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Please check the sponsor guidelines of a specific funding opportunity regarding eligibility requirements before you start proposal development.

On this page:

  1. Applicant Eligibility
  2. Continuing Eligibility

Applicant Eligibility

SFU Principal Investigator

Serving in the role of Principal Investigator on a sponsored project is a privilege granted to certain people associated with Simon Fraser University.

Under the terms of SFU Policy R 10.01, External Research Grants and Contracts, the university will generally administer research grants and contracts only on behalf of faculty members (i.e., assistant professor, associate professor, professor, and professor emeritus) whose term of appointment is expected to span the term of funding.

As we are currently revisiting our policies regarding eligibility in order to comply with external policies, please contact Research Services at to discuss specific eligibility related questions. Some general considerations are listed below:

Limited Term Academic Staff

Limited term academic staff may apply for and hold Tri Agency operating grants on condition:

  • that their appointment is at least for 3 years or span the duration of the grant if appointment is shorter.
  • that if grant is longer than the 3-year appointment, it will have to be reassigned or terminated if the appointment is not renewed.
  • that they must be eligible to supervise students for research purposes (e.g. thesis supervision, not supervision of regular course or lab assignments).

Non-Faculty Members

In some cases, Tri-Agency operating 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 Professor, Postdoctoral Fellows and University Research Associates

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.

General guidelines for Adjunct Professor, Postdoctoral Fellows and University Research Associates based on Tri-Agency rules:

  • Their term of appointment should be at least 3 years during the award or span the award period if it is shorter than 3 years.
  • They may need to be eligible to supervise the research of students (e.g. thesis supervision, not supervision of regular course or lab assignments)
  • Adjunct Professors must have their primary academic affiliation with a Canadian eligible institution for SSHRC and NSERC Discovery or spend at least six months per year at an eligible Canadian institution.
  • They agree to abide by all University policies and procedures related to research administration.
  • They will not be paid from the grant on which they intend to be a principal or co-investigator unless the sponsor allows it.
  • They meet all sponsor eligibility for the specific grant opportunity.
  • Their department agrees to monitor, prevent and – if needed – cover over-expenditures and ineligible compensation.

Adjunct Professors, Postdoctoral Fellows, and University Research Associates who intend to apply for research grants must sign a SFU Grant Eligibility Form, which indicates their understanding of and agreement to the above conditions. The forms must be agreed to and signed by the Faculty Supervisor, Chair or Director and the Dean. In the case of Postdoctoral Fellows, the form also needs to be signed by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.


Visiting Professors

Visiting professors cannot apply for and hold research grants administered by the University.


Continuing Eligibility

For Tri-Agency (i.e., SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) programs, a SFU Principal Investigator must continue to meet the Agency’s eligibility criteria throughout the entire duration of the award so that the Tri-Agency can release future instalments to the university.

It is the responsibility of the University to notify the specific agency as soon as a SFU PI’s eligibility changes at any time during tenure of the grant. These changes could include the following.

  • A change in position at SFU
  • A change from full-time to part-time status
  • A change to a term position during the course of the grant
  • Taking a position outside of Canada (academic or other)

Please check the following NSERC guidelines and their associated checklists.

Last updated: March 26, 2024