Institute for Environmental Sustainability Research Grant

The Institute for Environmental Sustainability (IES) at MRU is pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2017/18 Environmental Sustainability Research Grants competition.

The intent of these grants is similar to the MRU Internal Research Grants in that they are designed to support faculty in developing their research programs through the funding of:

  • Pilot projects
  • Projects designed to lead to larger-scale external funding applications
  • Projects that are not well-suited to external funding opportunities

Note: You may apply for both an MRU Internal Research Grant and an Environmental Sustainability Research Grant - if you are applying for both, please indicate this in the appropriate section of the proposal.


Deadline for fall applications:                     Friday, October 13, 2017
Notification of fall funding decisions:          Week of November 6, 2017
Deadline for winter applications:                Friday, January 26, 2018
Notification of winter funding decisions:     Week of February 19, 2018

Award Amounts

Awards in support of research are expected to be in the range of $5,000-$10,000 for a single year. Projects supporting collaborative research that engage an interdisciplinary team may request up to a maximum of $20,000. Successful applicants with multi-year projects will be considered for renewal subject to re-application, adequate progress and availability of funds.

Note: Although the primary focus of the grants is research, the committee will consider special projects that advance environmental sustainability through the development of new teaching and learning opportunities at MRU – please contact Connie Van der Byl for more details before applying in this area.

Environmental Sustainability Focus

Projects must have a demonstrated connection to advancing the theory and/or practice of environmental sustainability.

The IES encourages applications from all subject areas and disciplines across the MRU curriculum through projects that align with the mission of the institute:

The mission of the IES is to improve environmental health and sustainability through scholarship that integrates diverse academic disciplines, student learning and community engagement. The IES is emerging as a forum where faculty, students and other stakeholders will come together to build knowledge and develop viable solutions that will contribute to the overall welfare and security of society. The Institute will strengthen, coordinate and facilitate collaborative research and other scholarly, artistic and academic activities which are not undertaken within Mount Royal’s departmental structure. The emphasis of the IES is to initiate and coordinate collaborative, multidisciplinary research and scholarship with input from faculty, students and the community. 


To be eligible for regular funding, applicant must be full-time Mount Royal University faculty. *Part-time faculty who are interested in taking part in this program are encouraged to partner with full-time faculty as co-applicants. 

Application Process

Applicants are required to complete the on-line Environmental Sustainability Research Grants Application Form. Please login to the ROMEO system where you will find more information on the application process and requirements.

Evaluation Criteria

Project proposals will be evaluated based on three main criteria: quality of the project; likelihood of environmental sustainability impact beyond the research group; and expertise of the researcher(s), as demonstrated by the submitted application and CVs.

Project Quality:

  • Explicit focus on environmental sustainability
  • Clear goals and rationale supported by literature review
  • Quality and appropriateness of the methodology
  • Suitability of proposed strategies and timelines
  • Appropriateness and justification of proposed budget

Likelihood of impact:

  • Potential for impact on the theory and/or practice of environmental sustainability
  • Potential to contribute to existing literature
  • Training, mentoring, and dissemination opportunities provided to students, if applicable
  • Dissemination plan, including venues for appropriate dissemination within and beyond Mount Royal University.
  • Previous record in training students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel - where appropriate
  • Applicant has shown that s/he will have the capability to undertake the project and/or has created a suitable research team  

Adjudication Process

Applications will be adjudicated by the Institute for Environmental Sustainability executive team – Director and two Assistant Directors. It is important, however, to ensure that you write your proposal so that it can reasonably be evaluated by all members of the Committee.

The Committee will read, score and rank all applications based upon the criteria in this document. They will then fund applications in order of ranking.

The Office of Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement will notify applicants of the results of their applications and will provide Committee comments to applicants who were not selected for funding.

* If you are concerned about a potential Conflict of Interest with your proposal and a particular Committee member, please be sure to explain this in your application under “Committee Conflict”. The IES will make every effort to explore and mitigate potential conflicts that have been identified to us.


All successful grant applicants will be required to disseminate their findings at least once in an on-campus forum such as a departmental colloquium or an Institute-organized presentation. Also, successful applicants will be required to report to the Institute on their projects, in a format of their choosing (for example, a paper, presentation, or poster), and notify the Institute yearly of all dissemination activities. A final report will be required of all projects at the end of the proposed research timeline. Faculty will not be considered for subsequent research grants unless their reporting obligations with the Institute and the Office of Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement are up-to-date.

If you have any questions, please contact Connie Van der Byl, Director of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at or by telephone at 403.440.5030. The awards will be administered under the MRU Research Policies. 

Eligible Expenses

Most expenses that reflect direct costs of research are eligible under the Environmental Sustainability Research Grants. The more common costs we see are:
  • Personnel/student Research Assistant (RA) costs
  • Data collection costs (including related travel)
  • Conference/dissemination travel (although please see the note below on this)
  • Small equipment purchase
  • Specialist services not available at Mount Royal University (e.g. translation)
For personnel costs: Include rates (as a guide the "standard" RA rate is $12-17 per hour at Mount Royal University), hours and total costs. The rate of 7.58% benefits costs should also be included for budgetary purposes (this covers CPP and CEI employer costs) and is an additional cost charged to the grant account.

For travel/conferences: Try to estimate the full cost. If the conference has not yet been scheduled or is some time in the future, estimate the costs. Be sure to include expenses for conference travel in your budget. For example, "Domestic conference presentation: $1250".

Equipment: Include a reasonable estimate of what the required equipment will cost. Estimates can be determined by contacting suppliers or consulting appropriate websites. Please do not forget costs for taxes, shipping, exchange and duty.

Applications consisting solely of conference/dissemination travel: Applications whose budgets are comprised of only conference or dissemination-based travel will not be funded through the IES Grants Fund. Faculty should apply to the Faculty Conference Travel Fund and other faculty-specific sources for conference travel funds.

Applications including more than one conference per funding year: Applications that include more than one conference in a funding year are likely to have only one conference funded if successful.

NOTE: The Faculty Conference Travel Fund is available to faculty members seeking assistance with travel. More details are available under the Internal funding opportunities section of the Office of Research, Scholarship, and Community Engagement website.

What costs are ineligible?

The main ineligible costs are as follows:
  • Teaching Release: These are not funded in any IRGF competition unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you feel you have exceptional circumstances, please contact us to discuss your options.
  • iPads, iPhones: Following the lead of the federal Tri-Agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR), iPads and iPhones are not eligible expenses without  very strong justification.
  • Office Supplies: General office supplies and photocopying are not eligible expenses. Printing that is specifically related to the project
    (e.g. the printing of paper surveys to be used in data collection) is an allowable expense. For current rates, please check with Document Services. Be sure to provide appropriate justification for these costs.
Mount Royal’s policies and procedures must be observed when spending any award made under the Internal Research Grants Fund. You can find the relevant policies and procedures on the Office of Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement website, on the Financial Services website or on Lotus Notes. Once funding has been secured, our Research Finance Analyst will be happy to sit down with you and explain key finance procedures associated with your project; however, by accepting funds from the Internal Research Grants Fund, you are agreeing to use those funds in accordance with all policies and procedures governing research at Mount Royal University.