Research Support Fund

The University of Prince Edward Island competes every year for millions of dollars in research funding from various granting agencies. 

The research activities at UPEI require the service and support of university infrastructure. Canada’s tri-council of federal granting agencies, consisting of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), have recognized the importance of this infrastructure and the potential financial burden it represents to universities. In response, the tri-council has created the Research Support Fund.

The Research Support Fund enables UPEI to support a portion of its indirect costs associated with research. Indirect costs are the costs not charged directly to research projects but real costs incurred by the institution to conduct research. Examples of such costs encompass the maintenance and operation of facilities, compensation for administrative research support personnel, resources allocated to uphold research ethics, animal welfare, radiation safety, and biosafety protocols, as well as library expenses. Additionally, investments are made to protect intellectual property and facilitate technology transfer processes.

The five expenditure areas covered by the Research Support Fund include:

The Research Support Fund has been instrumental in advancing strategic research initiatives at UPEI. Although the allocation only partially covers the cost of maintaining and growing the research enterprise, UPEI develops annual performance objectives, indicators, and target outcomes. 

Some of the highlights of how the Research Support Fund benefits UPEI are found below.

Impact on facilities at UPEI

The costs of facilities continue to escalate with PEI’s high cost of services. Heat and electricity represent the major cost in this category. Researchers across UPEI utilize CFI-funded equipment and a significant portion of the Research Support Fund is used to offset expenses associated with this equipment.

Impact on research resources

In the past year, the Research Support Fund aided in the development of several Virtual Research Environments (VREs). Managed by UPEI’s Robertson Library, these VREs allow research teams to collaborate in virtual environments, as well as create, store, and distribute their data assets.

Impact on management and administration

As research activity at UPEI grows, so does the need for dedicated support for researchers in the area of accounting, human resources, research development, proposal development, and administration. The Research Support Fund allows UPEI to advance research proposals, manage awards, disseminate results, and translate knowledge. Without this support, researchers would be forced to spend more time on administrative tasks and less time on their research.

Impact on regulatory requirements and accreditation

The Research Support Fund aids in the training of technical personnel, students, faculty members and all compliance committee members at UPEI. The Fund also assists with administrative support of these committees to provide access to technical expertise required for full compliance. These committees include UPEI’s Animal Care Committee, Biosafety Committee, Research Ethics Board and the Radiation Safety group.

Impact on intellectual property

The Research Support Fund has made it possible for UPEI to recruit and retain experienced technology-transfer and intellectual-property personnel. This activity is increasingly important to UPEI researchers as they seek patents on UPEI-developed technology and working agreements with industry.

Impact on Research Security

With increased Research Security funding, UPEI is now required to initiate the implementation of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. The research security funding will help to build capacity within UPEI to identify, assess and mitigate the potential risks to research security.

In summary, Research at UPEI is made possible by the behind-the-scenes support funded in part by the Research Support Fund. For more information, see the Research Support Fund website.