Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
Frequently asked questions: Research maintenance and ramp-up
Updated: November 24, 2020
How do I submit an application for research maintenance and ramp-up support in Stage 3?
Only the identified senior official for each institution will be able to view and submit the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) Stage 3 application in the Convergence Portal.
If your Institution does not have a Convergence account, or if you require assistance with Senior Official permissions, please contact the CRCEF team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the application in the Convergence Portal:
- Click on the Research Administrator tab found in the top right corner.
- On the Research Administrator page, select the Institutional Applications tab.
- Click the button at the bottom of the page to create a new application. You can access and modify an application in progress as long as it has not been submitted.
The Stage 3 application includes six sections:
- Application details
- Stage 2 reporting (Only institutions that received Stage 2 funding need to complete this section)
- Stage 3 support
- Supporting documents
- Finalize application and submit
What are the requirements to meet before an institution submits a Stage 3 application?
Institutions (and their affiliates, as applicable) must implement an open and transparent process for the internal allocation of Stage 3 funds to their researchers, following the CRCEF equity, diversity and inclusion requirements.
What should we do with funds held in reserve?
Funding from Stage 1 held in reserve is transferred to Stage 3. The Stage 1 amount held in reserve will be deducted from any Stage 3 payment made to the institution.
If Stage 1 funds in reserve exceed the allocated amount in Stage 3, and if the institution has needs beyond its Stage 3 allocation, the balance can be kept in reserve until the final re-allocation exercise is performed. Any Stage 1 balance held in reserve will be deducted from the final payment made to the institution.
For example, if an institution’s funding from Stage 1 held in reserve is $15,000 and its notional Stage 3 allocation is $10,000:
- The institution has established its total maintenance and ramp-up needs to be $12,000.
- The institution will receive a Stage 3 payment of zero dollar ($10,000-$15,000 = -$5,000) and will still have $5,000 in reserve.
- The remaining $2,000 of needs not covered in Stage 3 will be subject to the final re-allocation.
- If the institution is awarded an additional $1,000 through the final re-allocation, it will have to return $4,000 ($1,000-$5,000 = -$4,000) to SSHRC’s finance division by way of cheque payable to the Receiver General for Canada.
If funds in reserve exceed the needs of the institution in Stage 3, the balance will have to be returned to the Receiver General.
For example, if an institution’s funding from Stage 1 held in reserve is $15,000 and its notional Stage 3 allocation is $10,000:
- The institution has established its Stage 3 needs to be $5,000.
- Upon approval of Stage 3 funding, the institution will use $5,000 from its reserve to cover Stage 3 approved expenses.
- The balance of $10,000 will be returned to SSHRC’s finance division by way of cheque payable to the Receiver General for Canada.
Can an institution or a non-affiliated health research institution that did not submit an application in Stage 1 submit an application in Stage 3?
Yes. As long as the institution has received a Stage 3 notional allocation, it can submit a Stage 3 application.
Affiliated and Non-affiliated health-research institutions
How should universities distribute funds among their affiliates?
The notional allocation in Stage 3 is a theoretical amount based on a calculation and is used as a proxy for the needs. The awarded amount in Stage 3 is entirely based on needs. As such, it is not necessary for universities to distribute the share of funding to their affiliates until the needs have been established, and the funding awarded. The allocation amount should serve as a guide for universities and affiliates to identify their needs.
Can a non-affiliated health research institution request support in Stage 3?
Yes, as long as they have submitted their sponsored research revenues for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 in Stage 2.
Stage 3 notional allocation
How is the Stage 3 notional allocation calculated?
For each applicant, the Stage 3 maximum payable allocation is calculated based on:
- the CAUBO total research income data or data on the 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.
The Stage 3 funding envelope of $125 million is distributed to each eligible institution based on its proportion of total research income (governmental funding included).
Total research income includes funding from the following sources:
- federal (including but not limited to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Health Canada)
- provincial (including Canadian provinces and territories)
- foreign government
Why does the Stage 3 application form ask for requested amounts within and beyond the notional allocation?
Stage 3 will provide funding based on the notional allocation to each institution that has demonstrated a need up to that amount of funding.
To minimize program funding lapses, if any applicants do not establish need or do not request Stage 3 funding up to their notional allocation, funds will be subject to a final reallocation on a prorated basis to those applicants demonstrating need in excess of their maximum Stage 3 notional allocation.
What are the eligible expenses criteria for Stage 3?
Eligible expenses in Stage 3 are:
- unanticipated additional costs that would not have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds;
- for direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities;
- costs borne by research projects; and
- approved by the decision-making group identified for CRCEF.
What expenses can be covered by the program?
Expenses that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020, can be covered by the CRCEF, at up to 75%. It is recognized that the costs incurred must have been paid from the project or from other sources until such time that a partial reimbursement (up to 75%) is received.
Ramping-down expenses are not eligible.
Institutions must ensure that all eligible expenses meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria and are properly documented for monitoring, reporting and auditing purposes. While documentation kept on file is for 100% of the eligible expense, funding requested to the CRCEF program is for a maximum of 75% of the eligible expense.
The criteria the institution uses to select projects that will receive support for their eligible expenses must be posted on its public facing website.
Are salaries eligible expenses in Stage 3?
The costs of research personnel can be eligible for partial reimbursement at up to 75% in Stage 3 for the period of August 30, 2020, to November 15, 2020, provided that the costs meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria
Are costs paid from universities’ operating budgets eligible for a reimbursement?
No, they are not. To be reimbursed, eligible expenses must have been incurred by research projects directly. However, user fees charged by institutions or shared platforms to research projects to restart research activities (e.g., animal care facilities, digital labs) are eligible as long as they meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria.
For example, an institutional animal care facility has incurred extraordinary costs to sanitize the space before re-opening. These “user fees” charged by the facility to the research projects are eligible if they:
- were communicated transparently to the research project leads; and
- are traceable through an invoicing process.
Are administrative costs and costs to manage the CRCEF eligible?
No, administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of the CRCEF.
Are expenses paid by any revenue source considered eligible?
Yes, all eligible expenses can be claimed regardless of their funding source. Determining the exact source of funding, and in some cases determining the proportion of funding from each source, is considered to be a complex exercise and would not necessarily lead to an exact breakdown. As such, the source of funding is not considered when determining Stage 3 eligible expenses.
Are expenses charged to a researcher’s Startup Grant eligible?
Yes. Research projects funded by Startup Grants are eligible. Expenses must meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria.
Are expenses charged to the research allowance portion of a scholarship eligible (e.g., a research allowance accompanying a doctoral student award from an agency or a foundation)?
Yes. If the doctoral student has a research allowance, expenses on these accounts are eligible, if the expenses meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria.
Are expenses funded by a scientific platform eligible?
Yes. Expenses must meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria. A “scientific platform” is a platform managed by researchers and is not an “institutional platform.” Expenses on these accounts do not need to be charged to research projects to be eligible, as the platforms themselves are eligible and considered a project. If the scientific platform is funded by user fees charged to researchers (where these user fees are eligible expenses), it is the institution’s responsibility to ensure that the expense is only claimed once.
Are internet connection, land line, cell phone connection and equipment for working remotely eligible costs?
In addition to research project accounts, are costs charged to revenue accounts like foundations and user fees eligible?
Yes, expenses paid from foundation revenues or user fees accounts are eligible.
Can tri-agency funded research projects receive funding in Stage 3?
Yes, as long as the expenses claimed are not covered by other broad-based federal COVID-19 measures (e.g., the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), by COVID-19 research support from the federal research funding agencies or by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
As a general indication:
- Tri-agency projects that have been extended in time only are eligible to Stage 3.
- Tri-agency projects that have been extended with funding for salary support (support announced on April 22, 2020) are eligible to Stage 3, but a same salary cannot be supported by the two measures for a same period.
Are user fees related to COVID-19 from institutional platforms eligible ramp-up costs?
Yes, as long as they are paid from a specific research project. For example, an institutional animal care facility charges extra fees to projects to cover COVID-19-related expenses to clean-up the cages and restart a line would be eligible if the expense is traceable up to the research project’s account.
Transactions do not have to be made in financial systems; however, an invoicing process at the project level must be in place to satisfy the program’s record keeping requirements. This process must be carried out in a transparent fashion so that research project leads are aware of the fees being charged to their project. This invoicing process must show 100% of the fees, even though the costs reimbursed by the program are for up to 75% of these costs.
Is the purchase of personal protective equipment, disinfectant products and onsite furniture modifications (e.g., expanding table lengths to allow for social distancing) eligible?
Are lost costs and subsequent replacement costs eligible?
Lost costs are not eligible, but replacement costs are, as long as they are paid from a specific research project. For example, if samples spoiled during the pandemic and had to be replaced, then the replacement costs would be eligible, but not the costs incurred for the original spoiled samples.
Are cancellation fees and nonrefundable travel fees eligible?
No, these would be considered ramping-down expenses and are not eligible.
Are animal per diems and animal purchase costs eligible?
Animal per diems for research maintenance and animal purchase costs to ramp-up the population are eligible, provided they are paid from a specific research project.
What kinds of maintenance costs are eligible?
Refer to the CRCEF funding opportunity description for examples of eligible expenses for maintenance costs.
What does it mean for a cost to be “incurred” during the eligibility period?
Costs incurred during the eligibility period are eligible expenses (goods or services) recorded or committed between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Transactions and invoices may be received and paid until March 31, 2021, which is the grant end date, as noted on the notice of decision. Goods and services may be rendered or received up until March 31, 2021.
How do Stage 2 recipients report on the use of Stage 2 funds if they do not intend to submit a Stage 3 application?
Stage 2 reporting is done by completing a Stage 3 application form, even if funds are not requested in Stage 3.
Where is the Stage 3 reporting happening?
Due to the nature of the funding in Stage 3, which is based on incurred costs, the application and reporting are done simultaneously. Recipients must provide an additional final grant report confirming previously reported data in Stages 1 and 2 and final use of funds in Stage 3.
Grant recipients must maintain detailed information on specific accounting data for projects supported by the maintenance and ramp-up stage (e.g., breakdown of amounts spent for each type of expenses, by project). Grant recipients will have to maintain this information on record for a period of at least five years (until 2025-26), for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
Do the reporting obligations apply to both universities and affiliated hospitals/research centres?
All institutions receiving funds must complete the reporting requirements. Universities that receive funding for their affiliates will need to consolidate the reporting.
How do we return unspent CRCEF funding to SSHRC’s finance division?
Funds should be returned with the final report. Additional guidance will be provided in the coming weeks.
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