IRPG programs

International Research Partnership Grants (IRPG) are internal seed grants designed to provide Waterloo researchers with resources to develop new innovative international research collaborations. Projects must have potential for leveraging external funding from Canadian and international funding programs.

International collaborators can be from highly ranked institutions known for high-quality research or leading universities from low- or middle-income countries (LMIC). Applicants are encouraged to contact in Waterloo International to learn more about Waterloo’s strategic partners and for assistance in connecting with potential collaborating institutions.

Since 2011, over 160 joint research projects have been launched based on $2.2M funding from the Provost and the Vice President Research and International. Funded projects have leveraged over $3.2M in counterpart cash contributions and UW researchers have generated over $23.8M in new external grants administered in the Office of Research. Significant impacts include 415 joint publications, 183 new technologies, 9 patents, 6 spin-off companies and the creation of 3 joint international labs.

Significant Canadian funding opportunities for international research collaborations currently exist, such as NSERC Alliance International Grants and NFRF International Grants. UW researchers also have strong potential to apply for major international funding platforms, such as Horizon Europe Pillar 2. It is vital that UW positions itself to take advantage of these international collaboration funding opportunities to grow our international collaboration network. The IRPG is intended to help PIs at UW to conduct early-stage collaborative research activities with international colleagues to better prepare them for external funding opportunities.

Program name

UW International Research Partnership Grants

Type Internal award
Funding Priorities
  • The current round of the IRPG program will focus on supporting international collaboration projects that directly involve graduate student mobility and collaborative research activities (e.g., lab work, field work) beyond networking discussions. Proposals with emphasis on international travels for pre-collaboration networking and team formation purposes will not be considered, as these pre-collaboration activities are nowadays conveniently served by virtual meeting platforms.
  • Funding priority will be given to applications from pre-tenure PIs at UW, including those who have applied for tenure but have not been awarded tenure prior to July 1, 2024. For the current round of the IRPG program, grant awards will first be made to the fundable applications from pre-tenure PIs to support their long-term career growth and development at UW.
Application Deadline 

March 4, 2024 at 5pm EDT. Release of decisions expected by April 2024.


UW PI applicants must be full-time, regular tenure-track or tenured faculty members. Past recipients of an IRPG are eligible to apply again as PI for new international collaborations involving different partners. Adjunct and definite-term faculty members at UW can be included as co-applicants. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be considered as project trainees.
Partner institutions may include universities, government agencies, NGOs, and industry outside of Canada. The partner institution(s) is expected to dedicate 1:1 matching resources (to the equivalent of $15,000 CAD) to directly support the proposed activities at the partnering institution. Matching resources are not required if the partner institution is from an LMIC. The matching funds may come from various sources, including the partner PI’s own funding.

Amount Maximum funding request per proposal is $15,000 over a term of up to two years. The total funding envelope available in this round is $150,000.
Submission Instructions

Each application package must include (in this order):

1. Cover Page (attached below)

2. Main Proposal (maximum 4 pages; see next section);
3. Short CV for the two Lead PIs (at Waterloo and the partner institution) (max 2 pages each). Include activities within the last 5 years.
4. Letter of support from the Lead PI of the partner institution(s). The letter should mention the partner’s matching contributions to this collaboration, if applicable.

Please submit the application package as a single PDF by email to Kindly include 'IRPG Submission' in the subject line of your email.

The Lead PI at Waterloo, who will hold the work order if successful, must submit an electronic Coversheet for Sponsored Research at the time of application.

General questions / comments should be directed to Leslie Copp, Director of FANS (

Main Proposal: Required Sections

1. Project Introduction (maximum 1 page) – Provide a general description in plain language of:

(a) The collaborative research topic, methodology, and key challenges/problems the research addresses.

(b) The activities to be undertaken with the proposed budget.

2. Significance of Partnership – Highlight all elements that substantiate the importance of the proposed international collaboration. Please comment on how your project satisfies all of the following forms of significance:

(a) Partners UW with a high-ranked institution (please provide THE and QS ranking data) or a leading institution from a low- or middle-income country.

(b) Complements the expertise and ongoing research programs at UW and at the partner institution.

(c) Aligns with the strategic priorities of both UW and the partner institution.

(d) Catalyzes the participation of UW researchers in international funding opportunities that will add value to UW’s institutional research portfolio.

(e) Helps UW grow its international reputation.

3. Research and Collaboration Plan – Describe the plans for carrying out the proposed collaboration. Please provide the following information to allow reviewers to assess the rigor of the collaboration plan:

(a) Work plan – Provide information on the methodological approach, research tasks, mobility and exchange activities, and any other specific project activities that are reasonable and likely to be achievable within the proposed time frame. Describe how equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations have been considered and incorporated within the work plan (state explicitly if this is not applicable).

(b) Endpoint – Clearly define the project endpoint and milestone(s) that are deemed to be appropriate given the partnership grant funding and term of the award.

(c) Research Team – Briefly state the key areas of expertise of each PI/Co-I at UW and at the partner institution. Describe how each investigator will be engaged and contribute to the project goals. Highlight the complementary nature of the research team, describing the roles played by each member in the collaboration.

(d) Resources – Point out the existing infrastructures at UW and at the partner institution that will enable the research team to carry out the proposed work plan.

(e) Training Plan – Present how the trainee(s) directly involved in this project will acquire an enriched research training experience. If applicable, point out how other trainees supervised by the applicants may complement the collaborative research training experience of this specific project’s trainee(s).

(f) EDI Considerations in Research Practice – Provide information about the team’s specific circumstances related to EDI, including the identification of structural biases that could affect members of underrepresented groups (please do not provide information about the current composition of the research team). Point out the best practices that the team will take to: 1) foster equitable team composition and recruitment, 2) provide training and development opportunities, and 3) foster an inclusive research environment. For each practice, please briefly explain how it will be implemented, the expected impacts, and how the impacts will be measured.

4. Expected Outcomes – Describe the anticipated results and the next steps of the proposed collaboration. Please address each of the following:

(a) Research Impact and Output – Present the expected scientific advances, technology development, policy formulation, scholarship, or innovation, etc. Describe plans for joint publications and for sharing research findings.

(b) Sustainability – Describe how the initial funding and collaboration activities will be leveraged to apply for national or international research funding applications, with targeted funding schemes cited.

(c) Metrics for Success – Describe the criteria/metrics that you feel would be appropriate to evaluate the ultimate success of the partnership project.

5. Project Cost – Describe the costs involved in conducting the proposed collaboration. Please provide the following information:

(a) Budget Request and Justifications – State the eligible expenses (see Page 4) that will be directly supported by the IRPG. Please justify all cost items. The maximum budget request is $15,000.

(b) Matching Resources – Describe other anticipated expenses for the proposed project. Please describe how they will be financed through other funding that the team has access to. A tangible matching fund commitment is expected, except if the partner institution is from a LMIC. For example, if the execution of the project involves laboratory expenses, please briefly describe how the research team will cover these additional expenses.

Eligible Costs

Funds from the current round of IRPG program may be used to cover the following:

• Travel costs of PI, Co-I(s), and trainees’ exchange visits to conduct collaborative research activities;
•Partial stipend for trainee(s) who are directly involved in the mobility component of the project;
•Associated research expenses, up to a maximum of $2,000 (e.g., lab user fees, consumables, small research related equipment, computer software).
Ineligible costs include faculty or staff salaries, indirect or overhead costs, equipment purchases (including computers and communication devices), facilities and basic utility fees, purchase, repair or shipping of office or lab equipment, insurance for equipment, and conference registration costs.

Evaluation Criteria 

All submitted proposals will be engaged in a peer review process that will be founded on three criteria:

1.Significance of Partnership (40%)
2.Rigor of Collaboration Plan (40%)
3.Expected Outcomes (20%)

The review committee will be chaired by Alfred Yu, Assistant Vice-President, Research and International ( Applicants will be notified of the funding decision by email. Comments will be provided to all submitted proposals.

Reporting Requirements Successful IRPG applicants will be required to submit a final report (2 pages) outlining the outcomes of the project. In addition, two years after the end of the IRPG grant, a post-project sustainability update is required to provide follow-up information on any new grants secured. This is an important metric to track for the continued funding of the IRPG program.

Application Submission-  (Kindly include 'IRPG Submission' in the subject line of your email)

General questions or comments- Leslie Copp (Director of FANS)

Date updated: 14-Feb-2024