NSERC SSHRC General Research Fund

Terms of Reference

Fund Fund 530 – Sponsored Research.
Sources of Funding  The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) General Research Funds are externally restricted funds held by the Vice‐President (Research) into which the unspent funds of expired or terminated NSERC and SSHRC grants are transferred once authorization has been received from the sponsor.  
Objective of Funding The General Research Fund (GRF) is intended to be reinvested by the University of Alberta in order to support and enhance the quality of research and training in the fields of natural sciences and engineering or social sciences and humanities. The funds may be used to provide small start‐up grants to new professors or professors changing their research direction, bridge funding to professors who are between applications, or additional funds to further support existing research programs. 
Certifications Pursuant to university policy, all research involving human participants, animal subjects, pluripotent stem cells or biohazards must receive appropriate certifications and/or approvals before the research starts. Required certifications must be maintained throughout the research project or the duration of the specific activity.
Financial Reporting The university is required to submit a Form 300 or 301 at the end of each fiscal year.
Indirect Cost Recovery Not applicable
End Date  Generally, 12 or 18 months after the start date.
Unspent Funds 
Unspent funds at the end of the project will be returned to the University of Alberta’s GRF. No extensions will be permitted except in cases of extenuating circumstances. Requests for extensions require the written approval of the Vice‐President (Research).
Expense Eligibility 

The policies and requirements of the agencies stated in the Tri‐Agency Financial Administration Guide (TAFAG) apply at all times to the use of GRF funds.

GRF funds must only be used to cover eligible expenses associated with the direct costs of research and all expenses charged to the GRF must be authorized by the person responsible for the GRF or his/her authorized delegate.

Please consult the Use of Grant Funds section in the TAFAG to obtain additional information on eligible expenses, such as expenses associated with compensation, travel and accommodation expenses, research equipment and supplies, computers and electronic communications, dissemination of research findings, and miscellaneous services and expenses.

In the absence of a written policy from the Tri‐Agency, all expenditures must comply with existing University policies and procedures governing the use of funds.

Non‐Eligible Expenditures 

The following expenditures are NOT eligible:

  • Costs associated with facilities and basic utilities, the purchase and repair of office equipment, administration fees, insurance for research equipment and vehicles, and basic communication devices such as telephones and fax machines.
  • Any expenses that are not related to a grant application which has been approved for funding.
  • Any expenditures for which the Project Holder derives a personal financial benefit.
  • Expenses that were incurred prior to the official start date of the project.

Please consult the Use of Grant Funds section in the TAFAG for examples of ineligible expenses.

Access to Funds 

As per the Eligibility to Apply for and Hold Research Funding Policy in UAPPOL, researchers may submit grant applications for support from the GRF through their associate/vice dean (research).There is no standard template for grant applications. Generally, applications must include a scope of work, budget, budget justification, timeline, certifications (if required), and amount of funds being requested. A letter of support must be provided by the department chair and associate dean (research).

There is no restriction on the amount of funds that may be requested from the GRF, but it should be noted that these funds are intended as seed funding or bridge funding for researchers between grant submissions. It is intended that these grants are normally for 12 to 18 months in duration.

Applicants should create a Quick Reference Guide - Request for New Application/Proposal/Project via Online Approvals form via their Researcher Home Page to collect the required U of A signatures. The grant application is submitted to the Office of the Vice‐President (Research) by the associate/vice dean (research) for consideration

Amount of Funding Available The amount of funds available in any given year is unpredictable. However, as required by NSERC/SSRHC guidelines, the university must spend at least 50 per cent of the opening balance of its GRF during the current fiscal year. 
Deadlines for Submission of Applications There is no deadline for submissions of grant applications. Applications that are received by the Office of the Vice‐President (Research) will be adjudicated on an ongoing basis.