URGC Seed Grants

University Research Grants Committees

Funded by the Office of the Vice-President (Research), the University Research Grants Committee (URGC) administers grants designed to aid researchers in the development of applications for external funding.

The URGC is responsible for the operation of several awards programs with the majority of the work managed by two standing Sub-committees (Science, Engineering and Medicine Subcommittee and Social Sciences and Humanities Subcommittee) which review applications according to established guidelines and make recommendations for funding.

The URGC is a committee of the Vice-President (Research) and is managed by the Research Services Office.


Denise Ward | Research Grants Officer

Grants and Awards Division | Research Services

Phone: 403.220.5925 

E-mail: urgc@ucalgary.ca

Which seed grant should you apply for?

Faculty Seed Grant

SSHRC Explore stream

  • Individual or team
  • Research must be eligible for support through SSHRC
  • Max. value $15,000


Partnership Seed Grant

SSHRC Partnership Development stream

  • Working with an external partner
  • Research must be eligible for SSHRC Partnership Development Grants
  • Max. value $10,000


Partnership Seed Grant

SSHRC Partnership Engage stream 

  • Working with an external partner
  • Research must be eligible for SSHRC Partnership Engage Grants
  • Max. value $2,500


Individuals holding continuing academic appointments (tenured or tenure-track) with explicit research expectations are eligible. Individuals holding non-tenured or otherwise contractually limited Board appointments are eligible provided the terms of the appointment explicitly include the expectation of independent research and the supervision of graduate students.

Each application is independently reviewed by four primary reviewers according to program-specific criteria (see program guidelines). A preliminary ranking of applications for each program is then provided to the relevant Sub-committee for an in-person discussion of applications. The Sub-committee arrives at a consensus on the final ranking and recommendation for funding of an application.

On the basis of the recommendation of the Sub-committees, grants will be awarded upon approval of the Vice-President (Research) and within the competition budget.

Competition budgets fluctuate year to year, as the URGC is supported by several variable and restricted sources of funding:

  • NSERC General Research Fund: NSERC grants to the President of the University the unspent balances in the university’s completed NSERC grants, for the purpose of supporting research in the natural sciences and engineering.
  • SSHRC General Research Fund: SSHRC grants to the President of the University the unspent balances in the university’s completed SSHRC grants, for the purpose of supporting research in the social sciences and humanities.
  • SSHRC Institutional Grant: on the basis of an institutional application, this grant is awarded to support research in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Vice-President (Research): provides funding for URGC grants ineligible for funding by NSERC or SSHRC.


Use of funds

Expenditures may be made only for those expenses identified in the application and approved by the Committee or stated in the URGC Notice of Award. Please quote all expenses in Canadian dollars. It should be noted that currency exchange rates may fluctuate and this may cause small budget variances.

Transfer of funds from one budget category to another is permitted according to the needs of the research as it progresses, provided it is not more than a 10% variance (in the case of SSHRC Exchange Partnership Seed Grants, 25%). The use of funds for previously unspecified expenses or new budget items requires Committee approval.

The University expects researchers to adhere to the use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide

If you have received funding for a similar project from another source, the budget page and proposal summary for that project must be attached. The link between this proposal and other sources of funding must be explained.

Please refer to the Travel and Expense Reimbursement Handbook and to the Tri-Agency Use of Grant Funds, which jointly govern URGC funds. The general principles outlined in these resources serve as the basis for eligible and ineligible expenses. In general, only the direct costs of research activity are eligible. URGC has placed additional restrictions and conditions on spending as described below.

Support for highly qualified personnel such as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate research assistants, and other research trainees is strongly encouraged and generally eligible. Support is normally provided in the form of non-taxable stipend or taxable wage income. Please note that minimum rates of support apply for each category of trainee and can vary across faculties and departments. Applicants are advised to consult Human Resources as well as their own departments to determine the expected minimum rates for the proposed employment period and to account for all necessary deductions and benefits, and to explain this determination in the budget justification. (One resource available through Finance is a template spreadsheet for calculating benefits for different types of personnel.)

Please note that postdoctoral researchers are not eligible for salary support if they are also serving as co-investigators.

Foreign Students or Visiting Scholars: Grantees are responsible for ensuring that the individual is eligible and properly documented for employment in Canada.

Travel for the purpose of research activity is eligible. Travel for the purpose of disseminating research findings, i.e. conference travel or participation, is not eligible unless it is specifically required to collaborate or hold project meetings with co-investigators or to pursue partnership development activities; evidence of such meeting collaboration (e.g. agendas, minutes, attendee list, etc.) must be provided upon return. To fund dissemination travel, please apply to the Faculty Conference Travel Grant administered by the Vice-President (Research) office.

Eligible travel costs include accommodation related to field work, costs for collaborating investigators to visit, or travel costs to collaborate with peers. The purpose of the trip, destination, method of travel, persons or organizations visited, and cost must be specified in your application. Air travel may be ticketed by a travel agency, air carrier, or travel website. Living expenses can either be claimed at the University’s standard per diem rates or official receipts for meals can be submitted. Accommodations require an invoice to be submitted when expenses are claimed.

Vehicle use is an eligible expense. Please detail kilometers and destination. Standard university rates apply. Please consult the Travel & Expense Reimbursement Handbook for additional information on vehicle use. Other travel expenses such as shared vehicle use (i.e. a van rented between multiple individuals), taxis, bus, or other similar expenses are eligible. In your budget preparation please estimate these expenses to the best of your ability.

An original invoice will need to be included with the expense reimbursement.

Items acquired with grant funds are the property of the University. Upon completion of the project, items are to be transferred to the control of the applicant’s department, the University library, or at the Committee’s request to some other department or unit within the University.

Supplies must be directly used in the research project.

Books must be directly used in the research project. These must be itemized and the basis for the costs described.

URGC funds may not be used to employ project investigators, any member of the Grantee’s family, or any member of the University’s academic staff.

Conference travel and related expenses are ineligible expenses for Faculty Seed Grants. Funding for conference travel may be requested through the Faculty Conference Travel Grant. Retroactive expenses are ineligible.

Office furnishings are ineligible.

Tuition and course fees, entertainment, page charges, publication subventions, report writing and copying expenses, subscriptions, and retroactive expenses.

Electronic communications, such as telephone lines, equipment, voice mail, and internet charges.

Partnership Seed Grants: Conference travel expenses are ineligible if the travel is not also used for partnership development activities. Other conference-related expenses are ineligible expenses for Partnership Seed Grants.