Government of Canada Research Support Fund

2016 / 2017 Research Support Fund

Indirect Costs of Research

The indirect costs of research, also known as overhead costs, are the operating expenditures that UNBC incurs to undertake its research mandate; they do not include expenses which are directly associated with the research project (e.g., researcher salaries, researcher travel expenses, student stipends, research materials, etc.). These indirect costs include, but are not limited to, provision of space including the costs of maintenance and utilities, maintenance and repair of research equipment, computing resources, library resources, insurance, technical support for communal equipment and facility operation, and services provided by UNBC staff members—for example, through the Facilities Department; Finance Department; Geoffrey R. Weller Library; Human Resources Department; Information Technology Services; Office of Research; Purchasing, Contracts and Risk Management; and Security Office. The federal Research Support Fund provides overhead funding for research grants received from the Tri-Councils: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Government of Canada Research Support Fund

The Government of Canada generously helps to cover the indirect costs of research at UNBC through the Research Support Fund, helping the institution maintain a leading-edge research environment. Resources from the Research Support Fund aid the institution in covering costs associated with:

  • Maintaining research facilities;
  • Providing research resources;
  • Managing and administering research activities;
  • Meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining necessary accreditations; and
  • Commercializing intellectual property.

Further information on the Research Support Fund is available at:http://www.rsf-fsr.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.aspx.

Affiliated Organizations

UNBC is affiliated with the British Columbia Academic Health Science Network Society.

UNBC's Performance Indicators and Target Outcomes

Eligible Program Expenditure Category:  Research Facilities
Output (Investment of RSF grant funds) in 2015/16: $157,539 invested in an Enhanced Forestry Laboratory Technician's compensation and in EFL operating costs
Performance Objective: Maintain access to EFL greenhouse pods
Performance Indicator: Number of greenhouse pods used fully or partially each month, totaled over the year
Target Outcome for 2015/16: Establish baseline number for comparison in future years
Reported Outcome for 2015/16: Greenhouse pods had 47 pod-months of use

Eligible Program Expenditure Category:  Research Resources
Output (Investment of RSF grant funds) in 2015/16: $78,454 invested in access to online databases
Performance Objective: Maintain access to online databases
Performance Indicator: Number of times online databases accessed
Target Outcome for 2015/16: Establish baseline number for comparison in future years
Reported Outcome for 2015/16: Online databases accessed 174,689 times

Eligible Program Expenditure Category:  Management and Administration of Research
Output (Investment of RSF grant funds) in 2015/16: $176,487 invested in compensation of Grant Facilitators
Performance Objective: Continue processing of grant applications
Performance Indicator: Number of Tri-Council grant applications processed
Target Outcome for 2015/16: Establish baseline number for comparison in future years
Reported Outcome for 2015/16: Tri-Council grant applications processed = 44

Eligible Program Expenditure Category:  Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation
Output (Investment of RSF grant funds) in 2015/16: $72,292 invested in Northern Health Sciences Research Facility operating expenses
Performance Objective: Maintain good standing with Canadian Council on Animal Care
Performance Indicator: Canadian Council on Animal Care assessment and certification process
Target Outcome for 2015/16: Good standing maintained
Reported Outcome for 2015/16: Target met: Good standing maintained

Eligible Program Expenditure Category:  Intellectual Property
Output (Investment of RSF grant funds) in 2015/16: $83,746 invested in Partnerships and Innovation Office operating expenses
Performance Objective: Continue to host partnership* workshops and establish new partnerships
Performance Indicator: Number of partnership* workshops hosted and number of new partnerships
Target Outcome for 2015/16: Establish baseline number for comparison in future years
Reported Outcome for 2015/16: University partnership* workshops conducted = 3; New partnerships established = 37

*Partnerships include industry, community and/or academic partners


Allocation of UNBC's 2015/2016 Research Support Fund Grant

($1.145 Million)

Research Facilities: $0.158 Million  |  14% of Total Grant

Includes compensation for one technical staff person (in the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory), and the operating costs for a communal research laboratory (the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory).

Research Resources : $0.185 Million  |  16% of Total Grant

Includes compensation for a Northern BC Archives staff member, cost of access to online databases (14% of total access cost), and cost of access to high-speed optical internet (30% of total access cost).

Management and Administration of Research:  $0.602 Million  |  53% of Total Grant

Includes compensation for grant facilitators, human resources administrator, payroll officer, research accounting personnel (2), and research contracts staff member.

Regulatory Requirements and Accreditation:  $0.117 Million  |  10% of Total Grant

Includes compensation for administrative support personnel for the Research Ethics Board, Risk and Safety staff member, and the operating cost of a communal research laboratory (Northern Health Sciences Research Facility).

Intellectual Property:  $0.084 Million  | 7% of Total Grant

Includes the operating costs of the Partnerships and Innovation Office.

Im​pacts of the Research Support Fund Grant at UNBC

UNBC is extremely supportive of the Research Support Fund because it has played a major role in the rapid expansion of research at the institution. It can be stated unequivocally that this growth would not have occurred with the same vigour or outcomes without the Research Support Fund. The University is particularly grateful for the sliding funding scale adopted by the Research Support Fund, which results in smaller institutions receiving a higher overhead rate on their Tri-Council awards than larger institutions, as it partially compensates universities such as UNBC for their higher operating costs. UNBC expects to increasingly benefit from the Research Support Fund over the coming years as faculty members’ research programs mature, and the number and value of their Tri-Council awards increase accordingly.

Two concrete examples of benefits that accrued to UNBC recently from the Research Support Fund are described in the following paragraphs:

Due to the Program, UNBC was able to continue re-directing some institutional funding to a Undergraduate Research Experience program, which provided $1500 to each of 20 students who chose to participate in a research project led by a faculty member. Due to the popularity of the program, only a fraction of the students who applied could be accepted. Providing funding for undergraduate research—both to enrich students’ educational experience and to enhance their ability to embark on a research career—was a long-term goal of the institution that was first realized in 2011/12. UNBC is grateful to the Research Support Fund for providing funding that has enabled the continuation of the Undergraduate Research Experience program.

The operating costs for UNBC’s I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory were covered by the Research Support Fund. This building has been home to a number of research projects over the years, including projects focused on the mountain pine beetle and bioenergy. Given that UNBC is located in the heart of one of the most forestry-intensive regions in Canada, using the institution’s Research Support Fund grant to enable research in forestry-related disciplines is appropriate.

UNBC scholars—both students and faculty members—have been able to undertake important research that has advanced the state of knowledge in a variety of fields due to financial support from the Research Support Fund, in conjunction with the institution’s other funding partners. In 2015/16 this funding helped sustain the employment of crucial research-support personnel and the operations of key research facilities, and it allowed the institution to re-direct some money to assist with the direct costs of research. As a result, the Research Support Fund has made a lasting contribution to the social and economic development of Northern British Columbia, the province, and the country.

Communications Strategy

UNBC’s Communications Department will work with the Office of Research to issue news releases regarding significant outcomes resulting from Tri-Council-funded research projects during FY 2016/17. These news releases will include a description of the Tri-Council funding source, as well as a description of the funding received from the Research Support Fund to cover the indirect costs associated with the research. The stories will also be featured on the UNBC website home page, and promoted through the institution's social media channels. Some stories may also be featured in UNBC's twice-annual alumnus and friends magazine, Update.