Research Support Fund

In 2019/20 uLethbridge received $2,030,318 from the Research Support Fund (RSF) to support the indirect costs of research. These funds are crucial for maintaining the university's research enterprise.

About the program

The Government of Canada introduced the Research Support Fund (RSF) (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) in 2003 as part of its strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development. It reinforces the federal government's research investment by helping institutions cover a portion of the indirect costs associated with managing the research funded by its three granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC), collectively known as the Tri-Agency.

Indirect costs are defined as any expenditure that cannot be traced to a specific research project but is a cost incurred by the University to provide the resources and infrastructure required to allow a research project to proceed. Indirect costs can include, but are not limited to:

  • Provision of space
  • Administration
  • Maintenance of buildings
  • Utilities
  • Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Human resources and information technology services
  • Grants and contract administration
  • Provision for equipment replacement

RSF grants are allocated annually based on a 3-year rolling average of the University's Tri-Agency revenue.

Eligible expenses



How is the RSF allocated at uLethbridge?

uLethbridge has flexibility in determining how best to allocate the grant, provided the funds are used to defray indirect costs in the five expenditure categories:



Research Facilities


Research Resources


Management & Administration


Regulatory Requirements & Accreditation


Intellectual Property & Commercialization




In 2020/21 the University of Lethbridge will invest the RSF in:

  • Funding tanks for storage of liquid nitrogen and partial coverage of facilities management to defray the cost of heat, lighting and electricity for the research space.
  • Funding to partially offset the cost Canadian Research Knowledge Network access to digital content for the academic research enterprise and annual license for a Curriculum Vitae (CV) management tool.
  • Maintaining the support infrastructure required for the research enterprise. The staff support the researchers in all aspects of research administration including grant applications, grant administration, and reporting.
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Providing administrative support to increase collaborative research with external partners.



Institutional Performance Objectives

View uLethbridge's Institutional Performance Objectives relative to the RSF.



Report on 2018-2019 Objectives and Outcomes


Expenditure Category

Institutional performance objectives



Outcomes reported at year end

Research facilities

Increase research capacity by maintaining existing research facilities

Equipment and facilities that support research.

RSF will fund technical support required for maintaining the research facilities and for purchases of material associated with operating research equipment such as liquid nitrogen

Number of researchers who benefit from the purchase of liquid nitrogen used to support research equipment.

2019: 16 (2018: 16) Academics

2019: 21 (2018: 24) students

Research resources

Maintain library holdings needed by researchers

Dollars spent on electronic databases through the university budget

Database for use by researchers to map their research activities.

Access to Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

Number of active researcher profiles for mapping research and creative excellence.

2019: 284 profiles (2018: 208)

Management and administration of an institution’s research enterprise

Continued support by Office of Research Services in the review and submission of grant applications

Number and quality of Tri-Council grant applications processed

RSF will fund a portion of the salaries of staff in Research Services, Financial Services, Human Resources and Information Technology that directly support researchers.

Number of workshops and forums to mentor, train and assist faculty in preparing research proposals

2019: 12 events + online tutorials (2018: 63 events)

Number of research centres and institutes

2019: 16 (2018: 15)

Number of research funds administered by Financial Services

2019: 334 funds (2018: 400)

Regulatory requirements and accreditation

Continued vigilance and oversight of regulatory requirements

Processing of animal or human ethics protocols.

Level of animal care training.

RSF will fund staff infrastructure required for animal care, ethics and safety.

Number of research ethics protocols

2019: 143 (2018: 97) animal and 274 (2018: 255) human research approved protocols

Maintained compliance with regulatory standards.

Intellectual property (IP) and knowledge mobilization

Continue to provide service and support to researchers and external partners in knowledge mobilization.

Number of staff supporting intellectual property

Broader research partnerships that facilitate greater engagement with community associations and industrial partners

Number of new research partnerships

2019: 10

(2018: 17)


Historical allocations

Learn more about previous RSF grant allocations and outcomes



Impact of the RSF at uLethbridge

Canadian Research Knowledge Network brings top library resources to the U of L

University's Industry Liaison Office can help get an idea off the ground

Westcastle Field Station support research in diverse areas