Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence (ORF-RE)


Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU)


Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence

For More Information

Please refer to the following webpages:


The Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE) provides research institutions with funding to support the operational costs of major projects of strategic value to the province.

The fund provides up to one third of the total value of a project, with the remaining two thirds coming from a combination of private sector and institutional contributions.

ORF-RE Round 11 has two application funding streams:

Stream 1: General – Basic and Applied Research

This stream:

  • is open to all research disciplines
  • funds projects from $500,000 to $2,000,000
  • funds projects up to a maximum of 5 years

Stream 2: Targeted – Experimental Research

This stream:

  • funds projects that demonstrate strong commercialization potential, where the innovation is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 or higher
  • Targets projects in the following sectors:
    • information communications technologies
    • life sciences and medical devices
    • industrial technologies
  • requires collaboration with an Ontario-based company
  • funds projects from $300,000 to $1,000,000
  • funds projects up to a maximum of 4 years

For both streams, priority will be given to applications focused on:

  • connected, autonomous, electric vehicles (including battery and powertrain technology)
  • industrial/mining technologies related to electric vehicles, spanning the entire value chain from minerals to manufacturing to recovering resources from vehicles or their component parts at end-of-life

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs must be included in the total value of funds requested from MCU, and contributed by private sector and institutional partners (40% of direct costs). 

A finance workshop held in November 2021 will provide budget guidance.

Project Duration

This program lasts 4-5 years, depending on the Stream selected.

Special Notes

The Ministry review panel scores applicants on:

  • research excellence
  • commercialization potential (if applicable)
  • strategic value to Ontario
  • plan for achieving research impact
  • development of research talent
  • project management and governance

View information about past supported projects.

Major Proposal Development Grant

Applicants are eligible to apply for up to $3,000 in matching funds to support proposal development. Please refer to Major Proposal Development Grant website for program details and application form.  

COVID-19: 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.

Internal Deadline

Workshop 1 - General Information Session: Is the ORF-RE the right opportunity for you? 

Teams Link

Internal Deadline

Notice of Intent (NOI) due from PI's.  See "How to Apply" below. Email stratprg@uoguelph.ca.

Internal Deadline

Co-applicants involved in proposals led by another institution - Refer to "Information for Co-applicants" below. 

Internal Deadline

Co-applicants and PI's submit full application and OR-5 to research.services@uoguelph.ca and stratprg@uoguelph.ca.

External Deadline

Office of Research Services will submit electronic applications prior to this deadline.

How to Apply

For Principal Investigators from the University of Guelph:

Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to stratprg@uoguelph.ca by November 8, 2021.

A NOI includes:

  • PI name
  • Co-applicant name(s) and their institution (if applicable, typically maximum of 2)
  • Title and brief description of research topic
  • Private Sector Partners – names, identify if funds are already confirmed, and if there is any potential conflict of interest with team members.
  • Funding Stream – identify if you will be applying for Stream 1 or Stream 2

Information For Co-applicants

For Co-Applicants Involved in a Proposal Led by Another Institution:

As soon as you are aware you will be participating in an ORF-RE proposal led by another institution, please notify the Office of Research by emailing stratprg@uoguelph.ca.

We ask to be notified of your involvement in an ORF-RE application no later than Monday Feb 7, 2022.

Office of Research staff will reach out to you to discuss next steps.  Institutional letters of support, budgets etc. will need to be prepared and reviewed.

For Questions, please contact

Ailsa Kay Manager, Strategic Programs

Patricia Van Asten, Awards and Agreements Officer, Strategic Programs

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