2012 Major Science Initiatives Fund


In support of the Government of Canada’s science and technology strategy, Mobilizing science and technology to Canada’s advantage, the CFI will contribute to the operating and maintenance (O & M) costs of CFI-funded large scale research facilities, and also provide governance and management oversight of these facilities based on best practices.

Often referred to as “Big Science”, a major science initiative (MSI) addresses a set of leading-edge scientific problems or questions of such significance, scope and complexity that it requires unusually large-scale facilities and equipment, substantial human resources, and complex operating and maintenance activities. As such, MSIs are typically too large to be funded exclusively by any one organization and have a life cycle extending over many years.


To ensure that CFI-funded MSI state-of-the-art facilities enable researchers to undertake world-class research and technology development that lead to social, economic and environmental benefits to Canada, the CFI will:

  • Enable MSIs to fully exploit their capabilities by contributing to their O & M costs;
  • Promote the adoption of best practices in governance and management, including long-term strategic and operational planning.

Under the MSI Fund, the CFI will provide O & M funding, beyond that currently offered through the Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF), for up to five years. Funding decisions will be based on the demonstrated need for O &  M funding to enable these facilities to fully exploit their capabilities; on their advanced governance and management structures; on their scientific excellence; and on their current and potential benefits to Canada.

Available funding

The $185 million that has been allocated to the Major Science Initiatives Fund will cover a portion of the total eligible O & M costs of an MSI from 2012-13 to 2016-17.  The total CFI funding (including IOF or the O & M portion of the International Joint Ventures award), will not exceed 40% of the total eligible O & M costs.  The CFI contribution is not intended to displace current O & M funding received from other sources. The Major Science Initiatives Fund is different from other CFI funds in that other funders are already providing O & M support to MSI facilities. In order to meet the objective of enabling MSIs to fully exploit their capabilities, it is expected that these funding partners will remain involved and other funding partners will be sought.  The CFI encourages the institutions to interact with the current and potential funding partners at an early stage in the planning and development of the proposal.


Activity  Date
Proposal deadline September 30, 2011
Expert committee meetings November 2011
International Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee meeting January 2012
Board funding decisions March 2012
Formal mid-term review Fall 2014

Related documents

Program description

Guidelines for completing the mid-term performance report

Performance report template