- News & Events
- News archive
- Summer 2023
- SCA's Arne Eigenfeldt in The Conversation: Why the growth of AI in making art won’t eliminate artists
- FCAT hosts Safe Space for White Questions online discussion
- Our Way and The Klabona Keepers among 5th Annual Skoden Film Festival award winners
- FCAT supports northern BC communities with increased learning opportunities
- Master of Digital Media Grads Tackle Plastic Waste Blanketing Our Oceans with Group Shopping App
- June 2023 Convocation Featured Student Profiles
- Introducing FCAT Research Spotlight
- The School of Communication's 50th Anniversary: From 1973 to 2023
- Spring 2023
- Cody Sawatsky Memorial Plaque Unveiled at the SFU Surrey Campus
- Scholarly Impact of the Week: Michael Filimowicz
- School of Interactive Arts & Technology professor Wolfgang Stuerzlinger inducted to prestigious VR academy
- Meet Nico Hernandez, 2022 Lighthouse Lab Prize Recipient
- Jon Corbett Joins School of Interactive Art and Technology
- Welcome Kota Ezawa, the 2023 Spring Audain Visual Artist in Residence
- MPUB Alumnus Claire Cavanagh Becomes Literary Agent
- Alumnus designs Canucks Lunar New Year jersey
- 2023 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival
- How the Online Streaming Act will support Canadian content
- Meet Jonathan Newman, the 2022 Recipient of the Cody Sawatsky Memorial Award in Gaming
- Fall 2022
- Eight SFU innovators bestowed with Canada’s highest academic honour
- SIAT Convocation Features October 2022
- Graduating Student Sharlyn Monillas Tells Us About Her Time in CMNS
- Centre for Digital Media partners with Ethọ́s Lab to improve Black representation in digital media
- Explore the Surrey Community Open House SIAT Project Demos
- new interdisciplinary technology aid wilderness search and rescue
- Building better democracies through journalism
- Charter alumnus making a big impact through small gifts
- Summer 2022
- FCAT June 2022 Convocation: Looking back
- Meet Contemporary Arts alum Krystle Silverfox
- SFU researchers receive over $6 million to tackle online disinformation, foster data fluencies
- SIAT researchers develop and curate exhibition at Galiano Island’s Yellowhouse Art Centre
- Roll out the red carpet: Surrey students showcase filmmaking talent
- Spring 2022
- FACTS AND FALSEHOODS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
- Celebrating Black History Month across the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology
- SFU professor shares experience living and teaching in war-torn Ukraine
- SFU artists and researchers showcase art installation on Surrey’s ‘UrbanScreen’
- Leadership and Agile Production Management micro-credential established in partnership with DigiBC
- Leading with heart: Meet Staff Achievement Award winner Corbin Saleken
- HOW GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE SUPPORTS CONSPIRACY THEORISTS AND HATE FIGURES
- SFU staffer’s commitment to local arts community nets staff achievement award
- Fall 2021
- Summer 2021
- Spring 2021
- Fall 2020
- Summer 2020
- Spring 2020
- Fall 2019
- Summer 2019
- Spring 2019
- Fall 2018
- Summer 2018
- Spring 2018
- Fall 2017
- Spring 2017
- Fall 2016
- Summer 2016
- Spring 2016
- Fall 2015
- Summer 2015
- Spring 2015
- Fall 2014
- Summer 2014
- Spring 2014
- Fall 2013
- Summer 2023
- News archive
- Featured Student
- Featured alumnus
- FCAT After School Podcast
- Season One
- Episode 0: Welcome to After School
- Episode 1: Finding Your Creative Potential with Prem Gill
- Episode 2: Inclusivity in the Performance Arts with Aryo Khakpour
- Episode 3: Connecting Design and Technology with Sofia Bautista
- Episode 4: Storytelling in Game Design with Mars Balisacan
- Episode 5: Challenging the Status Quo through Art with Shion Skye Carter & Stefan Nazarevich
- Episode 6: Starting Your Own Publishing Company with Jesse Finkelstein
- Episode 7: Finding Happiness in Your Work with Nick Doering
- Episode 8: Making a Name in Independent Filmmaking with Gloria Mercer
- Episode 9: It All Starts with a Strategy with Adam Brayford
- Episode 10: Shifting Places, Shifting Minds with Milton Lim
- Episode 11: Being the Big Piece in a Small Pie with Jordan Yep
- Episode 12: Reimagining Dance Training with Tin Gamboa
- Episode 13: Standing Out as a Creative with Sara Milosavic
- Season Two
- Episode 0: Welcome to FCAT After School Series 2!
- Episode 1: Entrepreneurship in UX Design with Eric Lee
- Episode 2: Community and Adaptability in the Performing Arts with Howard Dai
- Episode 3: Mastering the Art of Publishing with Jazmin Welch
- Episode 4: Navigating your Educational Journey with Broadcaster Simi Sara
- Episode 5: Career Transitions of a Software Engineer with Vic Ong
- Episode 6: Becoming Your Own Boss with Kirstin Richter
- Episode 7: Gaining a Global Outlook with Kai Bockmann
- Episode 8: Finding Your Place in Publishing with Heidi Waechtler
- Episode 9: Exploring Virtual Production with Brenda Medina
- Episode 10: Inclusion in the Design Industry with Priscilla Skylar Lee
- Episode 11: Exploring Study Focus in Contemporary Arts with Sophie Tang
- Episode Transcripts
- Season 2, Episode 1: Entrepreneurship in UX Design with Eric Lee
- Season 2, Episode 2: Community and Adaptability in the Performing Arts with Howard Dai
- Season 2, Episode 3: Mastering the Art of Publishing with Jazmin Welch
- Season 2, Episode 4: Navigating your Educational Journey with Broadcaster Simi Sara
- Season 2, Episode 5: Career Transitions of a Software Engineer with Vic Ong
- Season 2, Episode 6: Becoming Your Own Boss with Kirstin Richter
- Season 2, Episode 7: Kai Bockmann
- Season 2, Episode 8: Finding Your Place in Publishing with Heidi Waechtler
- Season 2, Episode 9: Exploring Virtual Production with Brenda Medina
- Season 2, Episode 10: Inclusion in the Design Industry with Priscilla Skylar Lee
- Season 2, Episode 11: Exploring Study Focus in Contemporary Arts with Sophie Tang
- Season One
- Future students
- Current students
- Get involved
- FCAT research funding lifecycle
- FCAT Funding Opportunities
- Institutes, labs and projects
- Quick links and resources
- FCAT Research Newsletter Archive
- Return to campus
Support for grants
Where can I find support in my faculty for research grant proposals and other research information?
FCAT research is led and overseen at the FCAT Dean's Office by the Associate Dean, Research (ADR), who approves all grant proposals together with Department Chairs or School/Program Directors. The ADR is supported by a Research Grants Facilitator (RF) in providing guidance for, reviews and related processes of grant proposals, and in supporting awards and nominations. Each School and Program also supports faculty members in grant processes and communications with the Dean's and other SFU Offices.
Faculty members seeking specific information and approval within their Schools and Programs on budget and cost-sharing of facilities, space, students, supplies or other project expenses; management of grant funds; student and research team recruitment; and related request or approval forms should also consult with their School/Program Directors, Managers, Administrative Coordinators and Director’s Assistants.
The ADR and RF collaborate with the FCAT Dean’s Office Communications and Strategy, Indigenous, Alumni & Community Engagement and Operations and Strategic Planning teams to promote research success at the faculty level, help build community relationships, keep records and manage grant funds of successful project proposals.
Who is the Associate Dean, Research?
The Associate Dean, Research (ADR) is a faculty member who leads and oversees research activities, funding, management, promotion and community-building at the faculty. The ADR is appointed by the Dean for a three-year renewable term, based on their extensive research experience and reputation, including grant success as a principal investigator, top-tiered publishing and other research dissemination, research funding management, supervision of research assistants, research collaborations and leadership and mentoring skills.
The ADR for FCAT is Dr. Katherine Reilly. Contact: email@example.com.
Who is the Research Grants Facilitator?
A Research Grants Facilitator works with faculty members to develop and help tailor 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 other aspects of developing a strong funding application and research portfolio, including awards and nominations. They support the Associate Dean of Research and collaborate with the FCAT Dean’s Office and schools/programs in fostering a strong faculty research culture, and proposal development processes at the institutional and external funding agency levels.
SFU 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.
The Research Grants Facilitator for FCAT is Kimberly O'Donnell. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is involved when I submit a draft review?
The Research Grants Facilitator (RF) welcomes draft proposals at any stage of development. Feel free to contact them to submit a partial or complete draft for review.
Once the RF receives a draft, they will inform the applicant as to when the review will be ready. To convey comments, suggestions and questions, the facilitator uses tracked or suggested changes and comments in the document (Word, PDF, Google Doc, etc).
For major Tri-Council annual competitions, such as NSERC Discovery, SSHRC Insight, Insight Development, Partnership and Partnership Development, or CIHR Project Grants, the RF will coordinate a faculty peer-review process simultaneous to the RF review. The peer review process is conditional to availability of peer reviewers (i.e. faculty members with previous success with the same funding opportunity), submission of proposal drafts at least three to four weeks before the institutional deadline. It is also offered for other grant programs if and when deemed necessary by the ADR and if the same conditions are met.
When a review is ready, the RF e-mails it to the applicant or, in some cases, discusses it in a telephone conversation, video chat, or face-to-face meeting.
In they are available, on request the RF can provide application templates or confidential samples of successful applications to aid the writing process.
Feel free to contact your RF at any time with questions, comments, and drafts.
Note: Given the number of FCAT faculty members, concurrent deadlines, and a process of writing that often involves multiple drafts and numerous reviews, it is recommended that you contact your RF well in advance of deadlines (e.g., 6 months in advance for large partnership grants, and at least 2-3 months for other grants). While planning your work on proposals, take into consideration that a minimum of two to three drafts (and sometimes additional iterations) are typically required to develop a competitive application.
When should I contact Research Services?
Under the portfolio of the Office of Research Services (ORS) of the Office of the Vice-President, Research advances SFU's research mission by providing expertise in research administration and ensuring compliance with policies and procedures of the university and the sponsor. ORS also offers guidance, support and resources for research contracts with government, non-profits and industry through the ORS Contracts Team, including transfer agreements, signature sheets, legal advice, IP, research accounting and data access agreements.
Contact your Faculty Research Grants Facilitator for assistance in developing competitive research grant applications, selecting the best grant programs to apply for, receiving faculty-based RF and peer grant reviews and building interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and inter-university research teams.
What is a research contract, and how is it different from a research grant?
There are two types of sponsored research awards: research grants and research contracts. The difference between a contract and a grant relates to the legal concept of default and whether the researcher is legally bound to produce results or not.
As noted by the SFU Office of Research Services on their webpage “Grant or Contract”, a Research Grant refers to funds that are awarded to the recipient to enable the performance of self-directed research, where there is no contractual obligation for performance. There may be terms and deliverables such as reporting requirements, and payment schedules, but no specified requirements for performance. A Research Contract is a legally binding agreement for academic research under a specified Principal Investigator’s direction where promises to deliver results are exchanged for funding. Contracting agencies can be private industry, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
When should I contact Institutional Strategic Awards?
Institutional Strategic Awards Office (ISA) facilitates pre-award development and post-award management of the largest and most complex grants, contracts, prizes and awards at SFU.
The ISA team consists of two senior facilitators, a writing team, awards & prizes lead, CFI lead, financial analyst, and project managers. The team works in close collaboration with Faculty-based research grant facilitators (RF) - providing the integrated and complementary skillsets needed to develop and manage complex proposals, contracts or nominations. For optimal grant success, it is strongly suggested that faculty members benefit from ISA and RF’s collaborative support.
The ISA sends regular emails to faculty members and maintains a comprehensive website to provide information about programs that they support. Your Associate Dean of Research or Research Grants Facilitator will refer you to the ISA team if your proposal or award falls under ISA’s mandate. Faculty members may also contact ISA directly at: email@example.com.
Who approves and signs my research grant or contract proposals?
Research grant and contract applications typically require a combination of applicant and institutional signatures, most often from: the applicant; their Department Chair or School/Program Director; FCAT’s Associate Dean, Research and SFU Research Services.
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 ORS if you are uncertain about who should sign.
Identifying grant opportunities
Am I eligible to apply for research grants with SFU as my institution of affiliation?
SFU generally administers research grants and contracts only on behalf of faculty members. See Research Services for details on eligibility, and consult SFU Policy R 10.01, External Research Grants and Contracts. Also contact the FCAT Research Grants Facilitator for help with finding funding for your research.
As explained on the Office of Research Services webpage "Eligibility to Hold Research Grants", "[i]n some cases, research grants may also be applied for and held by certain categories of non faculty members. For example, in some cases, members of non-academic staff who have been given permission by their supervisor and by the appropriate Vice-President to do research may be permitted to hold external research funds in their own name.
Adjunct Professors appointed under Policy A 12.08, Postdoctoral Fellows appointed under Policy R 50.03, or University Research Associates appointed under Policy R 50.01 may apply for and hold research grants administered by the University on condition that: (i) That their terms of appointment at the time of application span the period of funding; (ii) that they agree to abide by all University Policies and Procedures related to research administration; and (iii) that they will not be paid from the grant on which they intend to be a principal or co-investigator.
Adjunct Professors, Postdoctoral Fellows, and University Research Associates who intend to apply for research grants must sign a statement on the printable PDF form.
Are there any SFU funds to support the research of both new and established faculty members?
Research Services maintains a list of Internal SFU grants and includes eligibility information, deadlines, forms and instructions.
In addition, New Faculty Members may apply for the New Faculty Start-Up Grant to initiate and support their research in the first five years of their appointment. More information is available on the Vice-President, Academic website here.
Finally, FCAT offers small or supplementary internal grant programs to support Visiting Speaker Fellowships and Events. More information is available on the secure FCAT Faculty and Staff Portal.
How do I find out about funding opportunities?
Research Services maintains a database of funding opportunities. You may sign up to receive email alerts for research funding opportunities. Opportunities specifically relevant to FCAT research areas are also available on the online FCAT Research Funding Calendar. The FCAT Research Grants Facilitator regularly sends research funding newsletters with information about grant opportunities related to FCAT members’ research areas, which are also archived on the FCAT website.
Note: Faculty members are invited to contact the FCAT Research Grants Facilitator to request or share information about relevant research funding opportunities.
Applying for a grant
Where can I find out about upcoming deadlines?
Upcoming deadlines can be consulted regularly on SFU’s Funding and Awards Opportunities Database, and the websites of major funders for research in your discipline. The FCAT website also keeps a running and regularly updated list of deadlines for awards relevant to research conducted through the Faculty.
What is the internal SFU deadline for my grant?
SFU internal deadlines are set by Research Services, and allow time for review and revision of grant applications before submission.
Typically, FCAT internal deadlines are five (5) business days and SFU ORS internal deadlines are three (3) business days in advance of the funding agency’s external deadlines. These deadlines are also latest dates by which Signature Sheets should be submitted, i.e. 5 business days in advance to the FCAT Associate Dean, Research (ADR) (with Applicant and School/Program Director signatures) and 3 business days in advance to ORS (with Applicant, School/Program Director and ADR signatures). You may sign up to receive email alerts for research funding opportunities, including SFU internal deadlines.
Will the Research Grants Facilitator write my grant application?
No. The Research Grants Facilitator (RF) will work with you to develop a competitive application. The RF, as well as most university grants development personnel are generally not experts in your research proposal’s thematic area, however, they possess the necessary academic qualifications and professional grant experience/knowledge to provide guidance, advice and support in project development (including budgets), reviews, feedback and edits of drafts. They will also provide other pre-award services or resources such as discussing application strategies, providing templates, tip sheets, and sample applications, staging information sessions and workshops on grant-related matters, and liaising with internal and external stakeholders (e.g., granting agencies, SFU ISA and ORS, etc.).
Will the Research Grants Facilitator prepare my CV for grant applications?
No. The Research Grants Facilitator can provide feedback on CVs, including assessments of effectiveness in meeting grant merit criteria, but their full workload, and grants expertise do include preparing CVs for applicants. At certain times, if the budget permits, the FCAT Dean’s Office may benefit from additional resources, such as the support of coop students to help with CVs but otherwise, faculty members are requested to seek their own resources outside of the FCAT Dean’s Office for this purpose.
Where can I go for advice about how to address equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in my project and grant application?
Many grants now require that funded projects consider and promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in research and the research community. SFU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) resources include a dedicated EDI webpage, and EDI Resource Guide, which has partnered with the SFU Library to provide curated resources, books, videos, toolkits, reports and other resources on EDI. Your Research Grants Facilitator can help you develop EDI statements, and integrate EDI considerations into your research plan with additional EDI information materials (e.g., writing job ads, EDI profile statement, etc.) available on the secure FCAT faculty and staff Portal. This process will typically involve consultation with one of SFU’s EDI Specialists.
Where can I go for advice about how to address open-access requirements?
Many grants now require the products of research to be shared openly through open access publishing. SFU has an Open Access Policy requiring that all SFU researchers deposit their work with the Library to be included in Summit, SFU’s institutional repository. The Library will make the articles available to the public, taking into consideration requirements for access delay.
SFU Library can further support you in making your work open access by helping you to identify high-qualify open access journals and negotiate your rights with publishers so that you can share your work in Summit.
Who do I contact for information and advice on intellectual property and other legal agreements with industry partners?
According to SFU’s Policy R 30.03 on Intellectual Property, section 5.1 “Although the University has the right to require assignment of an interest in IP created by a University Member through the use of its resources, the full ownership of IP and all rights pertaining to ownership are vested in the Creator, unless the Creator has entered into an agreement with the University to the contrary. [some exceptions apply]”. SFU’s Office of Research Services can offer advice and support for patenting, commercialization, intellectual property agreements, and other elements of research-industry relations.
How do I submit a grant application?
Tri-Agency grant programs typically require e-submission. SSHRC Insight Grants, NSERC Discovery Grants, and CIHR Foundation Grants are all submitted via the internet, for example. Consult individual program requirements, the FCAT Research Facilitator 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 Department Chair or School/ Program Director; the FCAT Associate Dean of Research; and the SFU Office of Research Services (ORS).
What is the SFU Signature Sheet and who signs it?
The SFU Research Funding Application Signature Sheet (“Signature Sheet” or “Sig Sheet”) is an internal document required by the University with all research grant applications and contracts. It provides details about your funding application, which helps not just with project set-ups, but also with resource planning and ensuring compliance for your team, department/school/program and the university. It is your responsibility as the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit all SFU Signature Sheets to Research Services by the SFU Internal deadline date.
A fully signed Signature Sheet includes following:
- Essential information for accepting awards (title; name, faculty and department/school/program of applicant(s); budget – direct and indirect costs – and currency; use of additional resources, the Data Hub, 4D Labs or other resources at the university; ethics, biohazards, animal care and/or controlled goods, information or technology considerations; identification of international collaborations; other).
- Acknowledgement of activities and resources within project by Department/School/Program and Faculty.
- Open project file and streamline account setup
- Reminder of compliance requirements
Some sponsors require a cover page or document signed by an “institutional representative” to support your application. It is a good practice to let Research Services know that an institutional signature is required for your application when you are submitting the Signature Sheet. Research Services cannot provide institutional signature for applications that are not supported by a Signature Sheet.
Please consult FCAT’s separate FAQs regarding the Signature Sheet. Please contact Research Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions not answered here.
Budgeting for a grant
What is overhead and how much overhead should I request according to SFU policy?
Overhead (indirect costs) refers to those costs which are real but not easily identifiable with a particular research project. They include such items as building space and utilities, the provision of institutional facilities, space, accounting, payroll and personnel services, janitorial services, provision for equipment replacement, legal and administrative services. For more information, please visit the ORS webpage “Indirect Costs (Overhead)”.
Faculty members and Deans should not negotiate overhead rates with sponsors but should contact Research Services (email@example.com) to find out what rates have already been negotiated. Indirect costs rates for different funding categories are indicated on the SFU Indirect Costs webpage. For example, on grants or contracts from government, non-profit organizations and business and industry, or matching funds on Tri-Agency grants, the Indirect Costs (overhead) rate will typically be 25% of total direct costs unless the overhead amount is clearly limited by the sponsor's published funding terms & guidelines or policy. Examples of sponsors' with specific rates include the Canadian Space Agency FAST program or US Government grants or National Institutes of Health. More information is on the aforementioned SFU Indirect Costs webpage.
For most Tri-Agency Grants, i.e., the three major government funding bodies that provide funding for scholarly research in Canada (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), applicants generally should not include overhead in their research budget. 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. There are certain exceptions that apply in situations where the guidelines of a specific granting program allow for indirect costs to be included in the budget, such as the New Frontiers in Research Fund, administered by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat.
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 addressed on the ORS webpage “Indirect Costs (Overhead)”.
Can grant funds be used to "buy out" teaching time?
Some funding agencies provide salary replacement funds to protect research time and "buy out" teaching responsibilities; according to SFU Policy the minimum cost of one regular course buy-out is 12% of annual salary, a faculty member normally may not buy out more than one course in any academic year, and buy-outs require the approval of the Department Chair or School/Program Director, Associate Dean, Research and Faculty Dean.
What are SFU rates for hotels, food and other subsistence costs?
The SFU Travel Policy AD 3.02 lists standard University rates for travel and subsistence costs, and for hotels, meals and other travel-related costs.
What is the difference between a Graduate Fellowship, a Postdoctoral Fellow, a Research Fellow and a Research Assistant and why is this relevant to research grants?
At SFU, a Graduate Fellowship (GF) is a one-term award normally valued at $6,500. Academic units have the option of awarding partial GFs valued at $3,250. An applicant may be eligible to receive up to a maximum of two full GFs or four partial GFs during an academic year. To be eligible to hold a GF, the applicant must be registered as a full-time, regular student and must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50. The GF does not necessarily require that students work with and conduct research on faculty members’ research projects, although in certain cases, a GF may also be used as a stipend to support graduate research fellowships. More information is available at the Graduate ad Postdoctoral Studies webpage on Graduate Fellowships.
A "Postdoctoral Fellow" or "PDF" is defined by SFU Research Policy R 50.03, section 4.1 as "a person who has completed a doctoral degree and who has been appointed by the University for a limited period of time to undertake advanced research and further professional development in association with one or more of the University’s faculty members".
A Research Fellow is a post-doctoral fellow or graduate/undergraduate student who conducts research activities for a research project of a faculty member on a topic related to their post-graduate research, graduate thesis dissertation or undergraduate research course work (e.g., capstone project) and is typically paid through a research stipend.
A Research Assistant (RA) is a graduate/undergraduate student hired to conduct research activities or other research-related activities for a research project of a faculty member, although this work is not necessarily (but can be) related to the RA’s academic degree courses, thesis dissertation or other curriculum requirements. RAs are paid through hourly rates and benefits.
What is the difference between a research stipend and a research hourly salary?
According to the federal Tri-Agency granting former administration guidelines (responsibility transferred to institutions), the following definitions help distinguish research stipends and salaries:
- Stipend: Financial support given to a recipient of a training award, or provided by a grantee to a trainee, to support them while they are working on their research thesis and/or gaining research experience.
- Salary: Remuneration for work performed by research personnel that contributes toward the direct cost of research for which the funds were awarded, in accordance with institutional employment contracts or collective agreements, where applicable.
Ref.: NSERC Use of Grant Funds (last modified: September 11, 2019)
What are the SFU research salary or stipend rates and benefits?
1) Undergraduate or Graduate Research Assistants or Fellows
As of June, 2023, FCAT recommends the following rates based on comparative amounts recommended by other faculties within the University, minimum wage in BC ($16.75 as of June, 2023), and current rates paid by FCAT faculty. Please note that the living wage for Metro Vancouver is $24.08/hour (www.livingwageforfamilies.ca; 2022). RA wages and stipends should meet living wage requirements.
Recommended FCAT Stipend Amounts:
Masters students: $17,000 - $24,000/year
Doctoral students: $19,000 - $26,500/year
Recommended FCAT hourly rates (as of July, 2023):
Recommended Minimum Hourly
Benefits @ 14%
Recommended Minimum Total
Recommended Maximum Hourly
Benefits @ 14%
Recommended Maximum Total
Note: “Benefits” includes statutory welfare benefits of 10% of salary and statutory holiday pay of 4%. Either percentage may be increased by law, or may vary by individual. For budgeting purposes, the 14% figure should be used.
2) Postdoctoral Fellows
Since the latest revisions to Policy R 50.30 June 27, 2019, most grant-funded PDFs have become employees of the University and thus qualify for benefits as described on the Human Resources website. Human Resources is currently working to facilitate a timely transition to the new policy and more details will soon be available.
In the meantime, FCAT recommends the following PDF fellowship amounts based on comparative amounts recommended by other faculties within the University between $45,000 to $65,000. These amounts are indicative and also take into account competitive rates with NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR annual scholarships, competitive rates with other Canadian post-secondary institutions and the cost of living in British Columbia.
How and when can I include an Investigator Fee in my proposal?
In some cases, the funding sponsor allows payment to investigators in recognition of their time, effort and expertise. The amount of such a payment, often referred to as an “investigator fee”, will be established at the proposal stage.
Investigator fees must comply with the provisions of Section 3.0 Payment to Employees in SFU Independent Contractor Policy AD 3.11. In order to initiate payment following project completion, the investigator should submit a completed Additional Pay Authorization Form (See "Payroll", then choose the form that corresponds with the individual's union or position at SFU.) to Research Accounting, signed by the Dean and Chair (or Associate Dean where there is no Chair or if the investigator is the Chair). The one-time payment or bi-weekly payment should be adjusted to account for approximately additional 8% statutory costs such as CPP and EI.
Please see the Office of Research Services brief, “What to I need to know about investigator fees?,” for further information.
Should I apply for the maximum amount of funding available?
The amount you request should be determined primarily by your research needs. Your Research Grants Facilitator can help you work out the optimal request based on research needs and the history of the granting agency.
Who will help me develop a budget?
FCAT’s Research Grants Facilitator can provide guidance and advice on completing budgets, and can provide sample budgets from a number of funding programs on request. Certain budget items and costs – particularly in relation to Department/School/Program facilities, space, students or other resources – may also be discussed with relevant Dept/School/Program Managers, Coordinators or Assistants.
Managing a research grant
I was awarded a grant! How do I access the research funds?
When you receive a grant award letter you should email it to ORS, which will follow up with you to ensure that all necessary forms are complete (including, for example, research ethics approval) in order to set up a research account.
Once an account is set up, faculty typically work with their Department/Program Managers to access their research funds; financial administration/reporting on research funds from external sponsors is managed by Research Accounting.
What expenses can be covered by my research grant?
Research funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the research for which the funds are awarded. The funds must be used effectively and economically. Generally, eligible expenses must be:
- Direct costs of the funded research project (research assistants and personnel, research or knowledge dissemination travel expenses, project supplies and small equipment, etc.).
- Essential to the funded research project
- In accordance with terms and conditions of the agreement, and funding agency and institutional guidelines
- Incurred within the allowed project term
The following are required to support your expense claim:
- Appropriate justification if necessary with enough detail for an outside person to be able to make judgement on reasonability. For example, if your budgeted equipment cost more than expected, a justification of “it cost more than expected” might not be enough. You may want to describe that the original quote was for a model since discontinued; that you looked at alternatives and this is the best alternative; without this equipment, you would risk not meeting your project goal.
- Invoices, contracts, or receipts (no credit card slips)
- Authorization of PI or delegate
- For travel expenses, check the sponsor guidelines and SFU Business and Travel Expenses Policy AD3.02.
The Office of Research Services can provide further information about how to determine what expenses can be covered by your grant.
Who owns research equipment purchased with grant funds?
How are grant funds transferred to and from SFU?
Transfers of funds between institutions for use by co-investigators or co-principal investigator(s) are variously called sub-awards, sub-grants, and sub-contracts or grant transfer agreements. They are used to clarify the obligations of each institution and to address questions related to intellectual property. SFU researchers can enter into collaborations with or as sub-award recipient(s) or as sub-award provider(s). The sub-recipient institution must have the appropriate facilities to be able to carry out the work, and the institution’s policies and procedures must be sufficient to ensure the responsible use of sponsored funds.
To transfer funds to an SFU Co-applicant, Co-Principal Investigator or other Collaborator, the PI at another institution contacts his/her research office to request a letter of agreement or contract between their institution and SFU. The SFU grant recipient needs to complete an SFU Funding Application Signature Sheet and submit it to Research Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) for approval. Research Services ensures that the SFU sub-grant recipient is in agreement with the terms offered. Research Services receives, reviews, and signs this letter of agreement or contract, verifying that Research Services will administer the funds according to the terms and conditions of the sponsor, and that funds will not be released until certification requirements are met (e.g., human ethics, animal use, and biohazards).
Transferring Funds to an Internal Co-Investigator: Please contact Research Services (email@example.com) if you wish to transfer funds to a SFU Co-Investigator.
Can I delegate signing authority for disbursing grant funds?
Yes. For operational efficiency, the PI may delegate signing authority to other full-time university staff to approve expenditures against the awarded project. See the Research Services’ webpage on signing authority for further information.
What if my status as an SFU employee changes while I'm administering a grant?
An SFU Principal Investigator (PI) who has an active research project should promptly notify the following changes in academic status to the sponsor and Research Services.
- Full time to part time
- Tenure-stream eligible appointments to non-tenure stream (e.g., adjunct appointment)
- Maternity, parental, medical, and other leaves from work
- Retirement and emeritus appointment
Please check the following ORS webpage on Changes in Status for further information.
What happens if my project changes substantially, or there are unforeseen delays?
Since April 2020, all Tri-Agency Grant Amendment requests are to be submitted to the Tri-Agency through the SFU Office of Research Services. For more information, please consult the ORS webpage on “Project Changes”. For these and other grants, if you have questions with respect to other project changes such as budget, key personnel, research scope or objectives, timeframe, budget, etc. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a no-cost extension?
A no-cost extension extends the project period beyond the original project end date outlined in the Notice of Award. As the phrase “no cost” suggests, there is no additional funding.
A no-cost extension may be requested by a Principal Investigator (PI) when all three of the following conditions are met.
- The end of the project period is approaching.
- There is a programmatic need to continue the research.
- There are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended period.
There are two types of no-cost extension: automatic and not automatic. Automatic extension does not require Research Services involvement. If an extension is not automatic, Research Services will be involved.
Please see the No-Cost Extensions webpage at Research Services for further information, and check your funding agency’s guidelines for information about extension period for use of funds beyond the grant period.
Where can I go for help with managing my data?
Please visit the following webpage on "Research Data Management" of the Office of Research Services.