COVID-19: Funding Agency Updates

Event Date: April 21, 2020

The following COVID-19 updates from some of the major funding agencies relate to financial reporting, expense eligibility, process changes and announcements. Research Finance will continue to share information here as we receive it. 

Please also visit: 

UBC Vice President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) web site for research FAQs related to COVID-19. These FAQs are being updated as needed. 
UBC Office of Research Services (ORS) web site for updates related to grant extensions, other process changes and application deadlines.

Tri-Agency

Incremental costs of research activities during COVID-19 - April 21, 2020

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC recognize that grant recipients and/or research team members may continue to incur ongoing research costs, as well as incremental costs that would not normally be incurred (for example, compensation and travel) related to agency-funded research activities. The agencies would like to remain as flexible as possible to support grant recipients during this time and acknowledge that some of these costs may be eligible to be paid from agency grant funds. The agencies will therefore defer to administering institutions to determine if incremental costs are consistent with the principles and directives set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (and if they are, then those expenses will still be eligible to be paid from grant funds). 

The agencies also understand that not all planned research activities are possible as research institutions are closed requiring that the majority of people work remotely, if they are able to work at all. The agencies consider that continuing to pay any members of the research team, eligible to be paid from an agency grant, is an eligible expense in the context of COVID-19 (and that these individuals should continue to be paid).

If you have questions about the eligibility of specific incremental costs at UBC, please contact tri-agency.renewal@finance.ubc.ca.

Cancellation of research-related travel & reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees - March 6, 2020

For projects funded by NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, the granting agencies have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable for meetings or other research-related activities impacted by COVID-19. 

The reimbursements can apply to both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs either due to factors such as travel advisories (inc. from Health Canada or Global Affairs Canada), cancelled conferences or from personal choice due to health or other concerns.

For those planning to travel for NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR-funded research, the agencies suggest to consider purchasing cancellation insurance or to book tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation due to COVID-19.

See the full statement from the Tri-Agency https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/ProgramNewsDetails-NouvellesDesProgrammesDetails_eng.asp?ID=1133

Brain Canada

Specific guidance:

"Brain Canada is monitoring COVID-19 and understands the impact it is having on the research community. If you currently hold a Brain Canada grant and anticipate that your research project may be delayed due to COVID-19, please contact us at programs@braincanada.ca. We will work with our funded researchers to determine next steps."

Notice to our research community on COVID-19 - March 13, 2020

See the full statement: https://braincanada.ca/news/notice-on-covid-19/

Genome Canada & Genome BC

Specific guidance:

"We recognize that the COVID‐19 pandemic will likely slow or inhibit the ability of teams to conduct certain research, to complete progress reports, to prepare financial reports, or to publish research results as planned. As such, we will make allowances for delays caused by the pandemic."

"We will offer greater flexibility with no‐cost extensions for all currently funded research teams should they experience delays due to COVID‐19."

Genome Canada’s statement on COVID-19, March 20, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.genomecanada.ca/en/news/genome-canadas-statement-covid-19

Global Affairs Canada

Specific guidance:

"...Global Affairs Canada will also delay deadlines for the following:

• annual reports for ongoing projects

• project narrative reports"

Review the measures Global Affairs Canada is taking to support international development partners

See the full statement: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/information_development_partners-information_partenaires_developpement.aspx?lang=eng

Guidance on eligibility of COVID-19 potential costs - April 16, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.international.gc.ca/development-developpement/partners-partenaires/bt-oa/guidance-covid-guide.aspx?lang=eng

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

 Specific guidance:

"MSFHR will also grant reasonable no‐cost extension requests for cancelled award activities related to COVID‐19. Award holders should contact Research Competitions for more information."

MSFHR’s COVID-19 response - March 17, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.msfhr.org/news/features/msfhrs-covid-19-response

MITACS

Specific guidance:

"Globalink Research Internship (GRI)

We are cancelling the Globalink Research Internship program this summer. We are working with participants on immediate actions, including covering incurred, non‐refundable costs.

Questions may be directed to helpdesk@mitacs.ca.

We are continuing with the 2021 Globalink Research Internship Faculty call.

Globalink Research Awards (GRA) and Accelerate International

For inbound Globalink Research Awards and Accelerate International participants who are currently in Canada, we expect them to work with their home and host universities to determine the best course of action.

For outbound participants who are currently abroad, we expect them to work with their home and host universities to determine the best course of action.

For Accelerate International interns who are requesting work‐from‐home options, we are examining them on a case‐by‐case basis.

We are working toward alternatives for those GRA and Accelerate International students who have been approved recently, but have not yet travelled.

GRA questions may be directed to international@mitacs.ca and Accelerate International questions to accelerate@mitacs.ca.

Mitacs Entrepreneur International

We are working with Mitacs Entrepreneur International participants through one‐on‐one means.

The contact for related questions is an online form.

Accelerate and Elevate

We expect that interns and fellows are following partner and university work‐from‐home procedures.

We are supporting changes and accommodations to projects on a case‐by‐case basis.

Accelerate and Elevate questions should go to accelerate@mitacs.ca and elevate@mitacs.ca, respectively.

We are continuing with the Elevate call, as scheduled."

Programmatic update on COVID-19 (coronavirus) – March 20, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.mitacs.ca/en/newsroom/news-release/programmatic-update-covid-19-coronavirus-march-20-2020

National Institutes of Health

Specific guidance:

"If your institution is unable to complete and submit financial and Research Progress Performance Reports (RPPR) by the scheduled due date, due to the effects of COVID‐19, please be sure to contact the assigned grants management and/or program official to let them know the reports will be late.

NIH will accept these late reports but will delay issuing grant awards until the reports are received and accepted by the appropriate Institute or Center (IC)."

"In addition, affected recipients that have active non‐SNAP grant projects may extend the final budget period of the approved project period on active grants one time for a period of up to 12 months without requesting prior approval, by notifying the assigned grants management specialist."

"NIH will allow recipients directly affected by COVID‐19 to delay the completion and submission of the Single Audit report for up to 12 months beyond the normal due date."

Notice Number: NOT-OD-20-086 - March 12, 2020

See the full Statement: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-086.html

Travel:

Non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. See NIH GPS 7.9.1 for detailed information on the allowability of travel expenses.

Conference Registration Fees:

Non-refundable registration fees for conferences, symposiums or seminars that have been cancelled due to COVID19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives).

NIH-Supported Meetings and Conferences:

Scientific meetings, conferences and workshops supported by NIH funding may be delayed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Non-refundable costs associated with NIH supported meetings and conferences affected by COVID-19 are allowable and may be requested as an administrative supplement to the appropriate funding IC. Recipients should contact their assigned grants management specialist and program official to provide documentation demonstrating the effect of COVID-19. The funding institute or center will work with the recipient to address the impact on the NIH grant.

As this Public Health Emergency continues, recipients may identify additional cost-related flexibilities that are needed. NIH will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. Contact your assigned grants management specialist and program official to provide a detailed justification outlining the effect of COVID-19 and the flexibility required. NIH will consider such requests in line with the Federal cost principles, NIH policy, and need to support the project.

Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19 - March 12, 2020

See the full Statement: Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19

US Department of Defense

Specific guidance:

"Grantees and proposers are advised that each federal agency has different authorities, and there might not be complete uniformity between agencies, components of agencies, and even between programs. The safest course of action in all cases is to contact the grants manager and program officer for the award to determine how the financial assistance award will be treated.

Q: Will I have to meet the current deadlines for reports and other deliverables related to my research award?

A: Consistent with OMB Memorandum M‐20‐17, the DOD will allow grantees to delay submission of financial, performance and other reports on currently‐active award accounts up to three months beyond the normal due date. For any other deliverables related to research awards, please contact the DOD grants manager and/or program manager for award specific guidance."

USAMRAA’s Supplemental Guidance on Administrative Flexibilities for Grants and Cooperative Agreements in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic - March 25, 2020

See the full statement: https://cdmrp.army.mil/about/covid-19/USAMRAA%20Supplemental%20Guidance%20on%20COVID-19_03.25.20.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions for DOD Research Proposers and Awardees Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - March 19, 2020

See the full statement: https://basicresearch.defense.gov/COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions/

Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations- March 19, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-17.pdf

US Office of Naval Research

Specific guidance:

"The Office of Naval Research (ONR) supports the administrative relief authorized in M-20-17.
Grant Recipients and prospective Recipients are advised that each federal agency has different
authorities, and there might not be complete uniformity between departments and agencies,
components of agencies, and even between programs. The safest course of action in all cases is
to contact the ONR Grant Administrative Officer, Grant Officer or program officer if you have
specific questions concerning your grant."

"Q: How and in what circumstances does Attachment 1, Paragraph 1 (DoD-wide Supplemental T&Cs) affect ONR grant or cooperative agreement reporting due dates?
A: ONR will allow for extensions of interim (periodic) reports as follows:
a. Financial Reporting. ONR grants do not require interim financial reporting through the submission of a SF-425, but rather ONR uses the payment request process for that information. Thus, this paragraph with respect to financial reporting does not affect ONR grants.
b. Performance Reporting. ONR grant annual interim Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) are due on June 15, 2020. For any awards that are active as of that date, and that require an interim performance report on that date, recipients still should submit this report on June 15. Reports submitted after this date will be accepted and not deemed late. Please note that the submission portal for Principle Investigators funded by ONR grants is closed after August 15, 2020. We will update this FAQ if access to the submission portal is extended."

"Q: Will ONR issue a no-cost extension for up to 12 months, if my existing grant falls into this criteria? Is this extension automatic or do I need to request it?
A: ONR will modify all existing ONR grants ending between March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2020, to provide a one-year, no-cost extension with the following caveat as noted in the DoD-wide supplemental T&C:
• Project-specific final financial and performance reports will be due 120 days following the end date of the extension.
• If all funds were provided at the start of a project, please be aware that funding expiration statutes may prohibit extensions. Please contact the cognizant ONR Regional Office for specific guidance if ONR fully funded your grant at award."

OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH (ONR) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) - April 23

See the full statement: https://www.onr.navy.mil/en/-/media/Files/Contracts-Grants/docs/ONR-FAQs-to-Current-and-Prospective-Grant-Recipients-Impacted-by-COVID-19_v2-23-APR-2020

Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations- March 19, 2020​

See the full statement: https://www.onr.navy.mil/-/media/Files/Contracts-Grants/docs/OMB-M-20-1.ashx?la=en&hash=4D2024E28630D4A032883EE485A9C83E031778EE

Vancouver Foundation

Specific guidance:

"During these difficult times, we want to reassure you that we will continue to support our partners, grantees, donors, and communities in whatever way we can. If you have a grant from Vancouver Foundation we appreciate that you may not be able to meet the objectives outlined in your application — but that won’t prevent us from processing the next payment. Our goal is to process cheques according to schedule. We’ll be flexible with all timelines and reporting, and will accommodate extension requests as best we can."

Our Operations During COVID-19 - March 16, 2020

See the full statement: https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/whats-new/our-operations-during-covid-19