Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund

Background

Announced in May 2020, the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The temporary program has been established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CRCEF is being rolled out in 3 stages.

Stages 1 and 2

Stages 1 & 2 provides wage support to universities and health research institutions for up to 12 weeks to avert layoffs of research personnel. The support covered up to 75% of research personnel salaries funded through non-governmental sources incurred between March 15 and August 29, to a maximum of $847 per week per employee. Non-governmental sources are defined as funding sources including industry, foundations, not-for-profit, philanthropic funds, and international agencies. Eligibility for this funding was determined based on the extent to which research activities linked to non-governmental funding have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.  Any reduced productivity or interruptions to employment (complete or partial) are considered negative impacts, including restriction of campus workspaces, suspension of funding, absences to care for family members, lack of access to research participants, increased risk related to COVID-19, etc.

Applications for Stage 1 and 2 funding are no longer being accepted.

Stage 3

Funding in Stage 3 supports direct costs of research that have been incurred to: (1) maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) support ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

The University of Lethbridge's notional allocation for Stage 3 is $296,699.  

Eligiblity

Only direct costs of research that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 will be reimbursed, at up to 75%. Administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of CRCEF. Costs of research personnel are not an eligible expense at this stage.

The University must report on the use of the Stage 3 funds by November 16, 2020 or risk losing its allocation.  In order to ensure reporting validation for the external deadline, ORIS requests that all eligible expenses be processed by November 10. Where this is not possible, please advise ORIS at time of application.

Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds.

How to apply

Faculty members that have incurred eligible Stage 3 expenses are invited to submit an application.  Applications are due by October 30, 2020.

Application Adjudication

Applications will be reviwed by an internal adjudication committee.  Funding decisions will be announced in mid-November.

More information

More information on the CRCEF can be found by visiting the program webpage.

CRCEF Frequently Asked Questions

What type of expenses are eligible in Stage 3?

Maintenance costs
  • animal and specimen care through the crisis period;
  • maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts;
  • technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and
  • safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance.
Ramp-up costs
  • re-organizing the research environment and activities;
  • additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental);
  • user fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., animal- care facilities, digital labs);
  • re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials;
  • exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops;
  • restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities;
  • reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and
  • personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel.

If you have any questions on the eligiblilty of an expense, please contact Penny Pickles (pickpj@uleth.ca) prior to application.

CRCEF EDI Strategy

The University of Lethbridge acknowledges that as a place of research, teaching, and learning, the full and equal participation of the widest diversity of people is necessary for excellence in creating and sharing knowledge. Advancing and protecting people’s human rights includes actively creating the conditions for their full participation and realization of their personal goals.

The University of Lethbridge endorses Universities Canada’s Principles on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Additionally, in 2019 the University of Lethbridge endorsed the NSERC Dimensions Charter and signed the Dimensions Pilot Affiliation Agreement, providing us with invaluable resources, as well as access to a “community of practice” focusing on EDI in the research and academic enterprise. The University of Lethbridge is also guided by several internal policies related to EDI including the Diversity and Employment Equity Policy, Aboriginal Education Policy, Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Harassment and Discrimination Policy, and Best Practices for Hiring with a Focus on Diversity and Equity, among others. 

The Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS) worked with Financial Services to identify researchers that were eligible for funding; that is, holders of research grants supported by non-governmental sources (i.e., industry, foundations, not-for-profit, philanthropic funds, and international agencies).  There are 34 eligible researchers.  We emailed each researcher to advise them of the funding opportunity and encouraged them to apply if they met the following criteria:

  • Have incurred (or anticipate incurring) salary expenses for research-related personnel within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. 
  • Have experienced a negative impact on their research program due to COVID-19. Any reduced productivity or interruptions to employment (complete or partial) are considered negative impacts, including restriction of campus workspaces, suspension of funding, absences to care for family members, lack of access to research participants, increased risk related to COVID-19, etc.

To ensure that no one eligible was inadvertently omitted, we also sent an email to all researchers via the faculty listserve.  We also sent a reminder to apply the following week.  The number of researchers whose research was negatively impacted by COVID-19 was less than anticipated.  We received salary requests to support nine graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows.

Payroll provided ORIS with the pay information for the students/PDFs for a twelve-week period (April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020). 

As a result, our stage 1 allocation is sufficient to fund all of the requests. The total salary support from the CRCEF for the 11 research personnel is $25,906.28, which leaves a balance of $79,512.82.

As the total request for funding support does not exceed our institutional allocation, no funding decisions were required beyond confirming applicant eligibility.  Instead, of convening an ad hoc committee to review the CRCEF allocations, we received confirmation from the CRCEF team that approval from the University’s President’s Executive would be sufficient.  President’s Executive is the University’s senior leadership team comprised of the President, Provost, Vice-President (Research) and Vice-President (Finance).

The Interim Vice-President (Research) circulated a memo to President’s Executive that outlined the CRCEF program and the process for distributing the funds. The memo included the names of the recipients, their category of employment (e.g., graduate student or postdoctoral fellow) and the level of funding support.