McMaster University

McMaster University

Guide to Research Administration: Grant/Contract Application

The Researcher

The Researcher is the initiator of the grant/contract application. He/she decides to apply to a granting agency for funding (as is usually the case with peer-reviewed agencies), or initiates contact directly with an agency (as is usually the case with private industry, drug companies, etc.).

In the case of an application to a peer-reviewed granting agency, the researcher completes the necessary forms, and submits these to CSD (for FHS projects) or ORS (for other faculties) for processing/approval. The forms are then sent to the agency.

In the case of non-peer-reviewed agencies, a determination must first be made as to whether the research project is a grant or a contract. The researcher should contact CSD/ORS before initiating negotiations with the company, to ensure that if the work is contractual in nature, the Office of Research Contracts and Intellectual Property (RC&IP) is involved. The Director of RC&IP is the designated signing authority for the University on all contract research, and therefore, this office must be involved, from the outset, in any negotiations.

It is unwise for a faculty member to submit a proposal directly to a sponsor without obtaining appropriate review and signatures from the within the University. The investigator does not have the authority to sign agreements/contracts on behalf of the University. Any agreement/contract that an individual signs is not legally binding on the University, and makes the individual responsible for significant costs and the tax status of the grant (from Revenue Canada's perspective).

The Department

The Researcher should ensure that his/her Department, through the Chair's office (or the Department Manager) is aware of any applications to granting agencies, or any pending research agreements. The Department will be involved with relevant personnel issues, and in addition, may help the Researcher prepare the application, administer the grant, and aid with budgeting.


CSD/ROADS must be made aware of any applications to granting agencies, prior to the final grant submission. If the application is to a peer-reviewed agency, they will review and approve the application on behalf of the University. The Researcher must consult these offices, in conjunction with the Department, on issues such as laboratory space, ethics approval, safety issues (chemical usage and storage) etc., where necessary. For non-peer-reviewed research, these offices can help determine if the project should be a grant or a contract, what budgetary items are allowable, and what indirect costs should be included.

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