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Canada Research Chairs Program

On this page:

General | Allocation | New Nomination | Renewal | Evaluation Criteria | Deadlines | Notice of Awards | Minerva Appointment Form | Budget and Administration Guidelines | Listing of CRC Chairholders ||


The purpose of this document is to state the principles and procedures used at McGill in the allocation, nomination, and renewal of researchers to the Canada Research Chairs program.

Canada Research Chairs are awarded at two levels: Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 Chairs are awarded for a term of seven years, renewable indefinitely upon performance evaluation. Tier 2 Chairs are awarded for a five-year term and they can be renewed only once. Details about the CRC program are found at www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

Chair holders must be in full-time tenure-track academic positions at McGill.

Allocation of Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs representing the CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC research areas are allocated to the University based on its performance in research funding from these federal tri-council agencies relative to other universities. The CRC Secretariat reallocates the fixed pool of Chairs among the Universities every two years, with adjustments in accordance with the University’s priorities. Each allocated CRC is defined by a disciplinary expertise (CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC) and by level, Tier 1 or Tier 2.

It is important for the University to make timely nominations for Chairs to make full use of its CRC allocation.

The Dean of the Faculty is responsible for ensuring that an allocated Chair is filled in a timely fashion. In the event that a suitable nomination dossier is not presented to the Provost’s Office by the internal deadline of the assigned CRC submission round, the vacant Chair is returned to the Provostial Pool for reallocation.

McGill normally reserves its CRCs for external recruitment. On occasion, the Provost may allow nomination of a McGill tenure-track academic from one of the four equity groups protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (namely women, persons with a disability, Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities) who is suitably qualified, as evidenced by holding a James McGill Professor or a William Dawson Scholar Award, or possessing an equivalent academic profile.

Nomination of New CRC Chairs

Deans are invited to bring forth the curriculum vitae of suitable candidates, external to the University, whom they wish to recruit to fill their allocated CRC complement. Two or three letters of recommendation from referees external to McGill should accompany the CV, as normally required in the recruitment process. In bringing forward these nominations, Deans should give particular consideration to presenting candidates from the four equity groups listed above. Deans are also encouraged to consider CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund – formerly named Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) - commitments and similar strategic research objectives in planning use of any CRC vacancies.

The Provost carefully reviews each CRC nominee’s CV before deciding whether to extend University support for the nomination.

All new nominees are required to have their CRC application dossiers reviewed by the University’s standing internal review committee to ensure that McGill applications are of the highest quality before the University nominations are sent forward. Incoming nominees must supply their PIN to the OSR (ISI) office in order to gain access to the application module. The OSR (ISI) Office will be available to assist with the application process.

Internal Procedures for CRC Renewal

Renewal of a CRC is contingent upon an internal university review of the Chair holder’s performance to determine if continued institutional support is warranted. A necessary part of this decision is a process that provides a thorough evaluation of the record of the Chair holder during the term of the Chair with a recommendation to the Provost, who adjudicates whether to support the application for renewal.

The criteria for renewal for the two levels of Chairs differ as per CRC guidelines in terms of international recognition and leadership; however, the same procedures apply for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 renewals.

The internal review for CRC renewal is carried out by members of the full-time tenured academic community serving on an internal standing review committee in the areas of:

  • the Life Sciences (CIHR-linked)
  • the Applied and Natural Sciences (NSERC-linked), or
  • the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSHRC-linked).

Committee members review the application documents prepared by the candidates on the CRC on-line system as well as the joint Faculty and Department/School short report and recommendation, as applicable.

After considering the recommendations contained in the internal review committee report, the Provost’s Office advises the Dean of the Faculty and the candidate of the Provost’s support for the file to proceed for submission to the CRC Secretariat. Supported candidates are invited to work with their Associate Dean of Research and the OSR (ISI) Office to complete the documentation towards the renewal application.

It is understood that this review process for renewal of a Canada Research Chair is different and distinct from the existing promotion and tenure review procedure.

Application Process for Both New and Renewal Applications

The new CRC nominees and CRC applicants for renewal must contact the OSR-ISI Office in order to gain on-line access to the renewal forms.

University Standing Internal Review Committee for CRCs

The candidate’s file is reviewed by the Standing Internal Review Committee (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) matched to the broad content expertise of the candidate as delineated by the respective domains of the three federal granting agencies.

Composition of the Standing Internal Review Committee

The Standing Internal Review Committee consists of the Associate Provost (BR), the VP Research and International Relations (VP-RIR) or a delegate, and six tenured professors of the University chosen jointly by the Associate Provost and the Deans, so as to ensure appropriate representation of Faculties and academic disciplines. Members are assigned staggered terms of two years each starting September 1st or January 1st.

Documents to be submitted electronically on the CRC website

The electronic dossiers being submitted to the Standing Internal Review Committee need to be provided on the CRC forms. Along with the completed forms, the files should include the following:

New NominationsRenewals
  • CRC new nomination form and the attachment
  • CRC CV form and the attachment
  • Joint Departmental and Faculty recommendation (for internal candidates only)
  • CRC renewal form and the attachment
  • CRC CV form and the attachment
  • Joint Departmental/School and Faculty recommendation, as applicable

Evaluation Criteria as per CRC Secretariat

Visit the CRC site for a complete description of the CRC evaluation criteria. The application dossier must:

For Tier 1For Tier 2
Demonstrate that the Chair is recognized as an outstanding and original researcher of world class calibre and a leader in his or her field. Demonstrate that the Chair has the potential to develop into an outstanding and original researcher of world class calibre who is poised to become a leader in his or her field.
The more specific criteria for evaluation are as follows:
  • Record of research results dissemination:
    For example, in peer-reviewed journals, monographs and books, at refereed conferences, in keynote or invited presentations, and in the form of patents, copyrights, products, services and technology transfer. The information will be examined to determine the extent to which the research has made a significant impact in the field.
  • Record of training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP):
    A description should be provided for the training strategies the Chair has created to attract students, trainees and future researchers; the means used to create an environment that attracts, develops and retains outstanding researchers in areas and technologies that are critical to Canada’s cultural, social and economic growth, vital public policy issues and quality of life.
  • Program of Research:
    An account of how the Chair has achieved the goals of his or her program of research to date, and improved Canada’s ability to lead in research that has high social, cultural, scientific or technological impact.
  • Integration with the University’s Strategic Research Plan:
    Reference should be made to the summary version of the McGill’s Strategic Research Plan (as found on the CRC site) in describing how the Chair has helped build relationships with other research initiatives in Canada and abroad; produced impacts that demonstrate the institution’s strategic development of research; and improved the institution’s ability to leverage additional research funding.

Deadlines for Submission

There are currently two yearly CRC competitions with deadlines for submission at the CRC Secretariat in October and April. In order to optimize the quality of the applications being submitted to Ottawa, the OSR-ISI office will contact the candidates for final quality control and submission procedures once the Faculties/Departments have received the Standing Internal Review Committee’s comments and recommendations.

For the Spring round of new nomination submissions, the Standing Internal Review Committee is scheduled for the weeks of 23 February 2015 and 16 March 2015. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the Dean to ensure the candidates submit their complete electronic dossier (on the CRC website) for review by 16 February 2015 at the latest. We ask the original (signed) joint Departmental and Faculty recommendation be submitted later to our office as a hard copy (via internal mail), while an electronic copy of the document should also be submitted via e-mail to Naomi [dot] Belinsky [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Naomi Belinsky) by the 16 February 2015 deadline.

The Dean of the Faculty must also submit a signed statement of responsibility for the budget and institutional commitment in the application. This statement should be submitted at the same time as the application budget section to the office of the AP-BR by 20 April 2015.

As soon as they are notified of approval support for renewal, the candidates are requested to contact the OSR-ISI office to define a work-plan toward submission.

CRC Applications – Spring 2015Deadline
Provostial approval of the Faculty’s CRC nominees for new applications and renewals 14 January 2015
Electronic submission of the dossiers on CRC website for internal review 16 February 2015
Comments and recommendations from the review committee sent to the Faculty Week of 09 March 2015 (SSHRC and NSERC)
Week of 27 March 2015 (CIHR)
Uploading FINAL version of application with the committees comments incorporated 20 April 2015 (or earlier)
Submission by the Faculty of the institutional commitment and budget confirmation statements 20 April 2015
Final submission at the OSR (ISI) Office – signed proposal 20 April 2015 (or earlier)

CRC and CFI combined applications

Candidates who are also applying to the CFI for research infrastructure support must contact the ISI office to access their CFI application on-line at least 4 months prior to the submmission deadline in order to have sufficient time to process the CFI.

Notice of Award

The CRC Secretariat requires Universities to wait until after the official National Announcement before publicizing their new chair holder appointments in a news release or on their website. The new chair holders must also wait until the National Announcement before using the Canada Research Chair title in their curriculum vitae, website, conference papers, publications or media interviews.

Minerva Appointment Form

Once the Notice of Award is finalized and the CRC main fund is established (for new CRCs), the Minerva Appointment Form must be issued using the appropriate CRC position code as indicated on the Award, Stipend and Other Payment Codes page, to record the CRC position in Banner.

The professorial labour distribution on the professorial position code will also need to be modified accordingly.

Budget and Administration Guidelines

In accordance to CRC rules (CRC Admin Guide), the University has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by a chairholder that contravene the Agency’s or program’s requirements or the University’s policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the CRC Secretariat as to eligibility of expenses. Administrative, personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices and policies of the University.

Please note the following:

  • Academic stipends for CRCs should be roughly equivalent to avoid creating disparities among award holders who are deemed to be in the top 20% of performers.
  • Therefore, in calculating the 75% minimum going to salary coverage for the chair holder on CRCs, an academic stipend of up to $15,000/annum may count in the calculation of the salary coverage for the chair.
  • Faculties and Departments are reminded that changes in academic stipends require prior approval by the Provost Office.
  • X-code research funds for:
    • CRC Tier 2s is normally between $15,000/annum to $25,000/annum range, as they are in early stages of their career.
    • CRC Tier 1s is normally around $25,000/annum, except where there is a demonstrated need.

The following document may provide further useful information: Information Session 09-January-2014.

Listings of CRC Chairholders

McGill's current Canada Research Chairs are listed on the Provost's site at: CRCs Tier 1 or CRCs Tier 2.