Federal Research Support Fund

The federal Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions with the costs associated with managing their research enterprise, helping them to maintain a world-class research environment.

The objective of the Research Support Fund (RSF) is to assist Canadian postsecondary institutions with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by the three federal research granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC). Research funding provided through the granting agencies is generally limited to direct project costs (e.g., research equipment, research assistant salaries, etc.). Institutions whose researchers receive funding for research also incur costs to manage their research enterprise. These are often called indirect costs of research.

Indirect costs of research are real, ongoing, necessary operating expenses that cannot be wholly attributed to any one department, project or product. They include elements such as: building and facility operating costs including heating, cooling, power, cleaning, maintenance; Faculty and departmental services such as machine and electrical shops, grant facilitation, secretarial and office assistance, purchasing, shared equipment, etc.; academic services such as the Library and Computing Service; university-provided administrative services such as Purchasing, Finance, and Human Resources; and research and contract administration & support such as Office of Research Services, University-Industry Liaison Office, Research & Trust Accounting, CFI Office, Health Research Office, Hospital Research Institute Administrations, etc. 

RSF funds may be used to cover new expenditures, to maintain the current level of services, or to support an institution's research environment and improve its management. The five expenditure areas are:

  1. Research facilities
  2. Research resources
  3. Management and administration of an institution's research enterprise
  4. Regulatory requirements and accreditation; and 
  5. Intellectual property and knowledge mobilization

Overall, grants for indirect costs 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.

Whether the grant pays for the maintenance of libraries, laboratories or research networking spaces, or for the technical support required for an institution's website or library computer system, the overall goal of the fund is to help ensure Canada's research institutions remain among the best in the world. By subsidizing the financial burden of indirect costs, the fund ultimately helps researchers and universities focus on delivering innovative research and scholarly excellence.

The Incremental Project Grants (IPG) funding opportunity is a new stream of the Research Support Fund (RSF), in addition to the RSF grant, that provides further support for the indirect costs of research.

The IPG will provide eligible institutions with additional support for projects that focus on a set of priorities that cut across the RSF’s five existing categories of eligible expenses. The initial four IPG priority areas are:

  • innovation and commercialization activities;
  • facilities renewal, including deferred maintenance;
  • information resources, including digital resources, open access and databases; and
  • equity, diversity and faculty renewal (in the context of equity, diversity and inclusion).

The Government of Canada introduced new funding through the Research Support Fund (RSF) in Budget 2022 to further support the activities related to the indirect costs of research security and to support the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. The investments in research security will provide $125 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $25 million ongoing per year, in addition to the existing investments for the RSF and Incremental Grant Projects (IPGs).

Research security is categorized as a fifth priority area of the IPGs. These investments are aligned with the RSF’s objectives to help Canadian postsecondary institutions ensure their federally funded research projects are conducted in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available. By directing funds to specific investments and to annual or multiyear projects initiated by institutions, research security funding will help to build capacity within postsecondary institutions to identify, assess and mitigate the potential risks to research security.

2024/25 Research Support Fund Allocation and Anticipated Spending
2023/24 Research Support Fund Allocation and Anticipated Spending
UBC's Research Support Fund Grant Allocation 2022/23
Previous Research Fund Grant Allocations

Affiliated Research Institutions
Institutional Performance Objectives FY 2025
Institutional Performance Objectives FY 2024
Report on FY 2023 Objectives and Outcomes
Report On Previous Objectives and Outcomes