Frequently asked questions

Support for grants

What is a Research grants facilitator?

Research Grants Facilitators work with FASS researchers to develop competitive research grant applications. In addition to keeping track of new developments and opportunities for funding, they guide researchers in selecting the best grant programs to apply for, read draft proposals and provide detailed feedback, and support all aspects of developing a strong application.

Research Grants Facilitators are available for consultation during workshops, in one-on-one meetings (by appointment or on a drop-in basis), on the phone, and via e-mail.

Who is my Research grants facilitator?

The Research Grants Facilitator for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is Beverly Neufeld, PhD.
   Email: Beverly Neufeld
   Phone: (778) 782-7146

The Associate Research Grants Facilitator for FASS is and David Weston, PhD.
   Email: David Weston
   Phone: (778) 782-6823

Research Grants Facilitators are available for consultation during workshops, in one-on-one meetings (by appointment or on a drop-in basis), on the phone, on zoom, and via e-mail.

When should I contact the Office of Research Services (ORS) instead of a research grants facilitator?

Contact Research Grants Facilitators for assistance in developing competitive research grant applications, selecting the best grant programs to apply for, and building interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and inter-university research teams.

Contact the Office of Research Services (ORS) for assistance in obtaining and administering financial support for research. For example, you may contact the ORS with questions about application processes, eligibility and the SFU Signature Sheet.

Who signs my grants?

Research Funding Proposals – Resource Requests and Internal Approval

Signed authorization is required for all research funding proposals (i.e., grants and contracts) from both your Department/School/Program and the Faculty. An approval constitutes a formal agreement between researchers, Chairs/Directors, Deans, and SFU about funded research activities:

  • Chair/Director (or delegate) approval confirms: availability of facilities, space, teaching releases, etc. required to carry out the proposed research, and acknowledges the proposed time commitment by the faculty member to the project.
  • Faculty Dean (or delegate, typically the ADR) approval confirms: facilities, space, or special requirements (e.g., teaching releases, matching funds, etc.) committed to the proposed research.
  • Vice President, Research (or delegate, typically ORS) approval confirms: SFU’s responsibility to administer the proposed research.

To request approvals, complete the necessary steps on the Kuali online portal, including uploading:
i)   a brief summary of your research project;
ii)  the budget justification; and
iii) the commitment memo from the Dean’s office, if applicable.

Deadlines for most approvals are:
ORS: 3 business days before the external agency deadline.
FASS: 5 business days before the external agency deadline.
Department/School/Program: please check with your unit.

For approval of special requirements (e.g., course release, matching funds) please see your Chair/Director and the Associate Dean, Research at least three weeks before the external agency deadline.Note: special requirements are typically needed for: SSHRC Connection Grants, Partnership Development Grants, Partnership Grants, and for contracts etc.

For additional information and to access Kuali, please visit the VPRI Sig Sheet Page.


Applying for grants

When is the next deadline?

Typically, sooner than you think. Check upcoming deadlines here.

What is an internal SFU deadline?

SFU internal deadlines are set by the Office of Research Services (ORS) and allow time for review and revision of grant applications before submission.
Typically, internal deadlines are three business days in advance of the funding agency’s external deadlines.
You may also sign up to receive email alerts for research funding opportunities, including SFU internal deadlines.

How much overhead does SFU charge for research grants?

SFU does not charge researchers overhead on grants awarded by Canada’s National Granting Councils. Instead, SFU receives an annual grant from the Research Support Fund for indirect costs of research based on the average level of funding received over the previous three years from Canada’s National Granting Councils and Networks of Centres of Excellence.

For research funded by other sources, including research or contract agreements, SFU does seek to recover indirect costs; details are available from SFU’s Office of Research Services (ORS). Frequently asked questions about indirect costs are listed at the Office of Research Services (ORS).

Will the grants facilitators write my grant application?

No. Research Grants Facilitators will work with faculty members to develop a competitive application. They will read draft proposals and provide feedback to improve applications and support all aspects of developing a strong application.

How do I submit my grant application?

Major grant programs typically require e-submission. SSHRC Insight Grants, NSERC Discovery Grants, and CIHR Operating Grants are all submitted online, for example. Consult individual program requirements, or FASS Research Grants Facilitators or/and the SFU Office of Research Services (ORS) if you are uncertain about how to proceed.

Note that most research grant applications—including e-submissions—require applicant and institutional signatures (usually from the applicant, their Chair/Director, the FASS Associate Dean, Research and International, and the SFU Office of Research Services (ORS).

SFU typically requires these same signatures on the SFU signature sheet but since granting agencies have specific requirements for different competitions, other signatures are at times required: consult the FASS research grants facilitators or/and ORS if you are uncertain about who should sign.


Finding a grant

What grants am I eligible for?

SFU generally administers research grants and contracts only on behalf of faculty members. See the Office of Research Services (ORS) for details on eligibility, and consult SFU Policy R 10.01, External Research Grants and Contracts.
Also contact the FASS Research Grants Facilitators for help with finding funding for research.

Is there SFU funding available for my research?

The SFU Office of Research Services maintains a list of SFU grants and includes eligibility information, deadlines, forms and instructions.

How can I find out about funding opportunities?

The Office of Research Services maintains a database of funding opportunities. You may sign up to receive email alerts for research funding opportunities.

Money and budgets

What percentage of grants goes to the PI?

100% of research grants awarded by Canada’s National Granting Councils goes to researchers. Research grants and contracts supported by other sources may be subject to recovery of indirect costs (overhead); see SFU’s Office of Research Services (ORS).

Can I "buy out" my teaching time using research grant funds?

Some funding agencies provide salary replacement funds to protect research time and "buy out" teaching responsibilities. The current Collective Agreement (CA) specifies that:

"Under certain circumstances, and subject to the approval of the Chair or equivalent and the Dean, faculty members may “buy out” teaching responsibilities when the source of funds is an external research grant or contract, and where the benefits of the buyout to the faculty member’s research program outweigh the effects on the unit’s teaching program and its students. A faculty member normally may not buy out more than one course in any academic year, or not more than one quarter of the actual teaching assigned during any six-year period or any period of eligible years leading to a study leave." [p.33]

The standard cost of one regular course buy-out in FASS is $20K, corresponding to 12% of the annual average salary in FASS plus benefits.  

What are SFU rates for hotels, food and other subsistence costs?

The SFU travel policy lists standard university rates for travel and subsistence costs, and for hotels, meals and other travel-related costs.

What's the SFU rate for research assistants?

Amounts for student stipends are available from SFU’s Office of Research Services.

Note that hourly wage rates must meet the BC minimum wage.  Refer to the FASS budget guidelines and the the HR Research Personnel Initiative for more information. See also Employing Grant-Funded Research Assistants.

Who is available to help me with my budget?

The Research Grants Facilitators provide guidance and advice on completing budgets, and have sample budgets from a number of funding programs.

Should I apply for the maximum amount available?

The amount you request should be determined primarily by your research needs. Your Research Grants Facilitators can help you work out the optimal request based on research needs and the history of the granting agency.

Now that I have a research grant, how do I get my money?

When you receive a grant award letter (Notice of Award), the next step is to set up a project account: see account setup (ORS).

Once an account is set up, faculty members typically work with their Managers to access research funds; financial administration/reporting on research funds from external sponsors is managed by Research Accounting.