Lifespan of a Research Grant

The VPR Portfolio is here to help you navigate the lifespan of your grant from the initial application to project completion. Depending on the specific details of the grant, the steps outlined below may vary.

Flowchart showing the Lifespan of a research grant

As a very first step, we encourage you to contact a Pre-Award Research Project Advisor (RPA) specific to your discipline.

Throughout the process, an RPA can help you by:

  • Meeting with you early-on to discuss your specific projects and funding needs.
  • Advising and disseminating funding opportunities that may be a good fit.
  • Helping you to understand the specifics of a funding call and reaching out to the agency with any questions/clarifications as needed.
  • Performing an administrative review of your grant application and budget.
    • Administrative review: An RPA will screen your grant application materials including the proposal and budget to make sure that it meets the requirements of the funding guidelines and aligns with Queen’s policies. Specifically:
      • If your application mentions contributions from Queen’s (either cash or in-kind), confirmation from an authorized person (department head and in some cases Associate Dean Research) will be needed.
      • If your application involves intellectual property and patents, an RPA will help run the relevant description by the Research Contracts Unit to make sure that your interests as a Queen’s research are protected.
      • If overhead is an eligible expense, the rate needs to comply with Queen’s indirect costs policy.
  • Performing a content review of your grant application materials.
    • Content review: An RPA will review all sections of your grant application including the research proposal, budget, budget justification, roles and responsibilities, biosketch CV, etc.  They will check for consistency, cohesiveness, and formatting of your proposal, and provide detailed editing feedback and suggestions for clarity of the written content, flow, and readability as well as overall “grantsmanship”.  Note that this is not a scientific review.
  • Obtaining institutional signatures and/or support letters if required.

RPAs frequently hold Information Sessions, Panel Discussions, and Bootcamps related to the large, recurring funding competitions for each of the Tri-Agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR).

The Researcher Resources website offers several helpful links related to various aspects of the grant application including:

Obtaining scientific review from your peers both internal and external to Queen’s is critical to writing a competitive proposal.  Requesting an administrative and content review by your discipline-specific RPA will also ensure that it meets agency and institutional guidelines, and further strengthen your application. Sending your draft application to an RPA is strongly encouraged even if an institutional signature is not required.

To ensure sufficient time for these reviews to occur, please send a penultimate draft (proposal + budget) to the RPA at least 10 business days before the application deadline. Note that for the high-volume Tri-Council competitions (NSERC Discovery Grants, SSHRC Insight Grants, CIHR Project Grants, New Frontiers in Research Fund, etc.) internal deadlines for review and submission are announced prior to each agency’s deadline.  These dates are always clearly indicated well in advance on the External Funding webpage for discipline-specific funding opportunities. 
 

To receive pre-submission approvals by your department head, your faculty associate dean research and hospital administrators (if required), you must complete a TRAQ DSS at least 5 business days in advance of the application deadline (for non-hospital-based research) and at least 15 business days in advance (for hospital-based research). 

Grant applications may require a signature from the department head, faculty, or authorized official of the university (i.e., institutional signature).  
Please follow these steps to request an institutional signature: 

  1. Submit a TRAQ DSS (see timeline requirements in Step Five)
  2. Complete all sections of the agency’s application signature page (and obtain all required signatures other than the institutional signature) 
  3. Send the signature page, research proposal and budget to your discipline-specific RPA for administrative review and to coordinate signing.  NOTE: the signature page will not be returned to the applicant until the necessary TRAQ DSS approvals are in place.

IMPORTANT - If you fail to obtain the necessary institutional signatures, your application may be considered ineligible by the granting agency.

You will either submit your proposal directly to the funding agency or the university will be required to submit on your behalf. Review the agency guidelines carefully to follow the correct submission process. 

Once you receive a notice that your grant application has been successful, contact your discipline-specific post-award Research Facilitator (RF) and send them the Notice of Award (NOA).  Some funding agencies will provide a Conditional NOA prior to the final NOA.  The final NOA will list specific terms and conditions, dates associated with the award, and the amount funded.  Funding will not be released until the final NOA is received.
The post-award RF is your primary contact now that your grant has been awarded.  RFs are responsible for:

  1. Reviewing the Notice of Award.
  2. Confirming that all required certifications are approved.
  3. Liaising with the Research Contracts Unit to ensure that all required contracts are executed.
  4. Assisting with the completion of subaward documents.
  5. Facilitating the creation of your project account with Research Accounting.
  6. Helping with the acceptance, maintenance, and any amendments to your award (i.e., transfer of funds, project extensions, change of Principal Investigator).

Complete any certification processes that are required for your research project (e.g., animal care, human ethics, biohazard, conflict of interest). Contact a Research Facilitator when you have received all the required approvals (typically, funds will not be released until certifications are approved).  A request for Early Release of Funds can be submitted enabling researchers to access a limited portion of the total research funds prior to acquiring the approvals/certifications. 

If your grant requires a contract (e.g., intellectual property agreement, industry research funding agreement) the Research Facilitator will coordinate with the Research Contracts Unit (RCU) to ensure that this is reviewed or drafted.  RCU will assign a reviewer and will work directly with the Principal Investigator and partner organization (if applicable) to negotiate terms, gather the necessary signatures, and execute the contract to enable release of funds.  Please note: funds for your grant will not be released until the contract is fully executed. 

Learn about Research Ethics 
Learn about Environmental Health and Safety certifications
 

Once all certifications are in place, the Research Facilitator will ask Research Accounting to set up your project and will include you in this message. Research Accounting will send a follow up email to you requesting a full budget and Signature Authority form.  They will aim to have the account set up within 10 business days of receiving the budget and Signing Authority form.  You will be informed when your project has been set up and the funds are available for use.

Research Facilitator and Research Accounting will support, maintain, and close the file when the funding period ends. For grant amendments please contact your Research Facilitator who can assist with the completion of appropriate forms.  The RF will also coordinate with Queen’s internal units and the funding agency to facilitate any changes needed.  Grant amendments may include the following: change of PI, change of intern, no-cost extensions, supplemental funding, change of team members, the addition of a co-applicant, retirements and resignations, transferring grants to another institution, and submission of progress reports (e.g., for NIH grants). When the funding term is completed, the TRAQ file will be closed.

Flowchart showing the Workflow Approvals for Research Grants Funding