Soft-Funded Research Bursary

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External agencies award funding to professors in the form of research grants and contracts. These “soft funds” may be used to support full-time graduate students registered at Saint Paul University in the form of a research assistantship or a soft-funded research bursary (SFRB).

The amount of an SFRB is not limited to a specific amount, but should be similar to the amounts offered for research assistantships.

The offer of support as an SFRB must be in writing on the University Form “Offer of Soft-Funded Research Bursary”, which must be signed by both the professor and the student.

SFRBs shall be treated as scholarships for income tax purposes.


An SFRB can be offered only to a full-time graduate student.

The SFRB must be administered in accordance with the conditions set by the external agency providing the funds. In addition, the professor offering the bursary may impose a specific duty, assignment or activity as a condition of acceptance of the bursary, provided that such duty, assignment or activity

  • is significantly related to the work required to fulfill the requirements of the student’s program of study as set out in the appropriate regulations of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies;
  • enhances the student’s experience and knowledge in the student’s study of his/her chosen discipline;
  • is not assigned solely or primarily for the purpose of replacing the work of clerical or technical staff that would normally perform such duties;
  • does not impinge on the time required by the student to satisfy his/her degree requirements;
  • does not place unreasonable demands upon the student by compelling him/her to abandon his/her current work and to devote the majority of his/her time to completing the duty, assignment or activity within a short period of time;
  • is set out in writing by the professor at the time the bursary is offered to and accepted by the student.

The offer must include the amount and duration of funding. It must also address all matters regarding ownership of any intellectual property – SFRB students have the right to receive appropriate recognition for and to benefit from their research endeavours.

Every SFRB student will receive a copy of this policy the first time he/she is offered a SFRB.


An SFRB may be terminated before the end of the period specified in the offer if

  • the student status changes in any of the following ways: a) the student transfers into another academic program; b)
  • the student changes his/her student status to that of part-time; c) the student chooses a thesis director other than
  • the professor providing the SFRB; or d) the student withdraws or is required to withdraw by the Faculty from his/her academic program;
  • the student receives two consecutive evaluations in which the professor expresses dissatisfaction with the student’s performance to the extent that the professor believes that the bursary should be terminated;
  • following written notice by the professor providing the bursary, the student fails to perform a duty, an assignment or activity as set out in the offer;
  • the funding is cancelled or is reduced by the external agency, or the SFRB no longer meets the external agency’s regulations; or
  • the student wishes to terminate the SFRB.


At the end of each academic term, the professor providing the SFRB must evaluate in writing the student’s performance of the duty, assignment or activity set out in the offer. The professor will indicate whether he/she is satisfied with the student’s performance or whether the student’s performance is unsatisfactory. The professor must give a copy of the written evaluation to the SFRB student, who will be given an opportunity to discuss it with the professor and/or provide written comments. The evaluation and the SFRB student’s written comments, if any, will be sent to the Registrar and placed in the SFRB student’s file.


There shall be a file for each SFRB student (the “SFRB file”) located at the Registrar and separate from the student’s academic file. The SFRB file shall contain a copy of the offer, the evaluations and any other documents pertaining to the SFRB, and shall be readily available to the student at least until one year after the student loses his/her student status.


a) Offer of soft-funded research bursary (SFRB)

b) Evaluation of student