The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program offers eligible Canadian degree-granting institutions the opportunity to nominate outstanding researchers for senior professorships in areas that will further the institution’s strategic research plan and enable them to maximize their contributions as centres of research and research training.
Eligible postsecondary institutions receive a set number of chair allocations based on the funding received by their researchers from the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR); the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). See Method of Allocating Chairs for more information.
Institutions subsequently submit Chairs nominations to one of the program’s deadlines for peer review in order to fill their allocations. Note that individuals cannot apply to the program directly.
Chair positions are awarded to individual researchers who take up the chair on a full-time basis. Chairs cannot be shared, nor can they be occupied on a part-time basis.
Value and Duration
There are two types of Canada Research Chairs positions:
Tier 1 chairs, tenable for seven years and renewable, are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. For each Tier 1 chair, the institution receives $200,000 annually for seven years.
Tier 2 chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 chair, the institution receives $100,000 annually for five years.
- If a researcher resigns from a Tier 2 Chair position at one institution and accepts a Tier 2 Chair at another institution, he or she cannot be nominated for a third term, regardless of the number of years in the initial term.
- Tier 2 chairs are not meant to be a feeder group for Tier 1 chairs. The intent of funding Tier 2 Chairs is to provide emerging researchers with support that will kick-start their careers. As part of their strategic considerations in managing their CRC allocations, institutions should develop a succession plan for their Tier 2 chairs.
Eligibility of Nominees: Tier 1 and Tier 2 Chairs
Tier 1 Chairs
Nominees for Tier 1 chair positions must be full professors or associate professors who are expected to be promoted to the full professor level within one or two years of the nomination. Alternatively, if they come from outside the academic sector, nominees must possess the necessary qualifications to be appointed at these levels.
Tier 2 Chairs
Nominees for Tier 2 chair positions must be emerging scholars. They should, at a minimum, be assistant or associate professors, or possess the necessary qualifications to be appointed to these levels. See Tier 2 Justifications below for more information.
All institutions must ensure that the recruitment and nomination processes they follow in order to fill their Canada Research Chair allocations are transparent, open and equitable. See Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Recruitment and Nomination Process below for more information.
Tier 2 Justifications
As nominees for Tier 2 chairs positions must be emerging scholars, nominating institutions must justify nominating to a Tier 2 chair a professor or a researcher who is more than ten years from their highest degree at the time of nomination. In such cases, institutions must submit to the Chairs Secretariat a formal justification (using the Tier 2 Justification Screening Form), explaining why the nominee is still considered to be an emerging scholar.
Note: Potential Tier 2 candidates who are more than ten years from their highest degree must contact the research grants office (or equivalent) at the host institution directly for questions related to the institution’s Tier 2 allocations and their potential eligibility for a Tier 2 chair.
Where the potential candidate has obtained more than one PhD, or has obtained a professional degree (MD, DVM, DDS, DC, etc.) in addition to a PhD, and the first of these degrees is obtained more than 10 years previous, a Tier 2 Justification is required.
In cases where a habilitation qualification (or equivalent) is being pursued or has been attained, the candidate’s PhD is deemed to be the highest degree. In addition, time spent completing the habilitation qualification (or equivalent) is not considered a break in career and therefore cannot be used as a justification.
Acceptable justifications are generally limited to breaks in the candidate’s research career due to maternity or parental leave, extended sick leave, clinical training, and family care.
The quality or excellence of the individual is not an acceptable justification for nominating an individual who does not meet the eligibility requirements of a Tier 2 position.
Justification Submission Process
The institution must submit the Tier 2 Justification Screening Form and the nominee’s Chairs Secretariat CV by email to email@example.com. These documents may be submitted at any time throughout the year.
The Chairs Secretariat CV that accompanies the Tier 2 justification must list all research contributions and sources of research support over the candidate’s entire career.
Full Nomination in Conjunction with a Justification
Institutions may submit a full nomination package for a candidate to one of the program’s deadline dates while a decision is pending on that candidate’s Tier 2 justification.
Note: The full nomination package should include a version of the candidate’s Chairs Secretariat CV listing research contributions and sources of research support over the last 5 years only. This is unlike the CV required for the pending Tier 2 justification, which requires a CV listing research contributions and sources of research support over the candidate’s entire career.
Justification Evaluation Process
All Tier 2 justifications submitted following the required process and using the required form will be considered by the Secretariat. Institutions may expect a turnaround time of approximately four weeks from receipt of the justification package by the Secretariat to the notification of the decision. The Secretariat will not provide an update to institutions on the status of the review during the review period.
Note that only the completed justification form and the candidate’s CV will be examined as part of this review process, even in cases where a full nomination has been submitted concurrently.
In cases where a full nomination has been submitted while a decision on the justification is pending and where the candidate is deemed eligible to apply for a Tier 2 chair, the nomination will be evaluated following the program’s peer review process. If the justification is not accepted, the nomination will be withdrawn from the cycle.
In cases where only the justification is submitted and is accepted, the institution must then submit a full nomination package to one of the program’s regular nomination deadlines within the timeframe provided by the Secretariat; or, in the case of foreign researchers, within the timeframe provided by the Secretariat. Peer review of the nomination will then be carried out according to the program’s full evaluation criteria. If the Tier 2 justification is not accepted, the institution may not put the candidate forward as a Tier 2 Chair nominee.
Please note that if a nomination linked to an accepted Tier 2 justification is not recommended for funding through the program’s peer review process, the institution will be required to resubmit a Tier 2 justification prior to any subsequent resubmission of that candidate.
Advance a Tier 2 Chairholder to a Tier 1 Chair
To advance a current Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 chair during the term of the chair, institutions must use the same nomination process as for new nominees. The advancement nomination must be submitted to a nomination deadline early enough to ensure that the funding decision on the advancement nomination may be made prior to the end of the term of the Tier 2 chair.
In order to advance a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1chair, the chair must be continuing at the same institution. If the Tier 1 chair will be held at a different institution, the advancement nomination will be considered a new Tier 1 nomination.
If a nomination for advancement is not successful it is possible to submit either a Tier 2 renewal nomination for the chairholder (if applicable) or to resubmit an advancement nomination (in cases where the term of the Tier 2 chair has not yet ended).
Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Recruitment and Nomination Process
All institutions must ensure that their recruitment and nomination processes are transparent, open and equitable, as outlined in the Guidelines for Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Recruitment and Nomination Process. This applies to the nomination of new chairs (whether the chair position is used to retain current researchers or to recruit new researchers to the institution), as well as to the advancement of a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 chair. Institutions are encouraged to establish clear criteria that will be used to determine whether a chair will be nominated for renewal and to communicate these criteria to chairholders at the beginning of their terms.
The recruitment and nomination processes must be consistent with the principles and safeguards embodied in the institution’s existing tenure-track hiring practices (as described in the collective agreement or equivalent), and should involve practices such as:
- open advertising with a statement of commitment to equity in the nomination and appointment process;
- encouragement for persons in designated groups (e.g., women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, and members of visible minorities) to apply;
- active recruitment measures for members of underrepresented groups; and
- involvement in the chair recruitment, nomination and appointment process by the institution’s equity officers, or equivalent.
Chair Position Advertisements for Tier 2 Chairs
Institutions must ensure that the language relating to eligibility for Tier 2 chairs in their Canada Research Chair postings is neither misleading nor exclusionary.
Chair position postings should do the following:
- Encourage applications from all eligible candidates, and not imply that Tier 2 Chairs are exclusive to candidates who are, at the time of nomination, no more than 10 years from having earned their highest degree. Where breaks in the candidate’s research career exist due to maternity or parental leave, extended sick leave, clinical training, family care, etc., the Tier 2 justification process may be used to review a candidate’s eligibility. Postings should acknowledge the option available to potential applicants who are more than 10 years from having earned their highest degree and/or where applicable exceptional circumstances are present, to have their eligibility reviewed through the Tier 2 justification process.
- Separate the specific eligibility criteria required by the institution from that required by the Canada Research Chairs Program (as outlined on the Canada Research Chairs website). For example, while universities may require that applicants hold a PhD for a given position, this is not a program requirement (i.e., some chairs may hold other terminal degrees, or a combinations of degrees, that render them eligible for the program). Avoid statements such as “In accordance with the regulations set out for Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs, the candidate will hold a PhD (obtained within the last 10 years).”
The Chairs Secretariat suggests using the following wording for postings:
- Tier 2 Chairs are intended for exceptional emerging scholars (i.e., candidates must have been an active researcher in their field for fewer than 10 years at the time of nomination).
- Applicants who are more than 10 years from having earned their highest degree (and where career breaks exist, such as maternity, parental or extended sick leave, clinical training, etc.) may have their eligibility for a Tier 2 Chair assessed through the program’s Tier 2 justification process. Please contact the research grants office for more information.
- Please consult the Canada Research Chairs website for full program information, including further details on eligibility criteria.
- [Insert list of institutional eligibility criteria for posting.]
- For more information regarding eligibility criteria, please consult the Canada Research Chairs website.
The Chairs Secretariat monitors the institutions’ adherence to the CRC program’s recruitment and nomination guidelines, and reserves the right to ask institutions to provide, at any time within the 24 months following the nomination, documentation (as outlined in the Chairs Administration Guide) attesting that the process used to recruit chairholders was transparent, open and equitable.
Peer Review Process
The CRC program is founded upon an uncompromising commitment to excellence in research and research training. It follows a peer review process governed by the College of Reviewers and the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee.
All nominations, whether for a new chair, the renewal of a current chair, the advancement of a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 chair at the same institution, or a resubmission, are assessed by the College of Reviewers.
All nominations are peer reviewed by a minimum of three experts in the field of research of the proposed program of research. Nominations may also be peer reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee comprised of researchers with expertise in various disciplines within the health sciences, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities. Because of the potential for adjudication by an interdisciplinary committee, institutions should ensure that their nominations are written in a way that will convincingly demonstrate to an interdisciplinary panel how the nomination meets the CRC program’s evaluation criteria. In particular, institutions are advised to avoid the use of jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms, where possible, and to describe the proposed program of research in a way that allows informed assessment by committee members who may not have direct expertise in the area.
For complete details about the CRC program’s peer review process, see Peer Review.
Reviewers and the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee assess all nominations against the following criteria:
- Quality of the nominee and the proposed research program
- Quality of the institutional environment; institutional commitment; and fit of the proposed chair with the institution’s strategic research plan
1. Quality of the nominee and the proposed research program
|Tier 1 chair
||Tier 2 chair
To meet the criteria of the program, nominees must:
- be outstanding and innovative world-class researchers whose accomplishments have made a major impact in their fields;
- be recognized internationally as leaders in their fields;
- have superior records of attracting and supervising graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (taking into account different practices in the relevant field or discipline) and, as chairholders, be expected to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and
- be proposing an original, innovative research program of the highest quality.
|To meet the criteria of the program, nominees must:
- be excellent emerging world-class researchers who have demonstrated particular research creativity;
- have demonstrated the potential to achieve international recognition in their fields in the next five to ten years;
- as chairholders, have the potential to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and
- be proposing an original, innovative research program of high quality.
|2. Quality of the institutional environment; institutional commitment; and fit of the proposed chair with the institution’s strategic research plan
|a. Institutional environment
The institution must describe the quality of the existing or planned institutional environment in which it will establish the proposed chair, including opportunities for collaboration with other researchers working in the same or related areas at the nominating institution, in the same region, within Canada and abroad.
|b. Institutional commitment
The institution must demonstrate that it and, as applicable, any affiliated institutions, hospitals, institutes, etc., will provide chairholders with the support they need to ensure the success of their work, such as protected time for research (e.g., release from certain teaching or administrative duties), mentoring (if applicable), additional funds, office space, administrative support, and hiring of other faculty members.
|c. Fit of the proposed chair with the strategic research plan
The institution is required to demonstrate the fit of the proposed chair with the institution’s strategic research plan and the importance of the proposed chair to the attainment of the institution’s objectives.
Nomination Deadlines and Related Dates
All nominations must be submitted electronically through the CRC program’s institutional portal (extranet) by the relevant nomination deadline. Nominations received after the deadline will be withdrawn from the cycle. The paper copy (which follows the specifications outlined in the summary of nomination process table) of the nomination must be postmarked by midnight of the deadline.
||Final deadlines to submit letters of reference*
||CV update deadlines**
||Anticipated decision dates
||Anticipated public announcements of chairs awarded (subject to change)
|April 28, 2014
||May 12, 2014
||September 15, 2014
|October 10, 2014
||October 24, 2014
||March 16, 2015
|April 27, 2015
||May 11, 2015
||September 14, 2015
|October 9, 2015
||October 23, 2015
||March 14, 2016
|April 25, 2016
||May 6, 2016
||September 9, 2016
|October 24, 2016
||November 4, 2016
||March 6, 2017
|April 25, 2017
||May 9, 2017
||September 4, 2017
|October 23, 2017
||November 3, 2017
||March 9, 2017
A foreign nominee (whether a foreign national or Canadian citizen) may be either:
- a foreign researcher who has been employed at the nominating institution on a full-time basis for less than one year prior to the date of the submission of the nomination.
- These foreign nominations must be submitted to one of the program’s nomination deadlines and the peer review process is not expedited; or
- a foreign researcher who is employed outside of Canada at the time of the submission of the nomination.
- The Chairs Secretariat has an ‘open’ submission process for the nomination of foreign researchers who are employed outside of Canada at the time of submission, meaning that these foreign nominations are not subject to the set nomination deadlines and are accepted at any time during the year. In cases where peer review is unanimously favourable, the executive director of the CRC program has the delegated authority to approve the funding recommendation made by the College of Reviewers.
The CRC program imposes no restrictions on nominees with regard to nationality or country of residence. Procedures to allow non-Canadian chairholders to work in Canada have been established by Employment and Social Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Other procedures have been established by the provincial government of Quebec for foreign researchers taking up a chair in that province.
Letters of Reference
*All nominations must include three letters of reference that meet the CRC program’s conflict of interest requirements. Institutions are provided an additional two weeks after the final deadlines to submit letters to meet this requirement. Institutions should consult the institutional portal to monitor the receipt of letters and ensure that all three letters are received for each of their nominations before the extended deadline.
Note: A nomination that is missing letters of reference after the two-week extended deadline will be withdrawn from the cycle.
Please consult the complete guidelines for letters of reference for further information.
**The Secretariat will accept, by the relevant CV update deadlines indicated above, supplemental information strictly limited to updates regarding publications and research support. This supplemental information must be sent to the Secretariat as an email attachment (Word or PDF) by the institution’s research office. The Secretariat will forward the information to members of the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee as necessary. The information will not be seen by members of the College of Reviewers. Note that only nominations that have received one or more unfavourable assessments from members of the College of Reviewers will be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee.
Institutions are encouraged to submit all CV updates by the relevant CV update deadline to ensure that committee members have adequate time to consider the supplemental information prior to the committee meeting. Should institutions need to, in extenuating circumstances, submit supplemental information after the relevant CV update deadline, they should contact their institution’s designated Chairs Secretariat program officer with their request.
CV Presentation Specifications
Presentation specifications and page limits are indicated in the nomination form and CV instructions. These requirements ensure that all institutions and nominees have exactly the same amount of space to present their information. This in turn facilitates the work of peer reviewers who must review multiple nominations.
Important note: Institutions are responsible for ensuring that all submissions meet the presentation requirements. Pages or information beyond the limits outlined in the specifications provided will be removed before the nomination is peer reviewed.
Each postsecondary institution nominates researchers to fill its allocation of Canada Research Chairs. Institutions must ensure that nominations are submitted under the appropriate agency allocation: NSERC for chairs in engineering and natural sciences; CIHR for chairs in health sciences; and SSHRC for chairs in social sciences and humanities. Complete guidelines on selecting the appropriate federal granting agency for nominations are available at www.science.gc.ca.
Institutions will be asked to change the allocation of a nomination in cases where the proposed research is deemed to be within the mandate of a different agency, and may be required to use the corridor of flexibility to change the allocation.
If a nomination is not recommended for funding, the institution may nominate the same candidate two more times, for a maximum of three nominations, should its chair allocation permit.
Requests for Infrastructure Support
Institutions may include a request for infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (the CFI) with their chair nomination.
Through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund, the CFI contributes up to 40 per cent of the total cost of the infrastructure project. The institution and its partners are responsible for securing the remaining funding. Small institutions (those that receive less than one per cent of total granting agency funding) may request up to 100 per cent of the eligible costs of the Canada Research Chairs infrastructure project if the total cost of the project does not exceed $75,000. As well, institutions may also request funding from the CFI for infrastructure that will be shared by two or more chairs.
The CFI’s board of directors is responsible for the review of requests for infrastructure support for successful chair nominations, including foreign nominations. Following the review process, the CFI will communicate the decisions directly to the host institutions.
To apply for CFI infrastructure funding, institutions must use the CFI’s Awards Management System (CAMS), following these steps:
- Using the institution’s account username and password, log onto CAMS at: https://www2.innovation.ca/sso/signIn.iface?camsLanguage=en.
- Choose Create a new proposal.
- Choose John R. Evans Leaders Fund - Funding for research infrastructure associated with an application for research support funding from another program.
- Under ‘Joint funding with’, select CRC.
Note that all CFI requests submitted in conjunction with a Chairs nomination must be submitted through CAMS by the chairs program’s application deadlines.
Summary of Nomination Process
Institutions are responsible for ensuring that all submissions meet the program’s specification requirements, as outlined both on the Chairs website and in the nomination form instructions. Pages or information beyond the limits outlined in the specifications will be removed before the nomination is peer reviewed.
Canada Research Chairs Secretariat
350 Albert Street, P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4
Institutions, chairholders or potential nominees should contact their designated CRC program officer for additional information about the nomination process. Browse by province for the program officer assigned to your institution.