Early Researcher Award - Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science

Updated Information

Second internal deadline changed from August 7 (civic holiday) to August 8.


Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science


Early Researcher Award

For More Information

View the program guidelines for more information.


The Early Researcher Awards program gives funding to new researchers working at publicly funded Ontario research institutions to build a research team.


You are eligible if you:

  • are a full-time faculty member or principal investigator at an eligible research institution
  • have started your academic career on or after July 1, 2012
  • have completed your first Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Medical Doctor or terminal degree on or after July 1, 2007
  • have not already held an Early Researcher Award
  • are not a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair

Maximum Project Value

Each award to a leading researcher is a maximum of $100,000 and must be matched by an additional $50,000 from the researcher’s institution and/or partner organization.  The University (central) will provide $40,000 in match; the remaining $10,000 must come from the applicant's department, college, or a partner organization. 

Indirect Costs

The government will provide up to $40,000 to the University for indirect costs.

Special Notes

Applicants must have the approval of their ADR to apply this program

  • To be competitive, researchers are encouraged to be actively involved in conducting research that has been supported by peer-reviewed funding and to demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors;
  • Researchers who are not successful may submit an application, in a later competition, providing they continue to meet all eligibility requirements.
  • ERA panels are multi-disciplinary and the application will be reviewed by panel members that are within and outside the applicant’s specific field of research. The content and language of the proposal should be clear and understood by people outside of the applicant’s field

Applications must include three original signed letters of reference.

Letters of reference need to be sent to the institution’s research office directly. The university will submit the letters to the Ministry along with the corresponding application package.

  • the letters should address all the Round 13 ERA Evaluation Criteria: Excellence of the Researcher, Quality of the Research, Development of Research Talent, and Strategic Value for Ontario
  • referees should have access to the applicant’s research proposal and full CV
  • one of the reference letters must be from a former supervisor, mentor, collaborator or corporate sponsor familiar with the researcher
  • two of the reference letters must be from arm’s length sources (i.e., arm’s length referees must not have a conflict of interest by having a personal link with the researcher, or by being, currently, or within the last five years, a colleague, a research collaborator or a corporate sponsor of the researcher)
  • it is recommended that the arm’s length letters be from researchers of international stature familiar with the researcher’s work 
  • Any letters from referees not identified on the application form will not be considered by the review panel (see section 17 of application)


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Submit to research.services@uoguelph.ca

  • Notice of Intent
  • a current CV (any form accepted)
  • Names and contact information for FIVE referees
  • OR-5
External Deadline

Notice of Intent (not adjudicated)

Internal Deadline

Submit full application to research.services@uoguelph.ca

External Deadline

Full application due to MRIS

For Questions, please contact

Office of Research

Ailsa Kay, Manager, Strategic Research Programs
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x58321

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