New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)

New Frontiers in Research – Transformation

The Transformation stream is designed to support large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge with the potential to realize real and lasting change (high-reward). The challenge may be fundamental, leading to a scientific breakthrough, or applied, with a social, economic, environmental or health impact. Projects are expected to be world-leading, drawing on global research expertise where relevant.


  • Minimum Budget for Direct Costs: 1,600,000/year ($2,000,000 per year including indirect costs of 25%)
  • Maximum Budget for Direct Costs: 3,200,000/year ($4,000,000 per year including indirect costs of 25%)


Six years

Program Overview

What does the program support?

Transformation stream grants will support projects that:

  1. tackle a well-defined problem or challenge;
  2. propose a novel world-leading approach that is different from the current state-of-the-art approaches to the issue;
  3. are interdisciplinary, bringing different perspectives to the defined problem; and
  4. have the potential to be transformative, defined as the potential to create a significant and real change or impact—a noticeable leap or tangible breakthrough rather than an incremental advance.

What is “transformative” research?

In the NFRF program, the definition of “transformative” is linked to the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s proposed definition of convergence research (PDF, 726 KB), where “convergence research is increasingly seen as the way to solve pressing challenges.” It is aligned with the National Science Foundation’s definition of convergence research, focusing on research driven by a specific and compelling problem and deep integration across disciplines. It also has strong parallels to Horizon Europe in its reference to mission-oriented research and innovation with bold and concrete objectives to respond to societal challenges.

What is considered interdisciplinary research?

To meet the minimum requirement to be considered interdisciplinary, the proposed research project must include elements from at least two different disciplines (as defined by a group-level classification based on the Canadian Research and Development Classification codes. Projects that fall under the mandate of only one federal research funding agency are not eligible.

How can I apply?

All applications must submit a notice of intent to apply (NOI) and letter of intent to apply (LOI). Only successful LOIs are invited to submit a full application. 

The University of Guelph application process, with internal deadlines, is outlined below.

Timeline and Requirements

Target date


Thursday, August 31, 2023, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM


  • Webinar number: 2343 121 5895
  • Webinar password: Transformation24
  • (87267367 from phones and video systems)
  • Join by phone: +1-438-797-4001 Canada Toll (Ottawa), Access code: 2343 121 5895

Sept. 13

Expression of Interest due. Please email  the following information:

  • PI name
  • Project title
  • Project summary (one paragraph)

Oct. 17, 2023

Draft NOI due

October 24, 2023, 8:00 p.m.


Nov. 22, 2023

Draft LOI due to for strategic review

Jan. 6, 2024 8:00 AM


Jan. 10, 2024


Sept. 5, 2024

Full application (by invitation only) EXTERNAL DEADLINE

February 2025

Award results released

March 2025

Start date of awards

Internal Resources

  • Knowledge Mobilization
    • See resources for knowledge mobilization. High-reward, transformative change or impacts, and clear means of measuring impacts, are critical for this competition.  We highly recommend developing a Logic Model or other type of impact mapping framework as soon as possible.
  • LOI Components Checklist
    • This checklist is designed to help teams and RSO ensure that the LOI submission is complete, meets program eligibility requirements, as well as institutional requirements.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • This document contains the most common FAQs regarding eligibility, team composition, use of funds, and the application process.

External Resources

NFRF Best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice and design

EDI and related considerations are assessed under two criteria in the NFRF program:

  • EDI in research practice considers the research team and the research environment.
  • Feasibility considers the research plan.

NFRF evaluation matrices