Skip to main content
< Back to Don Estep's Essays

Explanation of CANSSI Institutional Membership Fees

By , In

Importance of CANSSI member institute fees

The support of CANSSI member institutes across Canada is critically important to CANSSI operations. This fact, along with the names of the member institutes, is well publicized in CANSSI communications.

NSERC DIS Institute Funding Requirements

The NSERC Discovery Institute Support (DIS) program requires institutes to have additional sources of funding. While the sources are not specified, NSERC views funding from institute members as important evidence that an institute is supported by the community. The CANSSI membership program was explicitly described in the CANSSI DIS proposal, including a list of member institutes.

Use of institute membership fees

The operation of a DIS institute involves activities and expenditures that are related to the training and scientific programs but are not NSERC fundable and that are not directly connected to scientific programs but support access to the programs. CANSSI membership fees go primarily to support these parts of CANSSI operations. The remaining balance is directed towards CANSSI programs that are focused on supporting individual faculty, such as GSES and workshops.

Benefits of membership

CANSSI restricts participation in its programs to faculty and students in member institutes at about a 97% level¹. The amounts of support (expenditures) available to individuals at member institutes include:

CRT$210,000/three years
CDPFUp to $120,000/two years
GSESUp to $8,000/two semesters for each scholarship
DVPUp to $3,000/visitor
Workshops/Conferences/Datathons/etcUp to $5,000, exceptions possible
Summer training programsNegotiable

The support can be used for NSERC-fundable costs, but about 80-85% goes towards support of students and postdoctoral fellows. CANSSI monitors the distribution of support given to member institutes to ensure that CANSSI supports all members.

Additional benefits include:

  • Participation in CANSSI’s comprehensive program of education, conversation, events, and townhalls related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Support for event organization provided by CANSSI staff and resources.
  • Appointment of a representative that has voting rights for nominations to the CANSSI Board, which administers CANSSI operations and programs.
  • Advertising of member institute news in CANSSI communications.
  • Participation in in strategic retreats and other events aimed at directing CANSSI programs.

Return of Investment

CANSSI’s goal is to return funding to member institutes through our programs. In most cases, this support will be many times more than the member contributions, when considered over the long term. We actively monitor this goal for each member institute. CANSSI Directors actively encourage and support applications to CANSSI programs, e.g., by visiting member institutes.

Financial oversight

The membership fees are collected by a limited liability nonprofit organization that supports CANSSI. The CANSSI Board oversees direction of the nonprofit while the accounting is carried out at Simon Fraser University under an agreement that specifies the use of the funds. Simon Fraser oversees audits of financial activities.

Designed by the Canadian statistical sciences community

CANSSI operates the programs that statistical scientists in Canada have requested and designed. The Math Institutes, charging much higher fees, run programs designed by and operated for the benefit of mathematicians. Our support directly benefits the research and training activities of Canadian statistical sciences in a way that no math institute does.

Perspective on the membership fee levels

CANSSI maintained flat membership fees, ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, for its first seven years. Under the new DIS program, CANSSI’s budget has increased roughly threefold. Consequently, CANSSI operates a much wider range of programs and handles many more projects than in previous years. This necessitates increasing membership fees so we can scale the supporting activities accordingly.

For a perspective on the CANSSI budget over the next five years, the NSERC DIS grant is more than $5.7 million, SFU is contributing more than $3 million, the universities (Dal, Concordia, UofT, Manitoba) housing regional centres are contributing more than $2.5 million, and individuals supported by CANSSI projects are projected to bring in over $4 million of supplemental funding. We are increasing the membership fees in order to raise the member contributions to about $940,000.

Further information

The CANSSI Directors are happy to meet to discuss membership fees with member institutes.

¹For reasons related to EDI, we allow faculty and students at smaller institutions to participate at a relatively minor level in a few programs.

< Back to Don Estep's Essays