John R. Evans Leaders Fund

The CFI pays tribute to the outstanding contributions of Dr. John R. Evans, the CFI’s first Board Chair, by renaming one of the CFI’s core funds in his honour. At a time of intense international competition, our 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 John R. Evans Leaders Fund enables a select number of an institution’s excellent researchers to undertake leading-edge research by providing them with the foundational research infrastructure required to be or become leaders in their field. In turn, this enables institutions to remain internationally competitive in areas of research and technology development, aligned with their strategic priorities.

This fund also offers institutions the opportunity to create competitive research support packages in the form of infrastructure and a portion of the operating and maintenance costs, coupled with direct research costs from partner organizations.

Assessment criteria

All proposals to this fund are evaluated against six criteria which define the fund’s mandate. They are:

  • Research or technology development
  • Researchers
  • Need for the infrastructure
  • Training of highly qualified personnel
  • Benefits to Canadians
  • Sustainability

Detailed descriptions of the assessment criteria can be obtained in the Guidelines for completing JELF proposals for each of the unaffiliated and partnership streams.

Eligibility

CFI-eligible institutions having a minimum annual average of $300,000 in sponsored research income (excluding CFI awards) as reported by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) are eligible to receive a dedicated funding allocation from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Institutions whose dedicated JELF funding allocation is calculated at less than $800,000 will instead have access to the Small Institution Fund.

The candidate(s) listed on the proposal must be:

  • A recognized leader or have demonstrated the potential for excellence in the proposed research field(s);
  • Engaged in or embarking upon research/technology development that is original, internationally competitive and of high quality; and,
  • A current faculty member with a full-time academic appointment or a candidate that the institution is in the process of recruiting to a full-time academic position in an area of strategic importance.

Up to three candidates may be listed on the proposal when there is a demonstrated need to share infrastructure. When more than one candidate is listed, we require that the justification of the need for the infrastructure be articulated for each candidate. Sharing the infrastructure is encouraged provided the candidates have sufficient access to carry out the proposed research program. Eligibility relating to candidates may vary between the partnership streams. Refer to the specific criteria for the partnership stream to which a proposal is being submitted.

Candidates who have previously been supported by the CFI are eligible for additional funding. However, they must justify how another award would add value to their research.

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

Funding streams

There are a total of four different streams under the John R. Evans Leaders Fund: the unaffiliated stream and three partnership streams.

JELF – Unaffiliated stream: This stream allows institutions to provide individuals or small groups of researchers (up to three) with research infrastructure necessary to conduct their research program.

JELF – Partnership streams: These streams are a result of a joint process that has been developed with the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).  They offer eligible institutions and their researchers the opportunity to create competitive packages for the funding of infrastructure and research support. The purpose of this collaboration is to lessen the workload of both the applicant and the reviewers by reducing the number of proposals needed to secure both infrastructure and research support, as well as to ensure an accurate and fair review of both infrastructure and research support requests.

Submitting a proposal

To apply to the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, researchers must first contact their research services office.

To submit a proposal to this fund, whether to the unaffiliated or to one of the partnership streams, eligible institutions must complete a proposal using the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS). Institutions  must also complete and send to the CFI the proposal submission letter, signed by their President/CEO or designate.

Support for operations and maintenance

For infrastructure projects funded through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, we contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of the funded infrastructure through our Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). Additional funds of up to 30 percent of the finalized CFI contribution to JELF projects will be provided to the institution through the IOF.

Public announcements

We will make a national public announcement of the decisions made by our Board of Directors within one month of the Board meeting, when possible. The timing may vary when a joint announcement is to be made in collaboration with other agencies. Institutions must not make these decisions public until the national announcement is made. We also seek additional opportunities to work with institutions on local or regional announcements following the national event. Search our list of funded projects.

Application process

To submit a proposal to the JELF-Unaffiliated stream, eligible institutions must complete a proposal using the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS). Institutions must also complete and send to the CFI the JELF proposal submission letter, signed by their President/CEO or designate.

For specific information, refer to the Guidelines for completing JELF proposals.

Small Institution Fund: No additional steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund through the JELF – Unaffiliated stream.

Review process

JELF proposals are reviewed by a minimum of two experts who are tasked with providing written reviews to the CFI.

Should a proposal receive divergent reviews, have a proposed research plan that spans diverse disciplines or be otherwise highly complex, in order to make our funding recommendations, we may:

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

The Advisory Committee is composed of experts of international calibre with broad, multidisciplinary experience who are well-versed in assessing proposals submitted to the CFI. The committee meets via teleconference and is tasked with reaching a consensus opinion on the degree to which each proposal satisfies the assessment criteria, and to make funding recommendations.

Proposals with a request greater than $400,000 (to a maximum of $800,000) are reviewed by an expert committee comprised of at least three reviewers. Expert committees meet by teleconference and are tasked with reaching a consensus opinion on the degree to which each proposal satisfies the assessment criteria, and to make funding recommendations.

For complex cases we may also request the Advisory Committee’s opinion on a proposal. In such situations, the committee makes the final funding recommendation to our Board of Directors.

To coordinate the review processes and avoid duplication of review efforts, we share review materials with provinces in accordance with agreements between the CFI and Provincial Funding Authorities, as permissible pursuant to the Privacy Act.

Decision process

We are committed to ensuring the timely review of JELF proposals. The review process takes approximately four months. Funding recommendations are presented to our Board of Directors at its earliest possible meeting.

Shortly after the Board has met, institutions are informed of decisions by email. We inform institutions of any conditions associated with an award and provide the reviewers’ comments for all proposals.

It is the responsibility of recipient institutions to submit the necessary documents to the CFI to finalize awards and establish payment schedules.

JELF CRC Partnership

We partner with the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat through our John R. Evans Leaders Fund to create competitive packages for the funding of infrastructure and research support and to help reduce the burden on both applicants and reviewers.

Typically, the CFI contributes up to 40 percent of the eligible costs of a project. For smaller institutions, the CFI may provide up to 100 percent of the eligible infrastructure costs if the total project costs do not exceed $75,000.

Eligibility

Canadian degree-granting institutions may nominate an individual for a new Chair or renew an existing Chair. We accept requests for infrastructure that would be used by more than one chairholder. The infrastructure request must be attached to a single nomination and must clearly explain how each member of the cluster will use and benefit from the infrastructure. The cluster can include up to three candidates who are nominated in the same CRC cycle or who are current chairholders. The original nomination materials for all members of a cluster will be provided to the reviewers so that they can properly evaluate the infrastructure request.

Application process

Requests for CFI infrastructure support should be made by institutions at the time of nomination or renewal of the CRC.

We acknowledge that there may be circumstances warranting a new infrastructure request between the nomination and renewal of a current chairholder. The CFI and the CRC Secretariat expect that institutions would normally await the renewal of the chair before applying for infrastructure support.

Eligible institutions wishing to apply to the John R. Evans Leaders Fund for infrastructure support associated with a CRC must submit separate proposals to the CRC Secretariat and to the CFI. We will forward the JELF proposal to the CRC Secretariat where it will be combined with the CRC nomination form to create a joint proposal for review.

Details regarding the CRC portion of the submission can be found on the CRC website. Further details regarding the request to the CFI are outlined in the Guidelines for completing JELF proposal (Partnerships).

Small Institution Fund: No additional steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund through the JELF – Canada Research Chairs Partnership stream.

Review process

The CRC Secretariat administers the review process for joint CRC and CFI proposals. Proposals are reviewed by a minimum of three national or international experts from all disciplines who are members of the CRC College of Reviewers.

Should a proposal receive divergent reviews, have a proposed research plan that spans diverse disciplines or be otherwise highly complex, in order to make our funding recommendations, we may:

  • Seek the input of additional expert reviewers; and/or,
  • Seek the input of the JELF Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee is composed of experts of international calibre with broad, multidisciplinary experience who are well versed in assessing proposals submitted to the CFI. They meet via teleconference and are tasked with reaching a consensus opinion on the degree to which each proposal satisfies the assessment criteria, and for making funding recommendations.

More information about the review process can be found on the CRC website.

Decision process

The final funding decision for the research support portion of the proposal will be made by the CRC Secretariat. The final funding decision for the infrastructure portion of the proposal will be made by our Board of Directors at its earliest possible meeting.

Shortly after the CFI Board has met, institutions are informed by email of decisions related to the infrastructure portion of the proposal.

We inform institutions of any conditions associated with an award. The reviewers’ comments are made available to the institutions by the CRC Secretariat.

In cases where the CFI solicited additional comments from experts or the JELF Advisory Committee, we will provide the additional comments to the institution.

It is the responsibility of recipient institutions to submit the necessary documents to the CFI to finalize awards and establish payment schedules.

JELF – CERC Partnership

We also partner with the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund to fund research infrastructure associated with Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC).

The application form is available on the CFI’s Awards Management System (CAMS). Proposals may be submitted at any time and funding recommendations will be presented to our Board of Directors for decision at its earliest possible meeting.

We partner with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair (IRC) program through our John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to create competitive packages for the funding of infrastructure and research support and to help reduce the burden on both applicants and reviewers.

Industrial Research Chair grants assist universities to build on existing strengths to achieve the critical mass required for a major research endeavour in science and engineering of interest to industry. They also assist in the development of research efforts in fields that have not yet been developed in Canadian universities but for which there is an important industrial need.

Application process

Eligible institutions wishing to apply to the John R. Evans Leaders Fund for infrastructure support associated with an IRC must submit separate proposals to NSERC and to the CFI. We will forward the JELF proposal to the IRC Secretariat where it will be combined with the IRC nomination form to create a joint proposal for review.

Consult the NSERC website for details regarding the IRC portion of the submission. Further details regarding the CFI request are outlined in the Guidelines for completing JELF proposal (Partnerships).

Small Institution Fund: No additional steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund through the JELF – NSERC Industrial Research Chair Partnership stream.

Review process

NSERC administers the review process for joint IRC-CFI proposals. Reviewers evaluate the infrastructure portion of the proposal in accordance with CFI criteria. A CFI representative is present during the adjudication of the proposals and will clarify its policies and procedures for the reviewers when necessary.

Consult the NSERC website for more information about the IRC review process.

Decision process

The final funding decision for the research support portion of the proposal will be made by NSERC. The final funding decision for the infrastructure portion of the proposal will be made by our Board of Directors at its earliest possible meeting.

Shortly after the CFI Board has met, institutions are informed by email of decisions related to the infrastructure portion of the proposal. We inform institutions of any conditions associated with an award. The reviewers’ comments are made available to the institutions by NSERC.

It is the responsibility of recipient institutions to submit the necessary documents to the CFI to finalize awards and establish payment schedules.

We partner with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Insight Grants and Partnership Grants programs through our John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to create competitive packages for the funding of infrastructure and research support and to help reduce the burden on both applicants and reviewers.

Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

Eligibility

Funding is available to both emerging and established scholars for long-term research initiatives. Research initiatives supported by Insight Grants may be undertaken by an individual researcher or a team of researchers working in collaboration.

Partnership Grants support formal partnerships between academic researchers, businesses and other partners that will advance knowledge and understanding of critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance. Eligible institutions wishing to apply to the John R. Evans Leaders Fund for infrastructure support associated with a SSHRC Insight or Partnership Grant must submit separate proposals to SSHRC and to the CFI.

Application process

We will forward the JELF proposal to either the Insight Grant program or the Partnership Grant program at SSHRC where it will be combined with the SSHRC application form to create a joint proposal for review.

Details regarding the SSHRC portion of the submission can be found on the SSHRC website. Further details regarding the CFI request are outlined in the Guidelines for completing JELF proposal (Partnerships).

Small Institution Fund: No additional steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund through the JELF – SSHRC Insight Grants and Partnership Grants Partnership stream.

Review process

SSHRC administers the review process for these partnership initiative proposals. Reviewers evaluate the infrastructure portion of the proposal in accordance with CFI criteria. A CFI representative is present during the adjudication of the proposals and will clarify its policies and procedures for the reviewers when necessary.

More information about the review process can be found on the SSHRC website.

Decision process

The final funding decision for the research support portion of the proposal will be made by SSHRC. The final funding decision for the infrastructure portion of the proposal will be made by our Board of Directors at its earliest possible meeting.

Shortly after the Board has met, institutions are informed by email of decisions related to the infrastructure portion of the proposal.

We inform institutions of any conditions associated with an award. The reviewers’ comments are made available to the institutions by SSHRC.

It is the responsibility of recipient institutions to submit the necessary documents to the CFI to finalize awards and establish payment schedules.

Funding streams

Deadline

JELF – Unaffiliated

every February 15

every June 15

every October 15

JELF – Canada Research Chairs (CRC)

April 25, 2016

October 24, 2016

JELF – NSERC, Industrial Research Chairs

No deadline

JELF – SSHRC, Insight Grants

every October 15

JELF – SSHRC, Partnership Grants

Letter of Intent - every February 15

Should a deadline fall on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline is pushed to the following regular business day.

Partner contributions must be made, and expenditures incurred, after the eligibility date of the particular CFI program.

The Small Institution Fund, which is part of our John R. Evans Leaders Fund, was created for institutions whose dedicated JELF allocation would be less than $800,000.  This will allow for a growth potential, resulting in an increased opportunity for institutions to attract and retain the best scholars.

No additional steps are required for eligible institutions to access the Small Institution Fund. Eligible institutions should simply follow the same process by which they would normally apply to any JELF funding stream.

The review process for the Small Institution Fund is the same as for the JELF stream to which your institution is applying.

For additional information, please consult the page for the stream to which you wish to apply.  

 Download the list of institutions eligible for the Small Institution Fund