Innovation Fund

The objectives of the 2023 Innovation Fund competition are to:

  • Enable internationally competitive research or technology development through the equitable participation of expert team members.
  • Enhance and optimize the capacity of institutions and research communities to conduct the proposed research or technology development program(s) over the useful life of the infrastructure.
  • Lead to social, health, environmental and/or economic benefits for Canadians.

Program Overview

See the Call for Proposals at Innovation Fund | CFI

Research infrastructure projects should:

  • Be aligned with the institution’s strategic priorities.
  • Be of appropriate maturity and offer the best potential for transformative impact.
  • Allow teams and institutions to build on established capacity to accelerate current research and technology development or to enhance emerging strategic priority areas.
  • Enable teams to fully exploit research infrastructure and drive world-class research.

The University of Guelph will be “allocated” a share of the total available CFI funds. This envelope represents the maximum amount that the University can apply for. We expect the 2022 U of G envelope to be approximately $18M.

For each project, the CFI funds 40% of total project costs. The Ontario Research Fund (ORF) funds 40%. The remaining 20% must be found in vendor discounts and/or other contributions. The ORF requires a separate application to the ORF Research Infrastructure Large Infrastructure Fund (ORF RI LIF).

The University will allocate CFI allocation competitively based on: potential to achieve global leadership; strength of the PI and team; alignment with institutional priority and prior investments; research impact (partnerships with relevant industry and non-profit organizations and benefits to Canada); and need for the requested infrastructure. Allocation decisions will also take into account a project’s potential to establish partnerships with, and access to envelope of, other institutions.

The Office of Research will:

  1. Lead a transparent and timely allocation process.
  2. Partner with colleges to invest in the grant development process.
  3. Work with Research Financial Services and external reviewers to provide grant-development resources and advice on applications in development.
  4. Facilitate connections with other administrative units at University of Guelph (e.g., Physical Resources) and other universities.
  • Review the 2020 call for proposals for an overview of the competition. Innovation Fund | CFI
  • Connect with colleagues at and beyond the University of Guelph to identify research projects with potential for global leadership.
  • Connect with sector partners to identify collaborations and pathways to broader impact.
  • Contact your Associate Dean Research and/or College Research Manager to discuss your ideas and explore college-level support for the project.
  • Contact the Manager, Strategic Research Programs at the Office of Research Services for a preliminary consultation.
  • Submit an Expression of Interest by the internal deadline

Detailed Timeline and Requirements

18-MAY-21 - 9:00am

Expressions of Interest (5-pg) and Logic Model submission due to

5-JUN-21 Selection of Proposals and Budget Allocation - decisions made by CFI Committee (including % of allocation held for collaborative)
5-JUN-21 Grant development funding provided to teams
JUNE ORS, RIO, and RFS consultation with each applicant
9-SEP-21 Value Proposition Statement for committee review and feedback (not adjudicated)
NOV-2021 CFI program launch (confirmed)

EOI for collaboration on applications led by other universities

Complete Expression of Interest (EOI) for Co-Applicants form due to

1-FEB-22 DRAFT 1 for external scientific, ORS, RFS, and CFI Committee Review
  • Complete CFI IF Assessment Criteria Template
  • Equipment budget with quotes (revised if necessary)

    At committee review, allocation may be redistributed and/or projects eliminated in cases where an application is deemed by the CFI Committee to be incomplete or unsatisfactory


DRAFT NOI due to

21-FEB-22 Feedback on Draft 1 and NOI to applicants
23-FEB-2022 Notice of Intent due to CFI (not adjudicated)
18-APR-22 DRAFT 2 CFI IF Application for ORS and RFS review (and Committee review if requested)
  • Complete CFI IF Assessment Criteria Template
  • Final budget complete with quotes (including for Construction and Renovation)
  • Project Modules complete on CAMS
  • CV Modules complete
6-MAY-22 Feedback to PIs on Draft 2 CFI IF Application
  • Draft 1 ORF-RI LIF Strategic Value Attachment (Sections 17-19)
  • Draft 1 Partner letter drafts (for the LIF application)

See ORF-RI LIF Application Form and Guidelines

6-JUN-22 Final Internal Deadline CFI IF Application

ORF-RI LIF Draft 2 Due for ORS Review. This includes:

  • Complete Application Form (where the application requires narrative, please consider submitting these sections in Word to facilitate review/revision)
  • Strategic Value Attachment (Sections 17-19)
  • Mitigating Economic and Geopolitical Risk Checklist Form (Section 20)
  • Updated/new letters of support from partners and end-users
29-JUN-22 Feedback to applicants on ORF-RI LIF Draft 2

Final draft ORF RI LIF submitted to

  • Complete application with attachments
March 2023 Decision by the CFI Board of Directors
September 2023 ORF decisions are expected approximately 6 months after CFI decisions

Connect with RFS to commence Award Finalization Process

December 2023 Award Finalization deadline

Steps for Completing a CFI Innovation Fund Application

  1. Log onto the CFI website and create an account in CAMS, the online application system
  2. Select "Create New Proposal" and from the list provided, select “Innovation Fund 2023"
  3. To learn how to navigate the online portal, see Getting Started with CAMS
  1. Project Information: Complete online in CAMS.
  2. Plain Language Summary: Complete online in CAMS. A 1,500 character plain language summary that may be used by the CFI in public communications. Focus on expected outcomes and benefits to Canada, beyond the academic accomplishments. DO THIS LAST—not adjudicated and needs to be written for news release.
  3. Researchers: Complete online in CAMS. Up to 10 co-applicants may be listed. Each will need to be invited to the project, create a CAMS account, and complete a CFI CV.
  4. Assessment Criteria: “Assessment Criteria” is the research proposal section of the application. Use the CFI IF Assessment Criteria Template and submit as Word document to by the internal deadline(s). To gain a better understanding of these criteria, consult the CFI IF University of Guelph Guide for Applicants.
  5. Operations and Maintenance Table. Complete online in CAMS. Anticipated costs and anticipated resources should be of the same value. The justification for these numbers will be provided in the Sustainability section of the Assessment Criteria.

Ensure that suggested reviewers are NOT in conflict of interest. If you wish to exclude potential reviewers, please email names, titles, and affiliations of excluded reviewers to along with a brief reason for exclusion.

  1. Construction/Renovation quotes: A Physical Resources estimate will be required even for minor changes such as adding a power outlet. Institutions are expected to have completed planning and development work for such projects at the proposal stage. Applicants must include floor plans of the proposed area(s), showing the location of the infrastructure and the scale of the plans (when renovation involves multiple rooms). Floor plans must be provided in a pdf attachment that is clearly legible.

    Complete Needs Assessment Forms (including equipment specs and signed by the department chair) must be submitted to Strategic Programs by the internal deadline.

  2. Collect vendor quotes for eligible costs. See the CFI program guide for explanation of eligible costs. See the University’s quote guidelines for detail.

    Each quote must:

    1. Include three prices: the regular list price, the academic or best customer price, and the CFI price (only the discount above the academic price will count as an in-kind contribution), or:
    2. If the supplier does not offer an academic or best customer price and any discount on offer applies only to the CFI, a statement must be provided to that effect. An example would be “Supplier X does not offer an Academic or Best Customer Price. The discount pricing offered is specifically related to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant program.
    3. The cost of shipping and handling/freight must also be identified, unless the quote states that it is included in the price of the equipment.
    4. State the currency (CAD, USD, etc).
  3. Enter quotes into budget spreadsheet (use Excel template):
    1. Fill in only columns B-G and V-X as indicated.
    2. See Cost Requirements to find current exchange rates used by Research Financial Services.
  4. Ensure that your budget is justified in the Assessment Criteria “Infrastructure” section. See Sample Justification.
  5. Research Financial Services will review your vendor quotes and spreadsheet to populate the financial module, which will result in a summary of expenses organized according to the following categories.

    Example of a summary of expenses organized according to the financial module

To create a CFI CV you can either work within the CFI CV module, or you can submit your CCV to the CFI.

For assistance in using Canadian Common CV (CCV), see: A guide to submitting your Canadian Common CV to the CFI.

  1. Complete submission in CAMS. (Validate and confirm completion)

    Example of CAMS submission (validate and confirm completion)

  2. Submit PDF of “Project” to and with a signed OR-5.
    1. First click “display/print” (shown above)
    2. From pop-up, select Display/Print Project.
    3. Email OR-5 and PDF attachment to and by final internal deadline to allow time for final administrative review.
  3. Example of CAMS Display/Print popup, highlighting Project and View.

Complete the Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure application. This application must persuasively present tangible, measurable benefits to Ontario. Partner letters of support are required.

Internal Resources

External Resources


Ailsa Kay, Manager, Strategic Programs
Office of Research Services, UC 437
519-824-4120 x58321

Jennifer Fletcher, Senior Manager, Collaboration and Partnerships.
Research Financial Services

Linda Hoffman, Financial Officer, Infrastructure Programs
Research Financial Services