OMAFRA: Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative call for Full Proposals 2019-20


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.

The new research initiative combines and builds on the success of OMAFRA's former New Directions and Food Safety Research Programs. The new Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative will be jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).

OMAFRA strives to fund demand-driven research that has ready receptors in policy, programs or the marketplace. New knowledge and technologies help Ontario's agri-food sector businesses address challenges and expand market opportunities locally and globally.

Research Priority Areas

Priorities may shift annually and reflect key opportunities and challenges facing the agri-food sector and rural communities. Priorities for the 2019-20 call are:

  • Food Safety
  • Global Market Analysis
  • Automation - Barriers and Adoption by the Sector
  • Bio-Based Production Systems

Please review the details of the above priority areas to ensure that your proposal is within scope and addresses one or more of the specific research questions.

Town Hall: An information session (webinar and in-person) will be held at 1 Stone Road W, Guelph (Conference Centre 1) on December 11, 2019 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. to provide information about the application process and priorities. Please RSVP to


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. 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 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

Maximum of $150,000 in eligible costs per project (including 25% indirect costs). OMAFRA strongly encourages applicants to obtain leveraged funds for this initiative.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Up to 33 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.


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

Internal Deadline

Please submit your proposal online in the RMS along with an OR-5 Form to before noon on January 16, 2020. 

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

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. The 2019-20 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 January 9, 2020 at 2:00pm EST 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 to the Office of Research Services on or before January 16, 2020. There will be an opportunity to make changes between January 16, 2020 and OMAFRA's deadline of January 23, 2020. Participation in the Intent process is recommended but not mandatory. 
Note on Internet Browsers: The Research Management System works well in a variety of browsers, but some functionalities may not work well in Internet Explorer. 


For Questions, please contact
Research and Innovation Branch 
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1G 4Y2 

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

Office of Research

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

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