COVID-19 Updates from funders

This page contains updates from funding agencies about changes to programs and deadlines during the COVID-19 situation.

Please refer to the COVID-19 Response: Guidelines for Researchers webpage for all other Research updates. 

Last updated: September 29, 2020 4:27 p.m.

This page will be updated with announcements from funding agencies.

Tri-Council Notices

The three federal granting agencies are aware that the rapidly changing situation involving COVID-19 may have an impact on researchers with plans to travel for meetings or other research-related activities. Individuals may decide to cancel trips as a result of various considerations and factors such as cancelled conferences, travel advisories (including those from Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada), or personal choice due to health or other concerns.

The agencies confirm that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable considering the impacts of COVID-19. This applies to the travel of both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs as described above.

Note: given the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19, the agencies suggest that those travelling for agency-funded research consider purchasing either cancellation insurance, or tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation, some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation.

As a result of COVID-19’s impact on priorities and capacity, the launch of the 2020 competition is postponed until June 01, 2020. The application deadline is to be confirmed.

Please note that although the Banting secretariat has delayed the launch of the national competition, we are proceeding with the original timeline for our LOI process of April 15, 2020.

More information is available in the Funding Opportunities Calendar.

Visit the Banting website

The release of results for the October 2019 cycle (2019-2) is delayed until June, 2020.  

The CRCP is temporarily reverting back to a two-cycle model. The nomination deadline for the April intake has been postponed to June  8, 2020, and results will be available in December, 2020. The September and December intake cycles will be combined and will have a deadline of November 9, 2020, with results available in April, 2021.

The program continues to accept off-cycle nominations for foreign nominees, as well as nominations that will assist institutions in meeting their equity targets.

The deadline for Chairholder Annual Reports and Institutional Reports has been postponed to September 30, 2020.

Contact Ovo Adagha at osadagha@ucalgary.ca with questions.

From the CIHR COVID-19 FAQ:

"Given the ever-evolving circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC recognize that grant recipients and/or research team members may continue to incur ongoing research costs, as well as incremental costs that would not normally be incurred (for example, compensation and travel) related to agency- funded research activities. The agencies would like to remain as flexible as possible to support grant recipients during this time and acknowledge that some of these costs may be eligible to be paid from agency grant funds. The agencies will therefore defer to administering institutions to determine if incremental costs are consistent with the principles and directives set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (and if they are, then those expenses will still be eligible to be paid from grant funds).

The agencies also understand that not all planned research activities are possible as research institutions are closed requiring that the majority of people work remotely, if they are able to work at all. The agencies consider that continuing to pay any members of the research team, eligible to be paid from an agency grant, is an eligible expense in the context of COVID-19 (and that these individuals should continue to be paid)."

More information on TAGFA at UCalgary

As a follow up to the notice on June 4 that announced additional funding to support trainees (students and postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel, the tri-agencies have released more information.

Eligible grant holders will be contacted directly in the coming weeks for each eligible grant that they hold. For each grant, they will need to confirm that the research and work of trainees and research support personnel was disrupted by COVID-19 from April 1 to June 30, 2020, and that that grant was used to pay the salaries and stipends of trainees and research support personnel during this period of disruption.

  • If the above-mentioned conditions are not met, grant holders would indicate this and a supplement would not be provided.
  • An example of this might be for a new project where trainees and research support personnel haven’t yet been recruited/hired onto the research team or haven’t been paid from agency grant funds.

Once confirmation has been received, a supplement and accompanying documentation will be provided for each grant. Research grant offices will be notified of which grants will be considered for the supplement.

Please visit the links below for more information on this supplement, including eligible grants, terms and conditions, and approval process for the awards. 

NSERC’s announcement ($140M) can be found here. 

SSHRC’s announcement ($32.3M) can be found here. 

CIHR’s announcement ($79.3M) can be found here. 

 

CIHR

CIHR is continuing to closely monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking the necessary actions to support and address impacts on their operations. In response to the three-month moratorium on strategic funding opportunities, all posted deadlines are on hold until further notice. Over the coming weeks/months, updates will be made to each funding opportunity once new timelines are confirmed. Potential applicants are therefore asked to stand by and refrain from applying to posted opportunities.

Details on all CIHR updates for their COVID-19 response can be found on the CIHR website. 

Contact

Anna LeMarquand | Senior Research Grants Officer

Grants and Awards Division | Research Services

403.220.2715

asamuels@ucalgary.ca  

CIHR announced in the spring that they would be temporarily pausing most of their strategic funding opportunities, in order to redeploy their resources to deliver a rapid research response to COVID-19 and ensure the delivery of the Project Grant competition.

CIHR is pleased to advise that they are now ready to start resuming strategic competitions.

They will begin by resuming the 12 competitions that had already been launched and were put on hold when the pandemic struck. CIHR will be emailing applicants who opened an application in the system directly to provide them with key details.

Over the next year, new opportunities will be brought online in a staggered fashion with a goal of no more than four FO launches and no more than four application deadlines in any given week.  

As noted previously, competition timelines will be confirmed and updated in ResearchNet, and applicants will be provided with at least two months’ advance notice to allow them to prepare their applications. Applicants will be able to:

  • work on a previously started application(s);
  • review and edit their previously submitted application(s) prior to resubmitting;
  • withdraw their previously submitted application(s); and
  • start a new application(s).

The full communication is available on CIHR’s website at https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/52156.html.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Anna LeMarquand, Senior Research Grants Officer, in Research Services at asamuels@ucalgary.ca

Update: Sept 29, 2020 2:23 p.m.

Dr. Michael Strong, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has announced that the review of Spring 2020 competition applications will proceed this summer. With the exception of those funds used to provide bridge funding or extensions, CIHR has preserved the funding envelope designated for the Spring 2020 competition which amounts to approx. $245M. 

  • Spring 2020 applications submitted by Nominated Principal Applicants (NPAs) who did not receive a financial extension will be reviewed, unless specifically withdrawn by the NPAs.
  • Please note that NPAs who were offered a financial extension linked to the decision we took around the Spring 2020 competition will be contacted by CIHR to discuss options.

CIHR has advised that the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition remains on track to be delivered. However, the timelines for this competition may be adjusted slightly to ensure that those individuals who are unsuccessful in the summer 2020 Project Grant competition will have the opportunity to re-submit to the Fall 2020 competition. They plan for details regarding the timelines for the review of the applications to be announced shortly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to Anna LeMarquand, Senior Research Grants Officer in Research Services at asamuels@ucalgary.ca.

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More broadly, CIHR is considering measures to help the health research community weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures will be implemented immediately:

  • An automatic one-year extension to the authority-to-use-funds date for all active grants. This will give researchers an additional full year to use any residual funds not yet spent to compensate for disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CIHR will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves, and stands ready to take more action as needed to help mitigate any impacts and delays caused by COVID-19.

Read the full FAQ on the CIHR website

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the research enterprise in many ways, CIHR has heard clearly from the research community that the pandemic has disrupted early career researchers (ECRs) particularly acutely.

Following consultations with stakeholders, CIHR will move forward with a plan to temporarily “pause the clock” for all ECRs. Given the impact of the pandemic has affected most, if not all, of the CIHR community, this measure will be applied automatically to all who qualify and will not need to be requested. All those who held ECR status as of March 1, 2020—or who secured their first academic appointment after this date—will have their status extended by one year.

The current ECR definition is as follows: A researcher who, at the time of application, has held a full-time, independent research appointment, for a period of 0 to 5 years (60 months).

By temporarily pausing the clock, CIHR will ensure that ECRs can continue to benefit from programs and policies such as the Observer Program and the equalization process in the Project Grant competition.

The full announcement is available on CIHR’s website at: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/52132.html

NSERC

Details on all NSERC updates for their COVID-19 response can be found on the NSERC website.

Contact

Danielle Demiantschuk, Research Grants and Partnerships Officer 

Grants and Awards Division | Research Services

403.210.5459

danielle.demiantschu@ucalgary.ca

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have announced that due to the current COVID-19 situation, academic institutions can immediately approve grant extension requests of up to 12 months. This applies to Agency grants with end dates between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 inclusive. This applies to all grants, regardless of whether they have received a previous time extension of any length, for any reason and includes grants that have an automatic one-year extension.


Research Services will facilitate these requests and will initially prioritize grants with an end date or expiry date of March 31, 2020. All other requests will be processed thereafter.


If you wish to proceed with a request to extend an NSERC or SSHRC grant with an end date in this window, please email rsogrants@ucalgary.ca with the following information, and an email subject heading of “COVID-19 grant extension”:

  • PI name
  • Internal project number
  • Agency reference number (if available) – located on notice of award or in eFin record
  • Type of grant (e.g. NSERC Discovery Grant, SSHRC Insight Grant, etc)
  • Brief statement with reason for extension (e.g. trip cancellations and/or research delays due to COVID-19)

To lessen the impact due to COVID-19 and to support researchers and highly qualified personnel, NSERC has announced that all active Discovery Grants can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. This includes grants from the recent 2020 competition. Grantees due to apply in competition 2021 can elect not to apply for funding this summer/fall.

This one year extension will be granted for the following programs:

  • Discovery Grants
  • Discovery Grants – Subatomic Physics (Individual, Project and Major Resources),
  • Discovery Grants – Northern Research Supplements
  • Discovery Development Grants

NSERC will follow up with grantees holding a Discovery Grant ending March 31, 2021 through targeted communications to help you navigate next steps and walk you through your options. Researchers can also continue to contact NSERC Research Grants at resgrant@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Impact on 2021 Discovery competition

The 2021 Discovery competition will continue as planned. Returning grantees due to apply this year for competition 2021 will receive a one-year extension with funds at their present funding level.

The 2021 Discovery Grants competition will be for new applicants (those not currently holding a Discovery Grant or a Discovery Grant – Subatomic Physics) and those who choose not to accept the extension. Researchers will also be able to apply for Northern Research Supplements, Research Tools and Instruments and Ship Time, as usual.

Institutional NSERC Programs

Please contact the Institutional Programs Division at ipd@ucalgary.ca for more information.

The Letter of Intent submission deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020, with a mandatory internal deadline for review of May 25, 2020 by 9:00 am. Contact ipd@ucalgary.ca with questions.

SSHRC

Details on all SSHRC updates for their COVID-19 response can be found on the SSHRC website. 

Contact

Jonathan Jucker│Research Grants Officer

Grants and Awards Division | Research Services

403.210.9815

jonathan.jucker@ucalgary.ca 

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have announced that due to the current COVID-19 situation, academic institutions can immediately approve grant extension requests of up to 12 months. This applies to Agency grants with end dates between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 inclusive. This applies to all grants, regardless of whether they have received a previous time extension of any length, for any reason and includes grants that have an automatic one-year extension.


Research Services will facilitate these requests and will initially prioritize grants with an end date or expiry date of March 31, 2020. All other requests will be processed thereafter.


If you wish to proceed with a request to extend an NSERC or SSHRC grant with an end date in this window, please email rsogrants@ucalgary.ca with the following information, and an email subject heading of “COVID-19 grant extension”:

  • PI name
  • Internal project number
  • Agency reference number (if available) – located on notice of award or in eFin record
  • Type of grant (e.g. NSERC Discovery Grant, SSHRC Insight Grant, etc)
  • Brief statement with reason for extension (e.g. trip cancellations and/or research delays due to COVID-19)

Additional external funding agency notices

Transformation

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) has announced that New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Transformation competition Letters of Intent (LOIs) will be due on July 15, 2020. 

Internal deadlines have been updated accordingly.  The RSO internal deadline is now June 29, 2020 by 9:00 am. Contact ipd@ucalgary.ca with questions.

International

NFRF’s 2020 Horizon Global Platform Competition deadlines are based on associated deadlines for eligible European Union Horizon 2020 calls.  Some of these EU deadlines have changed.

Registrations associated with NFRF applications for funding remain due two weeks following the associated EU deadline, and must be submitted to Research Services via the Convergence Portal, with a completed RFAA form, a minimum of two days prior to the NFRF registration deadline.

Contact ipd@ucalgary.ca with questions.

Update: April 27, 2020

 

The CFI has released new guidance regarding the management of ongoing projects during the current COVID-19 situation. Details can be found on the CFI COVID-19 FAQ page.

Project-related expenses – salaries

  • Where CFI-eligible activities can be conducted remotely, or for UCalgary research that has been granted a critical research designation to continue operations, salaries may continue to be charged to CFI projects. Where activity has been suspended, the decision as to whether salaries can be charged to CFI projects depends on the type of activity and source of funds (see below). If you have concerns or questions about your specific project, please reach out your regular RSO contact.
  • The highly qualified personnel directly involved in the operation and maintenance of the CFI-funded infrastructure are considered critical for the current and future activities of labs and facilities. Institutions can continue to claim their salaries as expenses from the Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) or MSI Fund, retroactive to April 1, 2020.
  • The salaries of professional, technical and managerial personnel, consultants and contractors directly involved in the design, engineering, manufacturing, installation, construction or renovation of the infrastructure cannot be claimed if they are unable to perform the work. If the personnel required to acquire and develop infrastructure can only conduct their work from campus or in the field, and the activity has been suspended, their salary cannot be claimed to CFI as a project-based expense. 

Project-related expenses – travel

  • The CFI will cover unforeseen costs for travel associated with CFI-funded projects that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This applies to travel to a manufacturer, dealer or supplier intended for selecting research infrastructure or associated with operation activities for facilities funded through the Major Science Initiatives Fund.

Project end dates

  • The CFI is granting an automatic six-month extension for project end dates to accommodate delays in project delivery and operationalization of infrastructure. This automatic extension only applies to projects that have an approved end date of no later than March 31, 2021. It has been applied retroactively to projects with end dates on or after December 1, 2019.  The extension has been applied directly in CAMS.

Reporting

  • The 2020 project progress reports and the operational status question are now accessible in CAMS. The deadline has been extended to September 30, 2020, although the CFI strongly encourages institutions to respond as early as possible.

 If you have any questions or concerns, please email your project contact in RSO.

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John R. Evans Leadership Fund (JELF) application deadlines have not changed. 

CFI Innovation Fund review timelines are unchanged, although reviews are taking place remotely.

With questions regarding reporting deadlines, contact ipd@ucalgary.ca.

Genome Canada and Genome Alberta will be extending deadlines associated with the 2020 Large Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment Pre-Application process. Contact ipd@ucalgary.ca for more information.

Sept 29:

Weston Brain Institute Transformational Research 2020: Parkinson's and Related Diseases

Letters of Intent for this program will now be due to Research Services by noon on June 2, 2020; full applications for those invited will be due on October 9, 2020.

Contact: Jonathan Jucker

Weston Brain Institute Rapid Response: Canada 2020: Parkinson's and Related Diseases

Letters of Intent for this program will now be due to Research Services by noon on June 2, 2020; full applications for those invited will be due on October 9, 2020.

Contact: Jonathan Jucker

Research awards

NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal: the agency deadline has been revised to May 1, 2020.

NSERC John C. Polanyi Award: the agency deadline has been revised to May 1, 2020.

NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research: the agency deadline has been revised to May 1, 2020.

NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation (all categories): the agency deadline has been revised to June 1, 2020. Institutional endorsement is required, and the Research Services deadline is May 15, 2020.

NSERC E. W. R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships: the agency deadline has been revised to July 7, 2020. Institutional selection is required, and the Research Services deadline to receive internal submissions is April 14, 2020.

 

The Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Foundation has announced that the 2020 ASTech Awards have been cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This cancellation affects all award categories:

  • Researcher of the Year
  • Outstanding Achievement in Digital Innovation
  • Outstanding Women in STEM
  • Outstanding Emerging Change Makers
  • Outstanding Achievement in Agricultural Innovation sponsored by Corteva Agriscience
  • Outstanding Achievement in Energy and Environmental Innovation sponsored by Syncrude Canada Ltd.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Information and Communications Technology sponsored by TELUS
  • Innovator of the Year

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the following changes to the 2021 Killam Prize competition:

  1. New deadline of June 30 (formerly June 15)
  2. Nominations may now be submitted electronically through a dedicated email address: killam-prizes@canadacouncil.ca.

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced that the current competition for the 2021 Killam Research Fellowships competition is cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be no Killam Research Fellowships awarded in 2021.

Internal Deadline: CANCELLED (formerly May 22, 2020)
Deadline (Canada Council): CANCELLED (formerly June 1, 2020)