SFU Signature Sheet
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The SFU Research Funding Application Signature Sheet (“Signature Sheet” or “Sig Sheet”) is an internal document required (by University Policy R10.01) with all research grant applications. It provides details about your funding application which helps not just with project setups, but also with resource planning and ensuring compliance for your team, Department 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 fullyed signed Signature Sheet includes following facts
- Essential information for accepting awards
- Acknowledgement of activities and resources within project by Department
- Open project file and streamline account setup
- Remind 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 not supported by a Signature Sheet because we have no confirmation from the Chair and the Dean with regard to the proposed activities.
Here are some FAQs regarding the Signature Sheet. Please contact Research Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions not answered here.
Who and why needs to sign the SFU Signature Sheet?
The SFU Signature Sheet is signed in order by
- Applicant. The PI or applicant is required to sign in order to indicate his/her acceptance and willingness to carry out the work within the established budget if the application is successful.
- Department Chair or School Director. The signature of the Department Chair acknowledges the availability of facilities, space, and other resources required to carry out the project, including specified incremental resources, and acknowledges the proposed time commitment by the PI to the project. If your Faculty has no Chair or Director, only a Dean signature is required (see 3)
- Faculty Dean. The signature of the Faculty Dean or designate indicates his/her approval regarding allocation of space and/or other resources, including specified incremental resources, for the project, within the Faculty.
- A delegate for the Vice President, Research (VPR). The signature of VPR, or delegate indicates that the university is prepared to administer funds received for the project, on behalf of the PI. Specific terms may be subject to negotiation and final approval. Please note that you do not need to contact VPR for signature. Please submit a fully signed Signature Sheet to Research Services (email@example.com) and we will secure the right signature for your application.
- Director of Research Centre or Institute. Where your proposed research uses facilities that are part of a Research Centre or Institute (e.g., Child and Family Research Institute), the Director of the Institute also needs to sign this form, analogously with the Department Chair's and Faculty Dean's approval.
Please note that the Dean, Director or Chair should secure a Signature Sheet from a superior if they submit an application as PIs. For Faculties (i.e., Education, Health Sciences, and Beedie School of Business) with no Department Chair or Director, one signature by the Dean is sufficient.
I am not the lead PI. Do I need to submit a separate Signature Sheet?
Yes. If your portion of the research project is receiving funds, you need to submit a Signature Sheet for your portion of the budget noting that you are a co-applicant and naming the lead PI.
- SFU Co-PI from the same department should sign the same Signature Sheet as the PI.
- SFU Co-PI from different departments and/or Faculties at SFU are required to complete and obtain signatures from their Department Chair and Faculty Dean on a separate Signature Sheet for their budget portion to indicate his/her acceptance and willingness to carry out the work within the established budget if the application is successful. The approval by the Chair and the Dean (for both lead and co-investigators) acknowledges the availability of facilities, space and other resources. The sheet, therefore, is not only relevant to Research Services (for application and documentation purposes), but also to keep heads of individual academic units and Faculties aware of research activities.
- SFU faculty member who is a Co-PI on a non-SFU application should complete an SFU Signature Sheet for the same reasons as above. In addition, if the non-SFU PI intends to share project funds with you, you will have already submitted the necessary paperwork to Research Services, so there will be no delay in transferring money to SFU and open an SFU account when the funds arrive.
Does my SFU Signature Sheet require original signatures?
No. Research Services does not require original, “wet” signatures on the SFU Signature Sheet. Please feel free to scan and email the sheet to Research Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How and when can I include Investigator Fee into 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, must be indicated on the SFU Funding Application Signature Sheet and have the approval of the Chair and Dean. Payment to faculty investigators on research contracts for which the sponsor has agreed to provide such payments are released at the conclusion of the contract once complete payment for the work has been received by the university. Please go to the Develop your Budget page for more information.
What is “Overhead”?
Overhead, or indirect costs, are those costs that are real but not easily linked to an activity in a particular research project, such as utilities, provision of institutional facilities, space, accounting, payroll, legal and administrative services, personnel services, janitorial services, and provision for equipment replacement. Every project involves indirect costs and the compensation of these costs is normally sought on all research funding. Please refer to the Indirect Costs (Overhead) page for more information.
In general, and similarly to other BC institutions, SFU requires a minimum 25% of direct costs to be added as overhead to budgets unless the sponsor limits the application of overhead or indirect costs by a policy in which case please attach a copy or a link to the policy when submitting your Signature Sheet. It is a good practice to include overhead in your initial ask for funding when talking to sponsors. For example, if you need $100,000 to cover research activities required for your goals or deliverables, you will need to ask for $125,000 to make sure your budget is sufficient after overhead is applied. Please check to make sure your overhead calculation is correct. Most sponsors apply it to all direct costs of research, but some (e.g. US Government) only allow overhead to be applied to salaries/wages including fringe benefits.
Please note that the Tri Agencies (i.e., SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) provide overhead to SFU directly. Therefore, you do not need to include overhead on Signature Sheets for these sponsors.
What is “Location of Research” on the SFU Signature Sheet?
If your research is conducted wholly or in part using the facilities of one of the following BC agencies or institutes, please circle the acronym of that agency on your Signature Sheet.
- BC Cancer Agency (BCCA)
- Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare (OHSAH)
- Child and Family Research Institute (CFRI)
- Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI)
- Providence Health Care Research Institute (PHCRI)
What are “Special Requirements” on the SFU Signature Sheet?
The Special Requirements box on the SFU Signature Sheet is information needed for approval of proposals. Many research projects, once awarded, will entail special requirements for the university. These requirements should be anticipated when the proposal is being developed, and the PI must specify whether incremental resources are going to be required for the project. Incremental resources include
- Teaching release time (replacement costs to be indicated in the budget section)
- Space over and above what is currently allocated
- Equipment, services, facilities, or other resources to be provided by SFU
When the extension of an existing project involves incremental resources, a new Signature Sheet is required.
The Special Requirements box may not be left blank. If no incremental resources or special requirements are anticipated, the word “none” should be typed in the box. It is very important to be aware that institutional approval for the application may be withdrawn if it is later determined that SFU cannot provide incremental resources that are required to carry out the work.
Do I need an SFU Signature Sheet for my Letter of Intent?
Some agencies have a two-stage application process involving a Letter of Intent (LOI) or Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI) followed by a full application. An SFU Signature Sheet is only required on an LOI or NOI if the funding agency requires institutional signatures (cover page to be signed by SFU representative), or if the LOI results in an award, such as a development award to assist with the preparation of a full application. In these cases, all appropriate SFU signatures are required, including the applicant, Department/School Head, Faculty Dean, and Research Services.
What do I need to know about “Investigator Fees”?
Investigators are ineligible to be paid from Tri-Agency (i.e., SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) grant funds. In some cases, the funding sponsor allows payment to investigators in recognition of their time, efforts and expertise. The amount of such a payment is often referred to as an investigator fee or Principal Investigator fee. In these cases, an investigator fee is usually established at the proposal stage, and must be indicated on the SFU Signature Sheet and have the approval of the Chair and Dean. Please check your collective agreement or talk to your department administrator for more details on investigator fees.
- Since overhead is calculated on all direct costs of the project, investigator fees must be included in calculating the total overhead.
- Payment to faculty investigators on research contracts are released at the conclusion of the contract once the University has received complete payment from the sponsor. In some cases, such payments may be released during the course of the contract if the duration of work is greater than twelve months. Such arrangements should be discussed with the Manager of Research Accounting after the project account is set up.
- Investigator fees are paid under 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. Research Accounting will review the documentation and forward it to Payroll for processing.