Innovation Fund

The CFI IF objectives are to:

  • Enable global leadership by supporting world-class research and technology development.
  • Enhance and optimize the capacity of institutions and research communities to conduct the proposed research or technology development program(s).
  • Lead to social, health, environmental and/or economic benefits for Canadians.

The Office of Research is seeking world-leading research proposals for the 2023 CFI-IF competition.

Program Overview

An eligible infrastructure project involves the acquisition or development of research infrastructure to increase research capacity, allowing the pursuit of world-class research. The infrastructure will serve researchers and promote productive networks and collaboration among Canadian academic, public and private sectors. Eligible costs are defined as the costs of acquiring or developing research infrastructure (including databases).

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.
  • 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.

The University of Guelph is starting its review and selection process now to identify strong, competitive proposals and provide the support resources needed to move them forward.  

Canada Foundation for Innovation: Innovation Fund Information Session 2022 will provide an overview of the opportunity and the University of Guelph resources available to support your application. View the info session slides and recording.

Detailed Timeline and Requirements

Deadlines will be updated upon program launch.

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

EOI for collaboration on applications led by other universities

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

9-SEP-21 Value Proposition Statement for committee review and feedback (not adjudicated)
NOV-2021 CFI program launch (confirmed)

Submit to AND

24-JAN-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

11-FEB-22 Feedback to applicants
FEB-2022 Notice of Intent due to CFI (not adjudicated)
18-APR-22 DRAFT 2 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
  • Partner letter drafts (for the ORF-RI provincial application)
APR-22 ORF-RI Application launched and shared with applicants (ANTICIPATED)
6-MAY-22 Feedback to PIs on Draft 2
JUN-22 Final Internal Deadline
JUL-2022 ORF-RI LIF Draft 1 Due for ORS and CFI Committee Review

Final draft ORF RI LIF submitted to

  • Complete application
  • Signed letters of support
January 2023 Decision by the CFI Board of Directors
June 2023 ORF decisions are expected approximately 6 months after CFI decisions

Connect with RFS to commence Award Finalization Process

August 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 “John R. Evans Leaders Fund – Funding for Research Infrastructure"
  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.

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

Each quote must:

  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 “transfer” information from the CCV website to the CFI CV.

To transfer from CCV to CFI CV, you will need first to create a CAMS account. Then, within your CCV, you can select “transfer” to export data. You can then cut/paste the exported data into the CFI CV. After transferring information from the CCV to the CFI CV, please review the CV module to ensure accuracy.

The CAMS system also allows you to “share” a CV, which gives another party access to view or edit your CV. See Getting Started with CAMS Section 6.3

  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 deadline (3 days before external 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

  • CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) (Online application portal)
  • IF Program Guide (Full instructions from CFI for completing an IF application)
  • CFI Policy and Program Guide (Details about eligible expenditures and partners, etc.)
  • MCU ORF Large Infrastructure Fund (LIF) Application Guidelines (Full instructions from MCU for completting LIF application)


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

Officer, Strategic Programs
Office of Research Services, UC 437
519-824-4120 x56927