SSHRC and NSERC grant holders: Changes to the General Research Fund

The University of Guelph NSERC/SSHRC General Research Fund (GRF) program will change April 1, 2020. More specifically, the NSERC and SSHRC GRF will be used solely to support institutional research priorities.

What is the General Research Fund (GRF)?

The GRF is used to reinvest unspent NSERC and SSHRC funds from previous years to support research in the fields of natural sciences and engineering or social sciences and humanities, as applicable.  The University applies to NSERC and SSHRC every July to transfer unspent funds to the University’s GRF account in December.

What is the Change?

Faculty members whose NSERC and/or SSHRC grants have expired will no longer be eligible to apply to the University for the return of unused funds.   

Grant holders are encouraged to plan their research such that funding will be used for the purposes for which it was awarded prior to the grant end-date. 

Grant holders are encouraged to work with Research Financial Services and NSERC and/or SSHRC to apply for end-date extensions, as may be applicable and needed, and to become aware of agency deferral policies to help manage funding within NSERC and/or SSHRC policies.

For some programs, the Tri-Agencies automatically provide an extension for using grant funds. For many programs, the automatic extension is 12 months from the funding expiry date and, for others, it is up to March 31st of the next full fiscal year. For a list of programs with automatic extensions by Agency, please refer to the chart shown in section ‘Extension Period for Use of Funds Beyond a Grant Period’ in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

What Stays the Same?

GRF funding will be managed in accordance with Tri-Agency policies by the Office of Research to support institutional research priorities and enhance research capacity in the natural sciences and engineering and social sciences and humanities.  

Who can I talk to if I have any questions?

Research Financial Services will assist with the interpretation of Tri-Agency policies and help advise faculty on possible avenues to enable completion of research projects/programs when unforeseen or exceptional circumstances arise that cause delays.

The Office of Research Services (ORS) and Research Financial Services (RFS) will work with faculty members to advise on grant extension periods, policies and processes so that grant funding can be maximized for the purposes for which it is awarded – the faculty member’s defined research project.

Questions about end date extensions, deferrals and reporting requirements may be directed to Asif Momin, Manager Tri-Agency Awards, Research Financial Services (Phone Ext: 54681; Email:

Any questions regarding changes to the internal GRF policy can be addressed to the Associate Vice-President (Research Services), Karina McInnis,

Alert Classifications
Research Policies and Guidelines

Health and Life Sciences
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Social Sciences