Appendix E: Institutional Support Recommendations

The purpose of this page is to highlight recent recommendations regarding institutional support for Canada Research Chairs (CRC) at SFU and to propose, for discussion, a standardized, equitable approach to allocating CRC institutional support. Such an approach should clearly delineate standard aspects from those which are negotiable, monitor support, and ensure members of the federally recognized designated groups are not disadvantaged in the negotiation process.

A review of institutional support for chairholders (see Background) shows some standard elements of support, but no central process or policy governing support allocation currently exists. Creating a standardized process for allocating institutional support reduces the potential for inequity between chairholders and increases transparency and the ability to monitor institutional supports for equity considerations and reporting purposes.


Standard Support

  • Access to relevant equipment and facilities on campus.
  • Administrative support valued at $25,000 per year.
  • Deans and Directors work with Department heads to ensure CRC chairholders have assigned mentors within the home Faculty or School.
  • Protected time for research: 50% reduction in the normal teaching load in home faculty.
  • Relocation expenses (average $20,000).

Negotiated or Variable Elements of Support

  • Additional funds for equipment, travel, materials, students, etc.
  • SFU Award Stipend Range: Tier 1 $0-$67,000, Tier 2 $0-$30,000.
  • Market differentials or retention awards.
  • Research start-up funds for new external chairholders.
  • Priority status for The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI-JELF) funding.
  • Graduate scholarships for students.

Monitoring of Non-salary Support

To account for divergent needs associated with various research programs, SFU should monitor non-salary support for CRC chairholders and address significant departures from the norm for researchers working in the same disciplines. This could be done by consulting with chairholders periodically or examining CRC annual progress reports.


Finally, it is also recommended that those involved in allocating and negotiating institutional support for CRCs undertake training to increase awareness of potential inequities when negotiating salary, stipends, and other variable elements of support with members of the four designated groups. It would also be beneficial to have an equity officer or designated equity consultant assist in ensuring allocation of support for CRCs is equitable.


Canada Research Chairs Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan

SFU’s CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (EDI Action Plan; 2017) made several recommendations for the CRC program at SFU in the pursuit of increasing diversity and creating more equitable processes and inclusive policy and practice. Relative to CRC institutional support, the EDI Action Plan recommends:

  • Establishing a standardized, equitable process for allocating institutional support for chairs.

This recommendation was informed by a comparative review of current institutional support for CRC chairholders at SFU, which showed two kinds of institutional support offerings: a somewhat standard package and negotiated aspects of support. Common elements of support are summarized below:

  • Administrative support valued at $25,000 per year (average).
  • Access to equipment and facilities on campus.
  • Relocation expenses for chairholders coming from outside the Lower Mainland (average $20,000).
  • SFU Award Stipend: Tier 1 varied from $0-$67,000; Tier 2 varied from $0-$30,000.
  • Protected time for research: varied from 50%-75%.
  • Relocation expenses (average $20,000).
  • Market differentials or retention awards: varied from $5,000 to $48,000.

Variances in Allocation or Description of Institutional Support

The EDI Action Plan points to difficulties in conducting the required comparative review of institutional support. This is attributable to a number of factors including teaching load differences across faculties, variable language used, different formats for presenting support, variable support offered, and qualitative differences in research programs.

Gender Differences

Relative to gender, the EDI Action Plan found differences in institutional support such as average SFU Award Stipend and market differentials. Female chairholders had on average lower stipends, but higher market differentials; however, fewer female chairs negotiated market differentials than their male counterparts. Initial analysis showed there may also be differences between male and female chairholders relative to protected time for research, where male chairholders may have negotiated a higher percentage of teaching release. Finally, the majority of chairholders (60%) received the same amount of administrative support (estimated at $25,000), however male chairholders received the majority of the additional support over and above this amount.

SFU Salary Equity Recommendation Committee

The SFU Salary Equity Recommendation Committee (SFUSERC; 2016) made several structural and institutional recommendations to address current (and prevent future) salary inequities at SFU, one of which pertains to ensuring equity in the CRC nomination processes and associated commitments of salary and research stipends:

  • Development of a clear policy to guide the CRC nomination processes, with their associated commitment of salary and research stipends, and CFI allocations.

Salary Inequities

Creating a standardized approach to institutional support for CRCs at SFU responds to the aforementioned recommendation and also addresses (within the CRC program at SFU) two of the salary disparity recommendations from the SFUSERC report:

  • Salaries should continue to be monitored for gender inequities; regression analysis should be conducted every three years to ensure no inequities have arisen.
  • There should be increased transparency around starting salaries, market differentials and the use of other off-scale supplements.
May 17, 2019 Last updated