Public Communications Policy

1. Intent

The Public Communications Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations is a joint policy of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (hereinafter “the Agencies”).

Institutions and Agencies both benefit from positive public awareness of federally funded research and research training, and from promoting the value of this investment for Canadians.

In order to maximize mutual benefits and fulfill responsibilities, Institutions and Agencies must collaborate to inform the public about Agency grants and scholarships awarded, programs of research support and research training, and the impact of research conducted at their Institutions or facilities funded by the Agencies. This includes promoting announcements in the media, on each others’ Web sites, in corporate materials and social media; exchanging visual materials and sharing media coverage.

In addition to written acknowledgement of funding contributions and appropriate use of logos on promotional and media materials (e.g., news releases, Web sites and other Web assets, social media tools, advertising, research profiles, publications, equipment or facilities, and any other communications tools), communications activities about federally funded research must comply with Agency communications guidelines, where applicable.

2. Responsibilities


2.1 Responsibilities of the Institution

The Institution shall:

a)     respect the Government of Canada’s prerogative to make the first public announcement of federal expenditures;

b)     provide the Agency with at least five working days notice before any planned public announcement of a grant or award; 

c)     identify, encourage and assist researchers to communicate with the media and encourage them to be available for announcement events to promote Agency-funded research;

d)     include appropriate acknowledgement of the Agency(ies) in all public communications about federally funded activities;

e)     designate a contact person within their public affairs or communications division for each announcement;

f)       share with the Agency(ies) any promotional material (e.g. flyers, brochures, advertising or social media material) for the general public that concerns Agency-funded research;

g)     encourage and remind researchers of their responsibility to acknowledge Agency funding throughout the duration of their grant or award, including in media interviews, presentations, papers, op-eds, Web sites and other means;

h)     advise Agencies promptly if any significant developments, results, outcomes or impacts related to Agency-funded research will be appearing in highly visible media outlets, including publications, on-line media and television, and encourage and remind their researchers to do the same.

2.2 Responsibilities of the Agencies

The Agency concerned takes the lead in notifying the Minister of all funding announcements, and in planning and coordinating all such announcements.

Each Agency shall:

a)     inform applicant(s) and Institution(s) of the outcomes of Agency awards before communicating this information to the public;

b)     inform the Institution’s public affairs, communications, or research communications department, as appropriate, about public announcements or communications of specific awards and significant research results that are relevant to the Institution before communicating this information to the public; advise the Institution of the anticipated timing of that announcement; and, if feasible, notify the Institution of such activities at least five working days before any planned or potential public communications;

c)     designate a contact person within their public affairs or communications division for each announcement;

d)     provide the Institution and the grant or award holder with equipment stickers, as appropriate, to acknowledge funding sources;

e)     work with the Institution when preparing public announcements and promotional material that concerns Agency-funded research projects; and

f)       work with the Institution(s) to communicate the results, impacts or outcomes of Agency-funded research to the public.