Grant Holder's Guide
Strategic Grants and Joint Initiatives
This section contains regulations that apply to grants from the following
SSHRC programs: Strategic Themes and Strategic Joint Initiatives.
For unique regulations that apply to Strategic Themes and Strategic Joint
Initiatives, see the respective program descriptions and your Notice of
Dates to Remember
Basic Terms and Conditions
After the Grant is Completed
Related SSHRC Policies
Dates to Remember
Strategic Grants Dates to Remember
* Any Council commitment beyond three years is subject
to a substantive merit review of progress. SSHRC will notify you in advance
about any information that you will have to provide.
Strategic Knowledge Clusters Dates to Remember
* Any Council commitment beyond three years is subject to a substantive merit review of progress. SSHRC will notify you in advance about any information that you will have to provide.
Basic Terms and Conditions
What is the period of tenure?
SSHRC grants are awarded for one to five years, depending on the program.
Your Notice of Award will indicate the period of tenure for your particular
Can I use my grant funds beyond the grant period indicated on my Notice
If you have a strategic theme grant, you
receive an automatic one-year extension on the use of residual funds in
your account at the end of the grant term. The automatic extension does
not qualify as a grant; you can submit another grant application and hold
a new grant during the extension year.
If you need an extension for a Strategic Joint Initiative or Research
Development Initiative grant,
you must submit a written request to SSHRC before the end of the grant
period, briefly stating why you need the extension and when you plan to
terminate your grant. SSHRC will consider requests for extensions on a
May I spend my budget differently than specified in my application?
Yes, you may make changes in specific research plans and schedules and
reapportion your budget (with the exception of any Research
Time Stipend) without seeking approval from SSHRC, as long as you
use your grant for the broad purpose for which it was originally awarded
and you respect grant conditions and relevant program requirements. However,
major changes in research objectives require prior Council approval. Research
Time Stipend funds may not be reallocated to research expenses, nor may
research funds be applied to a Research Time Stipend that has not been
What if I change institutions or move to another country?
If you move, your grant can be transferred with you from one Canadian
university to another, provided both institutions agree to the transfer.
You must inform SSHRC's Finance Division of your intention to transfer,
and ensure that SSHRC receives the following:
- Written confirmation from the receiving university of its willingness
to accept and to administer the balance of the grant in accordance with
SSHRC's terms and conditions (you must send the original to SSHRC and
a copy to your former university);
- A statement of account (signed by you) sent from your former university
to the receiving university showing expenditures and the balance of
the grant up to the date of transfer; and confirmation of the actual
transfer of the remaining grant funds;
- Confirmation from your receiving university that they have received
the balance of the grant as shown on the statement of account (you must
also send a copy to your former university); and
- Copies of any other correspondence relating to the transfer of the
If you transfer your grant to a new university, any equipment purchased
with SSHRC grant funds must accompany you and becomes the property of
the new university at the conclusion of your grant.
If you move to another country before completion of a research program
or project for which you have received SSHRC funding:
- Any individual grant that you hold will be terminated, unless
the research project's topic pertains to Canada; and
- Any team grant for which you are the applicant may continue
to be funded if you transfer it to an eligible co-applicant, subject
to SSHRC approval.
Is information about my grant confidential?
Competition results in the research support programs are forwarded to
university research administration officers. By applying through their
universities, faculty members implicitly consent to have competition results
released to their universities. University research administration officers
and their staff must ensure that these results are released only to the
applicants and those people directly involved in the administration of
the grants program.
Universities are expected to store the material securely, and to ensure
that it is not used or disclosed for any other purpose. After the material
is no longer required, the university must destroy it promptly and in
a secure manner.
What payment conditions can be attached to a grant?
Your grant may have certain conditions attached to it. For example,
if you have not completed a financial or productivity report from a previous
grant, your current grant payments will be withheld until you have met
those conditions. Your Notice of Award gives you a detailed explanation
of which grant is missing which report. No grant funds will be released
until all payment conditions have been met.
For holders of strategic grants: if your
Research Report is not received within six months following the automatic
extension period, the second installment of any grant you may be holding
at the time will not be released. In addition, you will not be able to
submit any new applications until you have submitted any overdue reports.
How are the grants paid?
Grant funds are sent directly to your university research or business
office for retention on your behalf in a Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council grant account. This arrangement relieves you of most
of the administration of the grant: the research or business office maintains
custody of the grant funds, disburses salaries and other expenditures
authorized by you or your delegated authority, and provides periodic reports
to you and to SSHRC on the status of the grant funds.
The university may not disburse any funds on your behalf until you have
met all the appropriate requirements, such as conforming to ethics guidelines.
Who can authorize expenditures from my grant account?
As applicant, you must authorize all expenditures from your grant fund,
thereby certifying that these expenditures are essential for carrying
out the activity supported by the grant. No other person may initiate
or authorize any expenditure from your SSHRC grant account without your
delegated written authority, which must be supplied to your university's
The university (or your organization) is responsible for administering
grant funds in accordance with SSHRC guidelines, and may decline to release
funds for an expenditure you have proposed or authorized if such expenditure
contravenes SSHRC regulations or university policies. Administration,
personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices
and policies of your university.
If you do not comply with the regulations outlined in this guide, SSHRC
can freeze or close your grant account(s) or all SSHRC accounts at your
university. If you use your grant funds to pay expenditures contrary to
SSHRC's policy, you will have to repay the grant account or SSHRC. Fraudulent
use of SSHRC funds will be referred to the appropriate legal authorities.
What signatures are required on which documents?
Statements of Account must be signed by the grant holder and a university
finance officer (who may either sign individual statements or sign and
attach a covering note when sending the statements in bulk to SSHRC).
Journal vouchers and internal invoices must be signed by the grant holder
or a designated representative. (If expenditures are charged to departmental
accounts and internal journal vouchers are used to transfer the expenditures
to the appropriate SSHRC grant account at a later date, details of the
expenditure must be included with the journal voucher.)
Are my grant expenditures verified by SSHRC?
Review and investigation officers from SSHRC's Finance Division visit
universities every year. These visits allow the team to:
- assess whether researchers are well supported and have the tools
necessary to properly and effectively manage their research funds;
- review the effectiveness of policies, controls and systems in place
at the university to ensure that SSHRC policies and regulations are
followed and that research funds are well managed;
- review the expenditures of researchers to ensure that these were
made in accordance with the Council's policies, regulations and guidelines,
and for the purposes intended; and
- share and disseminate information on guidelines and expectations
for financial and scientific accountability and integrity.
You must keep all accounts and records of monies received and expenditures,
with supporting receipts and vouchers, for two years after the termination
of the grant. These accounts and records must be made available to SSHRC
or its agent on request.
Can I transfer account balances from one year to the next?
For multiyear grants, if the total funds awarded for a particular year
are not spent in that year, you may transfer the balance to the next fiscal
year of the grant.
Can I transfer money left over at the end of my grant term to a new
Residual funds cannot be transferred to a new grant. However, SSHRC
will allow residual funds from prior years to be kept by the university
under certain conditions determined by SSHRC's Finance Division. Such
funds may be authorized for transfer to a General Research Fund Account.
This special SSHRC account is held in trust by the university president
for the broad purpose of enhancing the quality of research in the social
sciences and humanities in accordance with SSHRC policies on the use of
Can I transfer SSHRC grant funds to another account?
No, with one exception: you may transfer grant funds from a SSHRC account
at one institution or organization to a SSHRC account at another eligible
Canadian institution or organization. If you wish to transfer funds in
this way, have your former institution forward to SSHRC's Finance Division:
- your signed notice stating your date of departure from the institution;
- a signed Statement of Account that covers up to the date of your departure; and
- a completed Form 303, Transfer
to Another Institution.
In addition, the Finance Division will require a letter from the research
grants officer at your new institution, countersigned by the appropriate
dean or department head. This letter should give the date of your appointment
and specify your academic status. Issuing of the letter also implies you
have met all requirements for research involving the use of animals, human
subjects or biohazards.
What expenses may I charge to my grant?
You may only charge to your grant those expenses that are directly related
to achieving the objectives for which your grant was awarded.
In general terms:
- Development grants associated with a two-stage application: Eligible
costs are limited to travel, workshops, meetings, secretarial support,
and communication and dissemination activities.
- Strategic grants assist with the direct
costs of the conduct and communication of research, including students'
and research assistants' salaries and stipends, prepublication costs
for the production of a scholarly edition, secretarial and clerical
services, travel and subsistence, technical consultation, research equipment
and supplies, and dissemination of findings. (Research Time Stipends
are only used for releasing members of the research team from teaching
during the period of the award.)
More specifically, the following types of expenses may be incurred in
Everyone employed with SSHRC grant funds must be a Canadian citizen
or a permanent resident or must hold a valid Canadian employment visa
or work permit issued by the federal government, unless you can show
that the research requires that you hire someone outside the country.
Employees in Canada who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent
residents must comply with all federal regulations concerning employment.
As the employer, the university or host organization is responsible
for ensuring that these conditions are met.
Research personnel and support staff: Your grant can be used
to pay the salaries and related federal, provincial and institutional
non-discretionary benefits for work performed by research personnel,
support staff and other personnel (i.e., administrative personnel,
summer students, research associates and technicians).
Institutional non-discretionary benefits normally include long-
and short-term disability insurance, life insurance, pension, medical,
vision and dental care, and maternity leave.
Note: SSHRC defers to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
regulations regarding salaries.
Foreign Research Assistants: If your program of research
involves research abroad, you may hire foreign research assistants—if
they are essential to the work.
SSHRC doctoral fellows: SSHRC doctoral fellows can accept
research or teaching assistantships. Your university's policy on
these matters determines the number of hours they can work.
Relatives: The employment of relatives is permitted provided
they have appropriate qualifications and all university regulations
and recruitment policies are followed.
Research time stipends: In cases where a Research Time Stipend has been approved, the Council's portion of the stipend is
included in the grant.
If both the university and SSHRC portions of the stipend are used
to release members of the research team from teaching during the
period of the grant, these funds do not have to be assigned as indicated
in the original application. Research Time Stipends may be used
to pay for the actual teaching replacement costs of either the applicant
or any co-applicant listed in the application.
Student Stipends: Students may not receive stipends
while holding a SSHRC doctoral or postdoctoral
fellowship. However, SSHRC fellowship and stipend
recipients may concurrently hold teaching assistantships
or research assistantships from other sources.
The award of a student stipend should be made in accordance with
the objectives of the research project or program and the work performed
by students who receive stipends should be an integral part of the
grantee's program of research.
Master's students are eligible for stipends up to $12,000 per year,
doctoral students may receive up to $15,000 per year, and postdoctoral
fellows may receive up to $31,500 per year.
Recruiting costs for research personnel, such as advertising and
airfare for candidates, etc.
- Fees paid to research subjects (such as modest incentives for participation),
where ethically acceptable.
Professional and technical services and contracts
Computer Services: All computer services for which researchers
must pay a user fee are eligible expenses. University computer services
are expected to offer grant holders most-favoured-user rates.
Consultants: Grant recipients are expected to have the full
qualifications and experience necessary to carry out research programs/projects
for which they are funded, or to obtain the help of fellow scholars
as part of reciprocal scholarly collaboration. Consulting fees may
be charged against the grant only if the application proposal demonstrates
that expert advice is needed to resolve highly technical problems.
Safety waste disposal.
Cost of subcontracts.
- Costs involved in providing personnel with training and/or development
in novel techniques required for the conduct of the research project.
Communication of results (eligible expenses include):
Circulation of findings through traditional media, as well as
on video, CD-ROM, etc.;
Travel to scholarly meetings;
Holding a workshop whose activities relate directly to the research
funded (the cost of meals for workshop participants may be charged
to the grant, but alcoholic beverages may not);
Preparing a manuscript for publication (e.g., layout and preparation
and/or purchase of illustrations, figures, maps, drawings, and photographs);
For research activities leading to the publication of a scholarly
edition: travel and subsistence of the editorial board;
Preparation of primary data to make them accessible to other researchers;
Costs of sending copies of data, reports or publications to the
community where the research was conducted (in Canada or abroad); and
- Development of web-based information, including web maintenance
Equipment and supplies
All items purchased with SSHRC funds are the property of the university
or organization administering the award. Any non-disposable items (including
books, research materials and documents) must be formally listed in
the university's or organization's inventory.
Computer hardware and software: You may purchase or rent
computers and associated hardware and software, if you do not have
access to such items through the institution.
Other non-disposable equipment: You may purchase or rent
equipment, such as microfilm readers, tape recorders, cameras, video
equipment, field vehicles, laboratory accessories and equipment,
if you do not have access to such items through the institution.
Other supplies: You may claim the following items only if
they are directly related to the research: disposable supplies (such
as stationery), postage, telephone calls, cards, tapes, books, documentation,
microfilm and duplicated material.
Safety-related expenses for field work, such as protective gear,
- Monthly charges for the use of the Internet from your office or
Equipment and supplies (during sabbatical and leave periods)
- The cost of renting a vehicle necessary for fieldwork (with prior
institutional approval; and the vehicle must be licensed and insured
during the sabbatical period).
- The cost of transporting research equipment to and from your sabbatical
Travel and related subsistence costs
You may claim travel and related subsistence costs only if data or
sources of information essential to the research activities are not
available in your immediate vicinity or if you have to travel to communicate
your research results.
You may charge the travel and subsistence costs of research collaborators,
both Canadian and foreign, only if the visit is for research planning,
exchange of information, or for the communication of research results.
Travel and subsistence costs for research and student assistants can
be charged to the grant if the visit is essential to the research.
Travel costs must be based on standard rates or policies in effect
at your institution. If no guidelines for travel per diems exist at
your institution, the federal government Treasury Board guidelines apply.
These are available from SSHRC.
Travel: You may claim the cost of air travel, provided that
you obtain the lowest fare possible and that the cost does not exceed
the equivalent of a full economy fare. Subsistence costs may be claimed
for the additional days a traveler may be required to stay in order
to take advantage of a lower fare, provided that the total cost
of the fare and subsistence is less than the cost of a full economy
fare. If an upgrade is necessary for medical or other reasons, you
must seek reimbursement elsewhere (i.e., your health insurance plan).
Rental or mileage costs are allowed only if the use of a car is
essential. Normal commuting costs may not be paid from a SSHRC grant
Subsistence: These costs must be justified by research needs
and may be applied only to time spent away from your home. You may
claim subsistence only when overnight accommodation is required. Subsistence
costs may not be claimed for more than 125 days per person per year.
Other types of eligible travel expenditures
A member of the research team who is a nursing mother or single custodial
parent can claim child care or babysitting expenses while travelling.
The allowable cost for a single parent is limited to overnight child
care costs incurred while travelling.
During sabbatical and leave periods: Travel costs to attend a conference
during a sabbatical leave.
In the case of Strategic Grants and Joint Initiatives, costs related
to networking activities may be charged to the grant. These costs may
include travel and subsistence, purchase of facsimile or other telecommunication
tools, hiring of network co-ordinators, food and drink (excluding alcoholic
beverages) for research meetings or workshops, etc.
Will I have to provide receipts for all my eligible expenses?
You are required to provide supporting documentation for all eligible
expenses, including internal expense allocations and shared expenses. This
documentation must include original receipts or invoices and a statement
justifying the expenses in the context of the program of research. The
documentation you submit must be in compliance with university guidelines.
For internal or shared expenses, your documentation must include the
amount charged to your SSHRC account, a description of how the amount
was calculated, and what the charge was for.
Every traveler claiming expenses from a SSHRC grant must prepare an
individual claim for each trip. For claimants other than the grant holder,
the affiliation with the grant holder's research group must be specified.
Travel claims must be countersigned by the department head or dean
as to the relevance of the travel to the funded research. In most universities,
the business office or the human resources office is responsible for
collecting and storing documentation related to eligible expenses.
Your travel claim must include the following information:
Purpose of the trip;
Dates and destinations (persons or organizations visited);
Official documentation indicating the dates of conferences and
Details of daily claims for expenditures relating to those visits;
Details of any vehicle used;
Original receipts, such as hotel bills, car rental agreements,
etc. (invoices and credit card slips are not valid receipts); and
- The claimant's signature certifying that all expenditures on the
claim are for purposes for which the grant was awarded, that the charges
included have not been claimed from other organizations, and that
reimbursements for expenditures received from other organizations
will be disclosed to the university.
Air travel ticket receipts
Original air travel ticket receipts must be returned with the grant
holder's travel claim. Boarding passes will not be accepted in lieu
of ticket receipts, except in the case of electronic tickets.
Personnel: compensation and benefits
You must be able to provide signed employment records, which include
the employee's name, category, salary level, period of employment, and
details of any employee benefits paid from the grant.
You must be able to supply original invoices describing what you purchased
and the price you paid for it.
Who owns equipment purchased with SSHRC grant funds?
Equipment purchased with SSHRC grant funds is your property during the
period of your grant. Once the grant period is finished, however, the
equipment becomes the property of your university or organization. If
you change universities or organizations and you transfer your grant to
your new university or organization, the equipment you purchased in order
to carry out your research remains your property until the period of the
grant is over. After that, the equipment belongs to your new university
What costs are ineligible?
Any activity that is not required to achieve the research objectives
of the program or project is ineligible. For example, the following expenses
- Research by the applicant or co-applicant leading to a degree.
- Education-related costs, such as thesis defence, publication, tuition
and course fees, etc.
- Research costs of Strategic Grant partners.
- Research costs of research collaborators (note: some travel costs
may be eligible, as explained under "Travel and related
- Any research expenses related to work being carried out by the researcher
under contract to a public or private agency or firm for their own purposes,
with the exception of work commissioned by a non-government publisher.
- Activities that have no significant research component (e.g., conducting
a public opinion poll that does not include analysis likely to produce
new knowledge, reviewing literature, preparing research proposals, summarizing
the findings of other researchers, etc.). This does not apply to development
grants awarded to applicants successful at the Letter of Intent stage
in such programs as Community-University Research Alliances.
- Fees for consultation with colleagues or for their participation in
- Contingency allowances.
- Indirect costs (e.g., medical insurance) or administrative overhead.
- Purchase or rental of standard office equipment such as desks, chairs,
filing cabinets, photocopiers, facsimile machines and answering machines (note: some equipment costs may be explained under "Networking activities").
- Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies.
- Child-care expenses. See "Other types of eligible travel expenditures" for exceptions.
- The cost of memberships in professional associations.
- Professional training or development, including computer and language
- Preparation of teaching materials.
- Curriculum development (e.g., preparing course material or a syllabus
designed for a program of teachingunless it is of demonstrated
theoretical importance or part of a research program or project).
- Simple collection or assembling of information (rather than analysis
designed to answer a research question or test an hypothesis).
- Entertainment costs.
- Hospitality costs.
- The purchase of land.
- Discretionary severance and separation packages.
- General departmental expenses. Although researchers may use grant
funds to share common research expenses, the cost of the shared expenses
must be pro-rated on the basis of benefit obtained. The grant funds
may not be used to contribute to shared expenses for which the researcher
will obtain no benefit.
- Administrative (or management) charges and fees.
- Passports and immigration fees.
- Standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones.
- Connection or installation of lines (telephones or other links).
- Voice mail or cellular phone rental or purchase.
- Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided
to all members of a institution.
- Any part of the salary, or consulting fee, of an individual whose
status would make them eligible to apply for a grant.
- During sabbatical and leave periods:
- Transportation costs of research personnel to and from your sabbatical
or leave location for supervisory or academic purposes.
- Transportation costs to the home institution for supervisory purposes
during sabbatical leave.
- Living expenses during sabbatical leave.
Note: This list is not exhaustive. If you are in doubt about
the eligibility of a particular expense, contact your research grant officer
or your university business office for clarification. If the university
is not sure about the eligibility of an expense, your research grant officer
will contact SSHRC for further clarification.
After the Grant is Completed
What reports will I be required to submit?
See Strategic Grants Dates to Remember.
Can my university business office submit computerized statements of
SSHRC accepts computerized statements as long as you use the categories
on the Tri-Council
Statement of Account form (PDF document, 476KB).
Can I get additional funding for my research?
There is no commitment of support beyond the term of the grant. To request
further funding in order to continue or complete a program of research
or a project, you must submit a new application.
Should I acknowledge SSHRC when communicating my research findings?
As a recipient of Canadian government funds, it is important for you
to let Canadians know how their tax money is being spent. Therefore, you should acknowledge the assistance of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in all workshop and conference materials, publications
and media coverage of activities funded through SSHRC grants.
Please see the SSHRC Research Data Archiving
Policy and the guidelines on the use of SSHRC's logo.
Related SSHRC Policies
Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans
For grant information, contact an awards administration officer from SSHRC's Finance Division by telephone at 613-995-2694 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can write to us at:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610