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Research Culture Facilitates Success

Apr 07, 2008

This year, SFU Business professors achieved a 75 per cent success rate in attracting funding for their research from the Social Sciences and Research Council (SSHRC). The comparable national success rate is 33 per cent.

“This is an exceptional result,” says Barbara Burkhardt, research grants facilitator for SFU Business. “It has a lot to do with the excellence of the faculty’s researchers, how hard they work, and with the level of support and feedback they have access to when they write their proposals.”

SFU Business actively supports a culture of research among its 69 tenure-track faculty members. One crucial facet of this support comes from the research grants facilitator, whose job is to guide and support faculty through the onerous and time-consuming task of writing grant proposals.

“I advise researchers about strategic issues such as when and where to apply and how to develop a readable, well-written proposal that is persuasive and will make the best case for their project,” says Burkhardt. “Part of my job is to help faculty communicate their ideas, their passion for their work and their research results in the most effective way, and to make the whole process as easy as possible for everyone.”

Another vital aspect of her job involves promoting new research funding opportunities from a range of foundations, agencies, granting councils and institutes. This makes keeping up-to-date on faculty research essential.

Despite or perhaps because of the pressure of working in a deadline-driven and at times unpredictable environment, Burkhardt loves her work. “I actually feel very privileged to work with interesting, smart people,” she says, “and to be helpful to them in communicating and achieving their research goals.”