NSERC requires applicants and grant/award holders to comply with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR Framework). This framework was adopted in 2011 by NSERC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Section 2.4 of the Framework sets out the Agencies’ requirements for certain types of research as follows:
Researchers must comply with all applicable Agency requirements and legislation for the conduct of research, including, but not limited to:
As stated in the Terms and Conditions for NSERC grants/awards, grant/award holders must promptly advise NSERC and institutional authorities if, during the course of a grant or award, the nature of the research activities change substantially such that the activities may require review and approval as described under Section 2.4 of the RCR Framework.
In accordance with section 2.a)ii) of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions ( Institutional Agreement), institutions must develop and implement effective policies, administrative systems, procedures and controls to ensure that research activities which are subject to Section 2.4 of the Framework are reviewed and approved by the appropriate authorities, either external or internal to the institution, before the funds for the activities are released to the grantee.
Through the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research, allegations of non-compliance with the RCR Framework are received and reviewed. NSERC monitors adherence to the Institutional Agreement as part of its regular monitoring reviews.
In addition, NSERC will review research involving either the use of human pluripotent stem cells or certain types of activities outdoors (either on federal lands or outside of Canada). NSERC will release funds to the institution only after it has concluded that the research activities are acceptable under either the Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (published by CIHR) or the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), as appropriate. NSERC is also responsible for complying with the laws and regulations governing controlled goods and information.
NSERC applications involving the use of human pluripotent stem cells that are conditionally approved for funding will be forwarded to the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) of CIHR. This will supplement the normal review by local Research Ethics Boards (REBs).
A list of Frequently Asked Questions is posted on the CIHR Web site.
NSERC is subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). The Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment describe the circumstances under which environmental reviews or assessments must be conducted, and the administrative processes that will be followed by NSERC to ensure that legal obligations are met with respect to CEAA 2012.
Some research in the natural sciences and engineering may be subject to export controls administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Applications for funding may not contain controlled information. For more information, see the Policy on Research Involving Controlled Goods and Information.