University of Saskatchewan

September 20, 2014   

Research Contract Path

  1. Application for External Funding
  2. Negotiation
  3. Internal Approvals
  4. Official Authorization
  5. Research Ethics
  6. Field Research Safety
  7. Opening of a Research Fund
  8. Principal Investigator’s Fees
  9. Administration of Project
  10. Over-expenditures on Research Funds
  11. Amendments/Extensions
  12. Closing of Research Funds
  13. Continuous Research Funds
  14. Departing Researchers


  1. Application for External Funding

  2. All applications for research funding, including the research budget, should be reviewed by Research Services before being formally submitted to the sponsor. Whether the sponsor requires it or not, all applications for external research funding must be reviewed and signed by the Principal Investigator, the relevant Department Head and/or a representative from the Dean's Office in the relevant College. The authorizing signature on behalf of the University is provided by the Research Services office.

  3. Negotiation

  4. Once it is confirmed that a sponsor intends to fund a research proposal and it is determined that a contract is required to fund the proposal, the Contracts Officer, in consultation with the Principal Investigator and other Administrative Units, is responsible for the complete negotiation of the contract. A copy of the proposal approved by the sponsor, including the budget, is required if not already provided to Research Services. Issues such as publication, ownership of intellectual property, confidentiality, period of the funding, payment schedule, indemnification, governing law and University overhead, are addressed to ensure compliance with University policies.

  5. Internal Approvals

  6. Research agreements must be signed by the Principal Investigator, the Department Head, a representative from the Dean's Office, before being signed by the institution. Where space for signatures is not provided on the contract, a separate memorandum will be sent by Research Services to the Principal Investigator. These signatures are necessary to ensure those responsible for particular aspects of the University's operation are aware of the commitments identified in the research project. The specific responsibilities for each of these individuals is described within the Guidelines for Administration of Research Grants and Contracts.

    There are other administrative units that may play a role in research contract approval and administration. These include Financial Reporting, Risk Management and Insurance Services, Industry Liaison Office, and Human Resources Division. While they need not sign off on the agreement, there may be certifications or other concerns that require addressing prior to official execution of the agreement by the University.

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  7. Official Authorization

  8. Under terms of The University of Saskatchewan Act, 1995 the University of Saskatchewan must be named as the contractor in research contracts which involve the institution and any of its employees. Faculty members and other staff members cannot enter into or sign contracts on behalf of or binding on the University.

    For a contract to be binding on the University, contracts must be signed by duly authorized representatives for the Chair and Secretary of the Board of Governors, according to the University Signing Authority Policy . This policy concerns University contracting and the delegation of authority to contract on behalf of the University. It reflects the commitment of the University to the proper management of and accountability for the resources of the University. Compliance will assist in safeguarding University resources through the application of consistent management practices and controls in the contracting process.

    Research Services is responsible to obtain these signatures on behalf of the University. The Board of Governors signatures are needed to indicate acceptance of the financial administration, associated liabilities and general terms of the agreement. Every research agreement also must be sealed, according to the University’s Policy Providing for the Use of the University Seal. The University of Saskatchewan Act, 1995 requires that the University Seal be affixed to contracts. This policy sets out the proper and appropriate use of the University Seal and provides for its protection in a safe and secure place.

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  9. Research Ethics

  10. The University requires that all research conducted by its members conform to the highest ethical standards in the use of human and animal subjects. These standards are defined by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). Similar standards apply to the protection of researchers, students, and other parties from direct and indirect hazards which may arise from research activities.

    Principal Investigators must ensure that research projects under their direction have been approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies both internal and external to the University. Assistance or guidance in obtaining these approvals is available from Research Services.

    In those instances where the research project is funded, access to those funds will not be granted until the necessary approvals are in place. Over the course of the research, these approvals must be maintained if the research requires those particular ethics, otherwise access to the research funds will be halted.

    Any research or study conducted at University facilities, or undertaken by persons connected to the University, involving human subjects, animals or biohazardous materials must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate Research Ethics Board (REB) or Committee. Research must also comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (and related federal, provincial and municipal regulations), University policies on Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental matters, and the University policies and procedures for Ethics in Human Research.

    In some cases, a research project may need to be reviewed by more than one Board or Committee. For example, research that involves human blood may require review by both the Biosafety Committee and the REB. Please contact the Manager for the Committee or Board if you think this applies to your research.

    1. Human

    2. The University of Saskatchewan follows the national standards outlined by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and the University policy Research Involving Human Subjects. Additional guidance is also provided by the Tri-council MOU - Schedule 2: Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans.

      All research that involves human subjects or the use of human tissue from subjects, living or not, requires review and approval by a University of Saskatchewan Research Ethics Board. This includes research that has had prior approval at another institution. Therefore, it is recommended that you check with the appropriate committee to determine if ethics approval is required.

      The University has established two Research Ethics Boards (REBs). The appropriate REB must approve any project involving the use of human subjects.

      The Biomedical Research Ethics Board (Bio-REB) is responsible for the review of all protocols involving human subjects which include:

      1. medically invasive physical procedures, invasive interventions and invasive measures (includes administration and testing of drugs);
      2. physical interventions that have the potential for adverse effects such as drug, exercise and dietary interventions;
      3. surgical procedures such as biopsies, the collection of blood or other specimens;
      4. use of permanent charts or records in accordance with provincial legislation.

      The Behavioural Research Ethics Board (Beh-REB) is responsible for the review of all protocols involving human subjects which include:

      1. non-invasive interventions and measures including interviews, surveys, questionnaires, psychological, social or behavioural interventions, non-invasive physiological measures (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure);
      2. observation or descriptive research, including drug, dietary, and exercise protocols that are observational in nature with no intervention;
      3. audio and/or video recording or other monitoring.

      The Biomedical REB and the Behavioural REB may collaborate in assessing submissions that combine elements of both biomedical and behavioural research.

      All submissions should be made to the Ethics Officer responsible for the appropriate committee:

      Biomedical REB: Bonnie Korthuis ( (966-4053)
      Behavioural REB: Beryl Radcliffe ( 966-2084)

      Once approval is in place, please contact the Research Services office to release funding.

      Further details on the submission process, application and monitoring forms and guidelines can be found on the Ethics Review website.

    3. Animal

    4. All animal use for research, teaching or testing must receive prior approval from the University Committee on Animal Care and Supply (UCACS) before the animal use begins. The University of Saskatchewan follows the national standards set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and the University policy Care and Use of Animals in Research. Additional guidance is also provided by the Tri-council MOU - Schedule 3: Ethical Review of Research Involving Animals.

      Where vertebrate animals are used in the course of research or other activities, it is the primary concern of the University that discomfort to the animals be kept to a minimum, that their treatment and care be in accordance with the CCAC Regulations, and that researchers adhere to the principles contained in the CCAC publication, "Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals" (1993). Copies of this publication may be obtained from the UCACS office.

      The UCACS maintains an office in the Animal Resources Centre to support the program, under the Director, Animal Resources Centre. The national standards for experimental animal care and use are posted on the CCAC website.

      A request to use animals must be submitted on the UCACS Application to Use Animals Form. The process for receiving and reviewing the Assurance of Animal Care forms is included in the information accompanying the form. Further information can be found on the Ethics Review website.

      Once approval is in place, please contact the Research Services office to release funding.

      Any questions regarding animal care and use at the University can be directed to:

      Ms. Colleen Myers (, UCACS Secretary (966-4126),
      Ms. Amanda Plante (, Animal Resources Centre (966-7928).

      Laboratory animals are ordered through the ARC. For more information on availability, suppliers, costs, etc., please contact Ms. Linda Penny at 966-4123.

    5. Biosafety and other Department of Health, Safety & Environment Information

    6. Biosafety

      If you intend on using any of the following: risk group level (RGL) 1-4 agents, unfixed animal/human tissue, non-indigenous plant/ animal materials, or notifiable substances (GMO's, recombinant DNA), you will require either a ‘Biosafety Operating Permit’ or ‘Biosafety Registration’. Application forms can be obtained from the web under “forms” at the DHSE website or from the DHSE Biosafety office directly. If you have any questions please contact Andrea Smida (, Biosafety Manager (966-8496).

      Once the DHSE Biosafety Manager has confirmed your permit approval, please contact the Research Services office to release funding.

      Nuclear Substances

      Projects which involve the use of radioisotopes require approval of the University Radiation Safety Committee. If you intend on using any nuclear substances or radiation emitting devices, you will require a ‘Radiation Safety Permit’. Application forms can be obtained from the web under “forms” at the DHSE website or from the DHSE office directly. If you have any questions please call Debbie Frattinger (, Radiation Safety Manager (966-8494).

      Controlled Chemical Products

      If you intend on using any of the products listed in the Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Table 19, or have any questions regarding hazardous or other controlled chemical products, please call Darrell Hart ( , Chemical Safety and Environmental Protection Manager, (966-8512).

      Highly Toxic Chemical Substance Considerations

      Researchers planning projects which will use carcinogenic or other highly toxic chemical substances are advised to contact the Chemical Safety and Environmental Protection Manager to get advice regarding legal regulations and University policies which might apply. This may include, but is not limited to, requirements for chemical fume hoods, specific ventilation controls, safety showers, and a cross reference to waste disposal. The use of carcinogenic substances is possible only through formal governmental approval. Applications are made through the DHSE Office. Other hazardous controlled products (i.e. chemical, biological, and physical agents) must be monitored in each research facility through a combination of inventory labeling, documented hazard identification (i.e. Material Safety Data Sheets), and employee training. For more information please call Darrell Hart (, Chemical Safety and Environmental Protection Manager, (966-8512).

      Transportation of Dangerous Goods

      The importation or exportation of any hazardous material or agent requires specific documentation and placarding in accordance with federal law. Noncompliance can result in shipment delays and fines being levied against the individual responsible for the infraction. There are a number of trained personnel on campus who can provide assistance in these matters. The DHSE should be consulted for the name(s) of the nearest contact person(s) and other details.

    7. Environmental Assessment

    8. For any research involving field work or research that could have an adverse affect on the environment, sponsors will request clearance before the research can proceed. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act obliges all federal departments and agencies, including the Federal Granting Agencies, to review proposals for potential impacts on the environment. It recognizes the use of environmental assessment (EA) as an effective means of integrating environmental factors into planning and decision-making processes in a manner that promotes sustainable development. Therefore any grant submitted to a federal department or agency will be required as part of the application to include details to be reviewed by an EA if any of the research described in the proposal is to take place outside an office or laboratory. On answers to the questions on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) Pre-Screening Checklist, the sponsor will determine whether a "screening" will be required in accordance with CEAA and will work with the Principal Investigator and the University to see that the necessary steps are taken and, if deemed appropriate, the research is given the "green" light. Funding will only be released to a researcher once an environmental assessment has been conducted and approved. Further details can be found in the Tri-council MOU - Schedule 5: Environmental Assessment and also on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) website.

    9. Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) Facilities

    10. For any research funding whereby SHR facilities will be used, a letter from SHR is required, prior to funds being released to a researcher. For further information, please contact the Saskatoon Health Region's Research Services Unit at 655-3355 to submit an application for approval.

      Once approval is in place, please contact the Research Services office to release funding

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  11. Field Research Safety

  12. Field research consists of work activities conducted for the purpose of study, research or teaching that are undertaken at a location outside the geographical boundaries of the University of Saskatchewan campus. Field research activities can expose participants to significant risks to their health, safety, or well-being, and therefore the Department of Health, Safety and Environment (DHSE) at the University of Saskatchewan has in place a Fieldwork Safety Policy to ensure that prior to undertaking field research:

    • all concerned parties are aware of their responsibilities for field research;
    • a risk assessment is carried out to identify potential hazards associated with the field research and to establish appropriate controls to eliminate or minimize such hazards; and
    • all participants have an informed understanding of the associated risks and provide their consent to the means for dealing with such risks.

    The Fieldwork Safety Policy outlines the responsibilities for safety in field research of the University of Saskatchewan, Deans and Department Heads, Principal Investigators, Team Leaders and Team Members (pages 2 and 3). Each has a role to play in ensuring the safety of all those participating in field research. Due diligence must be exercised by all concerned parties in giving attention to the nature of, and the means for dealing with, the categories of risk that may be associated with each location and kind of field research.

    In general, the Department Head (Chair, Director or Dean) is responsible for ensuring that academic supervisors are aware of the guidelines for safety in field research and ensuring compliance with these guidelines within the department or faculty. The primary responsibility for compliance with the policy lies with the Principal Investigator who is in charge of the field research project. The Principal Investigator is responsible for conducting risk assessments prior to all organized off-campus activities. For out-of-country travel, travel advisory reports relating to safety, security and health must be consulted. The Team Leader may be the Principal Investigator or may be another member of the team who has been designated by the Principal Investigator. The Team Leader is involved in directly supervising research on location and is responsible for ensuring proper implementation of the policy, including the use of appropriate safety equipment, safety procedures and medical precautions by team members during field research. Each Team Member of the field research team is responsible for acknowledging the risks of the particular field project and working safely and in a manner to prevent harm to himself/herself or to others.

    The Principal Investigator for each field research project should complete a ‘Field Research Safety Planning Record’ to help document the risk assessment (outlined in Appendix 1 of the Fieldwork Safety Policy), immunization required, emergency procedures, travel details and physical demands related to the project. In addition, team members also need to sign an acknowledgement that they are aware of the risks involved and safety procedures that need to be followed. This ‘Planning Record’ is found in Appendices 2, 2a and 2b of the Fieldwork Safety Policy. A copy of the ‘Planning Record’ should be submitted to the Department Head/Director and kept on file in the Department Office.

    A pre-departure safety checklist (Appendix 3) is provided in the Fieldwork Safety Policy to focus researchers on major items that need to be considered before fieldwork is conducted and Appendix 4 discusses research location safety considerations. ‘Use of equipment’ (vehicles, boats, other) while conducting field research is detailed in Appendix 5. ‘Travel health and immunization guidelines’ are discussed in Appendix 6. Additional research-related topics are covered in the Fieldwork Safety Policy in the following appendices: Appendix 7 – ‘Saskatchewan health coverage while outside Saskatchewan and/or Canada’; Appendix 8 – ‘Insurance coverage’; Appendix 9 – ‘Continuance of University benefit plan coverage while on research and study leave’; Appendix 10 – ‘Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisory reports’; Appendix 11 – ‘Personal Activities’.

    For information regarding the following policies:

    • Fieldwork
    • Working Alone
    • Animal Control
    • ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

    Please refer to the DHSE website or call the office for more information at 966-8493.

    The complete Field Work Draft Policy can be downloaded from the DHSE website.

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  13. Opening of Research Fund

  14. Contract funds are held in trust by the University and are not the property of faculty members or professional research personnel.

    No expenditures should be incurred under any contract until a research Fund has been authorized by Research Services. It is the responsibility of Research Services to ensure that the terms and conditions of every contract administered by the University conform to University Policies and Guidelines. When a research contract has been signed on behalf of the University and the external sponsoring agency, a copy will be forwarded to the Principal Investigator, and the original will be sent to Financial Reporting together with the authorization to open a research Fund. Financial Reporting will notify the Principal Investigator when the research Fund has been established. The opening of a Fund prior to this receipt requires special permission from the Director of Research Services.

    Only individuals with an academic appointment (faculty, professional research personnel, emeriti, adjuncts, part-time faculty) can be a Principal Investigator on a research contract held by the University as per the Administration of Research Grants and Contracts policy. Exceptions may be granted by the Vice-President Research, subject to appropriate conditions. Individuals who are eligible to be Principal Investigators can be granted the role of Fund administrator as per the Administration of Research Funds policy.

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  15. Principal Investigator's Fees

  16. Under the terms of a contract the Principal Investigator may be allowed to be compensated for his/her effort. Such compensation will be identified in the project budget as "Principal Investigator Fees", and will have to be approved by the relevant Department and College at the time of signing the contract. The Disposition of Principal Investigator Fee form (Word / PDF) must be filled out and signed by the Principal Investigator, Department Head, representative from the Dean's Office, and Research Services.

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  17. Administration of Project

  18. Administrative process and responsibilities of Principal Investigators are set out in the University of Saskatchewan Policies and Guidelines. There are two primary policies along with two related guideline documents aimed at assisting Principal Investigators with the administration of their research projects.

    Responsibilities of Principal Investigators

    It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that all charges authorized against University funds conform to the allowable expenditures within the approved budgets, with all terms and conditions of the contract, and with relevant university policies and guidelines.

    The Principal Investigator or other administrators must be conscientious in avoiding the use of research funds for expenditures not related to the research, as well expenses related to the research but which are not budgeted. Only expenses incurred during of the term of the contract may be claimed. In certain instances the sponsoring agency will not permit an extension to the end date of the agreement. Therefore, the research project must be completed prior to the end date of the agreement.

    Delegation of Signing Authority on a Research Fund

    A Principal Investigator may delegate another individual to authorize expenditures against his/her research project fund. In such cases, a Grant Holder Declaration and Delegation of Signing Authority form must be completed. The Request to Delegate Signing Authority form, available on the Financial Services Division (FSD) website, must be signed by the Principal Investigator and by the delegate and then sent to Financial Reporting.

    Change of Status of Principal Investigators/Fund Administrators

    The Principal Investigator must notify Research Services of any changes in academic status. Research Services shall inform the Financial Reporting office of all status changes.

    Principal Investigators transferring departments and/or colleges

    When a Principal Investigator transfers from one department (college) to another, responsibility for existing research funds will also be transferred with the approval of the Department Heads (and Deans if applicable) of the department (college) of origin and the department (college) of destination. Research Services and Financial Reporting must review proposed changes to ensure that all financial and academic obligations are taken into consideration.

    Principal Investigators changing appointment status

    Principal Investigators whose appointment status has changed (e.g., to professor emeritus, adjunct) must notify Research Services to ensure that the necessary arrangements have been made with sponsoring agencies. The research activity will be coordinated by the unit that makes the appointment.

    Financial Questions

    All invoicing and financial reporting related to research funding should be carried out by the Financial Reporting office on behalf of the institution. There is a Financial Analyst assigned to each college that can assist faculty (and others involved with research administration) with questions about University financial procedures. The FSD web site contains a table which identifies the Financial Analysts for the Colleges and Administrative Units. The FSD site also provides a table with a list of commonly used Financial Forms and Reports.


    Increasingly, sponsoring agencies are requiring the Principal Investigator to incur the cost of a financial audit of the research project. Budgets should include this as a line item unless the agency has agreed to cover the cost of an audit. If an audit is conducted, expenditures that do not conform to the original itemized budget may not be accepted by the agency when the fund is audited following completion of the project. Principal Investigators will then be held responsible for covering these costs from other sources. Questions relating to the audit of research funds should be addressed to the Financial Analyst (Financial Reporting, Financial Services Division) assigned to your college.

    Purchasing Services

    Please refer to the Purchasing Services website for information related to the procurement of goods and services in relation to your research project.


    Title to the equipment and materials purchased with research funds is vested in the University unless the research contract specifies that title to equipment acquired remains with the sponsoring agency. University owned equipment may not be sold nor may it be transferred to another university unless necessary approvals by the Department Head, College and University are first obtained. To protect the University's status as a tax-exempt educational institution, rental of University equipment or facilities or their use for commercial or private consulting purposes is not permissible without appropriate approvals.

    Human Resources Questions

    The Human Resources website provides support for the Principal Investigator to assist with his/her research funding including:

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  19. Over-expenditures on Research Funds
  20. It is the policy of the University that over-expenditures are not permitted on research funds. The University does not have the financial resources to underwrite grant or contract budget deficits. Principal Investigators are responsible for the administration of research projects, including the monitoring of expenditures. From time to time, a Principal Investigator finds that research activities result in spending patterns that exceed the proposed budget. Therefore, the Principal Investigator finds that his/her sponsored research contract Fund is in a deficit financial position. It is the Principal Investigators' responsibility to initiate action to rectify this situation. In situations where sufficient funding is not available to continue the support of a research project, all activity which depends on the external funding must be suspended.

    The Department Head and Dean have the administrative responsibility of assisting the Principal Investigators in resolving financial problems should they occur and/or suspending activity on research projects that are in deficit financial positions. Research Services and Financial Reporting should be notified by the Principal Investigator as early as possible of the potential risk of over-expenditure. This is necessary to enable steps to be taken far enough in advance to minimize the amount of the over-expenditure. Any payroll commitments made on research accounts will be considered an outstanding liability. Other expenditures will be allowed only on unencumbered funds.

    In the case of over-expenditures, such amounts will be treated as a first charge against subsequent grants or contracts from the same grantor, if funds are available for the same purpose. In the case of an over-expenditure where no other sources of funding are available, the Principal Investigator may become personally liable for the amount of the over-expenditure.

    Research contracts often include performance clauses that require acceptable interim/milestone and final technical report(s) before payments or the release of holdback funds will be authorized. Where the Principal Investigator is clearly at fault either because reports are late or performance is substandard, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to contact the sponsor and (i) to submit the appropriate reports, (ii) to revise the reports to the standard expected within the terms of the contract, and/or (iii) to negotiate a revised reporting schedule. The Principal Investigator is responsible for the over-expenditure. Research Services will assist the Principal Investigator and, if requested, intervene with the sponsor on behalf of the Principal Investigator.

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  21. Amendments/Extensions
  22. Under some circumstances it is necessary to negotiate amendments to agreements or to simply extend the term of an agreement. In these instances, it is recommended that Research Services be notified as soon as possible. This will allow the amendment to be finalized and executed more efficiently, hopefully minimizing any disruptions to the research. Amendments also have to be signed, as discussed in the Internal Approvals and Official Authorizations sections.

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  23. Closing of Research Funds

  24. When a project is completed, the Principal Investigator must notify Research Services. Research Services will ensure that all the terms and conditions of the contract have been met, determine if there are any remaining obligations, and finally undertake any procedures required for termination.

    The Principal Investigator, in consultation with Financial Reporting, will ensure that all financial transactions associated with the project are appropriately recorded prior to the closing of the Fund.

    The Principal Investigator will request that Research Services transfer any residual funds in accordance with the procedures for Continuous Research Funds.

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  25. Continuous Research Funds

  26. The primary purpose of a Continuous Research Fund is to consolidate residual funds that are intended to be used for research. Upon termination of the period of a grant or contract, any remaining balance will be treated as per the terms and conditions of the grant or contract and the project Fund will be closed. Should there be no provisions made for dispersal of the funds, the funds will remain with the University and be made available to the Principal Investigator(s) and/or co-investigator(s) to be used for research purposes. The resulting funds will be transferred to a Continuous Research Fund.

    To establish a Continuous Research Fund, the Principal Investigator is required to submit a completed Request for Research Fund Form (Word / PDF) to Research Services, identifying the sources of funds. A Principal Investigator will hold only one Continuous Research Fund.

    Other funds may be deposited into Continuous Research Funds by authorization of Research Services. Principal Investigators will submit requests for transferring funds to Research Services. If the source of funds is attributable to residual funds from a previous research project, approval must be received by the Department Head to transfer funds. Research Services will notify Financial Reporting of all approvals and Financial Reporting will process the required accounting entries.

    Research conducted using funds from a Continuous Research Fund must be in accordance with University policies and procedures.

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  27. Departing Researchers

  28. For a Principal Investigator who leaves the University of Saskatchewan, all grants and contracts held by that individual will be reviewed to ensure compliance with their respective terms and conditions.

    When possible, continuation of the research project at the University of Saskatchewan should be facilitated. Should the sponsor transfer the role of Principal Investigator to another researcher at the University, the Fund administration will also be transferred. If the departing researcher maintains his/her role as Principal Investigator (has Adjunct Professor status), Fund administration will remain with the Principal Investigator.

    If the Principal Investigator is transferring to another research institution, transfer of contracts may be accommodated, subject to outstanding commitments to the University of Saskatchewan.

    If continued research at the University of Saskatchewan is not possible, and after transfer of contracts has been executed, any residual funds shall remain with the University under the direction of the Dean, in consultation with the Department Head. These funds must be used for research purposes.

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