Research Support Fund

1.  Indirect Costs Defined

Indirect costs of research are real, ongoing, necessary operating expenses that support research but cannot be wholly attributed to any single research project. Many of the indirect costs are incurred whether or not research funding applications or proposals are successful.

Examples of Indirect costs include: accounting, human resources and payroll (invoicing, research account maintenance, preparation of financial reports, purchasing), research administration (drafting of research agreements, negotiation of contracts, review of research proposals, on-going contract administration, maintenance of information on funding sources, etc.), support for libraries, access to computer services and the provision and maintenance of research facilities and office space.

2.  About the Program

The Research Support Fund (the former Federal Indirect Costs program) is an institutional grant awarded to Canadian post-secondary institutions (and their affiliated institutions) to offset a portion of the indirect costs associated with managing their research enterprise, helping them to maintain a world-class research environment.

The cost of research includes both direct and indirect costs.  Examples of indirect costs include maintaining research space and libraries; cost of utilities for that space; management and administration of research, accounting, regulatory requirements and compliance; and managing intellectual property, amongst other costs.  It is difficult to assign these indirect costs to specific projects since the costs are incurred to support a variety of research projects and programs.

RSF funds provided are to assist with indirect costs in 6 major categories:

  • Research Facilities;
  • Research Resources;
  • Management and administration of an Institution’s research enterprise;
  • Regulatory requirements and accreditation
  • Intellectual Property, and
  • Research Security


Research Support Fund grants are calculated annually based on a 3-year rolling average of an institution’s share of Tri-Agency revenue.

For more information:


3.  Research Support Fund (RSF) at Lakehead University

The Lakehead University RSF grant is overseen by the Vice-President Research and Innovation and is administered by the Office of Research Services and Office of Financial Services.  A portion of the RSF is also allocated to Lakehead’s affiliated institutions to offset the indirect costs of tri-agency supported research awarded to affiliated scientists.  Funding from this program is used to cover indirect costs in all 5 eligible RSF cost categories.


4.  Communications


5.  RSF Performance Objectives


6.  RSF - Affiliated Institutions

The following affiliated institutions are allocated a portion of the RSF based on the amount of Tri-Agency funding associated with the University and awarded to affiliated scientists and adjunct professors.

Affiliated Health Agencies: 

  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) - Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Other Affiliated Organizations:

  • NOSM University


7.  Research Security

Through the Research Support Fund, the Government of Canada introduced new funding in 2022 to specifically address the important area of the indirect costs of research security.   The RSF has added Research Security as a fifth priority area of its Incremental Grant Projects. RSF Research Security funding is meant to help build capacity within post-secondary institutions so that they are better able to identify, assess and finally mitigate the potential risks to research security. These efforts are undertaken in support of the implementation of the National Security Guidelines on Research Partnerships.  Further information on Research Security on the RSF website can be found by clicking here


Allocation of Funds for Research Security

In 2022-23 Lakehead University received $39,415 for Research Security.  This amount was added to our RSF grant of $2,054,886.  For this initial year, the Office of Research Services, in collaboration with the University’s central IT department, with the support of an external consultant, developed comprehensive research data guidelines and a classification standard.  The role of the external consultant was to help to determine baseline security controls for the protection and use of research data.  

The goal for 2023-24 was the creation of a training program for our researchers, Research Ethics Board and other related internal committees. This objective was undertaken through $50,432 in RSF research security funding received for the 2023-24 fiscal year.  This overall goal was undertaken through the seeking of feedback on the newly developed draft guidelines from internal committees such as the Research Ethics Board, Animal Care Committee and Senate Research Committee. Resources related to the guidelines were also developed (workshops, website content).

The goal for 2024-25, using $58,012 in RSF funding received for the new fiscal year plus an additional $3,500 in Lakehead University funds, is the hiring of a Research and Data Security Specialist in the Office of Research Services.  The primary role of this individual will be to aid Lakehead University's faculty members, graduate students, research staff and research administrators identify, assess and mitigate potential risks to research security.  These tasks will be undertaken in support implementation of federal and provincial research security policies and guidelines.

Performance Objectives Related to Research Security

For more information, please click here.