Our mandate

The CFI makes financial contributions to Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to increase their capability to carry out high quality research.

Our vision

Canada’s researchers lead the world in contributing to competitiveness, prosperity and quality of life.

Our objectives

  • Increase Canada’s capability to carry out important world-class scientific research and technology development;
  • Support economic growth and job creation, as well as health and environmental quality through innovation;
  • Expand research and job opportunities by providing support through research infrastructure for the development of highly qualified personnel;
  • Promote productive networks and collaboration among Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, non-profit research institutions and the private sector.

Our values

The CFI is committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. In all our activities, we recognize that a breadth of perspectives, skills and experiences contributes to excellence in research.

Equity: We aim to ensure all CFI-eligible institutions have opportunity to access and benefit from our programs and CFI-funded infrastructure through our well established, fair and impartial practices.

Diversity: We value attributes that allow institutions and their researchers — from any background and from anywhere — to succeed. This includes individual attributes such as gender, language, culture and career stage; institutional attributes such as size, type and location; and attributes that encompass the full spectrum of research, from basic to applied and across all disciplines. 

Inclusion: Our culture encourages collaboration, partnership, contributions and engagement among diverse groups of people, institutions and areas of research to maximize the potential of Canada’s research ecosystem.

We believe that nurturing an equitable, diverse and inclusive culture is the responsibility of every member of the research ecosystem, including funders, institutions, researchers, experts and reviewers.

For our part, we strive to be:




How we live it externally

We remain transparent and accountable by monitoring and communicating the outcomes of our activities and investments

We are client-focused, providing effective, efficient services and actively consulting with our stakeholders

We believe in a bright future for Canada’s research community. Our investments allow researchers to think big and have a profound, transformative impact on society

How we live it internally

We are objective, ensuring the integrity and independence of our processes and decisions

We foster teamwork, valuing and considering the opinions, and trusting the skills and knowledge of our colleagues

We bring fresh ideas into a work environment that fosters excellence and creative thinking

Being accountable

We are committed to public accountability, placing great importance on evaluating the impact of our investments and delivering programs that focus on Canada’s needs.

As an arm’s length independent corporation, the CFI reports to a Board of Directors.  We operate within the framework set out in our funding agreements with the Government of Canada.

We operate in a highly transparent manner and have many forms of accountability:

  • To ensure institutions that receive infrastructure support are providing the best possible results for the benefit of Canadians, the CFI requires that they develop and periodically update strategic research plans, and that they report on the progress of each project for up to five years.
  • We conduct monitoring visits at recipient institutions to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of policies, processes and controls that are in place for the management of funded projects. Using a risk-based audit approach, we also conduct audits to ensure that CFI funding has been used in accordance with terms and conditions in award agreements, and with applicable policies and guidelines. All CFI-funded projects exceeding $10 million are automatically subject to an audit.
  • We  periodically undertake various types of evaluations to support organizational learning, to inform operational and strategic decisions and to remain accountable for the use of public funds.
  • We communicate the value and outcomes of its investments in the research community to Canadians through its website and other communications tools, such as its annual report (tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Industry, Science and Economic Development and widely distributed); and regular appearances and submissions to various standing committees.

What is research infrastructure?

The infrastructure funded by the CFI includes the state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, databases, specimens, scientific collections, computer hardware and software, communications linkages and buildings necessary to conduct leading-edge research.

And what does it do for Canada?

State-of-the-art infrastructure allows researchers to push the boundaries of knowledge, explore the unknown and generate exciting outcomes that benefit humankind. It helps institutions attract, retain and train the top researchers from around the globe and fosters collaboration among the academic, private, public and non-profit sectors on a range of projects and across many disciplines. The solid platforms of research infrastructure being established in Canadian institutions are serving to support business innovation and private-sector research and development.

How does the CFI fund infrastructure?

We have established a rigorous, competitive and independent merit-review process that rewards excellence. The CFI relies on experts from across Canada and around the world to ensure that only the very best projects receive funding. CFI funding is awarded to institutions, and all proposals must support an institution’s strategic research plan.

Eligible Canadian institutions apply to the CFI through a suite of funds, and all applications must demonstrate:

  • Quality of the research and its need for infrastructure;
  • Contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation;
  • Potential benefits of the research to Canada.

In 2018, the CFI signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), reaffirming its commitment to excellence in research evaluation and the importance of knowledge translation. 

DORA is a global initiative to support the development and promotion of best practice in assessment of scholarly research. It aims to address the negative consequences of unintended overuse of journal publication as a primary indicator of quality for research output.

The CFI’s review process is aligned with the principles outlined in DORA, and employs a comprehensive range of criteria to examine the excellence of the research and the team, as well as the need for the infrastructure and the benefits of the research to Canada. The CFI regularly re-examines the way excellence is measured to ensure that new learning, best practices and the progress of research itself are fully integrated into its assessment processes.

The CFI funds up to 40 percent of a project’s research infrastructure costs. This funding is then leveraged to attract the remaining investment from partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Why does the CFI track the progress of its funded projects?

To remain accountable and to better understand how Canada benefits from CFI-funded infrastructure, we rely on researchers at our funded institutions to report annually through project progress reports. Through these yearly questionnaires, project leaders report the outputs and outcomes that have resulted from their CFI-funded infrastructure over the fiscal year.