identify a senior-level university official as the institutional authority representative (i.e., vice-president level) who will attest that:

  • there is a need for funding to help sustain research activities affected by COVID-19; and
  • that the program requirements outlined below and in the program literature will be followed in managing, distributing and reporting on this funding.

Stage 1

TIPS will send an email invitation to the identified university contact. They must complete the application form and refer to the instructions included in the application form.

In Stage 1, applicants will be required to provide:

  • a signed attestation form; and
  • a list of affiliated health research institutions (as applicable).

Stage 2

Further information will be provided at a later date.

Applicants for which data were unavailable and did not receive an allocation in Stage 1 will be required to provide:

  • an attestation form;
  • a list of affiliated health research institutions, as applicable;
  • a signature from their institutional authority representative and from each affiliate, as applicable; and
  • data on their governmental and non-governmental research income from 2015-16 to 2017-18, with audited statements.

To apply for additional wage support in Stage 2, all applicants must demonstrate the residual need for wage support by providing information that includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • a signature from their institutional authority representative and from each affiliate, as applicable;
  • the number of additional personnel requiring support, listed by category (according to the agencies’ Statement of Account [Form 300] [PDF, 500 KB]), including for affiliates, as applicable;
  • the level of additional wage support required, including for affiliates, as applicable;
  • a detailed justification for the need; and
  • attestation of need, costs and personnel information by the authorized financial authority (e.g., a chief financial officer [CFO]), including for affiliates, as applicable.

Meeting the reporting requirements for recipients in Stage 1 is an eligibility requirement for an application for additional wage support in Stage 2 (see Reporting for more information).

Stage 3

Further information will be provided at a later date.

Meeting the reporting requirements of Stage 1 and 2 is an eligibility requirement for an application in Stage 3 (see Reporting for more information).

The application process will be based on incurred expenses. Applications will be accepted between September 1 and November 15, 2020, on a continuous intake basis, with a limit of one application per eligible applicant. Universities must submit a consolidated application that includes all affiliates’ costs.

Institutions must implement an open and transparent process for internal distribution of Stage 3 funds that follows the equity, diversity and inclusion requirements.

The application requirements will include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • a signature from the institutional authority representative and from each affiliate, as applicable;
  • information on the envelope distribution with affiliates, as applicable;
  • a description of the applicant’s open and transparent process for allocating funds;
  • a strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making;
  • demonstration of the extraordinary nature of the incurred expenses; and
  • total costs incurred.

Additional details on application requirements will be provided at a later date.

Review process

For Stage 1, applications will be administratively assessed by the agencies (through TIPS) for eligibility and completeness against the program criteria.

For Stage 2, applications will be reviewed by the agencies (through TIPS) to ensure:

  • demonstrable outstanding need for wage support; and
  • fulfillment of all the reporting requirements associated with the Stage 1 allocation.

Eligibility of non-affiliated health research institutions applying in this stage will be verified.

For Stage 3, applications will be reviewed by the agencies (through TIPS) to ensure:

  • demonstrated needs and eligible costs incurred related to COVID-19;
  • fulfillment of all the reporting requirements and eligible expense criteria associated with the Stage 1 and 2 allocation (as applicable); and
  • the robust institutional processes to award funding against the program’s requirements.

The CRCC provides strategic oversight of the program and approves the review process and awards.

Regulations, requirements and other information

Tri-agency commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

The federal research funding agencies are committed to excellence in research and research training. Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges.

In managing CRCEF funding, the recipients and affiliates must take active measures to prevent systemic barriers that result in individuals from equity-seeking groups receiving unequal access to, or being excluded from participating in, employment, services, or programs in Canada’s research ecosystem. Equity-seeking groups include, but are not limited to, women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities. These barriers, defined as policies and practices, are systemic in nature. This means they result from institutional level practices and policies that may be “unintended” or “unseen,” but that have serious and long-lasting impacts on the lives of those affected (e.g., on their career trajectories).

These measures are especially important in a crisis situation such as a pandemic, as unconscious biases are more likely to influence decision-making that must be done rapidly and in stressful circumstances. There is also evidence that points to a disproportionate impact of the pandemic on individuals from equity-seeking groups, for example, individuals with disabilities being unable to access necessary health care, women disproportionately shouldering childcare and homeschooling responsibilities, etc.

Public accountability and transparency

Recipients are required to manage all program funds by using a robust and transparent process. The principles of responsible stewardship, public accountability, and equity, diversity, and inclusion should be respected in all stages of the process. All recipients and affiliates must comply with the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making requirements and allocate funds accordingly, including for managing needs exceeding funds provided. In addition, all recipients must publish on their public-facing websites their strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making (see requirements below). This information must be published by August 31, 2020, and remain publicly available on the recipient’s public-facing website for a minimum of three years.

Before beginning any decision-making process for funding distribution, the recipient must identify a senior-level university official (i.e., vice-president level), who will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the program are followed.

Recipients must ensure the following requirements are in place:

  • A group of individuals (not a sole individual) normally part of the recipient’s and affiliate’s governance structure must be responsible for making decisions on how the funds will be used.
  • The group must have some representation from individuals from equity-seeking groups, for example, women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities.
  • The group members will have received unconscious bias training, such as the agencies’ online training module.
  • The group will develop a strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making for the use of the funds, including a statement that communicates the recipient’s and affiliates’ commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in managing CRCEF funds. This strategy should:
    • address how to limit the negative impact of unconscious bias and systemic barriers for both wage support and maintenance/ramp-up costs, including in cases where the need exceeds the funds provided;
    • document safeguards to ensure that decisions are not negatively affected by a researcher’s inability to work during the pandemic due to child/family care or increased risk related to exposure to COVID-19; and
    • address how to ensure that the decision-making values research that is non-traditional or unconventional, based in Indigenous ways of knowing, outside the mainstream of the discipline, or focused on issues of gender, race or minority status.

In addition to the information outlined above, recipients must post the following information on their public-facing websites by August 31, 2020:

  • an overview of the program’s objectives and a link to the program’s web page;
  • a comprehensive list of affiliated health research institutions receiving funding, if applicable;
  • a detailed overview of the method of distribution to their affiliated health research institutions in each stage of the program;
  • their strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making; and
  • the contact information of the senior-level individual who is responsible for ensuring the program’s requirements are followed.

Use of grant funds

Roles and responsibilities

The administration of funds granted by an agency is a joint responsibility between the recipient and the agency. Refer to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research for the applicant’s responsibilities when applying for, or receiving funds, and the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (“the Agreement’’) for more details on administering funds. Applicants who do not have a signed agreement in place must contact TIPS prior to applying to the program.

TIPS verifies the applicant’s eligibility for and entitlement to grants according to the federal laws and policies regarding grants.

Each applicant establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that agency and program policies and requirements are followed. Administrative and accounting procedures must conform to the applicant’s standards, practices and policies.

The recipient, normally the institutional authority representative or authorized delegate, authorizes expenditures from the grant account according to program guidelines. The recipient may delegate the authorization of expenditures to a small number of individuals.

The recipient must not disburse any funds until all specified certification requirements—including those with respect to animal care, human ethics and any other requirements—have been met, and any other special permits or licenses have been delivered.

All subsequent instalments are subject to parliamentary appropriations and the conditions that may be attached to them. TIPS reserves the right to defer or suspend subsequent instalments if the parliamentary appropriations are reduced or cancelled, or if the need for funds is not demonstrated.

Reporting

A report on the use of funds received from each stage of the program will be required.

Reporting requirements for Stage 1 funds will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • a signature from the recipient’s institutional authority representative and from each affiliate, as applicable;
  • a description of the allocation process for distribution of funds to affiliates in Stage 1;
  • the total allocation of funds provided to affiliates;
  • the number of personnel requiring support in Stage 1, listed by category, for the recipient and affiliates, as applicable; and
  • the total use of wage support in Stage 1 by the recipient and for affiliates, as applicable.

Reporting requirements for Stage 2 will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • a signature from the recipient’s institutional authority representative and from each affiliate, as applicable;
  • the total use of wage support from Stage 2, as applicable; and
  • total number of personnel supported and rehired, listed by category.

Due to the nature of the funding in Stage 3, which is based on incurred costs, the application and reporting is done simultaneously.

Recipients will be required to provide a final grant report confirming previously reported data in Stages 1 and 2 and final use of funds in Stage 3. Self-identification data at the institutional level will also be required, as available.

Returning unspent funds

Funds must be spent before March 31, 2021. Unspent balances cannot be transferred to the recipient’s general research fund or carried forward to the next fiscal year, but must be returned to SSHRC’s finance division by way of cheque payable to the Receiver General for Canada, with the final statement of account. Contact program staff for additional details.

Questions

If you have questions about the application process, contact crcef-fucrc@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

NT5

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