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Research Support Funds Program

Acknowledgement of the Research Support Fund

Research grants from Canada’s three federal funding agencies (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) fund the direct costs of research.

Every year, the federal government invests in research excellence in the areas of health sciences, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities through its three granting agencies. The Research Support Fund reinforces this research investment by helping institutions ensure that their federally funded research projects are conducted in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available.

The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies.  These include the costs of equipment and supplies, staff and student salaries and benefits as well as the cost of travel and dissemination of research and creative outputs. Institutions also incur costs to manage their research enterprise. These are often called indirect costs of research. “These costs include, for example, the costs of maintaining modern labs and equipment; costs of providing researchers with access to up-to-date knowledge resources; costs of managing and administering research; costs of meeting regulatory and ethical requirements; and costs of transferring research results to knowledge users." (1) York’s specific examples of categories of eligible expenditures for the Research Support Fund may be found below (“Performance Objectives”).

Of these five eligible expense categories York prioritizes 1) maintaining labs/equipment and 2) knowledge resources for support from the Research Support Fund investing 42% and 50% of the annual Research Support Fund grant in these two categories respectively. The remaining 8% of the grant is divided among the remaining three categories. These priorities are reviewed annually by the Division of Research & Innovation and the Division of Finance & Administration seeking input from the Associate Deans Research should changes to these amounts be required.

Before 2015 the Research Support Fund was called the Indirect Cost Program. The Indirect Costs Program “was established in 2003 to reinforce the research investment made by the federal government in the areas of health sciences, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. It has helped Canadian postsecondary institutions (universities and colleges) and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes ensure that their federally funded research projects are conducted in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available.” (2)

The Research Support Fund continues this tradition of supporting the indirect costs of research. Eligible institutions receive an annual grant through the fund to help pay for a portion of the central and departmental administrative costs related to federally funded research.

York University reports annually on these expenditures and makes those reports publicly available on this web page.  York University is grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting the direct costs through research grants and training awards as well as supporting a portion of the indirect costs of research.

York University’s Performance Objectives for the Research Support Fund

Indirect costs are those expenses that the university incurs to provide researchers and students with world class research facilities and services.

Eligible indirect costs of research include:

  • maintenance of labs, studios and equipment including information technologies
  • keeping knowledge resources such as library holdings and electronic subscriptions current
  • research management and administrative supports such as the Office of Research Services and Research Accounting  as well as administration in the Organized Research Units
  • regulatory and ethical standards including the costs of managing animal care, bioharzardous materials, human ethics and controlled goods
  • exchange of knowledge and technology to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors including the costs of Innovation York and the Knowledge Mobilization Unit

View the full list of eligible expenses. Specific examples of indirect costs incurred at York University are included in previous years’ indirect costs reports found on this web page.

View the Research Support Fund Performance Objectives.

Former Indirect Costs Program

The program (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) was introduced in 2003 as part of the federal government’s strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development. It currently has a budget of $342 million and serves 126 postsecondary institutions across the country.  The Federal Indirect Costs of Research Program (supplemented University funds to support the research enterprise.) The term “indirect costs” refers to the central and departmental administrative costs that York incurs to support research but can not be attributable to a specific research project.

The amount of the Indirect Costs grants is calculated based on a three-year rolling average of the funding the University is awarded from the federal granting agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR).

2013-2014 Indirect Costs Outcomes Report

2012-2013 Indirect Costs Outcomes Report

2011-12 FICR chart

IC 2011-12 York U grant outcome report FINAL


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