Revisions to the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (Background)

This note describes the initiative by CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC to update the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (“Agreement”).


Since 2001, the Agencies have signed an agreement (Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards until 2012, Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions, effective January 2013) with each of more than 250 institutions, setting out the basic requirements for an institution to obtain and maintain eligibility to administer grant and award funds. Signature of the Agreement is a condition of eligibility for agency funding. The current Agreements with institutions end on March 31, 2018. The agencies have prepared a draft of a new version for consultation and will have the new agreements signed by March 15, 2018.

Objectives of the current review

The revisions in 2011-12, in addition to renaming the document, were extensive, including:

  • Removal of requirements that fall outside the mandate of the agencies;
  • Removal of content that is more appropriately located in manuals or guides;
  • Elimination of unnecessary repetition; and
  • Clarification of terminology considered vague or overly technical.

Given the scope of the previous review, and the fact that little negative feedback has been received from the community, the current revision has focussed on precisions, clarifications and responding to any changes in policies and practices that have come into effect over the past few years.

Overview of changes

  1. The items in the Agreement have been ordered in a more logical fashion, grouping similar items together.
  2. The process begun in the last revision was continued to remove extraneous text, when simply referring to another document was feasible.
  3. The agreement directs institutions to sites where all relevant policies will be homed.
  4. Greater flexibility to institutions in how to ensure proper controls for research involving humans or animals.
  5. Process to develop timelines is referenced in the conflict resolution and default and remedies sections.

Consultation Process

The agencies have invited the institutions that receive funding, as well as a number of associations, including Universities Canada, ACAHO, CARA, and CAUBO, to participate in the on-line consultation in July and August 2017. The target date for signed copies of the new agreement to be returned to the agencies is March 15, 2018.

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