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Academic salary paid from research funds

Published: 26 August 2013

The message below was sent by Mary-Margaret Klempa, Senior Director, OSR regarding Academic salaries paid from Tri Agency grants.

This is being widely communicated to ensure that we are in compliance with this regulation.  Please read carefully.  Take note that while this memo addresses Tri-Agency regulations, it applies to many other granting agencies.  Any academic salary support to be charged to restricted research funds should be looked into carefully before finalizing an offer letter and/or processing labor distribution appointment forms.  Any questions can be directed to Marlene Boutet, Interim Director, Awards Management & Operations, Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) and I.

Thank you.
Elvie Coletta, Director,  Research Financial Management ServicesFinancial Services

Elvie Coletta
Phone: 514-398-5188
Email: elvie.coletta [at]

Message sent out on the RAN & FIS listservs on Monday, August 26, 2013  

Office of Sponsored Research
(Research & International Relations)
James Administration Building, 2nd floor
Tel.: 514-398-3996     Fax: 514-398-4853 

Bureau de la recherche
(recherche et relations internationales)
Pavillon James de  l’administration, 2e étage
Tél.: 514-398-3996    Téléc.: 514-398-4853
Date: August 23, 2013
To/Destinataire(s): Associate Deans, Academic
Associate Deans, Research
Associate Provost, Academic Staff & Priority Initiatives
From/De la part de: Mary-Margaret Klempa, Senior Director, Office of Sponsored Research
 c.c.   Deans, Provost’s Office, Faculty Administrators
 Subject/Object:  Academic salary paid from research funds

I would like to bring to your attention an important Tri-Agency (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) regulation regarding compensation of academic staff from Tri-Agency funds. The regulation, which can be found in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide is as follows:

Non-Eligible Expenses

  • Any part of the salary, or consulting fee, to the grantee or to other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for grants from the Agency.

To clarify, anyone with an Academic Staff appointment with a ranked position of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor cannot draw their salary from Tri-Agency funds. This is especially important for ranked Contract Academic Staff, the salaries of which are typically sourced from non-operating funds. The Tri-Agency Financial Monitoring Team identified this regulation in their 2011 Final Report to McGill and recommended that “The institution must implement a monitoring process to ensure that salary or consulting fees to grantees, or to other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for agency grants, are not paid from agency funds.”

The Office of Sponsored Research is currently revising the OSR Checklist for grants and contracts and the following question will be included in the new version: “Will any salary payments be made to Academic Staff from this grant?” If the applicant answers “yes”, an Officer from OSR will contact the applicant to investigate and to advise regarding the eligibility of expenses.

While the above change to the OSR checklist does help to ensure that this regulation on the eligibility of compensation-related expenses is enforced, it is important that those involved in the creation and approval of ranked Contract Academic Staff positions are aware of the regulations.

I am requesting, therefore, that whenever a ranked Contract Academic Staff position is being created and the salary is sourced from soft funds (e.g. non-operating funds, usually grant or contract funds) that the Office of Sponsored Research be contacted to ensure that this is an eligible expense according to agency regulations. In this way, we can proactively avoid complications and audit issues.

Please contact the following OSR staff members with questions:

Marlene Boutet
Phone: 514-398-8120
Email: marlene.boutet [at]

Olga Naiberguer
Phone: 514-398-3488
Email: olga.naiberguer [at]

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Mary-Margaret Klempa
Senior Director | Office of Sponsored Research

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