Find Funding Opportunities

John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF)

The John R Evans Leaders Fund provides funding for research infrastructure, enabling researchers to conduct leading-edge research. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) provides the UofA with a specific JELF allocation. The CFI will support a maximum of 40% of the eligible costs of a JELF project. Applicants will also request matching funding through the Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and Tourism (EDTT) Research Capacity Program – Small Equipment Grants Stream.

JELF Internal Request to Apply (RTA) Intake Timelines*

For the 2020-2023 JELF allocation period, all researchers who are interested in developing a JELF proposal are required to complete a standardized RTA form.

Please select the desired CFI intake date to access the corresponding RTA form.

CFI Intake


(Please click the highlighted date to access the RTA.)

Internal call (RTA) released

RTA due to RSO

Start working with F&O

1st Full Draft due to RSO

Proposal ready for Faculty review and approval

Submission to CFI

Feb 2020



Aug 15, 2019

Jan 6, 2020

Feb 3, 2020

Feb 17, 2020

June 2020

Sept 30, 2019

Jan 6, 2020

Jan 13, 2020

May 1, 2020

June 1, 2020

June 15, 2020

Oct 2020

Feb 3, 2020

April 1, 2020

April 15, 2020

Sept 1, 2020

Oct 1, 2020

Oct 15, 2020

Feb 2021

June 1, 2020

Aug 4, 2020

Aug 17, 2020

Jan 4, 2021

Feb 1, 2021

Feb 15, 2021

June 2021

Oct 1, 2020

Jan 4, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

May 3, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 15, 2021

Oct 2021

Feb 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

Sept 1, 2021

Oct 4, 2021

Oct 15, 2021

Feb 2022

June 1, 2021

Aug 3, 2021

Aug 16, 2021

Jan 4, 2022

Feb 1, 2022

Feb 15, 2022

June 2022

Oct 4, 2021

Jan 4, 2022

Jan 17, 2022

May 2, 2022

June 1, 2022

June 15, 2022

Oct 2022

Feb 1, 2022

April 1, 2022

April 14, 2022

Sept 1, 2022

Oct 3, 2022

Oct 17, 2022

Feb 2023

June 1, 2022

Aug 2, 2022

Aug 15, 2022

Jan 3, 2023

Feb 1, 2023

Feb 15, 2023

June 2023

Sept 30, 2022

Jan 3, 2023

Jan 16, 2023

May 1, 2023

June 1, 2023

June 15, 2023

Oct 2023

Feb 1, 2023

April 3, 2023

April 14, 2023

Sept 1, 2023

Oct 2, 2023

Oct 16, 2023

* Dates are approximate and for your planning purposes only and will be adjusted once the internal submission call is released.

If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, it will be extended to the following business day.

  • 1. Submitting a JELF Proposal

    *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.*

    Researchers that have received institutional approval to move forward to full application development are required to attend a mandatory pre-submission Information Session to be held 5 to 6 months before formal submission to CFI. Please note that the internal deadline for submission of a complete first draft for review by the RSO is 45 days prior to the CFI deadline. See the internal timelines table for details.

    If a proposal is not received by the internal deadline of 45 days prior to the CFI submission deadline:

    - The institution will not support the submission for that competition

    - The project leader will be required to request for approval to submit in a future competition. 

    Internal Timelines for CFI JELF Proposal Development Period




    Internal Call (RTA) Release

    Minimum 7 months prior to CFI submission deadlines

    VP-Research to release an invitation for researchers who are interested in developing a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) proposal to submit a Request to Apply (RTA).

    RTA due to RSO

    Minimum 6 months prior to CFI submission deadline

    Deadline for completion of RTA. RSO will close access to forms at 9:00 AM and review process will begin.

    Faculty-Managed Streams: Completed RTA form for proposals under the Faculty-Managed Streams will be reviewed by the appropriate Faculty, and recommendations as to whether or not the project should go forward will be made by the Faculty.

    Centrally-Managed Streams: Completed RTA forms for proposals under the Other Faculties Stream will be reviewed by the VPR office. The information provided in the Faculty letter(s) of support will be considered, but the final decisions regarding allocation of the Strategic Priorities stream are made at the discretion of the Vice President (Research)

    Start Working with F&O


    5 - 6 months prior submission deadline

    Researchers to work with Facilities and Operations to coordinate site visits and begin discussions regarding space requirements and equipment data sheets that were provided in the RTA.

    First Full Draft due to RSO

    45 days prior to submission deadline

    First complete draft of proposal to be entered in the CFI CAMS system for review by RSO. No extension will be permitted.

    Proposal Ready for Faculty Approval

    15 days prior to submission deadline

    Near final version of proposal to be entered in CAMS for review and approval of researcher’s Chair and ADR. Only Chair/ADR suggested changes as well as minor modifications to proposal will be permitted.

    Submission to CFI

    4:00 PM on day of CFI Submission Deadline

    RSO electronically submits applications to CFI

    CFI Application Deadlines

    Fund Name CFI Deadline
    JELF – Unaffiliated February 15, June 15 and October 15 of every year
    JELF – Canada Research Chairs Twice a year
    JELF – NSERC, Industrial Research Chairs No deadline
    JELF – SSHRC, Insight Grant October 15
    JELF – SSHRC, Partnership Grants Letter of Intent: TBD
    Should a JELF-Unaffiliated deadline fall on a weekend,
    the deadline is pushed to the following Monday.
  • 2. Information for Applicants

    The JELF proposal consists of three separate modules. Further information for applicants about how to register for access to the CFI Award Management System (CAMS) and complete these modules on CAMS can be found in this presentation.

    1. Project module: Information about the proposed project and how it meets the criteria of the funding program. It consists of the following sections:

    - Project information: Contains basic information about the project such as the title, applicant institution and keywords that is generated automatically once the appropriate fields are populated in the CFI Award Management System (CAMS) and a Plain Language Summary (max. 1500 characters) that provides a short summary in plain language of what is being researched, how it is being done and why it is important.

    - Researchers: Up to three candidates (applicants) may be listed on the proposal when there is a demonstrated need to share infrastructure. When more than one candidate is listed, the CFI requires that the justification for the need for the infrastructure be articulated for each candidate. The curricula vitae of the candidate(s) will be appended to the proposal through CAMS.

    - Assessment criteria: This document fully describes how the proposal meets the assessment criteria for this program. 

    The number of criteria to address and the page limits for this PDF document depend on the amount requested from the CFI in the proposal.

    Universities can submit proposals requesting up to $800,000 from the CFI, with a maximum total eligible cost of $2 million. The CFI will allow the submission of proposals requesting less than or equal to $75,000 from the CFI from the social sciences, humanities and arts, and those universities that have access to the Small Institution Fund.

    Total CFI request ($) Assessment criteria to address Maximum number of pages
    ≤ $75,000 Research, researchers, infrastructure 10

    >$75,000 to $800,000



    - Research or Technology Development. A description of the proposed research/ technology development, its innovative aspect(s), timeliness and fit within the institutional priority.

    - Researchers. A description of the applicant(s) expertise and ability to lead the project and the collaborators’ and partners’ contributions essential to the success of the proposed activities.

    - Infrastructure. A description of why each item requested is necessary and appropriate to conduct the proposed research plan. Explain why existing infrastructure within the institution and the region cannot be used to conduct the proposed activities.

    - Institutional Commitment and Sustainability. Present a management plan that addresses the optimal use (e.g. user access and level of use), and the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the infrastructure. Provide detailed information on O&M costs and revenue sources, including institutional commitment.

    - Benefits to Canadians. How the research project will lead (or has the potential to lead) to tangible benefits for society, health, economy and/or environment. A description of how the requested infrastructure will attract and enhance the training of HQP.

    RSO has developed a Microsoft Word template to help you organize this section in the manner CFI requests. The use of this tool is not mandatory, but it is highly suggested.

    - Financial resources for operation and maintenance. This page of the project module - explained in detail in Institutional Commitment and Sustainability - captures the annual costs and sources of committed support to ensure the effective operation and maintenance of the infrastructure for the first five years of its useful life.

    - Past CFI investments. This section of the project module is to be completed by the institution for statistical purposes only and is not part of the review process.

    2. Finance module: This module contains information pertaining to the budgetary details of the proposal, and consists of the following sections:

    - Cost of individual items. A list containing the cost of individual budget items.

    - Construction or renovation plans Floor plans for renovations (if applicable, provided as a separate attachment that should not exceed 20 MB).

    - Contributions from eligible partners. This section lists all secured and expected contributions to the project from eligible partners (Provincial Government, institutions, trust funds, foundations and in-kind contributions from vendors.

    - Infrastructure utilization table. This section presents the use of the requested infrastructure for CFI eligible and non-CFI-eligible purposes and any applicable prorating of costs.

    - Overview of infrastructure project funding (generated automatically).

    3. Suggested reviewers module: Recommendation of at least six Suggested Reviewers for the proposal.


    For all JELF Application intakes, approved project leaders must ensure that at least 45 days prior to submission deadline, contracts specialist is provided with a full first application draft consisting of: 

    - A complete first draft of their CFI-JELF proposal.

    - A completed budget spreadsheet, accompanied by all vendor quotes. Information on how to develop your budget, prepare the spreadsheet as well as information regarding quotes format is available here.

    - A complete first draft of the Alberta Alignment module.

    - Appropriate progress must also have been made on any renovation planning. Consultations from other University of Alberta units may be necessary to discuss construction/renovation, requests for high-performance computing infrastructure and digital data management planning.

    RSO and the project leader will develop the proposal as a collaborative Google Doc.

    Applicants should review the following documents as they prepare their application:

    CFI Documents

    - CFI Policy and Program Guide

    - CFI John R Evans Leaders Fund Guidelines

    Government of Alberta Documents

    - Research Capacity Program Guidelines

    - Alberta Alignment Module Template

    - Government of Alberta Climate Leadership Plan

    - Alberta Research and Innovation Framework (ARIF)

    Internal University of Alberta Documents

    - University of Alberta Strategic Research Plan for CFI, CRC & CERC Projects

    - University of Alberta Comprehensive Institutional Plan

    - For the Public Good, the University of Alberta’s new institutional Strategic Plan

  • 3. Distribution of JELF Allocation

    Distribution of the 2020 to 2023 JELF allocation has been approved by the VPR as follows:

    Streams Faculty Allocation
    Faculty Managed ALES $947,846
    ENG $3,089,899
    FoMD $4,020,122
    SCI $2,585,769
    Centrally Managed Other Faculties $1,903,075
    Strategic Priorities $1,878,289
    TOTAL $14,425,000

    Faculty Managed Streams:

    Researchers from the Faculties of Medicine & Dentistry, Science, Engineering, and Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences will apply under these streams.

    Review process: Requests to Apply (RTAs) submitted under these streams will be reviewed by the appropriate Faculty, and recommendations to the VPR as to whether or not the project should go forward are to be submitted to the RSO by the Faculty. Deadlines for submission to RSO will be outlined in the RTA for each CFI intake.

    Resubmissions: In the event that a proposal is not funded by the CFI, the allocation amount associated with that proposal is not returned to the Faculty-Managed allocation but is held centrally. A request to resubmit the proposal may be submitted for consideration by the VPR through a separate process. The RSO will provide information regarding this process as necessary.

    Centrally-Managed Streams:

    Review process: RTAs for the Centrally-Managed Streams are reviewed by the VPR office. Faculties must provide letters of support for submission with the RTA. Final decisions regarding allocation of the Centrally-Managed Stream allocations are made at the discretion of the Vice President (Research).

    Other Faculties Stream (formerly Combined Faculties Stream): Researchers from all Faculties EXCEPT Medicine & Dentistry, Science, Engineering, and Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences may apply under this allocation.

    Strategic Priorities Stream (formerly Emerging Priorities Stream): Researchers from all Faculties may apply under the Strategic Priorities Allocation Stream. Eligibility Criteria for the Strategic Priorities stream:

    ● Projects must involve researchers from more than one Faculty. Projects involving only one Faculty should apply under the appropriate Faculty-Managed or Other Faculty Streams.

    ● Projects must be collaborative, benefiting a broad group of researchers. Demonstration of existing collaborative relationships between participants will strengthen the request.

    ● Projects must be aligned with an area of strength and strategic importance to the Institution. This includes but is not limited to alignment with the Signature Areas.

    ● A plan must be in place to ensure that the cross-faculty collaboration will proceed as described. What this looks like will be unique for each project, but may involve existing core facility structure, steering committees, participation in research groups, etc.

    ● Each Faculty involved in the request must demonstrate support for the project through commitment of a portion of its Faculty-Managed JELF allocation to the project (see below).

    ● Allocation Request Amount: The CFI contribution to the project will normally be divided equitably between the Strategic Priorities Allocation and the allocation of each of the Faculties involved.

    ● e.g. A project involving two Faculties that will benefit users across campus: one-third of the total JELF allocation would come from the Strategic Priorities Allocation, with the remaining allocation being split between the two Faculties. The Faculties may negotiate the amounts to be contributed from their respective allocations.