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Responsibilities and Accountability

Roles and Responsibilities

The administration of funds granted by an Agency is carried out by the grantee, the institution and the Agency. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research for researchers’ responsibilities when applying for, or in receipt of, Agency funds, and with the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions for more details on administration of funds granted.

In accordance with federal laws and policies regarding grants, the Agency verifies eligibility for and entitlement to grants.

Grants are awarded to eligible researchers and are administered through the institution's administration systems. The grantee authorizes expenditures in accordance with Agency policies and requirements, as outlined in the relevant Agency guide on its website, or as stated as a condition of a grant, and with institution policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from a grant account without the grantee's delegated authority.

Each institution establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that Agency policies and requirements are followed. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by a grantee that contravene the Agency's requirements or the institution's policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the Agency as to eligibility of expenses.

Administrative, personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices and policies of the grantee's institution.

Deviation from Proposed Activities and/or Budget

All conditions specified in the formal grant notification and relevant program requirements must be respected. Unless otherwise specified, grantees may generally deviate from the proposed research activities and/or schedules. Furthermore, they are not required to adhere strictly to the allocation of funds set out in the application as long as they use their grant for the broad purpose for which it was originally awarded.

Financial Monitoring

Representatives of the Agency will conduct periodic reviews of the institutions' management control framework to:

  • assess the effectiveness of policies, systems and internal controls within the institution;
  • confirm that the institution fulfills its research grant funds management responsibilities as outlined in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions;
  • ascertain the level of confidence that research funds are used in accordance with Tri-Agency requirements; and
  • share and disseminate information on guidelines and expectations for the continuous improvement of research fund management.

For information regarding the criteria used to assess the institutions’ management control framework, refer to the Collaborative Information Gathering Tool.


Researchers are responsible for using grant or award funds in accordance with the policies of the Agencies, including the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide and Agency grants and awards guides; and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.

Using grant or award funds for purposes inconsistent with the policies of the Agencies; misappropriating grants and award funds; contravening Agency financial policies, namely the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, and Agency grants and awards guides; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts all constitute breaches of the Agencies’ policies.

For information on how the Agencies address allegations of breaches of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide or other Agency policies, refer to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Process for Addressing Allegations of Policy Breaches by Researchers, section 6.1. Matters involving financial mismanagement, where there is evidence of fraud or other unlawful activity, are referred to the appropriate authorities as per the Treasury Board This link will take you to another Web site Directive on Losses of Money or Property.


Support for research by an Agency grant is an investment by Canadian taxpayers. The Agencies' accountability regarding this use of grant funds includes informing the public about who receives the support, the type of research that will be conducted and how funds will be administered.

Grantees are required to acknowledge the Agency in publications arising from the supported research, in conference or congress materials, and on equipment and facilities purchased and/or developed with grant funds (e.g., identification of Agencies’ equipment funding through stickers provided by the agency).

Intellectual Property/Patents

The Agencies:

  • do not retain or claim any ownership of, or exploitation or proprietary rights to, intellectual property, copyright or inventions developed/resulting from research supported with Agency grant funds;
  • do not pass judgment on the eventual commercial success of the research.

The institution must disclose to its grantees its policies on intellectual property rights and ownership arising from supported research. This requirement for disclosure is not intended to supersede any policy on disclosure that the institution might already have in place.

Should grantees decide to pursue commercialization of any results of the research, including all partnered initiatives, they must adhere to institutional and Agency policies governing the assignment of intellectual property.

Recipients of NSERC funding must comply with NSERC's Policy on Intellectual Property.

Recipients of SSHRC funding must comply with SSHRC’s This link will take you to another Web site Policy on Intellectual Property and Copyright.

Recipients of CIHR funding must comply with CIHR’s This link will take you to another Web site Intellectual Property/Patents Requirements.

Open Access

The Agencies are committed to promoting the availability of findings that result from the research they fund to the widest possible audience at the earliest possible opportunity. Societal advancement is made possible through widespread and barrier-free access to cutting-edge research and knowledge because it enables researchers, scholars, clinicians, policymakers, the private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and the public to use and build on this knowledge. In order to support this commitment, NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC have developed a This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. Please refer to the policy for more details on how to comply with its requirements. 

Archiving of Research Data (SSHRC Only)

SSHRC is committed to the principle that research data collected with grant funds belong in the public domain. Accordingly, SSHRC has adopted a policy to facilitate making such data available to other researchers. All recipients of SSHRC funding are required to comply with the SSHRC This link will take you to another Web site Research Data Archiving Policy.

Ownership of Collections and Specimens

Scientifically valuable collections of animal, culture, plant or geological specimens, or archaeological artifacts collected by an authorized representative in receipt of grant funds are the property of the institution. These collections must be held in trust for the research community, which should have reasonable access to them. Such collections must be deposited as quickly as possible in an appropriate repository.

However, the Agency’s policy on ownership of collections or specimens does not supersede any federal or provincial legislation on this issue.

The Agency's intention is not to restrict standard and recognized procedures of exchange of material and specimens between researchers and institutions, but to better ensure their continuing good condition and future availability.

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