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Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) Stage 3

October 13 @ 9:00 am

York researchers have the chance to recover the costs of returning to and ramping up research. Please see below for details.
Internal Call:
September 28: Date of internal call for CRCEF Stage 3 applications

October 13 at 9 am: Due date for CRCEF Stage 3 applications
October 26 (week): Adjudication of CRCEF Stage 3 applications

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) was announced on May 15, 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19Economic Response Plan. The temporary program has been established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19pandemic. It is expected that the program will help reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and ensure that the benefits of significant investments to date in universities and health research institutions are protected. This will maintain Canada’s international competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy, and contribute to Canadians’ health and social and cultural life, as well as the health of Canada’s natural environment.

CRCEF is a tri-agency program and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC. The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration.  

More information can be found on the CRCEF websitehttps://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/crcef-fucrc/index-eng.aspx 

Program Objective 

  • Stages 1 and 2 provided wage supplements for staff salaries. 
  • The objective of Stage 3 is to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. 

Available Funding & Grant Payment 

  • York’s notional allocation for Stage 3 is $1,526,474. Unused Stage 1 funds held in reserve by recipients will be applied against the notional Stage 3 allocation. 
  • If any applicants do not establish need or do not request Stage 3 funding up to their notional allocation, funds will be subject to a final reallocation on a prorated basis to those applicants demonstrating need in excess of their maximum Stage 3 notional allocation. 
    • For this purpose, Stage 3 application forms will allow for submission of incurred expenses that exceed the notional allocation. Funds from the supplemental allocation envelope will be redistributed across institutions with outstanding need on a prorated basis. 
  • Although all Stage 3 applications must be adjudicated and submitted to the funding agencies by November 15, 2020, Stage 3 payment is not expected until January 31, 2021. 

Eligible Expenses 

  • Only direct costs of research that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 will be reimbursed, at up to 75%. 
    • Administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of CRCEF. 
    • Extraordinary incremental costs incurred for research projects funded by either governmental or non-governmental sources are eligible for Stage 3 support.  
    • Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds. 
  • Applicants must justify the need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020, which could include: 

a) Maintenance Costs: 

Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes: 

  • animal and specimen care through the crisis period; 
  • maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts; 
  • technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and 
  • safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance. 

b) Ramp-up Costs: 

Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with: 

  • re-organizing the research environment and activities; 
  • additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental); 
  • user fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., animal- care facilities, digital labs); 
  • re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials; 
  • exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops; 
  • restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities; 
  • reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and 
  • personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel. 

Please Note:

The costs of staff and student salaries are NOT eligible in Stage 3, as wage support was the focus of Stages 1 and 2,as well as by additional allowances made by the tri-councils directly to grantees.  

Internal Call:  

September 28: Date of internal call for CRCEF Stage 3 applications 

October 13 at 9 am: Due date for CRCEF Stage 3 applications 

October 26 (week): Adjudication of CRCEF Stage 3 applications 

November 2 (week): decisions of internal adjudication communicated to applicants. Final decision will depend on agency review (January 2021) 

Process:

  • Please complete the excel spreadsheet (Tabs A & B), attached 
  • Return completed excel spreadsheets to Alyson Nemeth (anemeth4@yorku.ca) by 9 am on Tuesday October 13. 
  • Make a separate application for each separately funded project. If the same project is funded by multiple funders in multiple cost centres (ie CHRP, CFI+ORF, NSERC Alliance + industry) please treat that as a single project with a single application but detail the separate cost centres on Tab A on the excel spreadsheet.  
  • Note assessment criteria (below) when developing the justification for your CRCEF Stage 3 application. 
  • For more details especially about eligible expenses refer to FAQs derived from a CRCEF webinar (below). 

Required information on the spreadsheet includes:

  • Applicant Name (first name, last name) 
  • Applicant e-mail address 
  • Applicant Department 
  • Applicant Faculty 
  • Name of project  
  • Funder(s) of project 
  • York cost centre(s) of project (internal cost centres, e.g. start up funds, are eligible) 
  • Balance in the cost centre as of March 31, 2020 
  • Current balance in the cost centre(s) 
  • Start Date of cost centre(s) 
  • End Date of cost centre(s) 
  • Cost centre revenue from March 15-November 15, 2020 (this can be estimated by pro-rating an annual installment across 8 months) broken down per cost centre 

Include a Detailed budget itemizing line by line eligible expenses incurred (or anticipated to be incurred) between March 15-November 15, 2020. Each item should be accompanied by a brief justification of how this meets the criteria of the program. Note the assessment criteria below for guidance in your budget justification. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI):York is committed to meeting or exceeding the EDI requirements of the program as well as those outlined in the Public accountability, transparency, and equity, diversity and inclusion section: 

  • York’s evaluation criteria will not create barriers to access for individuals from equity-seeking or underrepresented groups (racialized minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, women, and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities). 
  • York will carefully consider support for individuals who have been personally impacted by the pandemic (e.g., their own or their immediate family’s health has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, family obligations for dependent care or limited access to medical care for persons with disabilities). Evidence shows the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on equity-seeking groups, resulting in further inequities for these individuals regarding their research activities in the long term, and further exacerbating existing inequities and underrepresentation in the research ecosystem more broadly. 

Assessment Criteria 

  • Assessment will be undertaken by York’s CRCEF Committee, comprised of the Vice President Research & Innovation (Chair), the Vice President Equity, People and Culture (or designate), the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or designate), the Associate VP Research, theEquity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, the Assistant VP Research Strategy & Impact, and the Director Strategic & Institutional Research Initiatives. 
  • The following criteria will be used to assess the materiality of the expenses: 
    • The minimum amount to be awarded will be $1,000 
    • Normally projects with a financial impact of 25% or more of the project funding from March 15-November 15, 2020 will receive funding from CRCEF Stage 3. 
    • Priority will be given to projects that are at the beginning or in the middle of their terms, versus those that are close to their grant end date; and 
    • Projects with a balance equal to 8 months or more at the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2020) will not be eligible for funding. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 

  • Recipients must take active measures to prevent systemic barriers that result in individuals from equity-seeking groups receiving unequal access to, or being excluded from participating in, employment, services, or programs in Canada’s research ecosystem. 
    • Equity-seeking groups include, but are not limited to, women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities. 

FAQs from CRCEF Webinar September 21, 2020

General Information 

  • Only exceptional and incremental costs are eligible 
    • Unanticipated, additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the pandemic 
    • Ramp-down and regular costs associated with research are not eligible 
  • User fees charged to research projects to maintain or restart research activities are eligible if 1) these costs were communicated transparently to researchers and 2) if they are traceable through some reporting process (e.g. billing) 
    • Must be charged to research projects 
  • Salaries are not an eligible expense (wage support was focus of Stages 1 and 2)  
  • Utilities (e.g. internet connection) are not eligible as they are not considered pandemic-related maintenance or ramp-up costs 
  • Work equipment (e.g. office furniture, including ergonomic equipment, computer and telecom equipment) is not eligible 
  • All eligible expenses can be claimed regardless of their funding sources 
  • The demonstrated need must be at the project level. Shared platform fees, if charged to a research project, are eligible.  
  • Costs need to meet program's eligibility criteria – they must be direct costs, exceptional and incremental, related to the pandemic, for the purpose of maintenance and ramp up, and cannot be funded through other sources.  

    Q&A 
  • Can stage 3 funds be used for claims from researchers who did not have external grant funding (i.e. internal start up grants only)? Yes 
  • What about institutional costs for common infrastructure that do not utilize a user fee for cost recovery?  Only costs that could be charged to researchers (as a direct cost) through a user fee approach or equivalent are eligible.  
  • Instead of user fees, can we not just claim the incremental costs being incurred by shared platforms/facilities?  No - only direct costs are eligible and there needs to be a trace of the billing to the project/researcher. 
  • All funding sources are eligible, including all US funding sources and other foreign sources as well? Yes Data collection/sampling needs to be changed  
  • If it is a cost that could have regularly been incurred for other changes of circumstances, then would not be eligible. If the cost cannot be absorbed by the project, then it could be eligible. The intent of the program is to ensure research can continue even within the context of the pandemic. 
  • For many of these eligible expenses we undertook centralized procurement. How could we resolve this on a project level?  The eligibility will depend on whether the institution had the intention to charge these costs to the researchers or not. If not, they are institutional indirect costs and would not be eligible.  
  • What about research that needs to function virtually, that needs computer and cell phones? Given that this was not included in the original study budget and that without this equipment virtual work will not be possible, can this be permitted as an eligible cost?  Those costs can be eligible if they are exceptional and essential to the research, understanding that the use of a phone or other telecom equipment is rarely dedicated for research purposes.  
  • We have been incurring tens of thousands of dollars of incremental extraordinary cleaning costs over the past several months. It will be very difficult to now charge out those costs to individual research projects.   
  • We agree that the institutions are facing important incremental costs. This program aims to support direct costs of research and so costs incurred by institutions that are not charged to researcher cost centres are not eligible. 
  • For EDI considerations, work equipment is a critical cost to enable support for remote work. For consideration in the extension of eligible costs please.  This would be an eligible cost. 
  • Would incremental travel costs be eligible if they meet other criteria (i.e. incremental/ramp up)? Exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources are eligible expenses. But they need to be exceptional.  
  • If a researcher has a service contract on equipment that was not used for 3 months due to the pandemic, is this portion of the service contract an eligible expense?  Yes 
  • A number of research animals were reduced early in the pandemic response. Are per diem and animal purchase costs for researchers to ramp up their animal numbers eligible? Animal costs are eligible. Regular per diems would not be eligible. Animal care facilities could impose a ramping up cost that would be eligible.  
  • We have a lot of centrally purchased COVID-19 items (e.g. PPE, animal care) which are tracked by project; however the actual costs were incurred centrally. Can we allocate these costs while being transparent in our allocation methodology?  Yes, we would expect the institution to ensure tracing to projects/researchers  
  • Research animals need to be cryopreserved to mitigate risk of pandemic-associated depopulation. Are these costs covered?  
  • As a direct cost to a project - yes 
  • If we have equipment maintenance contracts and costs that would normally be supported by direct income from PIs that were halted during COVID, such as industry contracts that were suspended, can a pro-rated portion of those contracts be claimed?  Yes - this is part of the maintenance eligible expenses. Again, these costs need to be traced to researchers/projects 
  • Are lost costs eligible? For example, animal food which spoiled as it couldn't be used?  And would the replacement of that food (in this example) be eligible?  Replacement of food is eligible, but not twice the costs (charging the lost food and the replacement) 
  • Can service contract fees be claimed for platforms due to inability to use the platform?  Yes - this is expected to fit in the maintenance eligible costs list 
  • If research costs have been incurred from university operating funds (not charged directly to a research project), would these be eligible?  No 
  • Will Stage 3 funding cover cancellation fees for travel as well as unrefunded travel expenses?   No 
  • Would the purchase of PPE and hand sanitizer, or plexiglass dividers, be eligible expenses under Stage 3?  If they can be charged to projects/researchers 
  • Are lab supplies and chemicals eligible costs?  If they have been lost during the pandemic, they can be replaced 
  • We have costs of storage for clinical trial drugs which stopped during this period - this added additional months to our costs that don't have funding, as these costs will now be longer duration is this covered. Is this eligible? Yes, this would be eligible 
  • If a researcher would have expected to incur four scans in the budget, but due to COVID-19 no scans were done, and those scans would have paid for machine maintenance, would the forgone revenues be eligible?  Lost revenues are not eligible. The maintenance of the machine is eligible.