Reallocation, Renewal and Reduction of Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) at Memorial University
Approval Date: 2012-10-18
Effective Date: 2014-03-11
Review Date: 2019-04-18
CRCs are an important research resource that must be deployed through a rigorous process designed to optimize their effectiveness in advancing strategically the University's research enterprise while simultaneously avoiding entrenchment, and creating equitable opportunities for access to the program across all Faculties, Schools, and Campuses. To achieve these objectives will require a more robust mechanism for reallocating CRC's in strategic areas across the Faculties/Schools/Campuses. In conjunction, a definitive renewal policy is also required. The purpose of this policy is aligned with the goals and objectives of Memorial's new Strategic Research Framework.
All academic units of Memorial University that wish to apply or re-apply for a Canada Research Chair.
Academic Unit - For purposes of this document, an academic unit is one of: the Faculties/Schools on the St. John's Campus (with exception of SGS); the Grenfell Campus; or the Marine Institute Campus.
CRC Steering Committee - The CRC allocation and renewal policy will be administered by a CRC Steering Committee consisting of the Vice-President (Research) and Provost & Vice-President (Academic), who shall be co-Chairs, an Associate Vice-President (Research) and an Associate Vice-President (Academic). The primary responsibility of the Steering Committee is the effective management of the University's quota of CRCs, in particular, the overall deployment of Canada Research Chairs, assessment of performance of first term incumbents as the basis for decisions on University support for second term renewals, and decisions on splitting a vacant Tier 1 into two Tier 2's or vice versa. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Steering Committee may consult and seek opinions from other bodies and/or individuals. The Steering Committee will make recommendations to the Vice-Presidents Council (VPC) who will be responsible for all final decisions.
Advisory Bodies - The Research Council (consisting of Associate Deans Research or equivalent) on the St. John's Campus and the Associate Vice-Presidents for Research (or equivalent) on the Grenfell and MI Campuses shall be advisory to, and routinely consulted by, the Steering Committee on applications for renewal and reallocation, and also on possible or proposed policy changes. The Steering Committee shall also provide summative reports of its operations and decisions to VPC.
Reallocation - refers to the assignment of a vacant CRC position to a Faculty/School/Campus and in a particular thematic area.
Limit on number of terms - An incumbent is eligible to be considered for renewal for a single additional term (i.e. a total of 10 years for Tier 2 CRC and 14 years for a Tier 1 CRC). Whereas the federal CRC program guidelines place no limit on the number of renewals for the Tier 1 category, Memorial will have a limit of one renewal; only in exceptional circumstances where a compelling case exists, as judged by the academic unit and the Steering Committee, would consideration be given to renewal for a third term as Tier 1. Federal CRC program guidelines limit Tier 2's to a single renewal.
The internal process for determining whether the University will support a renewal application by an incumbent is described below. The timing of this process will normally be such that a decision by the University to support a renewal application would be made sufficiently in advance of the expiry of the incumbent's 1st term that adjudication of the application by the CRC Secretariat would be completed before expiration of the first term (thus typically apply in year 4 for a Tier 2 and year 6 for Tier 1). In the event that an incumbent is not recommended for renewal by the academic unit or by the Steering Committee, the CRC position will become available for reallocation at the end of the incumbent's first term. The reallocation exercise includes the opportunity for the unit currently hosting the CRC to apply anew for the position via a competitive process described below and to seek a new candidate.
The academic unit will determine if incumbent wishes to seek a second term. If not, the CRC will become available for reallocation as per the process below.
If the incumbent wishes to be considered for a second term, the academic unit will assess the performance, track-record, and future promise of the incumbent as a CRC in order to determine whether to recommend to the Steering Committee that the incumbent be permitted to apply to the CRC Secretariat for a second term. It is highly recommended that each academic unit establish a defined and transparent policy/process for the consideration of renewals. It is expected that this process will respect the principles of peer-review, and include assessments from peers, both internal and external to the University.
If the academic unit's decision is negative, the CRC will become available for reallocation as per the process below. In either case (negative or positive), the academic unit will submit a file to the CRC Steering Committee that includes material submitted by the incumbent in support of his/her renewal application at the unit level, and the academic unit's assessment of the candidate's application and performance as a CRC.
The Steering Committee will assess the performance, track-record, and future promise of the incumbent as a CRC based primarily on the file submitted by the academic unit. The Committee may consult and/or seek opinions from other bodies or individuals if additional information and/or input is deemed necessary.
In evaluating the application for renewal, the following general criteria will apply (in no particular order):
- Record of research productivity and external funding;
- Record of research collaborations here and/or elsewhere;
- Record of/potential for graduate training;
- Research excellence and reputation of the Chair;
- Record of/potential for research leadership appropriate to the category of the Chair (Tier I versus Tier II);
- Impact of the Chair on Memorial's capacity and international reputation in research; and
- Impact of the Chair in the thematic and/or disciplinary area of the CRC.
Consideration will be given to first-term Tier 2 renewals to take into account the fact that the incumbents are in the early stages of an academic career (CRC program requires Tier 2's to be within 10 years of the PhD at beginning of 1st term) and as such are in the process of developing an independent research program (tenure-track) or developing a mature research program (recently tenured). Special considerations include, but are not limited to: possible delays in acquiring and/or setting up research infrastructure for the first time or re-establishing it upon relocation to MUN; and normal latency in achieving levels of supervision of graduate students and undergraduate research assistants commensurate with disciplinary/unit norms.
If the decision of VPC is positive, the incumbent will be invited to prepare a full renewal application to the CRC Secretariat. If the decision is negative, or the CRC Secretariat rejects the renewal application, the CRC will become available for reallocation as per process below.
Reallocation pool - A CRC position is deemed vacant under any of the following conditions:
i. completion of two terms by an incumbent;
ii. non-renewal of an incumbent for a second term;
iii. retirement or resignation of an incumbent during a second term;
iv. increment to University's CRC quota by the CRC Secretariat.
A unit is not entitled to retain an existing CRC position in a given thematic area when that position becomes vacant. The unit must normally apply anew for the position via a competitive process described below if it wishes to retain a CRC in the given thematic area. Alternatively, the unit with a vacant CRC position may make an application in a different thematic area. Only in exceptional circumstances where a compelling case exists, as judged by the academic unit and the Steering Committee, would consideration be given to allow the vacant CRC position to remain in its current academic unit.
In the event of a retirement or resignation of an incumbent during the first term, the CRC position will normally remain in the academic unit and thematic area to which it was originally assigned and be deemed refillable, as opposed to "vacant" as per the above vacancy criteria. The unit would then seek permission to recruit subject to the conditions in part (b) below.
The Steering Committee will maintain an up-to-date list of the pool of CRCs known to be, and known to be becoming, available; it will distribute this list to academic units, at least once in each of the fall and winter terms and also upon request.
Positions in the published reallocation pool will be assigned using a competitive process, based on the adjudication of written proposals submitted by the units. It is anticipated that one competition per annum will suffice, but additional competitions may be scheduled by the Committee. Consideration will be given to including CRC reallocation applications in the annual budget submission process, as this would achieve considerable efficiencies and synergies. Details of the application process will accompany the call for proposals. The unit(s) with successful applications would then seek permission to recruit subject to the following conditions:
i. availability of a base-funded faculty position at the appropriate salary level;
ii. availability of funding to cover increases in salaries and benefits if the position in (i) is not included in the government operating budget;
iii. open search, i.e., open to internal and external candidates.
Proposals will be assessed by a Selection Committee whose members are drawn from all campuses. Co-chaired by the Vice-President (Research) and Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Selection Committee will be comprised of 2 Associate Vice-Presidents, 2 Deans and 2 Department Heads (or equivalent). Proposals will be adjudicated and ranked using the following general criteria (in no particular order):
i. Consistency with Memorial's Strategic Research Framework, Memorial's Strategic Plan (or equivalent), and the Strategic Research Plan (or equivalent) of the Faculty/School/Campus;
ii. Fit with unit's academic plan (or equivalent) and academic staffing strategy;
iii. Need for, and opportunity to build, "critical mass" in the proposed theme;
iv. Potential for collaborations here and/or elsewhere;
v. Potential for graduate and postdoctoral training;
vi. Unit expectations for research leadershipa, including leadership appropriate to the category of the Chair (Tier I versus Tier II)b; and,
vii. Potential/perceived impact of the proposed Chair on Memorial's capacity and international reputation in research.
a) It is recommended that units develop and make explicit CRC leadership expectations.
b) To be described in an accompanying document (in preparation).
The Selection Committee will make recommendations to VPC for final decision. Unsuccessful proposals may be held over to the next competition upon mutual agreement between the unit and the Selection Committee.
Academic units are encouraged to develop an open and transparent process for the generation and adjudication of proposals within the unit in order to arrive at proposals to be forwarded to the Steering Committee for consideration in the pan-university competitive reallocation process.
(3) Reduction to University's CRC Quota
Every two years, the CRC Secretariat undertakes a review of Tri-Council funding (i.e., CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) to all eligible institutions as the basis for adjusting their respective number of Chairs. The number of Chairs allocated to each institution may increase, remain the same, or be reduced depending on its relative performance in Tri-Council funding.
In the case of a reduction to the University's CRC quota, the Secretariat implements a phase-out funding mechanism using a sliding scale of decreasing support. The current level of funding provided for Chairs lost in the 2010 re-allocation is 100 per cent for six months, then 50 per cent for the next six months. Based on this arrangement, central funding from the University will be provided to the host Faculty to cover the 50 per cent reduction in the CRC award during the final six months. Following the one-year phase-out period, all salary and benefit costs associated with the CRC will be the responsibility of the host Faculty.
 The duration of the phase-out period, as well as the length of time CRC funding will be applied at 100 per cent and 50 per cent ma vary, depending on the CRC program budget ar the time of the reallocations. Central funding from the University will be adjusted accordingly if and when such a change occurs.
There are no procedures associated with this policy.