Frequently Asked Questions
Please feel free to contact the Research & Scholarly Activity Office staff other specific questions that you might have.
For a thorough application anticipate starting the process 6 months to a year in advance. See the Tips and Guidelines for Writing Grant Applications web page for resources and a full timeline.
Yes! We have various grant applications on file at the Research & Scholarly Activity Office. Some faculty members have given us permission to share their applications to assist others. Please make an appointment with the Grant Facilitator to make your request.
For SSHRC and NSERC: Use University-College Professor. If the grant application has a list of possible titles which doesn't list university professor, use Other and put University Professor in the Other, Explain field.
For CFI: CFI does not have a policy. They suggest we try to use the best match for the position of the researcher. Consult with the Research and Scholarly Activity Office to determine the best match.
Am I tenured according to SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC since we don't have a traditional rank and tenure system here at VIU?
At VIU, if you hold a 'Regular' faculty position which is defined (Article
18.104.22.168 of the VIUFA Agreement): The term "regular" shall refer to faculty
with a renewable contractual appointment of one year or more', then SSHRC
considers that to be the equivalent of tenure.
For NSERC, on the front page of Form 100 (Personal Data Form) use the title 'University-College Professor' and select 'No' for 'Tenured or tenured track appointment' and indicate whether your appointment is full-time or part-time then proceed to fill out Appendix B of Form 100. Check the boxes: 'academic appointment', and for the box 'is this position of a limited duration' check 'No', and you can write: This is a full-time, continuing appointment at a University which does not currently have an academic rank and title system. Research and scholarship are a recognized component of the workload of University professors.
A CV not only contains information about your academic background and professional experience (see this resource on CVs and check their examples) but it is read very carefully by grant peer review committees. For example, they will look at it to help answer questions like:
- What did you do in your Masters and Phd. and have you done research since? Iif so, was there a natural step from your degree to the research or did you go off in a totally different direction? They want to see if you are developing a line of inquiry and will look at various sections of your CV to check for hints showing there is a logical progression in your career/research path.
- Have you done research where you were the lead researcher (this shows that you are an independent researcher)?
- Did you complete the research? If they can not see a completion date, then they might assume you have not finished and hence have not proven that you can successfully manage the research project process or the administration of a grant (budget management, reporting back, supervising staff, etc).
- Did you publish or present the results of your research as this shows that your research was not just a professional development activity (knowledge in rather than knowledge out) and, if your research was funded, they want to see that society benefited from you receiving those funds.
So your CV tells about your education and experience but it also tells the reader a whole lot more about you. Check these resources at The Chronicle.
Vancouver Island University is trying to support and encourage faculty to become more involved in research and scholarly activity and will try to match RTS, keeping in mind the realities of our tight budget.
VIU will attempt to budget an amount each year which would be available
for faculty to apply for Research Time Stipend. First priority would be those
faculty who apply for a grant in which RTS is provided and the University
is required to match that amount. At the time of signing the Institutional
Signature Sheet, the faculty member must discuss RTS funding with the Dean.
The Vice-President of Academic and Provost will match 50% of the University’s
commitment as long as the Dean provides the other 50%. The faculty member/researcher
must budget for at the higher end of a backfill rate which in 2011/2012 is
$13,600 (ie. not the sessional rate which is $7,500).
If there are any unused RTS funding still available, then multi-year Tri-Agency grants (e.g. Discovery Grants or SSHRC Insight grants) will have the next priority with the Dean and VPAP sharing the RTS costs. The Institutional Signature Sheet will be used to record RTS allocation agreements.
Can I hire a student research assistant? Will grant agencies pay for them? How much should I budget?
Yes, you can hire students and current research says that involving students helps mentor them and provides very satisfying learning experiences. However, be sure to provide jobs that are beneficial to them and relate to research and learning. Hiring for any duties that would normally be performed by a member of a bargaining unit (i.e. CUPE) needs to be done in accordance with that relevant contract agreement.
Granting agencies will usually pay for students but you need to read the grant guidelines for specifics. Many grant agencies prefer (but don't necessarily require) that you involve students. Also keep in mind that federal and provincial subsidies are often available but be aware that there are deadlines for applying. Check with the Campus Career Centre regarding the possibility of subsidies. Often internal (i.e. Research and Scholarly Activity Committee) and external grants can be used to match the subsidies.
Hiring of students is done in accordance with Vancouver Island University Board Policy 32.01 Employment of Students. Employment is also subject to the Employment Standards Act of BC, the BC Human Rights Code, the Workers' Compensation Act of BC, and the Vancouver Island University Board Policy 43.26 Employment of Relatives.
The internal VIU Research Awards Committee guidelines for support costs uses the following scale for Research Assistants: (These amounts include 4% vacation pay.)
- Undergraduates or Other: minimum $10/hr, maximum $18/hr
- Masters: minimum $10/hr, maximum $21/hr
- Ph.D.: minimum $12/hr, maximum $25/hr
Note: Overtime kicks in after 40 hours/week and needs to be budgeted for. Flexible work weeks are an option. See the Employment Standards Act of BC.
Don't forget to also budget for the employer's expenses of EI, CPP, and WCB which total 8.25%.
Example: 1 undergraduate student for 10 hours/week for 10 weeks at $12/hr (which includes 4% holiday pay)
|Total student wage: $12 x 10 x 10||
|Total employer's expense (EI, CPP, WCB):
$12 x 10 x 10 x .0825
|Total to budget for student expense:||
- VIU reimbursement rates and guidelines can be found on the Facial Services web site: Additional Guidelines for Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses.
- Refer to Board Policy 42.08 - Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses for additional details.
- See Financial Services Forms for appropriate forms.
- Financial Services has put together a Budget Cash Flow Form in excel to assist with managing your research funds.
Faculty that receive funding support for their research or scholarly activity should acknowledge the funding source with a statement in their publications or other appropriate method of dissemination. It should acknowledge both funding support and acknowledge collaboration with other faculty and/or students.
For acknowledging collaboration:
Where appropriate in their published work, the faculty member(s) shall indicate affiliation with Vancouver Island University and acknowledge their indebtedness to students and their academic colleagues in relation to their own research.
See also the Publicizing your grant or contract page.
For acknowledging funding, also include statements such as:
"This publication [or event] was supported by funds received from the Vancouver Island University, Capacity Building Grant and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council."
See also the Publicizing your grant or contract page.
You will need to be aware of the policies set out by your funding agency. Here are some examples:
- CIHR - Under a new policy, which applies to all grants awarded after January 1, 2008, grant recipients who receive whole or partial funding from CIHR must make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed research articles are freely available as soon as possible after publication.
- SSHRC – Research Data Archiving
If you are funded by a different agency, check your funding agency’s policies
I sent in my NSERC Form 180 - Notice of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant. Now I am writing up my Discovery Grant but I want to change the title of my application and the budget. Can I do that or do I have to stick with the Notice of Intent information?
The notice of Intent is only used to get a rough idea of how much funding is going to be asked for, how many applicants are planning on applying, how may applicants for each committee and to give the program staff a heads-up on preparing expert reviewers for the forthcoming application round. This means you are free to change the title or budget amounts, or the focus of your research; in fact everything on your NOI can be different.
Read through the SSHRC web page Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency.
- For NSERC Discovery Grants, yes. A grantee may deviate from his/her proposed research activities. Funds for salaries may be reallocated to supplies or travel as long as all expenses relate directly to the project for which the funds were awarded.
- All other grants have different rules, so it is important to check the program description on the website to verify rules pertaining to use of funds. If you aren’t sure, please contact NSERC directly or the Research Services Manager.
The lines blur between the two, but generally:
Refers to funds that are awarded to the recipient to enable the performance of self-directed research, where there is no contractual obligation for performance.
Refers to funds that are assigned for research purposes through a legally enforceable agreement which may include conditions setting forth specific terms governing the conduct, direction and scheduling of the tasks to be performed; designating ownership of proprietary rights to the research results; laying out the financial regimen to be followed; and other restrictions required by the research sponsor.
Are students working or volunteering for a faculty member or adjunct faculty covered by insurance while engaged in research? This would include current students, recent graduates (ie. they just graduated in June and are working for a researcher over the summer), and students registered at other institutions.
There are 5 types of insurance that may be of concern to faculty supervisors:
- Workers Compensation Insurance (Worksafe).
- If a student is being paid as an employee, then they are covered.
- If a student is receiving funds as an ‘award ‘ (such as an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award), then they are not an employee, and VIU is not paying WCB insurance, hence they would not be eligible to receive WCB coverage.
- Medical Insurance.
- The VIU Student Union can provide coverage. Generally, if someone was enrolled in the plan in September 2011, their coverage expires August 2012. Students should check with the VIU Student Union to see if they are covered. Details: http://viusu.ca/section/130
- VIU students, including International Students, can purchase a variety of insurance through our insurance providers: https://www.iscu.com/Personal/ProductsAndServices/Insurance/Student/
- Liability covers the institution, not the student. For example, a student trips and falls, then the VIU insurance would cover any lawsuits. VIU is insured through a self-insuring program entitled Universities, Colleges and Institutes Protection Program (UCIPP). Coverage is provided under the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development and includes universities, colleges and institutes in British Columbia. Registered students are covered (with some exceptions), to the extent liability arises from activities in connection with the institution,"while they are engaged in activities related to the applicable syllabus of education, or pursuant to their engagement in any occupational, vocational or similar training program operated by or on behalf of the institution or arising out of their participation in any sponsored activity".The program also extends to"persons, firms, societies, partnerships or corporate bodies who permit students to observe and participate in work-study or work experience programs under arrangement with the institution".
- In other words, the activity must be VIU sanctioned and under the supervision of a VIU researcher. Examples would be any activity in a VIU course (e.g. directed studies, a field school, practicums, any course the student is registered in, etc.) or a research activity under the supervision on a faculty member.
- VIU also carries volunteer insurance for non-students who are working as volunteers for VIU sponsored activities (eg. Milner Gardens)
- Automobile insurance.
- ICBC covers automobile insurance. If students are required to drive, they must have adequate insurance to cover the type/amount of driving. Students should review their coverage with ICBC. Likewise, the owner of the vehicle must have the correct insurance coverage if they require the student to drive it.
- International travel
- Please contact International Education to discuss travel insurance. Also check the authorization requirements for international travel.
- Criminal background checks – this is not insurance but faculty and students need to be aware that if they are working with vulnerable persons (elderly, disabled, minors under the age of 19) then they will need to have a criminal background check. The Manager of Admissions will handle this for VIU students who are engaged in this activity as part of a practicum.
- For other situations, check the online information page at the Ministry of Justice: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/criminal-records-review/ and contact the local police department.
Current Employees – require pre-authorization for travelling internationally from the Dean/Director, then the VPAP (see Temporary Operational Guidelines below). Copy of the approval email is to be attached to the Employee Expense Claim form. Initial approval to incur the expense is required by the cost centre holder.
Non-employees – does not require pre-authorization for international travel. Expenses are to be reimbursed through a Cheque Requisition with original receipts attached (and itemized on a summary sheet of expenses, if used by the cost centre holder) and it must be clearly stated in the “Detail/Explanation of Payment” section that the individual being reimbursed is not an employee. Expenses (e.g. airfare) are only reimbursed after the travel has taken place. Cash advances are not permitted, however, costs such as hotel and air travel can be covered directly by the institution (e.g. Purchase orders, purchase cards).
While pre-authorization at the institutional level for international travel is not required for non-employees, approval of the expense(s) is still required by the cost centre holder.
For questions on the above process, contact Shelley Lumsden at 740-6196.
EFFECTIVE April 1, 2012
Temporary Operational Guidance concerning approvals around International Travel. This guidance will be replaced when Policy 42.08 ‘Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses’ is revised.
International Travel & Expense reports
Currently there is a requirement that all international travel be authorized in advance. In addition, the expense report (which is submitted after a trip) requires approval by the Executive or Dean of International.
Prior approval of International travel – Why is this necessary?
International travel is often the target of criticism from the public and at times may be seen as a ‘perk’ by others. In addition, it is typically more expensive than domestic travel. Because of this sensitivity, it is important that the Executive have an opportunity to approve international travel in advance of the trip so that they have an opportunity to stop the trip if they feel it will cause problems. It also provides the Executive with good information about the rationale and purpose of travel abroad. Should they be challenged on a specific trip they will have the information to discuss the merits of the travel knowledgably.
Who can approve International Travel?
International travel can be approved by the Executive--VP’s & President (or designate) and the Dean of International. “Senior Approver” from this point onward refers to the appropriate member of the Executive or the Dean of International.
Approval for international travel should always be requested through Deans and Directors with approval sought from the Senior Approver most closely tied to the Dean or Director’s division.
What is required to show an international trip is approved?
A simple e-mail can be used as evidence that a trip is approved. The Senior Approver should be e-mailed (by Deans & Directors) with details of the proposed trip. Details should include the person who will be traveling, location, reason for travel, as well as the estimated cost. If the Senior Approver approves the trip they will respond to the e-mail indicating their approval.
Do I need a Senior Approver to approve my expense report after my trip?
No. The expense report is being redesigned to remove the requirement for the Executive or Dean of International to sign the report. Instead, all expense reports with international travel should include a copy of the e-mail evidencing that the trip was approved by the appropriate Senior Approver prior to the travel occurring. Expenditures on the expense report must be approved by a person with sufficient signing authority on the cost centres charged.
What if I submit an expense report without an e-mail indicating that the travel was approved in advance?
The expense report will be returned to the employee to attach the approval for out of country travel. Should the approval be requested after the travel has taken place, it will be up to the Senior Approvers discretion as to whether or not the expense report will be paid.
Please contact Leslie Bajkov at 740-6232 or Wendy Young at 740-6565.