Conduct Charter

This charter expresses our shared understanding of how we are expected to conduct ourselves in our various roles of researchers, advisors, administrators and decision-makers within Future Energy Systems (FES).


The Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) that established FES has the mission to help Canadian postsecondary institutions excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada. Thus, FES provides the University of Alberta with an opportunity to implement a long-term, strategic allocation of research funds to elevate our existing nation-leading excellence in energy to international pre-eminence.

The real and perceived impact of Canada’s energy systems on the local environment, and global issues such as climate change, are pressing threats to both our nation’s future energy opportunities, and to the economic benefits available from our various natural energy resources. Transitioning our global society from one primarily focused on fossil fuels to one that fully integrates sustainable, low carbon energy systems will require economic, regulatory, policy and social solutions, and technical and scientific innovations. FES aspires to play a role within all of these facets.


FES has identified core research objectives that can be tackled successfully by using the CFREF program to create local, national and international research collaborations. These objectives are addressed in four strategic areas.

  • Developing Hydrocarbons Responsibly: focuses on innovations that maximize efficiency and minimize environmental and social consequences of key oil sands and other hydrocarbon processes to enable continued use of these hydrocarbon sources for several decades in a competitive cost environment.
  • Improving Environmental Performance: focuses on developing new technologies and practices to mitigate impacts and address climate change, setting the stage for transition to a lower carbon economy.
  • Enabling Sustainability: focuses on transforming the energy generation and utilization system from one that depletes our natural resources to one that is sustainable and allows future generations to enjoy an increasing quality of life.
  • System Wide Enablers: focuses researchers to draw on an overarching cluster of system wide enablers, technologies and practices essential to successful implementation of the innovations.

Setting Expectations

Beyond the program mission and research objectives, there are objectives associated with building a research community based on a high level of trust, respect, integrity, openness and collaboration. To help set this framework there are expectations of FES researchers, theme leaders, program advisors and program administrators. The energy research community at the University of Alberta is of a size that individuals may have multiple roles within FES, and therefore it will be necessary to declare and carefully manage any conflicts of interest.

Expectations of FES Researchers

FES researchers include the principal investigators and co-investigators associated with any FES-funded projects. FES researchers are expected to:

  • Use FES funds responsibly for the approved research in accordance with the Canada First Research Excellence Fund Administration Guide and UAlberta’s Policies and Procedures.
  • Coordinate their research with their respective theme leaders and other researchers.
  • Adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity.
  • Respect and give appropriate credit to FES, the project and collaborators, including community partners and students.
  • Communicate progress and results in a timely fashion to their respective theme leaders and the FES administration team.
  • Participate in FES-wide activities and seek interdisciplinary opportunities.
  • Where feasible, seek matching funding to extend the research.
  • Declare any conflict of interest to the FES executive team, and withdraw from receiving financial support for either real or potentially perceived financial conflicts that could negatively impact the reputation of FES.

Expectations of FES Theme Leaders

FES theme leaders are individuals who, after being invited by FES, serve in assisting in coordinating and organizing a collection of cross supportive research projects around a specified topic. FES theme leaders are expected to:

  • Communicate research progress within their theme to help coordinate research.
  • Coordinate the research within their theme with other theme leaders.
  • Connect researchers in ways that foster interdisciplinary research.
  • Act as a spokesperson for the theme.
  • Act in good faith in developing and revising theme projects.

Expectations of FES Program Advisors

FES program advisors include individuals who serve on the Research Advisory Committee, External Advisory Committee and Visioning Committee. FES program advisors are expected to:

  • Declare any conflict of interest to the FES executive team.
  • Recuse themselves when in a conflict of interest.
  • Research Advisory Committee members who are also FES funded researchers will provide advice intended for the good of FES and recuse themselves when appropriate.
  • Provide unbiased opinions based on their understanding in good faith to FES.
  • Maintain confidentiality with materials being reviewed for FES.

Expectations of FES Administrators

FES will employ an administrative branch, including a senior financial manager, project coordinator, financial assistants and administrative assistants. FES administrators are expected to:

  • Declare any conflict of interest to the FES executive team.
  • Communicate appropriately in a timely fashion.
  • Support and empower FES researchers.
  • Draw on FES researchers’ expertise as trusted sources.
  • Maintain confidentiality with all materials handled for FES.

Expectations of FES Executive Team

The FES executive team, consisting of the director, deputy director, executive director, assistant director and communications associate are expected to:

  • Declare any conflict of interest to the FES executive team.
  • Communicate appropriately in a timely fashion.
  • Maintain confidentiality with all materials handled for FES.
  • Summarize progress and report back regularly to the research community.
  • Support and empower FES researchers and draw on their expertise as trusted sources.
  • Connect researchers in ways that fosters interdisciplinary research.
  • Executive team members who are also FES funded researchers will provide advice intended for the good of the whole of FES and recuse themselves when appropriate.

Expectations of FES Director

The director of FES is expected to:

  • Make timely decisions for the good of the whole project.
  • Consult appropriately when making decisions.
  • Explain decisions regarding funding allocation.
  • Represent the projects appropriately to the public.
  • Not participate financially in the direct activities of research, but restricted activities to the indirect aspects of FES research programs.