Ontario Research Getting Boost from the Research Excellence Program

Canadian research institutions play a vital role in driving the Canadian economy by leveraging innovation and bringing new concepts to market. Government funding for research helps to provide the financial foundation for critical testing and development activities within Canada.

“The Ontario Research Fund (Fund) was created in 2004 to ‘support scientific excellence by supporting research that can be developed into innovative goods and services that will boost Ontario’s economy.’”

-Ontario Research Fund

On November 1, 2021, the Ontario Research Fund initiated a new program to support Ontario provincial research institutions. The program is called the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE) and it supports research institutions by funding major project costs for promising studies. This funding will help accelerate research projects from inception to commercialization.

“Scientific research expands our basic understanding of the world, generates new ideas, leads to new jobs for our children and grandchildren and helps to build a workforce that is better able to respond to challenges with creativity and confidence. This doesn’t just have economic benefits—it also makes Canada a safer, healthier, better place to live.”

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Therefore, a primary interest of the ORF-RE is being placed on Ontario’s key strategic priorities, such as bio-technologies, productivity enhancement systems, and integrated waste management.

Ontario Research Fund’s Funding Amount

Funding from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence program is broken up into two different streams. Both streams of the program may support up to one third (33.33%) of the total project’s value. The remaining two thirds (66.66%) of the investment must come from a sum of institutional and private-sector contributions. Each stream may allow for the following ranges in project costs:  

Stream One: General – Basic Applied Research

  • This stream allows projects that range from $500,000 to $2 million; and
  • Projects may be funded for up to a maximum of five years.

Stream Two: Targeted – Experimental Research

  • Project costs may range between $300,000 to $1 million; and
  • Projects may be funded for up to a maximum of four years.

To learn more about funding for this program, check out the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence page. If this program is not a good fit for your institution, review other research and development funding opportunities.

Eligible Applicants

All applicants for both streams may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants are located at universities;
  • Applicants are located at colleges;
  • Research hospitals; and
  • Non-profit research institutions.

To learn more about eligibility requirements please refer to the ORF – RE program page.

Eligible Projects

Projects for the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence initiative should follow these guidelines if they are to be eligible for funding:

Stream One: General – Basic Applied Research

Stream one is open to project opportunities from all research disciplines.

Stream Two: Targeted – Experimental Research

Projects for this stream will be funded if they are able to demonstrate high commercialization potential, based on a technology readiness level (TRL) of three or higher. Projects need to be centred in information communication technologies, life sciences and medial devices, or industrial technologies. It’s also worth noting that research institutions applying for ORF – RE need to incorporate a collaboration or partnership with an Ontario-based company into their project.

If you are unsure if your project is likely to be approved for funding through the ORF program, take a moment to review these successful ORF – RE project stories.

How Are Applications Reviewed?

The Ontario Research Fund has a review panel which oversees the vetting process for applications. For both streams of the ORF-RE program, the panel will review scores on:

  • Ensuring research excellence and efficiency;
  • Strong commercialization potential (if applicable);
  • Does this research have strategic value to the province of Ontario;
  • Is there a concrete plan for leveraging this research for further impact;
  • Development of research talent; and
  • Demonstrating considerable project management and governance abilities.

Learn more about the criteria by reviewing the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence program page.

Program Timeline/Deadline

The Ontario Research fund – Research Excellence program is currently open for applications and has the following key dates to consider for both streams:

  • Information Sessions will take place on November 23, 30, and December 2, 2021; and
  • The submission deadline for both programs will be March 21, 2022, at 5:00pm EDT.

Exploring Government Funding Opportunities

There are more funding programs available for research and development. If your organization is interested in a broader variety of funding programs, visit this general government funding directory, where you will find many other programs that support research and development projects, such as the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

We also suggest applicants use this free guide to review new opportunities for research collaborations in Canada. To discover more about government funding opportunities, contact a Mentor Works professional today.

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