Tri-Agency Policies & Guidelines

red checkbox Please Note

  • U of T is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on research funds awarded by the Tri-Agencies.& See Section 4 of the Research and Innovation Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ for specific information regarding research funding, or refer to the relevant fund agency's website directly for COVID-19 fund updates.
  • The new Tri-Agency Data Management Plan (DMP) was released on March 15th, 2021.  You can read more about the DMP below and about the University’s strategy planning approach to this phased-in policy by reviewing the Memo to the Community about the Tri-Agency DMP

Who is this for?

Anyone at the University of Toronto (U of T) who is involved in applying for, conducting and administering research funded by any of the following sponsors or funds.

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)

What do I need before I can begin?

No information is required to begin. Please reach out to a contact in the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) if you have questions.


This page provides information about the following.

  • How to receive updates on Tri-Agency programs from the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI)
  • Common guidelines and policies that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have in place for those who apply for or hold Tri-Agency funding

The Tri-Agencies

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) are referred to collectively as the Tri-Agencies. The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) is managed by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS).  Many of the policies governing the use of NFRF funds follow those of the Tri-Agencies.

Agency-specific and common policies for a funding opportunity are included on each agency’s website. Direct links are listed below.

How to Receive Policy Updates

U of T monitors changes initiated by the Tri-Agencies and communicates them through Research Alerts. Research Alerts is a VPRI email tool that shares customizable information with members of the U of T community. Sign up for Research Alerts.

Policies & Guidelines

Eligible Use of Funds & Other Administrative Matters

You can obtain information on eligible and ineligible expenses for Tri-Agency funds by referring to the Use of Grant Funds section of Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Important: The new Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration took effect as of April 1, 2020. All expenses incurred on or after April 1, 2020 on Tri-Agency grants are subject to the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.  For more information and resources, visit Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration – Renewal.

The Guide also covers matters such as ownership of equipment, funds transfers to co-applicants at other institutions, and transferring a grant when an award-holder changes institutions.

Tri-Agency Open Access Publications Policy

Peer-reviewed journal publications resulting from Tri-Agency-funded research must be freely accessible within twelve months of publication. For more details, refer to the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Open access can be achieved in one or both of the following ways.

  • Publishing with journals that permit open access within twelve months on their websites
  • Depositing the final, peer-reviewed manuscript into an institutional or disciplinary repository within twelve months of the publication. U of T’s institutional repository for openly accessible publications is TSpace.

Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

Researchers and their respective institutions must comply with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).  

U of T, in compliance with TCPS 2, does not provide access to research funds in the absence of a valid human ethics protocol. A partial-funding release can be requested  for a portion of research funds covering research undertaken prior to research involving human participants. For more details, see Ethics in Human Research.

Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit & Métis Peoples of Canada

Researchers who undertake research in partnership with, or research about, the First Nations, Inuit or Métis Peoples of Canada should carefully read TCPS 2 – Chapter 9. The goal of Chapter 9 is to provide guidance to researchers and Research Ethics Boards; it is not meant to override or replace ethical guidance offered by Indigenous peoples themselves.

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research

U of T receives and administers Tri-Agency funds on behalf of faculty members and is required to comply with the Framework for Responsible Conduct of Research. The Framework outlines the process to respond to allegations of research misconduct. The four objectives of the Framework are as follows.

  1. To ensure the Agencies make decisions based on accurate and reliable information
  2. To ensure that public funds are used responsibly for research and in accordance with all terms and conditions
  3. To promote and protect the quality, accuracy and reliability of research funded by the Agencies
  4. To promote fairness in the conduct of research and in addressing allegations of policy breaches in the responsible conduct of research

For more information, please see Research Integrity.

Research Data Management: Draft Policy

The Tri-Agencies introduced the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy on March 15th, 2021. The new Data Management Policy (DMP) is grounded in the Tri-Agencies’ belief that research data collected through the use of public funds should be responsibly and securely managed and be available for reuse by other  where ethical, legal and commercial obligations permit.  Institutions are required to develop a DMP strategy that is shared with the Tri-Agencies and is publicly available.  The strategy is to be phased in over the next few years.  For more details on the steps U of T is now undertaking, please see the memo to the U of T community.

CIHR’s data deposit requirements for CIHR-funded researchers, that has been in place under the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications since January 1, 2008, remains in place. More details are available at Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Other Funding Program Information

The U of T Funding Opportunities Database summarizes many Tri-Agency programs, and includes U of T specific information, such as internal deadlines and specific U of T contacts.

The funding opportunity information on the respective SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR websites includes other guidelines and requirements for specific funding programs, as does TIPS for the NFRF program.

Forms & Downloads


  • Provide institutional endorsement on applications for Tri-Agency funding opportunities
  • Facilitate the establishment of restricted research funds for those who receive a Tri-Agency award
  • Provide guidance and advice on the pre-award and post-award aspects of Tri-Agency funding

VPRI Contact

Find the appropriate VPRI staff member to assist you by checking our staff directory.  You may search by discipline area (e.g. Social Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Natural Sciences or Engineering, etc.) or funding agency name.