Administration of Research Grants and Contracts


Date:  February 23, 1967
Instance of Approval: Executive Committee of the Board of Governors


Date:  December 15, 1995
Instance of Approval: Executive Committee of the Board of Governors

Date: November 14, 2023
Instance of Approval: Executive Committee of the Board of Governors

Responsible Department: Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation

  1.       PURPOSE

1.1         The purpose of this Policy is to define the general principles regarding the administration of Research grants and contracts at the University.


2.1The following words and expressions have the corresponding meaning for the purposes of applying this Policy and any Procedures, as well as other directives or guidelines established pursuant to this Policy:

a)Administering Faculty refers to the University faculty in which the Principal Investigator holds their principal academic appointment and that accepts administrative responsibility for the Research or Research Agreement (Grant or Contract).

b)            Applicable Laws:An expression to encompass all the laws, regulations, professional or disciplinary standards or guidelines relating to Research or to investigating or addressing a Breach of Responsible Conduct of Research.Examples include the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration, Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research; second edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2); Canadian Council on Animal Care Policies and Guidelines; National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships;Agency policies related to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; Licenses for research in the field; Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines; Controlled Goods Program; Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Regulations; Canada’s Food and Drugs Act; access to information and protection of privacy laws.

c)          Direct Costs: The costs that are directly connected with a specific Research project, including but without limitation: salaries, wages, and benefits of research personnel; stipends to students; materials and supplies; equipment; user fees; and travel expenses.

d)        Indirect Costs:   The costs incurred in the support of Research, which are not directly connected with a specific project but rather with the research enterprise as a whole, including facilities and equipment use and maintenance; utilities; insurance; administration costs such as legal, procurement, payroll, ethics and research administration; libraries, computing facilities and support; central animal facilities; biohazard handling; and other professional services provided by the University.

e)            OVPRI: The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

f)Primary Appointment:The lead institution (University or affiliated research hospital) responsible for the appointment and personnel costs of the Principal Investigator or Researcher.For undergraduate and graduate students whose work is being conducted in fulfillment of their academic programs, such as thesis-related work, the Primary Appointment shall be at the University of Ottawa.

g)Principal Investigator:The person who has ultimate responsibility for a research project.In the case of a project funded by an external or internal grant or contract, the Principal Investigator is the holder of the grant or contract.In the case of a project that is not funded, the Principal Investigator is the initiator of the Research project. The Principal Investigator is usually the supervisor of the Research Team and is usually a faculty member.

h)Research: An undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation.

i)Research Agreement:An agreement entered into, by the University in respect of Research. It includes any Research Contract or Research Grant agreement, and any agreement to provide or receive materials, information or data, or any other tools to facilitate Research.

j)Research Contract shall mean any formal legally binding agreement whereby the University undertakes to perform certain Research activities for a Research Sponsor, and where the Research Sponsor imposes certain restrictions on the direction of the Research or service to be performed, on the use of the Research results, on the publication or ownership of Research results.

k)            Research Grant: An award where the funding is generally provided with the intent of financially supporting a project or program of research at the University, where the funding is to be used exclusively for the purposes described in the grant application. Funding is granted by the sponsor with an expectation that the aims of the research, as identified, will be accomplished. Grants are generally distributed by federal granting agencies and other non-profit, philanthropic agencies. The University also sponsors some internal grants, such as start-up funds and seed grants.

l)           Research Sponsor refers to a funding agency, council, foundation, organization, individual or other entity, public or private, international, national, provincial or foreign that awards, grants or provides Research Funds for Research.

m)          Research Sponsor’s Policies and/or Requirements: an expression used to encompass all the policies, rules, requirements, directives, guidelines, regulations, processes, and terms and conditions of a Research Agreement or any other terms, conditions or requirements (all of which may be amended from time to time) imposed by the Research Sponsor regarding proposals and applications for Research Funds, the award, the  administration and management of the Research funds, and the conduct the Research.

n)Researcher refers to anyone who conducts Research activities and includes the Principal Investigator. All Researchers managing Research Funds undertake the same responsibilities as those outlined for Principal Investigators and are referred to as such.

o)University Community: An expression to encompass all University individuals that may be engaged in Research, including but not limited to:

  1)           employees, including all unionized and non-unionized academic and administrative staff, as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than the University’s operating funds, such as grants, research grants and external contracts;

  2)           students, meaning individuals enrolled at the University, whether full time or part time, and including special students, at the undergraduate or graduate level;

  3)           clinicians and physicians with an academic appointment, cross-appointed members employed by affiliated institutes, adjunct and emeritus professors, post-doctoral or clinical fellows, research trainees, medical residents, visitors, including visiting students and volunteers.

p)University Policies and Procedures: An expression to encompass the University’s by-laws, administrative policies and administrative procedures and academic regulations, as applicable and as may be amended from time to time.


3.1This Policy applies to all University Community individuals engaged in Research under the University’s auspices or jurisdiction, regardless of the location of the Research.

3.2This Policy does not replace, limit or supersede existing provisions found in University of Ottawa collective agreements.


4.1          All Research must be conducted objectively and ethically, and independently of sources of funding.

4.2All Research at the University of Ottawa must be conducted and administered in accordance with this Policy, its related Procedures, other University Policies and Procedures relevant to the administration of Research, Research Sponsors’ Policies and/or Requirements and Applicable Laws.

Procedure 29-3 Roles and Responsibilities in Administration of Research Grants and Contracts
Procedure 29-4 Approval and Signing Authorities
Procedure 29-5 Recovery and Distribution of Indirect Costs
Procedure 29-6 Recovery and Treatment of Salaries and other forms of compensation

4.3There shall normally be no restrictions between the University and a Research Sponsor on the publication of data resulting from the Research.Any restrictions on publication of data required by the Research Sponsor must be specifically addressed and agreed to by the University in the Research Agreement. In no event shall a student thesis or graduation be delayed by such restrictions, and no publication delay longer than twelve (12) months shall be permitted.


5.1The responsibility for the development, approval and administration of Research is shared by the OVPRI, Principal Investigators, Administering Faculties, and the University’s financial and other administrative services.

a)The Principal Investigator is responsible for:

  1.providing the intellectual leadership for a Research project and conducting and managing their Research work;

  2.          preparing applications and proposals for Research funding;

  3.providing sound financial management and properly allocating Research funds;

  4.           reviewing and approving financial statements submitted to Research Sponsors regarding the Research funds;

  5.managing and supervising University Community individuals engaged in their Research;

  6.ensuring conflicts of interest are identified, declared and managed;

  7.disseminating their Research findings in a timely manner.

b)       The Administering Faculty is responsible for:

  1.            approving all applications and proposals for Research funding, including confirmation of resource availability;

  2.           exercising financial control over Research funds;

  3.           ensuring that Faculty risk management and business processes are in place and followed;

  4.            ensuring that research is conducted in compliance with University Policies and Procedures and with Sponsor’s Policies and/or Requirements;

  5.            providing administrative and other front-line assistance to Researchers in areas such as financial and general management of Research projects, human resources management, processing financial transactions.

c) The OVPRI is responsible for the following activities as they relate to sponsored research administration:

  1.leading, promoting, coordinating, facilitating and otherwise supporting the responsible administration of Research;

  2.            advising Researchers and other University Community members on major or complex Research projects and assisting them in establishing appropriate management and control frameworks;

  3.            providing institutional approvals on all applications or proposals for Research Grants and Research Contracts submitted to Research Sponsors;

  4.            negotiating and signing Research Contracts and Agreements on behalf of the University according to University Policies and Procedures;

  5.           authorizing the opening of Research accounts and release of Research funds; 

  6.            ensuring compliance with Research Sponsor’s Policies and/or Requirements, University Policies and Procedures and Applicable Laws for awarded Research projects; coordinating with other relevant University administrative services to assure that the University fulfills its obligations;

  7.providing guidance and support to Researchers, and other University Community members on safeguarding research;

  8.            delivering and coordinating training related to the administration of Research for Researchers and University Community members. 

d)The Financial Resources office is responsible for:

  1.            implementing policies, systems and controls to ensure that the Research is conducted in compliance with all applicable financial management and accountability standards;    

  2.            providing financial administration and accounting services;

  3.          preparing, reviewing and approving financial statement and reports;

  4.            approving reimbursements to Research Sponsors;

  5.            auditing and approving financial forecasts;

  6.            managing accounts receivable;

  7.            monitoring expenditures and co-ordinating financial audits;

  8.            training those involved in administering Research on the financial management of Research funds.


6.1Only University Community individuals with an academic appointment at the University can be a Principal Investigator on a Research Grant or Research Contract held by the University. As such, only the Principal Investigator can be the applicant on a Research Grant or can apply for, submit Research proposals for, or be the recipient of, Research funds unless otherwise authorized in writing by the OVPRI and subject to conditions, which include but are not limited to:

a)The individual must have an academic appointment or employment relationship with the University for the full duration of the Research Grant or Research Contract;

b)Individuals must be eligible according to Research Sponsor’s Policies and/or Requirements; and

c)The Administering Faculty and/or Unit accepts full responsibility for the oversight, performance, financial management and administration of Research Funds and of any Research Agreement.

d)Such other conditions as the Vice-President, Research and Innovation may establish in light of the circumstances of the proposed Research.


7.1The University of Ottawa shall be the contracting party for all Research Agreements.

7.2Research Agreements must be approved and signed in accordance with University Board By-law No. 3 relating to the Delegation of Approval of Contracts and Signing Authority.


8.1The University is committed to the principle of recovering the full costs incurred in support of Research, both Direct Costs and Indirect Costs.

8.2Wherever Indirect Costs of Research are an eligible expense, the budgets of Research Grant applications and Research Contracts shall include both Direct Costs and Indirect Costs.


9.1Research Grant and Research Contract funds are held in trust by the University.

9.2Research accounts can only be opened on authorization from the appropriate unit within the OVPRI.

9.3Research accounts shall be administered in accordance with Research Sponsors’ Policies and/or Requirements and with all relevant University Policies and Procedures, including Policy 85 - Administration of Trust Funds, this Policy and its Procedures.


10.1       The Vice-President, Research and Innovation is responsible for implementing and reviewing this Policy as necessary.


11.1       The Vice-President, Research and Innovation is responsible for recommending amendments to this Policy for approval by the Administration Committee.

11.2       Notwithstanding Section 11.1 of this Policy, the Secretary-General may amend this Policy without the need to submit such amendment to the Administration Committee for approval if such amendment is required to:

a)            update or correct the name or title of a position, unit, law, regulation, policy, procedure or authority; or

b)            correct punctuation, grammar, typographical errors, revisions to format and other technical revisions, where appropriate, if the correction does not change the meaning of a provision or make such other correction if it is patent both that an error has been made and what the correction should be; or

c)            correct the form of expression of a provision in French or in English to be more compatible with its form of expression in the other language; or

d)            make consequential amendments to conform with or arising from another University by-law, resolution, policy or procedure.

12.3       The Vice-President, Research and Innovation may establish, amend, abrogate procedures to effectively implement this Policy provided that such procedures are consistent with the provisions of this Policy.