OMAFRA: Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative 2020-21

Updated Information

Intent deadline:  Changed from December 10, 2021 to December 10, 2020.


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)


Ontario Agri-food Research Initiative 


The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative offers funding for research that stimulates innovation to support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector, promotes food safety and strengthens rural communities. 

Research priorities change every year to address opportunities and challenges facing the agri-food sector and rural communities.

Priorities for the 2020-21 application year are:

  • food safety
  • plant health and protection
  • sustainable production systems

Review the full details of the 2020-2021 research priorities to make sure your proposal is within scope and addresses one or more of the specific research questions.


OMAFRA invites universities and colleges, not-for-profit research institutions, and for-profit and not-for-profit groups/organizations (including agri-food commodity groups), with demonstrated capacity to perform quality research, to submit a Full Proposal. Lead Applicants must be located in Ontario and the proposed research must benefit Ontario's agri-food system and/or rural communities. Researchers outside the province of Ontario may collaborate on research projects. 

Project collaborators may include but are not limited to: for-profit entities, not-for-profit entities, government and non-government organizations, universities and colleges, and research institutions.  

Note: Researchers who have received funding from OMAFRA but have outstanding required reports are not eligible for funding under this Initiative until OMAFRA has received and approved the outstanding reports. 

Funding Availability

Funding Available

Maximum of $150,000 in eligible costs per project (including 25% indirect costs). 

Leveraged Funds/Co-Funding (Cash and In-Kind)

OMAFRA strongly encourages applicants to obtain leveraged funds for this Initiative. The Ministry funds demand-driven research that is valued by the end-user and has ready receptors in policy, programs or the marketplace. Both cash and in-kind contributions from Co-Funders qualify as leveraged funds.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Up to 19 months - projects must be completed no later than January 31, 2023.

Special Notes


Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


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

External Deadline

Virtual information session

OMAFRA is hosting a virtual information session (webinar) on November 17, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. In this session, OMAFRA staff will:

  • present an overview of the program
  • explain the 2020-2021 research priorities
  • answer your questions about the application process and research priorities

Email OMAFRA at to confirm your attendance and receive the webinar details.

External Deadline

Please see the important note below in "How To Apply" regarding Intent to submit a Full Proposal, which is due to OMAFRA by December 10, 2020 at 2:00pm. Participation in the Intent process is recommended but not mandatory.

Internal Deadline

Please submit your proposal online in the RMS along with an OR-5 Form to

Regarding the early internal deadline, please note the submission deadlines during the December 2020/January 2021 holiday schedule.


External Deadline

Proposal due to OMAFRA. Electronic submission via the RMS system will be completed by the Office of Research Services after administrative review and approval.

How to Apply

Please review the attached OAFRI_Guide_2020-21 for complete program details. 

The Research Management System (RMS) is OMAFRA’s on-line system for managing applications of Ministry-funded research programs and initiatives. Registering and logging into the RMS will take you to your Researcher Workbench where you can access all of the documents you need to understand and apply to this initiative.

Intent to Submit Full Proposal: The 2020-21 Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative call for proposals is a single stage application process (Full Proposal submission). An Intent to submit a Full Proposal step has been implemented to support peer review and review committee planning in advance of the submission deadline. This step requires that applicants complete a small number of fields in the ‘General’ and ‘Peer Review’ tabs in advance of the Full Proposal submission deadline. There is no ‘submit’ button or additional requirements for the Intent process; simply ensure those two tabs are completed by Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 2:00pm to signal your Intent to submit a Full Proposal to the program. Applicants can continue to work on their application form until their application is completed and submitted on or before the Full Proposal submission deadline. Participation in the Intent process is recommended but not mandatory.


PDF icon OAFRI_Guide_2020-21285.02 KB
For Questions, please contact


For general program questions, please contact; 519-400-9482.

Office of Research

Kristin Zimmermann, Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x56257

Alert Classifications
Funding Opportunities and Sponsor News

Health and Life Sciences
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Social Sciences