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Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the university CRC process:

  • As per CRC requirements, proposals must align with the university Strategic Research Plan (SRP).
  • The allocation and hiring process, and composition of the university CRC cohort must respect the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) criteria of both the CRC program and the university.
  • CRC positions should be used to recruit outstanding faculty to the university. Use of a Chair for retention is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  • All Chairs that are not renewed, or become otherwise vacant, will revert back centrally to the university for reallocation, in accordance with these principles.
  • All Chairs should normally have the opportunity to apply once, and only once, for renewal. This limits the term of T2 Chairs to 10 years and T1 Chairs to 14 years. Chairs who start at SFU with a T2 chair and apply for a T1 chair on renewal may serve for up to 12 years (i.e. 5+7).
  • The university should endeavour to make full use of its allocation each year.   
  • T2 candidate should show potential to grow into a leader in their research field. As a guideline, T2 candidates should be in the top 10% of their field among candidates at similar stage of career.
  • T1 candidate should be an internationally recognized leader in their field of study and should also be a leader in the university as a whole.


Normal procedures for allocation of chairs within SFU

The allocation of CRCs to the university is set by the eligible Tri-Agency funding obtained by SFU researchers in the preceding three years. In recognition of this, the current practice is to allocate a portion (e.g., 2/3) of SFU CRC positions to Faculties according to the fraction of Tri-Agency funding obtained in that Faculty. These positions should be written into the 3-year hiring plan for the respective Faculty, after consultation with the Associate Vice-President, Research (AVPR). Any of these positions which remain unfilled for more than 1 year will revert back to the pool of centrally held chairs as described below unless the delay is the result of a failed search. Failed searches will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The remainder of the CRC positions (e.g., 1/3) are held centrally, to be allocated in response to strategic university priorities. There are two recommended paths for allocating a centrally held Chair:

1.       A Dean (or set of Deans) identifies an area and/or a specific candidate which they believe addresses a strategic university priority. This proposal is then brought forth to the AVPR for discussion.

2.       The Vice-President, Research and International (VPRI) and Provost identify a priority area and approach the Deans Council to determine which Faculties wish to be involved in the search. Interested Faculties will be invited to participate in the Search Committee. One or more of the interested Faculties will then host the selected candidate.

An allocation of an SFU CRC must be approved by the relevant Dean(s), the VPRI and the Provost.

It should be noted that all externally funded Chairs are subject to Articles 42.67-42.71 of the SFU Faculty Association Collection Agreement. These articles state that Chair positions must be reviewed by the VPA who makes recommendations to the President regarding appointments.

It is important to recognize that SFU has a long history of under-utilizing its allocation of chairs. This has resulted in a loss of university research and teaching capacity as well as forgone federal funding of typically $1M-$2M per year. Aggressive use of the university CRC allocation to attract exceptional researchers in strategic areas should be encouraged.

The Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) is committed to excellence in research and achieving a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive research enterprise. In furtherance of this commitment the CRCP required all institutions to develop EDI action plans and has established EDI requirements and practices for the CRC nomination process. SFU’s EDI Action Plan outlines objectives designed to improve elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion among chairholders; procedures for allocating chairs will reflect SFU’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and consider the recommended objectives outlined in SFU’s action plan. An update on SFU's progress on the objectives of the EDI Action Plan can be found here under Public Reports.


Process for recruiting a CRC

Once an internal allocation of a CRC is approved (see above), the CRC program brings additional steps into the recruitment process, beyond what is needed in a regular faculty hire. This includes review of the job advertisement for alignment with CRC EDI policies, with the university strategic research plan and with the university faculty hiring plan. The process is illustrated in Figure 1.

Upon final approval of the ad, the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Relations will meet with the Search Committee to go over the CRC EDI requirements and discuss bias training. Once the CRC candidate has been evaluated by the Search Committee (or TPC), the nominee will negotiate the specific terms of their CRC appointment with the relevant Dean(s). In some cases, such as centrally held strategic CRCs, the hire may be contingent on a successful CRC application; in these cases, the standard CRC nomination and faculty appointment process is followed, but the appointment letter from the President’s office will clearly state that the faculty appointment is contingent upon a successful CRC nomination. Otherwise, the regular SFU faculty appointment process is followed.


CRC application process

After a candidate has been selected and approved by the VPRI/VPA, a CRC application must be prepared and submitted to the TIPS. It should be noted that this is not a federal “rubber stamp”, it is a rigorous peer review process that may result in the rejection of the application. Care must therefore be taken to prepare the strongest possible proposal, well-aligned with CRC rules and priorities. The application process is shown in Figure 3.


Transition out of a CRC appointment

While faculty hired as CRCs have ongoing faculty appointments, the CRC awards themselves are limited-term. During that term, it is typical for the Chair to have additional benefits and responsibilities associated with the Chair, including reduced teaching and administrative load, additional salary stipend and participation in seminar series or other CRC activities within the university. Chairs may find the transition to regular faculty status to be difficult, with a sudden increase in duties that may be accompanied by a reduction in research productivity. With forethought and preparation, it may be possible to smooth the transition at the level of the individual faculty member, their department/school, their Faculty or the university. Each CRC should therefore be contacted, by their Faculty Dean, approximately 18 months in advance of their end of term to initiate creation of a transition plan. 

Last updated: May 7, 2020