About us


The Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 announced the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). CFREF invests approximately $200 million per year to support Canada’s postsecondary institutions in their efforts to become global research leaders.

It helps Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnics compete with the best in the world for talent and partnership opportunities, to make breakthrough discoveries, and to excel globally in research areas that will create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

CFREF helps institutions:

  • compete with the best in the world for talent, for partnership opportunities, and to make breakthrough discoveries;
  • seize emerging opportunities and strategically advance their greatest strengths on the global stage; and
  • implement large-scale, transformational and forward-thinking institutional strategies.

The two inaugural CFREF competitions were held in 2015 and 2016.

A tri-agency initiative

CFREF is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC.

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