Research requires both direct and indirect investments. Operational maintenance of research infrastructure and activities requires reinvestment on a significant scale.
Indirect costs support many institutional functions of the University, including:
- Space and utilities (electricity, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, as well as plans for and finances new research spaces)
- Core facilities (janitorial services, Facilities and Management Planning, Information and Technology Services, hazardous waste disposal, University Safety)
- Library services (acquisitions, maintenance costs, etc.)
- Research financial services (personnel, financial management utilities, like FAST, Banner, etc.)
- Research compliance and regulatory requirements (Research Compliance Office, Animal Care Facility)
- Institutional support for the completion of grant and award applications/research proposals, including personnel, cuResearch, etc
- Liability insurance
- Laboratory/office furniture
Recognizing that research requires a significant investment at the institutional level, the Research Support Fund (RSF), was introduced in 2003 to assist Canadian postsecondary institutions with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Networks of Centres of Excellence.
The five main expenditure areas of the Research Support Fund are: Facilities; Resources; Management and Administration; Regulatory Requirements and Intellectual Property.
Additionally the Incremental Project Grants (IPG), introduced in 2018, provides support additional to the Research Support Fund which provides further support for the indirect costs of research.
The IPG provides 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).
In 2022, the Research Security category with a dedicated funding envelope was added to the IPG “to further support the activities related to the indirect costs of research security and to support the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships.
The RSF, IPG and RS grants cover a proportion of the total costs incurred by Carleton University in each category; the remainder of the cost is provided by the University from other sources. In 2023-2024, the RSF grant to Carleton is $5,066,092; the IPG is $543,110 and the Research Security is $272,403.
With these funds, Carleton intends to support a variety of initiatives across campus to maximize the investment of federal funding. For 2023-2024, the IPG and RS will be allocated towards the following projects “Research Management System Replacement for the Data Integrity, Analysis and Reporting Team” and “Risk Assessment and Mitigation Support” both of which are in the Vice-President (Research and International), directorate. The RSF expenditures are anticipated to be as follows:
|Category||Amount allocated||Percentage of total grant|
|Management and Administration||$2,248,569||44.4%|
|Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation||$423,637||8.4%|
The support Carleton University’s research facilities receive from RSF is instrumental in ensuring their continued use and viability. At Carleton there are more than 227,000 sq ft of floor area designated as research space, including health science laboratories within the Health Science Building.
Costs in this category include support for the MacOdrum Library, for operations, to acquire resources, and the provision of research support services. Examples of activities supported include Open Access Support, Research Data Management Services, participation in Collaborative Futures, Interlibrary Loans, support for NVIVO and membership in the HathiTrust Digital Library
This category also includes support to the Information and Technology Services, specifically the Research Computing Services. Examples of activities includes the personnel in this team to support and assist researchers in using Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and High-Performance resources available on- and off-campus.
Management and Administration
At Carleton, the expense types included in this category include the Carleton Office for Research Initiatives and Services, Industry and Partnerships Services, and Research Financial Services. Recent activities to further simplify the research administration process, including the implementation of enterprise data management systems have been supported through the RSF. This automation of certain tasks have simplified the process for grant holders, while ensuring compliance and reporting, and also freeing up research administration personnel time, which has allowed for more tailored services to be offered to the Carleton research community.
Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation
This category covers many aspects of research compliance including human ethics, spread over two Boards, animal care and biohazards. Controlled Goods and Radiation hazard costs, which are minor at Carleton, are currently absorbed into general administration costs and included in the previous category, although Carleton’s department of Environmental Health & Safety practices are in support of all matters related to research compliance.
The RSF grant funds assist the university in fulfilling regulatory requirements, including internal and external reviews, post-approval monitoring, as well as the implementation of new electronic systems to manage its research compliance obligations. Carleton’s post-approval monitoring includes the review and clearance of proposed amendments, annual renewals, and study closures; as well as reports of unanticipated events including adverse events, protocol deviations and violations, and new relevant information that may reasonably affect the participants or their willingness to continue to consent to participation.
The RSF grant has also permitted Carleton to purchase Cyber Liability insurance, which provides added protection to the Carleton research community in the digital age.
For Carleton, expenditures in this category cover the administration, from an IP perspective, of all types of agreements and relationships with industry, government and not-for-profit partners. Support from the RSF has allowed Carleton to increase its services to researchers considering partnered research, including expert advice on IP issues and the creation of the Carleton Innovation Transfer Office. The additional personnel support has allowed researchers to maximize the impacts of the investments of federal funding by leveraging this support to engage partnering organizations from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. This category is greatly supplemented from other sources.