Pre Award – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I locate funding opportunities?

The Research Services Office has a Research Opportunities Database that lists the most commonly held grants at the University of Calgary and their associated deadlines for current competitions. Each opportunity contains funding details, internal deadlines, submission processes for various competitions, and contact details for the Research Grants Officer managing the competition.  

In addition, with the launch of the Research Management System (RMS) in June 2019, funding opportunities can also be created there in cases where they are not already listed on the main funding deadline calendar.


Who do I contact if I have a question about a specific funding opportunity or agency?

Email to be directed to the appropriate Research Grants Officer, or consult our Funding Program Contact List.

What is the benefit of submitting my grant two weeks in advance of the agency deadline for a detailed review?

By submitting your application at least two weeks before the agency deadline, we can guarantee a detailed administrative review of your application. A detailed administrative review includes checking for eligibility and UofC commitments and risk, addressing program criteria, compliance with program guidelines and agency policies, completeness of application, and the opportunity for feedback to improve the application.

This is an optional service. To be placed in the queue for review, applications should be complete and accompanied by an RMS record here containing approvals from Department Head and Associate Dean Research.

When is the latest I can submit my grant application to the Grants and Awards Division?

3 business days in advance of the agency deadline at noon (unless otherwise stated in the Research Opportunities Database). For example, if the agency deadline is Monday, the internal deadline will be the previous Wednesday at noon. Please be aware of statutory holidays and weekends. 

Why do you need three days to process my application?

Our office deals with high volumes of applications to multiple competitions that may occur simultaneously. We need three business days to facilitate a basic administrative review for eligibility and institutional commitment, secure the institutional signature, and facilitate the return of the application/signature pages.

What if my application is late (i.e. I have missed the internal deadline)?

Late applications will only be accepted in cases of medical or family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances.  If you submit your RMS record to Research Services after the internal deadline has passed, you will need to secure additional late approvals from your Faculty Associate Dean (Research) and the Executive Director, Research Services.  

Please note that we cannot guarantee an institutional signature on late applications, as this is subject to availability of signing authorities. Our three-day internal deadline is in place to ensure we will have time to process and obtain signatures.

Do I need to submit my grant to your office even if the agency does not require signatures?

Yes, all applications must be submitted to our office using the Research Management System (RMS) here

While the funding agency may not require institutional sign off on your grant application, all applications submitted by the University of Calgary require internal review and approval. Please see the meaning of grant signatures on our website. 

How can I submit my grant to the Grants and Awards Division?

All external grant applications must be submitted using the Research Management System (RMS) here 

The RMS record is initiated by the applicant and submitted for approvals to the Department Head and Associate Dean (Research).  When they are in place, the record moves forward to Research Services for review and institutional approval.  Please note all internal approvals should be in place when the record reaches Research Services by the internal deadline.

Applications to SSHRC, NSERC, and some CIHR competitions are submitted electronically to Research Services via the agency portals. An RMS record should still accompany these applications.

Can I send you my application by email?

No, all applications must flow through the Research Management System. Research Grants Officers receive a huge volume of email inquiries every day and your grant application, which is time sensitive, may not be attended to in a timely fashion. In addition, emails can go astray (e.g. to junk mail), and individuals may be out of the office for meetings or unexpected illness. 

Do I need to complete an RMS record for a Letter of Intent?

If the letter of intent will be evaluated competitively, an RMS record should be submitted, so it can be reviewed and institutionally approved/signed where necessary.

In cases where the LOI is more of a registration of interest that has to be completed online with the sponsor agency, and where it does not require any review/approval by Research Services, this does not require an RMS record. 

What documentation do you need for Faculty or Departmental commitments to my project (cash or in-kind contributions beyond standard facilities or bene

If the commitments are from your own Department or Faculty, and these have been detailed in the RMS record, the approvals in that record are sufficient. If sufficient details have not been provided, or if the commitments are from another Department or Faculty, we will require written confirmation from the appropriate authority (e.g. Department Head, Associate Dean, etc). This can be in email or letter format. For course releases, we will require specific confirmation from the Faculty Dean, by email or letter, with full details of the terms of the release.

Do you need a complete and final copy of the application, or can I just send you the proposal and budget?

We do require a complete and final copy of your application in your RMS record in order to secure the institutional approval. We will not review draft applications for institutional approval. This ensures that we have complete and final documentation of the grant for auditing purposes, and is the record of what the institution has approved. 

Can I submit a draft application for review?

Due to the high volume of applications that the Grants and Awards Division reviews, the review of draft applications can only be done if they are submitted well in advance of the deadline (e.g., a month for major competitions), time permitting. Please contact the appropriate Research Grants Officer to determine whether a draft review will be feasible.

For programs that have rolling deadlines or continuous intake (e.g., NSERC Research Partnership grants), RSO may review drafts. Applicants wishing to submit their application to the agency within two weeks should submit a complete and final version of the application. Please contact the appropriate Research Grants Officer well in advance of your desired submission date.

What do I need to do if I am a co-applicant on a grant led elsewhere?

It depends on which agency you are applying to and what their requirements are for institutional sign-off for non-lead institutions. In general, for agencies that require an institutional signature from a co-applicant’s institution on the lead site’s application, please submit an RMS record with the approvals and a copy of grant application three business days in advance of the date the host institution needs our signature.

If the agency does not require an institutional signature from the co-applicant’s institution at the application stage, you do not need to submit the application to our office prior to the lead site submitting the application to the agency. At the award stage, when the lead site is issuing a sub-grant of funds to you, you will need to contact our office so that we can facilitate the institutional signature on the subgrant or transfer of funds agreement.

Will Research Services forward my application to the funding agency after it is signed?

In most cases, no. The signature pages will be returned to the applicant, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to forward the application to the funding agency by the agency deadline. The exception is that for most NSERC and SSHRC and some CIHR competitions, Research Services approves your application electronically, and forwards it electronically to the council. The Research Opportunities Database entry will often specify the submission process for each competition. If you are in doubt, contact the Research Grants Officer responsible for that competition.

Post Award – Frequently Asked Questions

I have my Notice of Award. How do I get my project/account set-up?

If you submitted your grant through the Grants and Awards Division at application stage, forward the Notice of Award to the Research Grants Officer who managed that competition. You will also be required to provide any ethics certification(s) and/or biohazards. If you did not submit your grant through our office, you must submit a Project Request Form signed by the PI, department head and Dean/Associate Dean (Research), and include a copy of the grant application and any requisite certifications.

When am I required to submit a Project Request Form?

You are required to submit a Project Request Form in the following situations:

  • You did not submit your grant through the Grants and Awards Division at application stage (i.e. we do not have a copy of your application and signed approvals form on file)
  • Your department/faculty is providing you with funds • You received a gift that was processed through the Development Office
  • You would like to set up a child project/activity code for an existing project
  • Other cases as advised by Research Services

What am I required to include with a Project Request Form?

You must include the following information with your completed Project Request Form. Failure to do so will lead to delays in the set-up of your project.

  • Notice of Award equivalent
  • Statement of work
  • Budget
  • Certification(s) and/or permit(s)

I don’t know what I will be using the funds for, so what details can I provide you with?

Project holders will have to provide a general overview of the research they will be undertaking in order for the Grants and Awards Division to assess whether certifications and/or biosafety permits are required. If your certification and/or permit requirements change during your project, you are required to contact Research Compliance at

I didn’t receive an official Notice of Award. How can I provide confirmation that I should be receiving the funds outlined on my Project Request Form?

For internal funds, a Notice of Award can be a letter, memo, email, etc. signed by the Dean or Institute Director that authorizes the grant and sets out any conditions related to advances, term, reporting, etc. as well as any restrictions with respect to expenditures. Funding agencies provide notices of award in a variety of formats including: signed letters of award, official notices of award, agreements, etc.

How do I determine whether my project is research or non-research?

There are guidelines on our website that outline when funding, both internal and external, are to be classified and reported as research activity or non-research activity

Where do I send my completed Project Request Form package?

You may send all required documents by email to or in hard copy to our office (3rd floor MacKimmie Library Tower).

I require certifications and/or permits for my project, but do not have them in place yet. Can I still set up a project?

If certifications and/or permits are required but not complete, you may be granted Early Release of Funds with restricted spending if your funding agency allows this.

How do I qualify for Early Release of Funds?

In order to be granted Early Release of Funds, your Notice of Award or final contract must be received or signed/finalized by our office and the sponsor must allow for release of funds prior to final ethics certification or permits. For more information, please see the next section, “How do I qualify for Early Release of Funds?”

What are the allowable expenses with Early Release of Funds?

Projects granted early release of funds are not allowed to spend on expenses related to conducting research or data gathering. A detailed list of eligible and ineligible expenses may be found here. Questions related to allowed and disallowed expenses may be directed to

What is the difference between and child project and an activity code?

A child project is like any other research project. With a child project, the child project holder has full authority on how the funds are spent. With an activity code, the expenses must be approved by the parent project holder.

What do I need to provide in order to set up a child project and/or an activity code?

The required documents are as follows:

  • Completed Project Request Form
    • Must be signed by the child project/activity code holder as the Principal Investigator
  •  Notice of Award
    • An email from the existing project holder authorizing the transfer of funds to the child project/activity code
  • Statement of work
  • Budget
  • Certification(s) if required

Who do I contact if I have questions about setting up my project?

You may contact the Grants Assistant at or (403) 220-2108.

Why hasn’t my account been set up yet?

There are a variety of reasons that contribute to the delay in setting up your project. The most common delays are outlined below:

  • Project Request Form has been submitted directly to Research Accounting
    • All Project Request Forms must be reviewed by our office before they are reviewed by Research Accounting. This applies to both research and non-research Project Request Forms.
  • Project Request Form is incomplete. For example, signatures are missing or an incorrect.
  • Required documentation is missing
    • See section ‘What am I required to include with a Project Request Form?’
  • Project Request Form is incorrectly classified as non-research
    • Research Services is required to follow up on all projects that are classified as nonresearch
  • The start date is months in advance
    • Research Accounting will notify you that your project has been set up close to the project start date

If your project has not been set up within the timeline outlined to you by the Research Grants Officer, please contact RTA Help at or (403) 210-7900.

I have questions about my project account and use of funds. Who should I talk to?

Please contact or visit the Integrated Service Centre for any post-award financial questions.

How can I get an extension on my project account?

Requirements depend on the funding agency. It is the responsibility of the project holder to contact the agency to request an extension. Some agencies may not allow extensions. Once official approval from the agency is received, please forward it to the appropriate Research Grants Officer in Research Services (or if you are unsure of who to contact). Tri-council has specific regulations around extensions – some programs have automatic extension periods, and others require written approval. Please consult the tri-agency financial guide for details. In the case of grants governed by agreements or sub-grants from other institutions, normally an amendment to the agreement will need to be initiated by the primary institution and executed by all parties to authorize an extension. Contact the Research Grants Officer if you are unsure of the requirements.