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Research Grant Applications and Fund Administration Procedure

Effective Date: February 25, 2013
Downloadable Version: PDF ICON Research Grant Applications and Fund Adminstration Procedure
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This procedure specifies the terms and conditions by which research grants will be reviewed and approved and how associated funds will be administered at the Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.


Direct Cost: a cost that is easily and accurately identified in research proposals or contracts. Examples of direct costs include, but are not limited to, wages and benefits of research personnel, materials, supplies, travel, equipment, and rental of space.[i]

Indirect Cost: a cost in a research project that cannot be easily identified and charged to a particular research project but which is incurred by the college and allows research projects to take place. Indirect costs can include such financial considerations as: depreciation of building and equipment, maintenance (including utilities, waste disposal, and security), insurance, financial administration (including purchasing and accounting), and libraries.[ii]

Principal Applicant or Principal Investigator: an individual who is responsible for preparing and submitting the grant. This will also be the individual responsible for the management of the project and budget in compliance with granting agency guidelines, and Humber policies.

Co-applicant or Co-investigator: is a member of the research team whose skills and/or education is essential to carrying out some part of the proposed project, for example data analyses. A Humber employee who will be involved should be included as a Co-applicant if they meet the definition of the granting agency. The co-applicant will be normally be involved in the development of some sections of the proposal, but not responsible for its completion or submission.

Faculty Lead: is a co-applicant whose participation is essential to the performance of the research activities supported by the contract or grant. The Faculty Lead will normally be a Humber employee with essential training and experience to develop the methodology and lead the research activities. There will typically be one or more Faculty Leads for institutional grants, where the Principal Applicant is required to be an administrative staff member. Refer also to section 2.2 below for more details on Faculty Lead responsibilities.

Research Grant: a fund provided in aid of the independent research activities of a faculty or staff member. Normally, grant recipients are expected to use the funds as outlined in the grant proposal and to contribute the results from the research to the public domain without undue delay. The research methodology is usually developed by the Principal Applicant and co-applicants, not under the direction or in collaboration with the granting agency. Grant agencies will not typically make any claim to Intellectual Property generated from projects they fund. Grant programs may be offered by federal or provincial agencies (e.g., Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), non-profit organizations, or foundations (e.g., Ford Foundation, Fulbright Foundation).[iii]

Sponsor: An individual, company, institution or organization which takes responsibility for the initiation, management, and/or financing of a research project.


[i] Adapted from University of Toronto’s Policy on Research Contracts and the Recovery of Indirect Costs of Research.

[ii] Adapted from University of Toronto’s Policy on Research Contracts and the Recovery of Indirect Costs of Research.

[iii] Adapted from University of Ottawa’s policy on Grants and Contracts Administered by the University.



1. Research Grant Applications

Although grants normally come with fewer obligations than research contracts, they often involve substantial use of institutional resources and sometimes require a financial contribution made by the host institution in order to qualify. Therefore, any Humber employee who wishes to apply for a research grant will prepare a proposal for internal review and approval as outlined in sections 1.2 and 1.3. This review will provide the opportunity to identify: acceptable use of Humber services and resources, compliance with other relevant Humber policies (such as the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans policy), the appropriateness of the requested funds and any liability associated with the proposed grant proposal.

1.1 Research Grant Applications

1.1.1 Any Humber employee who intends to apply for funding from an external granting  organization should contact the Humber Research Office as early as possible to  ensure the proper administrative steps are followed.
1.1.2 Employees applying for a grant must provide evidence that their supervisor (Dean  or Director) is aware of and supports the project before the application process is  started.
1.1.3 Applications should be prepared in collaboration with the Research Office. Applications should conform to the requirements of the granting agency, and will usually include the following:

        • The name and contact information for the Principal Applicant;
        • Names and contact information of other individuals directly involved in the research (co-applicants);
        • A detailed description of what will be done, who will be involved, how data will be collected, and how results will be analyzed and disseminated (research proposal). The proposal will also include details on the expectations and time to be committed of all team members, including all co-applicants;
        • Project timelines, including expected start and end dates, and milestones;
        • A budget and detailed budget justification that describes the direct costs of the research project and how the costs will be covered by funds from the research grant and what the Humber contribution is (see also 5.3 below);
        • A list of College services and resources (including human resources) to be used for recovery of indirect costs of the project, if permitted by the granting agency. The indirect costs of research are to be calculated as 40% of the total direct costs of the project. Any indirect costs not recovered by the granting agency must be included as an in-kind contribution by the College to the project;
        • Any restrictions affecting intellectual property resulting from the research;
        • The signature of the Principal Applicant verifying that s/he accepts responsibility for the proposed research and other responsibilities, as stipulated in subsections 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 of this policy, should the grant be awarded; and,
        • Evidence that the co-applicants have read the grant application, have the qualifications required for their roles as described in the research proposal, and are ready and able to assume responsibility for their role. Faculty lead approval of the application will also serve to verify acceptance of conditions in 2.2 of this policy, see below.

1.2 Budget Development Process for Grants

Applicants will work directly with the Research Office to develop the research project  budget. It is advised that applicants contact the Research Office as early as possible in  the process to minimize the negative effects of delays.

The full cost of the project must be fully calculated, and should clearly differentiate  between direct and indirect costs. All budgets must also clearly state who is covering the  cost.

The operating budget should include i. Direct Costs, ii. Indirect Costs and iii. Proposed sources of funding,, which will include any or all of the following,:

i. Direct Costs:

a. Salaries, stipends and/or honoraria for research project personnel;
b. Supplies required to conduct the research;
c. Equipment that must be purchased, if an allowable expense, and associated operating and/or maintenance costs;
d. Travel costs, either to conduct the research or for meetings/conferences;
e. Other knowledge dissemination;
f. Other costs as appropriate.

ii. Indirect Costs:

a. Infrastructure resources to conduct the research including space, equipment and maintenance costs;
b. Salary for research support services employees in departments such as Finance, Research Ethics Board, the Research Office, administrative staff, other as appropriate for the project;
c. Building maintenance and operating expenses such as heat, lighting, property taxes;
d. Other as appropriate for the proposal.

iii. Proposed Sources of Funding: The total budget should also include all sources of funding, potential or confirmed, including any and/or all of the following:

a. Amount requested from the granting agency
b. Cash contributions from the industry partner and/or sponsor. This would include supplies provided by the sponsor for the purposes of the project, new employees hired specifically for the project, and equipment that is purchased by the sponsor for the project, only if the equipment is to belong to Humber upon completion of the project
c. In-kind contributions from the sponsor. This includes salaries of existing staff who will donate some of their time to the project without additional compensation, and equipment or space that is being used for the project but which remains the property of the sponsor upon completion of the project
d. Cash contributions from Humber: Commitments of the college to hire new staff, equipment, supplies or other resources specifically for the project should be counted as cash
e. In-kind contributions from Humber: This would cover the salaries of current employees who are redirecting some of their time to the project. This should not include administrative staff from Finance or Human Resources as these salaries are covered under indirect costs
f. Cash and in-kind contributions from other sources: should be calculated and categorized according to the guidelines of Direct and Indirect costs, above

1.3 Approval Process for Submission of Grant Proposals

Research grant proposals will require approval in the sequence listed:

(1) School/Department Approval,
(2) Financial Approval of the Budget,
(3) Research Office Approval; and
(4) Appropriate Executive Approval

It is the responsibility of the Principal Applicant to allow adequate time for all of the following reviews and approvals to be completed. The Principal Applicant should contact the approvers well in advance of any deadlines to learn about plans for approvers to be out of office and to identify alternate approver(s), as necessary. Failure to provide adequate time to properly review may result in delays that jeopardize the timely submission of the application.

The following subsections provide details about each type of approval.

1.3.1 School/Department Approval
Research grants require initial approval by the Dean of the school or department of the individual applying for the grant (the Principal Applicant), the Faculty Lead, as appropriate, and other co-applicants. This approval must be obtained informally before the start of the application process, see 1.1.2; formal approval is required for the final, completed application. Approval by the Dean does not represent final approval for submission of grant applications. The Dean’s formal approval, provided by signature, will constitute:

        • that the terms and conditions of the proposed research outlined in the grant application are suitable to the school or department;
        • acceptance that the research is consistent with the school’s or department’s strategic objectives and will benefit students and faculty;
        • assurance that the research will be accommodated within the constraints of the available College facilities and resources;
        • assurance that the research will not conflict with the other responsibilities at the College of the applicant as either the Principal Applicant, Faculty Lead or co-applicant, as applicable;
        • acceptance that the school or department will be financially responsible for covering revenue shortfalls resulting from overspending on grant accounts, including indirect costs (see 3.3 below) ; and
        • Agreement that the Dean will immediately notify the Research Office of any change in the employment status of a Principal Applicant or Faculty Lead (see 3.4 of this policy, below).

If the proposal includes applicants from more than one department or school, approval must be obtained by the Deans of all applicants and co-applicants.

Grant proposals that obtain School/Department Approval should be forwarded to Financial Services and Planning for review and approval before it is forwarded to the Research Office.

1.3.2 Financial Approval of the Budget
The budget must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Financial Services and Planning prior to approval of the Research Office. It is highly recommended that applicants work closely with the Research Office in the development of the budget and justification prior to submitting to Finance for approval.

Signature of the Director of Financial Services and Planning indicates that the budget conforms to Humber standards and that the indirect costs have been appropriately budgeted.

1.3.3 Research Office Approval
The Research Office will review the research grant proposal to ensure that:

(1) The project aligns with Humber’s Applied Research Strategic Plan;
(2) The project conforms to and addresses applicable institutional policies, including Research Ethics Board approval, see 3.2;
(3) The proposal contains all appropriate, relevant and necessary elements and complete details are provided, including information about the roles and responsibilities of co-applicants;
(4) The budget, budget justification and project timelines are appropriate for the scope of work proposed; and
(5) All necessary approvals have been obtained.
Formal approval provided by the Dean, Research Office, by signature, will constitute that the preceding five criteria have been met in advance of executive approval.

1.3.4 Executive Approval
The signature of an authorized official is required at Humber as final, institutional approval for all research grant applications. The signature of the President will be required for final approval to submit grant applications. As appropriate, the President may delegate final approval to the VP, Academic or to the Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services. Furthermore, the President or designate will only review and consider research grant applications that have been approved as per 1.3 of this policy. In some cases, for small grants, Executive Approval may be delegated by the VPA to the Dean, Research Office. In these cases, the grant may be submitted after the Research Office has approved.

As authorized officials responsible to the College’s Board of Governors, the President or designate will use his/her discretion regarding implications of the grant proposal on the College, particularly as it concerns institutional liability. Therefore, along with authority to approve research grant proposals, the President or delegate may, at their sole discretion, seek counsel about, propose modifications to, or reject the research grant proposal, as deemed necessary.

2. Responsibilities

2.1 Principal Applicant Responsibilities
The Principal Applicant will be responsible for abiding by the terms and conditions outlined in the grant proposal. Specifically, the Principal Applicant assumes responsibility for:

      • The performance and completion of the work in full compliance with the proposal approved by the granting agency;
      • Ensuring all participants have the appropriate training and experience to perform the role and responsibilities as described in the proposal;
      • Ensuring that everyone working on the research project is aware of and agrees to comply with all applicable terms and conditions of the granting agency and of the College, especially those relating to publication, intellectual property, and confidentiality;
      • The management of the research fund account, once it is established, which includes authorizing expenditures in accordance with the budget;
      • Working closely with the Faculty Lead, as applicable, to ensure the project is moving forward as per the timelines and within the approved budget; and,
      • Ensuring that all relevant stakeholders including the Research Office, Deans of participating schools, and VPs who provided approval for the grant proposal, are informed as soon as possible of any circumstances which could prevent satisfactory completion of the research.

2.2 Faculty Lead Responsibilities
In all cases where a Faculty Lead is required, the Principal Applicant may delegate the following research operations, after the proposal has been approved and the grant has been secured:

      • Ordering supplies and tracking project expenses of the research fund account, however authorizing expenditures in accordance with the approved budget remains the responsibility of the Principal Applicant;
      • Supervising study personnel, including research assistants and students, as they perform project-related duties;
      • Preparing interim and final reports, though all documents submitted for internal and external review or approval must first be reviewed and approved by the Principal Applicant; and,
      • Ensuring that the Dean(s) associated with the project, the Research Office and, as appropriate, the President are informed as soon as possible of any circumstances which could prevent satisfactory completion of the project.

3. Research Grants and Fund Administration

Though 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 may be delegated by the Principal Applicant to an administrative assistant or research assistant, all grant-related documents and activity remain the responsibility of the Principal Applicant.

3.1 Record Keeping
The Principal Applicant is responsible for the following:

      • Ensuring that a copy of the submitted proposal with all necessary signatures is provided to the Research Office;
      • Providing a copy of the grant approval letter and final approved budget to the Research Office and Financial Services;
      • Keeping copies of all project-related expenses and a record of all salary expenditures.
      • Recording minutes for all project-related meetings.
      • Other as required for Research Ethics Board approval or the granting agency.

3.2 Administration and Management of Funds

After a grant proposal has been successfully funded, the Principal Applicant will be responsible for:

(1) Submitting the Research Ethics Board approval letter to the Research Office for research involving human participants, as appropriate. This approval must be obtained prior to the release of funds;
(2) Ensuring grant funds are utilized in compliance with the Granting agency guidelines and adhering to Humber Finance and Purchasing requirements;
(3) Preparing reports and submitting to Finance for review and approval prior in advance of the Granting agency deadlines; and,
(4) Authorizing expenditures in accordance with the budget approved by the Granting Agency.

Financial Services will be authorized to open an account for the research grant fund and will provide accounting services for the fund, according to generally accepted accounting principles. For institutional grants, funds will be managed by the Research Office. For grants awarded directly to a faculty Principal Applicant, funds may be managed as per the direction of the awardee’s Dean.

Financial Services will also provide an audited financial statement of the grant fund accounts, as may be required for reporting obligations. It is the responsibility of the Principal Applicant to work closely with Finance and to request audited financial statements in advance of reporting deadlines.

3.3 Recovery and Allocation of Indirect Costs

Provisions for the recovery of indirect costs of performing research activities will be included in all Humber research grant proposals, where permitted by the granting agency. The total indirect costs will be calculated at 40% of the total direct costs of the project. This amount should be recovered to the greatest extent possible, where permitted by the funding agency. The President has the authority collectively to adjust this rate on a case-by-case basis, as may be deemed appropriate. The Principal Applicant is responsible for ensuring that the requested budget includes as much of the indirect costs as possible. The Dean of the Principal Applicant’s Department is responsible to ensure that all direct and indirect costs that are not recovered by the grant will be covered by their Department.

The revenue received by Humber, as a recovery of indirect costs, will be distributed as follows:

      • 50% to Humber’s General Revenues;
      • 50% to the development fund of the Principal Applicant’s affiliation, department or school.

3.4 Change in the Status of Grant or Award Holders

The Dean of the Principal Applicant and/or Faculty Lead shall immediately notify the Dean of Research of any change in the employment status of a grant or award holder or essential co-investigator (Principal Applicant or Faculty Lead) so that the appropriate sponsoring agencies can be notified in a timely manner. The replacement of a Principal Applicant must be approved by the Dean of Research and the Granting Agency.

4. Policy Administration

The Dean of Research will be responsible for the administration of this policy and procedure and to monitor its effectiveness.