Procedures for Internal Approvals on Research Grants and Contracts

Faculty of Science Applicants and Co-Applicants (St. John’s Campus)

Internal Approval Procedures
Deadline Dates
Deadline Dates for Discovery Grant Submissions
Forms for Approving Research Funding Applications

Background: Contracts and grants are awarded to the University with the understanding that (1) signing authority will be delegated to the principal investigator; (2) that funds will be spent according to policies of the University and either the policies of the granting council or the obligations stated in the contract; and (3) that the University will provide infrastructure such as lab space, libraries, secretarial staff, telephone and computer networking. The University recovers indirect costs from overhead (contracts) or from the federal granting councils (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC).

A signature from the applicant/co-applicant’s department and faculty are required on all research applications submitted. Signature approvals on research grants and contracts confirm investigator time, space, and other commitments; and highlights faculty who are actively seeking research funding to supplement their on-going research programs.

For major annual funding competitions, such as the NSERC Discovery Grants competition, and the NSERC Research Tools and Instruments competition, the Office of the Dean of Science, provides departments and potential applicants with internal deadline dates, procedures and required internal approval forms for Faculty of Science applicants. 

Internal Approval Flow

Principal investigators should consult with their department for policy on due dates. It is the responsibility of the applicant to know Research Grant and Contract Services due dates relative to external deadlines. Due dates in the Dean of Science Office are relative to these due dates.

The sequence and lee-way time for acquiring internal signatures on the Faculty of Science Internal Check-list and Signature Sheet for Grants and Contracts is, as follows:

1) Signed by the faculty applicant and/or co-applicant(s) (when applicable);

2) Signed by the department head (or acting head, in head’s absence), or director (OSC) (where applicable); if the applicant is the head, then the deputy head signs for the department;

3) Once signed by the department head, the faculty checklist and signature form, and a copy of the application should be sent to the grants facilitation officer - Faculty of Science.

4) Associate dean (research and graduate), on behalf of the dean, signs for the Faculty of Science. An electronic copy of the application should be sent to the associate dean (research and graduate), except for NSERC Discovery Grant applications, where a single-sided hard copy of the DG application, including NSERC CCV, and the internal approval form signed by the appropriate department head, shall be sent to the grant facilitation officer instead.

5) Once signed by the faculty, the approval sheet will be sent (by way of e-mail attachment) to the applicable institutional approval office.

Due Dates for Viewing and Faculty Signature

Due dates in the Dean of Science office are relative to due dates for institutional signature as follows:

Five working days* before the funding deadline date (which is two days prior to the date set for institutional signature) for:

- Grants with no commitments of cash or new commitments of space or infrastructure. (E.g. NSERC discovery, strategic, or shiptime grants).

- Contracts with simple budgets and with no commitments of cash or new commitments of space or infrastructure.

- Internal awards

Six working days* before the funding deadline date (which is three days prior to the date set for institutional signature) for:

- Grants with commitments of cash or new commitments of space or infrastructure.

- Contracts with: simple budgets and fully documented commitments of cash, space, or infrastructure. Additional time should be allowed for contracts with complex budgets and/or complex commitments of cash, space, or infrastructure.

(*The above due dates are the norm, with the exception of institutional deadlines set for major Tri-Council grant programs for which a high volume of applicants is expected (NSERC DG, RTI; CIHR OOG; SSHRC Insight Grant Competitions), for institutional or partnership funding programs, such as CFI/ACOA AIF, for which earlier institutional internal deadline dates may be set);

Due dates and handling time

1. Proposals arriving after these due dates run a high risk of not being signed before a deadline.

2. Repeated failure to meet due dates will increase the risk of non-signature before a deadline.

3. Due dates are not guarantees of handling time.

4. Inscrutable budgets and unsubstantiated commitments will delay approval.

10 working days prior to the funding agency deadline date is required for:

- a full administrative review of grant applications from grants facilitator office, Faculty of Science;

- assistance with application development (especially for multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional team grants where Science faculty is the lead applicant, and for which cash and in-kind institutional support is required).

Prior notice of pending applications

For planning and administrative purposes, potential applicants are asked to provide advance notice to the associate dean (research and graduate), copied to the grants facilitation officer, indicating their plan to submit an application to an upcoming research competition requiring faculty signature. The respective institutional signature office should also be notified. For information purposes, the Office of the Dean of Science requests copies of Letters of Intent (LOI)/Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI), for which no formal request for internal signature is required. Please send by e-mail attachment to the associate dean (research and graduate).

Deadline Dates for Discovery Grant Submission


Office of the Dean of Science – grants facilitation officer: (optional/recommended)

  • Bring a paper copy of your full application (DG Application plus CCV for NSERC) to C-2053.
  • Applications received will be reviewed in the order received.


Department Signature / Approval:

  • Complete and sign the Dean of Science Checklist and Signature Sheet.
  • Attach the form to a paper copy of your application and bring both to your department head for departmental review and signature.
  • Do not change the budget and justification sections once your application has been submitted to your head for departmental approval.
  • Fine-tweeking of your application wording is permitted.
  • Once your Head has approved your DG application, provide a copy of the signed approval form and a paper version of your application to the grants facilitatation officer.

Faculty Signature / Approval

  • Upload your NSERC CCV; preview, validate, save and E-Submit your Discovery Grant Application through NSERC’s Research Portal.
  • The final version of your DG application will be accessed on-line to verify faculty, university, and NSERC program compliance.
  • If, for an extraordinary reason, you need further access to your application after this date and time, please come talk to us.
  • If we find a problem, we will contact you, and provide you access to your application so that you can make the necessary change(s).
  • Pending no further revision, faculty approval will be provided by the associate dean (research and graduate) and your application will then be e-submitted to NSERC.

NSERC’s on-line system will generate an e-mail to you confirming receipt of your application.

Questions? Contact Dr. Lynn Frizzell, Grants Facilitation Officer, Faculty of Science, Office of the Dean of Science, 864-4458 or Nicole Babichuk, Grants Facilitation Officer, Faculty of Science, Office of the Dean of Science, 864-2269. 


Faculty of Science

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000