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Research Support Fund

The Link toResearch Support Fund (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) assists Canadian postsecondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses associated with managing research funded by the three federal research granting agencies:

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

Through the fund, eligible institutions receive an annual grant, based on funding received by researchers from the three federal research granting agencies in the three most recent years for which data is available, to help pay for a portion of the central and departmental administrative costs related to federally funded research.

The 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. It serves 126 post-secondary institutions across the country, helping them defray the indirect costs of research. 

What costs does the program support?

The program supports costs associated with:

  • Providing researchers with access to up-to-date knowledge resources.
  • Managing and administering research.
  • Meeting regulatory and ethical requirements.
  • Transferring research results to knowledge users.

The Research Support Fund website has a full list of eligible and ineligible expenditures on their website.

Definition of indirect costs

Research funding provided through the federal granting agencies CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC is generally limited to direct project costs (e.g. research equipment, research assistant salaries, materials, field work etc.). Institutions whose faculty receive funding for direct research costs also incur indirect costs to manage and administer the funded research programs. Examples of indirect research costs include:

  • Maintaining up-to-date labs and equipment.
  • Providing researchers with access to the most current knowledge resources.
  • Managing and administering research funding and programs.
  • Meeting regulatory and ethical requirements.
  • Transferring research results to knowledge users.

Like its predecessor, the Indirect Costs Program, the Research Support Fund helps institutions defray a portion of these costs. 

Allocations, objectives and outcomes

For further information about the university's relationship with the Research Support Fund, please visit: 

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