Research Support Fund

Research Support Fund

The cost of doing research can be broken down into direct and indirect costs. Direct costs 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 relate 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 research support funds (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

Royal Roads University uses the definition of indirect costs as defined by the Federal Government program which states that indirect costs 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 Research Support Fund Program

The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions with the costs associated with managing their research enterprise, helping them to maintain a world-class research environment (see The RSF allows five types of expenditures (

  1. Research facilities
  2. Research resources
  3. Management and administration and an institution’s research enterprise
  4. Regulatory requirements
  5. Intellectual property and knowledge mobilization

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 the bulk of the funds to the management and administration of an institution's research enterprise, followed by regulatory requirements and accreditation, intellectual property, and research resources and facilities.

Types of expenses incurred by RRU in managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies

The types of expenses incurred by RRU in managing Tri-Agency funded research are primarily administrative. Research support funds primarily support grant development and post award grant administration. Staff within the Office of Research Services serve as grants facilitators and post award financial managers, and provide support regarding contract negotiation and implementation, intellectual property, and regulatory requirements. Royal Roads researchers view the quality of the grant development process and the involvement of Research Services staff 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 Tri-Agency funded grants is not possible without the Research Support Fund. The RSF covers the cost of numerous staff members. 
  • The RSF continues 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 is used towards implementing EDI objectives in our EDI Action Plan for the CRC program (e.g., training of research services staff; training for faculty).
  • The RSF is used to convey the importance and value of research to our communities (local, national, international) including through the Roads to Research seminar series; the Research In Action publication and video series; and the annual report on scholarly publications and research activities.
  • 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. The RSF contributed to ongoing professional development of research administration personnel.
  • During the past several years, a portion of the funds were used to support the acquisition of library holdings. These would not have been able to have been acquired without the fund.

Distribution of RSF funds across the five expenditure categories in 2019-20:

  1. Research facilities ($0.00 = 0%)
  2. Research resources (45,094 = 16%)
  3. Management and administration and an institution’s research enterprise ($202,377 = 69%)
  4. Regulatory requirements ($12,501 = 4%)
  5. Intellectual property and knowledge mobilization ($32,154 = %11)

Total funding received in 2019/20 $292,126.