Major Proposal Development Grant Program

University of Guelph - Office of Research Services
Major Proposal Development Grant Program

Revised January 31, 2020

Program Goal:

The MPDG offers funding for development of complex, collaborative, high-value research grant applications requesting between $1,000,000 and $4,000,000 in cash support. (For SSHRC projects, between $200,000 and $4,000,000.) These include, for example, Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence (ORF-RE); NSERC CREATE; some NSERC Alliance applications; SSHRC Partnership.

If the target, major grant application requests more than $4,000,000 (cash), development funding may be made available through tailored opportunities associated with specific programs. These include, for example, Canada Foundation for Innovation – Innovation Fund (CFI IF); New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation.

Eligibility of Applicants:

  • Eligible to hold research funding at the University of Guelph.
  • Demonstrated track record of operational funding (over at least five years)

Eligible Projects:

This fund supports faculty in all disciplines in the preparation of major proposals that meet these criteria:

  • The value of funding applied for is between $1,000,000 and $4,000,000 (For SSHRC projects, between $200,000 and $4,000,000)
    • Some programs' Letter of Intent (or Stage 1) applications are eligible for MPDG funding. Check Research Alerts for confirmation.
  • The application requires building relationships and developing research plans with partners (outside academia) and/or with an interdisciplinary research team
  • The major program external deadline is between 4 months and one year from submission of the MPDG application
  • The MPDG proposal is supported by the College (as evidenced by matching support for the MPDG)

If you’re not sure whether a program meets these criteria, check the Research Alert. All Research Alerts published after February 10, 2020 will identify if the program is eligible for MPDG funding. If the Research Alert was published before this date, contact the Manager, Strategic Programs, Ailsa Kay at for advice.

Funding Available:

This fund provides matching assistance to financial support provided by the applicant’s(s’) college(s) to a maximum of $5,000. Approvals are subject to the availability of funds. Funding must be used within 12 months of the date of the award.

Eligible Activities:

  • Travel for activities such as attendance at team meetings or for the purposes of establishing partnerships and interacting with program officers.
  • Meeting expenses including hospitality, meeting rooms, AV technology.
  • Personnel for activities such as grant facilitation, grant writing and editing, and administrative support.
  • Teaching release. Please note that while this is an eligible activity, it is not an inherent part of the MPDG research award. Requests for teaching release are to be discussed with Department Chairs and College Deans.

Not Eligible: Research activities, materials, equipment, and supplies.

How to Apply:

Submit the following documents to

  1. Completed application form
  2. CV (any form) of PI and co-applicants (up to five)
  3. OR-5

Application Deadlines:

You can apply for an MPDG up to one year ahead of the major program’s anticipated external deadline. Check the major program’s Research Alert for specific deadline.

Application Review Process:

Applications will be adjudicated by: Associate Vice-President (Research Services). The AVPRS may seek internal scientific review to inform evaluation of the proposal.

Evaluation Criteria:

The following factors will be considered in the review of projects:


  • Alignment of the proposed project with the target grant opportunity · Alignment of the proposed project with the University’s Strategic Research Plan


  • PI track-record of leadership and research funding
  • Outcomes of prior MPDG funding (if applicable)
  • Alignment of the proposed team with the target grant opportunity
  • Team composition:
    • Demonstrate that EDI was taken into consideration within the team composition


  • Potential for the project to develop partnerships and collaborations within and external to the university

Feasibility and Importance of MPDG

  • Feasibility of the proposed grant development activities and timeline
  • Importance of the MPDG to successful proposal development

Reporting Requirements:

At the end of the funding term (one year), a one-page report is required. The report will identify when the Major Grant was submitted and detail how the funds were spent.


In exceptional circumstances, extensions may be requested from the Manager, Strategic Research Programs. Please note that:

  • funds cannot be transferred to another account (e.g. GPR)
  • funds cannot be used to support development of another project without review of that project as meeting the criteria of the MPDG