Ontario Research Fund

Program name: The Ontario Research Fund – Research infrastructure (ORF-RI), Small Infrastructure
Type: Research infrastructure
Office of Research deadlines: Internal deadlines are set and communicated to CFI-JELF applicants following submission of the CFI-JELF application
Program deadlines: Applications must be submitted to the ORF~six weeks following the submission of the corresponding CFI-JELF application. Typically, these timeframes coincide with March 30 (following the February 15 CFI-JELF intake cycle), July 30 (following the June 15 CFI-JELF intake cycle), or November 30 (following the October 15 CFI-JELF intake cycle). Specific deadlines will be commuicated to CFI-JELF applicants.
Research focus areas: The ORF-RI Small Infrastructure Fund program co-funds with the CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF) program to provide individuals or small groups of researchers (up to three) with research infrastructure necessary to conduct their research program.
Funding: The ORF will contribute up to a maximum of 40 per cent toward the total eligible costs. CFI also provides up to a maximum of 40%, with the remaining 20% coming from the institution or other eligible partners as match. This match can include cash contributions and/or vendor discounts provided in excess of normal academic discounts. The ORF will not contribute more than the amount awarded by the CFI.
Length of project:

The project start and end dates will coincide with the dates set for the related CFI award:

  • The project start date for each award is six months prior to the CFI application date
  • The project end date is the date when all CFI/ORF funded infrastructure is purchased, installed, and ready to be used
Industry partner: Not required
Program submission instructions:

Please review the ORF-RI guidelines.

Do not primarily cut and paste from the CFI application as Ontario will receive a copy of the CFI application. Certain general things can be copied but the focus in the provincial application should be on the impacts and benefits for Ontario.

The application package includes:

  • A fillable PDF application form; and
  • The final PDF CFI-JELF application
Office of Research Contacts: Steve Holland and Darla Steinmann

Program name:

The Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE) 



Office of Research deadlines:

  • 15-Nov-2021 - Internal expression of interest due to Office of Research
  • 17-Jan-2022 - First full draft of application due to Office of Research
  • 01-Mar-2022 - Second full draft of application due to Office of Research
  • 01-Apr-2022 - Complete application due to Office of Research
  • ***Revised: Friday, April 15 by 1700 ET*** - Complete application submitted to the Ministry

Program deadlines:

  • Final application package submission – ***Revised: Friday, April 15 by 1700 ET***

Research focus areas:

The Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence (ORF-RE) program promotes research excellence of strategic value to Ontario by supporting new leading-edge, transformative, and internationally significant research. Round 11 includes two applications streams:

Stream 1 General - Basic

  • Open to all disciplines
  • Funds projects from $500,000 to $2,000,000 (Ontario portion) up to 5 years

Stream 2 Targeted - Experimental Research

  • Open to proposals that demonstrate strong commercialization potential in research fields that align with areas in which Ontario has industry receptor capacity.
  • Funds projects that demonstrate strong commercialization potential corresponding to innovation at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 or higher
  • Targets projects in the following sectors: information communications technology (which will include priority areas of distributed ledger technology, fintech and smart cities/internet of things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning); life sciences and medical dvices; and industrial technologies (e.g., advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, robotics, 3D printing, logistics, vehicle manufacturing, critical minerals/related specialty materials).
  • Requires collaboration with an Ontario-based company
  • Funds projects from $300,000 to $1,000,000 (Ontario portion) up to 4 years.

The ministry will prioritize applications that support Government of Ontario initiatives included in the 2021 Ontario Budget such as Ontario's First-Ever Critical Minerals Strategy and Ontario's Vehicle Innovation Network. Applications that support research and development activities that lead to the commercialization of Ontario-made products, technologies, and solutions will be prioritized for funding; especially submissions that support the automative and mobility secotr with a focus on connected, autonomous, electric vehicle (including battery and powertrain technology) as well as industrial/mining technologies as it relates to electric vehicles, spanning the entire value chain from minerals to manufacturing to recovering resources from vehicles or their component parts at end-of-life


The ORF-RE program will fund eligible direct operating costs (including salaries and benefits and limited costs for facilities and equipment, management, and administration), as well as a portion of indirect (overhead) costs. The program will contribute eligible operating costs of an approved research project to a maximum of 1/3 of the total project costs, with the remaining 2/3 coming from a combination of applicant institution(s) and from private sector. The program will contribute 1/3 of project costs, which is inclusive of both direct and indirect cost support.

Stream 1 General - Basic

  • Funds projects from $500,000 to $2,000,000 (Ontario portion) up to 5 years

Stream 2 Targeted - Experimental Research

  • Funds projects from $300,000 to $1,000,000 (Ontario portion) up to 4 years.

Evaluation Criteria:

Currently, there is limited information available regarding program guidelines and application form template. Additional updates will be provided as this material becomes available. Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Research excellence: Scientific merit, quality of research, and expertise of research team
  • Commercialization potential (if applicable);
  • Strategic value to Ontario;
  • Plan for achieving impact;
  • Development of research talent: A clear plan for the training of highly qualified personnel; and
  • Project management and governance: Management of the project, including governance structure, sustainability, budget, and milestones 

Industry/External partner:

Applicants are encouraged to engage both contributing partners who provide cash and/or in-kind which can be included towards the 2/3 matching requirements, or end-users/next-stage recipients who are not contributing financially to the project but will benefit from the project outcomes.

Partners can include private sector, non-profit, and government agencies. Each partner should provide a letter of support articulating the importance of the project, their interest in the project, and details of contributions that they expect to make to the project.  

For assistance engaging private sector and private sector funded not-for-profit partners, applicants are encouraged to contact Corporate Research Partnerships.

For assistance engaging foundations and public sector partners, applicants are encouraged to contact Funding Agencies and Non-Profit Sponsors.

Program submission instructions:

Please review the ORF-RE guidelines and contact the Office of Research for application templates and instructions.

Office of Research Contacts:

Stephanie Filsinger and Steve Holland