Open Call for Applications
1. Overview of Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)
The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is part of the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It has four funding stages to help sustain research activity at Canadian universities and health research institutions.
CRCEF is a tri-agency program and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration. More information on the program can be found here: https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/crcef-fucrc/index-eng.aspx.
On May 15, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $450M in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has two objectives:
- to provide wage support for universities and health research institutions to help them retain research-related personnel who are funded from non-government sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stage 1 and 2 of the program, initially provided up to 75% of the eligible portion of eligible research personnel’s wages, with a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks per individual, within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. The maximum period of support was extended to a maximum of 24 weeks (Stage 4); and
- to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume (Stage 3). This program will cover up to 75% of total eligible costs incurred during the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to November 15, 2020.
Institutions must apply to each stage, and for all stages, they must demonstrate the need to access the emergency funds. Lakehead University’s Stage 3 internal application window is open until November 20, 2020. Please see updated information about Stage 3 below.
2. TBRHRI and Affiliated Institutions Benefiting from the CRCEF
TBRHRI and its affiliated institutions acknowledge that the research enterprise at each of our institutions has been severely impacted by COVID-19, The creation of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund by the Government of Canada will help us to maintain staff and resume essential research activities during the pandemic.
The following institutions are affiliated with TBRHRI and will benefit from the CRCEF program. NOSM faculty members or Lakehead University-TBRHRI Research Chairs are encouraged to apply to the institution administering the research grant/contract which incurred CRCEF eligible expenditures. TBRHRI and affiliated institutions are separately incorporated, independent employers with their own governance and management structures. As a result, each institution is responsible for management of CRCEF funding allocated to it and for following the program requirements.
Please refer to each affiliated institutions’ CRCEF public accountability webpage to access application procedures to access the CRCEF programs for research grants administered outside of TBRHRI:
3. Allocation of CRCEF Funds Across Our Institutions
Lakehead University’s Vice-President Research and Innovation, in collaboration with the Vice-President’s of Research at NOSM and TBRHRI established a CRCEF Oversight Committee to ensure coordination and consistency in meeting CRCEF program requirements. The Committee’s Terms of Reference also include: 1) responsibilities to make decisions regarding CRCEF allocations among each institution; and 2) a commitment to share best practices and information in implementing the program requirements in our institutions.
Membership on the CRCEF Oversight Committee includes: the Vice-President of Research from Lakehead University (Dr. Andrew P. Dean), TBRHRI AVP Research and Chief Scientist (Dr. Chris Mushquash), Associate Dean of Research NOSM (Dr. David Marsh), Chief Financial Officers (Rita Blais, Lakehead; Peter Mylymaa, TBRHRI and Dan Burrell, NOSM), and from Lakehead University, the Director of Research Services (Anne Klymenko), Manager, Research Accounting (Margot Ross), Director, Office of Human Rights and Equity (Dylan Mazur), and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Dr. Chander Shahi). The Committee is diverse and has individuals representing all equity seeking groups. In addition, all members of the committee were required to complete the Tri-Agency Unconscious Bias on-line training module.
CRCEF Stage 1 and 4 – Wage Subsidy
Details regarding Stage 1 was released by TIPS on June 23, 2020. TBRHRI undertook a Stage 1 analysis to determine “notional allocations”, using the CAUBO formula applied by TIPS; the data was shared with institutional affiliates. TBRHRI and affiliates made a joint decision to only access Stage 1 funding (not Stage 2) based on anticipated needs. An agreement was also reached among the institutions, that if one institution required less CRCEF funding, the funding would be re-allocated on a pro-rated basis to those institutions that required additional funds beyond their CAUBO notional amounts.
Stage 4 was launched by TIPS on September 30, 2020 with a national budget of $84M (resulting from Stage 2 unspent funds). Stage 4 provides additional wage supports for eligible research personnel extending the eligibility period from 12 weeks to 24 weeks. Given that there are no institutional allocations in Stage 4, all three institutions engaged in data collection within their institutions to determine eligible claims for a combined submission to TIPS by November 30, 2020. Upon confirmation of funding for CRCEF Stage 4 by TIPs, awarded funds will be shared, prorated and consistent with the national funding rate.
TBRHRI and each affiliated institution is responsible for developing, documenting and communicating their respective institutional CRCEF processes; affiliated institutions are responsible for attesting to the University in an inter-institutional agreement that their processes meet CRCEF program requirements.
CRCEF Stage 3 – Maintenance and Ramp-Up of Research Activities
Stage 3 was launched by TIPS at the beginning of September of 2020. Full details for this stage were confirmed at the beginning of October 2020. TBRHRI, NOSM and Lakehead University undertook a data collection exercise, to identify eligible expenses and also issued an open call to the research community. Several drop-in CRCEF Stage 3 webinars were hosted by Lakehead University’s Director, Research Services and Manager, Research Accounting. Webinars were open to all researchers at Lakehead University and affiliated institutions.
Should the demand in Stage 3, go beyond available funding, an adjudication process utilizing the Stage 3 decision-making criteria will be followed (see Section 4 below).
4. Strategy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Decision-Making
TBRHRI and its affiliated health institutions have attested to the responsible stewardship and implementation of the CRCEF program, including a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion strategies in decision-making.
TBRHRI follows Lakehead University’s, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2019-2024: Accessing Excellence Together , which outlines a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as vital to a research-intensive institution of higher learning, an employer of choice and a socially responsible community leader. This commitment and responsibility extends to our participation in the CRCEF Program. We are committed to implementing active measures to prevent systemic barriers within the CRCEF program, to ensure all researchers and research personnel can equally benefit from the program. Aligned with Lakehead’s EDI Action Plan, to minimize the impact of implicit biases and systemic barriers, while acknowledging inequities that contribute to differing impacts of COVID-19, the following principles and strategies will guide the University’s decision-making:
- Researchers will be encouraged to avoid laying off personnel, including research personnel, even if there was an inability to perform normal duties due to restricted access to campus or research facilities, or due to home or living conditions brought about by COVID-19;
- The use of inclusive language and terminology that respects diverse fields, regardless of discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
- Implementation of an open call for applications that encourages applications from early-career researchers (researchers who have held a full-time independent research appointment for a period of 0-5 years, beginning with the date of first appointment at Lakehead University) and researchers belonging to equity-seeking groups;
- Broad communication of the CRCEF funding opportunity to all Lakehead researchers to ensure all have an equal opportunity to apply, including hosting of several drop-in information sessions scheduled at diverse times, intermittent reminders and direct outreach by the Director, Research Services and Manager, Research Accounting;
- Utilizing an equitable, and principles-based approach to reviewing eligible expenses against CRCEF program eligibility criteria;
- Ensuring all eligible requests for CRCEF Stage 1 and Stage 4 funding, receive the same consideration, regardless of research discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
- Accommodating or giving special consideration to researchers and research personnel who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 (e.g., individual/family health has been directly impacted, family obligations for dependent care, etc.) both in accessing the program and application materials, by providing additional administrative support or additional assistance in identifying costs that are eligible for CRCEF support; and
- Collection of self-identification data to determine the representation of members of equity-deserving groups among applicants to, and recipients of, CRCEF Stage 3 funding (should the amount of submitted claims exceed available funds).
Lakehead University’s CRCEF Stage 1 submitted claims did not exceed the funds allocated to Lakehead, and so all eligible requests were given the same consideration and supported to the maximum amount allowable under the CRCEF funding guidelines.
Stage 3 and 4 Adjudication Process and Evaluation Criteria:
In the event that funding requests for Stage 3 and 4 are higher than the allocated funding by the CRCEF, TBRHRI, Lakehead University, and NOSM will convene a CRCEF Adjudication Committee to review all Stage 3 and 4 applications using the evaluation criteria below and EDI priorities to guide their decisions, beyond reviewing eligibility of expenditures. The Committee is diverse and has individuals representing all equity seeking groups. In addition, all members of the committee are required to complete the Tri-Agency Unconscious Bias on-line training module. Membership on the CRCEF Adjudication Committee will include:
- AVP Research and Chief Scientist (Dr. Chris Mushquash)
- Chief Operating Officer, TBRHRI (Peter Myllymaa)
- EVP Research, Quality & Academics, TBRHSC (Kelly Meservia-Collins)
- Research Financial Analyst (TBRHSC) (Murray Plichta)
- Vice-President Research and Innovation and Chair of the Committee (Dr. Andrew P. Dean)
- Associate Vice-President Administration and Finance (Rita Blais)
- Director of Research Services (Anne Klymenko)
- Manager, Research Accounting (Margot Ross)
- Director, Office of Human Rights and Equity (Dylan Mazur)
- Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Dr. Chander Shahi)
- Associate Dean of Research NOSM (Dr. David Marsh)
- Chief Operating Officer (Ray Hunt)
Subject Matter Research Experts:
In addition, additional subject matter experts will be invited who have knowledge of research in a range of fields, that focus on questions of equity, diversity and inclusion, community engaged research, indigenous ways of knowing etc. The Committee will follow SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.
Special consideration will be given to researchers known to be most impacted by COVID-19. This includes early-career researchers, researchers belonging to equity-seeking groups and researchers who were personally impacted by COVID-19 and/or have special needs in regard to child/family care.
The CRCEF Adjudication Committee may consider additional evaluation criteria, which could include the following:
- pro-rating requests according to funding allocation;
- a minimum incremental cost for a project to be considered for the funding;
- priority given to projects that are at the beginning or in the middle of their terms, versus those that are close to their grant end date; and
- non-eligibility of projects with considerable financial balances at the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2020).
Applicants will be provided with the opportunity to demonstrate need and provide additional context to explain their requests (e.g., where the research may be unfamiliar to adjudicators).
5. Contact for CRCEF Compliance
At TBRHRI, Mr. Peter Myllymaa is the senior official responsible for the CRCEF program and for ensuring the program’s requirements are followed.
CRCEF Application Processes
Stage 1 and 4 Research Personnel Wage Subsidy Grant
(Application Cycle Closed)
CRCEF’s Stage 1 and 4 is to avert or reverse layoffs of eligible research personnel (e.g., research staff, students, post-doctoral fellows). Stage 1 and 4 funds are only for wage support for research personnel whose salaries were adversely affected by COVID-19, and who are paid in part or in whole by non-governmental sources.
CRCEF has confirmed that Stage 1 and 4 funding will be provided based on the receipt of an application confirming the eligibility of personnel, the personnel costs incurred and the availability of funds.
TBRHRI researchers with eligible funding sources, will be contacted directly by Financial Services with regard to the application to request CRCEF funding for eligible personnel costs.
Faculty members and scientists at NOSM and TBRHRI who have eligible non-government supported research personnel administered by these institutions will be contacted directly by them.
Stage 1 Eligible/Ineligible Research Wages
Research-related personnel are those individuals employed by universities or health research institutions who are working for faculty members conducting research, or who are working in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects). Principal Investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.
If a salary is only paid in part by non-governmental sources, only that portion of the salary is eligible for CRCEF relief. Applicants must ensure personnel for whom they are requesting CRCEF wage support are not claiming other wage support (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit – CERB, Canada Emergency Student Benefit – CESB). Universities are responsible for distributing funds to eligible applicants within their institutions.
Coverage period is March 15 to August 29, 2020. CRCEF provides a grant to cover up to 75% of wages up to a maximum of $847 per week for 12 weeks of support (Stage 1) and an additional 12 weeks (Stage 4). Additional details regarding Stage 4 will be shared once we receive details from the CRCEF.
To receive CRCEF funding for your employees, you must take active measures to prevent systemic barriers that result in individuals from equity-seeking groups receiving unequal access to, or being excluded from participating in, employment, services, or programs in Canada’s research ecosystem. A resource to assist in this can be found here: https://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/program-programme/equity-equite/bias/module-eng.aspx?pedisable=false.
For more CRCEF information and FAQs, please refer to https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/crcef-fucrc/index-eng.aspx.
TBRHRI’s Decision-Making Process for Stage 1 and 4:
The TBRHRI CRCEF Management Committee developed a process to identify eligible recipients of CRCEF which included the collection of data from TBRHRI’s financial system, as well as an open call to the research community. The Committee is chaired by the TBRHRI Chief Operating Officer (Peter Myllymaa), and includes the AVP Research & Chief Scientist (Chris Mushquash), EVP Research, Quality and Academics (Kelly Meservia-Collins), and Financial Analyst (Murray Plichta).
The Finance Department identified all non-governmental grants and contracts that had incurred payroll expenditures during the time period of March 15, 2020 – August 29, 2020 to identify projects that may be eligible for the CRCEF program. After a review of the summary of the non-governmental grants that had incurred payroll expenditures during this time period, an email was sent to all identified Principal Investigators inviting them to apply in order to request CRCEF funding.
The TBRHRI CRCEF Management Committee reviewed each application by confirming eligibility. Applicants were required to confirm that their students have not been claiming other federal wage support such as Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Since the funding request for CRCEF Stage 1 fell below the available funds available, all eligible requests were approved. Decisions regarding Stage 4 requests will be made once CRCEF Stage 4 funding is confirmed.
The Stage 3 Call for Proposals is now open. Deadline: December 9, 2020
Important: Please read the CRCEF Stage 3 Guidelines prior to completing the application form and refer to the CRCEF Stage 3 FAQs (provide link to FAQ). Applications will be accepted until, December 9, 2020.
Please note that goods and services must be purchased or a Purchase Order issued (if applicable) prior to November 15, 2020 in order to be eligible. Please complete the CRCEF Stage 3 application which can be accessed by contacting Tanya Niederer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stage 3 Program Description
Stage 3 of the CRCEF program is meant to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with:
1) maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
2) supporting ramp-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.
Only the direct costs of research that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and which have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 will be reimbursed at a rate up to 75%. Researchers are required to provide the 25% matching funds from other sources.
Please note that extraordinary incremental costs (defined as “unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds”) that were incurred for research projects funded by either governmental or non-governmental sources are eligible for CRCEF Stage 3 support. The minimum incremental cost for a project to be considered for Stage 3 funding is $500.
Stage 3 Eligible expenses
Only the direct costs of research as outlined below are eligible. In addition, expenses for maintenance and ramp-up costs must be incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. For the most up-to-date Stage 3 FAQs and list of eligible Stage 3 – Research maintenance and ramp-up costs, please refer to the CRCEF site.
Stage 3 funding will be awarded to support direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. Applicants must justify the need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Eligible expenses include costs associated with the following categories:
- a) Maintenance costs:
Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes:
- animal and specimen care through the crisis period;
- maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts;
- technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and
- safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance.
- b) Ramp-up costs:
Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:
- re-organizing the research environment and activities;
- additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental);
- user fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., animal- care facilities, digital labs);
- re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials;
- exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops;
- restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities;
- reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and
- personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel.
It should be noted that administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of CRCEF.