CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF)Lakehead University Institutional Allocation Plan

Policy Category: 
Research
Approved By: 
PPG
Effective Date: 
February 21, 2012
CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF)
Lakehead University Institutional Allocation Plan

Lakehead University receives an Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) allocation that contributes to the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with eligible projects funded by the CFI to maximize the efficient utilization of research infrastructure and to ensure the infrastructure is operational and ready for research. All CFI projects approved after July 1, 2001, are eligible to receive IOF, with the exception of projects funded under the Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund and the International funds. Eligible projects generate an IOF allocation to the institution of 30 percent of the CFI amount approved at award finalization. Each institution is responsible for deciding how to distribute the IOF allocation among its eligible projects.

This policy applies immediately to all CFI Projects awarded with a date of final decision made after June 2008. For CFI projects awarded prior to this date, this policy will take effect April 1, 2013 upon submission of the IOF Annual Report on Expenditures and Request for Next Instalment.

Guiding Principles
Lakehead University has been given the responsibility and authority by CFI to allocate the IOF funds among its eligible finalized projects admissible under the IOF in accordance with its Institutional Allocation Plan. Lakehead University will distribute its IOF allocation based on actual operating and maintenance needs, as opposed to allocating the exact amount to the project that generated it. The IOF gives institutions maximum flexibility to support projects with different needs and scope, while ensuring accountability.

If the CFI equipment and infrastructure costs (i.e., renovations) are located in a centrally managed facility that receives operating funds from the University (i.e., Technology Services Centre, the Lakehead University Instrumentation Laboratory, the Lakehead University Paleo-DNA Laboratory, Biology Aquatics Facility, Lakehead University Animal Care Facility, the Biorefining Research Institute, etc.) the IOF grant application will be initiated and submitted by the Manager/Director of that centrally managed facility in cooperation with the Project Leader. In such instances, the lead signing authority on the IOF grant account will be given to the Manager/Director of the centrally managed facility. The actual costs of operating and maintaining the infrastructure in a centralized facility must be included in the IOF application in order to gain approval from the Vice-President Research, Economic Development and Innovation (VPREDI).

Based on need and eligible expenditures (see Appendix A for CFI's IOF eligible expenditures), Project Leaders and/or Managers/Directors of centrally managed facilities may be awarded up to 80% of the IOF allocation generated by their project. In the case where only part of the infrastructure is located in a centrally managed facility, the IOF will be prorated based on the value of the research infrastructure (equipment and renovations) located in the participating CFI project laboratories and central facilities. Unallocated IOF funds will remain in the University's IOF Reserve Fund to address future operational and maintenance needs of eligible infrastructure projects.

Prior to requesting funding from the IOF, each Project Leader/Manager/Director of centrally managed facilities (if applicable), in cooperation with their Dean/Department Chair is expected to:

  • identify synergies between CFI-funded projects and submit joint proposals (i.e., hiring of shared technicians), whenever possible, for more efficient use of the IOF funding and to avoid any inappropriate duplication of expenses;
  • attempt to identify operating funding from other sources prior to requesting funding from the IOF.
Applications for the IOF grant may only be submitted once to the Office of Research Services (ORS). It is expected that Project Leaders and/or Managers/Directors of centrally managed facilities will normally apply for the IOF within six months of the completion of the CFI project (infrastructure has been installed and is in state of readiness for conducting research). If an application is not submitted within six months, the project's IOF funds may be allocated to other CFI eligible projects or remain in the University IOF Reserve fund. There is no maximum number of years for which IOF can be claimed, as long as the infrastructure is still being used for research purposes during the period claimed.

Lakehead University's ORS and Office of Financial Services will administer the IOF in accordance with the CFI Policy and Program Guide and CFI Award Agreements. The ORS, where possible, will assist Project Leaders, Deans/Department Chairs and Managers/Directors of centrally managed facilities with identifying synergies between CFI-funded projects and potential duplication of expenses.

IOF Reserve Fund
The final decision regarding the process and allocation of the IOF Reserve Fund will be made by the VPREDI once sufficient funds have accumulated in the fund. Applications to the IOF Reserve Fund will only be considered in special circumstances (i.e., emergency equipment repairs) once a project's IOF allocation has been completely expended and if a strong rationale for additional funding, is made by the Project Leader or Manager/Director of the centrally managed facility.

Inter-Institutional Projects
In the case of inter-institutional projects, funds will be allocated according to demonstrated need, and in accordance with CFI IOF policies. This allocation will be negotiated and included as part of the required inter-institutional agreement at the time of CFI application
IOF Application Procedures and Decision Making Process
The following procedure will be followed when requesting funds from Lakehead University's IOF:
  1. The Office of Research Services will send each eligible CFI Project Leader and/or Manager/Director of the centrally managed facility (if applicable) an invitation to submit to a CFI IOF application form within six months of the CFI project end date (infrastructure has been installed and is in state of readiness for conducting research). The CFI IOF application form will indicate the amounts required for operations and maintenance on an annual basis. This form must also be accompanied by a one-page document with a short description of proposed expenditures and justification of all costs to be claimed under the IOF. If the operations and maintenance plan requires funds from the IOF to support personnel costs, a job description must be included in the budget justification. Personnel hired through the IOF must submit timecards to account for the time spent supporting the operations and maintenance of the CFI facility. Acceptance of the CFI IOF Application terms and conditions must be confirmed by the Project Leader and/or Manager/Director of the centrally managed facility, Department Chair and Faculty Dean prior to release of the first instalment of the IOF.
  2. Admissible costs for the IOF are the operating and maintenance costs directly related to the admissible infrastructure projects that are needed to ensure the infrastructure is in a 'state of readiness' to support the proposed program of research. The CFI assumes that any costs incurred directly as a result of acquiring the CFI-funded infrastructure are, by definition, incremental in nature: that is, they are additional costs incurred directly as a result of the acquisition of the infrastructure. Only the proportion of operation and maintenance costs associated with the research portion of the infrastructure is admissible. Budgets should be in accordance with eligible operating/maintenance costs as defined by CFI. Examples of admissible costs under the IOF can be found in Appendix A and CFI's program guidelines.
IOF Annual Report on Expenditures and Request for Next Instalment
Annually, the CFI Project Leader and/or Manager/Director of centrally managed facilities will be required to submit an updated annual expenditure report and a budget (forecasted cash flow) using the form entitled, 'CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund Annual Report on Expenditures and Request for Next Instalment' by May 31st to the Office of Research Services who will review proposed expenditures for continued eligibility. Please note that if the IOF utilized funds to support personnel costs, a Certification of Salary of IOF Technicians and Professionals form must be certified and submitted with the IOF Annual Report on Expenditures and Request for Next Instalment.

The IOF Annual Report and Request for Next Instalment will be approved by the VPREDI prior to the Office of Financial Services releasing the next IOF instalment to the Project Leader and/or Manager/Director, centrally managed facility.

The Office of Financial Services will incorporate all Project Annual Reports into the University's annual financial report to CFI for the IOF program. Please note that IOF instalments will not be transferred to the Project Leader's and/or Manager/Director centrally managed facility's IOF account for the subsequent year if the annual reports are not received by the May 31st deadline.

Appendix A
Eligible costs for the Infrastructure Operating Fund (CFI Program Guide 2010 - Section 4.6)
Under the Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF), the costs of operating and maintaining CFI-funded infrastructure are eligible. Unlike the majority of CFI's programs, no partner funding is required. An eligible operating and maintenance cost for the IOF must meet the following conditions:
  • the infrastructure item to which it relates must have been funded by the CFI (i.e. it appears on the Itemized list and/or the final financial report);
  • the CFI-funded infrastructure project to which it relates must have been approved after July 1, 2001. However, projects funded under the Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund and the international funds are not eligible for IOF;
  • the CFI-funded infrastructure project to which it relates must have passed the stage of award finalization. An Award agreement is thus in place for the project;
  • the operating and maintenance activities are needed to ensure the infrastructure can be used to carry out the proposed research;
  • the infrastructure must still be used for research purposes. There is no maximum number of years for which IOF can be claimed, as long as the infrastructure is still being used for research purposes during the period claimed. Only the proportion of operating and maintenance costs associated with research is eligible.
Eligible costs
  • Salaries (including benefits) of highly qualified personnel (technicians or professionals) directly involved in the operation and maintenance of the CFI-funded infrastructure. The full salary of the highly qualified personnel may be eligible if the infrastructure cannot be operated without their assistance.
  • Training for the main operator(s) of the research infrastructure, not included in the infrastructure award. It is expected that the main operator(s) will train other users. Alternatively, a group training session may be provided by the vendor at the institution.
  • Extended warranties and/or service contracts not included in the infrastructure award
  • Extensions to warranty coverage and software licenses
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Replacement parts
  • Replacement of a CFI-funded infrastructure item needing repair, only if the replacement is more cost effective than the repair (the replacement item must have similar functionality)
  • Services (e.g. electricity, security, cleaning) that directly support the CFI-funded equipment or CFI-funded constructed or renovated space (only the portion attributable to the CFI-funded infrastructure is eligible)
  • Supplies and consumables needed to operate the research infrastructure (not to exceed 10 percent of the cumulative total IOF claimed by the institution)
Non-eligible costs
  • Cost of equipment, installation and construction or renovation deemed eligible under an infrastructure award
  • Upgrades related to the infrastructure
  • Extended warranties and/or service contracts included in the infrastructure award
  • Telephone, Internet and cable or satellite television services that are not necessary to ensure the infrastructure can be used for research
  • Insurance
  • Costs not directly related to the CFI-funded infrastructure (e.g. maintenance contract for equipment not acquired through a CFI-funded infrastructure project that is eligible to receive IOF, services related to space for which the CFI has not funded the construction or renovation, etc.)
  • Trainee stipends (undergraduates, graduates and post-doctoral fellows) and researcher salaries
  • Administrative, secretarial or clerical personnel not directly related to the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure (e.g. research services office, library and finance services)
  • Any cost to conduct research activities
  • Costs attributed to the dissemination of information such as promotion, publications or conferences
  • Expenditures reimbursed from another sourceĀ