SFU Roles & Resources

Principal Investigator

A Principal Investigator (PI) is the individual who has ultimate responsibility for the design, execution, and management of a sponsored project. Please check with the sponsor’s terms and conditions to make sure you are eligible to apply for or hold funding from the opportunity you are planning to apply for.

The PI has roles and involvement in all stages of the project lifecycle.

  • Write and submit the sponsored proposal
  • Ensure that the proposal is ethically and scientifically meritorious
  • Execute the scientific and technical aspects of the project
  • Oversee the day-to-day management of the project and team members
  • Ensure completion of the proposed work
  • Comply with all government, sponsor, and SFU policies and regulations
  • Secure and maintain certifications required to carry on the work
  • Disclose and manage potential, perceived and real conflicts of interest
  • Attend training required to carry on the project
  • Maintain fiscal stewardships of sponsored funds
  • Disseminate results from the project
  • Manage all administrative requirements within the scope of the project
  • Coordinate activities where third parties (e.g., industry, government, other universities, contractors, and service providers) are involved in the research

Are you a PI who is new to Simon Fraser University (SFU) and would like to bring funds to the university or apply for funding opportunities?

If you are new to SFU and would like to bring funds to the university or apply for funding opportunities, please contact the Director of Research Services for a personal meeting to discuss resources available to you and helpful hints for building your funded research portfolio.

SFU Roles and Resources

Research Services works closely with all SFU units and administrators to help SFU researchers obtain and administer internal and external research funding.

Office of the Vice President, Research

The Vice-President, Research (VPR) leads SFU's strategic research initiatives, facilitates international opportunities that foster research collaborations and student exchange, and promotes research excellence and trailblazing innovations coming out of the university. The VPR serves to promote, support, and administer research at SFU across all disciplines; enhance the university’s research profile externally; foster cross-sector collaborations with external organizations nationally and internationally; and guide policy development at university and government levels.

A key element of the office focuses on knowledge mobilization by facilitating opportunities to transfer the results of SFU research to society. This collaborative role allows for an interplay between research and innovation to enhance social, economic, and environmental well-being.

The following offices report to the VPR.

Please note that Research Services has delegated signing authority for grant submission and contract execution for contracts under $250,000 per year. Larger contracts, organizational commitments, and letters of support are signed at the VPR level.

Research Services

Research Services assists SFU faculty members in submitting applications for research funding (i.e., grants and contracts) and executing legal documents required for specific research relationships. The grants team is responsible for helping you navigate pre-award activities; the contracts team helps with post-award activities to ensure legal compliance before account setup. We provide ongoing support in the management of grants and contracts through their life cycle.

The staff of Research Services will point you in the right direction when your project administration requires help from other offices. We work closely with the following staff and offices to make sure our efforts of helping you are coordinated at any point of the project lifecycle.

Research Grant Facilitators

Research Grant Facilitators are experienced SFU staff with research credentials serving each Faculty by facilitating the development of competitive research grant applications, matching researchers with funding opportunities and with potential collaborators, and offering individual research grants assistance and grant-writing workshops. The grant facilitators are involved in the first two steps of the project lifecycle: Funding Opportunities and Proposal Development. They work and coordinate with Research Services during the internal review and submission stage. Since grant facilitators are embedded in the departments, they are your primary point of contact before submission of most applications.

Institutional Strategic Awards

SFU's Institutional Strategic Awards (ISA) was launched in July, 2018. The former Major Projects Office, Major Awards Office, and the Research Operations Project Management Team have been brought together in a single group that are responsible for pre-award development and post-award management of the largest and most complex grants, contracts, prizes and awards. The ISA helps manage the development of proposals for funding programs such as, CFI Innovation Fund, CFI JELF, SSHRC Partnership Grant, NSERC Strategic Partnership, and NSERC Industrial Research Chair.

SFU International

SFU International provides university-wide strategic leadership in the development, integration, and promotion of international partnerships, initiatives, projects, and programs. SFU International can help you with all stages of your project that has an international scope. SFU International works closely with Research Services to make sure your project gets the following services from SFU.

  • Work with faculty wishing to engage in international development work and capacity building initiatives
  • Encourage the development of often life-changing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to undertake international assignments
  • Enhance the internationalization of SFU’s curriculum that reflects the needs of students and expertise of faculty
  • Support the securing of international projects and contracts through identification of funding, proposal development, negotiation with partners and funders, and other services as required
  • Provide implementation services for projects
  • Act as university liaison with funding agencies, multilateral banks, and other development agencies and associations
  • Expand and deepen linkages to realize development and academic benefits across disciplines

Research Ethics

Research Ethics supports researchers through the ethics review process, from the preparation of a new submission to continuing review of ongoing research.  Any research involving human participants, including secondary data, and human biological materials must be reviewed and approved by the SFU Research Ethics Board (REB) before the research can begin. Research Services works closely with Research Ethics to make sure all necessary approvals are in place. Please keep in mind that Research Services cannot approve the release of your funds until a copy of your ethics certificate of approval is received from Research Ethics.  Since the certificates are issued for a limited time period, please submit all renewals to Research Services promptly to make sure access to your funds remain uninterrupted

Please contact Research Ethics if your requirements for ethics approval have changed or if you have any questions about the ethics review process or guiding policies.

Research Ethics will also help you to disclose and manage potential, perceived and real conflicts of interest. Please check Research Compliance for more details.

Animal Care Services

Animal Care Services  at SFU provides faculty, staff and students with resources for research involving animals. If your project involves animals, please submit an application to the University Animal Care Committee (UACC) for approval. No research involving animals (vertebrates, fish and certain invertebrates – e.g. cephalopods) can be conducted without this approval. All Animal Care Protocols are reviewed annually and researchers must re-apply every 4 years for long-term studies. Animal Care Services are a post award compliance function in the project lifecycle.

Industry Engagement

Industry Engagement works with  SFU innovators to protect and license their intellectual property, increase access to research funding, and mobilize their research results to help solve societal problems. Their team includes lawyers, experts in Intellectual Proporty (IP) assessment, scientists and business people. They are intimately connected into the entrepreneurship and innovation culture of SFU and can provide general guidance on spinning out a company, IP protection strategy, funding opportunities and university policies. Please contact the Director of Industry Engagement.

SFU Library

SFU Library offers a suite of research, collections, and teaching support to faculty. Contact SFU’s liaison librarians for an introduction to library services and resources.

Research Operations & Project Management

Research Operations is a part of the Office of the Vice-President, Research tasked with overseeing the operational and procedural aspects or research at SFU. Research Operations employs project managers who can help with large and high complexity projects. Please contact the Executive Director of Research Operations if you have research operation or project management questions.

Research Accounting

Research Accounting is responsible for the research account management and financial reporting of research funds received from external funding sponsors. Research Services will liaise with Research Accounting on your behalf during post award activities of Account Setup, Award Management, Reporting and Monitoring, and Closure. Research Accounting will:

  • Create new project accounts and amend existing ones
  • Review and advise on expense eligibility and financial compliance
  • Manage and mitigate financial risks
  • Prepare and submit financial reports to sponsors
  • Liaise with auditors and monitoring officers
  • Close project accounts
  • Coordinate post award activities with Research Services

Risk Management

Risk Management provides resources and advice for faculty, staff, and students to manage and balance risks, and to prevent and reduce losses without unnecessarily limiting activities that contribute to the university's overarching goals. Research Services will liaise with Risk Management on your behalf when your contracts include indemnities that may put SFU under risk or unreasonable obligation during the post award Compliance stage of your project lifecycle. Please go to the Legal Compliance page for details.

Human Resources

Workers compensation or employee benefit questions in relation to research activities should be directed to SFU Human Resources.

Workers Compensation: BC Workers Compensation coverage is provided to university faculty and staff on university payroll. Individuals who are employed under research grants and contracts are also covered by Workers' Compensation while performing their duties. Please note that graduate students who are paid scholarship income from research grants and contracts are not covered by Workers' Compensation.

Procurement Services

The purchase of goods and services at SFU is the responsibility of Procurement Services. The overriding objective of Procurement Services is to acquire goods and services in a manner that results in the best overall value to SFU. If you have a research project that requires a service (e.g., analytical testing, professional printing, etc.) Procurement Services will help you set up a service contract with your service provider based on bids or statement of work from the third party. Please remember to have at least three bids from service providers for contracts over $50,000. 

Faculty Relations

Faculty Relations serves as the planning, policy advising, and administration office for teaching research faculty, librarian and archivist faculty, and academic administrators at SFU. Your Faculty Relations office takes care of non-research accounts, appointments, new faculty setup and help determine your eligibility to carry on certain activities. Faculty Relations help you make sure you follow internal policies and your collective agreement in all pre and post award activities.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

The mission of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is to promote academic excellence for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at SFU. Research Services will liaise with the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office when your research project involves graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who apply as PI for selected funding opportunities while under your supervision or are named on Mitacs applications (e.g. Accelerate, Elevate, and Globalink). Please contact Research Services (ors@sfu.ca) to help determine their eligibility to apply for or hold grants.

Office of the Vice President, Academic 

The primary objectives of the Office of Vice President, Academic (VPA) are to resource and support an outstanding education for SFU students and to provide a productive research environment for Faculty by

  • Attracting and supporting the best students
  • Recruiting and retaining faculty who are outstanding teachers and researchers
  • Supporting excellence and innovation in academic programs
  • Promoting excellence in research, scholarship and teaching
  • Responding to community needs for education and research

Research Services works with the VPA on matters related to Canada Research Chairs, research fellowships, endowments, space allocation and institutional research planning. 


SFU University Advancement creates opportunities, builds partnerships and cultivates strong relationships with alumni, donors, leaders, students and university employees. In some cases, you may receive funds for research in the form of a donation. Research Services will coordinate with Advancement when the donation is for research purposes and includes institutional commitments.