Tri-agency grants management solution (TGMS)

Harmonizing and modernizing tri-agency grants management

The three federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have embarked on a project to modernize their grants management system to better support applicants, administrators and reviewers during the grants management lifecycle.


Tri-agency grants management solution (TGMS) initiative


Why are new systems needed?

The agencies’ existing grants management operate on dated technology and are limited in their ability to adapt to the changing needs of both the research community and the agencies themselves.

The current systems are complex, not well integrated, administratively burdensome and time-consuming to use.

The technology that they are built on is out-of-date and is increasingly challenging to maintain and evolve.

The data architecture is not well structured, making it difficult to share, extract and analyze data.

What will a new grants management solution accomplish?

The TGMS will procure a user-centric solution that will support the grants management lifecycle (i.e., from program design to end-of-grant reporting, which includes the function currently provided by the Canadian Common CV) to achieve the following business outcomes:

  • Increased internal and external user/stakeholder satisfaction
  • Increased flexibility and responsiveness to meet Government of Canada priorities and agencies’ demands
  • Optimized resources and workforce for an increased organizational effectiveness
  • Strengthened credibility of the three granting agencies and reinforced reputation as leaders in research

What is envisioned for TGMS?

The agencies aspire to select a grants management solution that will enable them to achieve the vision below. Through ongoing industry and stakeholder engagement, the TGMS team is acquiring knowledge to guide the agencies in the selection of a solution that will best align with this vision.

A map depicting the client-facing capabilities, the grant management capabilities and the support capabilities envisioned for the tri-agency grants management solution as well as the interaction between them where appropriate.

Description: TGMS capabilities map

Client-facing capabilities

  • Tri-agency searchable funding opportunity (FO) database (linked to FO design and funds commitment, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Online portal (linked to self-service and self-help, which is part of grant management capabilities)
  • Log in and create profile
  • Select FO and apply online (linked to eligibility and completeness checks, which is part of grant management capabilities)
  • Upload or create CV
  • Review application status dashboard
  • Access notice of decision, and terms and conditions
  • Receive payment (linked to funds distribution management, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Submit reports and amendment requests (linked to evaluation and monitoring, which is part of grant management capabilities)

Grant management capabilities

  • Self-service and self-help
  • Eligibility and completeness checks
  • Assessment (linked to data analytics, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Decision (linked to data analytics, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Agreement (linked to access notice of decision and terms and conditions, which is part of client-facing capabilities, and linked to data analytics, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Evaluation and monitoring (linked to data analytics, which is part of support capabilities)
  • Close-out (completion of funding)

Support capabilities

  • Funding opportunity design and funds commitment
  • Data analytics
  • Funds distribution management
  • Data analytics

How are the agencies doing it?

The agencies have adopted a client-centric approach to gather user needs and requirements for the new grants management solution through codesign activities. The results of these activities are being shared with potential solution providers to provide insights into the agencies business and our stakeholders. This information is also supporting the procurement process.

Who is involved?

As the TGMS project is rooted in codesign, the TGMS team has been leading a number of engagement activities. In fact, one of the initiative’s principles is to engage early and often with TGMS stakeholders. Here is a snapshot of the TGMS engagement activities to date:

Stakeholder engagement timeline

Description: Stakeholder engagement timeline


June: Launch of the tri-agency grants management (TGMS) initiative



September: Industry Day
Presented the desired outcomes of TGMS to all potential grants management solution providers.

October: Co-design workshop
Gained knowledge on needs, current pain points and ideal future state experience for applicants, reviewers and research administrators. Over 30 participants from across Canada.

December – February: Workshops to continue co-design
Validated current and future state user experience for applicants, reviewers and research administrators. Over 300 participants from across Canada.



August – November: Change readiness workshops and survey
Gained knowledge on the needs of the users to support them through the change brought about a new solution. There were 7 external workshops with 135 attendees and 688 survey respondents.

September: Launch of the External change agent network
Obtain ongoing stakeholder perspectives, provide support throughout the change. Close to 120 post-secondary institutions are represented.

October: Launch of the External advisory board
Ensures TGMS takes into consideration external perspectives in key decision-making. Over 10 members provide independent advice and recommendations to the three granting agencies on the TGMS initiative.

November: Bio-profile ideation workshops
These ongoing workshops aim to better understand the pain points of the current CV management process and co-design the ideal future experience.

November – January: Proof of concept testing
Select members of the research community received training to test the proof of concept of potential solutions.



November: First of two project approvals.
TGMS received project approval from the Government of Canada to start the competitive process to select a new solution.

December: Launch of the competitive process to select a new solution



April: Selection of the new TGMS platform

October: Launch of the Request for proposals


Who is Involved?


To ensure the project takes into consideration external perspectives, TGMS has also established two collaboration groups: the External advisory board and the External change agent network.

If you would like to get involved, please email