Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Supporting Research Facilitators 


                                                                                                                    Robin Ashcroft                                  Bonnie Stewart 

After first working together from 1991 to 1996 in the Department of Physiology, Robin Ashcroft and Bonnie Stewart reunited at University Research Services (URS) as experts in facilitating the post-award stage of the granting process.

As Research Facilitators, Ashcroft and Stewart act as “intermediaries” — upon receiving notice of a grant award, they ensure that certifications and all relevant documentation are in place before informing Research Accounting, through TRAQ, that the funds may be released to the researcher. Ashcroft manages all health-related funded grants, and Stewart manages all natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts funded grants.

Ashcroft and Stewart enjoy the variety demanded by their jobs.

“You couldn’t work in this job if you didn’t like the variety. Every day is different,” Stewart says. “Even today, after many years, we still get questions that we haven’t heard before,” Ashcroft adds.

The unpredictable flow of each workday is contingent upon the urgency of each e-mail, letter, or telephone call they receive. A day could involve releasing funds for a new grant, interpreting granting agency processes for researchers, confirming ongoing eligibility of recipients, communicating with grant agencies, and reporting successful awards.

“That’s just skimming the surface,” Ashcroft says.

Through their roles, Ashcroft and Stewart provide a range of advice and support services for funded researchers and Queen’s University personnel, ensuring granting agency policies are followed. Since the beginning of 2017 alone, they have facilitated the release of over 350 grants. Additionally, Ashcroft and Stewart generate amendments for grant applications, including extensions, terminations, and additional funds, as well as manage the transferring of Tri-Agency funds to and from Queen’s.

With over 25 years of service each at Queen’s University, Ashcroft and Stewart say they thrive in their positions.

“It’s great being able to help all the different people: the researchers, the administration, the agencies, and Queen’s University overall,” Stewart says.

With the assistance of the Research Support Fund (RSF), administered by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, positions like Ashcroft’s and Stewart’s are made possible. The RSF provides funding for overhead costs associated with research to ensure that institutions can employ research facilitators, support training in workplace health and safety, maintain libraries, cover a variety of administrative costs including those for patenting, and improve infrastructure that enables cutting-edge research.   

The most recent report on the RSF for Queen’s. 

The financial support of the RSF has ensured that Robin Ashcroft and Bonnie Stewart continue to facilitate approximately four-hundred Canadian and international funding programs on an annual basis, supporting leading-edge researchers at Queen’s University.