Innovation Fund

The 2025 competition is expected to launch in Fall 2023.  Information will be updated at that time.

Program Overview

The Innovation Fund provides continued investments in infrastructure, across the full spectrum of research, from the most fundamental to applied through to technology development. Projects funded through the Innovation Fund will help Canada remain at the forefront of exploration and knowledge generation while making meaningful contributions to generating social, health, environmental and economic benefits and addressing global challenges.

An eligible infrastructure project involves acquiring or developing research infrastructure to increase research capacity and support world-class research.

For more background,  please see the 2023 Call for Proposals at Innovation Fund | CFI

Every institution is provided an envelope which is the upper limit of funding it can apply for.  Envelope size is based on the share of tri-agency funding the institution received over the past three years. We expect the 2025 U of G envelope to be approximately $16M. 

In the last competition, the sum of all institutional envelopes was 2.75 times greater than the competition budget with an anticipated funding rate of 35%

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).

Aligned with CFI objectives and criteria, the University will allocate CFI allocation competitively based on:

  • internationally competitive research or technology development;
  • composition and expertise of the team;
  • necessary and appropriate infrastructure that enhances existing capacity
  • well-defined plan to transfer the results of the research or technology development program(s) that will lead to benefits for Canadians.

The following institutional considerations will also be taken into account:

  • alignment with institutional priority and prior investments;
  • potential partnerships with other institutions (with access to other institutional envelopes);
  • financial risk (especially where construction and renovation budgets are significant)    

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 2023 call for proposals for an overview of the competition at Innovation Fund | CFI.
  • Contact your Associate Dean Research and/or College Research Manager to discuss your ideas and explore department and/or college-level support for the project.
  • Connect with colleagues at and beyond the University of Guelph to identify research projects with potential to be internationally competitive.
  • Connect with sector partners to identify collaborations and pathways to broader impact.
  • Contact the Manager, Strategic Research Programs at the Office of Research Services for a preliminary consultation.
  • If you do not require access to the University’s CFI Innovation Fund allocation, simply notify Manager, Strategic Research Programs at the Office of Research Services
  • If you would like to request allocation, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Co-Applicants by the internal deadline.

Detailed Timeline and Requirements

Mar 6, 2023

Launch internal competition.

Mar 27, 2023

NOIs due to (Applicants to the last competition do not need to complete this step). See NOI Requirements for details.

NOIs are for planning purposes only, and to initiate consultation and collaboration between applicant, Research Services Office (RSO), the College, and Physical Resources (PR), as needed.

June 1, 2023

CFI delivers decisions on 2023 competition. Eligibility date for costs/contributions to CFI IF 2025.

June 5, 2023

EOIs from new applicants due to Strategic Programs. See EOI requirements for details.

Applicants to the last competition are asked to inform Manager, Strategic Research Programs if they are interested in resubmitting and are invited to provide any updates since last submission. 

June 28 2023

CFI IF Committee reviews EOIs, selects proposals to advance, and allocates envelope.   

Resubmissions from the last competition will be considered where the proposal received a favourable review from the Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee.

For more information, see Committee Guidelines and EOI evaluation rubric.

Oct 15, 2023

Equipment list with Needs Assessment Form (NAF) due to Strategic Programs for PR review to initiate capital planning process, for Cycle 3 reporting.


Monthly meetings with PR, RSO, RSF, College finance directors, PI(s), and ADR or delegate will be scheduled for projects involving major reno and construction.

No later than Feb 16, 2024

Physical Resources submits project materials and capital planning project report to University Secretariat.

Feb - Mar 2024

Seek Central Committee approvals at Cycle #3 meetings, as follows:

Mar 2024

CFI issues call for proposals

Apr 17, 2024

Seek Board of Governors approval at Cycle #3 meeting, for grants over $2M

June 1, 2024

DRAFT 1 application due for scientific (external), RSO, RFS, and CFI IF committee review. Draft 1 comprises:

  • Complete Assessment Criteria
  • Equipment budget (in RFS spreadsheet) and quotes

Scientific review will be provided to the CFI IF Committee.

July 2024

CFI IF Review Committee Meeting

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

Sept 2024


Oct 2024

NOI due to CFI

Oct 15, 2024

Draft 2 CFI IF Application due for RSO and RFS review:

  • Complete Assessment Criteria
  • Final budget including construction and renovation along with authorization and account # for institutional contributions
  • Project modules complete in CAMS
  • CV modules completed in CAMS
Feb 2025

Final draft due to Manager, Strategic Research Programs and

Feb 2025

CFI Deadline

Mar 2025

Draft 1 ORF-RI LIF due for RSO review:

  • Complete application form
  • Strategic value attachment
  • Mitigating economic and geopolitical risk checklist
  • Letters of support from partners and end-users (signed)
Mar 2025

ORF-RI LIF external deadline

Jan 31, 2024

EOIs due to Manager, Strategic Research Programs. See EOI Requirements for Co-Applicants. If construction and renovation required, submit NAF.

Feb 21, 2024

Allocation decisions communicated.


The following dates will be updated upon program launch.

Jan 2025

Draft application and U of G institutional budget, including construction and renovation as relevant, along with authorization and account # for institutional contributions.

Feb 2025

Copy of complete application and OR-5 submitted to Manager, Strategic Research Programs and

Jun 2024

Decision by the CFI Board of Directors

Nov 2025

ORF decisions are expected approximately 6 months after CFI decisions

Connect with RFS to commence Award Finalization Process

Mar 2026

Award Finalization deadline

Steps for Completing a CFI Innovation Fund Application

Please email the following information:

  • PI name
  • Project title
  • 1-paragraph project summary
  • Major equipment
  • Anticipated total CFI request
  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 2025"
  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.

The Finance Module is completed by RFS, based on the information provided on the Internal Budget Spreadsheet.

  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

Additional Resources


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

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

Financial Officer, Collaboration and Partnerships
Research Financial Services