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Please note: The PDF-based Signature Sheet and approval workflow has been replaced by an internal approval via Kuali Research. Signature Sheets are no longer being accepted by Research Services. If you have questions regarding this change please contact Anikó Takács-Cox, Director, at

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  1. What is internal approval?
  2. Who must provide approvals?
  3. Special requirements
  4. Investigator fees

Internal approval (formerly known as the SFU Signature Sheet) must be completed on all research funding applications and proposals regardless of whether the funding organization requires university sign-off (i.e. a routing slip). This process is an SFU-specific requirement (per policy R10.01), and will occur in addition to  approval processes required by other external parties involved in the funding process.


What is Internal Approval?

Per University Policy R10.01, internal approval is required for all research grants and contracts that bring external funding to SFU. Internal research approvals are secured at the proposal stage to ensure that the proposed activities can be fully supported at department, faculty and institutional levels before the application is submitted for funding consideration to external parties. Internal approval provides details about your funding application which helps with project setup, resource planning and ensuring compliance for your team, department and the university.

It is your responsibility as the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit all information and secure all approvals by the internal deadline. Research Services requests that approvals are submitted 3 business days before the external application deadline. Note also that Chair and Dean offices have their own deadlines with which you need to be familiar. 

Who Must Provide approvals?

Approvals are secured in the following order:

  1. the applicant(s)  (i.e. a Principal Investigator),
  2. the Department Chair or School Director,
  3. the Faculty Dean or Associate Dean,
  4. either the Director of Research Services or the Officer, Research Grants, who are delegated to sign applications on behalf of the Vice-President, Research., and,
  5. where the proposed research uses facilities that are part of a Research Centre or Institute, the Director of said Institute.


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. SFU co-investigators should be named on the internal application record if they are receiving money from the proposed project or promised resources towards it. After a funding decision, SFU co-investigators are required to complete and obtain internal approval on their portion of the budget. It is the responsibility of the PI to submit all applicable internal approval requests to Research Services when requesting university signature. Note: All SFU co-investigators who carry out the research funded by a successful application are required to follow the university's research-related policies.


Department Chair or School Director

The signature of the Department Chair or School Director acknowledges the availability in the department of facilities, space and other resources required to carry out the project, including specified incremental resources, and acknowledges the proposed time commitment by the principal investigator to the project.


Faculty Dean or Associate Dean

The signature of the Faculty Dean or Associate Dean indicates his/her approval regarding allocation of space and/or other resources, including specified incremental resources, for the project, within the faculty.


Director of Research Services or Officer, Research Grants

The signature of the Director of Research Services or Officer, Research Grants, signing on behalf of the Vice-President, Research, indicates that the university is prepared to administer funds received for the project, on behalf of the Principal Investigator. Specific terms may be subject to negotiation and final approval.

Special requirements

Many research projects, once awarded, will entail special requirements for the university. These requirements should be anticipated when the proposal is under development, and applicants must state for the benefit of university signatories whether incremental resources are going to be required for the project. These would include such items as:

  • Teaching release time with reference to semesters and number of courses (replacement costs to be indicated in the budget section);
  • Additional salary (investigator fees) to be charged by the principal and/ or faculty co-investigators for carrying out the research;
  • Space over and above that which is currently allocated;
  • If overhead is charged at a rate of less than 25% (see section 1 above), provide specific information as to what rate was used and why;
  • Equipment, services, facilities, or other resources to be provided by the university.


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 and be approved as part of the internal approval workflow. 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 the 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 10.25% in additional statutory costs such as CPP, EI and EHT. Research Accounting will review the documentation and forward it to Payroll for processing.