External Research Funding Agreements


October 1, 1992

Revision Date

November 22, 2018



Revision No.


Policy Authority: Vice-President, Research and International.

Associated Procedures:

  • External Research Funding Agreements: Procedure for Approval
  • External Research Funding Agreements: Indirect Costs Recovery (Appendix A)

1.0      PREAMBLE

1.1      Faculty and professional staff at Simon Fraser University are encouraged to seek research support from external agencies such as governments at all levels, industry and other elements of the private sector, philanthropic foundations and other organizations.

1.2      Although research at the University is traditionally grant-supported, many sponsors (including industry and government) prefer to contract research, for diverse purposes (such as the development of business, or new products, programs, or services). The nature of a contract necessitates a sponsor-driven relationship with the University, and requires a business-like approach. Further, many grants, including those from the Tri-Agency, are based on a master agreement between the University and the Agency. Thus, the term Research Funding Agreements is used hereafter to encapsulate both grants and contracts.

1.3      Entering into a Research Funding Agreement elevates the relative priority of the activity’s claim to University facilities and resources. Once an agreement is signed, the University is obliged to implement the terms as agreed; failure to do so risks financial or reputational repercussions. Consequently, it is imperative that both researchers and the University ensure that all aspects of Research Funding Agreements are carefully considered before being accepted and, once accepted, carefully integrated into the ongoing activities of the department(s) in which the research is to take place.

2.0      PURPOSE

2.1      To set out the criteria for the approval and execution of external Research Funding Agreements.

2.2      To provide clarity of roles and responsibilities so administrators and others can manage their respective areas of responsibilities in an effective, efficient and transparent manner.

2.3      To ensure sound stewardship of all resources and assets, and to ensure that risk management processes are in place to support effective and informed decision-making, as well as to provide for consistent accountability and reporting throughout the University.


3.1      This policy applies to all employees of the University.

3.2      This policy applies to all external Research Funding Agreements entered into by the University for research carried out by University faculty or staff, using University resources, services, facilities or equipment.

3.3      This policy does not apply to services sometimes performed using available equipment or personnel to provide non-research services to outside agencies or companies. Refer to Policy AD 3.13 – Service Contracts for this and similar types of activity.


4.1      Research Funding Agreements
refers to agreements with the University to provide funding intended for research purposes, whether the agreement is considered a grant, contract, contribution agreement, or whether the agreement takes any other form, and whether it is legally enforceable or not.

4.2      Research
refers to an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry and/or systematic investigation.

4.3      Project Leader(s)
refers to one or more persons leading a research project. This encompasses the term ‘Principal Investigator’ typically used by the Tri-Agency.

5.0      POLICY

5.1      The University will accept Research Funding Agreements which are consistent with the University's vision and strategy, conditional on the negotiation of mutually acceptable terms and conditions, and the availability of required expertise, facilities, and services.

5.2      Research Funding Agreements must conform to the standards set by this policy and its accompanying Procedures, and all relevant University policies, procedures, and regulations.

5.3      The agreement should be of overall benefit to the University and/or its community collaborators, providing resources, research infrastructure, or facilities not otherwise available from University funds; academic benefits to staff or educational opportunities for students; secondary benefits in line with the Strategic Research Plan; or a share of the revenues from the commercial use of the results.

5.4      Agreements must be between the University and the sponsoring agency and may not be written in the name of an individual, a Department, Institute, School or Faculty.


6.1      The Vice-President, Research and International is responsible for:

6.1.1      ensuring that applications for external funding and all External Funding Agreements conform with the requirements of all applicable University policies;

6.1.2      ensuring that all External Funding Agreements have been reviewed and executed in accordance with the accompanying Procedures;

6.1.3      negotiating contracts between the University and sponsoring agencies. Once the work statement and budget have been established by the Project Leader, further negotiation should be carried on directly between the agency and the appropriate University representative who will inform the Project Leader, seeking their advice where appropriate.

6.2      The Faculty Dean is responsible for approving, in writing, the terms of the agreement.

6.3      The Department Chair or Director is responsible for approving, in writing, the terms of the agreement.

6.4      The Project Leader is responsible for:

6.4.1      establishing the work statement and budget of the agreement;

6.4.2      approving, in writing, the terms of the agreement;

6.4.3      implementing all relevant compliance processes (e.g., securing Research Ethics Board approval as per Policy R20.01) and securing relevant approvals;

6.4.4      providing Research Services with copies of applications, contracts, and any subsequent award notifications, reports or materials;

6.5      The Director, Research Services is responsible for:

6.5.1      negotiating contracts between the University and sponsoring agencies;

6.5.2      seeking the advice of the Project Leader and affected stakeholders during negotiations;

6.5.3      administering this policy and related procedures; and

6.5.4      maintaining an inventory of funded and unfunded research projects in the University.


7.1      Individuals performing research under the auspices of the University must adhere to compliance-related policies, procedures and guidelines including:

7.1.1      R20.01 Ethics Review of Research Involving Human Participants

7.1.2      R20.02 Biosafety Policy

7.1.3      R20.03 Treatment of Animals in Research and Teaching

7.1.4      R20.04 Radiological Safety

7.1.5      R20.05 Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety, and other applicable University, Faculty and departmental procedures.


8.1      This policy shall be reviewed every five years.

9.0      AUTHORITY

9.1      The Vice-President, Research and International administers this policy.


10.1     Questions of interpretation and application of this policy or its procedures shall be referred to the President, whose decision shall be final.


11.1     External Research Funding Agreements: Procedure for Approval

11.2     Appendix A: Indirect Costs Recovery on External Research Funding Agreements