Guide to the Administration of Research Grants and Contracts

The Guide to the Administration of Research Grants and Contracts is designed to help researchers in the pursuit of grants and contracts with outside agencies, and to understand the administrative processes involved.  Please contact David MacKinnon for hard copies of the Guide, or with any questions or feedback regarding this resource.
 
Full Document last updated August 2013

Student and Research Assistant Hiring Information

In budgeting for student and/or research assistant costs, researchers need to include mandatory employer costs (Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP)), Workers’ Compensation (WC) in their calculations. All employees are entitled to Vacation Pay (VP), which is also paid by the researcher. It’s important to note that some of these rates change often, and at various times over the year, making it challenging to be completely accurate when you predict your payroll costs. Therefore, check your accounts regularly to ensure that your predicted costs are in line with actual costs. Student employees are paid on a bi-weekly basis. The Authorization to Pay Research Assistants form must be completed, with two signed copies provided to the Manager of Fund Accounting, the Business Office.

Suggested Pay Rates

The current suggested pay rate for undergraduate students is $12/hour and $15/hour for graduate students.   These rates include 4% vacation pay ($11.54 + 4% = $12.00, $14.43 + 4% = $15.00).  On top of this, the research grant holder is required to cover 10% for the mandatory employer costs for EI and CPP, as well as 2% for WC coverage, for a total of 12%. This 12% is not included as part of an employee’s pay, but shows up as deductions in the researcher’s general ledger (GL) account.

Please note that all pay rates are subject to change.

Employee

Base Rate

Including VP
(Gross pay rate employee receives)

Including CPP, EI, WCB (Pay rate to be charged to research account*)

Minimum Wage Employee

$10.85/hr

$11.28/hr

$12.64/hr

Suggested Undergraduate

$11.54/hr

$12.00/hr

$13.44/hr

Suggested Graduate

$14.43/hr

$15.00/hr

$16.80/hr

Other

$19.23/hr

$20.00/hr

$22.40/hr

Other

$24.04/hr

$25.00/hr

$28.00/hr

 

If you are paying Minimum wage

The current Minimum wage in Nova Scotia is $10.85 (August 2017). Note that when the province quotes this rate, it does NOT include vacation pay, so 4% VP must be added to the minimum wage rate as part of your calculations of payroll costs ($10.85 + 4% = $11.28). On top of this, the research grant holder is required to pay 10% for mandatory employer costs for EI and CPP, as well as 2% for WC coverage, for a total of 12%.  If you are using an hourly rate greater than $11.28 vacation pay may be included in the hourly rate. Again, the 12% is not included as part of an employee’s pay, but shows up as deductions in the researcher’s general ledger (GL) account.

Note: If you are paying minimum wage, please indicate to your employee that they will be paid $10.85  plus there will be an additional 4% for VP added to their hourly rate in lieu of vacation.  If you are using the above suggested rates, please indicate to your employee that they will be paid $12 or $15/hour, and that 4% VP is included in those rates.  For all employees, you should also remind them that their take-home pay will have their own mandatory employee costs (for EI & CPP) deducted as well as any income tax deductions they have indicated, as calculated from their tax forms.

Research Support Fund

What are the Indirect Costs of Research?

The indirect costs of research (often called overhead) are defined as the hidden, but very real costs that occur when universities and colleges undertake research.  These costs can’t be attributed to any one research project, and include costs such as utilities; operating and maintenance costs; IT, technical, laboratory and library support; animal care and ethics support; and costs associated with administrative support of research (HR, financial services, contract and grant support services).  

Like other institutions, Acadia incurs indirect costs administering our Tri-Council funded research.  These expenditures include costs associated with:

  • Meeting our Regulatory Requirements (Research Ethics Board, Animal Care Facility, Acadia Radiation Safety Committee, and the Acadia Bio-Hazards Committee);  
  • Purchasing electronic journals for our Library;
  • Supporting the work of the Office of Industry & Community Engagement, including our incubator space (Rural Innovation Centre); and
  • Supporting Acadia’s overall research enterprise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Indirect costs pose a significant financial challenge to Canadian institutions. The federal Research Support Fund (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) assists eligible postsecondary institutions support their research programs, by defraying a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Tri-Council Funding agencies (These are the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)).

Description of the Research Support Fund

The Government of Canada introduced the Indirect Costs Program in 2003. Renamed in 2015 as the Research Support Fund (RSF), this permanent program provides Canadian universities and colleges with an annual grant to help pay for a portion of their indirect costs of research. Grants are based on the funding received by the University’s researchers from the three granting agencies in the three most recent years for which data is available. Grants are awarded for one year only, and cover a portion of the indirect costs of research incurred by the institution that year. Institutions must re-apply each year to continue receiving funds.

RSF grants must add to, and not displace, any research support funds that postsecondary institutions have received from the provincial government, private sector or other federal sources.  The grant may be used to cover new expenditures as well as to maintain the current level of services to and support of an institution's research environment, and to generate improvements, innovations and efficiencies in its management.

Institutions have flexibility in deciding how to use their RSF grants, provided that the funds are used for the payment of current expenditures attributed to federally-sponsored research that fall within the following five categories:

  • Research facilities,
  • Research resources;
  • Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise;
  • Regulatory requirements and accreditation; and
  • Intellectual property.

For more details on the Research Support Fund, click here.

Accountability & Public Acknowledgement Requirements

Institutions must meet the RSF program’s accountability and public acknowledgement requirements to be eligible/stay eligible for the program. For Acadia, these requirements are:

  • Identifying and making public on our website, information on indirect costs, on the Research Support Fund, and on Acadia’s allocations under this program;
  • Identifying and making public our institutional performance objectives (with corresponding indicators and outcomes) for our grant each year;
  • Developing and implementing an RSF communications strategy;
  • Publicly reporting on our website on outcomes achieved annually; and
  • Submitting an annual Outcomes Report.
How Acadia uses its RSF

The RSF has played a critical role in supporting Acadia’s research enterprise . These expenditures have been instrumental in supporting our research staff and facilities and thus our research capacity at Acadia University. The funding has allowed Acadia to continue to build on its research programs by creating additional research space, providing technical support and providing equipment upgrades and maintenance to adequately operate and maintain research facilities.

In general, Acadia has a strong record of directing a high proportion of its grants to the facilities, resources, regulatory requirements and intellectual property categories.  This practice originated with a 5-Year Strategy that was developed in 2004 to specifically ensure that services and facilities provided by the University were responsive to researchers’ needs. 

Acadia’s past allocations of RSF are as follows:

03-04:              $610,883

04-05:              $625,210 

05-06:              $670,766

06-07:              $659,000 

07-08:              $765,966

08-09:              $797,455

09-10:              $769,073

10-11:              $725,753

11-12:              $658,510

12-13:              $643,852

13-14:               $642,027

14-15:               $658,465 

15-16:               $668,657 

16-17:               $679,999 


In 2017-18, Acadia is receiving $658,920 through the Research Support Fund. Funding was allocated as follows:

Management and Administration   $250,000 (38%)

Resources (Library)   $225,000 (34%)

Facilities   $43,920 (7%)

Intellectual Property   $110,000 (16%)

Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation   $30,000 (5%)

 

Acadia’s Institutional Performance Objectives, Performance Indicators, and Target Outcomes 2017-18
For 2017-2018 Acadia University expects to receive $658,920. We have established the following Performance Metrics:
             
Eligible Category   Institutional Performance Objective   Indicator     Output     Outcomes
             

Management and Administration  

 

-To continue to offer support for grant writing (GW)  

 

- Participation in GW opportunities; grant writing support provided  

 

-Increase the # of applications submitted to SSHRC competitions

             
    -To improve internal grants/awards administrative processes   - Building capacity in (TD) contract management system   -Improved Reporting using (TD) system. Weekly summary report in 2017-18
             
Research Resources   -To maintain library resources for researchers   -Number of acquisitions of electronic journals   -Number of electronic journals  compared to 16-17
             
Research Facilities   -To operate & maintain university research stations (Bon Portage & Beaubassin)   -Numbers of person days of research and/or numbers of researchers/HQP utilizing facilities and/or # of related publications   -Numbers of person days of research and/or numbers of researchers/HQP utilizing facilities and or # of related publications in 17-18, as compared to 16-17
             
    -AIDA:  To continue to deliver high-quality events to build capacity for DA in region & identify new projects; to build collaborations with other campus units   - Numbers of events, numbers of collaborative events, numbers of new projects identified   -Numbers of events, numbers of collaborative events, numbers of new projects identified in 17-18, as compared to 16-17
             
Intellectual Property   - Maintain number of R&D agreements and engagement with industry   Number of R&D contracts and/or industry engagement activities   Number of R&D contracts and/or industry engagement activities in 17-18 as compared to 16-17
             
    -Maintain the number of university technologies
and IP (including copyright) transferred to industry/spin-out companies and
other organizations.
  -Number of executed agreements processed in 17-18   -Number of License, Assignment & MTAgreements processed in 17-18, as compared to 16-17
             
Regulatory Requirements   -REB: To continue efficient & timely review of research ethics applications & annual ethics reports   -Number of complaints concerning the functioning of REB & number of appeals of REB decisions   -Number of complaints concerning the functioning of REB & number of appeals of REB decisions in 17-18,  as compared to 16-17
             

 

 

Affiliated Institutions