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Applicants’ Guide: Full Project Proposal Applicant Guide for Environmental and Social Studies - Seabirds

Table of Contents

Preface – Full Project Proposal Process

This Applicant Guide outlines the Full Project Proposal (FPP) process for research projects to be funded under the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF).

The Guide explains how the ESRF will review, in a consistent, fair, and transparent manner, project proposals submitted in response to the Full Project Proposal in order to identify, select, and approve an allocation of funding to those projects that best fit with the ESRF objectives.

The deadline for submission of a Full Project Proposal under this current research call is January 31, 2021. Project proposals submitted after that deadline will not be accepted.

If the proposal is approved for funding and the proponent is a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government, or one of their departments and agencies, parties will enter into negotiations towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If the proponent is not a government or one of their department and agencies, parties will enter into negotiations towards a Funding Agreement. The expression “Funding Agreement”, within this document from this point forward, will mean either a MOU or a Funding Agreement, based on the proponent affiliation.

Any proposal under this process will be conditional upon the execution of a Funding Agreement. Until a written Funding Agreement is signed by both parties, no commitment or obligation exists on the part of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to make a financial contribution to any project.

The ESRF Management Board or Secretariat will not entertain any request by any proponent to review or revisit the ESRF Management Board project approval decisions.

ESRF Management Board reserves the right to alter or cancel the currently envisaged process and deadlines at its sole discretion. Any changes will be communicated to proponents via e-mail.

1. Introduction

The purpose of the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) is to finance environmental and social studies pertaining to the manner in which and to the terms and conditions under which, petroleum exploration, development, and production activities on frontier lands should be conducted. As such, the ESRF funds studies that provide stakeholders with relevant environmental and social information relating to petroleum exploration, development and production activities in frontier lands. This information can be used to inform best operational practices as well as policy and regulatory development. Further details on the Fund are available through our website: www.esrfunds.org.

Attraction of seabirds and birds generally, to artificially lit structures resulting in injury or death is an ongoing concern (Montevecchi 2006, Rodríguez et al. 2017a). Apart from risk of physical injury the expenditure of energy due to such attraction, particularly during critical life stages e.g., migration may affect survival rates (Gauthreux and Belser 2006).

Leach’s Storm Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) are widely distributed across Canada’s East Coast with large breeding colonies on islands along the coasts of both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and small colonies in Québec, Labrador, New Brunswick and Maine (Pollet et al. 2020). Their nighttime foraging and migratory behaviors across the East Coast Offshore make them particularly vulnerable to attraction to the artificial lighting on offshore oil and gas installations and marine vessels of all kinds. Recent research findings (Wilhelm 2017; Wilhelm et al. 2015, 2019) from colony censuses that document a significant population decline at most, but not all colonies, over the past thirty years accentuating the risk to these populations.

This Applicants’ Guide has been developed to provide details on the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) full project proposal for research on seabirds’ attraction to artificial light, with a particular focus on Leach’s storm petrels, in the context of offshore oil and gas activities on Canada’s East Coast.

2. Objectives & Scope

The purpose of the seabirds research priority area is to investigate if and how seabirds, and in particular Leach’s storm petrel, are attracted to light generated by oil and gas activities on Canada East Coast.

This initial research calls on seabirds focuses on the following research priorities.

Research Priority #1: Literature review on seabird attraction to artificial light

Objective: To conduct a global literature review on the attraction of seabirds to artificial light, with a particular focus on attraction to offshore oil and gas installations; and, to sponsor an invitation only expert workshop on this topic to review the draft literature review and to incorporate the findings and recommendations of the workshop into the final report.

Key considerations:

  • Notwithstanding the focus on seabirds the literature dealing with light attraction in terrestrial birds should be reviewed and considered, and information relevant to the primary focus should be included in the review.
  • In addition to the literature review, this project should include an invitation only expert workshop to review the draft literature review and to incorporate the findings and recommendations of the workshop into the final report. Once the literature review is completed, the project lead will be expected to design the workshop in consultation with the ESRF Management Board and Secretariat.

Research Priority #2: Literature review on seabird detection methods

Objective: To conduct a global literature review on the currently available methods of detecting seabirds in the context of offshore oil and gas installations; to sponsor an invitation only expert workshop on this topic to review the draft literature review; and, to incorporate the findings and recommendations of the workshop into the final report.

Key considerations:

  • Notwithstanding the focus on seabirds, any detection methods applied to terrestrial bird species that are potentially viable in the current context should be reviewed and considered, and relevant information included in the review.
  • Apart from the normal method of visual observations by trained observers there are potentially other forms of seabird detection, enumeration and identification that have been attempted or may be possible. Some examples include – thermal sensing, sound recording, radar detection. Other means or combinations of means may be feasible depending on the kind of data that they generate in the context of detecting seabirds at an offshore installation.
  • The approach to the review will have to take in to account what available methods and/or technologies are practicable in the context of detecting seabirds at an offshore installation. It will be necessary to take into account the kinds of offshore oil and gas installations operating in Canada’s East Coast Offshore i.e., fixed versus floating installations; exploration versus production installations. Each of these installations will pose their own set of opportunities and challenges for the potential implementation of a methodology and/or technology. Researchers should anticipate the need to engage with the operators of these platforms at the outset and on an ongoing basis to fully understand the kinds of operational environments for which detection methodologies and/or technologies are being considered; and, any constraints that might precluded their implementation should be documented.
  • In addition to the literature review, this project should include an invitation only expert workshop to review the draft literature review and to incorporate the findings and recommendations of the workshop into the final report. Once the literature review is completed, the project lead will be expected to design the workshop in consultation with the ESRF Management Board and Secretariat.

Research Priority #3: Development of a Leach’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) population model for the East Coast of Canada.

Objective: To develop, test and validate a population dynamics model for Leach’s Storm-Petrel populations on Canada’s East Coast, with a view to elucidating the contributions and effects of the various sources of mortality on Leach’s Storm Petrel populations to assist in developing mitigation measures for this species.

Key considerations:

  • This research should be conducted in close collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada and focus on the development, testing and validation of a population dynamics model for Storm Petrel populations on Canada’s East Coast.
  • No field work is contemplated for this research program however applicants should specify what existing data will be required to validate and test the model and explain from where that data will be sourced. Consultation with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other potential data holders on this aspect is essential in the context of responding to this call for proposals.
  • The applicant should clearly identify the modelling and model testing and validation techniques it foresees as applicable to achieving the research objectives.

3. Key Criteria

  1. Leach’s storm petrel: Proposals must focus on Leach’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) as a key species of interest. Information available on other terrestrial birds or seabird species contributing to meet the objective of this research call may also be considered.
  2. Seabird population location: Projects must be pertinent to seabirds and Leach’s storm petrel populations that interact with offshore ESRF Southern Regions 5 to 15.

    map

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    Visual representation of the Environmental Studies Research Fund’s southern regions 1 to 16 as described in the Environmental Studies Research Fund Regions Regulations.

  3. Eligible activities: The ESRF’s mandate is to fund environmental and social studies pertaining to the manner in which, and the terms and conditions under which, petroleum exploration, development and production activities on Canada’s frontier lands should be conducted. Such studies could involve, but are not limited to,
    • Onshore and offshore field work such as tracking studies, biomarkers, testing mitigation measures;
    • Laboratory studies;
    • Development of suitable methodologies for industry-supported data collection;
    • Literature review;
    • Workshop and engagement activities;
    • Modelling and/or analytical work based on appropriate and rigorous data sets; and
    • Social and economic studies, which could include the collection of Indigenous and local knowledge, to understand the topic at hand.
  4. The ESRF Management Board maintains a strong focus on stakeholder engagement. Proponents should consider how they will engage stakeholders including but not limited to:
    • Indigenous groups;
    • Commercial ∕ recreational fishers and their organizations;
    • Environmental NGOs;
    • Regulatory agencies and departments with relevant mandates and responsibilities;
    • The East Coast offshore oil and gas industry.

4. Key Outcomes

Projects funded by this research call are expected to inform future research and to support the decision-making process surrounding current and future offshore oil and gas activities by providing science-based information on seabirds’ populations, with a focus on Leach’s storm petrel, especially in areas of offshore oil and gas activities in eastern Canada.

The proposed projects expected outcomes and key products should focus on informing codes, standards and/or regulations, key Indigenous groups and stakeholders, as well as future research.

5. Eligible Funding Recipients

Eligible funding recipients must be:

  • Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
    • For profit and not for profit organizations such as companies, industry associations, research associations, etc.;
    • Indigenous organizations and groups;
    • Community groups; and
    • Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions; or
  • Federal, provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments and their departments, agencies and research centres.

6. Funding Allocation

ESRF can fund up to 100% of the Total Study Costs. The funding for each literature review is estimated at $100,000 - $150,000 over one year and the funding for the Leach’s storm-petrels population model is estimated at $200,000 - $600,000 over 2-3 years depending on the amplitude of the proposed project. Projects must finish by March 31, 2024.

Any expenditure incurred prior to signing of a Funding Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding will not be counted towards Eligible Expenditures by ESRF.

Collaborative projects are encouraged and preference may be given to projects with collaborators contributing financial support.

Applicants are encouraged to consider research partnerships and/or collaborations with other research entities having special expertise in, or engaged in, research pertinent to the proposal. The nature of the potential partnership and/or collaborations must be described in overview and supplemented by letters of intent from the proposed entity. Such partnerships or collaborations need not be restricted to Canadian entities. However, if international partnership entities are contemplated, the control and majority of the research must be carried out in Canada.

7. Application and Selection Process

The Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) is committed to a consistent, fair, and transparent project selection process in order to identify, select, and approve the allocation of funding to projects that best fit the Fund’s objectives.

Supplementary information may be requested of applicants at various points in the review process. These requests will be made via e-mail to the Principal Investigator noted on the project.

As part of the review process, applicants may be requested to provide a presentation to the ESRF Management Board on the content of the proposal. Details, templates and instructions will be provided at a future date.

Throughout the process, decisions made will be final, and no appeals process will be allowed. At any phase, both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified regarding the status of their proposal.

Proposals can also be withdrawn at any time. Please email your request, in writing to NRCan.ESRF-FEE.RNCan@canada.ca.

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Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) Full Project Proposal (FPP) Application Process

Step 1: Review Applicants’ Guide

Step 2: Prepare Full Project Proposal Details

Step 3: Submit Full Project Proposal

Step 4: Full Project Proposal Review

Step 5: Proposal Presentation

Step 6: Project Selection

Full Project Proposal Submission

Applicants must complete the Full Project Proposal (FPP) application form along with the Project Milestones and Budget (Excel) document. Late and/or incomplete proposals will NOT be accepted. Applications must be submitted by January 31, 2021 to NRCan.ESRF-FEE.RNCan@canada.ca with the subject “FPP – Seabirds - Research Priority No. [1, 2 or 3] - NAME”. Applicants can apply to more than one research priority. We recommend applicants keep a record of the date and time their application form was submitted as proof in case of any dispute.

The applicant must provide all mandatory information in order to be considered for funding.

Assessment

A panel of expert will assess the merit of each research proposal. The Full Project Proposal evaluation process is highly competitive and only the highest-quality projects will be considered for funding. Success in this phase depends on the quality of the Full Project Proposal submitted. In this regard, “quality” means the merits of the proposal in terms of both the potential for impacts based on the assessment criteria and how well the proposal addresses these criteria, including completeness and clarity. It is incumbent on each applicant to communicate the proposed project’s merits through the responses provided in the Full Project Proposal.

The applicant must demonstrate that they have both the capacity and the relevant experience in- house or through committed partnerships in designing, planning, managing the research program.

Applicants will also be invited to present their projects to the ESRF Management Board. Further information regarding these presentations, including time and location, will be provided to invited applicants before scheduled timeframe. Applicants are encouraged to ensure someone is available to present at the allotted time.

8. Timeline

Submission Deadline: must be submitted by 23:59 EST January 31, 2021

Key milestones

January 31, 2021

Call for Full Project Proposals closes

February 2021

Assessment of Full Project Proposals

March/April 2021

Anticipated presentation of Full Project Proposals  to ESRF Management Board

April 2021

Project selections

*ESRF reserves the right to change the application process and deadlines at its sole discretion. Any changes to the process will be communicated to applicants via e-mail and necessary accommodations for the changes provided.

9. Contact Information

For general inquiries, the applicant can contact the ESRF Secretariat: NRCan.ESRF-FEE.RNCan@canada.ca.  A Frequently Ask Questions section will be posted on the ESRF website if warranted answering key questions from applicants.

APPENDIX A – Detailed Project Milestones and Budget

All applicants must complete and submit a completed project milestones and budget using the Project Milestones and Budget Excel templates provided in your Full Project Proposal invitation e-mail. The completed milestones and budget must be submitted in the original Excel format.

Note: Applicants should review the General Terms and Conditions (Appendix D) to determine if budgeted costs are compliant. Please indicate any costs that do not follow this guidance. In addition, any in-kind (non-cash) contributions should be identified separately.

APPENDIX B – Letters of Support

Applicants are requested to provide signed letters of support from project partners, including financing entities, potential end users, industry partners, and others. Signed letters should be converted to PDF and combined into a single document, and should include the following
information:

Cash contribution:

  • Name of partner;
  • Summary of participation in the proposed project;
  • Details of funding commitments and any timelines or conditions associated with the confirmation of these or other restrictions placed on the funding provided by the partner; and
  • Original signature from a representative with the delegated authority able to legally commit funds from the company or organization.

In-kind contribution:

  • Name of partner;
  • Summary of in-kind commitments and any timelines or conditions associated with the confirmation of these or other restrictions placed on the in-kind support provided by the partner; and
  • Original signature from a representative with the delegated authority to commit the resources to the project.

APPENDIX C – Other Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents may be included in your application. Please combine all documents into a single PDF document for review:

  • Provide a Project Area Map(s), including (if appropriate) expected sampling locations, equipment deployment, existing infrastructure, etc. This information will help reviewers assess the scope and scale of the project.
  • Provide a list of permits of approvals required for the conduct of the project, including (if applicable) any federal environmental assessments.
  • Describe any planned or completed engagement with local/Indigenous communities regarding the proposed project and provide letters of support, if available.

APPENDIX D – General Terms and Conditions of the Environmental Studies Research Fund

The following describes the general terms and conditions of the Fund. Further restrictions and conditions may apply to a specific research call. Any specific conditions is documented in the Applicant Guide and the Application Form of the specific research call.

1. Roles of the Various Entities

  • ESRF is the Environmental Studies Research Fund, as represented by its Management Board. The Part VII of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act states, inter alia, the purpose of the ESRF and the duties and functions of its Management Board.
  • ESRF Secretariat supports administratively the ESRF Management Board and is part of the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Department of Natural Resources provides its financial framework for the management of the ESRF funds.

2. Eligible Funding Recipients

Eligible funding recipients must be:

  • Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
    • For profit and not for profit organizations such as companies, industry associations, research associations, etc.;
    • Indigenous organizations and groups;
    • Community groups; and
    • Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions; or
  • Federal, provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments and their departments, agencies and research centres.

It is expected that Proponents (the entity that will sign a Funding Agreement with NRCan) will be the majority owner of any assets purchased in full or in part by funding provided by ESRF.

3. Eligible Research Activities

Eligible research activities are limited to environmental and social studies pertaining to the manner in which, and the terms and conditions under which, petroleum exploration, development and production activities on Canada’s frontier lands should be conducted.

4. Eligible Expenditure Period

The Eligible Expenditure Period for funding support under this ESRF Full Project Proposal is a maximum period of four years from the date of signature of the Funding Agreement. No expenditure Incurred prior to the signature of a Funding Agreement will be counted as Eligible Expenditures of the project considered by the ESRF Management Board. Until a written Funding Agreement is signed by both parties, no commitment or obligation exists on the part of either NRCan or the ESRF to make a financial contribution to any project, including reimbursement of any costs incurred or paid prior to the signing of a Funding Agreement.

5. ESRF Funding

Transfer of Funds

Full project proposals accepted for funding consideration under the ESRF will be subject to the parties (the ESRF Secretariat and the proponent) successfully negotiating a written Funding Agreement and the Funding Agreement being approved by the ESRF Management Board.

If the proponent is a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government or one of their departments and agencies, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be negotiated instead of a Funding Agreement.

Until a written Funding Agreement or MOU is signed by both parties, no liability and no commitment or obligation exists on the part of the ESRF and Natural Resources Canada to make a financial contribution to the proposed project. As a result, any costs or expenses incurred or paid by the intended proponent prior to the execution of a written Funding Agreement or MOU by both parties are the sole responsibility of the intended proponent, and no liability exists on the part of the ESRF or Natural Resources Canada.

Definitions

These features will be incorporated in the Funding Agreement entered into with selected proponents.

“Contribution” means the funding provided by the Minister under this Agreement.

“Eligible Expenditures” means any expenditures Incurred within the Eligible Expenditure Period in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Funding Agreement.

“Eligible Expenditure Period” means the period between the date of signature of the Funding Agreement by Canada and the completion project date.

“Incurred” means, in relation to an Eligible Expenditure, that goods have been received by, and/or services have been rendered to, the Proponent.

“Incurred and Paid” means, in relation to an Eligible Expenditure, that said Eligible Expenditure has been paid for by the Proponent.

“Project” means the Project submitted by the Proponent in the Proposal.

“Total Project Costs” means the Contribution and other verifiable cash or in-kind contributions either received or contributed by the Proponent and directly attributable to the Project.

Eligible Expenditures

Eligible Expenditures for an approved project under ESRF must be directly related to the execution of the study as defined in the terms of the Funding Agreement. See Appendix E for more details on eligible expenditures and Appendix F for in-kind costs.

Basis of Payment

Payment may be made based on receipt and approval of financial reports outlining actual Eligible Expenditures incurred for the project in compliance with the terms of the Funding Agreement.

Final payment will not be made until all agreed-upon project activities have been completed by a proponent and are deemed acceptable to the ESRF Management Board and NRCan. In order to ensure appropriate project oversight, a holdback will be applied to the final amounts payable and released once all conditions of the Funding Agreement have been met.

Staking of Assistance

Prior to signing Funding Agreements, a proponent will be required to disclose all anticipated sources (Canadian and non-Canadian) of funding for the proposed project, including approved in-kind funding.

Collaborative projects are encouraged and preference may be given to projects with collaborators contributing financial support.

Total Canadian government assistance (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments) will not exceed 100% of total project costs. If the proposed total Canadian government assistance exceeds 100%, Canada reserves the right to reduce the ESRF assistance to the project until 100% stacking assistance limit is met. If total Canadian government funding exceeds 100% upon project completion, Canada reserves the right to recover the excess funding from the proponent.

Non-Repayable Funding

Funding received for research projects under ESRF will not be repayable, as the funding is for activities whose primary aim is to further research.

Audits

Projects and proponents may be audited one or several times either at the project completion or at NRCan’s discretion during the project. Auditors may call and potentially visit each proponent on site at the beginning of the project to explain the auditing process, and review project financial controls.

6. Reporting Requirements

As a condition of the Funding Agreement, project proponents will be required to provide periodic reports updating the ESRF Secretariat on the status of the project, the percentage of budget spent and any issues that may cause the project schedule or expected expenditures in the current calendar year to change.

At the completion of the study, project proponents will also be required to provide a final financial, a final narrative report and any other reports described and agreed upon in the Funding Agreement.
Content and timing of these reports will be described in the Funding Agreement.

Follow-on Reports

Proponents are required to report on project activities annually for five years following the end of the project. For the follow-up on reporting period, proponents must supply:

  • Annually, an updated Outcomes Report, using a template supplied by the ESRF Secretariat, to report on short term, intermediate term, and long term outcomes.
  • An update to any knowledge dissemination activities or known knowledge uptake, as well as any new information that can be made available to the industry and the public (e.g. peer-reviewed publication).

7. Intellectual Property

All Intellectual Property that arises in the course of a project shall vest in, or be licensed to, the recipient. The recipient will grant to Canada a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world-wide, royalty-free licence in perpetuity to use the data and information contained in reports and modify such reports and documents for non-commercial governmental purposes.

The recipient will ensure that all new information generated through the ESRF-funded research study will be made publicly available, in agreement with the agreed-upon knowledge transfer plan. Information that was generated prior to the initiation of the ESRF-funded research, or generated through other source of funding, is to remain the property of its owner who will make all decisions regarding licensing and dissemination of that information.

Prior to completion of the study and final approval by the Management Board, the results of the studies and any Intellectual Property generated during the course of the project is to be kept confidential unless explicitly authorized by the ESRF Management Board.

8. Confidentiality

Subject to the Access to Information Act [Section 20(1)]and Privacy Act [Section 19(1)], all LOIs and full project proposals received by the ESRF Secretariat will be treated as confidential and will not be provided to any third party, other than technical reviewers mandated by the ESRF Management Board, without the express written consent of the project applicant (designated principal applicant in the case of multi-partner proposals).

Technical reviewers mandated by the ESRF Management Board that are employed by the Government of Canada are bound by the requirements of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act regarding the treatment of confidential information.

Technical reviewers mandated by the ESRF Management Board that are not employed by the Government of Canada will be required to enter into a Non-Disclosure Agreement before accessing the LOIs and full project proposals.

9. Commitment to Fairness and Transparency

Natural Resources Canada and the ESRF Management Board are committed to a fair and transparent process for managing the ESRF. All assessments and decisions made by Natural Resources Canada and the ESRF Management Board will be done in accordance with this commitment. The ESRF Management Board and the ESRF Secretariat staff responsible for managing a research call will not provide any specific guidance or advice on preparing a Letter of Interest (LOI) or a Full Project Proposal (FPP). No meetings on the ESRF call for LOIs or call for FPPs will be held between any applicant and ESRF Board Members or ESRF Secretariat staff involved with the project selection process.

Further, to avoid the risk of real, perceived or potential conflict of interest, members of expert technical committees who have a vested interest as a potential participant in a particular project will be required to sign a declaration regarding their interest in the project and will not be allowed to participate in the assessment of that project.

Decisions made will be final, and no appeals process will be allowed, however, both successful and unsuccessful proponents will be notified, and unsuccessful proponents will be offered the opportunity to receive formal feedback on the review of the project proposal.

For general inquiries, the applicant can contact the ESRF Secretariat: NRCan.ESRF-FEE.RNCan@canada.ca. A Frequently Ask Questions section will be posted on the website if warranted answering key questions from applicants.

10. Impact Assessment Act (2019)

The Impact Assessment Act, 2019 is the legal basis for the federal Environmental Assessment (EA) process for most projects in Canada, except for projects in the Mackenzie Valley, the Yukon and in Nunavut, where other processes and legislation may apply. The Impact Assessment Act outlines the responsibilities, requirements and procedures for the environmental assessment of projects and establishes a process for assessing the potential environmental effects of projects in which the Government of Canada has a decision-making responsibility.

Proponents should clearly indicate in their application if a federal environmental assessment is required, as additional information may be requested by ESRF.

11. Other Conditions

  • No Member of the House of Commons shall be admitted to any share or part of the Funding Agreements, or any resulting benefit.
  • Where appropriate, projects will be subject to appropriate environmental assessments prior to the release of any funds.
  • The Proponent will comply with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders.
  • Funding may be cancelled or reduced in the event that the Part VII of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act is modified by Parliament or the levies recommended by the ESRF Management Board are not approved. Agreements will include provisions for cancellations or reduction of Funding in the event that the Part VII of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act is modified by Parliament or the levies recommended by the ESRF Management Board are not approved.
  • Proponents will be required to acknowledge the financial support of Canada’s Environmental Studies Research Fund in all public information produced as part of the project.
  • As part of project monitoring requirements, the ESRF Secretariat will have the right to visit and inspect all project sites, upon providing a reasonable notice to the project proponents.

APPENDIX E – Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures for an approved project under the ESRF must be directly related to, and necessary for, the implementation and conduct of a project as defined in the terms of the Funding Agreement or MOU, and will include:

  • Salaries and benefits for employees on the payroll of the Proponent for the actual time spent by the employees on the Project;
  • Professional, scientific, technical and contracting services or fees; whenever the services are provided directly by the Proponent, professional, scientific or technical fees can be charged in lieu of salaries and benefits, given these fees are the ones usually charged to the Proponent’s customers;
  • Reasonable travel expenditures, including meals and accommodation;
  • Printing services;
  • Data collection services, including processing, analysis and management;
  • Licence fees and permits;
  • Field testing services;
  • Purchase, installation and testing of qualifying equipment, materials and products equipment and products, including diagnostic and testing tools and instruments (subject to approval by the ESRF Management Board and explicit inclusion in the Funding Agreement or MOU);
  • Laboratory and field supplies and materials;
  • Federal and Provincial Taxes that are not refunded; and,
  • Overhead expenditures, provided they are directly related to the conduct of the Project and can be attributed to it (limited to 15% of Total eligible expenditures).

Salaries: Salaries include wages for all personnel with direct involvement in the Project.

Labour claims must be supported by suitable records such as time sheets and records, and be held for verification at time of audit. Management personnel are required to maintain appropriate records of time devoted to the Project.

Benefits: Benefits are defined as a reasonable prorated share of expenses associated with the direct labour cost such as the employer’s portion of Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, employee benefits such as health plan and insurance, Worker’s Compensation, sick leave and vacation. Those items which have no relationship to the Project or which have been charged on an indirect basis are non-eligible.

Materials: Materials include those consumed in carrying out the Project, including those required for monitoring activities. Only utilities consumed to operate equipment or processes are eligible and may be metered and reported separately from the total utility cost. Utilities used for buildings are not eligible.

Materials purchased and used solely for the Project are eligible. All materials shall be charged to the Project at the net price excluding GST after deducting all trade discounts and similar credits. Surplus materials shall be credited to the Project at the original purchase price.

Equipment: Equipment consists of equipment acquired or constructed exclusively for the Project that is deemed necessary by the ESRF Management Board. In order to be eligible, such equipment must be identified in the Project cost estimate. All such equipment shall be charged to the Project at the net price (excluding GST) after deducting all trade discounts and similar charges.

Sub-Contractors and Consultants: The nature of goods or services to be acquired shall be set out in the Project Proposal estimate. The amount eligible from a sub-contractor or a consultant shall be the actual contract amount.

Testing Services: Eligible testing services are those conducted by testing organizations or accredited laboratories, such as the Canadian Standards Association, Underwriters Laboratories and must be essential to the success of the Project. Testing services shall be charged at actual cost. Regulatory costs, where required may be eligible (e.g. testing to comply with Environmental Standards). All such costs should be identified in the original Project Proposal cost estimates.

Travel, Meals and Accommodation: Unless stated otherwise in the Funding Agreement between the NRCan and the Proponent, Treasury Board rates that are in effect at the time of signing the Funding Agreement shall be used in reimbursing the following expenses:

  • Travel, food and lodging costs to meet with NRCan officials.
  • Travel, food and lodging costs necessary for other Project activities, e.g. field trials and in-field monitoring at locations away from the Proponent’s usual location; Project planning and review meetings between the Proponent and its partner(s).

Overhead: With regard to Overhead expenditures, they may include:

  • Administrative support provided directly to the Project by the Proponent’s employee(s), valued on the same basis as professional staff time;
  • Routine laboratory and field equipment maintenance, based on the actual cost to the Proponent that is directly related to the Project;
  • Heat, hydro, and office operating costs (e.g. faxes, telephone), provided that they are directly related to the Project; and
  • Overhead costs charged by universities.

Overhead expenditures will not exceed 15% of Eligible Expenditures (excluding overhead expenditures).

Non-Eligible Expenditures

  • Part of the Federal and Provincial Taxes that are refunded to the Proponent;
  • Land Costs;
  • Legal Costs;
  • All costs associated with the protection of Intellectual Property;
  • Costs incurred prior to the Funding Agreement being signed, or after the Eligible Expenditure Period end date; and
  • In-kind contributions.

APPENDIX F – In-Kind Support

The ESRF accepts In-Kind contributions (defined below) as part of the Total Project Costs, subject to the definitions and limitations described in this section. Note, however, that strong preference is given to cash contributions, and the relative amount of cash to in-kind may be taken into account in project selection. NOTE: In-kind support is not reimbursable as an Eligible Expenditure.

Definitions

  • In-kind support - a cash-equivalent contribution in the form of an asset for which no cash is exchanged but that is essential to the project and that would have to be purchased by the project proponent on the open market, or through negotiation with the provider, if it were not provided by the project proponent.
  • Fair market value - the average dollar value the project proponent could get for a contributed asset in an open and unrestricted market, between a willing buyer and a willing seller (the proponent) who are acting independently of each other. As a guide, it should approximately represent the original cost minus the depreciation.
  • Most favoured customer - a customer given the deepest discount from the normal selling price for a good or service sold to it by the project proponent.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

Proposed in-kind contributions that are deemed acceptable by ESRF officials must be supported by a formal commitment from the project proponent to provide them, prior to any commitment on ESRF funding to the proposed project being made.

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to identify the kinds of non-cash contributions (“in-kind support”) that are acceptable as part of the overall funding for the project from the project proponent, and to provide guidance on how to put a value on those contributions.

Eligibility of in-kind contributions

To be eligible as an in-kind contribution:

  • The contributed asset must be from one of the categories identified below under the heading “Categories of Eligible In-Kind Support”.
  • It must be essential to a projects success and would otherwise have to be purchased by the project proponent.
  • Its value must be determinable and verifiable.
  • Its valuation must be confirmed by ESRF officials or its auditors, and agreed upon by the project applicant and ESRF before a contribution agreement is signed.

Assessing the Value of In-kind Contributions

Two different approaches to the valuation of in-kind support are possible:

  • Using the fair market value, as described above.
  • Using the incremental cost – the cost to the project applicant or its partners and collaborators of providing the contributed asset over and above normal operating costs.

Categories of Eligible In-Kind Support

1. Salaries and Benefits

This category addresses the provision of the project proponents’ employees time to undertake work, such as research, technology development and assessment, and expert analysis that is wholly and directly in support of the project.

  • Services of an employee of the project proponent shall be valued at the employee's regular rate of pay (plus an amount of fringe benefits that is reasonable, allowable, and allocable, but exclusive of overhead costs), provided these services are consistent with the duties for which the employee is normally paid.

2. Professional, Scientific and Contracting Services

This category addresses the provision of analytical and technical services. Analytical and technical services include routine laboratory and field technical services such as data collection, laboratory analyses and measurements, and field measurements, exclusive of equipment maintenance. These services may be provided by a component of the project proponent’s overall organization, or provided to the project proponent by a third party.

The value of analytical and technical services provided by or to the proponent should be the lesser of the project proponents internal rate for the service if that service is provided internally (i.e., within the project proponent’s organization), or the incremental cost to the project proponent if it is provided by a third party.

3. Provision of Equipment and Laboratory and Field Supplies and Materials

This category includes equipment, laboratory supplies and field supplies that are provided by or to the project proponent, and the provision of access to, and use of, proprietary software and databases owned by or provided to the project proponent.

Values assessed for equipment and laboratory and field supplies and materials provided to the project must meet the following criteria:

  • The value of supplies and materials shall not exceed the selling price to the providers most favored customer at the time of provision.
  • The value of equipment shall not exceed the fair market value of equipment of the same age and condition at the time of provision.
  • If the equipment is special purpose, one-of-a-kind, its value shall not exceed the cost to the provider of its design, testing and manufacture.
  • The value of access to, and use of, proprietary software and databases should be the incremental costs to the project proponent of providing that access and use, such as staff time involved, including providing any required instruction on their use. Costs associated with developing the software or databases are ineligible as an in-kind contribution.

4. Travel, Meals and Accommodation costs

Unless stated otherwise in the contribution agreement between the ESRF and the proponent, Treasury Board rates that are in effect at the time of signing the contribution agreement shall be used in assigning a value to the following expenses.

  • Travel, food and lodging costs to meet with ESRF officials.
  • Travel, food and lodging costs necessary for other project activities, e.g. field trials and demonstrations at locations away from the proponents usual location; project planning and review meetings between the principal proponent and its partner(s).

5. Overhead expenses

With regard to Overhead Expenses, they may include:

  • Administrative support provided directly to the project by the proponent’s employee(s), valued on the same basis as professional staff time (as described under category 1);
  • Routine laboratory and field equipment maintenance, based on the actual cost to the proponent that is directly related to the project;
  • Heat, hydro, and office operating costs (e.g. faxes, telephone) telephone, provided they are directly related to the project.

Overhead costs will be negotiated and agreed to on an individual basis before signing a contribution agreement with project proponents. They will not exceed 15% of Eligible Expenditures.

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