Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Post-Award - Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see your question? Please contact us.

1. What is the difference between hiring a research assistant under a “contract for service” vs. a “staff appointment”?

Research Assistants are typically hired under a staff appointment and are considered AU “Employees”. Employees engage in a working (employee/employer) relationship with AU and may be guided/supervised and take direction along the way by the Principal Investigator (PI). Work may be monitored and feedback provided. Timesheets are submitted for payment.

"Contractors" on the otherhand, typically are assigned duties and are given a list of deliverables. They then go off on their own and complete the work as assigned. Contractors are paid based on the deliverables (after the fact with NO timesheets) and upon receipt of an invoice, with little interaction from the PI. They get a fee for services rendered.

2. How long does it typically take to process a Contract for Service request or Staff Appointment?

Staff Appointments and/or Contracts for Service requests may take up to one month to prepare depending on the nature of services and factoring in departmental workloads.

3. When submitting an expense claim related to research activity, should I submit my original receipts?

Yes, researchers and research assistants must submit original receipts for their research-related expenditures. Expenditures must be approved by the Primary Investigator (PI) prior to submitting the claim online. Original receipts for research-related activities may be submitted to the Grants Administrator for further processing.

4. What is the process for hiring a research assistant?

To begin the process of hiring either a Research Assistant I, II, III, you must complete the AUPE/Excluded Support Appointment Form on the Human Resources website. Please ensure that the research assistant’s CV is included with the form.

To begin the process of hiring a Researcher, you must complete the AUFA/Executive/Management/Excluded Professional Appointment Form on the Human Resources website. Please ensure that the researcher’s CV is included with the form.

The current rate of pay per hour, including the estimated cost to your budget (which includes benefits), is located on AU's Policy for Hiring of Research Assistants, which can be found in the Athabasca University’s Policy Manual Index.

5. Can I fly first class using my SSHRC funds?

Air travel costs: the lowest fare possible, which does not exceed the equivalent of full economy fare.

6. What happens when I need an extension for my NSERC grant?

For some programs, an extension period is automatically given for up to 1 year. To find out which grants have the automatic extension, see:

7. When will I receive my first installment for the Canada Graduate Scholarship Award?

This will depend on the start date of your studies. Please contact the Grants Administrator (External Awards), hotlink to: Crystal Brown

8. How do I access my MCR and ARF funds?

Expense claims must be submitted online with all original receipts and invoices forwarded onto the Research Centre c/o Linda Littlechilds, Grants Administrator-Internal Awards.

The online expense claim can be found on the Financial Services website at the following url:

Awards issued within the current fiscal year of receipt of your award, must be spent by fiscal year end (March 31st). If an extension is required, a written request must be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the deadline.

9. Where can I access the AU Internal Awards Progress Report Form?

In accordance with the funding guidelines, a formal report is to be submitted within three months of the project’s conclusion. The AU Internal Awards Progress Report Form can be found on the Research Centre’s website.

10. How do I claim my A&PDF award?

Within 30 days of travel, online expense claims must be submitted online and all original receipts forwarded onto the Research Centre.

NOTE:  If expenses are incurred over and above your A&PDF award, and you wish to claim these expenses from your PD fund, update the “Comments” section of the online expense claim to indicate this; eliminating the need to create a second expense claim.

11. Where can I access the A&PDF Final Report?

You must submit an A&PDF Follow-up Report electronically, including any critique (both positive and otherwise) and the implication of these comments, including the activity on your future work. A copy of the paper you presented (as applicable) must accompany the A&PDF Follow-up Report.

[The Research Centre will provide you with a personalized report upon your return from travels]. (Note: the follow-up procedures are currently under review but for the time being, past practices with still be followed).

NOTE: Expense claims may not be processed without the A&PDF Follow-up Report and paper (if applicable) being received. Eligibility for future A&PDF funds depends on your completion of all requests for information, reports, and expense filing from previously approved awards.

Updated June 17 2016 by Student & Academic Services

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.