New temporary program announced to support research staff in Canada
The Government of Canada has a long-standing, foundational role in supporting and sustaining research at universities and health research institutions across the country. These institutions drive many of the discoveries and innovations that are important to Canada’s economic and societal well-being.
It is critical that we sustain Canada’s research excellence, talent and knowledge as the academic research enterprise deals with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s universities and health research institutions play integral roles in supporting both the COVID-19 response and the post-pandemic economic recovery.
This is why the Government of Canada recently announced a new temporary program, with an investment of $450 million for one year. This program will:
- provide wage support to universities and health research institutions for up to 12 weeks to avert layoffs of research personnel. The support will cover up to 75% of research personnel salaries funded through non-governmental sources. Consistent with the provisions of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, funding will support up to a maximum of $847 per week per employee; and
- provide support to universities and health research institutions to cover the unanticipated, incremental costs associated with maintaining research assets at risk due to the pandemic, and ramping up research activities once physical distancing measures are relaxed and ultimately lifted.
Universities will receive funding as block grants, allocated in two phases.
- The first portion of the funding will be provided shortly to institutions as an upfront grant, using an allocation formula based on research expenditures. Institutions must prioritize wage support to avert layoffs of research personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The second portion of the funding is planned for fall 2020, and will be based on institutional reporting on use of the first portion and demonstrated ongoing needs related to COVID-19.
This is a tri-agency program jointly managed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Canada Research Coordinating Committee will provide strategic oversight of the fund.
The agencies are working with government departments on the program’s design and implementation, and will communicate with universities and health research institutions as soon as more details become available.
For more information, agency-specific measures to support researchers and graduate students, as well as new programs and initiatives enabling our research communities to address the COVID-19 crisis, visit:
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