Institute Support Grant (ISG) Manual

Handbook of policies, procedures & guidelines for the management of CIHR Institutes

Revised April 2008


Table of Contents

Preface

1.0 Institutes
1.1 Definitions

2.0 Financial Administration
2.1 Treasury Board Directives for Institute Support Grants 
2.2 Institute Support Grants (ISGs) 
2.2.1 Directives for ISGs and the Institute Agreement 
2.2.1.1 Institute Agreements (CIHR, Institute, SD and Host Institution) 
2.2.1.2 Role of Institute Advisory Boards 
2.2.1.3 Role of CIHR under the Institute Agreements 
2.2.1.4 Role of the Scientific Directors under the Institute Agreements 
2.2.1.5 Role of the Institutes under the Institute Agreements 
2.2.1.6 Role of the Host Institutions under the Institute Agreements 
2.2.1.7 Appointment of Scientific Directors 
2.2.1.8 Employment of Institute personnel 
2.2.1.9 Awarding of Institute Support Grants (ISGs) 
2.2.1.10 Budget planning, preparation and submission by Institutes 
2.2.1.11 ISG Annual Financial Reporting 
2.2.1.12 Expenses (and approval) incurred by Institutes 
2.2.1.12.1 Salary of Scientific Director 
2.2.1.12.2 Scientific Director’ and Institute staff/representatives’ travel expenses 
2.2.1.12.3 Salaries and benefits of Institute-based personnel 
2.2.1.12.4 Institute Office furniture and equipment 
2.2.1.12.5 ISG sub - new Institute Community Support (ICS) Grants Program 
2.2.1.13 Maintenance of financial/expenditure records 
2.2.1.14 Relocation of Institutes and/or Scientific Directors 
2.2.1.15 Shared event or activity costs and Inter-Institute funds transfers 
2.2.1.16 CIHR periodic financial reviews 
2.2.2 ISG directives which take precedence over Host Institution policies 
2.2.2.1 Institute representatives and IAB members’ travel per diem rates 
2.2.3 Government and CIHR policies applicable to the Institutes 

Annex A - ISG Annual Financial Report
Annex B - Common Template for Inter-Institute ISG Funds Transfer
Annex C - Treasury Board Terms and Condition for the CIHR ISG Program


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Preface

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research “CIHR” was established by Act of Parliament in 2000 in order to coordinate, encourage and support health research. The link to the CIHR Act can be found under page 22 of this manual. In fiscal year 2007/2008 over $750 million was budgeted for CIHR, with in excess of 90% of these funds allocated for grants and awards. Approximately 70% of CIHR grants and awards are adjudicated through an open competition process, with the remaining 30% focusing on strategic initiatives.

In planning for the creation of CIHR, a number of options were explored in respect to the creation and management of CIHR Strategic Research initiatives and thus leading to the creation of the 13 CIHR Institutes.

The CIHR Institutes were based on an organizational model that would ensure that the Institutes could become operational rapidly and that administrative constraints would be kept to a minimum, while allowing for swift and creative community engagement. In addition, the ratio of administrative overhead to research funding needed to remain low, to avoid perceptions of excessive bureaucracy. The proposed organizational model, offering a flexible operational model that could adapt to different Institute environments was a first for a Canadian agency, hence CIHR had no organizational template to rely on. As a result, the notion of an Institute Support Grant (ISG) was conceived, whereby Institute Scientific Directors (SDs) would be provided with a grant, which would be used to establish and maintain their respective Institutes.

Below are a few relevant quotes from the Treasury Board terms and conditions of the Institute Support Grant Program and the terms and conditions document is included as Annex C of this manual.

“Institutes will not be bricks and mortar, nor will they have a single geographical location. Rather, each Institute will be a virtual network of researchers, funders and consumers of research from across the country. Researchers will continue to carry out their investigations in the institutions with which they are affiliated. The difference will be in how much better connected they are to their colleagues in other institutions, other parts of Canada, and other countries, to address Canadian health challenges.”

“...Institutes will be primarily serviced by the corporate group in Ottawa. CIHR will not build decentralized infrastructure to support the direct cost of Institutes and their operation. Institutes will be virtual organizations; they can be created and terminated by CIHR’s Governing Council as necessary; they can be “based” in any physical location, and; SDs themselves can move to other locations during their tenure if the need arises.”

“...This approach... will create a flexible operating environment for the Institutes, while reducing the overhead costs associated with fully integrating the Institutes into the CIHR Corporate environment, staffing with public servants, and setting up and dismantling Institute operations and support.”

The mandate of the CIHR Institutes is to lead CIHR Strategic Research initiatives, with each Institute focusing on specific health issues that concern the research community and Canadians at large and warrant immediate attention and support. In order to attract preeminent researchers and academics, the Institutes are established in a way that they can easily adapt to the research community and allow the incumbent Institute heads (Scientific Directors) to continue their own research, while promoting and facilitating Government supported research across Canada.

CIHR enters into tri-party agreements with each Institute, its Scientific Director and the Scientific Director’s Host Institution who administer the Institute Support Grants (ISGs). As per the Terms and Conditions approved by the Treasury Board, the Institutes’ ISG grant serves to pay the SD and Institute staff salaries, Institute operating expenditures and Institute development expenditures.

The Institutes are mandated to instigate strategic research and training initiatives (Requests for Applications - RFAs) pertinent to their fields of research, out of CIHR’s Strategic Initiatives budgets. CIHR officers manage the peer review and post-award administration for strategic grants & awards. In addition, the Institutes are also expected to instigate research related initiatives pertinent to their fields of research, which may be eligible for funding under two CIHR programs: the Meetings, Planning and Dessimination (MPD) Grants Program (e.g. for workshop and symposia grants); and the new Institute Community Support (ICS) Grants Program (replacing grants and awards previously issued by the Institutes as ISG sub-grants – see Section 2.2.1.12.5 of this Institute Support Grant Manual).

The Institute Support Grant Manual

This Institute ISG Manual is not intended to replace existing CIHR and host Institutions’ policies and procedures, instead it is intended to supplement the Institute Agreements, existing policies and procedures and provide guidelines and clarification where needed. It is intended to provide clarity, to remove administrative uncertainty and thereby facilitate Institute decision-making and improve Institute management efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, this guide will clarify certain aspects of financial control, authority and reporting in order to improve transparency and accountability.

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1.0 Institutes

Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH)

Institute of Aging (IA) 

Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

Institute of Circulatory & Respiratory Health (ICRH)

Institute of Gender & Health (IGH)

Institute of Genetics (IG)

Institute of Health Services & Policy Research (IHSPR) 

Institute of Human Development, Child & Youth Health (IHDCYH)

Institute of Infection & Immunity (III)

Institute of Musculoskeletal Health & Arthritis (IMHA) 

Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health & Addiction (INMHA)

Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism & Diabetes (INMD) 

Institute of Population & Public Health (IPPH)


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1.1 Definitions

"Administrative Office” means the head office of an Institute, located at or near the premises of the host Institution, and including the Institute Staff and the office equipment used by the Institute.

Annual budget” means annual appropriation and approved spending levels of CIHR “operating” funds, “grant” funds and “capital” funds for a fiscal year.

CIHR” means the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, whose officers have overall administrative responsibility for the delivery of the Institutes' Programs.

Collaborative Agreements” means agreements between CIHR and/or an Institute and external collaborators and on occasion referred to as “Partnership Agreements” or “Tripartite Agreements”.

Departmental Performance Report (DPR)” means an annual report submitted by CIHR to Treasury Board 6 months after fiscal year-end, which evaluates performance against plans and priorities set 18 months earlier in the Report on Plans & Priorities (RPP).

Fiscal year” means the Government of Canada year commencing April 1 st and ending March 31 st .

Governing Council” means the Governing Council of CIHR, which is chaired by the CIHR President and composed of up to 20 Canadians appointed for three year terms by Order in Council. The Deputy Minister of Health is an ex-officio and non voting member of the Governing Council.

Grants” means funds awarded by CIHR corporate officers after peer review, with such awards subject to controls and accountability as defined by Treasury Board and as elaborated in the CIHR Grants & Awards Guide, in initiative Requests for Applications (RFAs) and in the Tri-agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards.

Host Institution” means an institution which agrees to host an Institute under an Institute Agreement.

Institute” means a CIHR Institute, a constituent division of the CIHR system established by the Governing Council. At present there are 13 such Institutes.

Institute Agreement” means the agreement between CIHR, the Scientific Director of the Institute and the host Institution.

Institute Advisory Board (IAB)” means the advisory committee of the Institute, constituted and appointed by the Governing Council.

Institute Development” means Institute activities and events to develop the Institute’s strategic agenda or plan strategic initiatives (e.g. an annual Institute conference), communications initiatives, networking, IAB meetings, etc. If an activity or event is lead, co-lead or in direct collaboration with the Institute, with the Institute managing the budget and expenditures, expenditures may be incurred by the Institute from its ISG account held in trust at the Host Institution.

Institute Operations” means activities and expenditures related to operating the Institute, including salary and benefits of local staff, cost of office space, supplies, materials, services, travel, equipment, etc.

Institute-based personnel” means the Institute staff employed within the Institutes' Administrative Offices. Under the CIHR Institutes' ISG grant model and the Institute Agreements, these individuals are employees of and are governed by the employment policies and collective agreements of their Institute's Host-Institution.

Institute sub-grant” means a grant awarded by the Institute from the Institute's Institute Support Grant (ISG). In prior years, as part of their Institute’s development activities, the Institutes had been using a portion of their Institute Support Grant (ISG) funds managed in trust by their respective host institutions to issue development grants and awards to individuals and organizations within their communities.  A replacement funding mechanism entitled “Institute Community Support (ICS) Grants Program” has been developed and implemented effective April 1, 2008 for this purpose (see Section 2.2.1.12.5 of this Institute Support Grant Manual).

Institute Support Grant (ISG)” means the funds provided to the Institutes on an annual basis and paid to the Institutes' Host Institutions under CIHR's Common Grant Account instalments, to cover the Institutes' Operating and Development expenditures, in accordance with the Institute Agreements and the Institute Support Grant Manual.

Joint strategic grant” means a “Strategic grant” that is awarded to two or more recipients who join forces in order to conduct the research. A “lead recipient” will be identified and will be responsible for receiving the funds, coordinating the research funding activities and reporting to CIHR.

Lead Institute” means the Institute that is responsible to manage, maintain records and documents and provide reports for “shared funding” activities and events shared by two or more Institutes.

Lead recipient” means the lead researcher or Principle Investigator (PI) that leads a research or development activity that involves more than one researcher. The lead recipient is responsible for documenting, coordinating and reporting on the research or development activity in question.

Manual” means Institute Support Gant Manual containing the Financial Administration & Administration Section, and other sections and changes thereto, as amended from time to time.

Memorandum of Understanding” means the Tri-agency agreement (CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC MOU) on Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards with the researchers' Host Institutions.

Operating funds” means CIHR funds used for CIHR operating expenses such as salaries, travel costs, office expenses as budgeted and approved annually by Governing Council.

Ottawa Based Institute Staff (OBIS)” means those employees of the CIHR who work exclusively in support of one or more Institutes, report to one or more Scientific Director, are located at the Ottawa corporate office of CIHR, are paid by CIHR through the OBIS Operating Budget and no charge or allocation is made to an Institute.

Report on Plans & Priorities (RPP)” means the annual report prepared by CIHR to the Treasury Board prior to commencement of the fiscal year that outlines plans and priorities for the upcoming year and that report on the extent to which CIHR has met the expectations set out in the DPR.

Scientific Director (SD)” means the person selected and appointed by the Governing Council of CIHR to assume responsibility for the management of the Institute.

Shared funding” means funding that is shared among two or more Institutes in order to achieve a common objective beneficial to all Institutes concerned.

Stacking” means obtaining more than one government grant from different government sources for the same research project. Because of the nature of Institute Support Grants, the provisions of the stacking policy as stated in the Treasury Board policy on Transfer Payments cannot be applied as stated.

Strategic grant” means a grant awarded consistent with strategic research initiatives and likely initiated by an Institute, but reviewed and approved through the CIHR adjudication process under the responsibility of corporate officers of CIHR.

Symposia” means symposia that are held or sponsored by an Institute or CIHR (under the Meetings, Planning and Dessimination Grants Program) to encourage or advance knowledge and/or research.

Voted funds” are sums of money approved annually for the CIHR by Parliament and are “voted” for specific types or categories of expenditures such as “operating funds”, “capital funds”, “grants funds”, etc. Voted funds must be used for their intended purposes and may not be transferred between the “vote” categories.

Workshops” means workshops that are held or sponsored by an Institute or CIHR (under the Meetings, Planning and Dessimination Grants Program) to encourage or advance knowledge and/or research.


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2.0 Financial Administration

This section of the manual is intended to assist the Institutes, the Host Institutions and CIHR in defining roles and responsibilities in the financial administration of the Institute Support Grant and Institute activities.

This and other sections of the manual are intended to provide information and assistance to CIHR and the Institutes in planning and reporting to the Treasury Board on Institute Support Grants and activities of the Institutes, while allowing the Institutes some degree of autonomy and independence to encourage innovative thinking towards their operational and research development mandate.


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2.1 Treasury Board Directives for Institute Support Grants

The following is a summary of statements and directives for Institute Support Grants, as set out by Treasury Board. A copy of the Treasury Board ISG Program Terms and Conditions document is included as Annex C of this manual.

  • Governing Council of CIHR has set up 13 Institutes, each under control of a Scientific Director;
  • Under overall direction of Governing Council, Institutes will shape research conducted, assess priorities, build capacity through training, mentoring, networking, etc;
  • CIHR Institutes will be virtual Institutes residing within Host Institutions;
  • Scientific Directors will not be public servants and are expected to continue carrying out research through their Host Institution;
  • CIHR will work closely with the SD and a Host Institution, with the latter administering an annual Institute Support Grant;
  • ISG funds will be used to cover costs related to the salary of the SD and other Institute staff (who will be employees of the Host Institution), supplies, services and related operational requirements and Institute development expenditures;
  • ISG funds paid to Institutes through their Host Institutions are intended to create a flexible operating environment while reducing overhead costs that would otherwise occur within a public service environment;
  • Institutes will be expected to initiate strategic research initiatives. However peer review and the post-award administration of grants and awards will be the responsibility of CIHR corporate officers;
  • Partnerships and alliances will be encouraged and Government “stacking” provisions will not apply to the ISG;
  • ISGs must be administered and monitored to ensure that the funds are spent for their intended purposes. Reporting to CIHR is mandatory and financial reviews will be carried out by CIHR;
  • CIHR will apprise Host Institutions of the policies, systems and procedures to be used for effective management of ISG grants;
  • CIHR will regularly examine the ISG Program through formal program evaluation.

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2.2 Institute Support Grants (ISGs)

Institute Support Grants (ISGs) are awarded by CIHR to the Institutes and managed by their Host Institutions to establish and sustain Institute events and activities. ISGs are awarded as “grant funds” and are not subject to Treasury Board “operating funds” policies, but rather must comply with the Treasury Board Terms and Conditions of the Institute Support Grant Program. In addition, the Institutes and their Host Institution are asked to manage the ISGs in accordance with their respective Institute Agreement, Host Institution policies and this ISG Manual.

Institute-based personnel carry-out certain functions on behalf of CIHR, but are employees of their Host Institution under the CIHR ISG Program. Consistent with the terms of the ISG Program and of the Institute Agreement, Institute-based personnel must abide by the HR policies and procedures set out by their Host Institution. Although Institute-based employees under the ISG Program are not Federal public servants, they may come under the same public scrutiny as Federal public servants under certain circumstances.

Therefore, issues of a sensitive nature should always be treated by Institute-based personnel with prudence, care and due diligence. Certain issues, regardless of their financial materiality, are very sensitive in nature and are often in the public eye. It is imperative that there be no impropriety or even a perception of impropriety, when such issues are concerned. As a result, it is appropriate and expected that all Institutes and their employees abide to relevant CIHR and Government of Canada rules, regulations, policies and procedures as stipulated in Section 2.2.3 of this manual.

Based on the above, this ISG Manual outlines issues and policies into three categories, as follows:

  1. ISG and Institute Agreement directives (section 2.2.1);
  2. ISG directives which take precedence over Host Institution policies (section 2.2.2);
  3. Government and CIHR policies applicable to the Institutes (section 2.2.3).

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2.2.1 Directives for ISGs and the Institute Agreement


2.2.1.1 Institute Agreement (CIHR, Institute, SD and Host Institution)

A Tri-party Institute Agreement between CIHR, the Scientific Director of the Institute and the Host Institution is developed to:

  • Outline the terms and conditions pursuant to which CIHR, through the Institute Support Grant, will compensate the Host Institution for the expenses it incurs in hosting the Institute;
  • Outline the terms and conditions pursuant to which the Institute headed by the Scientific Director will receive funding;
  • Set the terms under which the Institute will be operated and administered;
  • Confirm the understanding of the Parties, with respect to the management of the Institute and the administration of ISG funds.

Institute Agreements must be signed before funding is made available under the Institute Support Grants. Such are multi-year agreements, but funding of the CIHR ISG grants will always be contingent upon annual appropriation by Parliament to the Governor in Council.


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2.2.1.2 Role of Institute Advisory Boards

The CIHR Governing Council established an Institute Advisory Board (IAB) for each Institute. IABs provide advice and feedback on strategic research and funding issues but do not have authority to commit funds or approve grants. Such authority resides with CIHR’s Governing Council, President and Institute Scientific Directors.


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2.2.1.3 Role of CIHR under the Institute Agreements

The CIHR has the overall responsibility for the Institutes’ ISG Program.

As stated in the Treasury Board ISG Terms and Conditions, “Institutes will be primarily serviced by CIHR in Ottawa. CIHR will not build an extensive decentralized infrastructure to support the direct cost of Institutes and their operation. Institutes will be virtual organizations; they can be created and terminated by CIHR’s Governing Council.”

Institutes are primarily serviced by CIHR in Ottawa, through direction by the President and support from various units such as Institute Affairs, Research Portfolio, Financial Services and direct assistance by Ottawa based Institute support staff (OBIS). OBIS staff are CIHR employees dedicated exclusively to the support of one or more Institutes and who report to the Scientific Directors.


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2.2.1.4 Role of the Scientific Directors under the Institute Agreements

Each CIHR Institute is headed by a Scientific Director who has attained and is expected to maintain the highest level of research excellence. The Scientific Director leads the Institute, hires Institute personnel and instigates strategic research initiatives for review by CIHR which in turn, is responsible for the peer review and post-award administration of strategic grants. The Scientific Director also continues to conduct research at the Host Institution where he or she is affiliated.

As a condition of appointment, in keeping with the need to provide scientific leadership to the Institute and pursue research, the Scientific Director agrees that he/she:

  • Does not hold other appointments, including Department Chair, Director of a Centre, Head of an Institute or other such appointment, at the Host Institution or any other institution during his/her tenure as Scientific Director;
  • Does not engage in activities likely to create conflicts of interest (as per The Conflict of Interest section of the Institute Agreement);
  • Limits his/her involvement in all other external remunerated activities to a maximum of 10% of his/her time and 15% of his/her income.

Subject to the conditions upon which the Institute Support Grant is provided to the Institute, the Scientific Director is the chief executive authority of the Institute and  manages the business and affairs of the Institute, with the following powers:

  • Appointing, terminating and replacing Institute staff, as necessary;
  • Doing all things and taking all actions necessary, in a prudent and responsible manner, to fulfil the objectives and mandate of the Institute in accordance with the CIHR Act; and
  • Agreeing to abide by the Conflict of Interest Guidelines of the CIHR and ensuring that Institute personnel have been given a copy of such guidelines and agree to abide by them.

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2.2.1.5 Role of the Institutes under the Institute Agreements

CIHR has chosen to establish a network of virtual health research Institutes to develop strategic research and collaborate with other health research organizations in doing so.

The Institutes’ roles and activities include:

  • Shaping research conducted in a thematic area through the development of a strategic vision and plan aimed at creating focal points of expertise, scientific leadership, participation, and priority setting in a particular area of health research;
  • Developing a coherent, strategic research agenda for the area it covers, that encourages the highest levels of creativity and insight from Canada’s health researchers;
  • Assessing research priorities, determining gaps and opportunities and devoting resources to address these gaps and opportunities;
  • Fostering multi-disciplinary and integrated health research that pertains to all aspects of health, including bio-medical research, clinical research, research respecting health systems, health services and the health of populations as well as research into the societal, cultural and environmental dimensions of health;
  • Building capacity through training, mentorship, and networking;
  • Promoting excellence in research in a forum that involves researchers and partners from public, private and voluntary sectors, while embracing the full spectrum of research fields and disciplines, health practitioners, policy makers and consumers.

The Institutes (Scientific Director and the Institute personnel) are asked to comply with ISG management procedures and policies established by CIHR and the Treasury Board of Canada, in addition to complying with the procedures and policies of their Host Institution.


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2.2.1.6 Role of the Host Institutions under the Institute Agreements

Under an Institute Agreement, the Institute’s Host Institution agrees to provide to CIHR the services of the SD to act as Scientific Director of the Institute, it being understood that the duties of the Scientific Director are to manage the affairs and operations of the Institute and to conduct research. The Host Institution agrees to act as trustee for the funds received under the Institute Support Grants ISG (i.e., grant management) and its roles and responsibilities include:

  • Processing transactions and accounting for the Institute Support Grant;
  • Providing reports on the financial status of the Institute Support Grant account to the Scientific Director and Institute staff on a regular basis;
  • Providing annual ISG financial reports to CIHR - Annex A;
  • Providing remuneration and benefits to the Institute’s Scientific Director from the Institute Support Grant in accordance with the conditions set forth in the Institute Agreement, and also providing additional salary support as agreed between itself and the Scientific Director;
  • Providing remuneration and benefits to the Institute-based personnel in accordance with the employment agreement between itself and each individual Institute-based employee in accordance with its rules, procedures, and policies governing employment, including the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement between its non-academic employees and the non-academic employees' representatives;
  • Being responsible for paying all amounts required to be paid by or on behalf of the Institute and Host Institution pursuant to any act in force that relates to income tax, employment insurance premiums, pension plan premiums, or workers' compensation premiums in any jurisdiction under which such payments are required to be paid by or on behalf of the Host Institution, including, without limitation, the Income Tax Act (Canada), the Employment Insurance Act (Canada), the Canada Pension Plan (Canada);
  • Being responsible for paying to any Institute-based employee, upon termination, resignation, or retirement, any severance pay or any other compensation to which they are legally entitled;
  • Permitting transfer of funds between Institutes for cross-Institute events and activities, in accordance with Host Institutions’ rules.  A common template for inter-Institute funds transfer agreements has been developed by CIHR and is included in this Manual as Annex B. The lead Institute’s Host Institution will retain backup documents for transactions associated with these Inter-Institute transfers of funds agreements.
  • Providing suitable and sufficient space, as negotiated by the Scientific Director and CIHR with the respective Host Institutions, to house the Administrative Office of the Institute, including the Institute-based personnel and any office equipment used by the Institute; and
  • Complying with the financial management and reporting provisions contained within the Institute Agreement and this ISG Manual.

Host Institutions provide infrastructure and other support and services to the Institutes, including:

  • Utility services;
  • Access to communication services, including  the Host Institutions’ telephone network, computer network, and internet access;
  • Access to other areas and services of the Host Institutions that are available to employees of the Host Institutions;
  • Access to services normally provided by the Host Institutions to their own faculties, departments, researchers, and students;
  • Financial and grant administration services;
  • Library services;
  • Maintenance and janitorial services for the Institutes’ Administrative Offices; and
  • Any other service for which prior approval of CIHR has been obtained.

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2.2.1.7 Appointment of Scientific Directors

Following a national competitive recruiting campain and selection process, the Scientific Directors are appointed by the Governing Council upon recommendation from CIHR’s President. The SDs are employees of the Host Institutions and are expected to continue as productive and active researchers at their Host Institutions.


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2.2.1.8 Employment of Institute personnel

The Scientific Director engages personnel necessary to support the administration and operation of the Institute. All employees hired within the Institute at the Host Institution (Institute-based personnel) are employees of the Host Institution. Salary levels and benefits are at the discretion of the Scientific Director, but to the extent that employees are hired by the Host Institution, it is expected that policies and procedures including salary and benefits are consistent with those of the Host Institution.


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2.2.1.9 Awarding of Institute Support Grants (ISGs)

CIHR awards the ISGs to the Scientific Directors of the Institue. Once an Institute Agreement is signed, the Director, Institute Affairs initiates a CIHR Authority for Funding (AFF) for the ISG, which is then issued to the Scientific Director with a copy sent to the Host Institution’s Business Officer. This AFF authorizes the Host Institution to open a trust account for the ISG and the ISG annual budget is then immediately made available by the Host Institution to the Institute. Funds for the ISG are then paid by CIHR to the Host Institution in bi-monthly installments, as part of the Institution’s CIHR Common Grant Account installments.

Grant funds are paid to the Host Institution, which then controls and manages the funds (as trustee) on behalf and at the direction of the Institute, conditional upon:

  • Funds being appropriated by Parliament for this purpose;
  • Satisfactory progress by the Institute in the delivery of its mandate, as determined by CIHR, in relation to previous periods of funding;
  • Receipt of documents referred to in the Institute Agreement (Planning and Reporting), and of the annual ISG financial report (Annex A);
  • Continuing eligibility of the Institute, Host Institution and tenure of the Scientific Director;
  • Compliance with CIHR policies and procedures governing Institute Support Grants as outlined  in the most recent version of the ISG Manual;  and
  • Continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of the Institute Agreement.

Non-compliance with the terms and conditions outlined above may result in the suspension or termination of the ISG grant payment(s).

Any ISG funds not spent by an Institute in a fiscal year are carried over to the following year, to meet operating and development requirements of the Institute.


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2.2.1.10 Budget planning, preparation and submission by Institutes

Prior to April 1st of each year, Institutes will prepare and submit budgets to CIHR Finance for their ISG Grant and their respective Institute/CIHR Strategic Initiatives, using CIHR planning and budgeting templates based on instructions received from the CIHR Resource Planning and Management Portfolio (RPMP). Budget submissions will include the details necessary for CIHR Finance to consolidate financial information from the Institutes with all CIHR financial data, for submission to Treasury Board.


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2.2.1.11 ISG Annual Financial Reporting

Institutes with the assistance of their Host Institutions will complete and submit an annual ISG fiscal year financial report to CIHR Finance, using the CIHR format or template (Annex A). Submission of the financial report is to be made no later than June 30th after each fiscal year-end, outlining expenditures up to March 31st and will include the detail necessary for CIHR to consolidate the ISG financial data and information with all CIHR financial data. In addition to the financial report, the Scientific Director will submit an annual activity report for the preceding year to CIHR’s President and an assessment of the Institute’s performance in relation to the strategic plan.  


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2.2.1.12 Expenses (and approval) incurred by Institutes

ISG funds serve to cover Institute Development and Operating expenses and, in the first year at a new Host Institution site, start-up costs.

CIHR will not be held responsible for the funding of ISG expenditures or commitments by the Scientific Director that exceeds the ISG credit at the Host Institution for the current and prior fiscal periods.

The definition of Institute Development and Institute Operating expenditures are found below.

Eligible Expenditures under the Institute Support Grant

When an activity or event is lead, co-lead or in direct collaboration with the Institute, with the Institute managing the budget and expenditures, the expenditures may be incurred by the Institute from its ISG account held in trust at the Host Institution.

Institute Development includes the following expenses:

  • The cost of organizing and managing Institute events and activities to develop the Institute’s strategic agenda or plan strategic initiatives (e.g. an annual Institute conference);
  • Travel expenditures for non-Institute personnel (Institute representatives) to attend Institute events when the primary purpose of travel is clearly for Institute business;
  • Meetings and related travel and accommodation costs in respect to the support of the Institute Advisory Board (IAB);
  • Costs related to the development of Institute strategic initiatives including communications activities.

Institute Operations includes the following expenses:

  • Initial set-up and renovation cost (approved in advance by CIHR) for establishing the Institute at a new Host Institute site.  Standard documentation covering the expenditure of this fund is to be provided through normal financial reporting mechanisms;  
  • The Scientific Director's salary, stipends and portion of employee benefits at the amount prescribed in the Institute Agreement;
  • Total salaries of the Institute-based employees hired for the purpose of working for the Institute, prorated to the time spent by these employees on Institute business (in the event that it is less than 100%) including provision for the normal annual adjustments for inflation and career progress;
  • The employer’s portion of employee benefits that are normally provided to employees of the Host Institution, prorated to the portion of the Institute-based employees’ salaries funded by CIHR through the ISG;
  • Compensation to which the Institute-based employees are legally entitled upon retirement, termination or resignation, prorated to the time spent on Institute business;
  • Cost of office space occupied by the Institute, as negotiated in the Institute Agreement, including heat, light, maintenance, and insurance;
  • Telephone and communication services;
  • Supplies, materials, and other services to operate the Institute;
  • Office furniture and fixtures for the Institute’s office space;
  • Personal computers, software, printers, fax machines, related peripherals, internet connection and IT support;
  • Professional services contracts awarded in accordance with the procurement policies and practices of the Host Institution;
  • Travel expenditures by the Scientific Director and Institute-based employees when the primary purpose of travel is clearly for Institute business;
  • Official languages translation costs, should such translation services be undertaken outside of CIHR Corporate offices in Ottawa;
  • Other expenditures (not listed above) that may be incurred in operating and maintaining Institute operations, if approved in advance by CIHR.

N.B. To maximize availability of funds for Institute development activities, Institute  operating expenses should be kept at a minimum.

Only the Scientific Director (as the CIHR grant Nominated Principal Investigator) or his/her delegated authority may approve Institute expenses. The Scientific Director’s personal expenses (such as travel, conference attendance, etc) must be signed by the “one-up” signature (Department Head, Dean or designate) as described in the Institute Agreement, in order to confirm the relevance of the ISG expenditure to the Institutes’ affairs.

Only the Scientific Director may counter-sign the annual ISG annual financial report on behalf of the Institute.


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2.2.1.12.1 Salary of Scientific Director

The Scientific Director’s base salary and other compensation (paid from the ISG and processed through the Host Institution), in addition to adjustments of such, is determined by CIHR’s President and is outlined in the Institute Agreement. Adjustments when approved will be confirmed through Agreement amendment letters issued by CIHR’s President.


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2.2.1.12.2 Scientific Director’ and Institute staff/representatives’ travel expenses

As the Scientific Director is expected to continue to be an active researcher within his/her Host Institution in addition to leading the CIHR Institute, it is expected that he/she will be undertaking travel for reasons other than Institute business. When such travel occurs where the SD plays multiple roles (that of Institute SD, researcher, Host Institution representative, scientific association representative, etc.), a clear delineation of these roles should be outlined on the travel claim and travel expenses charged to the Institute’s ISG should be prorated accordingly.

IMPORTANT: For approved CIHR Institute travel per diem rates, please refer to section 2.2.2.1 of this ISG Manual, which takes precedence over the Host Institutions’ travel per diem rates.

The following directives apply to all ISG travel expenses:

  • A “one-up” designate approval (Vice President, Department Head, Dean, etc.) is required for all Scientific Directors’ ISG travel expenses, to confirm the relevance of the travel to the ISG and the Institutes’ affairs;
  • The Scientific Director (or his/her delegated authority) is the “one-up” designate approval for other Institute-based employees and Institute representatives’ travel expenditures;
  • Individuals claiming travel-related expenses from the ISG must prepare a separate claim for each trip;
  • Travel claims must also conform to the standard travel policies and procedures of the grantee's institution.

A travel claim charged to the ISG must include the following information:

  • Purpose of trip;
  • Dates and destinations (including the names of the person(s) or institution(s) visited);
  • Official supporting documentation (e.g., prospectus or program, indicating the dates of conferences and workshops);
  • Detailed daily claims for expenditures relating to those visits;
  • Details of vehicle use;
  • Original receipts, such as hotel bills, and car rental agreements (credit card slips are not valid receipts); and
  • Original air, train or bus travel ticket receipts. Airline boarding passes will not be accepted in lieu of ticket receipts, except in the case of electronic tickets.

All travel claims charged to the ISG must have the SD's or delegate's signature. The signatures certify that:

  • All expenditures on the claim are for the purpose for which the ISG was awarded;
  • The charges included on the claim have not been claimed for reimbursement from other sources; and
  • Reimbursements for expenditures received from other sources or institutions will be disclosed to the administrating institution.

Note: If Scientific Directors are attending a CIHR Governing Council related meeting, the CIHR Governance Unit will pick-up their travel expenses (via the CIHR Corporate budget) and will coordinate the booking of their hotel and flight/train following the same processes and travel rates used for Governing Council members.  Travel expenses for Scientific Directors and Institute personnel attending any other CIHR or Institute related meetings must be charged to their ISG.


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2.2.1.12.3 Salaries and benefits of Institute-based personnel

As mentioned earlier in this ISG Manual, Institute-based personnel are employees of the Host Institutions and must abide by the HR policies and procedures set out by their Host Institutions.

Salaries for Institute-based personnel are processed through the Host Institutions. Salaries, benefits and annual adjustments to Institute-based personnel are determined by the Scientific Director but also in accordance with Host Institution policies.


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2.2.1.12.4 Institute Office furniture and equipment

Institute office furniture and equipment (including computers and laptops) purchased out of the ISG are considered the property of the CIHR Institutes. In instances where an Institute relocates to a new Host Institution, laptop computers and other small equipment/devises (such as Palms, cell phones, Blackberry’s, etc.) are to follow Institute personnel to the new Institute’s Host Institution.

In certain circumstances, it may be more efficient and cost effective not to move large equipment and office furniture to a new Host Institution site. In those instances, the SD will have the authority of negotiating their sale to the Host Institution or other interested parties should the Host Institution not wish to exercise this purchasing option.  Proceeds from the sale of the office furniture and equipment will be credited to the ISG account. 


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2.2.1.12.5 ISG sub-grants - new Institute Community Support (ICS) Grants Program

An ISG sub-grant is defined as a development grant awarded to an individual or an organization by an Institute, with payment made from the Institute’s Institute Support Grant (ISG).

In prior years, as part of their Institute's development activities, the Institutes had been using a portion of their Institute Support Grant (ISG) funds managed in trust by their respective host institutions to issue development grants and awards to individuals and organizations within their communities.

One of the primary purposes of the Institutes is to encourage and support Institute development activities, however in order to be compliant with the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments and align Institute grants and awards payments with CIHR funding programs, a replacement funding mechanism entitled "Institute Community Support (ICS) Grants Program" has been developed and implemented effective April 1, 2008 for this purpose.

As a result, please note that effective April 1, 2008 (fiscal year 2008-09), the Institutes will no longer be able to use their ISG accounts for any grants and/or awards (ISG sub-grants) to individuals or organizations.


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2.2.1.13 Maintenance of financial/expenditure records

The Host Institutions maintain all Institute financial/expenditure records and documentation consistent with their policies of record maintenance.


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2.2.1.14 Relocation of Institutes and/or Scientific Directors

The location of an Institute and its Host Institution is determined upon the appointment of a Scientific Director and is governed by an Institute Agreement.

In situations where either i) a Scientific Director is required to relocate to a new university/hospital for career reasons; ii) a new Scientific Director is appointed to replace a Scientific Director before the end of his/her term; or iii) a new Scientific Director is appointed at the end of the Scientific Director's term, all parties have a specific role to play in order to ensure a smooth SD/Institute transition and relocation to the new Host Institution.

The CIHR Institute Affairs Directorate (IAD), with the assistance of a cross-functional Institute Transition Workgroup has established guidelines, tools and processes based on "best practices" and "lessons learned" from previous Institute transitions, in order to facilitate on-going Institute transitions and relocations. Institute transitions and relocations occur under the auspices of Institute Affairs (IAD), with the support of CIHR Central, the Scientific Directors (both outgoing and incoming SDs) and in direct collaboration with the employees from the respective Institutes.

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2.2.1.15 Shared event or activity costs and Inter-Institute funds transfers

Institutes often enter into arrangements whereby expenditures for Institute development events and activities are shared amongst more than one CIHR Institute. To avoid duplication of effort, a “Lead Institute” is identified and held accountable to manage, track and monitor costs and results.

The "Lead Institute" must also coordinate the documentation process and ensure that each Institute cooperates and completes the necessary documentation, with the lead Institute's Host Institution retaining backup documents for transactions associated with the Inter-Institute transfers of funds agreements.

In order to ensure that costs are correctly allocated and not double-counted, only the Lead Institute will fund the Institute development event or activity, with the other participating Institutes transfering their share from their ISG funds using the CIHR template agreement entitled "Inter-Institute Funds Transfer" from the ISG included as Annex B.

For this purpose the annual ISG financial report (Annex A) requires that the Institutes identify in their Sources of Funds section: a) Funds transferred to other CIHR Institute(s) and b) Funds transferred from other CIHR Institute(s).  


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2.2.1.16 CIHR periodic financial reviews

CIHR conducts periodic financial reviews of the Institutes in order to ensure that public funds are allocated and spent in an appropriate manner and further, that spending is in accordance with the rules of CIHR and the Host Institutions. Such reviews may take place during cyclical Tri-agency Monitoring Visits undertaken at the Institutes’ Host Institutions or during special reviews when an Institute is preparing to relocate to a new Host Institution site. Institutes and their Host Institution are normally notified at least 2 months in advance of cyclical Tri-agency and/or special reviews and are asked to cooperate fully with the CIHR Monitoring Team, in order to ensure an efficient and timely review.


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2.2.2 ISG directives which take precedence over Host Institution policies


2.2.2.1 Institute representatives and IAB members’ travel per diem rates

CIHR is asking that the following standard CIHR Institute travel per diem rates be adopted by all of the Institutes’ Host Institutions for Institute-based employee, Institute representative and IAB member’s business travel expenses.

CIHR Institute travel per diem rates:

Breakfast:  $10.00
Lunch:  $12.00
Dinner:  $32.00
Incidentals:  $16.00


Total daily per diem rate of $70.00

Where the CIHR Institute travel per diem rates exceed the rates established by the Host Institutions, the Host Institutions are requested to accept the higher rates as an exception to their internal procedures. This directive applies ONLY to CIHR Institute-based employee, Institute representative and IAB member business travel paid from the Institutes’ ISG accounts, NOT to any other CIHR grants.

In order to alleviate any administrative burden placed upon Host Institutions' Research Accounting personnel, CIHR has prepared a standard approval document, signed by the CIHR Director, Institute Affairs confirming the applicability of the CIHR Institute ISG travel per diem rates which is to be attached to any travel advances or travel claims submitted by an Institute to the Host Institutions' Research Accounting Departments.

Following consultations with all of the Institutes and receiving approval from the respective Host Institutions, CIHR proceeded to establish this new standardized CIHR Institute travel per diem rate for Institute business travel, which was reviewed and approved by the CIHR Executive Committee (EMC) on May 9, 2005.

These per diem rates will be reviewed on a periodic basis.  Any changes will be reflected in future versions of this Manual and communicated to the Institutes and their Host Institutions.


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2.2.3 Government and CIHR policies applicable to the Institutes

The Institutes must comply with Government and CIHR policies and guidelines that apply to the activities of the Institutes, including but not limited to the following:

Treasury Board CIHR ISG Grant Program Terms and Conditions
The management of Institute activities is governed by the respective Institute Agreements and this ISG Manual, which in turn are driven by terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board of Canada. For information purposes, the complete TB CIHR ISG Program T/Cs document is attached as Annex C.

Treasury Board CIHR Grants Program Terms and Conditions
The CIHR grants and awards funding opportunities led by the Institutes and managed by CIHR Central are in turn governed by terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board of Canada. The complete TB CIHR Grants Program Ts&Cs document is attached for information purposes as Annex D.

Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments
CIHR grants and awards payments (including payments for CIHR’s ISG Program) are governed by the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments - (PTP). For information purposes, the complete TB PTP can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat web site.

The following text from the PTP is of note:

“[Departments must establish policies and procedures to ensure that:...] Verification of the continuing eligibility, entitlement and qualification of a recipient of a grant is performed, normally prior to making any payment, including an installment payment; however, the fact that a grant is not subject to audit does not preclude such verification being undertaken after payment has been made. Where warranted, access to or provision of information necessary for such verification should be requested from the recipient as a condition of the grant.”

“Transfer payments should not be paid to recipients in advance of need; payments should be timed to correspond as closely as practicable to recipients' cash flow requirements.”

“Since most grants are intended to provide financial support over time or require the recipient to continue to meet eligibility requirements, grants should be paid in installments, based on the cash flow requirements of the recipient.”

Based on the above, the ISGs are issued by CIHR under the same scheduled Common Grant Account installment payments as for any other CIHR grants, which are broken down into six installments paid bi-monthly to the Host Institutions. 

In addition, the following Federal Government policies also apply to the Institutes:

For information purposes, consult the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act, which established CIHR.


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Annex A - ISG Annual Financial Report

ISG Annual Financial Report Annual Financial Report


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Annex B - Common Template for Inter-Institute ISG Funds Transfer

Common Template for Inter-Institute ISG Funds Transfer


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Annex C - Treasury Board Terms and Condition for the CIHR ISG Program

Treasury Board Terms and Condition for the CIHR ISG Program


This Manual together with the Appendices forms part of the policies, procedures and guidelines of CIHR. This Manual will continue to expand, evolve and be amended as rules, policies and situations change.

For further clarification or interpretations of this Manual, the Institutes and Host-Institutions should contact their respective Institute Financial Advisor or the Manager, Institute Affairs.