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 Award.

Dates to Remember
Basic Terms and Conditions
Financial Administration
After the Grant is Completed
Related SSHRC Policies
Contact Us

Dates to Remember

Strategic Grants Dates to Remember


Grant starts

Mid-term review*

Annual statement of account

Final statement of account

Final research report

Strategic Grants and Joint Initiatives



June 30

June 30 following the extension period

Six months following the end of the grant period or the end of the extension period, where applicable

Strategic Knowledge Clusters

March 2007

3rd year

June 30

following the extension period

Six months following the end of the grant period or the end of the extension period, where applicable

* 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


Grant starts

One year report

Mid-term review*

Annual progress report

Annual statement of account

Final statement of account

Final research report

Strategic Knowledge Clusters

March 2007

End of the first year

3rd year

End of each year

June 30

following the extension period

Six months following the end of the grant period or the end of the extension period, where applicable

* 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 grant.

Can I use my grant funds beyond the grant period indicated on my Notice of Award?

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 case-by-case basis.

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 awarded.

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 grant.

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 Final 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.


Financial Administration

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 business office.

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 grant?

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 funds.

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 each category:


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;
  • Translation;
  • 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 fees.

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, immunizations, etc.
  • Monthly charges for the use of the Internet from your office or home.

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 location.

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 account.
  • 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.

Networking activities

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.

Travel claims

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 workshops;
  • 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 or organization.

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 are ineligible:

  1. Research by the applicant or co-applicant leading to a degree.
  2. Education-related costs, such as thesis defence, publication, tuition and course fees, etc.
  3. Research costs of Strategic Grant partners.
  4. Research costs of research collaborators (note: some travel costs may be eligible, as explained under "Travel and related subsistence costs").
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Fees for consultation with colleagues or for their participation in the research.
  8. Contingency allowances.
  9. Indirect costs (e.g., medical insurance) or administrative overhead.
  10. 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").
  11. Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies.
  12. Child-care expenses. See "Other types of eligible travel expenditures" for exceptions.
  13. The cost of memberships in professional associations.
  14. Professional training or development, including computer and language training.
  15. Preparation of teaching materials.
  16. Curriculum development (e.g., preparing course material or a syllabus designed for a program of teaching—unless it is of demonstrated theoretical importance or part of a research program or project).
  17. Simple collection or assembling of information (rather than analysis designed to answer a research question or test an hypothesis).
  18. Entertainment costs.
  19. Hospitality costs.
  20. The purchase of land.
  21. Discretionary severance and separation packages.
  22. 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.
  23. Administrative (or management) charges and fees.
  24. Passports and immigration fees.
  25. Standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones.
  26. Connection or installation of lines (telephones or other links).
  27. Voice mail or cellular phone rental or purchase.
  28. Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of a institution.
  29. Any part of the salary, or consulting fee, of an individual whose status would make them eligible to apply for a grant.
  30. 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 account?

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

Non-Discrimination Policy
Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans


Contact Us

For grant information, contact an awards administration officer from SSHRC's Finance Division by telephone at 613-995-2694 or by email at

Or you can write to us at:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
125 Zaida Eddy Private, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1R 0E3

Fax: 613-996-0458