Grants and Contracts

COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers: Grants and Contracts

This page contains information about research operations during the University of Calgary's COVID-19 response.

Visit the Emergency Management website for general campus information.

Last updated: May 2020

Grants FAQ

We are still implementing RMS. Please visit research.ucalgary.ca/rms for updates on competitions that will be managed through RMS.

Q: Will agencies be offering extensions to grant application deadlines, and/or grant end dates?

A: Agencies continue to post updates and extensions to grant application deadlines. Research Services will inform the campus community of changes to deadlines through the Research Communications email list as well as by updating the Funding Deadline calendar.

For full details of Tri-Council announcements see the following links:

  • NSERC/SSHRC bulletin update on April 16, 2020
  • CIHR  update on April 2, 2020

Q: Are there still people available to sign off/approve my grant application? If so who, and what are the timelines?

A: Research Services is working remotely and is continuing to process grant applications. This is a priority task in RSO.

Please be aware that we may have reduced capacity depending on staff situation, so please submit with as much time as possible in advance of the agency deadline. Please check with your Department Head and Associate Dean (Research) office for department and faculty levels approvals in advance of submitting to RSO. You can contact rsogrants@ucalgary.ca for questions about external grants and ipd@ucalgary.ca for institutional programs such as CFI and NFRF competitions. 

Physical signatures are currently a challenge due to remote working and so it may be necessary to obtain secure PDF signatures or provide an email to support approval of the faculty member, Department Head, ADR (as applicable). Please consult the university procedure for approvals and signatures during the covid-19 pandemic Signatures for working remotely

Q: Who can I contact about my grant in Research Services?

A: In the first instance, please contact rsogrants@ucalgary.ca and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate Research Grants Officer for response.

Q: I intend to conduct COVID-19 research and need to start as soon as possible. What do I need to do?

A: After you submit your application, RSO staff will flag these particular projects to the Ethics team and Biosafety Officer (as appropriate). They may need to connect with you to help expedite the process of getting your covid research underway. If your research needs to start imminently, you should also apply for critical research designation

Q: What specific sources of funding are currently available for COVID-19 research?

A: Please visit the university website at covid-19 funding opportunities to see awarded research activity and opportunities for further covid19 funding.

Q: I have a grant from an internal source. How can I get an extension?

A: Written approval must still be obtained in order to extend funds that were granted or provided internally, since it is required to comply with audit standards. For grants from the VP Research portfolio (URGC, MGEAR, or SSHR/NSERC residual balance grants), please contact rsotrainee@ucalgary.ca and the internal grants team will help with this request. For all other grants from university sources, the project holder will need to contact the sponsoring unit (e.g. an institute director, ADR or dean, department head, the contact listed on your original award notice, etc.) and seek approval to extend or amend the grant. This approval can then be forwarded to Research Services. Please be advised that we are responding to a large number of such requests and we appreciate your patience with the process.

Q: Will NSERC (or CIHR or SSHRC) cover non-refundable travel fees if my meeting or conference is cancelled?

A: The three federal granting agencies have confirmed 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 a result of various factors such as cancelled conferences, travel advisories, or personal choice due to health or other concerns.

Contracts FAQ

Q: I have a research contract under way and a key team member is now unable to work and I’m not sure when she’ll be back. The contract has set deadlines for certain deliverables and completion. I don’t think I’ll be able to meet the deadlines. What should I do?

A: As soon as you are certain that the original time frame cannot be met (or any other important element such as budget or deliverables) contact  your sponsor, explain the circumstances, and ask if changes to the project can be made. 

It is likely that the sponsor will understand the problem and work with you to create new deadlines, budgets or deliverables. Once you have reached that point, contact RSO Legal & IP so a formal amendment to the contract can be made.

Don’t forget this last step: if there is no written amendment to the original agreement, the changes to the contract you discussed with the sponsor may not be valid.

Q: I have a research contract under way and the sponsor failed to make a scheduled payment required in the agreement. What should I do?

A: If a sponsor has missed a scheduled payment it is important for you, as PI, to act quickly. Contact the sponsor and ask if they have any concerns with the project. Let them know a payment was missed and ask when it will be made.

If you learn that the sponsor has encountered financial difficulty and cannot make the payment anytime soon ask if the project should be cancelled or the time period re-negotiated. Once you have this information, contact RSO Legal & IP so a Notice of Termination can be issued or a formal amendment to the contract can be made.   

If you are certain that the contract time period will be ended or renegotiated then stop work on the project as soon as possible to avoid incurring additional expenses. Remember, if the sponsor doesn’t pay the project may become an overexpenditure for which you are personally responsible.

If you have other funds to support the continuation of work, you may decide to continue the project but if the sponsor is refusing payment don’t continue to provide reports.

Q: I have tried to contact the sponsor to discuss changes to my project but I am not getting any response to emails or voice messages. What should I do?

A: Contact RSO Legal & IP and explain the situation. A formal communication from the University will be sent to the sponsor asking for a response before a certain deadline. If no response is received to that letter the next step may be to issue a Notice of Termination of the agreement.

Q: The sponsor of my research project sent me an email asking for early termination of the project. What do I do now?

A: Contact RSO Legal & IP and explain the situation. They will contact the sponsor and determine if termination is the only remaining option. If so, then formal documentation to terminate the agreement will be processed.