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  1. Sabbatical/Research leave (Tri-Agency grants)
  2. Maternity/Parental leave and Medical Leave (Tri-Agency grants)
  3. Resignation
  4. Transferring an active project to a new institution
  5. Sub-Awards
  6. Research equipment


A 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)
  • Leaves of greater than 12 months
  • Resignation
  • Retirement and emeritus appointment

If your award is a contract or a non-Tri Agency grant, please review termination terms or contact Research Services to help you navigate them as soon as your leave is confirmed.

The Tri Agencies have specific guidelines that are described below. Many sponsors adopt the Tri Agency guidelines so the information is useful regardless where your funding comes from.

Sabbatical/Research leave (Tri-Agency grants)

Please check SFU policies on study leave.

Generally, the Agencies accept sabbatical/research leave (paid or unpaid) up to one year without prior notification. A SFU PI will continue to receive instalments/annual commitments during the period of sabbatical/research leave. No additional funds will be given to cover the period of sabbatical/research leave.

A SFU PI who takes a sabbatical leave for more than one year should notify the funding agency and Research Services ( The Agencies will consider terminating grants when the PI takes a sabbatical leave for more than one year. In addition, there must be at least one year between two sabbatical/research leaves for a grant to continue.

Maternity/Parental leave and medical Leave (Tri-Agency grants)

The general SFU policies relating to maternityparentalmedical leave apply.

A SFU PI who takes maternity, parental or medical leave should inform the funding agency and Research Services ( as soon as the leave is confirmed and dates are known.

The Agencies recognize that extended leave (3 months or more) granted to the PI by SFU may have an impact on the PI’s research projects, and, therefore, offer the following options:

  • When an extended leave of absence has been taken by the SFU PI, he/she may request (1) an extension of the term of the current grant up to two years (NSERC and SSHRC), and (2) an amount to cover eligible expenses during the extended leave of absence up to two years (NSERC), at a level up to but not exceeding the current amount.
  • The PI may defer submission of a renewal application.
  • The PI may compete for a grant in the usual way.
  • The PI may request an Extension for Use of Funds beyond a Grant Period in order to manage unspent funds and mitigate the impact of the leave period (CIHR).



Please check SFU resignation policy.

A SFU PI must inform Research Services ( promptly upon receipt of resignation notification. Lack of prompt notification may increase the risk of ineligible expenses that the department or Faculty will need to absorb.

The following scenarios may be applied to the SFU PI.

  • The SFU PI can maintain PI status if meets Adjunct Professor eligibility
  • The SFU PI who relocates to an eligible Canadian institution can transfer the grant to a new institution. 
  • The SFU PI, who does not have an eligible adjunct status, but has co-applicants, can request a change in the lead PI.
  • The agency will terminate the grant if the SFU PI has neither an eligible adjunct status nor co-applicants.

SFU PIs should be mindful of significant expenses made after confirming resignation. Sponsors may deny expenses incurred after notification date (prior to final departure date). Furthermore, PIs should be mindful of expenses charged to recently awarded grants after confirming resignation. Again, sponsors could deny such expenses. If you wish to make expenses, best to obtain prior approval from the granting agencies before authorizing.


Transferring an active project to a new institution

Each sponsor has different procedures regarding transferring a grant to a new institution, and rules and regulations on grant transfers vary on a case-by-case basis.

A PI who is leaving SFU and desires to transfer an active research project to a new institution must determine if a transfer is permissible as per sponsor requirements. If transfer is permissible, follow the process below to transfer the active project to the new institution.

  1. Step 1: The PI informs Research Services of desire to transfer an active project to a new institution and obtains permission from sponsor to do so. The following information should be shared with Research Services:
    • Name of the new institution
    • Final date of employment at SFU and effective date of transfer
    • Plans for transfer, or necessary changes to the active research project
    • Most sponsors will require a brief summary of progress to date and description of work accomplished.
    • Amounts of funds to be transferred. It will be necessary to stop initiating charges to the project account, as all outstanding charges must be identified prior to making the transfer request. The PI must review all expenditures to assure appropriate allocation of expenses in preparation of the closeout.
    • Contact information for a departmental staff person or sponsored program staff person at the new institution
  2. Step 2: The PI is responsible for initiating the transfer process. To begin, the PI contacts the sponsor for procedures to transfer award to the new institution and communicate the transfer procedures and documents to Research Services.
  3. Step 3: Research Services works with the PI to submit the relinquishing paperwork to the sponsor.
  4. Step 4: The sponsor sends Research Services revised award document to change period of performance and de-obligate remaining funds per the relinquishing.
  5. Step 5: The PI must prepare and timely submit all required progress or technical reports to the sponsor. Research Accounting will prepare and submit all final financial reports to the sponsor.
  6. Step 6: When all expenses clear, Research Services releases cheque or returns unspent funds to the sponsor and closes out  the project.

Transfer may take longer than anticipated in order to coordinate with the sponsor, Department/Faculty, and new institution. Therefore, it is best to begin the process as soon as possible. 



Research Services will terminate any sub-awards dependent on the transferring funds. Research Accounting will work with sub-awardees to ensure that all required reports are returned into Research Services.


Research equipment

Equipment purchased from external funds or with university funds (including internal research funds) belongs to SFU. This equipment will remain with the university and the leaving PI will not transfer it to a new institution.

Equipment purchased with funds from a Canadian granting Council or research contract, may be transferred to another Canadian university when a PI leaves SFU provided that the equipment is not necessary for the research activities of other researchers at SFU. Otherwise, the equipment will remain at SFU.


Last updated: February 7, 2024