College Operational Policy

Policy Title: Financial Administration of Research Funds Number:  FIN 515
Policy Owner:

Senior Vice-President Corporate Services and CFO

Supersedes Existing Policy?  N
Associated Procedure: N Date Last Approved by the CET:  February 15, 2023

 Financial Administration of Research Funds

1.       Introduction and Purpose

The Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA) (the Guide) provides grant recipients and administering institutions with the principles and directives that govern the post-award administration of grants funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and/or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Loyalist College is an administering institution and must ensure that the College aligns with the TAGFA and related directives and legislation. 
The purpose of this policy is to outline the specific financial administration direction that applies to academic researchers. Financial administration practices that are consistent with the College’s current practices will be embedded in existing and relevant College Operational Policies.

2.       Application

The policy applies to the financial administration of Tri-Agency research contracts and grants. All other research contracts or grants awarded to Loyalist College will align with this policy; however, where there are discrepancies, these contracts or grants will align with the granting agency. 

3.       Definitions

Dependant – a person who resides with the traveller on a full-time basis and relies on the traveller as the primary caregiver
Research Activity – applied research both course-based and industry focused, as well as scholarly research

4.       Policy Statement

4.1 Funded research financial activities will be consistent with the College’s mission, vision, values,Academic Plan, as well as priorities articulated in the College’s strategic plan.
4.2 Funds received from an external granting agency will be administered and expended in accordance with the agency’s financial policies and procedures, principles and any additional terms and conditions. 
4.3 In the event of any conflict between the granting agency’s policies and those of Loyalist College, funds will be administered in accordance with the more stringent financial policy of the two.
4.4 Loyalist College will adhere to the activities and budget specified in an approved project proposal.
4.5 Expenses for funded research must be economical and essential to the approved project’s activities. Supporting documentation and/or justification for expenses will be required to access research funds.
4.6 In-kind contributions for funded research must be justifiable, auditable and documented.
4.7 Loyalist College will not disburse any funds until all specified certification requirements, including those in respect of animal care, human ethics, health and safety, and any other requirements have been met, and any other special permits or licenses have been delivered. Pre-approval is needed to disburse funds before all requirements are met.
4.8 All items (e.g., consumables, non-capital equipment and small wares) acquired by Loyalist College during the conduct of funded research are the property of Loyalist College unless otherwise documented in writing.
4.9 Researchers and project team members must not have any financial or personal interest, direct or indirect, in any transaction charged against any research fund, including grants from any funding agency.

5.   Tri-Agency Compensation Eligibility

According to the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA), the mandatory requirements provide direction for administering institutions and grant recipients to exercise sound judgment and due diligence in their decision-making process concerning the use of the granting agency’s funds. The compensation eligibility requirements for the five expense categories in the Guide are outlined below.

5.1 Employment and Compensation

Eligible  Non-Eligible
Payments are eligible to research personnel Payments to grant recipients, or those who can hold Tri-Agency funding
Student salaries/stipends (related to research) Management and administrative fees
Payments to postdoctoral fellows  
Payments to visiting researchers  
Recruitment costs for research personnel  
Federal employer compliance fees  

5.2 Goods and Services

Eligible Non-Eligible
Consulting/subcontracting/professional fees Construction, renovation or rental of laboratories
Computers/tablets/printers required for research Telephone connection, rental costs or voicemail
Specialized software for research Office furniture
Lab supplies Home internet costs
Office supplies required for research Regular clothing
Research equipment, freight and brokerage costs Education-related costs (e.g., tuition or thesis related)
Maintenance, operating and warranty costs for research equipment Costs of moving a lab
Staff training to utilize specialized research equipment Space rentals
Cell phones/smartphones/devices required for research Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
Research dissemination costs Regulatory compliance costs (e.g., ethical review, biohazard, radiation safety)
Books and periodicals required for research (not provided by institution) Patent costs
Membership fees for professional associations or scientific societies Indirect costs
Safe disposal of waste Late fees

5.3 Travel and Travel-Related Subsistence

Eligible  Non-Eligible
Travel costs (most economical) Commuting costs between residence and place of employment, or between two places of employment
Meals and non-alcoholic beverages Passports and immigration fees
Seat selection charge (with adequate justification) Costs associated with thesis
Travel cancellation insurance Examination/defence
Entry visa fees, immunizations, baggage fees Reimbursement for airfare purchased with frequent flyer points
Collaborators’ travel and subsistence expenses (must relate to research planning or dissemination)  
Relocation costs for eligible research personnel  
One round-trip ticket between home and sabbatical location  

5.4 Hospitality

Eligible Non-Eligible
Hospitality costs for meetings involving grantee and external attendees for networking purposes Food/drink purchases for meetings with Loyalist College faculty, staff or students
Gratuities (not to exceed 20%) Alcohol and entertainment costs
  Staff awards, recognition, retreats

6.       Additional Considerations

6.1 Dependant Care
In situations where the claimant incurs expenses above and beyond the usual costs of dependant care, as a direct result of business travel, costs may be reimbursed using a Tri-Agency funded research project. In these situations, the claimant may be reimbursed for actual costs up to a daily maximum of$75/day, which must be supported by receipts. For all other externally funded research projects, the determination for these expenses will be made based on the funder’s spending guidelines.
6.2 Gifts
Gifts may be eligible expenses for Tri-Agency funded projects if specific criteria are met and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, gifts may be deemed eligible if offered to establish or facilitate relationships with individuals or groups who participate in research activity as participants or as research partners or contributors when prescribed by cultural heritage, established traditions or as a formal courtesy.
6.3 Leave Expenses
The following is additional guidance related to sabbatical leave expenses for Tri-Agency funded research projects:  
  • Expenses incurred to conduct research fieldwork outside of the leave location are eligible and may include travel, accommodation and meal expenses.  
  • Expenses related to research conferences attended while on sabbatical leave are also eligible and may include the cost of the conference registration, travel, and meals (if not provided at the conference).  
  • Living expenses incurred in the sabbatical location (e.g., accommodation and meals) are not eligible expenses.
For all other externally funded research projects, the determination for these expenses will be made based on the funder’s spending guidelines.
6.4 Travel and Travel-Related Subsistence
Tri-agency requirements on Travel and Travel-Related Subsistence expenditures require i) the affiliation of the traveller(s) with the funded research/activities and ii) the grant-related purpose for the travel. As such, this information is required when submitting travel expense claims. Details on travel and hospitality expenses compensation are outlined in FIN 504 Business Expense Reimbursement Policy.

7.       Retroactive Expenses

Expenses against Tri-Agency grants and awards cannot be incurred during the retroactive period, which is the period between the date that the grant recipient is formally notified of the funding decision and the effective grant start date (where the notification occurs before the grant start date).Exceptions may be considered in consultation with the Applied Research and Innovation Office (ARIO). Expenses must be eligible in accordance with the Guide and Loyalist operational policies.

8.       Other Obligations

Annual financial reporting: Statements of account are due to the Tri-Agencies annually, by June 30 of each year. Final statements are also a requirement of most grant funds once the grant has ended. Research accounting staff and the delegated Research Grants Officer are responsible for preparing and approving all statements. Grant recipients are also responsible for reviewing and approving all statements. Continuing eligibility: Grant recipients are responsible for ensuring they continually meet eligibility requirements and should notify ARIO of any change to their eligibility status. This includes ensuring that ARIO is aware of changes to the team or other amendments.

9.       Related Documents

  • FIN 504  Business Expense Reimbursement Policy

10.     References

  • Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA)