2020 Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19 for colleges, polytechnics and Cégeps

Note: This competition is now closed. The CFI is no longer accepting proposals.

Ensuring Canadian researchers are well equipped to tackle the pandemic

The threat of infectious disease continues to be a major global concern for human health and is a key driver of healthcare system costs, human lives lost and economic turmoil.

Through this Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19 competition for colleges, polytechnics and Cégeps, the CFI will invest up to $2 million with the objective of supporting urgent needs for equipment for ongoing applied research and technology development related to COVID-19.

As an exception to our usual competitions, the CFI will cover up to 100 percent of the eligible costs of a project. We still encourage institutions to seek funding from other partners when possible, as this will broaden the scope of the initiative.

The deadline for submitting proposals is September 15, 2020 at 23:59 EDT. Please note that the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) will be ready to receive proposals starting July 16, 2020. Please consult the CAMS user guides for technical instructions to create and submit a proposal.

Please send any question you may have to FOE-colleges-EOF [at] innovation.ca (FOE-colleges-EOF[at]innovation[dot]ca).

Consult the Guidelines for completing a proposal for details on how to apply.


Guidelines for Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee Members (PDF)

Frequently asked questions: EOF – COVID-19 colleges

When will the CFI Board of Directors make its funding decisions?

We anticipate that the CFI Board of Directors will make funding decisions in early fall, 2020.

What does the CFI mean by “currently engaged in research or technology development activities related to COVID-19”? Is this restricted to researchers with existing funding for COVID-19 related research?

This competition is open for proposals from all disciplines that can demonstrate a direct and immediate impact on current and pressing research issues related to COVID-19. This may include, but is not limited to, diagnostic and screening tools, sanitation processes, design of protective equipment, workspace and public space design, innovation in healthcare delivery, and community support and social countermeasures. There is no need to have existing funding specifically targeted to COVID-19.

Can a proposal include researchers from multiple institutions?

A proposal can include researchers from multiple institutions; however, each institution can only submit one proposal. The affiliation of the project leader (i.e. the CAMS account from which the proposal is created) determines the institution that will be submitting the proposal.

How much funding can we request in a proposal?

Eligible institutions can submit one proposal requesting between $20,000 and $50,000 from the CFI. However, the total eligible cost can be higher than the amount requested from the CFI if you expect to have partner funding.

What constitutes minor renovations?  

Minor renovations include work that institutions need to install the requested equipment. The intent is to minimize implementation delays after your institution receives a favourable funding decision. These minor renovations must be completed by March 31, 2021. Floor plans are not needed in the proposal.

Do we need to list the operation and maintenance costs for the project (in the amount of up to 10 percent of eligible costs) in addition to the eligible costs or as part of the eligible costs? 

You should list the operation and maintenance costs of 10 percent as part of the eligible costs. The operation and maintenance costs must be included in both the main infrastructure budget (included in the total eligible costs). For example, in a project of $20,000 (total eligible costs), equipment costs would be $18,000 and operation and maintenance costs would be $2,000.

Should the costs for extended warranties and service contracts be included in the infrastructure budget or within the 10 percent allowed for operation and maintenance costs?

Costs for extended warranties and service contracts should be included in the infrastructure budget.

The guidelines indicate that infrastructure expenditures must have been incurred after April 1, 2020.  Is this the correct date?

Yes, CFI-eligible expenses incurred after April 1, 2020, for equipment for research related to COVID-19 can be included as part of a proposal for this competition. All expenses must be incurred by March 31, 2021.