Special Initiatives

Special Initiatives are part of the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance (“Alliance”) Research Program and address specific research priorities set by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). These science and research needs are important for the Ministry and its stakeholders but, for various reasons, do not fit well in the annual Tier I call. These research needs include, but are not limited to:

  • breeding research;
  • medium-term trials;
  • synthesis; and
  • modelling.

The Alliance requests full proposals that specifically address OMAFRA’s Special Initiative priorities.

Who is eligible

University of Guelph faculty members are eligible to be the lead applicant and/or a co-applicant. Adjunct faculty members may also apply if they are eligible to hold research funding at the University of Guelph.

Prior to receiving Alliance funding, lead applicants and co-applicants must be fully compliant with all reporting requirements for existing projects under all Alliance-funded programs.

What types of projects are eligible

Special Initiative projects respond to specific Ministry research priorities, and include, but are not limited to, breeding research, medium-term trials, synthesis, and modelling. Each Special Initiative project has a clear description and outcomes which researchers must address in their Full Proposals.  Unlike Tier I, they also have a designated budget amount and duration, which have been approved by the Ministry. A full list of Special Initiative projects open for Full Proposals can be found in the Appendix in the 2020/21 Special Initiatives Program Guide.

How to apply

This will be a single-stage call. The call will open March 31, 2020. Full proposals are due by noon on May 1, 2020, with anticipated award decisions by May 29, 2020. If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Researchers will prepare and submit Special Initiative applications in the Research Management System  (RMS).

Those who have used RMS before will notice it has a new look and new functionality, but the overall process of applying to Alliance programs will be familiar.

To register or log in to an account in RMS

If you have never registered in RMS

To register an account in RMS, select “Register” on the login page.

If you have already registered in RMS

If you have applied to a program through RMS since October 2019, simply log in.

If you have not applied to a program since October 2019, you will need to create a new password. Faculty contact records were migrated from the previous RMS system, but for security reasons passwords have not. Please follow these steps:

  1. Enter your uoguelph.ca email address on the RMS login page and select “Forgot Password”.
  2. Enter a new password at the prompts. Note: Faculty existing within the current RMS system must follow the “Forgot Password” option to be properly affiliated with their previous projects once these projects have migrated to RMS.
  3. To open an application, select “Special Initiatives Research Program” and click on “Determine Eligibility”. 
  4. Confirm your eligibility to apply for funding to access an application.

Allocate sufficient time

It is highly recommended that sufficient time be allocated for completion of the application in the RMS.  Of note is the team member invitation process which requires action from the both the researcher and team members in advance of the submission deadline.

For further information about this call, please visit see the 2020/21 Special Initiatives Alliance Program Guide (PDF, 48 pages, 657 KB).

Information session

Hosted by Kat Tisshaw

Join Kat Tisshaw via WebEx on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. to noon.

Join via WebEx:

Join by video system:

Join by phone:

  • Dial-in: 416-915-6530
  • Access code: 793 557 135

Contact name and details

If you have questions about the Call for Proposals, please contact:

Kat Tisshaw, Research Program Coordinator, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56863 or
Zach Telfer, Research Program Coordinator, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56877
Office of Research, Agri-Food Partnership
Email:rescoord@uoguelph.ca

If you have questions regarding the Knowledge Transfer and Translation (KTT) plan, please contact:

Rebecca Moore, Senior Manager, Communications & Knowledge Mobilization
Office of Research, Agri-Food Partnership
519-824-4120, Ext. 56611
Email: r.moore@uoguelph.ca or kttadmin@uoguelph.ca