2006 Leading Edge and New Initiatives Funds


2006 LEADING EDGE FUND COMPETITION

Call For Proposals

Published July 12, 2005
2006 Leading Edge Fund Competition - Key Features

Vision

Strengthen highly competitive research or technology development activities in areas of institutional priority that build on successful and productive initiatives enabled by past CFI investments in infrastructure.

Budget

Together with the New Initiatives Fund, a combined budget of no more than $325M for Research Infrastructure.
Together with the New Initiatives Fund, a combined budget of no more than $97.5M for Operations and Maintenance.

Projects envisioned

Eligible institutions should develop projects that anticipate how research will evolve and how research infrastructure can be used to achieve the best results at the regional, national, and international levels. They are expected to submit only projects of exceptional quality that:

  • promote leading-edge research or technology development for the benefit of Canada;
  • capitalize on significant past CFI investments in an area of strategic importance and institutional strength;
  • enhance infrastructure and facilities that have achieved significant results and have been widely recognized as world-class;
  • benefit from substantial institutional support and commitment;
  • result in synergies among research infrastructure investments, disciplines, collaborations, partnerships and institutions.

Examples of proposals include requests for infrastructure designed to:

  • ensure that infrastructure acquired through previous investments continues to be state-of-the-art;
  • continue to build upon leading-edge research or technology development opportunities resulting from important scientific or technological advances;
  • pursue additional or unforeseen research or technology development avenues now possible as a result of previous CFI investment(s);
  • provide wider access, and extend or build new partnerships;
  • assist with technology development through prototyping or pilot-scale demonstration.

Institutions must show how these fit in their strategic research plans and priorities as well as what resources are being directed at these projects.

Timelines

October 11, 2005 LEF Proposal List
December 12, 2005 Applications
February 13, 2006 Strategic Research Plan Summary
March - July 2006 Expert Committees
September 2006 MAC meetings
October 2006 Special committee meeting
November 2006 Board Decisions
LEF Call for Proposals - Table of contents

State-of-the-art research infrastructure: a key to Canada’s success in a fast moving global environment

Canada’s continuing social and economic prosperity in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on our ability as a nation to remain internationally competitive in research and innovation. Key to such competitiveness is our ability to generate new knowledge and understanding, to translate these into new products, services, processes and policies for the well-being of Canadians for generations to come. Of equal importance in this regard is the training of the highly qualified personnel who are critical to the transfer of knowledge from the academic to the private and public sectors.

Over the last few years, there have been profound changes across the country’s research landscape. Key to this transformation has been the provision of instruments that enable the country’s knowledge-generating institutions to plan and develop their research enterprise. Through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, the Indirect Costs program, and the support provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), institutions now have the means to capitalize on their areas of research strength and developed niches by directing resources to those priority areas. These programs have enabled institutions and their researchers to develop or secure positions as world leaders in several research areas.

Canada’s distinct competitive advantages must be secured to ensure that we continue to tap into the world reservoir of knowledge and to use it to our benefit. State-of-the-art infrastructure empowers institutions and their researchers to compete with the best institutions in the world and to lead at a time of critical importance. There is therefore a growing recognition of the need to sustain and enhance projects in which major investments have already been made if these are to continue to support leading-edge research or technology development. At the same time, there is an on-going need to invest in new infrastructure projects as opportunities arise and new research areas emerge.

The challenge

The CFI is challenging institutions to make choices and set priorities that build on their distinct advantages. The CFI urges institutions to develop projects that anticipate how research will evolve and how research infrastructure can be used to achieve the best results at the regional, national, and international levels.

Innovative research today often requires the integration of ideas and knowledge from many disciplines. The CFI strongly encourages institutions, where appropriate, to come together in local, regional, or national collaborations, and to plan cooperatively to acquire or develop infrastructure. The development of partnerships and cooperative arrangements between institutions and with other public or private organizations will help to nurture clusters of excellence and to foster synergies that allow for more ambitious research or technology development activities.

The CFI expects that institutions will submit only proposals of exceptional quality that are consistent with their strategic research plans and reflect their institutional priorities. Institutions will have to identify the ways in which they have and will continue to support these proposals (e.g. institutional resources committed to capitalize on the proposed infrastructure, the creation of new research positions or research chairs in these areas, etc.).

The CFI also encourages institutions to interact with their key partners, especially provinces, at an early stage in the planning and development of proposals, where appropriate.

Building on Canada’s strengths and successes and fostering new opportunities

Institutions may address the needs for further investments in particularly successful existing infrastructure projects through the Leading Edge Fund (LEF) and in new infrastructure projects through the New Initiatives Fund (NIF). If institutions have doubts about the eligibility of proposals under either fund, they should contact their CFI Coordinator. The CFI reserves the right to withdraw from the competition proposals that are deemed ineligible.

Purpose and intent of the Leading Edge Fund

The LEF will enable institutions to build on and enhance already successful and productive initiatives supported by past CFI investment(s), and thereby secure and further enhance highly competitive research or technology development efforts. Institutions will strengthen particularly successful and productive activities in their select areas of strategic priority where they have a competitive advantage and a proven track record in helping strengthen the country’s capacity for innovation.

The CFI will invest in institutional infrastructure proposals that:

  • promote leading-edge research or technology development for the benefit of Canada;
  • capitalize on significant past CFI investments in an area of strategic importance and institutional strength;
  • enhance infrastructure and facilities that have achieved significant results and have been widely recognized as world-class;
  • benefit from substantial institutional support and commitment;
  • result in synergies among research infrastructure investments, disciplines, collaborations, partnerships and institutions.

Examples of proposals include requests for infrastructure designed to:

  • ensure that infrastructure acquired through previous investments continues to be state-of-the-art;
  • continue to build upon leading-edge research or technology development opportunities resulting from important scientific or technological advances;
  • pursue additional or unforeseen research or technology development avenues now possible as a result of previous CFI investment(s);
  • provide wider access, and extend or build new partnerships;
  • assist with technology development through prototyping or pilot-scale demonstration.

Who is eligible to apply?

Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions that have been recognized as eligible by the CFI can apply, provided they have filed the summary of their strategic research plan with the CFI, and signed the institutional agreement.

How much funding is available?

There is a single budget of no more than $325M for both the NIF and the LEF but no predetermined distribution between the two funds. This will allow for maximum flexibility in ensuring the best use of available resources on the basis of the requests received and the quality of proposals under each fund.

The CFI will provide funding for up to 40% of the eligible costs of a proposal funded through the LEF. In-kind contributions from external partners and cash expenditures by the institution must have taken place on or after January 1, 2004. Expenditures are considered incurred when goods are received, services have been rendered, or work has been performed.

Will support be provided for operations and maintenance costs?

The CFI will contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of proposals funded under the LEF through its Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). The IOF allocation will be equivalent to 30% of the CFI funding awarded to an institution for proposals approved through the LEF.

It will be important for institutions to demonstrate that sufficient research and operating funds have been and will continue to be available to capitalize on the full potential of the infrastructure.

What proposals are eligible?

The CFI encourages an institutional approach to develop proposals that seek to capitalize on highly productive areas of strategic priority. Eligible proposals will build on significant past CFI investment(s), normally in the form of projects supported through the Innovation Fund, the Research Development Fund or the International Funds. The CFI expects that in many cases other investments will also have been made in areas of priority, in addition to the infrastructure.

These projects will have been operational and functional for an appropriate period of time given the nature of the infrastructure and the area of research or technology development.

In the case where an LEF proposal builds on a multi-institutional project, the CFI expects the LEF to remain multi-institutional in nature, although the institutions involved may differ from the original group. Therefore, the CFI will not normally accept multiple LEF proposals that build on the same CFI project.

Where must the infrastructure be located?

The infrastructure will normally be located at an eligible institution(s). Infrastructure may be located outside an eligible institution when it can be shown that this is the most effective way to proceed, providing the eligible institution(s) retain majority interest and exercise de facto control over the use of the infrastructure. Construction/renovation costs at another location may also be considered eligible in exceptional circumstances.

Are there additional guidelines for specific types of infrastructure?

See the guidelines for specific types of infrastructure in the Policy and Program Guide.

High Performance Computing – National Platforms Fund

HPC proposals that seek to provide support (research infrastructure, resources, services and facilities) to serve the needs of many research subjects and disciplines in a region or nationally are not eligible under the LEF. Such proposals will be considered under the National Platforms Fund which is designed to meet the needs for such infrastructure.

Applicants wishing to request HPC infrastructure dedicated to a specific research endeavour as part of their LEF proposal will be required to demonstrate satisfactorily that research needs cannot be met through existing infrastructure either at the institution or at one of the six current regional HPC consortia supported in part by CFI: WestGrid, SHARCNET, HPCVL, CLUMEQ, RQCHP and ACEnet, or PSciNet.

What is the application process?

Institutions will submit:

  • By October 11, 2005: an LEF Proposal List. The list will identify the LEF proposal(s), the CFI funded project(s) on which each LEF proposal builds, the amount to be requested from the CFI and key words describing the area(s) of the proposal. The list will allow the CFI to verify that proposals are correctly assigned to the LEF and to plan the assessment process. Only proposals included in this list will be considered for full application. Institutions are to advise the CFI at this stage of their interest in pursuing a joint assessment process with federal funding agencies, where the proposal is also seeking significant amount of research funding directly related to the infrastructure.
  • By February 13, 2006: the most recent Strategic Research Plan Summary. This should be in the common format agreed on for the CFI and the Canada Research Chairs.
  • By December 12, 2005: the complete LEF application(s) electronically and provide a covering letter signed by the President/CEO, listing all the proposals the institution is submitting, along with one complete paper copy of each application and floor plans for construction.

The application forms for the LEF will be available online in mid-September. In the interim, institutions have access to a PDF form (PDF) via the CFI website. The CFI CV will still be available. There are plans to use the Common CV for this competition.

What are the assessment criteria?

The CFI will evaluate LEF proposals on the basis of the three CFI criteria that reflect its mandate. The assessment will be conducted at two levels:

A. Results and outcomes, assessed on the basis of performance of the previous CFI project(s) related to the LEF application;
 
B. The research or technology development opportunity, including the need for the new investment in previously-funded infrastructure.

A. Reporting on results and outcomes - the Performance Report

The LEF is designed to build upon the most productive infrastructure projects funded through previous CFI investments. To be successful in the LEF competition, proposals must first demonstrate that the past investments have given rise to particularly productive activities enabling institutions and their researchers to gain a competitive advantage nationally and internationally as well to strengthen the country’s capacity for innovation. The Performance Report will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria.

1. Quality of the research or technology development

  • quality and innovation of the research results or the technology development realized to date;
  • the extent to which major users have capitalized on the past research or technology development opportunities.

2. Strengthening the capacity for innovation. The infrastructure/research facility has:

  • been a priority for the institution as evidenced by the support provided in financial and other terms;
  • enhanced the research or technology development capacity in an area of institutional strength and strategic importance;
  • enhanced Canada’s international competitiveness in the research area(s);
  • attracted and retained excellent researchers;
  • enhanced the training of highly qualified personnel;
  • encouraged multidisciplinary approaches and collaborations and strengthened partnerships amongst institutions or sectors;
  • been used to its full potential;
  • has attracted financial and other support from sources outside the institution;
  • become a significant component in local, regional or national research endeavours or networks.

3. Benefits to Canada

  • enabled improvements to society, the quality of life, health and the environment, including the creation of new policies in these areas;
  • contributed to job creation and economic growth in Canada.

B. Research or technology development opportunity

The second aspect of the assessment of LEF proposals deals with the research or technology development opportunity, including the need for additional infrastructure at this time and the potential benefits of such new investments.

The criteria for this dimension of LEF proposals will be:

1. Quality of research and need for the infrastructure

  • quality, innovation, and transformative potential of the research or technology development;
  • the ability of major users to capitalize on the proposed research or technology development opportunity;
  • need for the additional infrastructure at this time and its appropriateness for the research or technology development opportunity;
  • effective management, operation, and maintenance of the infrastructure on an ongoing basis.

2. Contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation

  • enhance the institutional capacity in its strategic research priority areas;
  • reinforce Canada’s international competitiveness in the area;
  • attract and retain the best researchers or those with the highest potential;
  • cultivate a stimulating and enriched environment for training highly qualified personnel for research and other careers;
  • strengthen multidisciplinary approaches and collaborations among researchers;
  • fortify existing partnerships and build new partnerships amongst institutions or sectors.

3. Potential benefits to Canada

  • lead to benefits to society, health, the environment, quality of life, or public policy;
  • contribute to improved economic activities through new products and services, greater resource efficiency and productivity, along with sustainable job creation in strong or emerging areas of the Canadian economy.

To be funded, an LEF proposal must satisfy both sets of criteria to a degree appropriate with the size and complexity of the proposal.

How will the CFI assess proposals?

The CFI will verify proposals for eligibility and completeness, and may request additional material to ensure that all essential information is available for their review.

The assessment of each proposal will be tailored to the nature and complexity of the proposal. At the institution’s request, the CFI will design, with the appropriate federal funding agencies, a joint assessment process if the institution is also seeking significant amounts of research funding directly related to the infrastructure.

Expert Reviews

Various mechanisms will be used, including written external reviews, as well as expert committees for groups of similar or related proposals. For larger-scale and more complex proposals, expert committees may conduct face-to-face meetings or on-site visits. Proposals requesting $4M or more from the CFI will involve face-to-face or on-site meetings with expert committees.

Multidisciplinary Assessment Committees (MAC)

All proposals and assessments will be forwarded to one of several MACs which together will be responsible for reviewing all proposals and assessing how each request satisfies the criteria relative to other competing requests.

Each MAC will review proposals from institutions in one of the following three categories:

  • Category A: Degree-granting institutions receiving funding of more than 1% from federal funding agencies; hospitals; non- profit organizations. In this category, individual MACs will be responsible for reviewing either LEF or NIF proposals, but not both.
  • Category B: Degree-granting institutions receiving funding of less than 1% from federal funding agencies.
  • Category C: Colleges that do not confer degrees.

The category of a proposal will be determined according to the lead applicant. By participating as a co-applicant, an institution may be involved in more than one category. There are no envelopes of funds designated for particular categories of institutions.

The CFI will use the same general considerations to choose members for all MACs. In addition, members of the MACs assessing category B and C proposals will be specifically chosen for their understanding of the environment and of the niches of innovative excellence in these institutions. This will allow for consideration of the differences in the research environment and the nature of the projects found in smaller universities and colleges.

These differences (e.g. number of researchers, level of participation of HQP, nature of the proposals, linkages with other sectors, linkages with local industry) fall mainly under the assessment of the contribution for strengthening the capacity for innovation. The quality of the research, or technology development, the need for the infrastructure, the benefits to Canada as well as the results and outcomes will be assessed according to the same standards across the three categories.

Review of recommendations from the MACs

The CFI will establish a special committee with the following mandate:

  • ensure consistency among the MACs;
  • recommend to the CFI Board the distribution of funding among the LEF and the NIF;
  • should the MAC recommendations exceed the available resources, recommend to the CFI Board among proposals of comparable merit, those (1) that best meet the purposes and intent of both the LEF and the NIF, and (2) that most effectively support the mandate of the CFI and research and development in Canada. To this end, it will take into account strategic considerations, including:
    • the need for investments in various fields of research and institutions across the country;
    • institutional and provincial priorities and;
    • the ability of the infrastructure projects to enhance a region or the country.

Collaborating with provinces

In consultation with provinces and institutions, the CFI will consider the following approaches to enhance coordination of assessment processes:

  • increase the sharing of information, e.g. reviewers and committee comments, between the CFI and a province throughout the process to avoid duplication of review and provide information on the merit of proposals;
  • provide an opportunity for provinces to submit their views on proposals, within the framework of existing criteria, for which they are being asked for funding.

When will the funding decisions be made?

The CFI Board of Directors will make the final decision for each proposal at its Fall 2006 meeting.

Summary comments will be provided to the institutions for all proposals.


2006 NEW INITIATIVES FUND COMPETITION

Call For Proposals

Published July 12, 2005
2006 New Initiatives Fund Competition - Key Features

Vision

Enhance Canada’s capacity in promising areas of research or technology development and improve competitiveness and international leadership through new infrastructure projects that will lead to breakthroughs and to benefits to Canadians.

Budget

Together with the Leading Edge Fund, a combined budget of no more than $325M for Research Infrastructure.
Together with the Leading Edge Fund, a combined budget of no more than $97.5M for Operations and Maintenance.

Projects envisioned

Eligible institutions are expected to submit only projects of exceptional quality that:

  • have not previously been supported by the CFI at the applicant institution(s)
  • promote world-class, innovative research and technology development that is currently beyond the means of Canadian institutions, and that is linked to new ideas and concepts as well as to different and better ways of performing research or technology development;
  • capitalize on excellent research and development opportunities that draw on local, national and international intellectual capital;
  • build new regional, national and international networks and partnerships;
  • attract and retain the best researchers and create a stimulating and innovative training environment that will prepare Canadians for research and other careers that will benefit Canada;
  • support development of novel research instrumentation;
  • create facilities for the development of new technologies (e.g., proof of concept, prototyping) and foster the commercialization of research results;
  • generate socio-economic benefits for Canada through the development and improvement of products and services;
  • lead to improvements to society and quality of life as well as the development of new public policies.

Institutions must show how these fit in their strategic research plans and priorities as well as what resources are being directed at these projects.

Timelines

November 15, 2005 Notices of Intent
February 13, 2006 Strategic Research Plan Summary
February 13, 2006 Applications
March - July 2006 Expert Committees
September 2006 MAC meetings
October 2006 Special committee meeting
November 2006 Board Decisions
NIF Call For Proposals - Table of Contents

State-of-the-art research infrastructure: a key to Canada’s success in a fast moving global environment

Canada’s continuing social and economic prosperity in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on our ability as a nation to remain internationally competitive in research and innovation. Key to such competitiveness is our ability to generate new knowledge and understanding, to translate these into new products, services, processes and policies for the well-being of Canadians for generations to come. Of equal importance in this regard is the training of the highly qualified personnel who are critical to the transfer of knowledge from the academic to the private and public sectors.

Over the last few years, there have been profound changes across the country’s research landscape. Key to this transformation has been the provision of instruments that enable the country’s knowledge-generating institutions to plan and develop their research enterprise. Through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, the Indirect Costs program, and the support provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), institutions now have the means to capitalize on their areas of research strength and developed niches by directing resources to those priority areas. These programs have enabled institutions and their researchers to develop or secure positions as world leaders in several research areas.

Canada’s distinct competitive advantages must be secured to ensure that we continue to tap into the world reservoir of knowledge and to use it to our benefit. State-of-the-art infrastructure empowers institutions and their researchers to compete with the best institutions in the world and to lead at a time of critical importance. There is therefore a growing recognition of the need to sustain and enhance projects in which major investments have already been made if these are to continue to support leading-edge research or technology development. At the same time, there is an on-going need to invest in new infrastructure projects as opportunities arise and new research areas emerge.

The challenge

The CFI is challenging institutions to make choices and set priorities that build on their distinct advantages. The CFI urges institutions to develop projects that anticipate how research will evolve and how research infrastructure can be used to achieve the best results at the regional, national, and international levels.

Innovative research today often requires the integration of ideas and knowledge from many disciplines. The CFI strongly encourages institutions, where appropriate, to come together in local, regional, or national collaborations, and to plan cooperatively to acquire or develop infrastructure. The development of partnerships and cooperative arrangements between institutions and with other public or private organizations will help to nurture clusters of excellence and to foster synergies that allow for more ambitious research or technology development activities.

The CFI expects that institutions will submit only proposals of exceptional quality that are consistent with their strategic research plans and reflect their institutional priorities. Institutions will have to identify the ways in which they have and will continue to support these proposals (e.g. institutional resources committed to capitalize on the proposed infrastructure, the creation of new research positions or research chairs in these areas, etc.).

The CFI also encourages institutions to interact with their key partners, especially provinces, at an early stage in the planning and development of proposals, where appropriate.

Building on Canada’s strengths and successes and fostering new opportunities

Institutions may address the needs for further investments in particularly successful existing infrastructure projects through the Leading Edge Fund (LEF) and in new infrastructure projects through the New Initiatives Fund (NIF). If institutions have doubts about the eligibility of proposals under either fund, they should contact their CFI Coordinator. The CFI reserves the right to withdraw from the competition proposals that are deemed ineligible.

Purpose and intent of the New Initiatives Fund

The NIF seeks to support infrastructure initiatives in which the CFI has not previously invested and that enable institutions and their partners to develop their capacity in promising areas of research or technology development, as well as to improve their research competitiveness and international leadership.

Through the NIF, the CFI challenges Canadian institutions to propose new infrastructure projects covering the full spectrum of research and development activities that will lead to breakthroughs and societal improvements for the benefit of Canadians.

Of particular interest are those infrastructure proposals that:

  • have not previously been supported by the CFI at the applicant institution(s)
  • promote world-class, innovative research or technology development that is currently beyond the means of Canadian institutions, and that is linked to new ideas and concepts as well as to different and better ways of performing research or technology development;
  • capitalize on excellent research and development opportunities that draw on local, national and international intellectual capital;
  • build new regional, national and international networks and partnerships;
  • attract and retain the best researchers and create a stimulating and innovative training environment that will prepare Canadians for research and other careers that will benefit Canada;
  • support development of novel research instrumentation;
  • create facilities for the development of new technologies (e.g., proof of concept, prototyping) and foster the commercialization of research results;
  • generate socio-economic benefits for Canada through the development and improvement of products and services;
  • lead to improvements to society and quality of life as well as the development of new public policies.

In selecting proposals to submit in the current competition, the CFI urges institutions to consider what capabilities exist currently in the country. In their applications, institutions will be expected to address the availability and accessibility of similar infrastructure within their region, the country or internationally as well as issues of complementarity, duplication and sharing. Institutions will be required to clearly demonstrate the unique nature and value-added of the proposed research infrastructure initiative from a local, regional, national or international perspective.

Who is eligible to apply?

Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions that have been recognized as eligible by the CFI can apply, provided they have filed the summary of their strategic research plan with the CFI, and signed the institutional agreement.

How much funding is available?

There is a single budget of no more that $325M for both the NIF and the LEF but no predetermined distribution between the two funds. This will allow for maximum flexibility in ensuring the best use of available resources on the basis of the requests received and the quality of proposals under each fund.

The CFI will provide funding for up to 40% of the eligible costs of a proposal funded through the NIF. In-kind contributions from external partners and cash expenditures by the institution must have taken place on or after January 1, 2004. Expenditures are considered incurred when goods are received, services have been rendered, or work has been performed.

Will support be provided for operations and maintenance costs?

The CFI will contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of proposals funded under the NIF through its Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). The IOF allocation will be equivalent to 30% of the CFI funding awarded to an institution for proposals approved through the NIF.

It will be important for institutions to demonstrate that sufficient research and operating funds have been and will continue to be available to capitalize on the full potential of the infrastructure.

What proposals are eligible?

Eligible proposals will be those that propose to establish in the institution or a group of institutions a new research infrastructure in which CFI has never invested through previous Innovation Fund (IF), Research Development Fund (URDF or CRDF) or International Funds awards. However, there may have been New Opportunities Fund or Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund awards made in this area.

Where must the infrastructure be located?

The infrastructure will normally be located at an eligible institution(s). Infrastructure may be located outside an eligible institution when it can be shown that this is the most effective way to proceed, providing the eligible institution(s) retains majority interest and exercises de facto control over the use of the infrastructure. Construction/renovation costs at another location may also be considered eligible in exceptional circumstances.

Are there additional guidelines for specific types of infrastructure?

See the guidelines for specific types of infrastructure in the Policy and Program Guide.

High Performance Computing – National Platforms Fund

HPC proposals that seek to provide support (research infrastructure, resources, services and facilities) to serve the needs of many research subjects and disciplines in a region or nationally are not eligible under the NIF. Such proposals will be considered under the National Platforms Fund which is designed to meet the needs for such infrastructure.

Applicants wishing to request HPC infrastructure dedicated to a specific research endeavour as part of their NIF proposal will be required to demonstrate satisfactorily that research needs cannot be met through existing infrastructure either at the institution or at one of the six current regional HPC consortia supported in part by CFI: WestGrid, SHARCNET, HPCVL, CLUMEQ, RQCHP and ACEnet, or PSciNet.

What is the application process?

Institutions will submit:

  • By November 15, 2005: a request for institutional eligibility if eligibility has not yet been established with the CFI for organizations wishing to participate in this competition of the NIF. Only CFI eligible institutions will be allowed to participate in this competition.
  • By November 15, 2005: a Notice of Intent (NOI) for each proposal
  • By February 13, 2006: the most recent Strategic Research Plan Summary. This should be in the common format agreed on for the CFI and the Canada Research Chairs.
  • By February 13, 2006: the complete application(s) electronically and provide a covering letter signed by the President/CEO, listing all the proposals the institution is submitting, along with one complete paper copy of each application and floor plans for construction.

The Notice of Intent form as well as the application form for the NIF will be available online by mid-September. In the interim, institutions will have access to a PDF form via the CFI website. The CFI CV will still be available. There are plans to use the Common CV for this competition.

What are the institutional envelopes?

Institutions are expected to comply with the institutional envelopes for this competition of the NIF. These envelopes will limit the total amount of CFI support that an institution can request in this competition.

How will the CFI use the NOIs?

The CFI will publish the list of NOIs received on its website to encourage institutions that have similar proposals to consider potential collaborations or joint initiatives where appropriate to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the infrastructure. To further this objective, the CFI may draw attention to possible overlaps and synergies between institutions. The CFI will also use the information in the NOI to plan the assessment process.

What are the assessment criteria?

The CFI will evaluate proposals on the basis of the three criteria that reflect its mandate:

1. Quality of research and need for the infrastructure

  • quality, innovation and transformative potential of the research or technology development;
  • the ability of the principal user(s) to capitalize on the proposed research or technology development opportunities;
  • appropriateness of the infrastructure in meeting the proposed research or technology development activities, and its complementarity to other existing infrastructure, where appropriate;
  • effective management, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure on an ongoing basis.

2. Contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation

  • enhance the institutional capacity in its strategic research priority areas;
  • create a sustainable regional or national capacity for innovation that is internationally competitive;
  • attract and retain the best researchers or those with the highest potential;
  • create a stimulating and enriched environment for training highly qualified personnel for research and other careers;
  • strengthen multidisciplinary approaches, collaborations among researchers and users of research results as well as partnerships with different institutions and sectors.

3. Potential benefits to Canada

  • lead to benefits to society, health, the environment, quality of life or public policy;
  • contribute to improved economic activities through new products and services, greater resource efficiency and productivity, along with sustainable job creation in strong or emerging areas of the Canadian economy.

To be funded, a proposal must satisfy all three criteria to a degree appropriate to the size and complexity of the proposal.

How will the CFI assess proposals?

The CFI will verify proposals for eligibility and completeness, and may request additional material to ensure that all essential information is available for their review.

The assessment of each proposal will be tailored to the nature and complexity of the proposal. At the institution’s request, the CFI will design, with the appropriate federal funding agencies, a joint assessment process if the institution is also seeking significant amounts of research funding directly related to the infrastructure.

Expert Reviews

Various mechanisms will be used, including written external reviews, as well as expert committees for groups of similar or related proposals. For larger-scale and more complex proposals, expert committees may conduct face-to-face meetings. Proposals requesting $4M or more from the CFI will involve face-to-face meetings with expert committees.

Multidisciplinary Assessment Committees (MAC)

All proposals and assessments will be forwarded to one of several MACs which together will be responsible for reviewing all proposals and assessing how each request satisfies the criteria relative to other competing requests.

Each MAC will review proposals from institutions in one of the following three categories:

  • Category A: Degree-granting institutions receiving funding of more than 1% from federal funding agencies; hospitals; non- profit organizations. In this category, individual MACs will be responsible for reviewing either LEF or NIF proposals, but not both.
  • Category B: Degree-granting institutions receiving funding of less than 1% from federal funding agencies.
  • Category C: Colleges that do not confer degrees.

The category of a proposal will be determined according to the lead applicant. By participating as a co-applicant, an institution may be involved in more than one category. There are no envelopes of funds designated for particular categories of institutions.

The CFI will use the same general considerations to choose members for all MACs. In addition, members of the MACs assessing category B and C proposals will be specifically chosen for their understanding of the environment and of the niches of innovative excellence in these institutions. This will allow for consideration of the differences in the research environment and the nature of the projects found in smaller universities and colleges.

These differences (e.g. number of researchers, level of participation of HQP, nature of the proposals, linkages with other sectors, linkages with local industry) fall mainly under the assessment of the contribution for strengthening the capacity for innovation. The quality of the research or technology development, the need for the infrastructure, the benefits to Canada as well as the results and outcomes will be assessed according to the same standards across the three categories.

Review of recommendations from the MACs

The CFI will establish a special committee with the following mandate:

  • ensure consistency among the MACs;
  • recommend to the CFI Board the distribution of funding between the LEF and the NIF;
  • should the MAC recommendations exceed the available resources, recommend to the CFI Board among proposals of comparable merit, those (1) that best meet the purposes and intent of both the LEF and the NIF, and (2) that most effectively support the mandate of the CFI and research and development in Canada. To this end, it will take into account strategic considerations including:
    • the need for investments in various fields of research and institutions across the country
    • institutional and provincial priorities and;
    • the ability of infrastructure projects to enhance a region or the country.

Collaborating with provinces

In consultation with provinces and institutions, the CFI will consider the following approaches to enhance coordination of assessment processes:

  • increase the sharing of information, e.g. reviewers and committee comments, between the CFI and a province throughout the process to avoid duplication of review and provide information on the merit of proposals;
  • provide an opportunity for provinces to submit their views on proposals, within the framework of existing criteria, for which they are being asked for funding.

When will the funding decisions be made?

The CFI Board of Directors will make the final decision for each proposal at its Fall 2006 meeting.

Summary comments will be provided to the institutions for all proposals.


Related documents

2006 LEF/NIF Multidisciplinary Assessment Committees membership