Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
Funding available through this fund
Through this fund, the CFI will invest up to $385 million in research infrastructure funding through two competitions and will fund up to 60 percent of each project’s eligible infrastructure costs. In addition, the CFI will provide up to $115 million for associated operating costs through the Infrastructure Operating Fund (which institutions must allocate to support the operating and maintenance needs of BRIF-funded infrastructure).
Visit the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) website for more information on this joint competition, including the objectives, selection criteria and other details of the application and review process.
To apply for research infrastructure funding through the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition, Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions must be recognized as CFI-eligible and must also be fully eligible for funding with one of the three federal research funding agencies.
Find out how to become CFI-eligible or contact the CFI at eligibility [at] innovation.ca with questions about the CFI’s eligibility requirements and processes.
Check the following lists to see if your institution is eligible for funding through one of the federal research funding agencies:
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
For other questions about eligibility to this competition, contact SSHRC, the administrating organization, at institutional.eligibility [at] sshrc-crsh.gc.ca.
Launch of CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition
March 2, 2023
Deadline to submit notices of intent for CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition
June 8, 2023
Deadline to submit proposals to the CBRF – BRIF Stage competition
September 7, 2023
Review of proposals to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition by Science and Technical Review Committees
October to December 2023
Review of proposals to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition by the Strategic Review Committee
Decision by CFI Board of Directors on research infrastructure proposals
The CFI will invest up to $277 million in research infrastructure funding through the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition and will fund up to 60 percent of a project’s eligible infrastructure costs. In addition, the CFI will provide up to $83 million for associated operating costs through the Infrastructure Operating Fund.
Eligible infrastructure projects
All infrastructure requests submitted to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition must:
- Directly support a research component submitted to the same competition
- Be composed of eligible infrastructure costs equal to or greater than $1 million
- Be endorsed by one of the hubs funded in Stage 1 of CBRF.
Learn more about the hubs selected in Stage 1 of CBRF.
All costs normally considered by the CFI as eligible for an infrastructure project (see section 4.6 of our Policy and program guide) as well as costs related to physical security and cybersecurity are eligible. Costs must have been incurred on or after April 1, 2023.
The operating funds awarded through the Infrastructure Operating Fund for this competition must be allocated by institutions directly in support of the operating and maintenance needs of BRIF-funded infrastructure. See section 4.7 of our Policy and program guide for eligible operating and maintenance expenses.
This competition is now closed. On November 16, 2022, the Government of Canada announced an investment of more than $127 million through this competition to support upgrades to eight biocontainment facilities across the country.
Consult the news item from the public funding announcement for a list of projects funded through this competition.
Consult the call for proposals for competition objectives, eligibility information and other details in this competition.
If your institution was successful in this competition, click on the “Manage your award” tab for this fund for information on finalizing and managing your award.
What is the process to apply to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition?
All applications and required forms must be submitted electronically through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Convergence Portal.
Consult the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition on SSHRC’s website for instructions on how to access the Convergence Portal, required forms and other details of how to apply.
What if an institution has already submitted a proposal to the 2023 Innovation Fund competition for research infrastructure that will also be relevant to a CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 application?
We encourage hubs to submit notices of intent to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition for infrastructure already requested through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition if that infrastructure is essential to and/or of high priority for advancing the hub’s programs of research. This applies to Innovation Fund proposals submitted by either the hub’s lead institution or any other associated institution. This means that institutions should submit notices of intent to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition under the assumption that they will not be funded through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition.
Given the time lag between the deadline to submit proposals to the 2023 Innovation Fund competition and the deadline to submit notices of intent to CBRF – BRIF Stage 2, applicants can remove or add research infrastructure to their Innovation Fund proposals before resubmitting them as notices of intent to CBRF – BRIF Stage 2.
We also encourage hubs to submit a “B list” of notices of intent that are over and above their CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope. These additional notices of intent can request up to the total amount requested in the proposals that are included in the envelope, but which were already requested through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition. The B list of notices of intent will only go forward if infrastructure included within the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope gets funded through the Innovation Fund.
Hubs should email the CFI at brif-firsb [at] innovation.ca with the following information:
- A complete list of the notices of intent included within their CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope with the notices of intent that include infrastructure already requested through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition clearly indicated (including the Innovation Fund project number)
- A list of the notices of intent on their B list (These should either be listed in order of priority or mapped 1:1 to the notice of intent included within their CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope that the B list notice of intent would replace if the project within the envelope gets funded through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition.);
Following the mid-June decisions for the 2023 Innovation Fund competition, the CFI will withdraw any CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 notices of intent for proposals that get funded through the Innovation Fund, and will add the B list notices of intent in their place. We will do so in order of priority up to, but not exceeding, the amount of envelope room freed up by the successful Innovation Fund projects. We will provide hubs with the opportunity to confirm their final list of notices of intent shortly after the Innovation Fund decisions have been released.
What is an example of how this might take place?
For example, a hub may receive expressions of interest from its researchers and partner institutions for 20 potential CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 notices of intent, including four projects that have already been submitted through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition. These 20 notices of intent would exceed the total CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope so the hub must select which notices of intent it will endorse. The hub selects 10 of the 20 expressions of interest to put forward as notices of intent. Those 10 include two projects that have already been submitted to the 2023 Innovation Fund competition. The 10 notices of intent request a total of $152 million ($138.5 million from the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope plus 10 percent more because some flexibility is allowed at the notice of intent stage). Of that $152 million, $20 million is requested through the two notices of intent already submitted to the 2023 Innovation Fund competition.
Within its envelope, the hub includes notices of intent for those 10 projects, but then also adds three additional notices of intent (their “B list”) — two that are worth $5 million and one that is worth $10 million, for a total of up to $20 million, which is the same value of the two notices included in the envelope that were also submitted to the 2023 Innovation Fund competition. The hub ranks the three additional notices of intent in order of priority by labelling them 1, 2 and 3.
As it turns out, in mid-June the CFI Board of Directors approves $10 million in funding for one of the two Innovation Fund projects included in the hub’s CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 notices of intent that were included in their envelope. The CFI withdraws that notice of intent from the hub’s CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope and replaces it with notices of intent from the hub’s B list, starting with the ones ranked of highest priority, up to the $10 million freed up through the project funded through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition.
Why is the CFI using this approach?
Hubs must make strategic decisions on which infrastructure requests to include within the limits of their CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 envelope to best support their research program. Infrastructure that has already been requested through the 2023 Innovation Fund competition may be essential to and/or of high priority for advancing the hub’s programs of research. But without knowing whether the Innovation Fund proposals will be funded, hubs are forced to make a choice of either: submitting notices of intent for the infrastructure already requested through the Innovation Fund, thereby losing that envelope room for additional infrastructure requests; or not doing so but running the risk that essential or higher priority infrastructure is not available if the Innovation Fund proposal is not successful.
In addition, the submission deadline for CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 cannot be delayed until after the 2023 Innovation Fund competition results are released to institutions because the CFI and the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) need to begin planning the review process, completing the research security assessment of partners and recruiting experts for the scientific and technical review committees. To do so, they require that the notices of intent submitted to CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 represent an accurate portrait of the proposals the hubs will endorse.
The approach described above is intended to address these challenges.
How are proposals to the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition assessed?
Funding decisions are made through a rigorous, competitive review process made up of two stages, which ensures both the scientific and technical, as well as the strategic excellence of the successful projects.
1. Scientific and Technical Review Committees
The Scientific and Technical Review Committees (STRC) first evaluate the scientific and technical merit of each proposal by assessing the degree to which each component of the proposal meets the scientific and technical review criteria.
2. Strategic Review Committee
Following the reviews by the STRCs, the Strategic Review Committee (SRC) will assess the proposals against the strategic criteria to determine the alignment of the proposals with and with the priorities of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. Informed by strategic considerations, the results of the scientific and technical review, and provincial priorities, the SRC will ultimately recommend a portfolio of proposals that will best support the Strategy and benefit Canada.
Who makes the final funding decisions for research infrastructure proposals?
Funding decisions for research infrastructure proposals are made by the CFI Board of Directors. We will notify institutions by email when decisions and review materials are available in CAMS.
Consult the CBRF – BRIF Stage 2 competition on SSHRC’s website for a list of the scientific and technical review criteria as well as the strategic criteria, and other details of the review process.
Have you been recruited as a reviewer?
If your institution receives funding through this fund, there are a few things you will need to do to finalize, manage and report on your award.
Who should I contact for questions about finalizing and managing a BRIF award?
Email us at BRIF-FIRSB [at] innovation.ca with questions about finalizing awards and managing projects funded through BRIF. Due to the nature of the fund, BRIF awards and competitions are managed by a specific team at the CFI.
How are awards finalized?
Submit an award finalization form to finalize your award. You will need to finalize your award before we can release funds to your institution.
What is required of institutions to mitigate security risks?
The recipient institutions must conduct a consistent and appropriate due diligence review of potential security risks for funded projects and put in place timely measures to appropriately mitigate those risks. Tools and guidance are available through the Government of Canada’s Safeguarding Your Research portal, National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships and Safeguarding Science workshops.
What is required of institutions for reporting on a funded project?
Once a project at your institution is up and running, you will need to submit progress and financial reports in CAMS. (The specific reporting requirements for each project, including deadlines and frequency, are included in the terms and conditions of each award agreement.)
How can institutions access operating support for funded projects?
Institutions can access financial support for the operating and maintenance costs of CFI-funded research infrastructure through our Infrastructure Operating Fund.
The operating funds awarded through this competition must be allocated by institutions directly in support of the operating and maintenance needs of BRIF-funded infrastructure.
Read and share good practices for managing your funding
Staff at our funded institutions have developed good practices, policies and processes for managing the funding they receive from the CFI.
Browse our good practices for institutions and write to us at good.practices [at] innovation.ca to share your own.
CFI investment through the first competition of the fund
CFI will invest up to $360M through the second competition of this fund
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the CFI and the Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada surveyed institutions about their capacity to respond to COVID-19 and possible future pandemics.
The institutions pointed to critical issues with their ability to respond to the coronavirus and its variants, as well as their readiness to respond to future infectious disease outbreaks.
Notably, 94 percent of institutions with CL3 facilities reported needing investments to maintain their readiness to respond to a future pandemic, and 70 percent indicated they were at risk of losing their Human Pathogens and Toxins Act licence without additional specialized equipment and critical upgrades.
The World Health Organization recognizes that animal models are key to advancing COVID-19 treatments. Canada’s federal COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force further noted that access to animal models and laboratories with the appropriate expertise is a challenge faced by researchers and smaller Canadian firms in developing therapeutics. This challenge is equally valid for numerous infectious diseases beyond COVID-19.
To advance the Government of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences priorities, Budget 2021 announced $500 million for the CFI to support the infrastructure needs of postsecondary institutions and research hospitals in these areas.
Canada’s leading post-secondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals anchor much of the bioinnovation ecosystem. Important foundational components are centred in these institutions, including laboratories, research and talent.
Canada’s scientists need high-performance tools and innovative research spaces and laboratories to bring their ideas from discovery through development and commercialization. In many cases, their work requires specialized equipment in appropriate biocontainment facilities to ensure that infectious-disease research is conducted safely. Supporting surveillance, diagnostics, and pre-clinical and clinical trials with flexible research infrastructure capacity is critical to Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences ecosystem.
The Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund was created in 2021 to respond to these critical needs.
Research infrastructure supported through this fund will strengthen the capacity of academia to work with industry and government to advance promising discoveries and promote training and talent development.
Funded projects will:
- Meet a high standard of scientific excellence
- Best respond to government priorities to address pandemic readiness and emerging health threats
- Hold the greatest potential to develop commercially viable vaccines and therapies.
CFI investments will ensure that funded facilities are collaborative, durable, flexible, multi-institutional and capable of serving researchers in all relevant disciplines in support of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy.