Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award Round 12 launched


Ministry of Research and Innovation


Early Researcher Award

For More Information

Round 12 Program Website

Round 12 Program Guidelines

Application Forms

Notice of Intent

Application Form


The Ontario Early Researcher Awards (ERA) Program is to help promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers to build their research teams, and to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent.  The ERA program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program, which is highly competitive.


Researchers must be no more than five years into their independent academic research career and no more than 10 years (excluding eligible periods of interruption) from completion of their first Doctorate or DVM as of July 1, 2016.   Researchers who are, or have been, Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are not eligible.  Applicants must have the approval of their ADR to apply for this award. 

Funding Availability

Awards are up to $100,000 to fund eligible expenses for a research team, and must be matched by an additional $50,000 cash from the researcher’s institution and/or partner organization. The University (central) will provide $40,000 in match; the remaining $10,000 must come from the applicant's department, college or a partner organization.

Eligible Expenditures

The $100,000 from the ERA and the $50,000 matching contribution will cover the following expenses for students (undergraduates, graduate students) and other research support staff (post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians) based at the University of Guelph:

  • Salary & benefits (salaries must be commensurate with institutional remuneration scales)
  • Essential & reasonable travel expenses for research personnel related directly to conferences, workshops or seminars
  • Essential and reasonable travel and expenses for research personnel related directly to offsite research activities

Evaluation Criteria

  • Excellence of the Researcher (40%)
  • Quality of Research (30%)
  • Development of Research Talent (20%)
  • Strategic Value for Ontario (10%)

Other Important Information

  • Each application must include three original signed letters of reference in sealed, signed envelopes to accompany the final submission package. One of the reference letters must be from a former supervisor, mentor, collaborator or corporate sponsor familiar with the researcher. Two of the reference letters must be from arm’s length sources.  It is recommended that the arm’s length letters be from researchers of international stature familiar with the researcher’s work.  The Office of Research will assist with securing these letters.  Applicants will thus be required to provide the name of two non-arm’s length referees, and three arm’s length referees (extra names are requested in the event a referee is not available).

    To be competitive, applicants should be actively involved in conducting research supported by peer-reviewed funding, and must demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors.

    As the ERA is an institutional award, it requires a minimum processing time of one month prior to the sponsor’s external deadline. During that time Research Financial Services and the Office of Research will track your reference letters, review your budget spreadsheets, and ensure the text of the application to ensure your application addresses all of the evaluative criteria of the competition, and that the University undertakes due diligence to comply with all guidelines and regulations as set out by our sponsor.


N.B. Applicants must have the approval of their ADR to apply to this program.                                    

Friday, June 10, 2016                      Deadline to contact ADR to express interest in applying

Monday, June 13, 2016                   NOIs to Research Office (NOIs are mandatory but not binding)
                + names and contact information for FIVE referees

Tuesday, June 28, 2016                     ERA Workshop with MRI personnel, followed by internal session with past reviews  (10:00 am – 12:00 pm; UC103)

July 12, 2016                                      DRAFT copy of research proposal (max 5 pages), HQP training plan (~200 words), benefits to Ontario (~200 words)  + CV  (to be forwarded to referees)                                                 

Friday, July 22, 2016                        Full Applications to Research Office + OR-5 to

(N.B. The MRI will not accept applications from researchers directly; they must be submitted by the University.)

For Questions, please contact

Office of Research

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

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