John R. Evans Leaders Fund


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At a time of intense international competition, the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) is a critical strategic investment tool designed to help institutions attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers. The fund’s name pays tribute to the outstanding contributions of John R. Evans, the first Chair of the CFI’s Board of Directors.
 

Funding provided to institutions through the JELF helps institutions to recruit and retain outstanding researchers, acquire the tools that enable the innovative work of leading researchers and offer research support that, when combined with research support from our partner organizations, is highly competitive.

There are five different funding streams: the unaffiliated stream and four partnership streams.

Unaffiliated: This stream accepts proposals for research infrastructure that are standalone and not affiliated to an application submitted to any of our funding partner organizations.

Partnership: These streams accept proposals that are submitted alongside an application for research support from our funding partners:

ELIGIBILITY

Universities recognized as eligible by the CFI can apply to the JELF if they have a minimum annual average of $200,000 over the last three years in research funding received from the three federal research funding agencies (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). For each institution that meets this criterion, dedicated JELF allocations are calculated and communicated to the institution.

The Small Institution Fund (SIF), which is part of our John R. Evans Leaders Fund, was created for institutions whose dedicated JELF allocation would be calculated as less than $800,000.  Each SIF-eligible institution can draw from this fund to a maximum of $400,000 or $800,000, depending on their share of tri-agency funding. No special steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund when submitting a proposal to the JELF.

Research hospitals and research institutes wanting to apply may do so through the eligible university with which they are affiliated.

Up to three researchers may be listed on the proposal to either work collaboratively using the same requested infrastructure, or to work independently while sharing the requested infrastructure. For the latter, the CFI requires that the justification for the infrastructure be articulated for each researcher.

The researchers listed in the proposal must be:

  • Recognized innovative leaders or have demonstrated the potential for excellence in the proposed research fields;
  • Engaged in or embarking upon research or technology development that is innovative, high quality and meets international standards; and,
  • Current faculty members with full-time academic appointments or candidates that the university is in the process of recruiting to full-time academic positions in an important strategic sector.

Researchers who have previously been supported by the CFI can submit another proposal.

Universities can submit proposals requesting up to $800,000 from the CFI, with a maximum total eligible cost of $2 million. The CFI will allow the submission of proposals requesting less than or equal to $75,000 from the CFI from the social sciences, humanities and arts, and/or eligible institution that have access to the Small Institution Fund.

APPLICATION PROCESSES

Only eligible institutions may submit a proposal to the CFI. We encourage researchers to contact the research office at their institution to learn more about internal application processes to apply for JELF funding.

Researchers and institutional administrators will use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to prepare and submit proposals. For more information on how to use CAMS, please consult the documents Getting started with the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) on Innovation.ca.

Click on a tab above to find out more about the specific application and review processes for the different streams. To learn more about the JELF assessment criteria, read the guidelines for completing JELF unaffiliated (PDF) and partnership (PDF) proposals.

Application process

Only eligible institutions may submit a proposal to the CFI. We encourage researchers to contact the research office at their institution to learn more about internal application processes to apply for JELF funding.

Researchers and institutional administrators will use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to prepare and submit proposals. Technical instructions for using CAMS are outlined in the Getting Started with CAMS documents on Innovation.ca.

Review process

The merit review process is tailored to the complexity of the proposal. When the CFI request is:

  • less than or equal to $400,000

Proposals are reviewed by a minimum of two experts who provide a written review to the CFI. Should a proposal receive divergent reviews, have a proposed research plan that spans diverse disciplines or is otherwise complex, the CFI may:

  • Request a teleconference with reviewers of the proposal;
  • Seek the input of an additional reviewer; and/or,
  • Seek the input of the JELF Advisory Committee.
  • More than $400,000 to  $800,000

Proposals are reviewed by an Expert Committee.

The review process for proposals submitted by an institution from Québec is administered by  Expert Committees under the jurisdiction of the Government of Québec following a longstanding partnership between it and the CFI.

To coordinate the review process and avoid duplication of review efforts, review materials are shared with provinces and territories in accordance with agreements between the CFI and provincial/territorial funding authorities, as permissible pursuant to the Privacy Act.

Decision process

The funding recommendation for the CFI infrastructure request is sent to the CFI Board of Directors for a funding decision at its next scheduled meeting. Institutions will be notified by email when decisions and review materials are uploaded in CAMS.

The CFI partners with the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) through its Canada Research Chairs (CRC) and Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) programs.

Application process

To apply to these partnership streams, submit separate proposals to TIPS and to the CFI at the time of nomination or renewal of a Chair. Submission deadlines are set by TIPS. Researchers and institutional research services personnel must use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to prepare and submit the CFI proposal. Select “John R. Evans Leaders Fund–Funding for research infrastructure with an application for research support funding from another program” when creating a new proposal in CAMS. We will merge the JELF proposal and CRC or CERC proposal before they are assessed.

Normally, the CFI will fund up to 40 percent of a project’s eligible infrastructure costs. For institutions with a special Chair allocation through the CRC Program, the CFI may fund up to 100 percent of the project’s eligible infrastructure costs if the total project costs do not exceed $75,000.

Consult TIPS’ website for more information (CRC and CERC).

Review process

Proposals for these joint initiatives (CFI – CRC/CERC) are assessed using TIPS' multilevel peer review process. The infrastructure request is assessed at the first level by a minimum of three experts recruited by TIPS. These experts provide a funding recommendation for the CFI infrastructure request. Should the CFI infrastructure request of the joint proposal receive divergent reviews, have a proposed research plan that spans diverse disciplines or is otherwise complex, the CFI may choose one of the following options to make its funding recommendation:

  • Request a teleconference with reviewers of the proposal;
  • Seek the input of additional expert reviewers; and/or,
  • Seek the input of the JELF Advisory Committee.

Decision process

TIPS will make funding decisions for the CRC/CERC components, while the CFI Board of Directors will make the funding decisions for the infrastructure component at its next scheduled meeting.  The CFI Board of Directors’ approval of the positive funding recommendation for the CFI infrastructure request is conditional upon a positive funding decision for the CRC or CERC component.  TIPS will share the reviewers’ comments with institutions. When the CFI seeks the input of additional expert reviewers or the JELF Advisory Committee, it will share these additional comments with the institutions directly.

The CFI partners with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) through its Alliance Grants program.

APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply to this partnership stream, submit separate proposals to NSERC and to the CFI at the same time. Submission deadlines are set by NSERC. Researchers and institutional research services personnel must use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to prepare and submit the CFI proposal. Select “John R. Evans Leaders Fund – Funding for research infrastructure with an application for research support funding from another program” when creating a new proposal in CAMS. We will merge the JELF proposal and NSERC proposal before they are assessed.

Consult NSERC’s website for more details.
 

REVIEW PROCESS

Proposals for this joint initiative are assessed using NSERC’s review process. The infrastructure request will be assessed against the CFI’s criteria. During the review process, the CFI will provide clarification on its policies and procedures, if necessary.
 

DECISION PROCESS

NSERC will make funding decisions for the Alliance component, while the CFI Board of Directors will make the funding decisions for the infrastructure component at its next scheduled meeting.  The CFI’s approval of a positive funding recommendation is conditional upon a positive funding decision for the NSERC Alliance Grant. NSERC will share the reviewers’ comments with institutions.

The CFI partners with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through its Insight Grants and Partnership Grants programs. For the Partnership Grants program, the JELF proposal is only required if you are invited to Stage 2.

APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply to this partnership stream, submit separate proposals to SSHRC and to the CFI at the same time. Submission deadlines are set by SSHRC. Researchers and institutional research services personnel must use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to prepare and submit the CFI proposal. Select “John R. Evans Leaders Fund – Funding for research infrastructure with an application for research support funding from another program” when creating a new proposal in CAMS.  We will merge the JELF proposal and SSHRC proposal before they are assessed.

Consult SSHRC’s website for more details.

REVIEW PROCESS

Proposals for CFI–SSHRC joint initiatives are assessed using SSHRC’s two-step merit review process.

First step:

SSHRC convenes expert review panels to evaluate each proposal relative to the assessment criteria for the SSHRC component and those for the CFI infrastructure request. The expert panel provides a funding recommendation for the CFI infrastructure request only.

Second step:

Funding recommendations for the SSHRC component are based on an assessment of relative merit made by a multidisciplinary selection committee.

DECISION PROCESS

SSHRC will make funding decisions for its component, while the CFI Board of Directors will make the funding decisions for the infrastructure component, based on the expert review panel’s funding recommendation, at its next scheduled meeting. The CFI Board of Directors’ approval of a positive funding recommendation is conditional upon a positive funding decision for the SSHRC component. Institutions will be notified by email by the CFI when decisions and review materials are uploaded in CAMS.

Funding streams

Deadline

Unaffiliated

Every February 15

Every June 15

Every October 15

Partnership (CRC, CERC, SSHRC and NSERC)

Infrastructure proposal should be submitted to the CFI at the same time that the corresponding partnership proposal is submitted (see partner websites for deadlines). 

Should a deadline fall on a weekend or statutory holiday (including Family Day), the deadline is pushed to the following regular business day.