Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

Open Call for Applications

1. Overview of Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

All researchers in all disciplines are encouraged to apply and we anticipate that all eligible requests will be supported.  However, in the event requests exceed CRCEF Stage 3 funding available, priority and special consideration will be given to researchers known to be most impacted by COVID-19. This includes early-career researchers, researchers belonging to equity-seeking groups and researchers who were personally impacted by COVID-19 and/or have special needs in regard to child/family care.

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is part of the federal government's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It has four funding stages to help sustain research activity at Canadian universities and health research institutions.  

CRCEF is a tri-agency program and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration. More information on the program can be found here:  https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/crcef-fucrc/index-eng.aspx

On May 15, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $450M in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program has two objectives:

  1. to provide wage support for universities and health research institutions to help them retain research-related personnel who are funded from non-government sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stage 1 and 2 of the program, initially provided up to 75% of the eligible portion of eligible research personnel’s wages, with a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks per individual, within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. The maximum period of support was extended to a maximum of 24 weeks (Stage 4); and
  2. to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume (Stage 3).  This program will cover up to 75% of total eligible costs incurred during the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to November 15, 2020.

Institutions must apply to each stage, and for all stages, they must demonstrate the need to access the emergency funds.  Lakehead University’s Stage 3 internal application window is open until November 20, 2020. Please see updated information about Stage 3 below.

 

CRCEF Application ProcessesCRCEF Application Processes

Stage 1 and 4

(November 16, 2020 deadline)

Stage 3

(November 20, 2020 deadline)

2.  Lakehead University and Affiliated Institutions Benefiting from the CRCEF

Lakehead University and its affiliated institutions acknowledge that the research enterprise at each of our institutions has been severely impacted by COVID-19, The creation of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund by the Government of Canada will help us to maintain staff and resume essential research activities during the pandemic.

The following institutions are affiliated with Lakehead University and will benefit from the CRCEF program.  NOSM faculty members or TBRHRI Scientist/Lakehead University-TBRHRI Research Chairs are encouraged to apply to the institution administering the research grant/contract which incurred CRCEF eligible expenditures. Lakehead University and affiliated health institutions are separately incorporated, independent employers with their own governance and management structures.  As a result, each institution is responsible for management of CRCEF funding allocated to it and for following the program requirements. 

Please refer to each affiliated institutions’ CRCEF public accountability webpage to access application procedures:

 

3.     Allocation of CRCEF Funds Across Our Institutions

Lakehead University’s Vice-President Research and Innovation, in collaboration with the Vice-President’s of Research at NOSM and TBRHRI established a CRCEF Oversight Committee to ensure coordination and consistency in meeting CRCEF program requirements.  The Committee’s Terms of Reference also include: 1) responsibilities to make decisions regarding CRCEF allocations among each institution; and 2) a commitment to share best practices and information in implementing the program requirements in our institutions.

Membership on the CRCEF Oversight Committee includes: the Vice-Presidents of Research from Lakehead University (Dr. Andrew P. Dean) and TBRHRI (Dr. Chris Mushquash), Associate Dean of Research NOSM (Dr. David Marsh), Chief Financial Officers (Rita Blais, Lakehead; Peter Mylymaa, TBRHRI and Dan Burrell, NOSM), and from Lakehead University, the Director of Research Services (Anne Klymenko), Manager, Research Accounting (Margot Ross),  Director, Office of Human Rights and Equity (Dylan Mazur), and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Dr. Chander Shahi).  The Committee is diverse and has individuals representing all equity seeking groups.  In addition, all members of the committee were required to complete the Tri-Agency Unconscious Bias on-line training module. 

 

CRCEF Stage 1 and 4 – Wage Subsidy

Details regarding Stage 1 was released by TIPS on June 23, 2020.  Lakehead University undertook a Stage 1 analysis to determine “notional allocations” across the three institutions, using the CAUBO formula applied by TIPS; the data was shared with institutional affiliates.  Lakehead University and affiliates made a joint decision to only access Stage 1 funding (not Stage 2) based on anticipated needs.  An agreement was also reached among the institutions, that if one institution required less CRCEF funding, the funding would be re-allocated on a pro-rated basis to those institutions that required additional funds beyond their CAUBO notional amounts.

Stage 4 was launched by TIPS on September 30, 2020 with a national budget of $84M (resulting from Stage 2 unspent funds).  Stage 4 provides additional wage supports for eligible research personnel extending the eligibility period from 12 weeks to 24 weeks.  Given that there are no institutional allocations in Stage 4, all three institutions engaged in data collection within their institutions to determine eligible claims for a combined submission to TIPS by November 30, 2020.  Upon confirmation of funding for CRCEF Stage 4 by TIPs, awarded funds will be shared, prorated and consistent with the national funding rate. Since NOSM is a medical school jointly administered by Lakehead University and Laurentian University, NOSM’s Stage 1 and 4 claims (determined in accordance with CAUBO informed notional allocations) will receive equal allocations from both Lakehead University and Laurentian University.

Lakehead University and each affiliated institution is responsible for developing, documenting and communicating their respective institutional CRCEF processes; affiliated institutions are responsible for attesting to the University in an inter-institutional agreement that their processes meet CRCEF program requirements.

CRCEF Stage 3 – Maintenance and Ramp-Up of Research Activities

Stage 3 was launched by TIPS at the beginning of September of 2020. Full details for this stage were confirmed at the beginning of October 2020.  Lakehead University, NOSM and TBRHRI undertook a data collection exercise, to identify eligible expenses and also issued an open call to the research community.  Several drop-in CRCEF Stage 3 webinars were hosted by Lakehead University’s Director, Research Services and Manager, Research Accounting.  Webinars were open to all researchers at Lakehead University and affiliated institutions.

Should the demand in Stage 3, go beyond available funding, an adjudication process utilizing the Stage 3 decision-making criteria will be followed (see Section 4 below).

 4.      Strategy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Decision-Making

Lakehead University and its affiliated health institutions have attested to the responsible stewardship and implementation of the CRCEF program, including a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion strategies in decision-making.

At Lakehead University, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2019-2024: Accessing Excellence Together outlines a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as vital to the University’s mandate as a research-intensive institution of higher learning, an employer of choice and a socially responsible community leader. This commitment and responsibility extends to our participation in the CRCEF Program.  We are committed to implementing active measures to prevent systemic barriers within the CRCEF program, to ensure all researchers and research personnel can equally benefit from the program.  Aligned with Lakehead’s EDI Action Plan, to minimize the impact of implicit biases and systemic barriers, while acknowledging inequities that contribute to differing impacts of COVID-19, the following principles and strategies will guide the University’s decision-making:

  • Researchers will be encouraged to avoid laying off personnel, including research personnel, even if there was an inability to perform normal duties due to restricted access to campus or research facilities, or due to home or living conditions brought about by COVID-19;
  • The use of inclusive language and terminology that respects diverse fields, regardless of discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
  • Implementation of an open call for applications that encourages applications from early-career researchers (researchers who have held a full-time independent research appointment for a period of 0-5 years, beginning with the date of first appointment at Lakehead University) and researchers belonging to equity-seeking groups;
  • Broad communication of the CRCEF funding opportunity to all Lakehead researchers to ensure all have an equal opportunity to apply, including hosting of several drop-in information sessions scheduled at diverse times, intermittent reminders and direct outreach by the Director, Research Services and Manager, Research Accounting;
  • Utilizing an equitable, and principles-based approach to reviewing eligible expenses against CRCEF program eligibility criteria;
  • Ensuring all eligible requests for CRCEF Stage 1 and Stage 4 funding, receive the same consideration, regardless of research discipline, area of focus, or way of knowing;
  • Accommodating or giving special consideration to researchers and research personnel who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 (e.g., individual/family health has been directly impacted, family obligations for dependent care, etc.) both in accessing the program and application materials, by providing additional administrative support or additional assistance in identifying costs that are eligible for CRCEF support; and
  • Collection of self-identification data to determine the representation of members of equity-deserving groups among applicants to, and recipients of, CRCEF Stage 3 funding (should the amount of submitted claims exceed available funds).

Lakehead University’s CRCEF Stage 1 submitted claims did not exceed the funds allocated to Lakehead, and so all eligible requests were given the same consideration and supported to the maximum amount allowable under the CRCEF funding guidelines.

 

Stage 3 and 4 Adjudication Process and Evaluation Criteria:

In the event that funding requests for Stage 3 and 4 are higher than the allocated funding by the CRCEF, Lakehead University, NOSM and TBRHRI will convene a CRCEF Adjudication Committee to review all Stage 3 and 4 applications using the evaluation criteria below and EDI priorities to guide their decisions, beyond reviewing eligibility of expenditures.  The Committee is diverse and has individuals representing all equity seeking groups.  In addition, all members of the committee are required to complete the Tri-Agency Unconscious Bias on-line training module.  Membership on the CRCEF Adjudication Committee will include:

Lakehead University

  • Vice-President Research and Innovation and Chair of the Committee (Dr. Andrew P. Dean)
  • Associate Vice-President Administration and Finance (Rita Blais)
  • Director of Research Services (Anne Klymenko)
  • Manager, Research Accounting (Margot Ross)
  • Director, Office of Human Rights and Equity (Dylan Mazur)
  • Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (Dr. Chander Shahi)

TBRHRI

  • Chief Scientist (Dr. Chris Mushquash)
  • Chief Operating Officer, TBRHRI (Peter Myllymaa)
  • Research Financial Analyst (TBRHSC) (Murray Plichta)

NOSM

  • Associate Dean of Research NOSM (Dr. David Marsh)
  • Chief Operating Officer (Ray Hunt)

Subject Matter Research Experts:

In addition, additional subject matter experts will be invited who have knowledge of research in a range of fields, that focus on questions of equity, diversity and inclusion, community engaged research, indigenous ways of knowing etc.  The Committee will follow SSHRC's Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.

Special consideration will be given to researchers known to be most impacted by COVID-19. This includes early-career researchers, researchers belonging to equity-seeking groups and researchers who were personally impacted by COVID-19 and/or have special needs in regard to child/family care.

The CRCEF Adjudication Committee may consider additional evaluation criteria, which could include the following:

  • pro-rating requests according to funding allocation;
  • a minimum incremental cost for a project to be considered for the funding;
  • priority given to projects that are at the beginning or in the middle of their terms, versus those that are close to their grant end date; and
  • non-eligibility of projects with considerable financial balances at the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2020).

Applicants will be provided with the opportunity to demonstrate need and provide additional context to explain their requests (e.g., where the research may be unfamiliar to adjudicators).

5.      Lakehead University’s Contact for CRCEF Compliance

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Vice-President Research and Innovation, Lakehead University is the senior official responsible for the CRCEF program and for ensuring the program’s requirements are followed by all institutions receiving CRCEF funds.