POLICY: Gender Parity Policy

Objective

To educate, inform, and provide the parameters for CUTRIC staff, board members, reviewers and project applicants towards the goal of achieving gender parity throughout CUTRIC's operations and governance structure.

Preamble

Over the past ten years, Canada has fallen in its commitment to gender equality. Whereas previously Canada was a leader, the country now lags in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index at 23rd. Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the creation of an Advisory Council of leaders from the private and public sectors to develop recommendations aimed at promoting the participation of women on corporate boards. Specifically, the Advisory Council was mandated to “provide advice on how industry and business can increase women’s representation on corporate boards; suggest how industry, business and government can track and measure progress, and what tools government should employ to achieve this goal; and make recommendations on how government could recognize leaders in industry and business and applaud companies that have succeeded in recruiting more women to their boards”.

Canadian companies and organizations must bring gender equality to the forefront in their operational priorities.

CUTRIC has a role to play in this mandate. With an objective to support industry-academic collaborations in the development of next generation technologies for Canadian transit, transportation and integrated mobility, gender equality is a crucial tool to utilize in judging the merits of an organization and of a project proposal.

CUTRIC seeks to ensure women, men and transgendered individuals are trained and skilled in technology areas that will shape the 21st century. 

Policy

CUTRIC leadership will prioritize gender equality in the composition of the Board of Directors.

CUTRIC will develop a proactive plan to carry out gender parity at the board level. This will manifest in a tangible scheme to implement gender equal and merit based selection reflected in the organization’s Bylaw.

CUTRIC’s leadership will promote gender equality throughout the organization’s operations by encouraging member organizations to follow its lead in seeking gender parity internally within project proposals and institutional operations. This includes assessing CUTRIC proposed projects through a gender parity lens to determine whether organizations are socially or inequitably limiting women’s advancement in STEM technology areas.

Research projects and research teams funded by CUTRIC will seek to actively overcome the social and professional barriers that have prevented women from advancing to occupy 50% of leadership roles in technology companies and in academic institutions.

CUTRIC will promote women’s participation in the transportation sector (including automotive, rail, bus, and allied integrated mobility sectors), which has been traditionally underrepresented by women.

CUTRIC will encourage women's involvement in innovation of new technologies related to advanced, zero- and low-emissions, light-weight, digitally connected, data driven and cyber-secure transit, transportation and integrated mobility innovations.

CUTRIC will establish an evaluation structure to revisit its success in bringing gender parity to the CUTRIC Board of Directors as well as its broader operations on an annual basis, or more frequently if need be.

POLICY: Eligible and Non-Eligible Expenses

Preamble

The following CUTRIC spending guidelines should help stakeholders shape project budgets appropriately.

Definitions

Stipend: Financial support given to a recipient of a training award, or provided by a grantee to a trainee, to support them while the are working on their research thesis and/or gaining research experience.

Salary: Remuneration for work performed by research personnel that contributes towards the direct cost of research for which the funds were awarded, in accordance with institutional employment contracts or collective agreements, where applicable.

Overhead

Expenditures incurred in the conduct of research that are not directly attributed to a specific research effort. Overhead is quantified as percentage of direct costs. Indirect costs include:

  • Infrastructure and space maintenance;
  • Support services for research including central research and financial services;
  • Environmental and health and safety resources;
  • Meeting regulatory certification requirements; and
  • Providing key resources such as library and computer information services.

Eligible Compensation-Related Expenses

Academic stakeholders

  • CUTRIC will fund post-doctoral salaries beyond two years where explicit need is expressed for the duration of the project up to a maximum of five years. CUTRIC will support salary costs associated with technicians, research assistants, and other non-graduate or non-post-doctoral staffers hired to a particular project for the duration of the project's length. Academic institutions are responsible for non-discretionary benefits.
  • CUTRIC will fund a project managed hired by the academic lead institution to a maximum of $70,000/year (depending on skill sets) to manage the project and to ensure the project achieves its deliverables successfully. Depending on the size of the project, this role may be part-time in nature. Project managers hired by academic institutions should not be Masters or Ph. D. students, nor should they be post-doctoral fellows who are asked to take on PM duties in addition to regular research duties.
  • Travel subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) include reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for field work, research conferences, collaborative trips, archival work and historical research for the grantee, research personnel and students working with the grantee and visiting researchers.
  • Air travel must be claimed at the lowest rate available, not to exceed full economy fare.
  • Safety-related expenses for field work, such as protective gear, immunizations, etc.
  • Entry visa fee (for grantees and/or research personnel) when required for the purpose of research.
  • Collaborators' travel and subsistence expenses related to research planning and exchange of information with the grantee or for the dissemination of research results (industry partner only).
  • Child care expenses while a nursing mother or single parent is travelling. The eligible costs for a single parent is limited to overnight child care costs incurred while the grantee is travelling. The eligible cost for a nursing mother who is travelling with a child is limited to the customary cost of child care and airfare if applicable. If travelling with a caregiver, travel and accommodation cost can be claimed in lieu of and up to the equivalent of child care costs. The maximum claim is $1,000.
  • Computers, laptops and electronic communications tools are eligible expenses for academic research staff
  • Transportation costs for purchased equipment and supplies
  • Extended warranty for equipment
  • Brokerage and customers charges for the importation of equipment and supplies
  • Maintenance and operating costs of equipment and vehicles used for CUTRIC-supported research

Industry stakeholders

  • CUTRIC will compensate partial salary costs associated with an industry staff member seconded to a specific project as a Project Manager. For example, if an industry member seconds a staff member at 1.0FTE to a particular project to lead PM duties, it can request that CUTRIC pay up to 50% of that person's salary (not including non-discretionary benefits). Such a request assumes there is sufficient industry investment by all stakeholders to support the full research needs of the project.
  • All industry requests for staff salary support are subject to an independent audit
  • Transportation costs for purchased equipment and supplies
  • Extended warranty for equipment
  • Brokerage and customs chargers for the importation of equipment and suppliers
  • The costs of training staff to use equipment or a specialized facility
  • Maintenance and operating costs of equipment and specialized vehicles used for CUTRIC-support research

All Stakeholders

  • Persons paid from CUTRIC grants are not considered CUTRIC employees, scholars, or fellows
  • Institutional non-discretionary benefits normally include long- and short-term disability insurance; life insurance; pension benefits; medical, vision and dental care benefits; and parental leave. Institutional non-discretionary benefits must be contravene NSERC guidelines
  • Grant funds may not be used to supplement salaries or stipends paid from other sources, such as other NSERC, SSHRC, or tri-council grants and other individual training awards. CUTRIC funds are intended to support new jobs in academia
  • Materials purchased for CUTRIC-funded projects - including metals, polymers, synthetic or organic fibres, composite materials, etc. - required to complete the project
  • Importing and shipment fees associated with materials procurements
  • Costs associated with the dissemination of findings (i.e., through traditional venues as well as videos, compact discs, other social media or online tools, etc.)
  • Page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to the findings (e.g., costs of publishing in an open access journal or making a journal article open access)
  • Costs of preparing a research manuscript for publication
  • Translation costs associated with dissemination of findings

Ineligible Compensation-Related Expenses

All Stakeholders

  • Any form of additional compensation to principle applicants, and/or full-time faculty members
  • The cost of teaching time will not be covered to allow Principle Investigators/Applicants to engage in research
  • Supplementing or replacing part of the salary of a researcher on sabbatical from their main appointment 
  • Commuting costs of grantees and associated research personnel between their residence and place of employment or between two places of employment
  • Passport and immigration fees
  • Costs associated with thesis examination/defense including external examiner costs
  • Reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyer points programs
  • Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
  • Costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities
  • Standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones
  • Connection or installation of lines (telephone or other links)
  • Voice mail
  • Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of an institution
  • Computer and other information services that constitute a normal aspect of business operations
  • Materials procured that are not allied to the CUTRIC-funded project specifically
  • Materials procured for normal business operations and not allied to the CUTRIC-funded project specifically
  • Recruiting costs for research personnel, such as advertising and airfare for candidates, etc.
  • Costs for safe disposal of waste
  • Costs for membership in professional associations or scientific societies if necessary for the research program/project
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles required for field work and only for month(s) when field work was conducted
  • Costs of alcohol
  • Costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts, other than those specified above such as regular interactions with colleagues from the institution and personnel meetings
  • Costs related to staff awards and recognition
  • Education-related costs, such as thesis preparation, tuition and course fees, leading up to a degree
  • Costs related to professional training or development, such as computer and language training
  • Costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials
  • Costs of basic services such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility
  • Insurance costs for buildings or equipment
  • Costs associated with regulatory compliance, including ethical review, biohazard or radiation safety, environmental assessments, or provincial or municipal regulations and by-laws
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles, including those required for field work
  • Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies
  • Costs of regular clothing
  • Patenting expenses
  • Costs of moving a lab
  • Cost of developing project proposal for CUTRIC or other funding bodies

POLICY: Audit Process

All partners submitted to CUTRIC for funding approval may be subjected to a project-based audit.

The audit process involves an independent auditor that is hired to assess the veracity of industry investments as stated in confirmed letters of support (cash and in-kind investments). The audit process can also involve an independent auditor who is hired to assess the actuality of industry investment into a project mid-way and at the end of a project term.

If any audit demonstrates questionable investments, unclear cash or in-kind accounting documentation, or insufficient contributions by industry investors, funding will not be approved by CUTRIC or funding will be stopped mid-way through a project with no liability or requirement on CUTRIC's part to resume funding to the project.

Audits constitute a risk management tool that CUTRIC uses to ensure that the tax dollars its invests into projects generate actually economic activity and are matched by actual industry investments into the local economy.

The number of audits may depend upon the size and complexity of a given project.

Any project requesting more than $750,000 in funding from CUTRIC covering 50% of the cost of the audit and project proponents covering the remaining 50% of the cost of the audit and project proponents covering the remaining 50% of the cost of the audit.

Project proponents whose audit produces a negative result will be offered the opportunity to revise the bid and resubmit for review. The full cost of a second audit prior to funding approval will be borne by project proponents solely and not by CUTRIC.

Projects proponents are strongly encouraged to ensure that any cash, cash-like in kind, and in-kind contributions contained in a project funding submission are clearly defined, traceable in nature, reasonable in estimation (i.e. in terms of market estimations of the value of in-kind contributions) and auditable in physical or digital form.

Project proponents are welcome to suggest their own recommended or selected auditor or to utilize an auditor recommended by CUTRIC.

Pre-project audit - Must confirm all industry contributions (cash, cash-like in-kind, and in-kind contributions) are demarcated in a specific annual budget by industry stakeholders, and that they are traceable throughout the course of the project (in alignment with project timelines and milestones). Must confirm all industry stakeholders possess the capabilities and capacities (or will possess the capabilities and capacities) required for the project prior to the commencement of the project, or within a reasonable amount of time after the commencement of the project.
Mid-way project audit - Must confirm all industry contributions (cash, cash-like in-kind, and in-kind contributions) are demarcated in a specific annual budget by industry stakeholders, and that they are traceable throughout the course of the project (in alignment with project timelines and milestones). Must confirm all industry and academic stakeholders are achieving milestones as stipulated in the original funding proposal.
Project completion audit - Must confirm all industry contributions (cash, cash-like in-kind, and in-kind contributions) were defined in a specific annual budget by industry stakeholders and that those investments were made throughout the course of the project (in alignment with project timelines and milestones). Must confirm all industry and academic stakeholders are achieving milestones as stipulated in the original funding proposal.

POLICY: Review Process

CUTRIC projects are reviewed by three reviewers whose identities are anonymous in the first instance. Those reviewers are asked to review bids on an individual basis and to provide CUTRIC with a score report card based upon their review of all materials contained herein.

If there is unanimous approval of the funding request by reviewers, no further action is required by the reviewers and CUTRIC staff will proceed to the funding stage by presenting the bid to the Board of Directors for final approval to disburse funds according to an agreed upon timeline for disbursement that maps onto the project milestones.

If reviewers disagree in their review, CUTRIC will convene a special Reviewers’ Committee meeting composed of the three reviewers plus leading project proponents (industry and academic). Reviewers will be asked to share their critical feedback and request changes to the bid proposal. Project proponents will be allowed the opportunity to ask follow up questions and to gain insight into how they might best revise proposals for funding to ensure funding approval in the future.
Project proponents will then be asked to submit a revised funding bid to reviewers, who will be convened once again to decide upon funding approval.

If funding is still not approved by reviewers, the process will be repeated until the project is sufficiently developed to assure funding approval.

Project proponents have the opportunity to request a new reviewer at any point in the revised proposal submission process.