Quick Tips: Preparing Your Tier 1 Proposal

Tier 1 Research Program funding is limited and not all worthwhile projects can be supported. It is important that all elements of the proposal are complete and well written. 

Below are key tips for ensuring compliant and quality proposals but does not include all proposal fields. Read the field instructions in the Research Management System proposal template carefully. Responses to all fields should be as fulsome as possible.

Proposals will be reviewed by peer reviewers as well as a diverse panel of representatives from academia, government and industry/end users.  Prepare your proposal with this in mind and tell a cohesive story across the entire proposal.

The criteria used by review committee members to assess proposals is outlined in the program guide.  Review the scorecard to help ensure your proposal is aligned with the evaluation criteria.

Please ensure you’ve identified the correct research question (Tier I program only), and the associated research priority and focus area. Alignment with an OMAFRA research question is of paramount importance. The benefit of the research to the Ontario agri-food sector and/or rural communities should also be very clear. Questions concerning the alignment of a project with a Research Question should be addressed to the OMAFRA Research Analyst for the related Research Priority identified in the most current OMAFRA Research Priorities document.

Invitation Process: Team members require invitations to be added to the Team Member table. The Invitations menu is available on the lefthand sidebar of your proposal. Please ensure all team members are invited and have accepted their invitations, with the corresponding team member table entry completed, prior to submission. All expertise needed to carry out the project should be included on the team.

Funding Source: Please refer to the Program Guide to ensure this field is completed appropriately. “N/A” should be selected for U of G faculty, OMAFRA staff, collaborating researchers etc. who are not supported through project or partner funds.

Milestones: Frame your milestones in a way to track progress over the course of the project and ensure they align with your start and end date. Split up annually occurring items into individual tasks.

Objectives and Deliverables: Create objectives and deliverables which are measurable, realistic, and achievable. For deliverables, consider what will be produced from the project (e.g., datasets, recommendations, etc.) to demonstrate project completion. Deliverables should relate to project objectives.

Methodology: Provide a detailed experimental plan that clearly demonstrates how project objectives will be achieved.  Ensure replications and sample sizes are included, where applicable, as many projects are penalized in the review process due to lack of statistical power. Consider adding information justifying why your approach was taken over others.

KTT plans should be thoughtful and creative, comprehensive, realistic and maximize the value and impact of the research. Take advantage of resources on the KTT Resources and Services webpage. Please ensure the costs of your KTT plan are reflected in your budget.

Leverage and Partnerships: Matching funds and letters of support strengthen your proposal (expectations are commodity and discipline specific).  Letters of support can be submitted after the submission deadline (email rescoord@uoguelph.ca). Engage end users early wherever possible.

Cohesiveness: Please ensure that all HQP or technical staff that require a salary through program or partner funds are appropriately identified and explained in the budget. Conversely, all HQP identified in the budget need to be in the HQP table, including undergraduates.

Justification: Provide a rationale for all program funds requested and explain how partner funds will be spent in order to provide a full view of the project budget and to demonstrate value for money. Projects are often penalized during the review process for an unclear presentation of expenditures.

Overhead: Please ensure any overhead related to partner funds is present in the “Operating – Other” column and explained in the budget notes.

Ensure all questions are answered accurately, including use of ARIO research centres, partner funds (cash), declaration of financial interest and any certifications needed (animal use protocol, use of human participants etc.). This will help prevent revision workflows at the OR-5 approval stage.

Program Contact

Reach out to a Research Program Coordinator (rescoord@uoguelph.ca) for any support needed to complete or submit a proposal.