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 (EDT) Research Capacity Program – Small Equipment Grants Stream.

JELF Intake Timelines*

JELF Intake Timelines

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

*Due to the Innovation Fund deadline in January 2020 there will be no internal JELF RTA for the Combined Faculties and Emerging Priorities Streams for the CFI Feb 2020 intake.

For researchers whose proposals were not funded in a recent JELF competition, please contact RSO (IP manager or your contract specialist) for instructions on how to request permission to resubmit.  For researchers eligible to apply under a Large Faculties Stream (FoMD, ALES, ENG, SCI), please contact your associate or vice-dean (Research) for information on the internal Faculty process. The next internal RTA competition will be launched in early October, for June 2020 submission.

  • 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 wishing to apply for the JELF should contact the RSO immediately in order to discuss appropriate timelines and deadlines for preparation of these applications. In addition, applicants will be 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 make a request to his/her faculty for approval to submit in a future competition.

    JELF Resubmissions

    In the event that a JELF proposal is not funded by the CFI, the CFI allocation amount reverts to the Emerging Priorities pot. If the Project Leader wishes to submit a revised application a Request to Apply (RTA) must be submitted to the Office of the Vice President (Research) for consideration.

    For re-submission, instead of a 3-page summary of the research or technology development plan being proposed, the RTA must include a document responding to the reviewer comments from the unsuccessful proposal and outlining how the reviewer concerns will be addressed in a revised application. All other components of the RTA must be completed as well.

    Internal JELF RTA competitions are held at least once per year, typically in the Fall for submission to the CFI in June.

    Internal Timelines for CFI JELF Proposal Development Period




    Large Faculties Stream
    (ALES, FoMD, Sci, Eng)

    Minimum 6 months prior to CFI's submission deadlines

    Associate/Vice Deans (Research) to keep RSO apprised of all proposals that are being considered for future competitions from their faculties. RSO must be advised at least 6 months in advance of the relevant submission deadline. This information will be tracked via shared Google Docs.

    Associate/Vice Deans (Research) to provide project-specific written confirmation via email to RSO that the Faculty supports the project to allow RSO to begin consultations for proposal development. Information must include PI name, maximum CFI allocation, and space confirmation.;

    Combined Other Faculties Stream
    Emerging Priorities Stream

    Intakes, and RSO deadlines for submission of Request-to-Apply to RSO, will be announced by RSO.

    Internal Letter of Intent to be submitted to RSO for review by Vice-President (Research). Associate/Vice Deans (Research) must be in support of the submissions. Submissions for the Combined Pot and the Emerging Priorities Pot will be considered separately. Projects will be selected on the basis of merit. More information on this process, including an application form, will be provided closer to the deadline.

    All Streams

    5 - 6 months prior submission deadline

    Project Leader to attend mandatory pre-submission JELF Information Session. The session will provide the Project Leader valuable information on CFI policy and procedures, Provincial matching funds application requirements, potential renovation requirements,requirement for consultation with any other units on campus as well as tips and recommendations for proposal development and information on results from previous competitions

    All Streams

    45 days prior to submission deadline

    First complete draft of proposal to be entered in the CFI CAMS system for review by RSO – 45 days prior to submission deadline, no extension will be permitted.

    Mandatory JELF Information Session (to be held 5 to 6 months before submission)

    August - September
    December – January
    March - April

    Deadline for 1st full application draft to RSO

    January 1
    May 1
    September 1

    JELF Intake

    February 15
    June 15
    October 15

    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:

    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

    The distribution of the JELF allocation for the 2017-2020 period will be as follows:

    Stream Distribution of JELF 2017-2020
    Allocation by Faculty
    Large Faculties ALES $594,077
    Large Faculties Medicine & Dentistry $3,584,693
    Large Faculties Science 2,150,930
    Large Faculties Engineering $2,098,302
    Combined Faculties Combined Other Faculties $1,568,596
    Emerging Priorities Emerging Priorities $1,787,295
      TOTAL Available Allocation $11,783,893