FAQ - Impact of COVID-19 Closures on R+I Services 

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the latest Covid-19 updates and learn what to expect for McGill’s return to campus this Fall, 2021

Consult the overview of McGill’s current operational status

Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, R+I, discusses the federal funding that is being distributed to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 ramp down and ramp up periods on research.


General

 

All R+I units continue to provide regular services remotely in support of the University research community. This applies to the Office of the Vice-Principal (R+I), Office of Sponsored Research, Office of Innovation and Partnerships, Ethics and Compliance Office, and Strategic Initiatives.

 

How can I reach you?

General inquiries and Strategic Initiatives: research [at] mcgill.ca.

Office of Sponsored Research: info.osr [at] mcgill.ca

Office of Innovation and Partnerships: innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca

Ethics and Compliance: animalcare [at] mcgill.ca (Animal) or deanna.collin [at] mcgill.ca (Human)

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

 

*The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) program is now closed*

 

What was the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)?

On May 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) as part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. This temporary, needs based program was established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This research funding relief strategy was rolled out by the federal government, representing an additional investment of $450M.

The program had two objectives:

  • To provide wage support to universities and health research institutions, both of which are ineligible to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), to help them retain research-related personnel during the course of COVID-19 pandemic (up to $325M), and;
  • 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 ($125M).

 

How was the CRCEF implemented?

The CRCEF was rolled out in three stages. Stages 1&2 correspond to the first objective above, with Stage 2 effectively serving as residual support for demonstrated needs in excess of the Stage 1 allocation.

Stages 1 & 2 were directed specifically at wage support for research personnel (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects) paid from non-governmental sources. This means that research projects supported by non-governmental sources (typically foundations or industry contracts) that were slowed or stopped because of COVID-19 may have had some of their research-related personnel losses recovered by this program.

 

What CRCEF support was allocated to McGill?

McGill and its affiliated health research institutions received a notional allocation of $13.1M for Stage 1 in mid-July. Like other universities across the country, McGill is responsible for distribution of allocated funds to its affiliates. Affiliates, as separate legal entities with their own governance structures, are responsible for their CRCEF administration processes and compliance adherence. McGill and affiliates reported claims of $7.67M against the Stage 1 allocation and so there was no additional application for Stage 2 funding. $5.46M remains at McGill to be applied against Stage 3 claims. The notional allocation for Stage 3 to McGill and its affiliates is $9.3M (inclusive of the Stage 1 residual allocation). We are instructed to account for the total need, even if it exceeds the notional allocation, as there will be reallocation of residual funds across the country, as per the statement: Stage 3 application forms will allow for submission of incurred expenses that exceed the notional allocation. Funds from the supplemental allocation envelope will be redistributed across institutions with outstanding need on a prorated basis.

Claims against the CRCEF Stage 3 allocation will be monitored and, should there be excessive demand that could reasonably exceed the notional allocation and any pro-rated national redistribution, there may be additional institutional eligibility criteria adopted. The federal government has provided the following options for institutional eligibility criteria which may be implemented by the McGill CRCEF Steering Committee as needed:

  • a minimum incremental cost for a project to be considered for the funding;
  • the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the grant’s budget exceeding a certain percentage of the annual grant value;
  • 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).
  • earmarking a certain percentage of its allocation for supporting researchers at a specific career stage (e.g., early career researchers); and
  • setting a maximum amount or percentage of the CRCEF contribution by project.

 

What expenses were eligible for Stage 1 CRCEF support?

Up to 75% of the portion of research personnel's salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847/week for up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual, incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020.

Personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period can become eligible retroactively, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period.

User fees that support research facilities (i.e., where multiple PIs share a common research facility) count as a non-governmental source of funding. If there are research-related personnel that are supported in whole or in part by user fees to research facilities, those salaries/wages (or share of those salaries/wages) will be eligible.

 

What expenses were NOT eligible for Stage 1 CRCEF support?

  • The salaries/wages of research-related personnel who work in broad areas of research services that are typically funded by indirect costs (e.g., animal care facilities).
  • Salaries/wages for research-related personnel who were laid off due to COVID and claimed other wage support (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit or "CERB" or the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit or "CESB").

The salaries/wages of research-related personnel that were transferred to University operating funds or governmental funds (federal, provincial, municipal) to avoid layoff during the eligibility period can be considered eligible, although if University operating funds or governmental sources were the exclusive source of research-related salaries/wages before COVID-19, these are not eligible.

 

What about research related personnel paid from multiple sources?

We recognize that many research personnel are paid from multiple sources, only some of which may be non-governmental, and that some funding sources (e.g. MITACS) are themselves combinations of governmental and non-governmental sources. Only the portions of non-governmental salaries/wages were eligible for CRCEF support.

 

What if the wages/salaries/stipends of my research-related personnel (postdocs, students, staff) qualified for recovery through the CRCEF but I haven’t been contacted?

Most researchers have been contacted through their faculty administration by a process that identified the eligibility of the research fund (non-governmental sources) and payments made between March 15, 2020 and projected to August 29, 2020 to wages/salaries/stipends. The process to identify eligible research funds, and, in turn, their fund-holders may not have captured all eligible wages/salaries/stipends. There was also an open call made through units directly to principal investigators who were invited to make CRCEF Stage 1 claims in July.

 

What expenses were eligible for Stage 3 CRCEF recovery?

Stage 3 was to support direct costs of research that have been incurred to: 1) maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 2) support ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only direct costs of research that were extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and were incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 were reimbursed, at up to 75%.

Extraordinary incremental costs incurred for research projects funded by either governmental or non-governmental sources were eligible for Stage 3 support. Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds.

Stage 3 funding was awarded to support direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. Applicants had to justify the need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Eligible expenses include costs associated with the following categories:

 

a) Maintenance costs:

Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes:

  • animal and specimen care through the crisis period;
  • maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts;
  • technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and
  • safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance.

 

b) Ramp-up costs:

Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:

  • re-organizing the research environment and activities;
  • additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental);
  • user fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., animal- care facilities, digital labs);
  • re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials;
  • exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops;
  • restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities;
  • reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and
  • personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel.

 

How did applications work for CRCEF Stage 3 funding?

Individual researchers were invited to apply for CRCEF Stage 3 funding through their local units and there was an open call to the McGill research community through the OSR listserv. If you feel you have incurred eligible Stage 3 expenses due to COVID you will be asked to complete a template describing the need and you will work with your local finance office to estimate the claim. Here are the contact points for researchers at McGill:

Faculty

Faculty Financial Officer

Director of Administration

Agriculture and Environmental Science

Jackie.krebs [at] mcgill.ca (Jackie Krebs)

Christine.butler [at] mcgill.ca (Christine Butler)

Arts

Nancy.prsa [at] mcgill.ca (Nancy Prsa)

N/A

Dentistry

Suzana.rodriguez [at] mcgill.ca (Suzana Kafadar de Rodriguez)

N/A

Desautels Faculty of Management

Nina.cochina [at] mcgill.ca (Nina Dolea Cochina)

Mark.michaud [at] mcgill.ca (Mark Michaud)

Education

Rukhsana.diwan [at] mcgill.ca (Rukhsana Diwan)

Daniela.frischer [at] mcgill.ca (Daniela Frischer)

Engineering

Leila.albassit [at] mcgill.ca (Leila Al-Bassit)

Chidinma.offoh-robert [at] mcgill.ca (Chidinma Offoh-Robert)

Law

debbie.carlone [at] mcgill.ca (Debbie Carlone)

N/A

Medicine

Batchimeg.zuend [at] mcgill.ca (Batchimeg Zuend)

Dementra.kafantaris [at] mcgill.ca (Demetra Kafantaris)

Schulich School of Music

Henry.tin [at] mcgill.ca (Henry Tin)

N/A

Science

Julie.theriault3 [at] mcgill.ca (Julie Theriault)

Maria.babiak [at] mcgill.ca (Maria Babiak)

 

How did the McGill CRCEF Steering Committee ensure equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the administration of CRCEF funds? [Updated September 8, 2020]

The Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) (VPRI) was responsible for ensuring that McGill follows all CRCEF program requirements for funding distribution, including those related to EDI. The VPRI designated the Associate Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation as Chair of the McGill CRCEF Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of these important requirements, for both McGill and its affiliates. For Public Accountability and Transparency details, including Equity, Diversity and Inclusion information, please click here.

 

My research is relevant to the fight against COVID-19. What funding opportunities are available? *Updated April 6, 2021*

To learn about the COVID-19 funding opportunities currently available, please log in to the R+I Funding Opportunities database and select “COVID-19” from the options at the top of the page, or search for COVID-19 by entering this in the “Keyword(s)” field. You can also download a list of COVID-19 funding opportunities HERE.

 

How can I join the CanCOVID initiative to help fight COVID-19?

McGill faculty with relevant expertise are encouraged to join the CanCOVID  initiative, a virtual network of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders from across the country. The goal is to optimize Canadas’s collective response to this public health crisis. Please note that participation in the network is currently restricted to verified experts in COVID-19 research and response. If you are interested in joining the network, please click HERE.

 

I have developed an invention that I think could help the fight against COVID-19. Who can I speak to about getting this patented?

You can reach the Innovation and Partnerships team at innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca. They will be happy to help.

 

What are the COVID-19 related research projects currently underway at McGill? How can I view the list of McGill researchers with expertise related to COVID-19? 

Visit McGill’s COVID-19 directory of researchers who have expertise in relation to COVID-19 and a list of COVID-19 research projects currently underway at McGill.

Information about regularly scheduled research funding programs

 

I have a grant deadline approaching. What can I do?

The Office of Sponsored Research and the Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing all their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please consult the R+I Funding Opportunities database or email info.osr [at] mcgill.ca.

 

I just received an award and need to disburse funds. Is there any delay to processing of already awarded research projects?

The Office of Sponsored Research and Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing all their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or for industry-partnered grants, work with your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email awards.osr [at] mcgill.ca

 

Is the office accepting applications for funding proposals for projects later this year?

Yes, the Office of Sponsored Research and Office of Innovation and Partnerships are providing their regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Grants and Agreements Officer or for industry-partnered grants, work with your Industry Partnerships Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please consult the R+I Funding Opportunities database or email info.osr [at] mcgill.ca.

Information from funding agencies

 

For information about individual funding programs and competitions, please consult the website of the relevant agency. It will have the most up-to-date information. Program-specific details concerning adjustments to the deadlines and other COVID-19 information, can be found here:

NSERC website

SSHRC website

CIHR website

CFI website

Regarding Quebec agencies, please refer regularly to FRQ page for COVID-19: measures and funding.

 

The federal government, Tri-Agency and FRQ announced some grant extensions and support for research trainees and staff due to COVID-19. How is this implemented at McGill? *Updated June 22, 2021*

Please read how McGill is implementing some Tri-Agency and FRQ grant extensions due to COVID-19 (as of June 22, 2021) here. This document aims to summarize how announcements from the federal granting councils (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC), the federal government and announcements from the FRQ may mitigate the effects of the research closure on research grants, and, in turn, on principal investigator support for research trainees and staff at McGill.

 

What are US funding agencies doing during this situation?

For information about US Federal agencies, please refer to COGR's FAQs and Resources on COVID-19's Impact to Federal Awards or this summary of all US federal agency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact on research with animals + humans

 

Research Involving Humans

*Updated June 15, 2021 Click here to read McGill's directives on the resumption of research with human participants.

On October 30, 2020 R+I in collaboration with IT Services held a webinar plus Q&A titled "Using Webex: Moving research with human participants online". To view a recording of this one-hour webinar, please click here (password: JnZGdSr2). For people interested in comparing Webex, Zoom and Teams, please view this article from the IT Knowledge Base as referenced during the webinar. Please also view this link that explains how to download a Webex meeting recording transcript, also referenced during the webinar.

On August 10, 2020 R+I in collaboration with IT Services held a webinar plus Q&A titled "Moving Research with Human Participants Online?" in order to provide information to researchers transitioning into working in a remote context. Please click here to view a recording of this one-hour webinar (requires McGill email to login).

Please clickFilehere to download a FAQ provided by IT Services pertaining to the following sortable categories: Virtual Meeting Tools, Survey Tools, Storage, Ethics, Approved Tools, Zoom and Qualtrics. IT Services is here to support McGill researchers during this time of change. If you have a question not addressed in the webinar or the FAQ, please open a general ticket with the IT Service Desk at mcgill.service-now.com/itportal

 

How has COVID-19 affected the ethics review process?

The Research Ethics Board (REB) office continues to maintain all regular services, to the best of their ability, remotely and/or virtually. Turnaround time for some reviews may be delayed, as Faculty who are also REB members are busy dealing with changes to their teaching and research responsibilities. For more details about changes to projects involving human participants, please click HERE.

 

Can I continue to submit new, renewal and amendment requests for research involving human participants?

Yes, all types of submissions continue to be accepted as per the regular submission process.

 

Whom can I contact if I have other questions about the ethics review process for research involving human participants?

For inquiries related to REBs1,2,3,4 please send inquiries to deanna.collin [at] mcgill.ca or lynda.mcneil [at] mcgill.ca.

For inquiries related to the Faculty of Medicine ethics board, please contact ilde.lepore [at] mcgill.ca.

 

Research Involving Animals

 

All research involving animals that has been given approval to resume through the Directives: Principles and Procedures Research on campus may continue at this time. 

 

My animal protocols will be expiring soon. What can I do?

Animal protocol review and approval proceed online as usual. Protocols under McGill Animal Care Committees that were due to expire in March and April, but not already in progress, have all been granted a three-month extension on the expiration date. Darwin software user support continues.

 

Whom can I contact if I have questions about my animal research?

If you have questions or concerns, please email animalcare [at] mcgill.ca.

 

Working with industry partners

 

I have an industry partnership grant deadline approaching. Will the Innovation and Partnerships (I+P) office still provide assistance in preparing my application?

I+P is providing all regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Industry Partnership Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

 

Is the office accepting applications for funding proposals for projects later this year?

Yes, I+P is providing its regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Industry Partnership Officer, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

 

I have a patent application deadline approaching. What can I do?

I+P is providing all its regular services remotely. Please continue to work with your Technology Transfer Manager, if you have one. If you do not know whom to contact, please email innovation.vpip [at] mcgill.ca.

Back to top