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.
Carleton University, and its affiliated institution the Dominican University College, receive an annual grant to help pay for a portion of the central and departmental administrative costs related to federally funded research.
Carleton uses its grant to support a variety of initiatives across campus to maximize the investment of federal funding. The grant covers a proportion of the total costs attributed to each category; the remainder of the cost is provided by the University from other sources. For 2019-20, Carleton intends to spend its Research Support Fund grant of $4,795,331 as follows:
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 220,000 sq ft of floor area designated as research space, including health science laboratories within the Health Science Building.
Costs in this category include support the MacOrdrum Library, for operating costs and to procure and maintain holdings and e-resources. Examples of activities supported include Open Access Support, Research Data Management Services, and participation in Collaborative Futures, which comprises a shared catalogue and search interface to facilitate finding resources and initiating interlibrary loans.
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. The grant covers approximately 53% of the costs for administering federally sponsored research. Recent activities to further simplify the research administration process, including the implementation of enterprise data management systems, such as cuResearch, 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.