This FAQ is intended to supplement information found elsewhere in the ORS website. We recommend you review all sections of the site in addition to reading this document.

General Questions

How do I know whether to contact ORS, UILO or RF?

Contact the Office of Research Services (ORS) for the status of a research grant application, status of an account set-up or the related budget, or any grant-related issues. Contact the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO) if these questions apply to a contract, agreement or account funded by government or industry.

Research Finance (RF) accounting looks after the post-award financial administration of the project/grant account. Contact RF with questions about expense eligibility, financial balance of the account, financial statements/invoices, collection of revenue.

What additional services are available at UBC campuses and affiliated health research institutes?

Okanagan Campus

Services: All
Contact: ResearchOffice.UBCO@ubc.ca or 250-807-9412

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

Services: Grant applications and account set-up
Contact: Susan O’Neil, Assistant Manager, ORS-VCHRI

Children’s & Women’s Hospital

Services: Grant applications and account set-up
Contact: Nur Eisma, Research Manager (C&W - BCCHRI, BCMHARI & WHRI)

Where is the sample letter to graduate students, mentioned in UBC Scholarly Integrity Policy #85?

Finding Funding

How can I find grant funding to support my research?

See the section on Funding Opportunities.

When are the major granting deadlines?
How do I apply for a Study Leave Research Grant or a Salary Research Grant?

See our Electronic Forms page for guidelines and an application form.

Submitting an Application

Who needs to sign my grant application before I submit it to ORS for a UBC signature?

Signature procedures for individual faculties are fully described in the Submitting Proposals section. Some faculties have more complex submission procedures than others, so please allow time for gathering all the necessary signatures.

What is an ORS internal deadline?

ORS sets an internal deadline of five working days prior to competition deadline for large competitions that typically attract many applications. These include: NSERC Discovery Grant, Research Tools & Equipment, SSHRC Insight Grant, CIHR Operating Grant, MSFHR Career Investigator, Team Planning & Start up.

In the case of MSFHR Research Trainee program, you must submit your application to ORS seven working days before the deadline date.

If you can’t meet the internal deadline, be sure to call 604-822-8581 and let us know.

Don’t confuse an internal submission deadline with an internal review deadline! For some major competitions, an internal review service is offered by SPARC to help improve your chance of success. This involves reviewing your draft and allowing you to revise it before submitting it to ORS. This process is very different than the five-day internal submission deadline described above. If you’re unclear on the distinction, please call us and ask.

How long does it take to get an institutional signature from ORS?

For most cases (i.e., not a major competition), please allow 2 full working days in advance of sponsor deadline. Applicants from the Faculty of Medicine should allow 36 hours to obtain the Dean’s signature.

Do I need an institutional signature for my Letter of Intent?

Some agencies have a two-stage application process involving a Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by a full application. A UBC signature is only required on an LOI if the sponsoring agency requires one, or if the LOI results in an award (such as a development award to assist with the preparation of a full application. In these cases, all appropriate UBC signatures are required, including the applicant, Department Head, Faculty Dean (where applicable) and ORS.

An institutional signature is not required for forms that are a "Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI)" such as the NSERC form 180, or CIHR registration package.

What if my grant application has an institutional limit?

If you are submitting a grant proposal to an external agency that allows a limited number of applications per institution, please contact ORS at 604-822-8595 regarding internal deadline. An internal review may be required if the number of applications received exceeds the institutional limit. 

What are indirect costs?

Please see the section on UBC’s Indirect Costs Policy.

I am applying for a proposal in U.S. currency. What rate should I use in budget preparation?

Please give special considerations with respect to preparing a budget proposal in foreign currency. Visit UBC Finance website to find out the US Exchange Rate which is updated daily at https://finance.ubc.ca/us-exchange-rate. Include a contingency amount to cover fluctuations in exchange rates. Foreign exchange rates have become very volatile in recent years.

Where can I find UBC identification numbers to complete my application form?
What do I put if agency requires UBC’s Financial Administrator and cheque payment information on my grant application?

Financial Administrator information:

Ms. Evelyn Miguel,
Associate Director, Research Finance
The University of British Columbia
#409 - 6190 Agronomy Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Tel: (604) 822-3275 Fax: (604) 822-2417
E-mail: emiguel@finance.ubc.ca

Cheque payment information:

Please make cheque payable to "The University of British Columbia" and mail to the address above.

Managing Funding 

How do I transfer my funding from another institution to UBC, or vice-versa?

See the section on Transferring Funding.

How do I transfer money to my co-applicant at another institution?

See the section on Transferring Funding.

I am a co-applicant on a grant that has been funded. The Principal Investigator is at another institution. How do I transfer my share of the funding to UBC?

Submit the following to ORS:

  • A subgrant letter from the institution transferring the funds confirming the amount of funds to be transferred, duration of the award and financial reporting requirements. 
  • A copy of the awarded grant application and supporting documentation (see Opening a Research Account)
An agency has awarded me funds without requiring a formal grant application. Therefore, I have no application to provide to ORS for signature. What do I need to do to get an account opened for my grant?

As per UBC research policy, ORS requires the following in order to open an account on your behalf.

  • A copy of the agency’s notice of award outlining the project term date, awarded amount, financial reporting requirements, terms and conditions of award.
  • Completion of Research Project Information Form with the required signatures. Applications from the Faculty of Medicine also require an Application Cover Sheet.
  • UBC Human ethics, animal care, or biosafety certification numbers for any research involving human subjects, animals or biohazardous materials. For a certificate to be valid it must state the exact title of the project and funding agency. 
How do I know whether or not my account has been set up?

When an account has been set up, an automated e-mail will be sent to you with the account information.

I have a Tri-council award but it is pending or I have not applied for ethical approval. Is there a time limit to activate the account?

As per Tri-Council Memorandum of Understanding, you are required to obtain the appropriate human or animal ethical approval within SIX months of the award date in which case the Agency may consider that the condition of award has not been fulfilled and reallocate the funds. Visit http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/_doc/NSERC-CRSNG/financeissues-financierenj... full details.

I have received a three-year project grant and animal work is not going to begin until the second year. What do I need to do to have partial funds released?

Please complete Request for Fund Release Prior to Animal Ethics Review form and submit to the Animal Care Office for approval. Once it's approved, the Grants Officer will set up an account for partial funds. Release of full funding is subject to a valid animal care certificate.

Can I put all my research funding into one account?

Generally no, as most agencies require separate reporting for each grant.

I have been awarded by a U.S. sponsor. How do I manage my award in light of exchange difference?

UBC research accounts are maintained in Canadian dollars. The award is converted to an estimated Canadian dollar amount when the budget is established. The exchange difference will be adjusted as payments are received. The exchange rate risks are the responsibilities of the PIs. When Canadian Dollar is strong, this may result in unanticipated decrease in budget, and, PIs may not have sufficient remaining funds to cover this cost. Please note in the case of National Institute of Health, supplements due to currency fluctuation is an unallowable cost. Once an award is made, NIH will not routinely make adjustments for currency exchange fluctuations through the issuance of supplemental awards. See Circular NOT-OD-09-010.

I am a postdoctoral fellow awarded an external fellowship. How do I get paid?

Your salary and your research/travel allowance (if any) are administered by your supervisor. ORS sets up an account once we have received the award notification and a copy of the application with the required signatures. Applications from the Faculty of Medicine also require an Application Cover Sheet. 

Procedures for charging expenses vary by department/faculty; please ask your supervisor about how to charge expenses to your account.

I am a graduate student awarded an external graduate student award. How do I get paid?

Your salary is administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Your research/travel allowance is administered by your supervisor. ORS will set up this account upon award notification and a copy of the application with required signatures. Applications from the Faculty of Medicine also require an Application Cover Sheet.

Procedures for charging expenses vary by department/faculty; please ask your supervisor about how to charge expenses to your account.

I have received an external graduate award with a research and travel allowance. I've indicated in my research proposal that human/animal/biohazardous materials will be used. Do I need ethical approval?

Yes, if the research/ travel allowance will be used for research project involving human/animal/biohazardous materials, please ensure the appropriate ethical approval is in place. 

UBC Animal Ethics approval

UBC Biosafety approval

UBC Human Ethical approval

I need more time to use my Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) funds. Can I get an extension on my account, and if so, what do I need to do?

A one-year automatic extension are allowed for all CIHR grants and some NSERC and SSHRC grant programs. Check agency’s guideline for exemption where researcher must make a request prior to the end date of the award. See the section entitled Extension Period for Use of Funds Beyond a Grant Period on the NSERC website. To extend the end date of a non-Tri-Council account, ORS requires written approval from the granting agency.

My one-year automatic extension is expiring on my NSERC or SSHRC account I need more time to use the funds. Can I request another extension?

UBC holds a special NSERC and SSHRC General Research Fund (GRF) account in trust for the broad purpose of enhancing the quality of research culmination. These NSERC and SSHRC GRF accounts are funded from unspent funds remaining in NSERC and SSHRC project accounts after they expire. Once a project has expired, extension to the end date can only be made by special request to Prof. Purang Abolmaesumi (Sciences & Engineering Research Advisor, NSERC) and Dr. Lisa Sundstrom (Social Sciences & Humanities Research Advisor, SSHRC) with details on project, PG number, why the extension is required and with a budget justification on the requested amount.

To apply for access to UBC NSERC Emergency Fund funded by the NSERC GRF, please see the Application Guidelines.

Reporting to Agencies 

I need to submit a progress report for my project. Will I receive a reminder?

Some agencies may send reminders to you directly but it is your responsibility to read the terms & conditions attached to your award and set yourself a reminder to submit the required documents.

Are there any ICMJE registration requirements for clinical trial study? 

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) requires that clinical trials are registered at the start. Trials that are not registered at onset will not be considered for publication. ICMJE represents the major health science journals worldwide, so registration is essential to ensure eligibility for publication.

ICMJE defines clinical trials as “Any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention and comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between the medical intervention and the health outcome.” Medical intervention is to be interpreted broadly to include drugs, devices, surgical procedures, behavioural or management studies which have the intent to modify a health outcome.

In general, all Phase III studies will need to be registered. However, Phase I and some Phase II studies are excluded.

The Principal Investigator of a clinical trial is responsible for registering the trial with the US National Library of Medicine via ClinicalTrials.gov, and registration is free. For multi-centre studies, the Principal Investigator at UBC/affiliated sites should verify that the trial has been registered by the sponsor (or the overall Principal Investigator if the study is run from another site).

The UBC Research Ethics Boards expect that the Principal Investigator will register and will continue to update the registration information at ClinicalTrials.gov (e.g., when trial is complete or results are published). For more information, contact Dmitriy Ryabika; if you are affiliated with VCHRI, contact Susan O’Neil; if you are affiliated with C&W - BCCHRI, BCMHARI & WHRI, contact Nur Eisma.

I have received an NSERC Research Tools & Instruments grant. Why do I need to complete the RTI compliance form?

This is in compliance with the Tri-Council audit requirement. Please forward the completed RTI compliance form to UBC Supply Management.

What is the Tri-Council definition of eligible expenses for benefit costs for Postdoctoral Fellows?

There are two categories of PDFs, and the eligibility of benefit costs depends on the category of the PDF. If you are not sure whether a PDF is an employee or a trainee, please email Research & Trust Accounting.

PDF employees

Extended health and dental benefits are eligible expenses based on the following:

  • They are mandatory expenses for UBC where the grantee does not have the option to offer or not to offer these benefits because they are part of the terms and conditions of research staff employment. That is the case at UBC: PDFs are entitled to benefit coverage as part of their terms and conditions of employment. There is no option for research staff to enroll or not in extended health and dental benefits;
  • They are direct costs of the research for which the funds were awarded; and
  • They are included in the definition of non-discretionary benefits.

This means that if a PDF is employed to work on a research grant, the salary and the cost of the extended health and dental coverage are eligible expenses and can be paid out of the research grant.

PDF trainees or fellows

If the PDF trainee is receiving monies in lieu of benefits or receiving fellowship earnings, a Tri-Council grant cannot be charged for the cost of benefits (unlike the PDF employees).

PDF trainees are not permitted to receive benefits from Tri-Council grants. The stipend received by the trainee is intended to defray the cost of living while he/she is working to gain research experience and developing his/her skills as a researcher. The stipend is not intended to pay for his/her salary and benefits. In addition, the PDF trainee does not have an employment relationship with UBC which make the benefits not eligible for Tri-Council grants.
UBC has decided to extend the benefits of PDF employees to PDF trainees or fellows. The benefits that will be funded are the extended health, dental and EFAP. For more information on eligibility of trainees for PDF benefits, please visit www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty_relations/recruitmentguide/postdocstrainee.html.

The Provost's Office will fund the cost of benefits from April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011 (FY 2011) and the department or faculty will fund them starting April 1, 2011 and from then on. For FY 2011, use a department PG to charge the cost of benefits. Shortly after March 31, 2011, the Provost Office will arrange a budget transfer to reimburse the PG for the cost of benefits. Faculty Relations will monitor the implementation during this period.

Starting April 1, 2011, the department or faculty should expense the cost of benefits to a non-TriCouncil PG. The PG number should be indicated in the appointment form as an additional line and use the earning code BEN. The department or faculty will look after the proper implementation during this period.

Note: while the University will extend a PDF appointment to 5 years (providing the Dean has approved the extended term), NSERC salaries for postdoctoral fellows are limited to two years' support from the agency. Three years' support is acceptable, when justified, to attract exceptional foreign candidates. The three-year appointment must be offered up front and reported to the Agency with a written justification within one month of an offer being accepted. If the appointment is extended one year at a time, then the third year appointment must be approved by NSERC. In this case, a Dean's approval is not enough.