The Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF) supports activities that develop, increase, or strengthen research excellence at the University of Lethbridge. Due to the large number of applications and limited funds, the fund cannot support all requests. Awards are not automatic or guaranteed.
Full-time University of Lethbridge faculty are eligible to apply. All members, as defined in the U of L Faculty Association Handbook, who have research duties as part of their appointment may be eligible. Instructors who have research duties as part of their appointment may be considered on a case by case basis. Normally, applicants may submit only one Strategic Research Fund request per competition and are limited to 1 award every three years.
Normally, applicants cannot hold more than one award from internal funding sources such as CREDO, Internal SSHRC, Strategic Opportunities Fund, or ULRF at the same time. Applicants are allowed to hold a University of Lethbridge Travel Fund award concurrently with internal research funding. In instances where the applicant holds internal funds, but is also requesting funds from the Strategic Opportunities Fund, the applicant must outline how the request differs from projects already funded from internal sources.
The Strategic Opportunities Fund is a flexible program designed to provide support for a wide range of activities, provided the activities align with the goals outlined in the Strategic Research Plan. Requests for which other internal funds are available will not be considered. Requests should be considered one-time contributions and are non-renewable.
Note: If you are requesting funds to support a workshop, conference, or other on campus event please submit an application to the Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization Fund.
Activities eligible for funding under the Strategic Research Fund are as follows:
To support researchers that wish to improve and resubmit applications that were unsuccessful in a preceding external funding competition. Funding may also be provided in instances where an external research grant has expired but where the renewal of funding or a new award is expected in the near future. Bridge funding is intended primarily for research personnel whose salaries were paid by the lapsed grant.
To optimize research infrastructure by upgrading existing equipment and systems or adding complementary small components or pieces. Operational costs and CFI funded equipment eligible for IOF funding are ineligible expenses.
To support researchers disseminate their research findings. Eligible expenses include the costs related to the following: page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to the findings (e.g., costs of publishing in an open access journal or making a journal article open access); costs of preparing a research manuscript for publication; or translation costs associated with dissemination of findings. Note: if you are seeking funds to offset the travel costs of attending a professional meeting or conference, please submit an application to the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund.
Matching funds for external grants
Applications must be led by U of L researchers. If the project lead is not at the U of L, requests may be considered only if the application guidelines have a required or expected institutional matching component. The proposed research program must align with the U of L's research priorities. Note: If you are seeking matching funds for a conference grant, please submit an application to the Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization Fund.
USE OF FUNDS
It is the responsibility of the applicant to adequately justify the expenditures included in the application. All expenses must be essential for the activities being proposed and adhere to the "Use of Grant Funds" guidelines outlined by the Tri-Council (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR). Eligible expenses may include:
- Personnel costs, in accordance with university policy;
- Travel expenses directly related to research, including travel by research assistants in the performance of their assigned duties;
- Specialized research supplies and equipment. (normally, the purchase of journals, books, computers, software will not be considered);
- Other items necessary for research may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Vice- President (Research).
Generally, funds will not be granted for non-specialized computer hardware or software, office supplies and equipment, training or completing degree requirements, professional development activities, course releases, or expenses related to disseminating research results, including conference attendance. Research projects requesting retroactive funding prior to the application deadline or requesting funding for teaching development will not be considered.
Although no maximum size of grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable.
HOW TO APPLY
For applicants seeking Bridge Funding, or support Infrastructure or Research Dissemination costs, there are two competitions per year, with intake deadlines of May 15 and September 15.
For applicants requesting matching funds for external grants, applications will be accepted year round. Applications must be received by the first of the month (or the next working day if the 1st falls on a weekend or holiday).
Interested applicants must complete the Strategic Opportunities Fund application form. Requests for funding must be submitted to the Office of the Vice-President (Research) using email@example.com by May 15 or September 15 to be considered. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next working day. Late or incomplete forms will not be considered. Funding will not be provided retroactively.
CONDITIONS OF AWARD
- Term. Grants term will be for one year from the date the award is approved. Any funds remaining at the end of the term of the grant will be returned to the source. Extensions will not be granted.
- Use of Funds. Grant funds may be used only for the project and purposes described in the application, subject to any special conditions given in the Request for New Fund form. Special conditions may include human subject research or animal welfare approval. Funds will be managed in accordance with the standard terms/conditions for Tri-Council funding. Minor transfer of funds from one budget category within the grant fund to another may be permitted. Major transfers (greater than 10% of the total grant award) or the use of funds for a previously unspecified expenditure requires prior approval by the Office of Vice-President (Research).
- Reports. A final report on the activity funded by the Strategic Research Fund must be submitted within six months of the termination date. Subsequent applications will be considered only after receipt of a final report for previous or existing grants.
- Equipment and Library Acquisitions. Equipment or library materials acquired with grant funds remain as property of the University of Lethbridge in accordance with university policy.
- Personnel. Personnel employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement with support staff.
EVALUATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA
The adjudication committee is the Vice-President (Research) and Associate Vice-President (Research) with input from the Office of Research and Innovation Services.
The adjudication committee will review all requests and may decide to provide full, partial or no funding, based on considerations to the following questions:
- Are there other sources of funding available to support the request?
- Has the applicant secured other sources of funding or attempted to secure additional funds?
- What are the potential benefits to the advancement of the U of L's Strategic Research Plan?
- Has the applicant received funding from the Strategic Research Fund previously?
- What is the overall merit of the request?
Final funding decisions rest with the Vice-President (Research). Due to limits on funding availability, appeals will not be considered.