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Archived in January 2013 Memorandum of Understanding

ARCHIVED

This information has been archived. Visit the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions page for current information.

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Between

(Name of the Institution), hereinafter referred to as the "Institution."

and

The Federal Granting Agencies, namely the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), hereinafter referred to as the "Agencies."

WHEREAS the Institution and the Agencies (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Parties") recognize that there are three leaders in Canada's research and training enterprise: the Grant Holder or Award Holder, the Institution and the Agency;

WHEREAS each Party recognizes the vital importance of research, the new knowledge and applications it creates, and the knowledgeable and skilled human resources developed through the process of conducting research;

WHEREAS the Agencies provide public resources to promote and assist research and as such have a responsibility to deploy the resources as effectively as possible, to account to the Canadian people for the use, allocation and outcomes of those resources, and to ensure that the activities supported are conducted in accordance with the highest legal, ethical and financial standards;

WHEREAS it is possible to have effective Comptrollership without unduly constraining the research process and outcomes;

WHEREAS it is in the best interests of the research, and of all participants in the research enterprise, that this Comptrollership process be as simple and as uniform as possible across the Agencies, while maintaining appropriate management and accountability standards;

WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the administrative support systems and controls related to research supported by the Agencies impose facilities and administrative costs on the Parties, requiring judicious choices concerning the nature of those systems and controls;

WHEREAS these Institutional roles and responsibilities represent the basic requirements for obtaining and maintaining eligibility to administer Grant and/or Award funds.

THE PARTIES therefore agree as follows:

1. Definitions

Agency Policy
The set of rules, directives and guidelines published by an individual Agency or jointly by the Agencies.

Award Holders
Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows supported by NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR through scholarships or fellowships; or researchers supported by salary or career support grants from NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR.

Comptrollership
Having clear accountabilities, effective control over resources, sound risk management and performance assessments, and an open reporting of results in relation to the expenditure of public funds.

Eligible Institution
An Institution (a) that meets the requirements for eligibility to receive funding set out in guidelines issued by the Agency; and (b) that has signed this Memorandum of Understanding on Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards.

Grantees, Grant Holders
The recipients of research grants provided by the Agencies. Both terms are used in the Agencies' program guides. This document uses the term "Grant Holders."

Institutions
The universities, hospitals, colleges, research institutes, centres and other organizations eligible to receive and manage grant funds on behalf of the Agencies and Grant Holders.

Non-eligible Institution
An Institution other than an Eligible Institution.

Parties
The Agencies, Institutions and Grant Holders and Award Holders as a cooperative group, not a legal partnership.

Primary Institution
An Eligible Institution in direct receipt of Grant funds which it transfers to a Secondary Institution in order to facilitate research collaboration.

Research Administration
Institution officials who provide administrative services to researchers, from offices such as the research grants office, research accounting office or scholarships liaison office, as relevant.

Research Personnel
Includes undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, research associates, technicians, programmers, analysts, etc., who may contribute to the research activities of a Grant Holder.

Researcher
Anyone who carries out research activities.

Secondary Institution
An Institution to which funds are transferred from a Primary Institution. It may be an “Eligible Institution” or “Non-eligible Institution”.

2. Roles and Responsibilities of the Grant Holders and Award Holders

While this Memorandum of Understanding represents an agreement between the three Partners – the Agencies and Institutions, the roles and responsibilities of Grant Holders and Award Holders are outlined below. These same roles and responsibilities appear, though in different terms, in Agency guides and publications that address Grant Holders and Award Holders.

2.1 Grant Holders: The Agencies select, and award funds to, Grant Holders and their projects through competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation processes. Grant Holders must operate in compliance with the relevant Agency guidelines and requirements and all applicable policies of the Institution that govern the management and conduct of research, the financial management of research, and the management of research personnel and students involved in research.

2.2 Where there is neither an existing Agency policy nor an existing Institutional policy that governs a matter related to a grant, Grant Holders must seek, through their Institution's Research Administration, an appropriate advice and/or ruling from the relevant Agency.

2.3 In accordance with these overall principles, Grant Holders are responsible for:

  1. effective financial management and conduct of the research in accordance with the program guidelines, institutional policies and with ethical and legal standards;
  2. complying with the general terms and conditions governing grants and any terms and conditions specific to each grant or granting program established by the Agency, and for complying with Institutional policies;
  3. managing and supervising research personnel;
  4. informing relevant Agency and Institution officials of changes in eligibility status or in the nature of the research that may have an impact on certification or approvals for research involving humans, animals or biohazards, environmental assessments, financial reporting and other related policies;
  5. meeting reporting requirements specific to the grant or granting program; and
  6. acknowledging, whenever possible, the Agency's financial support for the research.

2.4 Grant Holders are encouraged to participate, as appropriate, in the Agency's peer review process.

2.5 Award Holders: The Agencies select Award Holders through competitive, peer-reviewed, evaluation processes. Award Holders must operate in compliance with the relevant Agency guidelines and requirements and all applicable policies of the Institution that govern the conduct of research.

2.6 Award Holders are responsible for:

  1. complying with the general terms and conditions governing their award and any terms and conditions specific to each award program established by the Agency, and for complying with Institutional policies;
  2. informing relevant Agency and Institution officials of changes in eligibility status or in the nature of the research that may have an impact on certifications, environmental assessments and related policies; and
  3. acknowledging, whenever possible, the Agency's financial support for the research.

3. Roles and Responsibilities of the Institution

The Institution is the administrator of funds, granted by the Agencies to Grant Holders and Award Holders to support their research and/or research training. The Institution provides physical, organizational, policy and procedural infrastructure for the conduct of research. It also establishes norms for the supervision of research personnel. These norms include, but are not limited to, policies and processes related to hiring practices and to the status of research personnel. The Institution, therefore, assists Grant Holders and Award Holders and the Agencies to meet their respective obligations. The Institution also ensures that Grant Holders and Award Holders and their research comply with legal requirements that apply to any workplace, and with ethical and financial standards. The Institution necessarily relies on the good judgement of its Grant Holders and Award Holders.

3.1 In consultation with the affected applicant, Grant Holder or Award Holder, the Institution may withdraw its support for a grant or award application, or for an existing grant or an award, if the requirement for compliance with an Agency policy or with that of an external regulatory agency imposes an undue burden on the Institution which cannot be resolved following discussion with the Agency. In this instance, the Agency would terminate any affected grant or award.

3.2 In the event that an Institutional policy conflicts with an Agency policy governing a matter, the issue will be resolved according to the principles outlined in Schedule 8: Investigation and Resolution of Breaches of Agency Policy. The Parties acknowledge that an Institutional policy may be more stringent than the corresponding Agency policy, in which case the Institutional policy will normally prevail. In such instances the Institution should inform the Agencies.

3.3 The Institution is responsible for:

  1. providing an appropriate physical and organizational infrastructure for the conduct of research funded by the Agencies;
  2. implementing appropriate and effective policies, administrative systems and controls to ensure that the research is conducted in compliance with all applicable legal, ethical, accountability and financial management standards;
  3. adhering to, and furthering compliance with, Agency requirements, including withholding or withdrawing approval of expenditures that contravene Agency or Institutional policies or the terms of the grants or awards and, as appropriate, seeking advice from the Agencies;
  4. providing Grant Holders and Award Holders with effective administrative support, timely and clear financial information and assistance with Institutional and Agency policies;
  5. advising the relevant Agency of any changes in the eligibility status of Grant Holders and Award Holders and/or of serious problems in the use of research funds; and
  6. submitting financial statements, and, from time to time and as required, reports on such issues as the implementation of new policies.

4. Roles and Responsibilities of the Agencies

4.1 The Agencies develop strategies and plans for the promotion and support of research and research training for which they design appropriate programs and policies. Through these, the Agencies provide funding in the form of grants to Grant Holders in support of their research and provide financial support to Award Holders in the form of salaries, scholarships and fellowships.

4.2 The Agencies are accountable for the quality and relevance of their programs, policies, decisions and decision-making processes. Each Agency operates competitive, peer-reviewed, decision-making processes to select the activities that rank most highly and meet the required program eligibility criteria and quality standards.

4.3 The Agencies must adhere to federal laws and policies which dictate financial and other management practices and which set accountability standards. Responsibility for the actual conduct of the research and for the management of each grant or award is entrusted to the Grant Holders and Award Holder and to the Institution.

4.4 The Agencies have a responsibility and an obligation to:

  1. establish and manage policies and programs that enable them to fulfill their mandates as defined by their individual Acts (for CIHR Act: see This link will take you to another Web site http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-18.1/26440.html; for NSERC Act: see This link will take you to another Web site http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/N-21/75176.html; for SSHRC Act: see This link will take you to another Web site http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/S-12/86782.html);
  2. account for their programs, policies and the deployment of the resources entrusted to them;
  3. require that Institutions have adequate organizational and policy structures, controls and systems for the management of award and grant funds;
  4. effectively communicate program information, and management and accountability requirements to Institutions, Grant Holders and Award Holders, and to ensure that program information and management accountability requirements aimed at Grant Holders and Award Holders are consistent with this MOU and its schedules, and to make such information publicly accessible;
  5. verify the eligibility of Institutions, applicants and Award Holders and Grant Holders;
  6. provide timely advice, clarification or rulings on policies, programs and requirements;
  7. carry out a fair and effective competitive peer-review process;
  8. review only those applications that have received the appropriate Institutional endorsement(s), where applicable;
  9. communicate competition results in a timely manner to the applicants and to the Institution Research Administration official designated to receive this information;
  10. consult with Institutions on changes in programs and policies or in their implementation that may have a significant impact on Institutions; and
  11. manage grant research and awards funds and disburse them in compliance with the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments and other relevant legislation (such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), policies and directives.

5. Specific Guidelines and Procedures

5.1 Financial Management

Since the Agencies receive their funding through parliamentary appropriations, they have a responsibility to Parliament and to the Canadian people to effectively manage the public funds placed in their trust. The Institutions agree to assist by providing adequate financial and administrative support to the Grant Holder or Award Holder to ensure sound management of funds. The Institution must also report to the Agencies on the use of these funds. The Parties therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 1.

5.2 Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans

Researchers, Institutions and the Agencies recognize that with academic freedom come responsibilities, including the responsibility to ensure that any research involving human subjects meets high scientific and ethical standards. The Agencies have established standards, namely the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans, and procedures, within a common ethical framework, for the review of the ethics of research involving human subjects and to ensure an appropriate level of accountability. In addition, CIHR has established Guidelines for human pluripotent stem cell research. At a minimum, the Institution must ensure its conformity with these standards and procedures. The Parties therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 2.

5.3 Ethics Review of Research Involving Animals

Researchers, Institutions and the Agencies acknowledge their responsibility to ensure that any research involving live vertebrates and cephalopods (octopi and squid) meets high scientific and ethical standards. The regulatory guidelines are those of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), the national peer review agency responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the care and use of animals in research, teaching and testing throughout Canada.

Check one

  • Option for those institutions in which animals are used in research, teaching and testing

    The Institution and the Agencies agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 3.

  • Option for those institutions in which animals are not currently used in research, teaching and testing.

    The Parties acknowledge that as of the date of signing this MOU, the Institution does not have animal facilities and does not carry out research, teaching or testing on animals. In the event that the Institution intends to carry out such research, it will promptly inform the Agencies and will make all necessary arrangements to comply with, and will be bound by, the guidelines set out in Schedule 3.

5.4 Integrity in Research and Scholarship

The Institution and the Agencies are committed to the highest standards of integrity in research and scholarship. While the primary responsibility for maintaining high standards of integrity, accountability and responsibility rests with the researchers, the Institutions and the Agencies have a role in providing an environment that is conducive to achieving these goals. The Parties therefore agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 4.

5.5 Environmental Assessment

While the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires the Agencies to review proposals for potential impact on the environment, researchers, Institutions and the Agencies must work together to ensure that research activities will not have any significant deleterious effects on the environment. The roles of the Parties are set out in Schedule 5.

5.6 Peer Review

The Agencies' success in supporting excellent research carried out at Institutions depends on members of the research community voluntarily participating in the peer review process. While peer review also includes activities such as providing referee and assessor reports and participating in site visits related to specific proposals, Schedule 6 focuses on participation in advisory and selection committees, and sets out the roles of the Parties.

5.7 Statement of Principles: Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral fellows are important members of the research community and make valuable contributions to the academic research environment. The Agencies have developed a Statement of Principles to encourage universities and other research institutions to recognize the important contributions postdoctoral fellows make to the research environment and to the stature of their institutions. The roles of the Parties are set out in Schedule 7.

5.8 Investigation and Resolution of Breaches of Compliance

To ensure an effective administration of the research and training enterprise, the Agencies and Institutions strive to ensure compliance with Agency policies on the administration of grant and award funds and on the research environment within which Agency-funded research is carried out. In the event that circumstances arise in which an Institution is considered or found to be in non-compliance with Agency policy, Schedule 8 sets out the procedure for dealing with such instances.

5.9 Transfer of Funds from a Primary Institution to a Secondary Institution

The Primary Institution receiving research funds from the Agencies has principal responsibility for the manner in which funds are spent. In order to facilitate collaborative research involving researchers from different institutions, the Primary Institution may choose to transfer research funds to Secondary Institutions. Schedule 9 provides a framework for ensuring that the roles and responsibilities of the different Institutions and Agencies are clear, and that there is agreement from the outset about how the funds are to be managed and what accountabilities are in place. It is important to note that CIHR and SSHRC allow the transfer of funds from an Eligible Institution to a non-Eligible Institution, but NSERC does not. The Parties agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 9.

5.10 Confirmation of Researchers’ Eligibility

Each Agency sets its own eligibility criteria to ensure applicants meet the minimum qualifications to receive funds. Eligibility requirements must be met on a continuous basis throughout tenure of a grant or award and thus ongoing communication between Researchers, Institutions and Agencies is required. The Parties, therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 10.

5.11 Reporting on Performance and Outcomes

Reporting on how research funds are used and what outcomes and impacts are achieved assists the Agencies in meeting their own obligations to evaluate program effectiveness and to be accountable to Parliament and the Canadian public. The Parties, therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 11, including the specific requirements set out by each Agency.

5.12 Ownership of Equipment and Facilities

Schedule 12 provides a framework for managing the ownership of equipment and facilities purchased with grant funds, with the goal of ensuring that these funds are used effectively and productively. The Parties, therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 12.

5.13 Research Involving Biohazards

Researchers, Institutions and the Agencies acknowledge the need to ensure that any research involving biohazards is conducted in a manner that meets all applicable safety standards and practices. These standards and practices are defined in federal, provincial and territorial laws, requirements and guidelines. All Institutions conducting research involving biohazards must comply with applicable laws and requirements. The roles of the Parties are set out in Schedule 13.

Check one

  • Option for those institutions in which biohazards are used in research.

    The Institution and the Agencies agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 13.

  • Option for those institutions in which biohazards are not currently used in research.

    The Parties acknowledge that as of the date of signing this MOU, the Institution does not carry out research involving biohazards. In the event that the Institution intends to carry out such research, it will promptly inform the Agencies and will make all necessary arrangements to comply with, and will be bound by, the guidelines set out in Schedule 13.

5.14 Conflicts of Interest in Research

The research enterprise is increasingly competitive and complex, with the result that real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest sometimes arise for Researchers and Institutions in the conduct and management of research. Researchers, Institutions and Agencies recognize that conflicts of interest must be identified and managed in a clear, transparent and accountable fashion to protect the credibility of the research enterprise and to maintain public confidence and trust. The Parties, therefore, agree to adhere to the guidelines set out in Schedule 14.

5.15 Public Communication

The Institutions and Agencies have a special role to play in encouraging and responding to the public’s interest in research and its outcomes. Schedule 15 outlines how the communications efforts of the Parties must be planned and coordinated for maximum impact and benefit, and to ensure that the Agencies follow the Federal Government’s Communications Policy. The roles of the Parties are set out in Schedule 15.

6. Amendments

This Memorandum of Understanding and its accompanying Schedules may be amended only by a written agreement signed by the Parties.

7. Effective Dates

Schedule 9: Transfer of Funds from a Primary Institution to a Secondary Institution

The Agencies, Primary Institutions and/or Secondary Institutions may have pre-existing agreements relative to the transfer of grant funds which are inconsistent with Schedule 9. Where such agreements exist at the time of signing of the MOU, the agreements will supersede the requirements of this schedule, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. When these agreements terminate, new agreements must meet the requirements of this schedule. Institutions have until January 1, 2009 to meet the full requirements of Part B of this schedule.

Schedule 13: Research Involving Biohazards

The two-stage approval process (section 2.1d) is to be implemented by January 1, 2009.

Schedule 14: Conflict of Interest in Research

The Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy must be in place by January 1, 2009.

Signed by the Institution

The Institution acknowledges and agrees to fulfill its role and responsibilities as identified under this Memorandum of Understanding and its accompanying Schedules.

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Signature
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Date
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Name (please print)

Signed by the Agencies

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President
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
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Date
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President
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
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Date
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President
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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Date
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