Research Support Fund

The Government of Canada's Research Support Fund (RSF), helps Canadian post-secondary institutions and affiliated research hospitals/institutes with hidden costs associated with federally funded research. RSF funding enables the government to maintain and enhance its significant research investments and help Canadian post-secondary institutions and research hospitals/institutes pursue and achieve research excellence and maintain world-class research environments.

RSF is administered by the Tri-Agency (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Institutional Program Secretariat. Hidden costs of research are essential research support activities/expenses that aren't directly traceable to specific research program/project such as:

  • Maintaining/repairing/upgrading research infrastructure (e.g., updated labs, equipment and libraries).
  • IT and operating costs (computer hardware/software and support, telephone, internet, supplies, custodial, heat, water, electricity).
  • Research administration (grants and contracts administration, regulatory and legislated reporting requirements, communications, human resources, payroll and accounting, research ethics support, environmental and occupational health, legal and insurance costs).
  • Intellectual property and technology transfer costs associated with transferring discoveries and innovations from academia to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

How RSF funds are calculated
The government determines eligible and ineligible RSF expenses.
Universities apply for the RSF each year. The actual amount awarded each year is based on UAlberta's averaged Tri-Agency funding received in the previous three years. Affiliate organizations are places where federally funded research is conducted and it contributes to the applicant institution's research excellence and/or the applicant institution incurs indirect costs for federally funded research conducted at one of its affiliate institutions. UAlberta has one affiliated institution - Alberta Health Services.

UAlberta's RSF funding
In 2020/21, UAlberta received $ 17,474,998 in RSF funds. Since 2006, the UAlberta has received over $261 million to help support indirect costs of research.

Incremental Project Grants
Incremental Project Grants (IPG) is a stream of additional RSF funding that began in 2018 to further support indirect costs to research.  IPG funding focuses on specific projects that can span all the RSF eligible expense categories, with these priorities:   

  • innovation and commercialization activities;
  • facilities renewal, including deferred maintenance;
  • information resources, including digital resources, open access and databases; and
  • equity, diversity and faculty renewal (in the context of equity, diversity and inclusion).

In 2020/21, UAlberta received $ 2,810,646 in IPG funds. Since 2018, UAlberta has received over $ 7 million in IPG funding.