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Public Disclosure

Research Support Fund 2016-17

The cost of doing research can be broken down into two types of costs: direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs are those which can be directly attributable to a research project, such as salaries, supplies, travel, and equipment. These direct costs are easily identified and included in a project's budget. Indirect costs are costs related to a research project, but are often difficult to identify. The Federal Government recognized these costs and created a grant known as the Research Support Fund (RSF) intended to cover the indirect costs attributable to Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR)-funded research grants.

In January 2012, the Federal Government mandated that all institutions receiving RSF (then known as the Indirect Costs Grant) disclose information publicly about the indirect costs of research and the RSF. This webpage is intended to meet that requirement.

Definition of the indirect costs of research

Indirect costs, as defined by the Federal Government program can include:

  • Use, maintenance and upgrading of research building space, utilities and libraries;
  • Maintenance and upgrading of research equipment;
  • Academic research resources such as the Library and Information Technology services;
  • University services that support research activity such as accounting, human resources, and payroll services;
  • Intellectual Property management and commercialization; and
  • Management and administration of research, finances, regulatory requirements and research compliance (i.e. research ethics, biohazards certification, animal care etc.). 

Description of the Indirect Costs Program and RRU's Allocation

The Indirect Costs Program allows for five areas of expenditure:

  1. Supporting research facilities
  2. Research resources
  3. Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise
  4. Regulatory requirements and accreditation
  5. Intellectual property

At RRU, our first priority is to establish a base level of funding to support the research services function and ensure compliance with Tri-Agency requirements. We have, therefore, directed funds to the research resources, management and administration of an institution's research enterprise, regulatory requirements and accreditation, and intellectual property.

Description of the Impacts of the RSF at RRU

As a university, research is one of the three pillars – research, teaching, service – and the RSF is a key component with regard to the support of research.

The use of the RSF towards support for researchers, primarily in the areas of grant development and grant administration, was a key contributor towards the large number of SSHRC Insight and Insight Development submissions put forward in 2016 and 2017 by RRU, demonstrative of an increased interest in research that allowed RRU to submit for, and receive, it’s second Banting Fellow in 2017.. Increased capacity provided by the RSF led to increased grant proposals submitted to funders other than the Tri-Agencies as well. For our researchers, the quality of the grant development process and the ‘hands on’ involvement of Research Services staff in that process are seen as directly related to the success of proposals. Support by Research Services is seen as one of the aspects which contributes to faculty retention.

Some of the general benefits of the RSF at RRU include:

  • Research grant financial support for researchers;
  • Grant facilitation services for researchers;
  • Professional development to ensure currency in matters pertaining to research grants, compliance and reporting; and
  • The creation, development, and maintenance of systems to enable tracking research grants.

Specific impacts:

  • Staff time devoted towards the development and management of these grants would not have been possible without the Indirect Costs of Research grant. The RSF covers the full cost of a post award position which provides financial oversight/management for all projects (previously this was distributed throughout the various schools/centres), ensuring due diligence and risk mitigation for funded activities. 
  • The RSF is beginning to be used towards administration related to community/industry engagement including developing/linking research needs with the University and increased industry/business liaison.
  • The RSF enabled  a number of initiatives aimed at getting research out to the general population including the expanded Roads to Research seminar series (,the latest Research In Action publication (, and the creation of wall panels showcasing research at RRU that are displayed in the Learning and Innovation Centre for student viewing. In addition, a Staff Grants and Publications report was developed and previous years’ reports were posted online and printed.
  • Without the RSF, RRU would not have been able to maintain current levels of support provided to faculty for grant development, which may have resulted in fewer proposals developed and potentially less success in various funding competitions -- all leading to less research.
  • The RSF Supports identification, preparation, and submission of external research grant applications (guidelines, eligibility, CV development, etc.) and ensuring momentum of the process through to grant submission.
  • The RSF continued to support the commercialization and knowledge transfer function of the Office of Research Services. During the past year, increased attention was paid to these areas.
  • The RSF contributed to ongoing professional development of research administration personnel. 

RRU’s Distribution of Funds for the RSF (Fiscal Year 2016-17)