Signing Authority and OSR Checklist FAQ

If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please write to info.osr [at] (subject: Question%20about%20Signing%20Authority%2FOSR%20Checklist)  with the subject line “Question about Signing Authority/OSR Checklist” for more information.

Institutional approval of research applications and agreements

Who is authorized to approve/sign my research-related applications/agreements?

The Policy on the Approval of Contracts and Designation of Signing Authority designates the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) (VPRI) as signing officer on research-related applications, grants, agreements, and contracts. The VPRI has delegated authority to review, approve, and procure appropriate signatures to its reporting units, including the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), the Office of Innovation and Partnerships (OIP), and Strategic Initiatives (SI).

Why does OSR/OIP/SI need to review my research applications/agreements prior to submission/signature?

Signing officers or delegates who execute a contract on behalf of McGill bind the University and not just an individual unit, department, or faculty. Therefore, the VPRI and/or their delegates must undertake a process of due diligence to verify that all applications and agreements comply with University policies and procedures, and those of external bodies and granting agencies (see Section 40 of the signing Policy).

When should I contact OSR/OIP/SI regarding an application or agreement that must be submitted/signed?

Contact the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), the Office of Innovation and Partnerships (OIP), and Strategic Initiatives (SI) as soon as you are aware of the application/agreement. You can also consult the Research and Innovation (R+I) funding opportunities database for specific program deadlines or write to info.osr [at] for more information if the program is not listed. Note that OSR/OIP/SI will not submit or procure the required signature(s) without sufficient notice to complete a comprehensive review (generally 10 business days before a deadline).

Who do I contact to review my application/agreement prior to submission/signature?

Consult the program listing in the Research and Innovation (R+I) funding opportunities database for the program contact. You may also consult the detailed OSR contact page. If your application/agreement does not respond to a program listed in the database, please write to info.osr [at] for guidance, or innovation_partnerships.oip [at] for industry-partnered applications/agreements.

What do I need to submit to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)/Office of Innovation and Partnerships (OIP)/Strategic Initiatives (SI) prior to submission/signature of my application/agreement?

To review an application/agreement prior to signature, OSR/OIP/SI officers must, at a minimum, receive:

  • a complete copy of the application/agreement (as applicable), and;
  • a complete and duly signed OSR checklist

What if an application does not require an institutional signature?

The submission of letters of intent or grant applications, as well as negotiations of scope of work with external bodies, constitute institutional approval and signature. Therefore, it is essential that OSR/OIP/SI review all research-related applications/agreements before submission/signature.

What happens if I submit an application or sign an agreement without first consulting the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)/Office of Innovation and Partnerships (OIP)/Strategic Initiatives (SI)?

OSR/OIP/SI reserves the right to refuse funding for awarded research applications or agreements that they did not review and approve before they were submitted to the sponsor, or to any other party. At a minimum, by-passing mandatory internal review and approval will result in significant delays in accessing research funds.


Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) Checklist

What is the OSR Checklist?

The OSR Checklist is a shared tool used to assess research applications and agreements prior to approval and signature. The OSR Checklist:

  • specifies the roles and responsibilities of the researcher and the academic and administrative units;
  • assesses and confirms the availability of resources and Department/Faculty’s support for the proposed project; and,
  • facilitates overall project review, including an assessment of the budget and compliance requirements, such as, but not limited to, research ethics and conflicts of interest.

When do I need to complete an OSR Checklist?

You must complete an OSR Checklist for all externally funded grants and project agreements, except for Material Transfer Agreements (MTA)/Data Transfer Agreements (DTA) (for transfers of tangible research materials and/or data between McGill and other organizations) and Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDA)/Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA).

The requirement to complete an OSR checklist also extends to research applications and agreements:

  • in which McGill researchers are participating as co-applicants;
  • where no funds will be disbursed to McGill;
  • submitted electronically (e-submission or email);
  • not explicitly requiring an institutional signature (hardcopy or otherwise).

Note that for Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) applications, a Checklist will be provided to the applicants by the SI team.

I cannot open the OSR Checklist on the website. What do I do?

Your internet browser’s default PDF viewer may not be able to display this type of document. To resolve this, download the OSR Checklist to your computer and then open it from there. For more information on accessing the OSR Checklist, please consult the instructions in the relevant section of the Forms and Resources page.

Do I need to submit a new OSR Checklist if some of the information entered changes (e.g. title, amount requested, etc.)?

No – only the information in the final proposal/agreement is entered into our database. However, please notify OSR/OIP/SI of any changes in the submitted Checklist other than the title/budget, as the answers you provide to some of the Checklist questions may result in additional requirements.

Do I need to obtain “wet” signatures on the OSR Checklist, or submit a hardcopy?

No – electronic signatures and scanned versions of hardcopy signatures are both accepted.

Who signs the OSR Checklist? What does their signature mean?

The OSR Checklist must be signed by the Principal Investigator, the Department Chair or School Director, and the Associate Dean, Research or Dean of your Faculty. Please consult the relevant signature sections of the Checklist for more information on what each person signing confirms when they sign.

Depending on your responses in the Checklist, you may be prompted to complete additional pages that also require signatures (e.g. Table of Commitments, Faculty Salary Request Form, etc.). Signature requirements for these documents vary, so please consult with your department/faculty for more information.

My student/postdoc is applying for research funding. Why do I need to complete an OSR Checklist?

While a student/postdoc may be eligible to apply to a grant program or engage in research funded through an agreement, McGill regulations require that their academic supervisor or a University administrator act as fund holder for all funds administered by the University. Therefore, if your student/postdoc is applying for research funding, you must sign the OSR Checklist on their behalf as fund holder.

What is the OSR Table of Commitments?

The OSR Table of Commitments is a tool to ensure the appropriate validation and approval of faculty cash and in-kind contributions to research projects and agreements. For more information on the Table and signature requirements, please consult the detailed instructions provided in the Table and the Signing Authority Guidelines for Faculty Contributions to Research Projects and Agreements.

Note that while the Provost has delegated the authority to approve cash and in-kind contributions to research activities to the Deans or their representatives up to a value of $1 million per application or agreement, the Provost must approve all matching internal funding and/or in-kind resources greater than $1 million in total per project.

Why do I need department/school/faculty approval for committing resources for which I am responsible to a research project (e.g., PI time, grant funds, space, lab equipment, etc.)?

According to the University’s Research Administration Roles and Responsibilities, Chairs/Directors/Associate Deans, Research/Deans must endorse Departmental and/or Faculty matching or in-kind contributions and implement processes and procedures which safeguard against over-expenditures. Therefore, Departments/Faculties are responsible for confirming the availability of time, funds, space, and other resources needed for conducting a research project.

What is the Faculty Salary Request Form?

The Faculty Salary Request Form is a section of the OSR Checklist that academics must complete when requesting salary support in their project budgets. This form must be approved by the appropriate department/faculty signing authorities for salary requests. For more information on signature requirements for the form, please consult the Signing Authority Guidelines for Academic Salary Support Requests in Research Projects and Agreements.

Back to top