Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

Updated November 13, 2020

On June 23, the federal government announced details on the $450M Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF). The three-stage program will be administered by SSHRC on behalf of the Tri-Agency. Demonstration of need will be required for all stages; research that has been impacted and/or delayed entirely or partly is eligible.

CRCEF will provide support for two main research areas:

  1. Wage support (up to 75% for 12 weeks; $847/week maximum) for eligible research-related personnel who were paid from non-governmental sources (March 15 – August 29) (Stages 1 and 2, $325M).
  2. Incurred costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities (Stage 3, $125M).

Research-related personnel are those employed by universities or health research institutions who are working for faculty members conducting research, or who are working in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects). Principal investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.


Please contact crcefadmin@queensu.ca for any questions regarding the CRCEF program.

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) was announced on June 23 as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Queen’s University was notionally allocated ~$5.2M for eligible expenses during the first stage of the program. Recipient universities must adhere to the principles of responsible stewardship and transparency, and equity, diversity, and inclusion will be respected at all stages of the process of managing and distributing funds.

CRCEF Program Stewardship and Transparency

The Vice-Principal (Research), in collaboration with institutional research leadership, will oversee the distribution of all stages of funding, and the process to manage the funding requests and subsequent distribution for Stage 3. Queen’s is dedicated to excellence in research and research training for the benefit of Canadians through an equitable, diverse and inclusive research enterprise, including the management of the CRCEF program. Program stewardship is consistent with the Queen’s University research mission to advance societal knowledge through discovery and discourse that is founded on equity and diversity, as outlined in the Strategic Research Plan (PDF 145 KB). The Strategic Research Plan embraces and aims to advance the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force Report and the report on of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion (PICRDI). The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment, approved by Queen’s University Senate as the CRC Equity Plan was established in 2017. View the CRC Equity Plan

Any decisions made by the decision-making body as outlined below regarding the allocation of CRCEF funds align with the institutional objectives of building a culture of diversity and actively removing discrimination and barriers to inclusion.

Key activities of the CRCEF program oversight include:

  • Leadership by the Vice-Principal (Research) and all Faculty Associate Deans of Research in the decision-making process. The committee reviewing the final CRCEF submission has representation from equity-seeking groups, and Vice-Principal (Research) and University staff will provide expertise on the inclusion of equity, diversity and Indigeneity principles in any decision-making
  • Decision-makers will have completed specific training requirements, including the review of training modules from the University Equity Office, which focuses on racism in a pandemic, as well as the Canada Research Chairs Unconscious Bias Training Module. Faculty operational leads involved in the collection of data and/or participating in outreach to the research community regarding CRCEF have also completed the CRC unconscious bias training module.
  • In the final review of the CRCEF submission, the committee will uphold the following EDI principles, ensuring equitable treatment of a diverse research enterprise:
    • Recognition of research that is non-traditional, based on Indigenous ways of knowing, outside the mainstream of a discipline, or focused on issues of gender, race or minority status.
    • Explicit recognition of Indigenous epistemologies, Indigenous research methodologies as well as the fundamental value of relationship building in research.
    • Alignment with the university statement on flexibility and support for employees with caregiving responsibilities;
    • Inclusion of all eligible expenses for review and consideration, not limited by restrictions on the value of eligible expenses or area of research.

The call for Stage 3 applications will be distributed widely, through a variety of channels (email, web-based, and targeted), to ensure that all eligible to apply for the funds are aware of this resource and their eligibility. Applications will not operate on a first-come-first-served basis. Throughout the open eligibility period, the program will continue to be promoted at Research Town Halls and other similar events. To further ensure an inclusive communication strategy, all principal investigators have been contacted directly via a survey tool and program information has been distributed broadly and at multiple levels to promote awareness of the program and the importance of equity and inclusion within administration of the program. Outreach sessions have been carried out with various institutional representatives on the need to safeguard the process from the potential for unconscious bias, explicitly seeking input on the process to uphold EDI principles as outlined above.

Preliminary indication is the notional amount allocated to Queen’s is sufficient to meet the demand for reimbursement of all eligible expenses per the program requirements; however, if Queen’s does not have adequate CRCEF funding to fully fund all identified eligible expenses, and are unable to secure additional CRCEF funds to meet the demand of the program, a recommendation will be made to the decision-making committee to prorate available funding to a consistent and equitable percentage for all claimants.   

Contact Information

The following University official has oversight for the CRCEF program and is responsible for ensuring the equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy of the program is upheld:

Kimberly Woodhouse
Vice-Principal (Research)
vpresearch@queensu.ca


Distribution of CRCEF funding to an affiliated health research institution

The CRCEF program awarded Stage 1 funding to universities and their affiliated health research institutions on the basis of a formula that was applied to each institution’s annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total research income from all non-governmental sources as indicated in the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) research income reports.

The Stage 1 funds were awarded to Queen’s University and the affiliated health research institution, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). Funds to KHSC were then allocated in accordance with the proportionate share of the funds awarded to each institution. The share of allocation earned was determined by each institution’s share of the average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total research income from all non-governmental sources outlined in the CAUBO research income report. Similar to Queen’s, KHSC did not demonstrate need for funding via Stage 2. On behalf of the University and our affiliate health research institute, Queen’s will apply for Stage 3 funding. The initial notional allocation will be calculated based on the annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of total Research income from all sources per the CABUO research income report. The final allocation will be distributed based on demonstrated need. For the purposes of generating the Stage 3 application, all eligible research projects and associated expenses will be considered for support and reimbursement.

Queen’s, together with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), submitted a Stage 1 application to CRCEF on July 7. The Stage 1 allocation was awarded to Queen’s July 22nd.  

Throughout the launch of Stage 1, Vice-Principal Research, Human Resources and Research Accounting coordinated with faculties to gather information to identify all eligible expenses per the program requirements, facilitate reimbursement of accounts and assess institutional need for Phase 2. Based on the eligible expenses identified during Stage 1, the university its affiliate did not demonstrate a need for Stage 2 and moved directly to Stage 3.

In alignment with program requirements of the CRCEF, EDI practices and considerations will be upheld at all stages of the program. All eligible research projects will be reviewed and all PIs supported through the application process; there are no limits or funding caps based on fields of research or inability to work during the pandemic.

Please contact crcefadmin@queensu.ca for any questions regarding Stage 1.

Overview

Stage 3 of this program is to support direct costs of research and eligible expenses include costs incurred between March 15, 2020 and  November 15, 2020,  and associated with the following:

1.  Cost incurred associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes:

  • 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.

2.  Costs incurred associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:

  • 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, and a direct expense to research projects, 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, 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.

Ramp-down costs are not eligible.

Please note, salaries of research personnel can be eligible for partial reimbursement (up to 75%) via Stage 3 relief, for the period August 30, 2020 to November 15th, 2020 – provided they meet the Stage 3 eligibility criteria.

For additional information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions for Stage 3.

Process

Applications for Stage 3 CRCEF funding can be submitted by Principal Investigators, from both Queen’s and Kingston Health Sciences Research Centre. PIs or research project administrators must work with their faculty office to submit the necessary information to the Vice-Principal Research as required by the CRCEF program administrators. Similar to Stage 1, the federal government requires one consolidated submission from each institution.

A CRCEF Stage 3 survey was circulated to all active PIs in October; results from that survey have been consolidated and provided to each faculty program lead to ensure all PIs who identified as having, or potentially having, eligible expenses are contacted to ensure all eligible expenses are included in the consolidated university claim. Faculty administrators will work collaboratively with PIs to compile eligible expense information to facilitate the university’s Stage 3 claim. Support is available from both Research Accounting and Vice-Principal Research.

Queen’s Internal Deadline

A reporting template for Stage 3 has been provided to faculty representatives who are coordinating responses with PIs and other research administrators. The template must be submitted to the Vice-Principal Research by Tuesday, November 24th, 2020. The institutional submission is due December 15, 2020.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to crcefadmin@queensu.ca should you have any additional questions.

As a result of the continuing impact of the pandemic on the research community, the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) has launched an additional CRCEF stage for wage support - Stage 4. Stage 4 extends the maximum duration of wage support for eligible research personnel from 12 weeks to 24 weeks. Essentially this is an extension of relief from Stage 1. The eligibility period for wage support remains the same as it did for Stage 1: From March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.  

Similarly, Stage 4 funds will be used exclusively for wage support for research personnel whose salaries were adversely affected by COVID-19 and who were paid in part or in whole by non-governmental sources, up to a maximum of 75% of the incurred expenses. Should the total of all institutions’ demonstrated need to exceed the funding available at Stage 4, payments to institutions will be pro-rated. For additional information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions for Stage 4.

Data is coded and extracted from the financial management system based solely on Government of Canada eligibility requirements. The data is cross-checked and verified for completeness at multiple levels; the institutional program leads also review applications for data accuracy and expense eligibility.

Queen’s Internal Deadline

In order to qualify for Stage 4 relief, Queen’s is required to demonstrate the need for funding and all data regarding eligible research personnel salary and benefit expenses, as defined by the program, must be submitted to the Vice-Principal Research by Tuesday, November 24, 2020. A reporting template has been provided to faculty representatives who are coordinating responses with PIs. The institutional submission is due November 30, 2020. Throughout the process, support is available from both Research Accounting and Vice-Principal Research.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to crcefadmin@queensu.ca should you have any additional questions. Similarly, if you were not contacted regarding Stage 1, but believe you are eligible for funding, please contact the email address provided above.