Managing the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) allocation

October 27, 2017

Institutions are responsible for managing their John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) allocation, including the Small Institution Fund, based on their strategic priorities. It is important that whichever approach the institution uses includes proper oversight of the allocation.

Some institutions have taken a decentralized approach where the JELF allocation is given to and managed by the faculties. The amount of the allocation is determined through various models (e.g. based on funding from the tri-agencies, or allocation plans submitted by the faculty to the Office of the Vice-President Research). In these cases, oversight by the university’s central support offices (e.g. Office of Research Services) helps ensure that the allocation is well managed. Some of the oversight activities include tracking and reviewing a faculty’s allocation plan on an ongoing basis (e.g. at every competition) and reassessing its adequacy based on the faculty’s needs and use.

Other institutions have a more centralized approach in place, where all JELF allocation requests from the faculties or departments are made directly to the Office of the Vice-President Research which determines the projects to be submitted to the CFI.

Oversight is provided through similar activities whether institutions are using a centralized or decentralized approach.

Here’s how some institutions have implemented these practices.

Simon Fraser University

The university uses a centralized approach where all JELF requests must be submitted to the Office of the Vice-President, Research (VPR) by the faculty Deans. The Associate Vice-President, Research (AVPR) is responsible for monitoring the uptake of the institution’s JELF allocation, meeting with faculties on a consistent basis regarding potential requests in order to properly plan, and ensuring that the allocation is used to meet the university’s strategic priorities.

Although decisions are centralized, the AVPR works in conjunction with the Major Projects Office (MPO), which is responsible for CFI submission, both before and after allocations are approved. This ensures that the university is building on its CFI capacity, as well as development of strategic research areas, which may have the potential to grow into CFI-funded centres. The AVPR and MPO work closely together to monitor the overall CFI portfolio, which ensures that SFU is using its JELF allocation in a timely and strategic manner.

Contact:

Sara Swenson 
Director, Major Projects Office 
CFI, BCKDF, and CRC Institutional Programs
Office of the Vice-President, Research
Phone: 778.782.3075
Email: saras [at] sfu.ca

University of Calgary

The majority of the university’s JELF allocation (75 percent) is divided among faculties based on funding from the tri-agencies received over the same period, which is used by CFI to determine the institutional allocation. The remainder of the allocation (25 percent) is held centrally to support priority recruitments resulting from ad hoc programs or other institution-level initiatives, such as the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, in partnership with faculties.

Approximately three months before the internal kickoff for the next round of JELF, Associate Deans (Research) receive an updated total of their current faculty JELF allocation and the internal timeline for the upcoming round of applications. This ensures faculties are actively engaged and aware of how much allocation they have remaining to spend, and over what time period.

Each faculty uses their JELF allocation to support their faculty priorities, with the overwhelming majority going to support the equipment needs of new recruits to the institution. In many cases, faculties engage with the Institutional Programs Division (IPD) within Research Services to discuss potential projects and challenges for implementation, timelines and strategies for success in advance of the applicant officially starting the application process.

Plans for how faculties will use their allocation are reviewed annually by IPD, which manages the JELF allocation centrally with the Vice-President of Research. IPD monitors and tracks the uptake of the allocation and follows up with faculties should any issues arise. Use of the institutional allocation is also discussed at executive committee meetings held regularly throughout the year. If a faculty does not require all of their JELF allocation to support their priorities, or is not able to use it within the required timeframe, the allocation will be redistributed within the institution.

Benefits of this approach:

  • The initial distribution of allocation using each faculty’s proportion of tri-agency funding levels is transparent. Balanced with the VPR holding some allocation centrally to support ad hoc initiatives, this approach allows the faculties to direct the limited JELF opportunities to support their internally established priorities and recruitments.
  • The requirement for plans for how faculties will use their allocation allows IPD to understand the upcoming application pressure, and to ensure that the university is able to spend the entire allocation within CFI’s timeframe. It also allows for discussion with faculties when spending is slow, and identification of any other opportunities to use the allocation.

Contact:

Liz Scarratt
Director, Institutional Programs, Research Services
University of Calgary
Phone:  403.210.6756
Email: scarrate [at] ucalgary.ca