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Current competition

2022 Competition

All eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions, including those successful in either of the two inaugural competitions, will be entitled to apply.

The 2022 Competition will be held according to the following timeline:

Letters of intent to apply deadline: April 5, 2022, 9:00 p.m. (eastern)

Full application deadline: August 31, 2022, 9:00 p.m. (eastern)

Annual budget: Up to $200 million per year

Value: There is no maximum or minimum limit

Duration: Seven years

Competition budget: Approximately $1.4 billion over seven years

Number of grants: Number of awards depends on the amounts requested in successful applications

Results announced: Winter 2023

Grant start date: Winter 2023

How to apply: All applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply (LOI) and, if invited, submit a full application. All applicants must use the online portal for all stages of this competition.

See the Letter of intent and Full application sections, as well as the letter of intent instructions and application instructions for more information. Refer to Regulations, policies and related information section for useful resources on how to complete the application process.

Who can apply? Eligible Canadian institutions

Application process—2022 Competition

Previous competitions

In December 2014, the Government of Canada launched the first two competitions of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (the Fund).

2015 Competition - Inaugural Competition 1 Competition closed

To respond to the needs of those eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions that already have detailed plans in place that meet the ambitious objectives of the Fund, and that have requested an accelerated application and adjudication process, the first of the inaugural competitions will be held according to a fast timeline, as follows:

Notice of intent deadline: February 2, 2015

Notices of intent are used for administrative purposes only, allowing the program’s administration to anticipate the volume of applications and the disciplines covered.

Application deadline: March 2, 2015

Funding to be awarded: Up to $350 million

Selection criteria and adjudication process: The Fund’s selection criteria, review process and other program details are the same for both inaugural competitions, and are available under Application process.

Results announced: July 2015

Payment of grant funds to successful institutions would begin during the 2015-16 fiscal year, following the Treasury Board’s approval of funding.

Application process - 2015 Competition (archived)

2016 Competition - Inaugural Competition 2 Competition closed

For the two inaugural competitions, applicants who were unsuccessful in Competition 1 can submit a proposal addressing the same thematic area in Competition 2 or submit a proposal in a different thematic area. Applicants who were successful in Competition 1 can apply to Competition 2 to advance a different thematic area but their proposal must demonstrate that they have the capacity and the resources to successfully carry through a second ambitious institutional initiative of the scale and scope that is expected of a Fund grant.

The inaugural Competition 2 will be held according to the following timeline:

Letter of intent deadline: November 9, 2015

Letter of intent results announced: January 2016 (a list of institutions invited to submit a full proposal will be posted on the Fund website)

Full proposal deadline: March 29, 2016

Funding to be awarded: Up to $900 million

Eligibility and selection criteria: Eligibility for the Fund and its selection criteria are the same for both inaugural competitions and are available under Application process.

Adjudication process: Competition 2 will have a two-stage review process, starting with an adjudicated letter of intent (LOI) stage. This will minimize the burden on institutions with respect to preparing full proposals, and the burden on peer reviewers and adjudication committees. The eligibility and selection criteria remain the same as they were in inaugural Competition 1. Adjudication will involve peer review. The LOI will outline all of the information required to assess the institution’s existing scientific capacity (part of criterion 1) and the alignment of the proposed research thematic area with the federal science, technology and innovation priority research areas (part of criterion 2). The selection will focus on whether applicants meet the threshold and standard for consideration under the Fund, i.e., do LOIs appropriately respond to the Fund’s intended goals and ambition, based on these two key elements of the selection criteria? Additional information on the full proposal stage and the adjudication process is available under Application process.

Results announced: Summer 2016

Payment of grant funds to successful institutions would begin during fiscal year 2016-17, following the Treasury Board’s approval and parliamentary appropriation of the funds. September 1, 2016, is the earliest start date that can be presented in applications for proposed initiatives. Consequently, expenses incurred as of September 1, 2016, will be eligible under the grant.

Application process - 2016 Competition (archived)