Method of Allocating Chairs


Overview
Regular Allocations
Special Allocations
Reclaiming lost Chairs and deactivation funding mechanism
Chairs toolbox



Overview

The allocation of Chairs to individual postsecondary institutions is an integral part of the Canada Research Chairs Program. The process provides an element of dynamism to the program because the allocation is responsive to changes in research success at individual institutions.

The national re-allocation process is conducted every two years, includes both regular and special Chairs, and is based on the research grant funding received by researchers from the three granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—in the three years prior to the year of the allocation.


Regular Allocations

Of the total 2,285 Chairs, 2,148 are regular allocations, distributed by area of research as follows:

  • 837 Chairs (39 per cent) in natural sciences and engineering
  • 837 Chairs (39 per cent) in health
  • 474 Chairs (22 per cent) in the social sciences and humanities

Method Used to Allocate Regular Chairs

Institutions that have received annually, an average of $100,000 or more from the three federal agencies in the three years prior to the year of the allocation are eligible for regular Chairs.

Three separate calculations are performed for each eligible institution to determine their Chair allocation within the three areas of research. The allocation method for regular Chairs pools together each granting agency's funding for all institutions and allocates Chairs based on the portion of the granting agency's funding that each eligible institution has received. The funding received by each eligible institution over three years is totaled. The portion of granting agency support that each eligible institution holds in this grand total determines the number of Chairs allocated (i.e., the percentage of funding secured = the percentage of Chairs allocated).

If the average funding of an institution with active Chairs falls below the $100,000 eligibility threshold, the institution will be notified, but will not immediately lose its eligibility. The institution in question will continue to maintain eligibility if, over the years following the re-allocation exercise, the average funding it receives exceeds the eligibility threshold. However, if the average funding remains below the eligibility threshold after the probationary period, the institution will lose its eligibility for Chair allocations and all its active Chairs will be phased out as per the current practice.

Chairs are distributed in an alternating order: a Tier 2 is awarded first, followed by a Tier 1, followed by a Tier 2, etc.



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Special Allocations

The program sets aside a special allocation of 120 Chairs for institutions that have received one per cent or less of the total funding paid out by the three federal granting agencies over the three years prior to the year of the allocation. This is known as the "1 per cent threshold." Unlike regular allocations, these Chairs are not allocated by granting agency, that is by area of research. Thus, if there are no restrictions imposed from any of the three granting agencies, institutions can choose the areas in which they would like to use the Chair. Institutions may also exchange one Tier 1 Chair for two Tier 2 Chairs, or two Tier 2 Chairs for one Tier 1 Chair, etc.

Note: Some institutions will be eligible for both a regular allocation and a special allocation.

Eligibility Requirements for a Special Chair Allocation

To be eligible for a special Chair allocation, institutions must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • They must have received more than an average of $100,000 of grant dollars over the three fiscal years.
  • Their total grant dollars from all three granting agencies must be less than the 1 per cent threshold.
  • They must have received fewer than 11 regular Chairs.

Graduation Mechanism

Institutions that have a regular Chair allocation of 11 or more Chairs are not eligible for special Chairs. Starting at eight regular Chairs, as an institution gains a regular Chair, they lose a special Chair. This is demonstrated in the table below.

Demonstration of Graduation Mechanism

Regular Chair allocation

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Special Chair allocation

3

3

3

3

2

1

0

0

Total allocation

8

9

10

11

11

11

11

12

Method Used to Allocate Special Chairs

The program uses a competitive method to allocate special Chairs. The calculation pools the funding provided by all three granting agencies to all institutions eligible for special Chairs in the three years prior to the year of the allocation for a grand total. The amount of funding that each institution contributes to this grand total determines the percentage of special Chairs it is allocated (i.e., the percentage of funding secured = the percentage of Chairs allocated).

A maximum of three special Chairs is distributed in an alternating order: a Tier 2 is awarded first, followed by a Tier 1, followed by a Tier 2.

Note: Institutions receiving less than $200,000 in agency funding over the three fiscal years are awarded a single Tier 2 Chair.



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Reclaiming Lost Chairs and Deactivation Funding Mechanism

If an institution's performance decreases relative to other institutions to the extent that the institution's Chair allocation is reduced through the re-allocation process, the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) will reclaim the lost Chair allocations. The institution can choose, in consultation with TIPS, to give back unoccupied Chairs or to use a deactivation funding mechanism using a sliding scale of decreasing support (100–50–0 per cent) on active Chairs.

The duration of the deactivation period itself, as well as the length of time that funding will be applied at 100 per cent and 50 per cent may vary, depending on the program’s budget at the time. The level of funding provided for Chairs lost in the 2017 re-allocation is 100 per cent for six months, then 50 per cent for the next six months.

The deactivation following the 2017 re-allocation will commence April 1, 2019. Chairholders will retain their titles until the end of their existing terms.

The mechanisms provided within the Chairs toolbox, as outlined below, may also be used to reclaim lost Chairs.



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Chairs Toolbox

Corridor of Flexibility

Until December 2019, institutions can convert chairs across tiers and disciplines beyond the current limits outlined in the corridor of flexibility. This will facilitate the transition towards limiting the renewal of Tier 1 Chairs for a third termand will help institutions meet their equity and diversity targets. TIPS will monitor the use of flex moves closely, to assess the impact of this additional flexibility on the distribution of Chairs.

The corridor of flexibility provides institutions with a set number of "flexible Chairs." This allows institutions to change the tier or the research area of a limited number of their allocations.

For instance, an institution may choose to change two Tier 2 Chairs into a Tier 1 Chair or change a Tier 1 Chair into two Tier 2 Chairs. They may also change an NSERC Chair to a CIHR Chair, or a CIHR Chair to an SSHRC Chair, etc. When a Chair is reverted to its original tier or research area as allocated in the calculation, the flex move is given back to the institution.

The corridor of flexibility can also be used to reclaim Chairs lost within the re-allocation process. For example, an institution may change a vacant Tier 1 SSHRC Chair into a Tier 1 NSERC Chair in order to return a Tier 1 NSERC Chair to TIPS. As demonstrated in the table below, the number of flexible Chairs an institution is provided is proportional to its number of allocated Chairs.

Number of allocated Chairs Maximum number of "flexible Chairs"

1-50

5

51-100

10

101-150

15

151-200

20

201-250

25

251-300

30

When using the corridor of flexibility, institutions must abide by the following guidelines:

  1. All flexible moves must be approved by TIPS.
  2. Institutions are expected to contribute to the program's national distribution of Chairs (39 per cent NSERC, 39 per cent CIHR and 22 per cent SSHRC) by making efforts to bring their allocation of Chairs back to its original distribution. TIPS will monitor the national distribution of Chairs to ensure that it stays within an acceptable range.