Since 2000, the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain diverse world-class researchers, to reinforce academic research and training excellence in Canadian postsecondary institutions. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences, improving our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthening international competitiveness, and training the next generation of highly skilled people.

The CRC program provides the university with the opportunity to recruit world-class scholars across all research disciplines. This administration guide provides you with information about the CRC program at SFU. Here you will find information about the allocation process, how to recruit, nominate, and renew Chairs, and equity requirements and best practices.

Full details of the Canada Research Chairs Program are available here.  

SFU is committed to ensuring that all CRC nominations and recruitment processes follow best practices and adhere to equity requirements. In 2017, SFU developed a CRC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan that outlined 19 recommendations to strengthen SFU’s ability to ensure that internal process are fair and transparent, that recruitment processes are robust and equitable, and to start conversations to ensure new Chairholders are supported and welcomed into the SFU community. To date, there has been progress on several of the recommendations such as improving transparency and tracking for institutional support, improving data collection at the University, creating resources for recruiting processes, increasing awareness of SFU equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, clarifying internal processes, and reviewing how CRC positions are allocated.

SFU is currently in the process of consulting with the campus community on equity, diversity, and inclusion; it is anticipated that in the coming months the structures and supports needed to further implement the recommendations from the Action Plan will be developed.  

The purpose of this Administration Guide is to provide information on the Canada Research Chairs program, guidance on internal processes and requirements, and share best practices and resources for the administration of the Canada Research Chairs. This guide also is part of SFU's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan which highlighted the need for transparency equitable practices and procedures. 


September 2019

  • In order to allow increased flexibility for the submission of new and renewal nominations, resubmissions, and nominations to help institutions address their equity targets, the Canada Research Chairs program will be introducing a three-cycle intake model, as of April 2020.  Three cycles will provide institutions with additional submission opportunities, better alignment with participating agencies, and will allow for more rapid decisions for each cycle, including files that are sent to the Deferred Recommendation Process. An additional cycle will also help institutions to address potential equity gaps more quickly, and allow for better planning for future nomination submissions.
  • Nominations for Budget 2018 Chairs, as well as nominations that will assist institutions in meeting their equity targets will continue to be accepted off-cycle until the April 20th, 2020 deadline. Subsequently, all nominations will need to be submitted to one of the three cycle deadlines. Foreign nominations can still be submitted off-cycle.
  • New intake dates for 2020 are:


This section provides a brief description of the principles which guide the use and allocation of CRC positions at SFU.


The following principles guide the university CRC process:

  • As per CRC requirements, proposals must align with the university Strategic Research Plan (SRP).
  • The allocation and hiring process, and composition of the university CRC cohort must respect the EDI criteria and commitments of both the CRC program and the University.
  • CRC positions should be used to recruit outstanding faculty to the university. Use of a Chair for retention is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  • All Chairs that are not renewed, or become otherwise vacant, will revert back centrally to the university for reallocation, in accordance with these principles.
  • All Chairs should normally have the opportunity to apply once, and only once, for renewal. This limits the term of T2 Chairs to 10 years and T1 Chairs to 14 years. Chairs who start at SFU with a T2 chair and apply for a T1 chair on renewal may serve for up to 12 years (i.e. 5+7).
  • The university should endeavour to make full use of its allocation each year.   
  • A T2 candidate should show potential to grow into a leader in their research field. As a guideline, T2 candidates should be in the top 10% of their field among candidates at similar stage of career.
  • A T1 candidate should be an internationally recognized leader in their field of study and should also be a leader in the university as a whole.


The process for allocating Chairs at SFU includes the following elements:

  • CRC positions (Chairs) are allocated based on Tri-Agency funding awarded via NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR grants. Typically, these chair positions are re-allocated every two years by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) based on institutional Tri-Agency funding during the past three years (see Method of Allocating Chairs).
  • SFU distributes 2/3 of its Chair allocations to the Faculties; the remaining 1/3 may be designated for recruitment in strategic areas and may reside in any Faculty over and above their internal allocation. The Vice-President, Research and International (VPRI) is responsible for communicating distribution of allocations to the Faculties with the Deans.
  • In general, conversations are ongoing between the VPRI, Vice-President, Academic (VPA), and Deans concerning the allocation of Chairs and creation of positions responding to the university’s strategic priorities.
  • Chair positions from the 2/3 allocated to the Faculties are written into their hiring plans, and then incorporated into SFU’s annual Faculty Renewal Plan. SFU faculty position numbers will be assigned to these positions in accordance with the same process for all other faculty positions approved under the Faculty Renewal Plan. All rules that apply to a regular faculty position apply to a CRC position.

When a Chair is allocated to a specific Faculty or strategic research area, the Chair/Director/Dean or Search Committee Chair should discuss with the VPA and VPRI whether research infrastructure is required through an affiliated John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) application. If approved internally, this infrastructure request (for the amount agreed upon) may be submitted simultaneously with the CRC nomination. If a CFI application is submitted either before or after the CRC nomination, it must be submitted as an unaffiliated JELF.

Please refer to Appendix A for a full description of SFU’s CRC Allocations Principles and Processes.


To ensure all compliance and equity requirements are met,  Canada Research Chair nominations are vetted by the Institutional Strategic Awards office and the Associate Vice President, Research. To allow for sufficient time for this process the following timelines are suggested:


This section outlines the elements for the Canada Research Chair (CRC) nomination process prior to a successful nomination. If you have any questions about this process please contact your Faculty Advisor or the Equity in Research Lead in Institutional Strategic Awards (ISA).


In furtherance of recruiting outstanding faculty to the University and increasing the diversity of CRC Chairholders at SFU, use of a Chair for internal retention processes is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. In the exceptional case in which a Chair is being used to retain an internal candidate, an Internal Transparency Statement is posted in the relevant Department, School, or Faculty at the start of all internal retention processes which are open only to existing faculty at the institution, publicly advising internal and external stakeholders that a recruitment process is underway to fill a chair allocation.


For CRC positions that are designed to recruit new tenure-stream faculty, the search and nomination process must adhere to the relevant articles of the SFU Faculty Association Collective Agreement (Articles 23-26) and CRC requirements for recruiting and nominating Chairs. Once a Chair allocation has been distributed to a Department, School, or Faculty, the Search Committee Chair should contact their Faculty Relations Advisor as soon as possible to ensure the nomination process meets TIPS requirements and follows the procedures outlined in the Collective Agreement. To ensure a fair and transparent process, those involved in the recruitment of external candidates should refer to the Canada Research Chairs Program’s (CRCP) Guidelines for Assessing the Productivity of Nominees and SFU’s Guidelines for Faculty Recruitment & Retention.

Once the Search Committee Chair (or designate) is ready to commence the process, they contact their Faculty Relations Advisor. It is recommended that this contact occurs as early possible to ensure that the search process meets all TIPS requirements. The Faculty Relations Advisor directs CRC requirement questions to the Director of EDI, Faculty Relations (EDI-FR) and/or the ISA Research in Equity Lead, who are involved and consulted throughout the recruitment and nomination processes, and ensure that all search/nomination processes follow TIPS requirements for a fair and transparent search. The pre-candidate process is outlined in Figure 1. See Appendix B for a full description of the nomination process.


The Search Committee drafts the job ad (see Forms) and submits the ad to their Dean(s) for approval. Once the Dean approves the ad, it is sent to their Faculty Relations Advisor for final approval.

As per the SFU Collective Agreement, advertisements must be posted for a minimum of 60 days on SFU’s Vice-President Academic Faculty Openings page, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), and University Affairs; CRCP requirements require advertisements also be posted to SFU’s CRC Public Transparency page and archived for three years. To encourage a diverse pool of applicants, universities are required to engage in proactive searches and should place CRC advertisements in a variety of venues that will reach a broader audience; please contact the Equity in Research Lead for a list of potential venues. Other forms of proactive recruitment are strongly encouraged such as reaching out to diverse professional networks, personal contacts at other institutions, and colleagues at academic conferences. The steps in the CRC application process are outlined in Figure 3.


All external candidates are asked to participate in a confidential equity survey. The purpose of this survey is to establish the representation of members of the federally recognized four designated groups (women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and racialized/visible minorities) among applicants to CRC positions and evaluate the diversity of the applicant pool. Data collection on CRC applicants is required by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat as part of their commitment to achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise. The information collected in this survey is also integral to SFU’s efforts to attract diverse candidates and evaluate recruitment processes relative to equity, diversity, and inclusion.


When a new search is announced, the Equity in Research Lead communicates with the Search Committee Chair to ensure they are aware of TIPS requirements around composition (inclusion of at least one member of the four designated groups), representation by an equity champion or officer (for Strategic searches the Director of EDI in Faculty Relations takes on this role on the committee), and other equity requirements such as the Nomination Committee Report, bias training, data collection, advertising guidelines, and proactive searches. To establish and record the diversity of the Search Committee, all members are asked to participate in an equity survey administered by the Equity in Research Lead.

Search Committees are asked to refer to SFU Guidelines for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, to complete the CRC Unconscious Bias Training Module, and to consider creating a Recruitment Plan to ensure a proactive search. The Equity in Research Lead provides Search Committees with a list of potential locations to share the job postings as widely as possible.

As part of SFU's commitment to equitable processes, Search Committee Chairs and Deans are encouraged to refer to SFU's guidelines for Institutional Support for CRCs, described in Appendix E


When a nomination is successful the AVPR and the ISA will receive a Notice of Award and Acceptance (NOA). ISA facilitates acceptance of the NOA, which includes the CRC start date, and must be signed by both the AVPR and new Chairholder.

Copies of the signed NOA are provided to the: Associate Director Budget and Operations in the Office of the Vice-President Academic; Executive Director Faculty Relations; Director Research Services; the Chairholder; the Department/School Chair(s)/Director(s); and Faculty Dean(s).

A letter from VPA (processed by Faculty Relations) providing award confirmation and details (e.g., salary) is provided to the Chairholder and Dean(s), and includes any changes between the first letter and award confirmation if the appointment was contingent upon success of the CRC award.

The criteria that will be used to determine whether a Chair will be submitted for renewal to the program must be clearly defined at this point and then communicated to the Chairholder at the beginning of the term.

Appendix C outlines the full process for processing a successful nomination at SFU.


Tier 1 and Tier 2 Chairholders are eligible to renew their nomination once. Renewal nominations must be submitted prior to the expiration of the initial term of the chair. Tier 1 Chairs are eligible for renewal in their sixth year, Tier 2 Chairs in their fourth year. The process for renewing a Chair is the same as that for a new nomination, except that renewal nominations require the additional submission of a complete Renewal of a CRC Nomination Form. The process for renewal is outlined in Figure 4.

The ISA notifies SFU Chairholders who are eligible for renewal approximately nine months before the final eligible date to submit a renewal nomination. The process for renewals at SFU is described in Appendix D

If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance please contact Theresa Burley in Institutional Strategic Awards

Last updated September 26, 2019