OMAFRA: Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative 2021-22


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


Ontario Agri-food Research Initiative



The Ontario Agri-food Research Initiative provides funding to advance key agri-food research and innovation projects for Ontario. The goals of the initiative are to:

  • fund demand-driven research activities that can support agri-food policy, programs and the marketplace
  • improve knowledge or technology to help Ontario's agri-food sector businesses address challenges
  • help agri-food businesses expand market opportunities locally and globally

Funding streams and priorities 

This call has three streams of funding that will maximize the impact of research results by supporting Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) activities and provide support for advancing innovative technologies, services and products by funding market validation and product development activities.

All proposals:

The three streams are:

  • Knowledge Mobilization (KTT)
  • Research Synthesis (KTT)
  • Commercialization (advanicng innovative technologies, products and services)

Stream A: Knowledge Mobilization

  • Projects will include outreach and/or engagement activities that support the dissemination, uptake and/or use of existing research to Ontario’s agri-food sector.
  • Proposals must to align with one of ten (10) research priority areas.

Stream B: Research Synthesis

  • Synthesis projects will:
    • Specifically address one of seven (7) agri-food sector related research questions provided. 
    • Conduct synthesis of prior research in order to detail the status of science and research in Ontario and other relevant or similar jurisdictions. 
    • Identify research gaps and provide direction and recommendations that can be used for evidence-based policy, programs, and Best Management Practices (BMP) where applicable.

Stream C: Commercialization (advancing innovative technologies, products and services)

  • The Commercialization stream is delivered by Bioenterprise, a national, non-profit business accelerator that offers commercialization expertise in supporting businesses in the agricultural technology sector. Full program details for this Commercialization stream, including a separate set of program guidelines can be found on the Bioenterprise website.


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 knowledge translation and transfer of research derived knowledge, to submit a full proposal.

Lead Applicants must be located in Ontario and the proposed KTT project must benefit Ontario's agri-food system. Researchers outside the province of Ontario may collaborate on KTT projects. Federal, provincial, and territorial government researchers, departments, ministries or agencies, and any employees thereof, are not eligible to receive funding from this Initiative but are eligible to collaborate on KTT 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.

Lead applicants 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

Maximum of $25,000 in eligible costs per project for Stream A - KTT mobilization and maximum of $50,000 for Stream B - KTT synthesis projects (including a research maximum overhead up to 25 %).

OMAFRA strongly encourages applicants to obtain leveraged funds for this Initiative. The Ministry funds demand-driven research and KTT projects that are valued by the end-user and have 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 10 months.

A project cannot start prior to the date that OMAFRA approves the project. This date will be confirmed in the Research Funding Agreement. Eligible costs can only be incurred, invoiced and paid for on or after the start date. 

Projects must be completed no later than January 31, 2023 and the final report is due by Feb 28, 2023. Eligible costs can only be incurred up to and including the project end date.

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

A virtual information session (webinar) will be available on October 4, 2021, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This session will provide:

  • an overview of the program
  • explanation of streams and priorities
  • answer your questions about the application process and research priorities

Please email to confirm your attendance and receive the webinar details.

Internal Deadline

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

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

Those interested in applying are asked to email Kristin Gibson at to express intent to apply and to indicate the chosen stream. Depending on the nature of the project, the applicant may be advised to liaise with colleagues in the Research Innovation Office (RIO) for guidance on commercialization, projects involving industry partners, or knowledge mobilization. Please contact Kristin Gibson prior to the internal deadline to ensure adequate time to connect applicant to RIO if necessary. 

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, including the "2021/22 Full Proposal Call Guide for Stream A and Stream B" for complete program details related to Stream A and B. 

Stream C is delivered by Bioenterprise

Kristin Gibson will submit all applications through RMS to OMAFRA by the external deadline.

Information For Co-applicants

  • A Co-Applicant is a researcher or partner that plays an important, well-defined and ongoing role in the development and implementation of the proposed research project.
  • The Co-Applicant must accept the terms and conditions before the Lead Applicant can submit the application. Only the Lead Applicant can submit.
  • One Co-Applicant allowed per project. A Co-Applicant is optional.
  • The Co-Applicant must use their own workbench to edit the application and accept the terms and conditions.
  • Only one person can edit a given application at a time - please exit the proposal when finished.
For Questions, please contact


For general program enquiries, please contact: Nicole Rabe (Senior Research Advisor)

Office of Research

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

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