Special Call for New Frontiers in Research Funds (NFRF) - Innovative Approaches to Research in the Pandemic Context

Updated Information

There have been a couple of edits to this Research Alert: An attachment has been added to the "File Attachments" section. Also, webinar recording links have been added to the "How to Apply" section.


Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) 


Special Call: 2021 Innovative Approaches to Research in the Pandemic Context

For More Information

Special Call - Competition Overview

File Attachments:

New Frontiers in Research Funds (NFRF) Special Call 2021 - Innovative Approaches to Research in the Pandemic Context - Applicant Webinar (PDF)


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a documented disruptive effect on researchers’ ability to continue planned research activities, particularly community and field-based research. However, the pandemic also provides a unique opportunity to explore new directions in research methodologies, such as innovative approaches to increasing research inclusiveness through the proactive engagement and empowerment of community and other stakeholders to conduct research themselves. This exploration could include developing and testing new approaches to community science, patient-oriented research, Indigenous-led research and more.

While there are challenges, including, for example, the high cost of technologies used in remote data collection, new approaches to conducting research also bring opportunities, such as deepening community leadership in the research process. The development of new ways of doing research is high risk, in that it has the potential to fail. If successful, new research methodologies are also high reward—significantly enhancing the capacity for knowledge generation, dissemination and use in Canada and around the world. New research methodologies have the potential to benefit researchers, the communities engaged in and empowered by the research, and all those impacted by the outcomes of the research. They may be used beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and their positive impacts may be long lasting. They may be adopted widely to complement or replace existing methodologies, or be used only when emergency situations, such as pandemics or natural disasters, preclude the use of existing methodologies.

The goal of this rapid response call is to accelerate the exploration of new approaches and the development and testing of new directions in research methodologies. It is expected that this call will predominately support new ways of conducting community and field-based research, since the pandemic has had the greatest impact on researchers’ ability to collect data and conduct this type of research.

Rapid response grants will support projects to continue work that was interrupted or stalled by the pandemic and that trial and test a novel and innovative research approach with the potential to benefit Canada and the world. Proposals must be time sensitive and demonstrate a new way of doing research in situations where conventional or established research methods cannot be used due to COVID-19-related restrictions.


Project team

Applications to this call may be submitted by either a nominated principal investigator (NPI) alone or by a team, which may include up to one co-principal investigator (co-PI) and any number of co-applicants and/or collaborators.

Individuals may participate in only one application to this competition, in any role. There are no restrictions to participation for an individual who has applied for or will apply for, or who is a current award holder (as an NPIco-PI or co-applicant) on any other NFRF grant (Exploration, Transformation, Global Platform).

Early career researcher: For a proposal to be considered led by early career researchers (ECRs), both the NPI and co-PI (if applicable) must be ECRs. 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 (August 1, 2021, for this competition).

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);

  • completes and submits the NOI and full application through the research administrator at their institution;

  • assumes administrative and financial responsibility for the grant; and

  • receives all related correspondence from the 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 paid using tri-agency funding.

Funding Availability

$20 million will be allocated to a minimum of 80 grants. A proportion of awards equal to the proportion of applications received from early career researchers will be reserved for them.

Maximum Project Value

The maximum budget is $250,000 with $200,000 in direct costs and $50,000 in indirect costs. 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Awards are one-year grants and are eligible for an automatic one-year extension. Grantees will have two years to complete their projects and spend grant funds. 

Special Notes

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

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. The Nominated Principal Investigator must submit their completed Full Application in the Convergence Portal, and notify research.services@uoguelph.ca.

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.

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.

Please find attached the slides that were presented during the NFRF webinars on August 12th under the Attachments section below. You may also view the recording of the webinars at the links below:

English Recording: https://youtu.be/lQyCTbJE2PE        
French Recording: https://youtu.be/OzNYawiwCeE    

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

For more information, contact: NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

Office of Research

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

Alert Classifications
Funding Opportunities and Sponsor News

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