New Frontiers in Research Fund - Exploration Grants 2023

Updated Information

Time for webinars been updated:

  • English – Tuesday, September 12 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • French – Thursday, September 14 – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm


Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS),on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)


New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) – Exploration Grants 2023

For More Information

2023 Exploration Competition Overview

2023 Exploration: Notice of Intent to Apply Guide

2023 Exploration: Full application guide

2023 Exploration: Merit Indicators for the Review Process

NFRF Guide: Best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice and design

UofG Guide: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Resource Document for Researchers

2023 Exploration: Frequently Asked Questions


The goal of the Exploration stream is to inspire high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research.

Exploration grants support research that pushes boundaries into exciting new areas. Researchers are encouraged to think “outside of the box” and undertake research that would defy current paradigms; brings disciplines together in unexpected ways and from bold, innovative perspectives; and has the potential to be disruptive or deliver game-changing impacts.

Exploration stream grants support projects that:

  • bring disciplines together beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches;
  • propose to explore something new, which might fail; and
  • have the potential for significant impact.

Exploration grants support research with a range of impacts — economic, scientific, artistic, cultural, social, technological, environmental or health-related. This list is not exhaustive; other types of impacts are also recognized. Diversity of perspectives is important, and the fund encourages research proposals led from any discipline, from those in the social sciences and humanities, to health, the natural sciences and engineering.


Research team
To encourage projects that push the boundaries in terms of interdisciplinarity, proposals must be submitted by research teams with at least two individuals. In addition to a nominated principal investigator (NPI), the team must include either a co-principal investigator (co-PI) or a co-applicant. Teams may include one co-PI and any number of co-applicants and/or collaborators.

To ensure that Exploration grants support high-risk, high-reward projects across the broadest spectrum of disciplines, individuals can participate in only one application of the NFRF Exploration grants stream at a time, as either an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant. If an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant also had such a role on a previous Exploration grant-funded project, they must have submitted their final report for the previous project at least one month before the full application deadline for the present competition. These restrictions do not apply to collaborators, to the NFRF Transformation and International streams or to special calls. An individual may simultaneously apply for or be an award holder as NPI, co-PI or co-applicant for grants under separate streams (Exploration, Transformation, International and special calls).

Other research team members, such as trainees (graduate and other students, postdoctoral fellows, etc.) and research personnel (research associates, technicians, etc.), can participate in the project’s research activities, but are not invited as participants through the Convergence Portal.

Early career researcher
A proposal is considered to be led by early career researchers (ECRs) if both the NPI and co-PI (if applicable) are ECRs. An ECR is a researcher within five years from the start date of their first research-related appointment, minus the length of any eligible delays in research (e.g., illness, maternity, parental), as of the first day of the month in which the competition is launched (August 1, 2023, for this Exploration competition), where:

  • “research-related appointments” are defined as those where an individual has the autonomy to conduct research independently;
  • all eligible leaves (e.g., maternity, parental, medical, bereavement) are credited at twice the amount of time taken; and
  • professional leaves (e.g., training, sabbatical, administrative) are not credited.

Research interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., closures) are recognized as, and may be counted as, an eligible delay (credited at twice the amount of time) beginning March 1, 2020.

If a first academic appointment was a part-time appointment/position, years of experience are counted at 50%, until the researcher’s appointment to a full-time academic position.

Note: Participants (research team members) who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the application. If an NPI is considered ineligible, the application will be withdrawn from the competition. If removal of ineligible participants from the application results in research teams with fewer than two members, the application will also be withdrawn from the competition.

Funding Availability

A minimum of 100 grants will be awarded for a minimum total value of $25 million over two years.  A proportion of awards equal to the proportion of applications received from early career researchers will be reserved for these researchers.

Maximum Project Value

Up to $125,000 per year (including indirect costs). Maximum direct costs per year is $100,000 (with an additional $25,000 indirect costs).

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Up to 2 years

Special Notes

Applicants and research administrators are encouraged to attend the Exploration webinars to learn more about the Exploration stream and the overall application process.

Date Time Language Link
September 12, 2023 1:00pm - 3:00pm EST English Join webinar
September 14, 2023 10:00am - 12:00pm EST French

Join webinar

All research team members, including nominated principal investigators (NPIs), co-principal investigators (co-PIs) and co-applicants, should inform the research administrator at their institution of their involvement in the application.


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

Internal Deadline

Notice of Intent to Apply (NOI)

The Nominated Principal Investigator must submit their NOI through the Convergence Portal by 9:00am on October 4, 2023. The NOI is mandatory to progress to the next stage.  A complete, signed OR-5 form is required at this stage.

External Deadline

Notice of Intent to Apply (NOI)

The Research Services Office will submit the completed NOI directly through the Convergence Portal on behalf of the research team. 

Please Note: Only the lists of participants, suggested reviewers and reviewer exclusions can be updated at the full application stage. After the NOI is submitted, the project title and summary cannot be changed and the NPI, co-principal investigator and/or co-applicants may not remove themselves from the project to join a different project within the Exploration stream.

Internal Deadline

Full Application

The Nominated Principal Investigator must submit their completed Full Application in the Convergence Portal, and notify

External Deadline

Full Application

The Research Services Office will submit the completed Full Application directly through the Convergence Portal on behalf of the research team. 

How to Apply

All applicants must complete the notice of intent to apply and submit a full application.

See the Notice of Intent to Apply Guide and the Full Application Guide for more information. Other useful resources to assist in the completion of your application include Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and the evaluation matrices.

For Questions, please contact

For questions about the NFRF program, contact

For questions about the Convergence Portal, contact the Online Services Helpdesk at or 613-995-4273.

Office of Research

Rachel Lee, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office

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