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Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) - (Closed)

Toronto, Canada during Covid-19 pandemic - Empty city streets

The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (OVPRI) is pleased to announce the availability of research management support through the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF).

Part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the CRCEF is a $450M temporary funding relief program established to help Canadian universities and health research institutions affected by the pandemic’s disruption to research-related activities and the work conducted by research personnel. This tri-agency program was announced on May 15, 2020 and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The CRCEF will be delivered in three funding stages:

  • Stage 1 and Stage 2 cover wage support for research-related personnel incurred from March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. Further information is outlined below.
  • Stage 3 covers research maintenance and ramp-up costs of research activities that have occurred by November 15, 2020. 

Institutions must apply to each stage, and for all stages, they must demonstrate the need to access the emergency funds.

Ryerson's Stage 3 internal application window is open until November 20, 2020. Please see updated information about Stage 3 below.

 Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

In managing CRCEF funding, Ryerson is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in its decision-making and allocation processes to prevent systemic barriers that result in individuals from equity-seeking groups receiving unequal access to, or being excluded from, participation, employment, services or programs in Canada’s research ecosystem. These measures are especially important in a crisis situation such as a pandemic, as unconscious biases are more likely to influence decisions that must be made rapidly and under stressful circumstances. There is also evidence that points to a disproportionate impact of the pandemic on individuals from equity-seeking groups including, for example, individuals with disabilities who may be unable to access necessary health care or women who may be disproportionately shouldering child care and/or home-schooling responsibilities. These and other factors may in turn disproportionately and significantly impact an individual’s ability to sustain their scholarly, research and creative (SRC) activities.

A CRCEF Steering Committee was created as one of the measures to ensure EDI in the decision-making and administrative processes around the CRCEF funding allocation. This committee includes representation from equity-seeking groups and has previous unconscious bias training. Committee members are: Richard McCulloch, Executive Director, Research Services; Naomi Adelson, Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation; Vivian Chan, Chief Administrative Officer; Elizabeth Ing, Director, Research Accounting Services; Yvonne Yu, Supervisor, Research Accounting Services; Iain McQueen, Grants Officer; and Art Blake, Dimensions Director. Dimensions is an initiative of the three granting agencies – NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR. As a Dimensions Pilot institution, Ryerson takes very seriously its commitment to EDI and is working actively to ensure that the CRCEF program responds to commitments made through the Dimensions Charter and internal commitments to equity and community inclusion.

At the outset of the pandemic, Ryerson University encouraged faculty members and other leaders across the university to avoid laying off personnel, including research personnel, even if there was an inability to perform normal duties due to restricted access to campus or research facilities, or due to home or living conditions brought about by COVID-19.

In developing processes and decision-making around the CRCEF program, the CRCEF Steering Committee discussed how to prevent potential systemic barriers to accessing CRCEF funding, including the use of accessible language in terms of eligible projects and personnel for all fields of SRC activity; broad communication across the university to reach all Principal Investigators; and personal support for Principal Investigators in completing the application and attestation form.

Specific measures to promote EDI within the CRCEF program and to prevent systemic barriers that might limit participation in this funding opportunity are provided in the description of application and decision processes for the relevant CRCEF Stages below.

 Stages 1, 2 and 4: Wage support/supplemental wage support for research-related personnel (Closed)

Stages 1, 2 and 4 were exclusively for research personnel whose salaries were adversely affected by COVID-19 and who were paid in part or in whole by non-governmental sources. Ryerson did not exceed its Stage 1 allocation and so did not apply for Stage 2.

In Stages 1 and 4, eligible expenses included the following:

  • Stages 1 and 4 covered up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week. Stage 1 covered up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual, incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. Stage 4 extended this period of salary support to 24 weeks per individual within the same time period.
  • Personnel who had been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period could become eligible retroactively, as long as they were rehired and their retroactive pay and status met the eligibility criteria for the claim period.

Administrative costs such as overhead or transaction costs were not eligible. Applicants could not make claims for individuals already receiving government wage support such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Applicants could not make a claim if they were already a recipient of another federal funding agency award, a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award, or funding from all levels of government, including COVID-19 relief programs.

The CRCEF provided specific definitions on which research-related personnel were admissible or inadmissible. Full program details, including these definitions, are provided on the CRCEF website, external link, opens in new window.

 Stages 1 and 4: Allocation process

The following process was followed in identifying and approving eligible projects/personnel and allocating Stage 1 and 4 funding:

  1. Research Accounting Services and the OVPRI used internal financial data to identify eligible projects and personnel expenses based upon CRCEF eligibility criteria. Care was taken to ensure that all project research disciplines or fields of study were considered, and that all personnel types were taken into consideration, including what might be non-traditional or outside the disciplinary mainstream. Our internal identification process was systematic and unlikely to introduce any bias.
  2. Notification was sent by email to Principal Investigators of their internally identified, eligible CRCEF reimbursements and to initiate the process of attesting to the eligibility of the identified personnel.
  3. An application form (COVID-19 Supplement for Non-government Sponsored Research Projects) was emailed to all Principal Investigators across Ryerson and was posted on this website, providing an opportunity for Principal Investigators to identify any additional eligible projects or personnel they felt met CRCEF eligibility but which were not identified by our original internal screen.
  4. All applications were reviewed solely for eligibility against program criteria (i.e., eligible source of funding and attestation that personnel did not receive other forms of government benefit). Since Ryerson did not exceed its notional Stage 1 funding allocation, all approved applications were funded in full, and additional measures to ensure EDI in the decision-making process were not necessary. All applications were given the same consideration and supported to the maximum amount allowable under CRCEF funding guidelines.
  5. For Stage 4, those projects identified in Stage 1 were reassessed against the new eligibility criteria extending the maximum period of support to 24 weeks. Principal Investigators were notified of the revised CRCEF allocation they would receive for their eligible projects and personnel.
  6. Eligible expenditures were removed from the Principal Investigator’s cost centre and reconciled to Ryerson’s CRCEF account, with the funds made available to the budget after reconciliation. All other terms and conditions of the research cost centre remain in force.

 Stage 3: Research maintenance/ramp-up costs (Closed)

CRCEF Stage 3, external link, opens in new window funding is to support direct costs of research to: 

  1. Maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Support the ramp-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

If you are a Principal Investigator (PI) whose research program incurred direct costs to maintain or ramp up research affected by COVID-19, you can apply for Stage 3 Funding. Applicants must justify the need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. 

How to Apply for Stage 3:

  1. Before completing the application, please review the categories and examples of eligible expenses provided below to ensure your expense is eligible for reimbursement.
  2. excel fileComplete the CRCEF Stage 3 Application Form, opens in new window and submit no later than November 20, 2020. PIs are encouraged to work with their Research Account Support Officer (RASO) to complete the application form.
  3. Keep original receipts, invoices or other proof of payment as appropriate for all approved expenses for a period of 5 years in case of future audit.

Submissions will be accepted and considered equally from PIs from all departments, schools and faculties. There are no individualized funding caps on PIs based on their fields of study.

Ryerson’s CRCEF Steering Committee will meet in November/December to review all applications. PIs selected to receive Stage 3 funding at up to 75% will be notified of decisions by early January.

In addition, OVPRI is working with Facilities Management and Development (FMD), procurement, departments, schools and faculties across campus to identify institutionally borne expenses that meet Stage 3 eligibility criteria (e.g., PPE for maintenance personnel, research maintenance costs relating to infrastructure and equipment, COVID-19 safety infrastructure, etc.). These eligible Stage 3 expenses will be aggregated and prorated as a one-time user fee across impacted research-based cost centres. Those identified cost centres will be flagged and the reimbursable expense will be documented for future audit purposes. There will be no monetary charge to the cost centre; the institutional cost centre will be reimbursed via CRCEF Stage 3 funding. Impacted PIs will be notified of these transactions and their cost centres will be updated accordingly.

Eligible Stage 3 Expenses: 

Only direct costs of research that are extraordinary, incremental, and not already covered by existing sources of funds, and that have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020, will be reimbursed at up to 75% (the project will incur the remaining 25%).

Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated or exceptional 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 regardless of their source (government or non-government, external or internal). CRCEF Stage 3 is to support direct costs of research that have been incurred at the project level. For those wishing to apply prior to the November 20 deadline, future commitments within the eligible period (i.e., up to November 15, 2020) are eligible but must have a valid encumbrance associated with them. Examples could include, but are not limited to:

1) Maintenance: Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic, funded at up to 75%. This could include:

a) Animal and specimen care through the crisis period (e.g., essential animals/colonies, specimens, cell lines, materials, or chemicals).*

b) Maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts.*

c) Technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets.

d) Safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance (e.g., PPE for personnel dedicated exclusively to research maintenance at the project level and not funded by the department, school or faculty to work across several projects or research groups/facilities). 

2) Ramp-up: Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with the full ramp-up of research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:

e) Reorganizing the research environment and activities (e.g., occupying additional space to enable physical distancing, furniture/equipment moves, plexiglass screens or barriers).*

f) Additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level or related to the restart of experiments, collections and datasets, including reacquiring lost laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animals and other living specimens.

g) User fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., per diems for animal housing, costs associated with restarting plant growth experiments, computing/digital charges).

h) Rescheduling and restarting human and clinical trials.

i) Exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops (e.g., subscriptions to online meeting services for knowledge transfer).

j) Restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities (e.g., service costs for startup or recalibration, etc.).

k) Reacquiring lost laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animals and other living specimens.

l) Personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel (e.g., PPE purchased using project funds not provided by Ryerson/FMD).  

Salaries are eligible Stage 3 expenses only for the period August 30 to November 15, 2020 for personnel in relation to the eligible expenses listed above for maintenance or ramp-up costs, in addition to meeting CRCEF general eligibility requirements (i.e., unanticipated additional costs borne by research projects that would not have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds). Members of research teams are not eligible for salary support through Stage 3 (e.g., students, RAs, PDFs, etc.). Ryerson PIs should only apply for eligible salary support for project-funded, non-research team personnel, and not for any departmental, faculty or institutional personnel who might have supported their project(s). 

* For annual/monthly or other time-dependent fixed fees, only the prorated amount within the eligible expense period of March 15 to November 15, 2020 can be claimed (i.e., no prior or future periods outside the eligible expense period are eligible for reimbursement). 

Ineligible Stage 3 Expenses:

  • Ramp-down and regular costs of research are NOT eligible Stage 3 expenses.
  • Expenses from professional development fund cost centres are NOT eligible for reimbursement (any eligible Stage 3 expenses associated with direct research costs should be transferred to eligible cost centres prior to the November 15 deadline).
  • Expenses related to the ramp down of SRC activities at the outset of the crisis are NOT eligible Stage 3 expenses.
  • Parking fees or fees related to commuting to campus are NOT eligible Stage 3 expenses.
  • Cancellation fees and lost travel and accommodation expenses are NOT eligible Stage 3 expenses as they are associated with the ramp down of SRC activities.
  • Work equipment (office furniture, computers, telecommunication equipment) is NOT eligible unless the need was due to the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and was required exclusively for a specific research project and not for general remote working. 
  • Home internet expenses are NOT eligible unless it can be justified that the internet usage was solely for SRC activity in relation to a research project or the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic.

Stage 3 Webinars:

To assist the Ryerson community in applying to CRCEF Stage 3, OVPRI will host two 90-minute webinars for Ryerson faculty members and lab/program managers to discuss eligible/ineligible expenses and the application process.

(Registration is now closed.)

Stage 3 Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI):

For CRCEF Stage 3, specific measures to promote EDI and limit systemic barriers for underrepresented or marginalized groups include:

  • The use of inclusive language and terminology that respects diverse fields of SRC activity as well as non-traditional or outside the disciplinary mainstream approaches.
  • Broad communication of the opportunity to apply to Stage 3 funding for PIs across the Ryerson community to ensure all have an equal opportunity to apply.
  • Utilizing an equitable and principles-based approach to reviewing eligible expenses against CRCEF program eligibility criteria.
  • Accommodating or giving special consideration to researchers and research personnel who have been personally impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (e.g., their own or their immediate family’s health has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, family obligations for dependent care, or limited access to medical care for persons with disabilities), both in accessing the program and application materials, but also in adjudicating eligible expenses.

Despite all of these measures to ensure EDI practices across this reimbursement opportunity, Ryerson University recognizes the inherent inequities reimbursement-based programs represent to researchers who have personally struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic due to home/living conditions, caregiving responsibilities and increased responsibilities across their spectrum of job duties, and have been unable to resume their SRC activities fully, or in some case at all, and therefore have limited or no expenses to be reimbursed.

Stage 3 Decision-making Process:

Should Ryerson’s total needs for CRCEF Stage 3 exceed its final funding allocation, the following criteria will be used to determine how Ryerson distributes its allocation amongst eligible recipients:

  1. Priority will be given to fully reimbursing (at the maximum 75% allowable) eligible expenses identified by PIs through the open application process over reimbursing eligible expenses that were borne at an institutional level and recovered through internal user fees. Should Ryerson exceed its funding allocation, eligible institutional expense reimbursements will be prorated until the Stage 3 funding threshold is no longer exceeded.
  2. Should PI-identified eligible expenses exceed Ryerson’s Stage 3 allocation, all eligible PI-identified and approved expenses will be prorated equally across the board until the Stage 3 funding threshold is no longer exceeded. In this case, institutional eligible expenses will not be considered for reimbursement.

For any inquiries regarding the CRCEF program, please contact Richard McCulloch, Executive Director, Research Services at richard.mculloch@ryerson.ca.

In addition, the CRCEF website, external link, opens in new window provides answers to frequently asked questions.