COVID-19 Grant Updates
Ongoing Updates from:
- Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
CIHR made the decision to cancel the spring competition following consultations with Governing Council, Science Council, partners at the U-15, Universities Canada, HealthCareCAN, and the University Delegates Network, among others. While the decision to cancel the competition was a difficult one, our priority right now is to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of our staff and the research community.
After considering all available options, the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition was cancelled for the following key reasons:
- Many of our peer reviewers are clinician scientists and health professionals who have heeded the call to lend a hand, as our country’s health care resources are stretched thin on the ground. It would have been irresponsible for CIHR to divert their attention at this critical time of need.
- With researchers following public health advice to curtail travel and self-isolate, carrying out face-to-face peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition would have been contrary to all public health advice.
- Our pool of peer reviewers is comprised of many professors who are now faced with the task of modifying their courses and final exams to an online format. This shift will entail a great deal of work, and we do not want to add to their burden.
- The researchers who would typically provide peer review for this competition – and the CIHR staff who would deliver it – are presently occupied with a more important duty: caring for the health and safety of their families and loved ones, which must remain their top priority.
- Last, but not least, in keeping with government-wide initiatives to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, CIHR’s physical offices are closed and all work is being done from home. Our priority is to direct our resources to efforts to tackle the government of Canada’s response to COVID-19.
Given the extraordinary circumstances, CIHR did consider virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. However, such a move would not have resolved many of the challenges mentioned above. Furthermore, with the situation continuing to evolve, we could not be certain about the reliability of the critical infrastructure required to deliver a high-quality competition. For these reasons, we are not pursuing virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. Delaying the competition until this summer was also not a viable option, as there is a possibility that CIHR’s normal business operations will not resume in time to successfully deliver a Project Grant competition this summer. That said, CIHR remains on track to deliver the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.
We acknowledge that cancelling the competition will have significant impacts on those who applied as well as on future competitions. CIHR will implement the following measures to help mitigate these impacts:
- Similar to what was done when the Spring 2017 competition was delayed, CIHR will financially extend all existing Investigator-Initiated Research grants scheduled to expire between June 30, 2020 and March 30, 2021, for one year.
- This includes providing an extension to all Nominated Principal Applicants (NPAs) with a grant expiring within the date range who applied to the Spring 2020 competition, as these applicants were applying for a grant to replace one that was expiring.
- The amount provided will be equivalent to one year of the grant’s average annual value.
- Those who accept the extension will not be allowed to apply as an NPA to the Fall 2020 competition to help ease some of the pressure on this competition.
- Additionally, CIHR will financially extend all bridge grants provided to Nominated Principal Investigators (NPIs) in the Fall 2019 Project Grant competition.
- This extension will be provided to all NPIs who received a bridge grant in the Fall 2019 competition and applied to the Spring 2020 competition.
- The amount provided will be the equivalent of 6 months of their bridge grant amount.
- NPIs who are provided this bridge grant extension will be allowed to apply in the role of NPA to the Fall 2020 competition.
- NPAs from the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition will be given the option to bring their submission forward automatically to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition, including the ability to provide a one-page supplement for additional support data or publications. NPAs will also have the option to withdraw their application and resubmit a new or updated application to the Fall competition.
More broadly, CIHR is considering measures to help the health research community weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures will be implemented immediately
- An automatic one-year extension to the authority-to-use-funds date for all active grants. This will give researchers an additional full year to use any residual funds not yet spent to compensate for disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CIHR will place a moratorium on all existing and any new strategic/institute-driven funding opportunities during the next three months. The exception is that any funding competitions related to COVID-19 will continue to go forward.
- Relatedly, throughout this process, we have worked closely with our colleagues at the U15 and Universities Canada, who are currently considering our proposal to provide a full-year extension to all those individuals who are within the probationary period and tenure stream.
CIHR will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves, and stands ready to take more action as needed to help mitigate any impacts and delays caused by COVID-19.
I know that you likely have many questions. CIHR will follow up with all applicants and peer reviewers for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition through targeted communications in order to assist you as you navigate next steps and consider your options. We will also be holding webinars in the lead up to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition to answer your questions. In the meantime, please visit CIHR’s COVID-19 webpage, which will be updated regularly, and continue to email your questions to email@example.com.
Rest assured that we will continue to do everything in our power to minimize disruption to the research community. These are extraordinary times and these are extraordinary measures, but we will get through them together.
The NIH is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people involved in NIH research, and about the effects on the biomedical enterprise in the areas affected by the HHS declared public health emergency for COVID-19. Due to the potential exceptional impact, we want to assure our recipient community that NIH will be doing our part to help you continue your research.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will provide updated guidance and information as it becomes available.For specific updates, please visit the NIH website dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
Mitacs would like to contribute to help the ecosystem as much as we can during this challenging time. We have set aside a limited number of internship units to support research that directly aligns with the Federal and Provincial governments’ objectives at the moment:
If the partner is an SME they can get a discounted financial contribution: $3,750 + HST cash instead of $7,500 and Mitacs will provide the remaining $11,250 per unit for the $15K total.
In addition, we have extremely quick turnaround times for applications (regardless if SME or not).
If you come across any projects that may fall in line with these priorities, please let me know and I would be happy to follow up with the applicants.
Take care and stay healthy!
CFI activities are continuing, with some changesThe current global pandemic underlines the necessity of keeping Canada’s research facilities at the ready. Recognizing the importance of delivering our funding programs in a timely way, we strive to continue conducting our regular business, to the extent possible as our staff has transitioned to telework.
The purpose of this note is to inform you of specific actions we are taking to maintain high-quality service:
- CFI staff are working remotely until further notice but remain connected through email and phone. You can also direct general queries to firstname.lastname@example.org or 613.947.6496.
- We will hold all currently scheduled in-person meetings by video- or teleconference.
- As we adjust to these new circumstances, we may be delayed in responding to your queries.
Current funding competitions
- The evaluation of the applications for the 2020 Innovation Fund competition is proceeding according to original timelines. We have changed the format of our Expert Committee meetings from in-person to video- or teleconference. We have also eliminated face-to-face meetings with representatives from institutions and projects. We invite researchers to contact their institution’s CFI liaison for information related to their proposals. For all other stakeholders in the 2020 Innovation Fund, please write to email@example.com if you have questions.
- The June 15, 2020 deadline for the next John R. Evans Leaders Fund competition remains unchanged. If institutions are not in a position to meet that deadline, they can still use their JELF allocations for the next JELF competition (October 15, 2020 deadline).
- We are currently consulting with colleges that have submitted notices of intent for the College-Industry Innovation Fund— Stream 1 competition regarding the deadlines for full applications.
- We are liaising with NSERC regarding the College-Industry Innovation Fund–Stream 2 competition to determine the appropriate measures we need to take.
Award finalization, payments to institutions and financial reporting
- We are extending award finalization and financial deadlines by three months.
- We continue to process award finalizations. Please continue to upload signed award finalization forms in the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to initiate the process. We are also accepting electronic signatures of these documents.
- For the time being, we will send award agreements electronically rather than in hard copy.
- We will continue to make payments to institutions.
- We are finalizing an interim process to accept and sign agreements via reply email such as the award finalization form, award agreements and institutional agreements. Details will follow.
Project progress reporting
The 2020 project progress reports and the operational status question will be accessible in CAMS April 1. While we strongly encourage institutions to respond as early as possible, we are extending the deadline to September 30, 2020.
Frequently asked questions
In the coming days, we will be posting these and other ongoing updates on our activities on our website, Innovation.ca. We will advise you once that page is live.
Our thoughts go out to the many artists and arts organizations, and to their loved ones around the world, whose health and livelihood are being directly affected by the global spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We know these are difficult times. The effects of the pandemic continue to raise many important questions across our borders and boundaries. Although we can’t predict the extent of its impact on Canada’s national arts community, we are sensitive to the many challenges ahead for artists, organizations and their stakeholders.Answers to your questions:
We have put together a COVID-19 Info update page with FAQs and guidance to keep you informed about the latest regarding:
- Financial impacts like emergency funding, financial losses and grant payments.
- Federal government support measures to support artists abroad and enhanced access to employment insurance.
- Suspension of funding for public events and travel-related activities and for grant recipients.
- Grant details involving applications, assessments, cancellations and reimbursements.
If you cannot access an online version of this information and require a PDF, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our website is being updated regularly. We are using our social media channels to announce the updates. Please help us support the community, by sharing this information with your own networks.
- Some Deadlines and notification of results have been extended.
- We are suspending our funding for projects that are dependent on domestic and international travel during a four-month period from March 16 to July 31, 2020.
- We aim to reply to all questions within two business days; our ability to do so may be affected by the volume of queries received by staff and by our availability to respond. Thank you for your continued patience.
- We are working closely with our colleagues at Canadian Heritage to develop proposals for short-term measures, which will help the sector get through this crisis.
- As we identify and confirm new information or resources, we will update our site.
- Check our website and other channels regularly for updates. If you don’t have online access, let us know so we can send you the latest update.
When you can expect to hear from us again:
- We will only send out another message like this one if we have a major announcement to share. In the interim, we encourage you to follow us on social media and to keep an eye on our COVID-19 Info update page.
- Please review our FAQs; if you have questions we haven’t addressed, email us at: email@example.com
A message to you from our CEO and Director, Simon Brault:
- The latest message from CEO and Director Simon Brault is available on our web site.
While these are difficult and unsettling times, we remain committed to doing all we can to support the arts community and to preserving its invaluable role within Canadian society.
As you navigate the challenges ahead, we are with you in working to keep bringing the arts to life.
As this unprecedented global situation unfolds, we recognize that this is a uniquely challenging period for you – not only personally, but also due to the disruption to your business, research and projects.
Whether you are a researcher or a company, early-stage or scaling, if you currently have a project with OCE, we fully appreciate how the impacts of COVID-19 may affect your business, your ability to conduct research, your access to research labs and equipment, as well as your ability to prepare and submit applications and reports. We view every program that we offer and every project that we support as a partnership, and take an active role in ensuring your success. As a result, we are exploring all avenues, including project extensions and accelerated payments, to support you during this difficult time.
We continue to make adjustments as we monitor the evolution and impact of COVID-19, and we look forward to keeping you informed as we respond to rapidly changing circumstances.
OCE is working across our many partners and stakeholders to ensure timely updates are available and we encourage you to visit the Program Updates section of the OCE website for program-specific updates as new information becomes available. For urgent requests related to projects that are within 30 days of completion, please contact the Program Lead assigned to your project.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to your Business Development Manager. We’re here to help.
Finally, thank you again for being a valued part of Ontario’s innovation ecosystem – now, more than ever, we must be adaptable, responsive and collaborative, as we work together in common interest with innovators from across the province.
Our strength in the social sciences and humanities research community is our understanding of the human aspect of such crises. We recognize the priority to ensure your health and safety, and that of your families, students, employees, friends and colleagues. Here at SSHRC, we are likewise involved in supporting our staff as we all adapt to a new way of working.
We appreciate your patience as SSHRC is taking appropriate measures to analyze and implement necessary adjustments to its operations as we monitor the evolving impact of COVID-19. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and we will make further adjustments as needed.
Over the coming days and weeks, we will provide program-specific information, noting adjustments to application deadlines and reporting due dates, as needed. Check out this webpage regularly to learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on SSHRC’s programs.
As the landscape around COVID-19 continues to change, our priority of supporting global public health remains steadfast.
We are monitoring this unprecedented situation and are taking action to support our staff, participants, and stakeholders. In response to federal and provincial directives, we have made a number of changes to our business operations.Globalink Research Internship (GRI)
- We are cancelling the Globalink Research Internship program this summer and, unfortunately, will not have the opportunity to welcome senior undergraduates from our partner countries to Canadian universities.
- We are working with participants on immediate actions, including covering incurred, non-refundable costs.
- Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are continuing with the 2021 Globalink Research Internship Faculty call
- For inbound Globalink Research Awards and Accelerate International participants who are currently in Canada, we strongly advise them to make immediate arrangements to consult with their home and host universities, end their project activities, and return home.
- For outbound participants who are currently abroad, we strongly advise them to make immediate arrangements to consult with their home and host universities, end their project activities, and return home.
- For Accelerate International interns who are requesting work-from-home options, we are examining them on a case-by-case basis.
- We are working toward alternatives for those GRA and Accelerate International students who have been approved recently, but have not yet travelled.
- GRA questions may be directed to email@example.com and Accelerate International questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are working with Mitacs Entrepreneur International participants through one-on-one means.
- The contact for related questions is an online form.
- We are moving all courses online.
- We are continuing with the Elevate call, as scheduled.
- We are looking at how Accelerate and Elevate programs are currently being affected and will be affected in the future.
- We expect that interns and fellows are following partner and university work-from-home procedures.
- We will share more updates on these programs soon.
All Mitacs staff members have moved to work-from-home protocols and are using supporting technology. Our teams remain operational and reachable.
We thank the community for their patience and will continue to adapt as the situation evolves.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a health crisis and grave disruptions the likes of which most of us have never seen before. I know that you are facing many challenges: our labs have been temporarily closed, you’re adjusting to teaching your courses online, and many of you who are clinicians have heeded the call to lend a hand as resources on the ground are stretched thin. Above and beyond this, you’re occupied with the most important job of all: watching out for the health and safety of your family and loved ones.
I know that you have questions about what the disruptions caused by COVID-19 mean for CIHR’s programs. Many of you are in the course of applying, have applied, or will be applying for funding competitions, or you’ve volunteered to peer review, and you’re wondering about the status of those competitions.
As you may imagine, this issue has been a critical priority for my senior team and I to address while we assess the evolving challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While I acknowledge that you would like answers right now, the fact of the matter is that this is not going to be business as usual for any of us and our tools to address these challenges are limited. Given this, we have been consulting carefully in order to understand not only the critical needs to be addressed, but also the long-term implications of any approach we use. We recognize that we will need to address not only the ability to offer grant competitions at this time, but also the implications for the current closure of labs across the country. Any package that we will bring forward, and indeed there will be one, will look to mitigate the many impacts on researchers, trainees, lab staff, and research administrators, among others – including ensuring that staff paid from grants will continue to be paid. I can assure you that we will provide the initial aspects of this approach in the next few days.
In the meantime, please regularly consult the COVID-19 webpage on CIHR’s website. It will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.
These are extraordinary times, but we will get through them together.
NSERC continues to make adjustments to its operations as we monitor the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to support our grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and we will make further adjustments as needed.
The granting agencies recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your work, your ability to conduct and review research, and your ability to prepare and submit publications or grant and scholarship applications. We understand that some research could be jeopardized or slowed down; the preparation of research and financial reports may be delayed; and meetings, events, and travel plans may also be affected. The Agencies will continue to support the research community as we adapt to these challenges.
Over the coming days and weeks, we will provide program-by-program specific information as we continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to program application deadlines and the reporting of due dates, as needed. These will be communicated through the NSERC website with regular updates. We will continue to make adjustments and put in place additional measures as necessary.
The information below will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any questions, please refer to NSERC's Contact Us page.
Collaborative Research and Development grants
All grant applications: Results will be communicated shortly, only minor delays are expected.
Alliance grants (option 1)
NSERC continues to accept applications. Applicants can expect delays in processing times, depending on the capacity of peer reviewers and of NSERC personnel. Applications for which external reviews were received by March 12, 2020, should receive answers from NSERC in April.
Alliance grants (option 2)
The first meeting of the review panel is postponed until June 2020.
The application deadline has been moved to June 1, 2020.
Idea to Innovation (I2I) grants
The March 30, 2020 I2I application deadline has been postponed to June 22, 2020. The evaluation of I2I applications submitted in January 2020 will not be affected by these changes.
College Engage and Applied Research and Development (ARD) grants
NSERC will continue to receive applications, but processing times will be partly dependent on the availability of external reviewers, notably for ARDs.
The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research and the John C. Polanyi Award
The deadline for these programs has been extended to May 1, 2020.
Canada Graduate Scholarships – Masters
The timelines for opening the Research Portal (CGS-M) for students to accept or decline awards will be delayed. New timelines will be communicated as soon as possible.
Research reports due to NSERC have all been granted an extension of four weeks (to be revised as appropriate).Other general program information Grant extensions
NSERC and SSHRC recognize that agency-funded research activities may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NSERC and SSHRC will approve, on request, extensions to spend existing grant funds of up to 12 months for grants ending on or before March 31, 2021. This provision applies to all grants, regardless of whether they have received a previous time extension of any length for any reason (including, where applicable, automatic extensions). Administering institutions can now proceed with the necessary changes to give grant recipients reasonable flexibility, especially for grants ending in the very near future. The intent of this provision is to allow grantees to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grant funds (per the NSERC/SSHRC Guidelines for the General Research Fund). The mechanism for institutions to notify the Agencies of the details of these extensions will be determined and communicated in the near future, after which the Agencies will process them as resources permit. In addition, grantees and institutions are reminded that recipients have three months to pay commitments made prior to the grant end date.
Travel and travel cancellations
NSERC confirms that in addition to the costs described in the earlier Tri-agency statement regarding cancelled travel plans of researchers and members of their teams, other non-refundable expenses may be incurred as a result of cancelled travel and/or meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided the expenses would have been eligible had the travel/meeting taken place as planned, these non-refundable costs can be reimbursed out of existing grant funds.
Other exceptional expenditures
In addition to the reimbursement of non-refundable travel and meeting costs as previously described, NSERC recognizes that in some cases other costs may be incurred in relation to ongoing financial commitments, such as the remuneration of individuals paid out of agency grants. For example, individuals receiving a salary or stipend from grant funds may be recommended or required to self-isolate, and/or may be unable to work or telework for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSERC confirms that if the costs are not covered by other sources of funds within the institution, and provided these expenses would otherwise have been eligible to be paid out of the grant, these can be paid from existing grant funds.