How To Apply for Funding
IMPORTANT: Respecting Internal Deadlines
RMS establishes its own deadlines for grant applications to external funding agencies at two weeks prior to the agency deadline. Since a large volume of applications is received by RMS as the deadlines approach, it is extremely important that deadlines be met for the application to be fully processed and delivered to the agency on time. This is especially important for larger agencies such as NSERC, CIHR, or SSHRC.
For smaller funding agencies, RMS asks that applications be delivered within a "reasonable" time prior to the agency deadline. Please call RMS at (613) 562-5841 or consult the RMS main page to keep up-to-date on internal deadlines.
For more details, contact your Faculty's Research Facilitator.
General Guidelines on How to Prepare a Proposal
Presenting a strong research project is important, but the appearance of your proposal is also crucial. Here are some helpful hints to guide you in the preparation of your potentially winning proposal.
A successful proposal will convince the Selection Committee that your project deserves their support. With this in mind, proposals should:
- Explain objectives, the reasoning behind the importance of the proposed research, and what the impact of the findings will be on the discipline
- Explain and support the methodological approach described
- Outline the risks and pitfalls, explaining how they will be overcome and if they cannot be overcome, outline alternative plans
- Outline the resources needed to carry out the project and the additional resources requested for the proposed work
- Explain your plan for accessing external, peer-reviewed funding
- Give an expected timeframe for the performance of the research
- Explain plans for the dissemination of the project results
If you are a new researcher, you should include a brief description of any prior work completed; this will illuminate the promise of your research ideas. If no such projects have been performed, this should be mentioned in the proposal.
If you are an established researcher pursuing a new research orientation, you should outline the results of former project(s) and explain why the former direction is no longer being pursued.
Addressing Your Audience
Remember you are addressing an informed, multidisciplinary Selection Committee. Provide enough information to allow your proposal to be easily understood by people outside your discipline. Your proposal should be:
- Legible, applications must be typed, use headings and adhere to page count restrictions
- Coherent, the proposal should be self-explanatory
Most agencies require that an applicant be a Canadian resident or a permanent resident of Canada holding an academic appointment in a Canadian university or affiliated institution. The applicant must have a full-time or part-time academic appointment as a tenured, tenure-track or life-time professor emeritus position. If the applicant has a part-time academic appointment, or has an adjunct status, the eligibility to apply for funding is based on their contract with the University.
The applicant must not be engaged in research under the direction of another individual and must be authorized to supervise or co-supervise undergraduate students or post-doctoral fellows.
These are only general eligibility criteria. Please consult the selected agency guidelines for exact requirements.
Internal Approvals and RE Forms
Once a funding agency has been chosen, you should obtain the application form specific to the agency.
When applying for a grant to an external agency:
- Follow the stated guidelines in providing the information requested to describe the research project;
- Fill out the University's application form entitled "Request for Funds to an Outside Agency" which is available through eAwards, ensuring that all necessary approvals and signatures are obtained
- Send the completed application (including appropriate certificates) to Research Management Services prior to the deadline set by the University and/or the agency.
Authorization (Who signs on behalf of the University?)
The Director of Research Management Services has signing authority on all grants applications and proposals in the name of the University of Ottawa, with the exception of international grants which are administered by the International Cooperation Office.
If the Director is not available, the Assistant Director – Research Operations also has the authority to sign grant applications in the name of the University.
For more detailed information, please refer to the section Applications and Proposals of Policy 48 in the Manual of Policies and Procedures of the University of Ottawa.
It is mandatory that the agency deadlines be met in order for the application to be accepted by the agency. Missing a deadline usually means the rejection of an application. The internal deadlines, which are usually set by the University at two weeks prior to the agency deadlines, must be respected due to the high volume of applications that need processing at the Research Management Services as the agency deadlines approach.
Researchers who hold appointments at the University of Ottawa and at one of its teaching hospitals may elect to have the University administer funds provided by external sponsors in support of clinical trials.
In such cases, the University must be a signatory to the agreement with the research sponsor. In addition, the hospital must be aware of and must agree to the clinical trial. Approval from the hospital's Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board is required and such approvals are accepted by the appropriate University Ethics Committee except where part of the work is being done on University premises or the trial involves University students as subjects.
In the latter cases, approval is also required from the appropriate University Ethics Committee. Researchers should contact the Assistant Director - Contracts and Technology at the Office of Research Management Services as early as possible when beginning discussions for a possible clinical trial which they wish to have administered through the University.
General Guidelines on How to Prepare Your Budget
When preparing a budget for a project, it is critical to budget realistically. The cost proposal should reflect the researcher's best estimate of the actual cost to perform the work, including appropriate overheads and a contingency for unexpected costs.
The danger of underestimation is that the resulting grant or contract will not provide sufficient resources to perform the work. For contracts, if the sponsor's resources are limited (as is often the case), the researcher must question whether or not the planned work can be accomplished within the proposed budget. If not, the researcher should re-examine the scope of the work and discuss it with the funding agency to determine if it can be narrowed or focused more specifically to meet the sponsor's objectives within the available financial resources.
Avoid over-estimating or under-estimating your budget since either of these results will indicate to the reviewers that costs for the project has not been carefully assessed. The danger of overestimation is that it increases our costs making us uncompetitive, and causing the sponsor to question our ability to perform a cost-effective job.
Do not forget to include an appropriate allowance for inflation when preparing the budget for longer term projects, unless this is explicitly forbidden by the sponsor's policies. Salaries are particularly susceptible to adjustments over the life of a grant or contract, both for inflation and progress through the ranks.
Budget Justification and Need
Your application should provide a one page budget justification for your proposed research activity and clearly explain and justify all requested items. In other words, if you request funds for a research assistant, be specific about what tasks the student will be asked to perform, the length of time of each task and how they will assist the student's professional development in the discipline. Explain why you need "X" number of assistants. If you require equipment, for example, give a brief justification of the type of equipment needed. Demonstrate that you have done your due diligence and are getting the best cost relative to that of competitors for the same equipment. The need for the equipment must also be justified in terms of what is already available in the department or academic unit. Never assume such budgetary details to be self-evident.
Use rounded figures as this will facilitate the reading of the budget justification. Moreover, there should be congruence between the research activity and the requested budget items so that reviewers examining your application can, at a glance, correlate the research activities with their corresponding budget items.
Clearly explain why it is important that you get support from the IRND. List other research support that you hold for this project, support you have applied for, and intend to apply for to fund this project. It is important to clearly explain why IRND support is needed relative to other available resources.
Ownership of Equipment
Unless there are contractual obligations or granting agency regulations are to the contrary, equipment, including computers, purchased with research funds administered by the University of Ottawa belongs to the University of Ottawa.
Many granting agencies make no claim on intellectual property developed under their grants. As such, the University of Ottawa's procedures depicted in the Policy 29 apply.
Some granting agencies, especially medical research foundations are beginning to impose claims on intellectual property developed under their funding.
Researchers should carefully review program literature before applying for funding and should ensure that they understand and agree to any conditions relating to intellectual property when accepting funding from any granting agency.
General Guidelines on How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
You CV should highlight research activities, scholarly achievements, contributions to the University, etc., and provide a list of publications and other contributions. Do not be misleading. For the purposes of the IRND program only, the CV should be limited to nine pages.
- Highlight research activities, qualifications, professional and scholarly, graduate supervisions, honors received, and contributions to the University, etc.
- Provide a list of your publications, clearly distinguishing between the different categories (i.e., books, book chapters, refereed journal articles, refereed conference proceedings, etc.)
- Clearly indicate the status of your works (i.e. submitted, pending publication, and published, etc.)
- Provide a list of all grants (external and internal, but excluding salary conversions) received during the past seven years
- Lists should be in reverse chronological order within each given category