Canada Foundation for Innovation

Exceptional Opportunities Fund - COVID-19

UPDATE: June 8, 2020

CFI has relaunched its Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19The new deadline for  proposals is July 6, 2020. CFI's Awards Management System (CAMS) will be ready to receive proposals starting June 10, 2020.

With this competition, CFI aims to support urgent infrastructure needs for ongoing COVID-19 research. In an exception to its usual competitions, CFI will cover up to 100% of a project's eligible costs.

This competition is open for proposals from all disciplines that can demonstrate a direct and immediate impact on current and pressing COVID-19 research issues. This may include, but is not limited to, research in epidemiology, virology, vaccine development, diagnostics, therapeutic devices, mental health, social and economic policy and public health response.

Successful applications must meet the following requirements:

  • Researcher(s) listed in the proposal are recognized leaders in areas of research related to COVID-19
  • Researchers are engaged in research or technology development activities related to COVID-19 that are innovative, feasible and meet international standards
  • Requested infrastructure is an indispensable element of an on-going research project related to COVID-19
Note:  eligible research infrastructure expenditures must have been incurred between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Eligible institutions have been given a predetermined envelope.
Total available envelope: $25M
University of Alberta’s available envelope: $2.8M
Total Project Cost size: between $200K - $1.5M


See links below for updated information on completing a proposal and on details on how to apply:


Institutional Review Process:

Eligible projects must register using this Google Form.
Registrations should be submitted IMMEDIATELY. Registration will remain open until Noon June 11, 2020.
An RSO contact will be assigned to your project as soon as possible after your form is submitted. We will provide additional information regarding the next steps in the process and assist you throughout application development.
Please see the form for more information.


NOTE that Faculty approval (letter of support) MUST be provided with the registration before VPRI review can be carried out. 



June 11, 2020: Registration form closes at NOON. Faculties will review registrations and provide rankings to RSO.
June 16, 2020: UofA Facilities & Operations will send out estimates for projects involving renovations.
June 17, 2020: Researchers will be notified of the VPRI office approval to move forward to submission.
June 24, 2020:
  • Next-to-final draft of proposals due to RSO
  • RSO will circulate next-to-final drafts for review and approval by faculties and departments
June 30, 2020:
  • Deadline for faculties and departments to confirm approval to RSO
  • Final Applications provided to VPRI office for review and sign off
July 6, 2020: Proposals submitted to CFI

Updates on applying to and managing CFI awards during the COVID-19 pandemic

 Please follow this link for the latest information about applying to and managing CFI/EDTT awards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. CFI projects are awarded to the institution rather than to faculty members, with the applicant as the project leader and the vice president (research) as the project holder.

The Office of the Vice President (Research) strongly encourages the creation of shared research spaces, the use of communal equipment, and the adoption of core facilities whenever possible. All applications for funding of new research infrastructure should seek to establish shared research resources or to add new capabilities to existing core facilities. Such applications will be given a higher priority in adjudication decisions involving the Office of the Vice President (Research) over applications involving single-users or those with more limited potential for shared use.

The Institutional Projects group within RSO provides full support and guidance throughout the life of the CFI projects.

We will assist and advise researchers throughout the life cycle of the project (application development, award finalization, project activation, infrastructure acquisition/funding management and project closure) and liaise with CFI when required.

CFI Opportunities

John R. Evans (JELF) Leaders Fund

The JELF provides funding support for the acquisition or development of research infrastructure for projects with a maximum total eligible cost of $2,000,000.

The CFI has advised that University of Alberta's total JELF allocation for the period of 2020-2023 is $14,425,000. For information on detailed allocation distribution across Faculties please see 3. Distribution of JELF Allocation on our John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) page.

More information about this program

Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund provides investments in research infrastructure for projects usually with a minimum total eligible cost of $2,000,000 that:

  • Are of appropriate maturity and offer the best potential for transformative impact.
  • Allow teams and institutions to build on established capacity to accelerate current research and technology development or to enhance emerging strategic priority areas.
  • Enable teams to fully exploit research infrastructure and drive world-class research.

More information about this program

Cyberinfrastructure Initiative

This program provides funding to support research data infrastructure projects that create tailored, shared and integrated data resources (e.g. databases and data repositories) capable of enabling leading-edge research on significant scientific, social and economic questions.

More information about this program

Major Science Initiatives Competition

This program provides funding to support the ongoing operating and maintenance (O&M) needs of national research facilities.

More information about this program

Proposal Development

During the application development phase RSO works closely with the Project Leader providing assistance and feedback to ensure that the proposal and associated budget conform to U of A policies and the sponsor guidelines.

Funding and Project Activation
RSO works with the Project Leader to prepare award finalization documentation. Once the award agreement has been executed, RSO will activate project accounts.

Project Management
During the post-award phase of the project, RSO monitors and secures approval for purchases and payments and reviews financial reporting, ensuring that expenses meet sponsor eligibility guidelines.

Project Closure
At project closure, RSO will assist and coordinate with the researcher the preparation of final scientific and financial reporting.