You are here

Research infrastructure associated with a Canada Research Chair – Total eligible costs under $1 million


The Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) is designed to help universities attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers at a time of intense international competition. To this end, the LOF offers universities the opportunity to:

  • acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research; and
  • create competitive packages of research support in the form of infrastructure and a portion of the operating and maintenance costs from the CFI, coupled with direct research costs from partner organizations.

A joint review process has been developed with the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Secretariat. The purpose of this collaboration is to lessen both applicant and reviewer workload by reducing the number of proposals needed to secure both CRC funding and CFI infrastructure support.

Eligibility to apply

In order to submit a joint proposal for a CRC and infrastructure from the CFI, an institution must be eligible to receive funds from the LOF program. The LOF is an allocation-based fund whereby the CFI predetermines the maximum amount of funding available for each eligible institution. Universities having a minimum annual average of $300,000 in sponsored research income (excluding CFI awards) as reported by the Canadian Association of University Business Offices (CAUBO), are eligible to receive a LOF allocation. These allocations may be reviewed periodically as new funds are made available to the CFI. In November 2010, the CFI invested an additional $140 million in the LOF. For universities having received more than 0.2 percent of the total sponsored research income as reported by CAUBO, the additional LOF allocation is proportional to the average amount of sponsored research income over the 2006-07 to 2008-09 period. For universities having received less than 0.2 percent of the total sponsored research income, the CFI has created a Small Institution Fund of $7 million to replace institutional allocations.

Eligible universities may apply twice per year to the CRC Secretariat by submitting a nomination or renewal proposal for an individual researcher. The forms and deadlines for submitting proposals are available on the CRC website.

Normally, the CFI contributes up to 40 percent of the eligible costs of a project. For smaller universities (category B), the CFI may provide up to 100 percent of the eligible infrastructure costs of CRC infrastructure projects if the total project cost is $75,000 or less.

The CFI will also accept a single infrastructure request for a group of chairs. In these cases, the infrastructure request should be attached to a single nomination but should clearly explain how each member of the cluster will use and benefit from the infrastructure. The cluster can include up to three candidates that are nominated in the same cycle or are current chairholders. The original nomination materials for all members of a cluster will be provided to the reviewers, enabling them to properly evaluate the infrastructure request. Universities should contact the CRC Secretariat to update the CV or research program of a current chairholder in the cluster proposal.

Application and review process

Chairholders should request CFI infrastructure support at the time of nomination or renewal when seeking infrastructure support of less than $1 million. While 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 will normally await the renewal of that chair before applying for infrastructure support.

The CRC Secretariat consults a number of national and international experts from all disciplines. Proposals with an infrastructure request submitted to the CRC Secretariat will be reviewed, in accordance with the CFI’s criteria, by a minimum of three national and international experts from all disciplines who are members of a College of Reviewers. Should the comments received from the reviewers differ significantly, the CFI may seek advice from additional expert reviewers and/or the Leaders Opportunity Fund Advisory Committee (LOFAC) in making its funding recommendations.

Please visit for more information on the review process.

Decision process

A program Steering Committee, made up of the presidents of the CFI, CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and the Deputy Minister of Industry Canada, makes the final decision on CRC nominations. Funding recommendations for the infrastructure portion of the proposal are presented to the CFI Board of Directors at the earliest possible decision point. The CFI Board of Directors will make the final decision for funding of the infrastructure portion of the CRC proposals.

Universities will be informed of decisions related to the infrastructure portion of the proposal by email shortly after the CFI Board has met. Successful proposals will also be listed on the CFI website. The CFI will inform universities of any conditions associated with an award. Reviewers’ comments received during the joint review of CRC awards and associated infrastructure will be made available to universities by the CRC Secretariat.

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

Public announcements

The CFI works jointly with the CRC Secretariat on funding announcements for infrastructure associated with CRC. The dates and venues of these announcements are coordinated by the CRC Secretariat. Universities must not make these decisions public until the national announcement is made. The CFI also seeks additional opportunities to work with universities on local or regional announcements following the national event.

Support for operation and maintenance of the infrastructure

The CFI will contribute to the operation and maintenance costs of projects funded under the LOF through its Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). Universities will receive IOF at a rate of 30 percent of the finalized CFI contribution to LOF projects. For further information on the IOF, see section 2.3 of the CFI Policy and Program Guide.