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John R. Evans Leaders Fund

At a time of intense international competition, the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) helps institutions attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers.

To this end, JELF offers institutions the opportunity to:

  • Acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research; and
  • Create competitive research support packages 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.



JELF is an allocation-based fund for degree-granting institutions whereby the CFI predetermines the maximum amount of funding available for each eligible institution.

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 JELF funding allocation. Institutions whose dedicated JELF funding allocation is calculated at less than $400,000 will access the Small Institution Fund instead.

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 (up to max three), the CFI requires that the justification for the need for the infrastructure be articulated for each candidate. The sharing of infrastructure is encouraged provided the candidate(s) have sufficient access to carry out the proposed research program.

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.


All JELF proposals are evaluated against six criteria which define the fund’s mandate:

  • 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 Instructions and guidelines for completing JELF proposals. The instructions and guidelines are different for the different funds encompassed by JELF.



For infrastructure applications funded through JELF, the CFI contributes to the operation and maintenance costs of the funded infrastructure through its Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). Additional funds of up to thirty percent of the finalized CFI contribution to JELF proposals, will be provided to the institution from the IOF fund.



John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) – Unaffiliated

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

John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) – partnerships

The JELF – partnership funds are a result of a joint process that has been developed with Canada Research Chairs (CRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), among others, to 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 workloads of both the applicant and the reviewer 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.



Fund Name


JELF – Unaffiliated

February 15, June 15 and October 15

JELF – Canada Research Chairs (CRC)

Twice a year

JELF – NSERC, Industrial Research Chairs

No deadline

JELF – SSHRC, Insight Grants

October 15

JELF – SSHRC, Partnership Grants

Letter of intent: February 15

PLEASE NOTE: Should a JELF-Unaffiliated deadline fall on a weekend, the deadline is pushed to the following Monday.



To apply to JELF, researchers must first contact their research services office.

To submit a JELF proposal, whether for the unaffiliated or partnership program, eligible institutions must complete an application form through the online CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) and must also complete and send to the CFI the JELF proposal submission letter, signed by their President/CEO or designate.

For more details regarding the application process, please refer to: