Special Call for New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) - Research for Postpandemic Recovery


Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC)'s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)


Research for postpandemic recovery

For More Information

Special Call - Competition Overview


This Special Call aims to mobilize Canadian-led research efforts in support of a more equitable, sustainable and resilient postpandemic reality. It will support a diverse portfolio of projects that directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the UN Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery


Project team

To reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the projects, proposals must be submitted by research teams composed of 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 any number of co-PIs, co-applicants and/or collaborators.

All project teams must include at least one expert in social, economic, or socio-economic research and/or implementation science among the principal investigators (NPI or co-PI) to reflect the socio-economic framework and goals of the UN Roadmap.

Given the global focus of the Roadmap and the need to ensure that all countries are considered in the pandemic recovery, research teams are expected to include international members. The inclusion of team members from lower- middle or lower-income countries is strongly encouraged. Exceptions to this will be considered for projects that address a uniquely Canadian context and provide an appropriate justification.

To ensure that these grants support projects with a diversity of perspectives and aims, individuals may participate in only one application to this competition as either an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant. These restrictions do not apply to collaborators. There are no restrictions to participation for an individual who has applied for, will apply for, or who is a current award holder (as an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant) of any other NFRF grant (Exploration, Transformation, Global Platform, or Special Calls).

Projects are expected to demonstrate community engagement and partnership, as appropriate, to ensure that research findings have tangible outcomes. National, international and cross-sector (private, public or other) collaborations are encouraged to ensure that the most appropriate individuals and/or organizations are involved and that team composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion. To support collaborations, funds from Special Call grants can be used to support the research activities of team members within Canada or internationally, except those affiliated with for-profit companies or federal, provincial or municipal governments.

Early career researcher

For a proposal to be considered led by an early career researcher (ECR), the NPI must be an ECR. 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 of the month in which the competition is launched (February 1, 2022, for this 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. More details are available in the Frequently Asked Questions.

All applications are encouraged to meaningfully integrate ECRs into the project team.

Nominated principal investigator

The NPI is responsible for:

  • the direction of the project and the coordination of proposed research activities, in conjunction with the co-PI (if applicable);

  • completing the NOI and full application and submitting them through the research administrator at their institution;

  • assuming administrative and financial responsibility for the grant; and

  • receiving all related correspondence from the research funding agencies.

The NPI must be considered an independent researcher at their primary affiliation. A primary affiliation is defined as the primary organization at which an individual is employed, appointed or conducts research.

An independent researcher is an individual who:

  • engages in research-related activities that are not under the direction of another individual; and

  • has an academic or research appointment that:

    • commences by the full application deadline;

    • allows the individual to pursue the proposed research project, engage in independent research activities for the entire duration of the funding, supervise trainees (if applicable, as per the institution’s policy), and publish the research results; and

    • obliges the individual to comply with institutional policies on the conduct of research, supervision of trainees (if applicable) and employment conditions of staff who are paid using tri-agency funding.

Individuals who are full- or part-time students, postdoctoral fellows or research associates are not eligible to apply as NPIs, regardless of whether they also meet the definition of an independent researcher.

Co-principal investigators and co-applicants

Co-PIs share responsibility with the NPI for the direction of the proposed activities and may access grant funds.

Co-applicants contribute to the execution of the research project and may access grant funds.

The eligibility requirements for co-PIs and co-applicants are the same, however, their roles are different: Co-PIs work with the NPI to direct the project, in addition to contributing to its execution, while co-applicants contribute to the execution of the project.

Co-PIs and co-applicants can be practitioners, policy-makers, educators, decision-makers, health care administrators, Indigenous elders, Indigenous knowledge keepers, patients, community leaders, individuals working for a charity, and a range of other individuals. Researchers and professors must be considered independent researchers to be eligible as a co-PI or a co-applicant.

The co-PIs’ and co-applicants’ affiliation may be with a Canadian postsecondary institution, a Canadian institution or organization that does not have full institutional eligibility with one of the three federal funding agencies, or an international institution outside of Canada. However, it may not be a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. For all team members, eligible expenses are limited to those related to the execution of the project that are not within the mandate of the individual’s organization of employment.

Individuals whose primary affiliation is with an Indigenous government are eligible to be co-PIs, co-applicants or collaborators.

Individuals indirectly employed by a federal, provincial or municipal government (e.g., employees in police services, education or health care) are eligible to be co-applicants.

Students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates are not eligible to participate as a co-PI or co-applicant.


Collaborators contribute to the execution of research activities but do not have access to grant funds. Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible institution. Any individual who will contribute to the project is eligible to be a collaborator. Collaborators may include individuals affiliated with a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. They may also be affiliated with a Canadian or international organization.

Any individual whose contributions to the project will be supervised by the NPI, co-PI, co-applicant and/or another collaborator cannot be considered a collaborator.

Subject matter (fit to program)

These Special Call grants support projects that directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the UN Roadmap. Applications must demonstrate how they respond to the priorities laid out in the Roadmap. They may involve disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for funding across the three agencies. Eligible projects include short- and medium-term projects, as well as discrete phases of longer-range research programs. All projects are expected to have demonstrable results/impact by the end of the grant period.

Projects are required to be interdisciplinary. To be considered interdisciplinary, a proposed research project must combine elements from at least two different disciplines (as defined by a group-level classification based on the Canadian Research and Development Classification). Projects are not required to cross the mandates of more than one federal research funding agency.

Applications must propose an innovative approach to a priority area identified in the UN Roadmap. Applicants will be required to identify the priorities in the Roadmap the proposed project addresses.

Applications for projects that are the same as or similar (in whole or in part) to applications that have been submitted to or funded by any federal research funding agency programs, including other NFRF competitions, are not eligible and should not be submitted.

Funding Availability

$24 million to be provided to a minimum of 48 projects. A proportion of awards equal to the proportion of applications received from early career researchers will be reserved for them.

Supplemental funding: Projects awarded funding through the NFRF 2022 Special Call may be eligible for supplemental funding from one or more partner organizations for this funding opportunity. All applications will be assessed according to the merit-review process for the 2022 Special Call. All proposed projects must be fully executable within the NFRF budget. To be considered for supplemental funds, applicants must consent to their application being shared on their enrolment form on the Convergence Portal.

Maximum Project Value

The maximum budget is $250,000 per year (with $200,000 in direct costs and $50,000 in indirect costs per year) for a total maximum budget of $500,000 over two years. 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Two years


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

Internal Deadline

Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI)
The Nominated Principal Investigator must submit their NOI through the Convergence Portal. The NOI is mandatory to progress to the next stage.  A complete, signed OR-5 form is required at this stage to verify eligibility, etc.. Please estimate the maximum budget, including 25% indirect costs, on your OR-5 form, and it can be updated at the Full Application stage when finalized.

External Deadline

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

Internal Deadline

Full Application

NOIs are not adjudicated, so all teams can proceed with Full Application. Full Applications are open on the Convergence Portal as of May 3, 2022. The Nominated Principal Investigator must submit their completed Full Application in the Convergence Portal, and notify research.services@uoguelph.ca.c

External Deadline

Full Application
The Office of Research Services 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 (NOI) and submit a full application.

Webinars: Webinars will be recorded and the presentations made available following the sessions. Please contact your institution’s research grants office for more information.





March 1, 2022

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (eastern)


Join webinar

March 1, 2022

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (eastern)


Join webinar


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.

All NOIs and full applications are first submitted to the research administrator (research grants office or equivalent) at the NPI’s primary affiliation. The administrator must submit the NOI or full application through the Convergence Portal before the relevant deadline. Research administrators are free to set their own internal deadlines.

Information For Co-applicants

If you are a formal Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Applicant on an NFRF Grant led by a Nominated Principal Investigator at another institution, you are required to submit a copy of the Notice of Intent to Apply (NOI) and a signed OR-5 form to research.services@uoguelph.ca at the NOI Internal Deadline.


For Questions, please contact

If you have questions:

Office of Research

Carolyn Osborn, Director, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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