Institutional Eligibility Requirements

The three federal granting agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – have harmonized their institutional eligibility requirements. This will ensure a common approach to the eligibility review of new institutions and will expedite the process for institutions that are already eligible at one of the granting agencies.

Canadian institutions that wish to administer grants and awards must meet the requirements listed below and submit the supporting documentation.


  1. If you wish to become eligible to more than one federal granting agency, you may request a joint review. Send your documentation to one of the agencies, specifying which agencies you wish to apply to, and indicate that you authorize the agencies to share the documentation provided. A joint response will be issued once the review is complete. If you are already eligible at one of the agencies and wish to apply to a different one, contact that agency to discuss the course of action and documents required.

  2. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) supports this common approach and has streamlined its eligibility process for institutions wishing to become eligible to the CFI (see Becoming Eligible at CFI below).


Requirement 1 – Application Letter

The institution must be willing to sign and adhere to the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (the Agreement).

Supporting documentation
1.1A letter signed by the president/principal or delegate of the institution requesting institutional eligibility, including a statement confirming that they have read and are willing to sign the Agreement and comply with the requirements, policies and procedures specified in it and relevant to a particular grant or award (see Examples of Statements).


Requirement 2 – Background Information

The institution must be engaged in research, research training and related activities, in Canada. The institution must also recognize the vital importance of research, the new knowledge and applications that it creates, the knowledgeable and skilled human resources developed through the process of conducting research, as well as the importance of peer review, which ensures that funded research meets the highest standards of excellence.

Supporting documentation
2.1 A short history of the institution;
2.2 The mission statement;
2.3 The policy on research, if available;
2.4) The current strategic plan, if available;
2.5 The research mandate of the institution (as it relates to health, natural sciences and engineering and/or social sciences and humanities);
2.6 The latest annual report;
2.7 A statement of Canadian incorporation or constitution, and information on governance structure such as mandate, and constitution of board of governors or equivalent; and
2.8 The documentation describing the status of your institution, i.e., agreement indicating whether or not the institution is federated with, or affiliated to, or a constituent portion of another institution, if applicable.


Requirement 3 – Compliance Requirements

Institutions must promote and assist research and, therefore, must develop and implement effective policies, administrative systems, procedures and controls to ensure that the funds are used as effectively as possible, are accounted for to the Canadian people for their use, allocation and outcomes, and that the activities supported are conducted in accordance with the highest ethical and financial standards.

Supporting documentation
3.1 The audited financial statements for the last two years accompanied by the auditors’ opinion letter;
3.2 A completed Financial Management Risk Assessment Questionnaire;

A statement attesting that the institution has an approved (or has an agreement with another eligible institution to rely on its) policy that follows the requirements of the current edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) (see Examples of Statements).

Note: If an institution does not conduct research involving humans, it has up to one year from the date of signing the Agreement to put in place a policy or a formal written agreement with another eligible institution that adheres to the TCPS 2. In those cases, the institution must include a statement indicating that none of the research currently conducted under the institution’s auspices falls within the purview of the TCPS 2, and that, until the approved policy or written agreement is in place, the institution agrees that it will not allow the conduct of research involving humans under its auspices and will not submit any applications to the granting agencies for research involving humans;

3.4 A statement attesting that the institution has an approved policy that follows the requirements of the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (see Examples of Statements); and
3.5 If the institution uses animals in any of its research, whether in its own facilities, in other facilities or in the field, a statement attesting that it maintains a valid Certificate of Good Animal Practice® from the Canadian Council on Animal Care (or that it has an agreement with another institution that has a valid Certificate) (see Examples of Statements)

Other required supporting documentation

The Institutional Contact Form must accompany the application for eligibility.


Requirement 4 – Specific Requirements

NSERC specific requirements

If your institution is applying for eligibility at NSERC, the institution must be a Canadian university or college that grants degrees and/or diplomas in the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) fields. For universities, the degrees granted must generally be accepted by other Canadian universities for direct admission into their own postgraduate degree programs, without the necessity of a period of qualifying study.

Supporting documentation
4.1 A complete list of degree/diploma programs, with highlights on programs in the NSE; and
4.2 For universities, letters from Deans of Graduate Studies from at least three NSERC-eligible universities attesting that the degrees conferred are accepted at their institution as specified in the Requirement 4 above.

In addition,

  1. An institution that is federated with, or affiliated to, or a constituent portion of another institution that is already eligible to authorize grant applications will not normally be accorded its own independent authority.

  2. An institution must have met all eligibility requirements before it can submit applications to NSERC programs.

  3. To be eligible to apply for, or hold, NSERC grants, researchers must meet the Eligibility Criteria – For Faculty.


CIHR specific requirements

CIHR will accept an eligibility request only when the institution has a minimum of one successful applicant not already affiliated with another CIHR eligible institution.

For affiliated institutions there is a minimum requirement of five successful funding applicants in order to be considered for this process.

Becoming Eligible at CFI

When submitting your eligibility documents to the agencies, you may indicate that you authorize them to share the documentation with CFI. Contact the CFI to discuss additional documents required for CFI eligibility. If you are already eligible with one of the granting agencies and wish to become eligible to the CFI, contact the CFI to get more information about its streamlined eligibility review process.

Presentation Standards

Your documentation must be numbered and assembled in the order indicated above. Agency staff will start the review of your application only once it is complete.


General process, requirements or submission

Financial Monitoring
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0W9

E-mail: expense-


Ghuylaine Potvin
Coordinator, Eligibility of Institutions
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
350 Albert Street
Ottawa ON K1A 1H5

Tel.: 613-943-7646


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street
Ottawa ON  K1A 1H5



Sylvie Boucher
Senior Programs Officer
Canada Foundation for Innovation
230 Queen Street, Suite 450
Ottawa ON K1P 5E4

Tel.: 613-943-0324



Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research

Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research

Tel.: 613-996-0072


Management of Grants and Awards

Financial Monitoring

Tel. : 613-941-1044
E-mail :


Rita Carrière

Tel.: 613-992-5596

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