New Frontiers Research Fund (NFRF) - 2020 Transformation Competition

COVID-19 Update:  LOI new deadline July 15, 2020

Overview

The Transformation Stream is designed to support large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge with the potential to realize real and lasting change (high reward). The challenge may be fundamental, leading to a scientific breakthrough, or applied, with a social, economic, environmental or health impact. Projects are expected to be world-leading, drawing on global research expertise where relevant.

The Transformation Stream Grants will support projects that:

  • tackle a well-defined problem or challenge;
  • propose a novel world-leading approach that is different from the current state-of-the-art approaches to the issue;
  • are interdisciplinary, bringing different perspectives to the defined problem; and
  • have the potential to be transformative, defined as the potential to create a significant and real change or impact -- a noticeable leap or tangible breakthrough versus an incremental advance.

Competition Link:

New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) - 2020 Transformation Competition

Award Amount and Duration:

Up to $4M per year inclusive of 25 % indirect research costs, for up to six years.

Indirect Costs: 25%

How to Apply

Application Guidelines: Competition Guidelines

Application Stages: Three mandatory stages to apply to NFRF using the Convergence Portal:

  1. Notice of Intent (NOI) -  COMPLETED
  2. Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI) - Deadline: July 15, 2020
  3. Application (by invitation only) - Deadline: November 18, 2020 (Still to be confirmed)

Please note that all NOIs, LOIs and full applications are submitted to the research administrator (research services office [RSO]) of the NPI's primary affiliation. The RSO must submit the NOIs, LOIs and applications through the Convergence Portal before the relevant deadlines.

  1. NOI Stage Application: U of A nominated principal investigators must create a new application request via the Researcher Home Page (RHP) system and obtain online approval prior to submitting their NOI to RSO for review and submission to NFRF. See information session presentation.
  2. LOI Stage Application: U of A nominated principal investigators, as well as U of A co-principal investigators or co-applicants on applications with nominated principal investigators at other institutions, must create a new application request via the Researcher Home Page (RHP) system and obtain online approval prior to submitting their Letter of Intent to RSO for review and submission to NFRF.
  3. Application Stage (by invitation): U of A nominated principal investigators who are invited to submit a full Application, as well as U of A co-principal investigators or co-applicants on applications with nominated principal investigators at other institutions, must create a brand new application request via the Researcher Home Page (RHP) system and obtain online approval prior to submitting their application for review and approval by RSO and submission to NFRF.

See tables below for application development support available and additional details about deadlines.

As part of the institutional review, RSO will confirm the following:

  1. That all U of A team members are eligible to participate in accordance with U of A policies.
  2. That it has obtained written approval from all other institutions involved in the application (required by NFRF at all stages).
  3. The status of Early Career Researchers (ECR).
  4. Whether or not nominated principal investigator (NPI) and co-principal investigators (CPI) and/or co-applicants (CAP) are participating in more than one Transformation grant. NFRF recommends that individuals limit their participation as NPI, CPI, or CAP to a single application.

If you have any questions, please contact your research facilitator.


Participant Role Definitions

NOTE: Students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, etc. are not eligible to apply as nominated principal investigators, co-principal investigator or co-applicant.


Eligibility

Due to the ambitious and interdisciplinary nature of the projects, proposals must be submitted by teams. Participants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the application. In the event that the NPI is considered ineligible, the application will be removed from the competition. If removal of ineligible participants from the application results in research teams with fewer than five members, the application will also be removed from the competition.

  • Teams must include a nominated principal investigator (NPI) and may include co-principal investigators, co-applicants and/or collaborators. Individuals who are not academic researchers are eligible for all roles except NPI. At the notice of intent to apply (NOI) stage, a minimum of five confirmed members (NPI, co-principal investigators and co-applicants but not collaborators) is required. Additional members can be added at each stage of the competition process and throughout the term of the grant.
  • All core members of the team are expected to be confirmed when the letter of intent to apply (LOI) is submitted.
  • The NPI should be the most appropriate Canadian researcher to lead an interdisciplinary project of this scale which requires integration and coordination beyond usual disciplinary perspectives.
  • The focus should be on assembling a coherent team of experts to execute the project rather than on establishing a network.
  • National, international and cross-sector (private, public or other) collaborations are encouraged, as needed, to ensure that the most appropriate individuals and/or organizations are involved and that team composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Teams must include confirmed members who are Early Career Researchers (ECRs).
  • Award holders may serve as an NPI or co-principal investigator on only one Transformation grant. An individual's status as an applicant or grantee of other NFRF competitions (Exploration or International) does not affect their eligibility for the Transformation stream.

Institutional Financial Support

There is no requirement for institutional financial support but a description of support (institution or partner) may be included in the budget justification at the full application stage.


Grant Development Support

Grant development supports University of Alberta NFRF Transformation applicants at any stage of the competition (NOI, LOI or Full applications). This is provided by the Grant Assist Program (GAP). Connect with the GAP by email (cihrgrants@ualberta.ca) or contact directly any of the GAP directors: Iwona Pawlina (GAP Natural Sciences and Engineering), Saad Salim (GAP Health Sciences) or Heather Young-Leslie (GAP Social Sciences and Humanities) for more information.

Contact the Grant Assist Program for:

  • Concept Discussion: to assess strategic alignment of proposed research with expectations of the NFRF Transformation competition and to provide feedback on strategic cross-council research project content development. Express interest to participate in Concept Discussion by January 13, 2020.
  • Peer review, Editorial review, and Graphic design services. For more information email cihrgrants@ualberta.ca or contact directly any of the GAP directors. Please see tables below for summary of support for applicants.
  • EDI Workshop on March 3, 2020. Registration will open in February. Watch for future updates.

 

Summary of Grant Development Support for Applicants and Important Deadlines

Phase

Activity

Deadline

Notice of Intent (NOI)

Information session hosted by the Office of V-P(RI), GAP and RSO

Purpose: to inform applicants and to answer questions about the NOI internal review process, identify available supports for grant development, and confirm the administrative requirements and submission process.

From 10 to 11 am

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2-31 SAB (South Academic Building)

Deadline to request a Concept Discussion with the Grant Assist Program (GAP) Director(s):

These discussions will be scheduled between January 14 and 24.

Purpose: to assess strategic alignment of proposed research with expectations of the NFRF Transformation competition and to provide feedback on strategic cross-council research project content development.

Monday, January 13, 2020

NFRF English language webinar - Held in 4-001, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA)

All other resources from the English and French webinar can be found on our Past Events and Workshops page.

The French language webinar is from 8 to 10 am MST on January 21.

From 11 am to 1 pm

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Deadline for submission of complete NOI to the Office of V-P(RI).

This step is mandatory for all NOIs led by U of A researchers. Please complete this form and email it to katharine.moore @ualberta.ca.

By 4:30 pm

Monday, January 27, 2020

Feedback is provided to NOI applicants following the internal review.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Submit NOI to RSO for institutional review and approval.

By 4:30 pm

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Deadline for nominated principal investigator(s) to submit NOI via Convergence Portal

By 10 am

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Letter of Intent (LOI)

NFRF French language LOI webinar 

Date: Feb 26, 2020 
Time: 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. 
Meeting link – Password: vM3jaXr6  

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

NFRF English language LOI webinar 

Date: Feb 26, 2020 
Time: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
Meeting link – Password: V9uDRhMx

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Convergence Portal opens for LOI

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

GAP EDI Workshop for Applicants

March 3, 2020

GAP deadline to request Peer Review

March 9, 2020

GAP deadline to request graphic design support

March 9, 2020

GAP deadline to submit LOI for editorial review

TBD

Submit LOI to RSO for institutional review and approval

By 10 am

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Deadline for nominated principal investigator(s) to submit LOI via Convergence Portal

By 10 am

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

LOI results released

TBD

 

Full application - by invitation only

Phase

Activity

Deadline

Full application development and submission(to be confirmed)

NFRF Webinar re: full application process (expected)

To be confirmed

Convergence Portal opens for teams invited to full application

TBD

Contact Grant Assist Program (GAP)for assistance with application development (strategic advice, peer reviews, EDI reviews, editorial reviews, graphic design).

TBD

Submit final application to RSO for institutional review and approval

TBD
Deadline for nominated principal investigator(s) to submit application via Convergence Portal TBD