Subject: Internal Research Grants
Group: Institutional
Approved by: Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research
Approval date: 5 December 2008
Effective date: 5 December 2008
Revised: 17 December 2011; 24 January 2017
Administered by: Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research

1 — SCOPE

This policy sets out the objectives, terms, and conditions that apply to all internal research and teaching grants and awards held by faculty, staff, or students at Mount Allison University. These grants and awards include, but are not limited to, the following:

Fund: President’s Research and Creative Activities Fund
Responsibility: Senate Research and Creative Activities Committee

Fund: Student Summer Research Awards     
Responsibility: Senate Research and Creative Activities Committee

Fund: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fund (Category A — Sabbaticals; Category B — Conference Travel)
Responsibility: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fund Committee

Fund: Marjorie Young Bell Fine Arts & Music Awards
Responsibility: Marjorie Young Bell Fine Arts & Music Awards Committee

Fund: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellowships     
Responsibility: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellowships Committee

Fund: Start-Up Funding for New Faculty Members (including Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Start-Up Grants)     
Responsibility: Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellowships Committee
 
Each type of grant or award may have its own eligibility criteria, application requirements, or terms and conditions.

This policy and the revised descriptions of individual grants and awards replaces and renders null and void all other policies and procedures for the allocation of internal research grants and awards.

2 — INTRODUCTION

2.1 Objective
The objective of internal grants and awards is to nurture and sustain a vibrant research community at Mount Allison University by encouraging the participation of faculty, librarians, technicians and students in research endeavours. To this end, the University will assist in meeting the financial needs arising from research projects leading to peer-reviewed publications in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and research and creative and scholarly work in the fine and performing arts. In addition, the University also provides some funds to help defray the costs of presentations at conferences. Researchers are encouraged to explore new or alternative sources of external funding including partnerships with the public and private sector.
     
2.2 Sources Of Funds
Internal research grants and awards are funded by a variety of sources internal and external to the University. In addition to using operating funds to support research and creative activity by faculty members and students, the University receives funding annually from two external government agencies (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) and from a variety of internal restricted and unrestricted funds, which include the Petrocan, Bell, Crake, and Universitas funds. Actual sums and percentages differ from year to year. The granting councils currently use a formula which makes their General Research Grants dependent on the amounts of monies received by Mount Allison University scholars for their own individual or group projects. Restricted trust funds have clauses that preclude monies from being used for any purpose other than research and in some cases for some disciplines only, e.g., the Crake Foundation. Operating funds, on the other hand, have no such provision and the amount of monies allocated to support research and creative activities is set annually by the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research from the academic operating envelope.

3 — PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES FOR ADJUDICATING APPLICATIONS
 
3.1 Committee-Applicant Communication
In general, and to avoid misunderstanding, only the Chair of the adjudication committee may discuss proposals with applicants once they have been submitted. The nature of the discussion will be explanatory: i.e., the Chair might ask an applicant to explain a procedure or technique that the committee does not understand. In exceptional circumstances, an adjudication committee may request an applicant to appear in person to explain procedures, techniques, etc. for which there is no expertise within the committee. However, applicants may consult with members of the committee in the preparation of their application, i.e., prior to submission.
      
3.2 Policy Regarding the Allocation of Internal Grants and Awards to Faculty Members
The principal aim of internal research funding is to help researchers to initiate research projects in the expectation that they might obtain more substantial and sustaining funding through the competitive grants processes external to the University. Recipients should therefore endeavour to bring their research projects to the stage where external grants applications are undertaken. It is expected that applicants will apply for external funding sources at the first opportunity. Consistent with these objectives, adjudication committees may choose to apportion available funds into two pools to be judged separately: one pool would support new faculty or first-time applicants; the other pool would support all other applicants. In any event, in ranking applications committees will attempt to balance the following considerations:

  • the need for new faculty members to get their research careers launched;
  • the need for faculty members who have an established track record to continue to progress; this includes faculty members who have applied to granting councils and whose applications have been recommended but not funded;
  • the need to recognize that not all research falls within the interest of the traditional granting councils and may need to be supported by institutional means;
  • the need for faculty members without an extensive track record to launch new initiatives that will vitalize their research profile; and
  • the need to assist those on term appointments to participate in research as a means to enhancing their potential to secure more permanent positions .

Applications will be adjudicated on the basis of the quality of the proposed research or creative activity and the applicant’s record of research achievement (including the outcomes of projects previously funded through internal research grants and awards). Where applicable, adjudication committees will follow the guidelines set out by NSERC and SSHRC, and applicants should review and follow the disciplinary or area guidelines provided by these agencies on their respective web sites. It is important to stress the importance of preparing a clearly and concisely written, methodologically sound, and properly budgeted proposal that would normally fall within the applicant's long term research goals. All items in the proposed budget must be fully justified and their need explained in the proposal. Attention to these details will provide a useful preparation for later applications to the granting councils. Projects in the fine and performing arts will be given the same depth of review as research proposals in the science, social science and humanities. Normally, the University will not fund applications for new research projects from applicants who have doctoral dissertations, and the like, still to be completed.
      
3.2.1 Career Interruptions
It is recognised that applicants may have had their research trajectory interrupted by maternity, medical or other special leaves granted by Mount Allison University, or by previous employers. When applicants believe their research record requires explanation, they are encouraged to append an explanatory note to their application detailing the extent and ways that their productivity may have been so affected. Adjudication committees will consider these factors in their decision making.

3.2.2 Research Reports
A report on the use and impact of previous funding received is required before any subsequent funding will be awarded. These reports should be submitted to the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research as soon as possible after the project is completed. A copy of the report must be attached to any subsequent application.
     
3.3 Eligible Expenses
Funding for internal research grants and awards for faculty members is intended to cover the direct costs of the research or creative activity, including, but not limited to, for example: small equipment, supplies, the hiring of student assistants, and travel to field research sites, libraries, archives, and other research institutions. Please note the following additional regulations regarding eligibility:

  • Sabbatical: travel to and from the sabbatical site is normally funded only by the Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fund, Category A. Other internal research grants and awards may fund research projects conducted at or from this site.
  • Conferences: funds for travel to conferences to report on research are normally provided only by the Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fund, Category B.

These funds may not be used to fund research leading to a university degree. All costs must be receipted or accountable through Financial Services and are subject to all existing University policies and procedures.
      
3.4 Maximum Amounts
In addition, the following maximum amounts will apply, unless otherwise announced in the call for applications:

  • Research and creative projects - $15,000
  • Conference travel - $2,000
  • Sabbatical leaves (Marjorie Young Bell Category A) - $5,000

Applications that exceed these amounts will not be considered. Please note that adjudication committees are rarely able to fund every application fully.
      
3.5 Simultaneous Applications
Except as outlined below, an individual faculty member may not apply for more than one (1) research or creative project at any one time. An individual may, however, apply for two research grants when the second is part of a collaborative project, provided that individual is not the primary researcher of that project.
      
3.5.1 Applications to the Marjorie Young Faculty Fund, Categories A and B
A faculty member may apply simultaneously to Category A and B.
Normally, Category B will support travel to one (1) conference only.
      
3.6 Duration of Grants and Awards to Faculty Members
All faculty members are expected to expend their grant or award within two years of receipt. Unspent funds will revert to the University for re-allocation. Recipients of awards whose research or creative activity is interrupted as a result of a maternity, medical or special leave granted by the University, or other extenuating circumstances may request an extension from the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research. In responding to such requests the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research will weigh the prospects that the project can and will be completed within a reasonable and foreseeable time. If the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research does not intend to grant such an extension, the case will be referred to the Research and Creative Activities Committee for consideration.
      
3.7 Policy Regarding the Allocation of Internal Research Grants and Awards to Students
The primary objective of Student Summer Research Awards is to provide students with comprehensive, quality research experiences. The main considerations in the allocation of these awards is the excellence of the student and the quality of the proposed research. In ranking the applications, committees will take into account the following principles:

  • Awards should be available to students from all disciplines in an equitable manner;
  • Awards that are funded for a specific set of disciplines should not displace a share of general awards for those disciplines;
  • A faculty member cannot be the proposed supervisor on more than three (3) different student applications (only the primary supervisor is considered to be the supervisor);
  • Preference will be given to students about to enter their fourth year, since such students are best positioned to benefit from the research experience;
  • In the case of applicants of near quality, preference will be given to the distribution of awards across the full range of disciplines and the full variety of supervisors; and
  • Normally awards will not be made to graduating students or students currently in first year.   

3.7.1 Eligibility
In order to be eligible to apply for a Student Summer Research Award, a student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for a third-year student and 3.3 for a second-year student.

4 — ETHICS REVIEW

Successful proposals dealing with human subjects must be submitted for approval to the Mount Allison University Research Ethics Board (REB) before funds will be released. Conceivably the REB may request the applicant to modify the research protocol to conform to the Tri-Council Policy on Research Involving Humans. Similarly, proposals dealing with experimental animals must be approved by the Mount Allison University Animal Care Committee (ACC), following policies of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. The REB and ACC will make every effort to expedite their review of proposals so that researchers can proceed smoothly into their projects.

5 — REGULATIONS GOVERNING RESEARCH ACCOUNTS

Internal research accounts are governed by the following regulations:

  1. Grants are to be used solely for the specific projects for which funding is awarded.
  2. Researchers must make purchases and expense claims in accordance with the University's policies and guidelines. If in doubt, seek guidance from Financial Services before the fact.
  3. Accounts established for grants may not be used as depositories for other research funds.
  4. Funds from grants may not be transferred to other accounts without the approval of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research.
  5. Any unspent funds in the accounts of researchers who are no longer employed by the University will immediately revert to originating fund, unless special provision is made with the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research.
  6. Any funds remaining at the close of the grant period will revert to the originating fund for re-allocation.

6 — EQUIPMENT

Equipment purchased with internal research grants and awards shall remain the property of Mount Allison University.
 
7 — POST-AWARD CHANGES TO THE RESEARCH PLAN

To provide researchers with some guiding principles in this matter, the following policies and procedures have been adopted:

1. It is understood that in awarding grants to applicants, the adjudicating committee will make explicit the project dimensions and purposes for which the award is intended. This statement will be contained in the letter of award and should guide the researcher in planning the scale and objectives of the research, and the use of the funds provided. The researcher is then at liberty to expend the funds allocated within the general framework of the award. It should be noted that letters of award are sent to Financial Services as a matter of course and this unit is obliged to administer awards within the terms set out in the award letter.
      
2. It is understood that research, by its nature, frequently involves deviations from the path originally proposed. These deviations can be minor, e.g., altered sequences of steps, or alternative travel or field work plans. On the other hand, deviations can be major, e.g. abandonment of the project and the re-formulation of a new project direction, or substantial re-allocation of budget priorities. It is understood that when alterations to the research project are deemed to be of sufficient magnitude as to give the appearance of a major change, the researchers will ask the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research for a review of the proposed revised research plan. It is imperative that this review be conducted in a timely way so that the planned research is not unduly delayed. If in the judgement of the Provost, or his/her designate, the changes proposed are compatible with the original intent, the researcher will be given leave to continue. If, however, the changes are judged to be unsupportable, the case will be referred to the Research and Creative Activities Committee for consideration. Every effort will be made to convene this committee via e-mail or other means should it be necessary to do so during the summer or other periods. If unsupportable at this level, the award will revert to the originating fund.

8 — ACKNOWLEDGING SOURCES OF FUNDS

It is requested that researchers acknowledge the support given by the University (and the specific fund) in any publications resulting from a grant.