5.1 Before submitting a proposal

Before submitting a proposal, institutions must have an institutional agreement and strategic research plan in place, as well as some other requirements for certain types of projects.

5.1.1 Institutional agreement

Before submitting a proposal to the CFI, an institution must sign an institutional agreement. This agreement defines the conditions under which the institution may use CFI funding.

Use the fillable pdf forms to submit new or revised institutional agreements.

Email the completed form to the Senior Programs Officer or Programs Officer assigned to your institution. After we receive the completed form, we will send it to the institution’s president to be signed through DocuSign.

In the institutional agreement, the president of the institution designates one or two authorized signatories, an account administrator and a liaison to act on their behalf.

Authorized signatory

The authorized signatory is authorized to sign and submit letters confirming that notices of intent, proposals and award agreements have been submitted, as well as to submit notices of intent, proposals, award finalization forms and project progress reports in the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS).

Account administrator

The account administrator has custody of the CFI funds and is accountable for the institution’s CFI financial accounts, related records and supporting documentation. The account administrator is authorized to sign award agreements and submit award finalization forms, financial reports and Infrastructure Operating Fund annual reports. 


The liaison interacts with the CFI on a day-to-day basis. The liaison is authorized to submit notices of intent, proposals, award finalization forms, amendment requests and project progress reports in CAMS. The liaison is also authorized to submit the strategic research plan.

Institutions should communicate any change to these roles to the CFI via their Senior Programs Officer.

5.1.2 Strategic research plan

The CFI requires each eligible institution to submit a strategic research plan (as either a summary document with a maximum of five pages, or a full plan). This plan sets priorities based on the institution’s vision for the future. We encourage institutions to build on their distinct advantages and to set priorities in areas that integrate ideas and knowledge from many disciplines and sectors. When completing the strategic research plan, institutions should:

  • Outline the major objectives of the strategic research plan
  • Outline the priority areas of research and research training
  • Outline those areas for which it intends to request support from the CFI
  • Describe past and planned institutional support to priority areas
  • Describe planned inter-institutional and inter-sectoral collaborations
  • Describe how it will measure success in meeting its objectives
  • Describe the planning and approval process (including the involvement of affiliated entities).

Proposals submitted to the CFI are expected to be aligned with the institution’s strategic research plan. For specific funds, we provide the strategic research plan to the review committees. We therefore expect institutions to update us any time it revises its strategic research plan.


5.1.3 Special requirements for certain types of infrastructure projects

Institutions must ensure that researchers follow existing guidelines and adhere to the requirements for their research project. In signing the institutional agreement, the institution agrees to conform to relevant regulatory requirements and applicable laws and guidelines, including but not limited to the: