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My Research Applications (MRA)

The University has implemented an automated system for internal review and endorsement of research applications – “My Research Applications” (MRA). In this system, essential information regarding the application will flow through a defined electronic review and approval process.

Faculty members who are planning to apply for funding are encouraged to login to the My Research Application (MRA) on-line system well in advance of the submission deadline to ensure that there are no problems with your login credentials. The system utilizes your UTORid credentials. The information in the on-line form will be automatically routed to the appropriate internal approvers for review and endorsement. If you encounter problems, please consult the My Research – Application User Guide for additional information or contact the RAISE help desk (416-946-5000, RAISE@utoronto.ca).

Definition of Research

Research” means investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery or interpretation of knowledge, the systematic collection or revision of knowledge in light of new facts or theories, the development and application of methodologies to increase knowledge and the practical application of knowledge to specific problems or circumstances.

Sponsored Research” means Research undertaken or proposed to be undertaken using financial and/or other (e.g. in-kind) support, whether by participation in a competition, call for proposals, or pursuant to an agreement of any kind.

University Endorsement

When Principal Investigators (PI) at the University of Toronto submit applications for research funding to a sponsor, they do so through the University. Sponsors make awards on behalf of the PI to the University, expecting the University to make the funds available for use following the sponsor’s guidelines. Therefore, sponsors require that the University endorse the application which assures the sponsor that the applicant is eligible to conduct research and manage research funding.

Only the President and his/her designate, the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, have the authority to provide institutional endorsement of research applications.  Endorsement means that the University will provide financial oversight of the funding, including financial reporting, and that it has policies and procedures in place for the ethical conduct of research, and other assurances sponsors may request to which the University is agreeable.

Applications brought forward for institutional approval must first be reviewed and approved within the appropriate academic unit/division.

Applicant

By submitting the application through MRA, applicants indicate that:

  • (They) have read the Sponsor’s terms and conditions and the University’s applicable policies and procedures. (They) are submitting this application in compliance with the Sponsor’s terms and conditions and University policies and procedures.
  • (They) will perform and manage this research in accordance with the Sponsor’s terms and conditions and the University’s policies and procedures.
  • (They) will not perform any research involving the use of human subjects, animals, hazardous agents, radioactive materials, hazardous chemicals, controlled substances, or controlled goods without prior written approval of the appropriate University committee or other authority.
  • (They) will maintain oversight of all persons who will carry out this research, whether paid or unpaid, and will delegate research responsibilities to them appropriately. (They) will ensure that (the persons) are qualified by education, training, and experience to perform their responsibilities, and will arrange for ongoing training or education as necessary. (They) will inform them fully of, and ensure that they agree to abide by, the Sponsor’s terms and conditions and the University’s policies and procedures. As required, (they) will document their consent of these terms via the “Confidential Information & Intellectual Property”(“CIIP”) Agreement and retain a signed copy for my records which I will make available to the University upon request. Information on the “CIIP” agreement and access to this form is located here: http://www.research.utoronto.ca/forms/confidential-information-intellectual-property-agreement/
  • The information contained in the attached proposal and Application is as complete and accurate as possible.

Chair of Department, Director of Centre or Institute, Dean of Non-departmentalized Faculty

Approves all applications from the Department, Centre, Institute, or Faculty. The approval via MRA indicates:

  • The support required of the administering unit as outlined in this Application Record and in the attached application, including administrative and financial support as well as space, will be provided should this application be successful; and,
  • All University of Toronto commitments listed in this Application Record or in the attached application have been confirmed, including those commitments not under (their) control; and,
  • The research will be administered in accordance with the Sponsor’s terms and conditions and the University’s policies and procedures; and,
  • The indirect research cost rate specified in the Application Record is acceptable to the Faculty.

Hospitals or Related Institutions

If the research is to be carried out at one or more affiliated hospital or related institution, the approval of the head(s) or director(s) is required and the application will be routed appropriately through the MRA process.

This approval indicates that the administrative lead of the hospital or institution is aware of the research to be carried out and will provide all necessary support facilities.

Signature of the President (or Designate)

The final signature required on an application before it is forwarded to a sponsoring agency is that of the President or designate. This signature is obtained through the VPRI (the Research Services Office or Innovations and Partnerships Office). In signing, the University signifies that:

  • the applicant is a staff member at the University (consistent with any particular agency requirements respecting rank) who is undertaking independent research and who has time, space and basic facilities available
  • the research is consistent with University and sponsoring agency policies, including those associated with indirect costs, animal care, bio-safety, ethical acceptability with respect to human subjects, etc. Refer to the Research and Innovation website regarding additional forms to be submitted with the application
  • it agrees to meet the sponsoring agency’s standard and other regulatory requirements for administration of, and accounting for, funds received
  • the application has been recorded on the Research Information System and will be reported on the applicant’s researcher profile.

Eligibility

Those wishing to be a PI on research funding applications must meet the eligibility requirements of the University and the funding sponsor, with the University’s requirements taking precedence. Individuals who hold paid academic appointments at the University that extend beyond the period of funding being requested; or clinical faculty appointed under the Policy for Clinical Faculty or individuals who are employed at an affiliated institution (such as an affiliated teaching hospital) and hold a status-only appointment at the University are eligible to act as Principal Investigators on research funding applications. Retired faculty will be considered eligible with the authorization of their unit head. In exceptional cases, approval of eligibility may be provided by the Provost.

More details on eligibility at the University of Toronto are available in the PI Eligibility Guidelines document, including an eligibility summary table. Note that accessing the My Research – Applications (MRA) system is driven by eligibility.

Developing a Budget

Budgets must be prepared in accordance with a program’s specific guidelines. Conditions vary from program to program, so please make sure to review all information provided by the sponsor concerning eligible budget categories and amounts that can be requested.

You may also refer to the University’s Guide to Financial Management for further information on how to construct a budget.

Compensation

Students and Post-doctoral Fellows

  • Many sponsors encourage student and/or post-doctoral fellow participation in the research initiative and allow compensation for their time and effort on the initiative under your direction.
  • Review the sponsor’s guidelines to determine eligibility of student and post-doctoral fellow compensation, including whether or not there are any maximum or minimum amounts the sponsor has in place.
  • Consult with your departmental or divisional business officer to obtain the most current compensation rates for students and post-doctoral fellows when budgeting for them in your application.

Non-student personnel

  • Sponsors may allow budget for the engagement of non-student personnel who will be involved in your research initiative, such as project management, dedicated administrative support, research assistance, etc.
  • Hiring employees at the University requires that you follow all Human Resources policies and procedures, including any relevant collective agreements. It is wise to contact your divisional business officer for assistance on matters such as current salary and benefit rates. Information on the current benefit rate as a percentage of salary for appointed (unionized) staff and non-appointed (non-unionized) staff can be found here.

Direct and Indirect Costs of Research:

The University of Toronto is committed to the full recovery of research costs, and each research project should include the full recovery of the associated Direct and Indirect Costs of the proposed activities. This principle is outlined in UofT’s Research Administration Policy and the accompanying Guideline on Full Cost Recovery in Research.  Some common examples of Direct and Indirect Research Costs are outlined in sections 1.2 and 1.3 of the Research Administration Policy:

Direct Costs routinely include, but are not limited to:

  • Salaries and benefits of research personnel;
  • Materials and supplies;
  • Travel;
  • Capital equipment

Indirect Costs of Research are those necessary expenditures incurred during the conduct of research at the University, though not directly attributable to an individual project.  Indirect costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Infrastructure – building upkeep, power, communications network;
  • Common equipment depreciation, life cycle costs;
  • Environmental and safety monitoring, security, hazardous waste disposal;
  • Ongoing regulatory and certification requirements (i.e. ethical review, biohazard or radiation safety, environmental assessments, provincial and/or municipal regulations and by-laws);
  • Financial and agreement management;
  • Insurance

The University’s Planning and Budget Office calculates annually the estimated indirect cost of research at UofT.  The most recent estimate is 56.7%.  In terms of recovery of indirect costs, the University has a standard Indirect Research Cost rate of no less than 40% of total Direct Costs, or the maximum allowable rate as published by the sponsor.  The Principal Investigator is responsible for ensuring that Direct and Indirect Costs are clearly set out in the proposed project budget, which is included in the information collected via UofT’s online My Research Application (MRA) system.   Any exceptions to UofT’s standard Indirect Costs rate (or the published rate for the sponsor program) require Decanal approval of the administering Division.

Calculation of Indirect Costs of Research:

Depending on how the research budget is structured there are 2 methods used to calculate the appropriate Indirect Cost amount:

  • Defined Total Budget – (“Top-Down”) – A maximum total contribution to the project has been defined by the sponsor, which is to include both Direct and Indirect Costs of the research.  Indirect Costs must be calculated within this total amount.  See example ‘A’ below using UofT’s standard rate of 40%;
A)    Defined Total Budget – Calculating indirect costs within a fixed total budget
Total Budget Amount Calculation of 40% Indirect Cost amount within the Total Budget Amount Direct Cost Total Indirect Cost Total
$100,000 Direct Cost = $Total / (1.4*)  (*  1.4 = 1 + 40%) Indirect Cost = $Direct Cost x (0.4)  $100,000/1.4 =$71,429 $71,429 x 0.4 =
$28,571
  • Defined Direct Cost – (“Bottom-Up”) – The project budget is developed using the Direct Costs as the base; the sponsor contributes Indirect Costs on top of that, as a percentage (i.e. 40%) of the Direct costs, yielding the total contribution to the project.  See example ‘B’ below using UofT’s standard rate of 40%;
B)     Defined Direct Cost Amount – Calculate the indirect cost amount based on the direct cost
Direct Cost Amount Calculation of the Indirect Cost amount to be included in the Total project budget Indirect Cost Total Total Project Budget
$25,000 $Indirect Cost = $Direct Cost x 0.4; $Total Project Cost = $Direct Cost + $Indirect Cost
-or-
 $Total Project Cost = $Direct Cost x 1.4 
$25,000 x 0.4 = $10,000 $25,000 + $10,000 = $35,000-or-$25,000 x 1.4  =
$35,000

Travel

The sponsor you are preparing your application for may also have guidelines or limits with respect to travel costs. While following the sponsor’s guidelines when developing your budget, it is important to also refer to the University’s policies and guidelines on eligible and ineligible travel, available at Travel and Other Reimbursable Expenses.

Construction

If your proposal includes budget for construction or renovations, you will need the proper approvals; firstly for the use of the space, and secondly, for cost estimates. Your Chair, Dean, or local planning office should be consulted.

Signing Research Agreements

As noted above, all applications for research funding and all research related agreements must be signed by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation or his/her designate. This includes agreements for research funding, material transfer and confidentiality. The proper contracting body for the University (i.e. the name that should be on all agreements with the University) is the “Governing Council of the University of Toronto”.

Principal investigators, individual faculty members and employees are not authorized to legally bind the University in any manner to an agreement, therefore they cannot sign on behalf of the University. Occasionally, when research agreements include a signature by the PI, it is normally in the form of an acknowledgement that s/he has read the agreement, understands it and will endeavour to adhere to the terms of the agreement that has been made with the University.

Research Related Policies

The University has a range of policies that govern how researchers conduct their work. The most important ones likely to affect you are captured on the Policies, Guidelines and Procedures page on our website.

Working with Community, Industry and Partners

Visit the Partner with Industry page for details on locating a partner and the industry partner support available through the Innovations & Partnerships Office.

How to Apply for Funding Using My Research Applications (MRA)

The University has launched an automated system for internal review and endorsement of research applications – “My Research Applications“.

The system utilizes your UTORid credentials for login. Principal investigators (PIs) are encouraged to login well in advance of submission deadlines to ensure that there are no problems with your login credentials.

There are still 2 elements to a research application at the University of Toronto:

  1. your proposal to the sponsor, and
  2. University approval to apply.
  • MRA facilitates University approval to apply, replacing the RIS Application Attachment form (aka Blue form).
  • MRA does not replace the need to submit your final proposal to the sponsor

To apply for funding:

  • Login and create an MRA request about one week before the internal deadline.
  • Attach the most current version of your proposal.
  • MRA automatically routes your request through the internal approval process, ending at the Research Services Office or Innovations and Partnerships Office (RSO / IPO).
  • In the meantime, you can continue to fine tune the text of your proposal.
  • At RSO / IPO we can approve your application by:
    • sending it to the sponsor via their online system, or
    • signing the hardcopy, if the sponsor prefers paper submission.
  • When your proposal is ready to submit to the sponsor, follow the sponsor’s instructions:
    • Sponsors using online systems: submit your final proposal through their system and RSO / IPO will approve and forward it to the sponsor.  We will also attach a copy to your MRA record.
    • Paper SubmissionsRSO / IPO will sign the application and you can forward the hardcopy to the sponsor.

Questions? Need technical Support?  Please contact us at:

MRA is an automated application system that routes information in the on-line form to the appropriate internal approvers for review and endorsement. By submitting and endorsing the application you (the PI) are attesting that you are aware of all relevant U of T and sponsor policies and agree to follow them. University endorsement, by the PI’s Chair/Director, attests that the Department/Faculty is aware of the planned activities; will manage the awarded funds following all applicable terms and conditions; will provide the PI the required time, space, facilities and divisional cash or in-kind commitments (if provided) to undertake research. Certain factors will escalate an application for approval by the Dean or Principal (see Appendices 4 and 5 in the MRA User Guide for details).

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