University of Saskatchewan

September 22, 2014   

The Path of a Research Grant: From Idea to Project Closure

  1. General Information for Grant Application Forms
  2. Developing the Application
    1. General
    2. Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC)
  3. Internal Review
  4. Signature Process
    1. Responsibilities – Who must sign my grant application?
    2. University of Saskatchewan Signature Policy
    3. Template Signature Memo
    4. Funding Application/Approval Form
  5. Required Approvals and Regulations
  6. Opening of Research Fund
  7. Administration of Project
  8. Transferring of Funds
  9. Over-expenditures on Research Funds
  10. Closing of Research Funds
  11. Continuous Research Funds
  12. Departing Researchers

1. General Information for Grant Application Forms

Administrative Officer/Official Signing for Applicant Organization/University Officer:

Susan Blum , Director
Research Services
University of Saskatchewan
Box 5000 RPO University
110 Gymnasium Place
Saskatoon SK S7N 4J8
Tel: 306-966-8575
Fax: 306-966-8597

Amanda Sawlor, Assistant Director, Grants and Contracts
Research Services
University of Saskatchewan
Box 5000 RPO University
110 Gymnasium Place
Saskatoon SK S7N 4J8
Tel: 306-966-1318
Fax: 306-966-8597

Business/Financial/Fiscal Officer:

Terry Summers, Director
Financial Reporting
230 - 105 North Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4L5
Phone: (306) 966-8303
Fax: (306) 966-8833

Institutional Numbers that may be requested:

USA Internal Revenue Service (Employer Identification Number): 23-7069575
Dunn & Bradstreet: (DUNNS) # 207413170
Goods and Services Tax (GST/HST Rebate) Business Number: 11927 9313 RT0001
Human Subjects: Federal wide Assurance Number FWA00003950 (approved July 20, 2005)
Animal Welfare: Assurance of Compliance # A5584-01

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2. Developing the Application

    1. General

      There are some common application development resources for all researchers regardless of your discipline or to which agency or foundation you are applying for a research grant.

      • Grant Writing

      Research Services does not provide grant writing services but we are aware of a number of grant writers in the community. Please contact Research Services regarding (SSHRC), (CIHR) or (NSERC) for a list of names of potential grant writers.

      • University of Saskatchewan Rates

      Most research grant applications include travel. Please see the Financial Services Division website ( for the specific University of Saskatchewan rates. Many applications also include personnel costs. For rate schedules and benefits information, please see the Human Resources Division website ( Please contact the Research Services Office for (SSHRC), (CIHR) or (NSERC) information.

      • Webforms Assistance

      Please contact our Grant's Specialists: Oksana Moshynska , Brenda Meyer-Burt or Nicole Benning if you have questions regarding online application forms. Note: If you are able to electronically submit your application, do not click the submit button until Research Services has reviewed your application.

      • Technical Review

      The Grants Specialists provide a legal compliance review of your application prior to recommending your application for the final institutional signature. Although there are no internal signature deadlines at Research Services, it is advisable to bring your application to the Grants Specialists 1-2 weeks prior to the submission deadlines for a thorough review of your application.

    2. Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC):

      Research Services provides general support through workshops, through internal funding opportunities, and through one-on-one assistance in regards to the submission process, tri-agency policy and compliance.

      Examples of Success

      Many researchers have used previously successful applications as invaluable templates for their own applications. Please contact Research Services if you would like to see an example of successful grant application.

      One-on-One Development Meetings

      Research facilitators are available to work with researchers on a one-on-one basis to develop applications or find grant opportunities that fit their specific research programs. Contact the Research Facilitator for your College to arrange a one-on-one meeting for proposal development.

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  • 3. Internal Review

    The U. of S. Internal Review Program is open to all researchers applying to select Tri-Agency funding opportunities.  This program is a strategic investment in U. of S. researcher success and supports institutional aims to encourage and facilitate research excellence.  The U. of S. Internal Review Program aims to provide high quality feedback to researchers in both the early and final stages of Tri-Agency grant development. 

    A College of Reviewers consisting of U. of S. faculty members with experience adjudicating, reviewing, and/or applying for tri-agency funding, provide expert feedback to U. of S. researchers on select competitions.


    ▪   Operating Grant - timeline
    ▪   New Investigator Salary Award - timeline


    ▪   Discovery Grant - timeline
    ▪   CREATE - timeline
    ▪   RTI - timeline; NOI


    ▪   Insight Grants - timeline
    ▪   Insight Development Grants - timeline
    ▪   Partnership Development Grants - timeline

    An internal or external review, by the arrangement of the applicant, is also a requirement of the following competitions:


    ▪   Establishment - timeline

    Heart and Stroke

    ▪   Grants-in-Aid - timeline

    Please contact Joni Aschim  for more information.

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    4. Signature Process

    a. Responsibilities - Who must sign my grant application?

    All research grants must be reviewed and approved by the Principal Investigator, the relevant Department Head and/or a representative from the Dean’s Office in the relevant College. Additionally, whether the sponsors require it or not, all applications for external research funding must be signed by a duly authorized University representative on behalf of the University of Saskatchewan before they are forwarded to a sponsoring agency. Final signature on behalf of the University is provided by Research Services.

    These responsibilities are stated in the University of Saskatchewan Policy Administration of Research Grants and Contracts and the associated document Guidelines for Administration of Research Grants and Contract

    These responsibilities are also noted within the Tri-Council Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Tri-Council MOU – Financial Accountability.

    b. University of Saskatchewan Signature Policy

    In order to allow time for applications to be properly reviewed and to prevent processing delays the following signature policy will be used by Research Services for applications for research funding.

    All applications for external funding must be signed in the following order:

    Principal Investigator (and co-investigators if applicable)

    Department Head (or Director)


    University Representative (Director of Research Services or another authorized Designate)

    All of the above signatures are required, even when preprinted forms do not have the appropriate spaces. Please attach an additional Template Signature Page (PDF) if necessary. The signature of the University Representative as the "person authorized to sign for the institution" must appear on the form itself. If co-investigators are from a department other than the Principal Investigator, the co-investigators must have their own Department Head and Dean sign as well.

    **Please allow 5 working days prior to external deadlines, for the internal review process.

    c. Template Signature Memo

    In the event that a grant application does not provide the necessary space to allow all required university representatives to sign, please use the Research Services Template Signature Page (PDF) and attach it to your application.

    d. .Funding Application/Approval Form

    To assist Research Services with the administration of your grant application, you will be requested to complete the Grant Circulation Form (PDF) upon submission of your grant to the office for review and signature. Particularly, if someone else will be dropping off your grant for signature at Research Services, it is most helpful if you can complete this form to accompany your grant.

    Process for Paper Submission to an Agency

    Two complete, signed applications must be presented to Research Services for the institutional signature. One copy will be returned to the Principal Investigator and Research Services will keep the other copy on file. The Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting all copies of their application to the funding agency. For applications requesting CV(s), Research Services requires the 1st page only of CV.

    Process for Electronic Submission to an Agency

    One complete, signed application must be presented to Research Services for the institutional signature. Research Services will make a copy of the signature page for the Principal Investigator and keep the hard copy of the application on file. Do not e-submit the application to the agency or to Research Services prior to obtaining all required signatures.

    Research Services Signature Turnaround Times (EXCEPT Major Deadlines)

    This turnaround time is for grant applications only and does not apply to contracts, CFI or CRC applications.

    Applications received by Research Services:

    • must be submitted 5 business days prior to deadline

    Individuals or departments submitting an application for signature must leave a contact name and number to be called as soon as the application is ready for pickup. The individual picking up the original application will be required to sign for the application at pick up time.

    The Principal Investigator is responsible for any photocopying and for mailing their application.

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    5. Required Approvals and Regulations

    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.

    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 through the Research Ethics office.  For further information on these policies and how to obtain to University approval see:
    Please contact the Department of Health, Safety & Environment (DHSE) office directly to get advice regarding legal regulations and University policies which might apply at:  if you intent on using any of the following:

    • Controlled Chemical products listed in the Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Table 19, or have any questions regarding hazardous or other controlled chemical products;
    • Highly Toxic Chemical Substances or carcinogenic substances;
    • 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.

    For any research involving field work or research that could have an adverse effect on the environment, sponsors will request an Environmental Assessment 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. Funding will only be released to a researcher once an environmental assessment has been conducted and approved.

    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.   For information regarding the Field Research Safety please refer to the DHSE website.

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    6. Opening of Research Fund

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

    Unless alternative arrangements have been approved by the Vice-President Research, only faculty members (including emeriti), professional research personnel and continuing staff employees may administer research Funds. These Funds are not established in the names of students or non-members of the faculty and staff. Since students and post doctoral fellows are not eligible to administer University research Funds, their supervisor must be agree to hold the Fund for their award and agree to administer the funds on behalf of the student and/or PDF.

    All research awards and grants are assigned a research Fund which must be authorized by Research Services. It is the responsibility of Research Services to ensure that the terms and conditions of every grant which is administered by the University conform to University Policies and Guidelines (Link to Policies and Guidelines on Research Services Main Page).

    Award notices from granting councils (e.g. CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) are normally sent to the Principal Investigator, Research Services and Financial Reporting. These notices provide the authority to establish a research Fund in the name of the Principal Investigator and we will automatically begin the Fund authorization process. The opening of a Fund prior to receipt of an award letter requires special permission from the Director of Research Services or his Designate.

    Practices of other granting bodies vary and a copy of the award notification, if sent only to the Principal Investigator, should be forwarded to Research Services. You can also contact a Grants Officer to discuss setting up your new Fund.

    In the event that a grant application was not previously submitted to Research Services (i.e. submitted to an agency without review and approval by Research Services), the completion of a Research Services Request for Research Fund Form (Word / PDF) is required. In such cases, the proposal required by Research Services may be limited to the following: title page, an abstract or summary of the project, the signature page(s), all pages dealing with budgets and related financial matters.

    If your research requires human ethics approval, animal care review, biosafety, Saskatoon Health Region approval, or other necessary permits, your Fund cannot be authorized without copies and/or details of these approvals. Submitting these approvals as soon as they are available will reduce delays in your Fund being established. There may be circumstances where a Fund is necessary before ethics approval can be obtained; contact a Grants Specialist for details on what needs to be done to authorize your Fund.

    If the University is able to fulfill the conditions of the grant and/or award, including any ethics approvals, a Fund authorization will be issued to Financial Reporting to open a Fund in the name of the Principal Investigator (or supervisor of the student). Once Financial Reporting has created this new Fund, the Principal Investigator (or supervisor) will receive a confirmation of new Fund notification via campus mail from Financial Reporting.

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  • 7. Administration of Project

    Funding agencies permit researchers to exercise substantial flexibility in the expenditure of research grants provided the objectives of the research are being advanced. Nevertheless, there are restrictions which are specified in the awards guides or in the terms and conditions associated with a grant award. Grant payments are regularly made in advance, sometimes without the necessity of invoicing. Ownership of equipment purchased with grant funds often is vested in the University. Expenditures are subject to internal audit procedures of the University and periodic review by the granting authority (particularly the Tri-Council agencies). Research results are expected to be published in academic journals, this being the measurement of the researcher's accomplishments.

    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 grant, 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 grant may be claimed. In certain instances the sponsoring agency will not permit an extension to the end date of the grant. Therefore, the research project must be completed prior to the end date of the agreement.

    CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC provide general guidelines on the use of research grant funds, providing lists of eligible and non-eligible expenses. The Tri-Council agencies also provide general details on other administrative matters that may be useful during the course of a research project. Please contact Research Services if you require clarification regarding eligible expenses on your grant.

    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:

    Tri-Council Salaries, Stipends and Benefits

    Tri-Council agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) will accept salaries, stipends, and related federal, provincial and institutional non-discretionary benefits for research work performed by research personnel (e.g. students, research associates, technicians, etc.) as eligible expenses. Non-discretionary benefits include CPP, EI, WC, and Vacation Pay.

    The following web site under the sub-heading "Compensation-Related Expenses" provides details about salary and stipend amounts (not including non-discretionary benefits) that can be paid from Tri-Council grants. It is highly recommended that you include non-discretionary benefits in your grant application. You will be required to pay these benefits once you set up a Job Information Form (JIF) so it is preferable to include it in your budget request. Please call the Research Services office for advice in regards to this.

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    8. Transferring of Funds

    If you are the Principal Investigator (PI) on a grant and would like to sub-transfer a portion of the awarded funds to a co-investigator(s) internally within the University of Saskatchewan OR externally to a co-investigator(s) from another Institution, please contact your Grants Specialist within Research Services.   Required information to draft a sub-transfer agreement will include: project title, start and end date for transfer of funds, co-investigator name, and amount of funding to be transferred.

    If you are a co-investigator on a grant and the Principal Investigator (PI) based at another Institution would like to sub-transfer a portion of the awarded funds to the University for you, the PI must contact their Research Services office to initiate the transfer agreement.  Please contact Research Services to notify your Grants Specialist of the pending sub-transfer agreement.

    If you are re-locating to the University from another Institution, there are a number of items that are required before arrangements can be made to transfer your grant funding under the administration of the University of Saskatchewan.  Please contact your Grants Specialist in Research Services to discuss details of the transfer.

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  • 9. Over-expenditures on Research Funds

    It is the policy of the University that over-expenditures are not permitted on research funds. The University does not have discretionary financial resources to underwrite grant and contract budget deficits and, therefore, the spending pattern should be consistent with the available funding. Projects should not progress at a pace more rapid than can be financed with the current year's funding. Furthermore, it can not be assumed that the sponsor will provide funding in the subsequent year(s). In many cases, funds covering multi-year awards are subject to the availability of funds to the sponsor and may be contingent on established milestones.

    The prime responsibility for controlling expenditures of funded research activity and clearing over-expended Funds is vested in the Principal Investigator. From time to time, the Principal Investigator may finds that research activities result in spending patterns that exceed the proposed budget. Therefore, the Principal Investigator finds that sponsored research grant Funds are in deficit financial positions. It is the Principal Investigator's 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 Funds 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.

    Advances on Research Grants

    Research grant Funds are not permitted to be in a deficit financial position. However, unique circumstances may exist where an advance is required from subsequent year's approved awards to provide interim financing for the project(s) to ensure an orderly continuation of the research activity.

    Only multi-year awards (i.e., continuing grants awarded for periods of two or more years paid in annual installments), are eligible for advances, except in the final year. An advance on a multi-year grant is only permissible in the final year of the award if notification has been received that the grant has been renewed for another year or more.

    In multi-year grants, except for the last year:

    Any advance above 20% of the current year award must be approved in writing, by the Department Head and Dean.

    Copies of all approvals must be submitted to Financial Reporting.

    Advances of any amount in the final year of a grant must be approved, in writing, by the Department Head and Dean, with a copy to Financial Reporting.

    Unless prior approval has been received, funds with negative balance of greater than 20% of the next installment will be frozen. Notification will be sent from Financial Reporting to the Fund Administrator, copied to the Department Head, Dean and Research Services.

    For any questions or concerns regarding your research grant funds, contact the appropriate Financial Analyst for your College or Unit.

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    10. Closing of Research Funds

    The closing of a research Fund typically occurs either when the project has been completed; the research Fund is at a zero balance; the term of the grant (end date) has past; and/or the grant has been terminated. When any of the above occurs, the Principal Investigator must notify Research Services. Research Services will ensure that all the terms and conditions of the grant have been met and determine if there are any obligations and 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.

    Upon termination of the period of a grant, any remaining balance will be treated as per the terms and conditions of the grant (i.e. any residual funding left after the end date must be returned back to the sponsor) and the research 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. 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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    11. Continuous Research Funds

    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, any remaining balance will be treated as per the terms and conditions of the grant 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 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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  • 12. Departing Researchers

    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 a Canadian research institution, transfer of grants may be accommodated, subject to outstanding commitments to the University of Saskatchewan. The transfer of any Tri-Council funding will follow the guidelines: Transferring Grant(s) to an Eligible Canadian Institution .

    If continued research at the University is not possible, and after transfer of the grants 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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